Archive for November, 2019

Calming Blue Silk on Bookshelf Backs – Schumacher

November 9, 2019


This is a somewhat nubby silk fabric mounted on a non-woven backing. The soft blue coordinates nicely with other elements in the room, and makes a lovely backdrop for the books and decorative items that will fill the shelves.

Silk wallcoverings are much like grasscloth, because the pattern cannot be matched. You will see all the seams. And there will be color variations and irregularities. This is all expected with these natural materials.

I was pleased with this one, because it was fairly homogeneous in color.

I used the paste-the-wall installation method. Silk, like grass, stains easily, so you have to keep your hands clean and dry, and don’t let any paste get onto the surface or ooze out at the seams.

The manufacturer is Schumacher, and the interior designer is Stacie Cokinos of Cokinos Design. She works primarily in the Heights, Oak Forest, and Garden Oaks, and mostly does new builds or whole-house remodels.

A Few Small Issues With Schumacher Silk

November 9, 2019


Whoops! Someone at the factory got fingerprints on the wallpaper. 😦 Luckily, this was in the first foot or so of material, so I was able to cut it off and discard it without losing too much.

In the second photo, look just to the right of the pencil and you will see a band of darker colored material. Maybe the rollers at the factory pressed a little harder in this area – who knows?

This is part of the manufacturing process, and it’s part and parcel with natural materials like this silk. It is not considered a defect.

This silk was 36″ wide, and the strips I needed were 29″ wide. So I was able to trim off this darker band and use the part that was more homogeneous in color.

If I had needed the full 36″ widths, there would have been faint darker horizontal bands running the full height of each strip. Again, not a defect; just the nature of the beast.

The manufacturer is Schumacher.

Patching Gap Around Light Fixture

November 8, 2019

The original light fixture had a rectangular base. The new one had a base that was barely larger than the electrical box. The electrician ended up with a slight gap on the left side of the box.

The wallpaper would most likely bridge that gap and look just fine. But since there was a slight difference in height between the wall and the base of the fixture, I wanted to close the gap to minimize chances of a visible pooch or bubble around the fixture.

I bought some drywall repair kits, and ended up using the one that had a thin aluminum mesh patch. I cut it to fit around the electrical box, using a few scraps to fill in gaps.

I then used drywall joint compound (“mud”) to smooth over the area. It took two of these skim coats, and a lot of time holding my heat gun to get everything to dry. Once sanded, it was nice and smooth.

A coat of Gardz penetrating sealer / primer, and the patched area was ready for wallpaper.

Elapsed time: Two hours.

This saved the homeowner having to hire “a guy” to do the repairs – and most likely, I would have had to “fine tune” whatever he did, anyway.

Slight Pattern Mis-Match on Marimekko Pattern

November 7, 2019


Whoops! Someone at the wallpaper factory let the trimming machine go a little cattywhompus!

The result is a slight miss in the match of this pattern.

Look carefully at the seam running vertically down the center of the photo.

Not a big deal. It’s a wild, wacky pattern to begin with, and from a distance it’s barely noticeable.

I did make sure to get the homeowner’s OK before moving ahead.

Another All-White Room Goes Wild With Color

November 7, 2019

Boy, did I have fun with this one! Another all-white room rescued from the igloo-look.

This is the bathroom of a pre-teen gal in the West University neighborhood of Houston. She likes pink and orange, but is too old for flowers or girly stuff. Another focus was to keep in theme with the bold black band of tile around the top of the wainscoting.

This wallpaper is by Marimekko, and was bought from my favorite source for good quality, product knowledge, expert service, and competitive price – Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. She is great at helping you find just the perfect paper! Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

This is a non-woven product, and can be hung by the paste-the-wall or the paste-the-paper methods. (I pasted the paper.) This material is dimensionally -stable and should not shrink or put tension on the wall as it dries. It has high fiberglass content, and is designed to pull off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate.

It was nice to work with.

Jimmying the Kill Point

November 3, 2019


This is a shot of the last corner in a room, a spot we call the kill point. Almost always, this last corner results in a pattern mis-match.

In this case, the heavy vertical tree trunk was going to land just 5″ away from the identical tree trunk, which was originally close to the corner in the photo.

Two heavy tree trunks, both curving in the same direction, covered with the same leaves and flowers, would be very obvious to the eye. Not a big deal, because this is in a far corner up over a door. But, still, I thought I could remove the repetitiveness and make it look better.

Without going into a lot of detail, I took some scrap paper that did not match the pattern, and tucked its right side under the vertical tree trunk.

I used its left side to paste on top of / cover up the tree trunk that was originally in the corner.

Instead of cutting exactly in the corner, I allowed some leaves and flowers to wrap around the corner, trimming around them with a scissors so they were not cut off abruptly, but wrapped naturally around the corner in a continuation of the motifs.

Crooked Walls – Mismatch in the Corners, or at the Ceiling?

November 2, 2019

When turning an inside corner with wallpaper, you cut the strip in two vertically, so that just 1/8″ or so wraps around the corner, and then you overlap the remaining part of the strip onto that little bit. This eliminates wrinkles caused by crooked walls. And it allows you to plumb up the new strip.

The walls and corners in this powder room were off-plumb. This is pretty typical, but since the room had 10′ high ceilings, by the time you moved 10′ down the wall, a little discrepancy turned into a big discrepancy.

This means that, when turning a corner, I had the options of mis-matching the pattern in the corner, in order to keep the new strip properly plumb. OR matching the pattern precisely and then allowing the new strip to hang off-plumb – which would cause the design to track off-kilter along the ceiling and floor.

This pattern afforded me the chance to fiddle a bit, to get the best of both worlds. I was able to match the pattern perfectly in the corner, as well as keep the motifs in their proper positions at the ceiling line.

I matched the pattern exactly in the corner. That caused the new strip to hang off-plumb. So I cut the strip in two vertically, by slicing along the wavy edge of the tree trunk. See top photo.

The right half of the strip of wallpaper was left stuck to the wall, off-plumb and all. The left half I pulled away, and replaced onto the wall an inch or so lower, so the design elements hit the ceiling where I wanted them to. I then lined its left edge up against a plumb line, allowing the right edge to overlap the left edge of the strip that was still stuck to the wall.

There was a small overlap at the top, but the overlap grew wider as I moved toward the floor, due to one strip being plumb and one being off-plumb.

But since I had cut vertically along the tree trunk, your eye only sees that the tree is intact, and doesn’t notice a little bit of pattern being covered by that tree trunk. The overlap leaves a bit of a ridge under the paper, but the design of the tree trunk obscures that nicely.

As the overlap got wider as I moved down the wall, there were some motifs that got covered up enough that they were noticeable. I simply took some scrap paper and cut leaves or butterflies or other elements and pasted them in appropriate spots, to fill in missing parts.

OK, actually, it was a little more involved than that, and it took at least a half an hour. But as you can see in the second photo, no one would notice that the pattern has been tweaked.

And best of all, this trick kept the pattern intact in the corners, and placed it where it was supposed to be at the ceiling line, as well as kept it evenly spaced as it moved along the woodwork of the door frame to the left (not shown).