Archive for July, 2019

20+ Year Old Paper – Still Perfect

July 31, 2019


I hung this paper in a master bathroom in Bellaire more than 20 years ago. It is still in perfect shape!

This is due partly to the good quality paper the homeowner chose (not low-end, pre-pasted, paper-backed, solid vinyl), to good ventilation removing humidity from the room, to good installation techniques, and to the great primer I used at that time – Oil Based KILZ Original. Unfortunately, EPA regulations forced changes to this primer, and wallpaper paste will no longer stick to it.

The homeowners are going to renovate and update the bathroom, so I was there taking measurements for the new room. When it comes time to remove this old paper, I know that it will strip off easily and cleanly, because of the installation and primer used when it was put up.

Palm Leaf Wallpaper Behind Bookshelves – Too Busy, IMO

July 30, 2019


It’s become popular to put wallpaper on the backs of bookshelves. But usually, people choose a texture, or at least a very small, tight pattern. That way, the wallpaper serves as a backdrop, and the items that are placed on the shelves will stand out.

I spotted this photo in Better Homes & Gardens magazine. I can’t say I love the look. I think the palm leaf pattern is too busy, and detracts from the artful objects that have been placed on the shelves.

In my opinion, that tropical pattern would work better on the walls outside the bookshelves. Or, since it’s such a strong pattern, just on one accent wall.

Painters Aren’t Wallpaper Preppers – Bless Their Hearts

July 28, 2019


Someone else did some work in this powder room, and that included skim-floating and “prepping the walls for wallpaper.” The main part of the walls that you see when you walk into the room looked nice and smooth.

But on closer inspection, it’s clear that they did not bother to remove switch plate covers or the A/C vent, and didn’t know how to smooth the area along the top of the pedestal sink. Sorry, no pics.

And along the baseboard and crown molding, as well as behind the toilet, they did not get a smooth transition between the smoothing compound and the wall. Please see the photos. You notice where the smoothing compound is globbed on top of the baseboard in an irregular mess.

This is a problem, because these areas are exactly where the wallpaper will be trimmed, and asked to adhere tightly. The problem is, the paper needs a smooth, intact area to grab ahold of. These areas do not provide that.

I could chip off some of this stuff, but not all of it. So the homeowner will be left with jagged cuts at these areas, plus the possibility that the paper will not cling tightly to the irregular surface.

Again, folks: Wallpaper prep should be done by a paperhanger, not a painter or handyman or other kind of tradesman. They simply don’t understand what is required, and typically don’t have the patience or desire to do the detailed work correctly.

William Morris Pattern in Bellaire Powder Room

July 27, 2019


The owner of this powder room in the Bellaire neighborhood of Houston lived for several years in England, and fell in love with the British aesthetic for the Arts & Crafts period of the early 1900’s. William Morris was a popular designer of that era – and still loved today.

Most of the patterns are intricate, while rhythmic and repetitive, with nature being a popular theme.

The wall sconces, mirror, and sink faucet were all off-center from one another. Figuring that the mirror was the most noticeable feature on that wall, I decided to center the pattern on the mirror, rather than the sconces or faucet. (Sorry, no pic of the mirror.)

This particular pattern had enough swoopy flowery foliage that the background trellis design was pretty obscured. In addition, I plotted the layout so that the dark green trellis would not fall close to the faucet (where it would be obvious that it was off-center). And the large flower to the right of the faucet helps obscure the off-center trellis, too.

Once the mirror went up, it became the eye-catcher. The room is a true beauty.

This wallpaper is by William Morris, a British manufacturer, and this paper was the traditional pulp material, rather than the newer non-woven substrate.

Paint Speckles on Homeowner’s Countertop – I Hate Sloppy Work!

July 26, 2019


Look closely, and you’ll see scazillions of miniscule splatters of paint on the granite vanity top, backsplash, and even on the faucet and handles. Obviously, whoever worked in this room previously did not bother to cover the area with a dropcloth.

Such a shame. A few dollars’ worth of materials, and a little bit of time would have protected the homeowner’s fixtures.

Small Herringbone Pattern for Baby’s Accent Wall DRAFT

July 25, 2019

The parents-to-be wanted a fun, yet subdued pattern for an accent wall in their new nursery. They fell in love with this herringbone pattern by Joanna Gaines, in her Magnolia Home collection.

It’s an economical alternative to the popular “Feather” pattern by Serena & Lily – which is lovely paper, by the way.

This expectant couple had originally considered hiring me, but my lead time was too long for them, with the baby coming and all. So they contracted with another installer. Unfortunately, the other installer became unresponsive, and the parents-to-be were needing to get the room decorated and done, so they could move on to other new-parent things.

So they contacted me. Happily, I had an unexpected opening pop up, and was able to get their baby’s wall done with months to spare before the arrival of the little one.

The manufacturer of this paper is York, and it’s in their Sure Strip line. I love this thin pre-pasted wallpaper. It is nice to work with, it hugs the wall tightly, and it will resist problems from humidity in a bathroom.

Clever Wine Crate Pattern for Outside a Wine Room

July 24, 2019


In the top picture, out of sight to the right is a walk-in wine room. The homeowner has loved this pattern for years, and finally found a place to put it – right adjacent to the wine room!

The wine case pattern is by Brunschwig and Fils. Unlike the other papers by B&F that I have hung, this one is a vinyl, with a slightly embossed surface (the lines between the boxes are slightly indented). It has a selvedge edge that had to be trimmed off by hand. Unlike most hand-trimmed papers, this one had no trim guide marks, so I had to wing it on where to place my straightedge.

The paper backing soaked up paste quickly, and each strip was nearly dried out by the end of the booking time, so I ended up rolling a little paste on the wall where the seams would fall, to augment. Once it was on the wall, the paper adhered nicely.

The floor was unlevel, and so the paper ran crooked along top of it, making it look like the bottom row of boxes was running downhill. To level out this bottom line, I used my straightedge and a razor blade to cut off the bottom “boards” along the black line. I trimmed the strip to 1/2″ high. See 4th photo. I used a piece of artist’s chalk to color the cut edge, so white would not show along the top.

Then I appliquéd the strip over the bottom of the paper on the wall, butting it up against the baseboard. Wallpaper paste won’t stick to vinyl (it’s too slick), so I used special adhesive on the area of the overlap.

In the bottom photo, you can see how nice and even the bottom line looks.

The interior designer for this job is Stacie Cokinos, of Cokinos Design. The home is in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston.

Pattern Similar to Yesterday’s Post

July 23, 2019


Interestingly enough, in an issue of Better Homes & Gardens magazine, here is someone else who wallpapered a room with maps, and very similar in color to those used by my client in the post below.

A very good, and very personalized, look!

Mapping Out a New Look

July 21, 2019


Here is a small vestibule (the second vestibule I’ve done this week! 🙂 ), that leads from the living room past the powder room and into the kitchen / great room, in a newish “tall skinny” home in the Houston Heights.

It’s the perfect place to add a little personal flavor. This map pattern in muted colors is perfect for this space, because, in the adjoining living room, the homeowner has some framed maps that mirror the style and color of this wallpaper. The wallpaper pulls everything together.

This wallpaper is a non-woven material, and can be hung by the paste-the-wall method, or the paste-the-paper method. With the intricate door moldings requiring complicated cuts in miniscual spaces, it made more sense to paste the paper. It is by Mulberry Home (I gotta say – I think they’re knocking off the Magnolia Home brand made famous by Joanna Gaines on HGTV). It’s a British company.

The interior designer for this job is Stacie Cokinos, of Cokinos Design. She works primarily in the Heights, Garden Oaks, and Oak Forest neighborhoods. Her style is fresh and open, with attention to the homeowner’s personal taste, and a dash of fun tossed in.

Filling a Gap in a Map

July 21, 2019

For various reasons too complicated to explain here, I ended up with a 2″ gap in a 9″ high space above a door, between the right side of one strip and the left side of the subsequent strip.

If I had moved the right strip of paper next to the strip on the left, you would have seen the pattern repeat itself for 2″. Not a big deal, since it’s high over a door, and it’s a busy pattern anyway. But I knew I could make it look better.

I cut a strip of paper that would match up with the pattern on the left, butted it in place, and then let it overlap onto the strip to the right. This left the same pattern falling on top of itself, just two inches away. The eye would see that repetitive pattern.

To disguise that, I used my scissors to trim vertically along one of the rivers and then branching to some of the smaller tributaries, leaving a jagged line that helped break up the repetitive pattern.

To break it up more, I cut some additional pieces, always cutting along a river so there would be a visible, logical break in the design, and appliqued these on top, such that they broke up the rhythm of the repetitive design.

I even turned one piece upside down, so the eye could not possibly see any pattern repeating itself. Yes, the words were now appearing upside down – but from 9′ down on the floor, and a whole lot of other things to look at, no one is going to notice.