Archive for December, 2019

A Note Makes It Nicer

December 17, 2019


It’s always nice to get a check in the mail. But it’s even nicer when they take the time to include a note.

This is a job that went haywire, with a LOT more prep and time being needed than originally expected. Which is a nice way of saying that I lost money on this one.

The interior designer was kind enough to include a little extra when she wrote the check. I don’t know if she charged the client, or if she took it out of her own revenue, but it was really sweet and muchly appreciated.

The interior designer is Rachel Goetz Interiors. Do a Search here and see this and other projects I have done for her.

Translucent Paper – Special Handling

December 15, 2019


If you look carefully, you can see shadows of this wallpaper pattern under the top layer.

This tells me that there is the chance that any markings on the wall, or on the back of the paper, might show through the finished project.

So when I wrote measurements on the wall, and made notes on the back of the paper, I made sure to write very lightly, so the marks would not “telegraph” through.

Another trick I use is to write such notes next to the light switch, where I know the switch plate will cover it and hide it.

Note: Always use PENCIL. Never INK or MARKER or GREASE PENCIL, because they could bleed through the wallpaper and show on the surface.

Poppy Dotty Pantry

December 14, 2019


You can get away with a lot of avant garde-ness in small areas. This home in the Kingwood community of northeast Houston is mostly traditional in floor plan and d├ęcor. Yet the homeowner has found a few places to inject a little playful personality.

One is the backs of these cabinets in a butler’s pantry (but they are using it as a bar).

The lightly textured, indistinct smeary dots spread in a diamond pattern are nothing short of fun!

What’s especially clever is that the homeowner found a colorway that coordinates with not just the wall paint and furnishings in the home, but also with the weathered chandelier in the adjoining dining room, the nubby rug, and other furniture.

These are the little details that “pull a look together” – and this homeowner did it all on her own, acting as her own interior designer!

This wallpaper pattern is by A Street Prints, which is by Brewster. It is a non-woven material that has a high fiberglass content which prevents expansion and shrinking, and makes removal at a later date easier. I hung it using the paste-the-wall method.

From Grey to Golden – Delightful Dining Room

December 14, 2019


This dining room accent wall started out the typical suburban taupe/grey color, with even the ceiling painted the same color. The homeowner thought the room looked cold before.

Accentuating this focal wall with a special silk-look wallpaper really brought appeal to the room, and the warmth the homeower was seeking.

The wall will be finished with an oval mirror, and distressed sconces, which will tie in nicely with the weathered-look chandelier.

The remaining walls, as well as the area below the chair rail, will be painted. I suggested picking a color that compliments, rather than matches, the wallpaper color. This will enable the papered wall to stand out, with it’s mottled colors and warm feel.

The wall will then fade into the background, allowing the mirror, sconces, and buffet to take center stage.

This wallpaper is by Designer Wallpaper. It is a traditional paste-the-paper product, and was nice to work with. It went better when I pasted, booked, and then dipped the edges into water before bagging, which helped prevent the edges from drying.

The home is in Kingwood, a northeast suburb of Houston.

Bringing Happy to a Home Laundry Room

December 13, 2019

This home in Kingwood (far northeast Houston) was damaged by flooding during Hurricane Harvey, so the bottom portion of the walls had to be torn out and replaced. The repaired laundry room was functional, but not very inviting.

This cheery pattern changed all that!

The light black pen & ink-like images on a white background add whimsy and really brighten the room. I don’t think anyone would mind spending time in here on Laundry Day!

The motifs remind me of dandelions that have died and dried, that you puff on to make a wish.

The wallpaper is by York, in their Sure Strip line, which is one of my favorites. It is a pre-pasted paper, and is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate.

10″ Head Space – I Can Do It!

December 13, 2019


Not only was there only a mere 10″ of clearance between the cabinet and the ceiling, the niche was way deeper than the typical cabinet, because below it was a 36″ deep refrigerator. Even standing on the very top of my ladder (ya know – the step that OSHA says NOT to stand on!), and contorting my whole torso on top of the cabinet, it was difficult to reach the back wall. And even more difficult to maneuver my hands and tools.

I managed to skim-float the area, sand it smooth, and prime it. Today it was time to get paper onto it.

The fewer tasks I had to do, the easier (and safer) it would be to accomplish.

The first thing I did was to trim the paper horizontally at the point where I wanted it to meet the ceiling. This eliminated the need for me to squeeze in a straightedge and trimming blade and try to manipulate them in the deep, narrow space.

Likewise, I wanted to avoid having to trim in the last corner (on the right). So I measured carefully, and pre-trimmed my last piece to fit. It was 3 7/8″ at the top, but widened to 4″ at the bottom.

After the strip got pasted and booked, it expanded a tad, so I had to trim off a teeny bit from the right edge. And also a little more off the upper right, due to the wall being un-straight at that point.

I was able to get my plastic smoother and damp microfiber cloth into the space, to smooth the strips to the wall and wipe off any paste residue.

Primer Choices

December 12, 2019


Today I was priming the backs of some bar cabinets. My preferred primer, Roman’s Ultra Prime Pro 977, which usually sticks to anything, was beading up and sweating off of the Formica surface. Even if it dried, it would leave beads and bumps under the wallpaper. I had to take a paper towel and wipe it all off.

Luckily, I had some Zinsser 123 in my van. This stuff sticks to just about anything. It rolled on with no problems.

It’s OK to hang wallpaper over 123, but I prefer to hang on a product made specifically for wallpaper. So, once the 123 was dry (it dries quickly, and for good measure, I set a fan blowing on it), I rolled on a coat of Ultra Prime.

This is all very timely, because I was looking at that can of 123 just the other day, which was bought exactly a year ago and which I virtually never use, and was about to toss it out. I’m glad I kept it.

Using the Laser Level

December 11, 2019


Here I am using my laser level to line up my first wallpaper strip, making sure it’s nice and straight and plumb, while also centering it on the spot where the headboard will sit against the wall.

Hand Trimming Off the Selvedge Edge

December 10, 2019


This wallpaper pattern by Lindsay Cowels came with an unprinted selvedge edge, which had to be trimmed off by hand before the paper could go up.

I used a brass-bound straightedge and plenty of new razor blades to do this trimming.

Wacky Abstract Lindsay Cowels Wallpaper

December 8, 2019


Not everybody wants flowers, birds, or geometrics. Well, if you had a bed with a headboard that mimicked orange mink fur, you’d need wallpaper strong enough to stand up to it. Here’s a wild and wacky pattern by Lindsay Cowels that is well-suited to this room.

What’s extra cool is that the homeowner is a wine sales rep, and often hosts wine aficionados from France in this guest suite. I think this room out-hautes even the chiquie Frenchies!

This is a non-woven material, and the edges had to be hand-trimmed.

The home is new(ish) and is in the Spring Branch neighborhood of Houston. The interior designer is Mary Evans McCloskey.