Archive for August, 2020

Dwunken Cwitters

August 30, 2020


Sometimes you have to look twice to see what’s really going on. At first, I thought these were merely whimsical 19th Century creatures frolicking in the forest. But on closer inspection, it is clear that all of these critters are tippling. In fact, the fawn has drained a bottle and is totally sacked out!

For a powder room that guests will use, what a fun conversation-starter!

This wallpaper is by York, one of my favorite companies, and is in their SureStrip line, also one of my favorites. It is thin and hugs the wall tightly, pre-pasted and a delight to work with. It will hold up perfectly for years.

The homeowner originally found this on Anthropologie, but had problems with their ordering process. York has begun selling directly to the public through their website, and the homeowner found it there – and at a lower price!

The home is in the Bellaire neighborhood of Houston.

Colorful Butterflies Flit Across a School Aged Girl’s Bedroom Accent Wall

August 29, 2020


Seventeen feet is a pretty wide wall – and makes for a very large bedroom for a pre-teen girl. I love the vertical movement created by the foliage in this design, broken up by the colorful butterflies dancing across the wall.

The leaves are a faint bronze metallic, and the butterflies are multi-hued. Yet the overall look is fairly subdued.

This wallpaper is by York, one of my favorite companies, and is in their SureStrip line, also one of my favorites. It is a thin non-woven material that hugs the wall tightly, and then is designed to strip off the wall easily when it’s time to redecorate. The material comes pre-pasted.

Today I used the tried-and-true method of running the paper through a water tray (see photo) to activate the paste. Just to be prudent, I also rolled a light coat of paste onto the wall, especially under seams and along the baseboards and ceiling line.

The home is in the Bellaire neighborhood of Houston.

You Gotta Be Tidy When You Have Wallpaper

August 28, 2020


This home in the Bellaire neighborhood of Houston has young children. I’m going to direct the blame for the streaks and drips and stains on the wall toward those children.

You may need to enlarge the photos to see what I’m talking about, but there are stains on the walls probably caused by splashing water (water turned on too hard, people shaking their hands after washing or reaching for a hand towel), or cleaning agents (housekeeper sloshing liquids).

Once the new wallpaper goes up, everyone’s going to have to be more careful and tidy. Water and Windex will stain wallpaper just as easily as they will stain a painted wall.

Jobs Impeded by Highway Construction

August 27, 2020

Road construction and closures go on in Houston all over and all the time. Always an extreme annoyance. But sometimes they are downright insurmountable.

I do consultations and site inspections on Sunday afternoons. To prevent mucking up M-F workday traffic, much of the road and highway work gets pushed to the weekend. This means that some arteries will be partially or even completely shut down.

Driving down Hwy 288 on a weekday is bad enough. Narrow lanes, broken pavement, confusing signs, unmarked exits.

But this past Sunday, I was trying to get down to Manvel to visit a client. I won’t even try to describe the messes on I-45 and Beltway 8, or confess to how many exits I missed and had to U-turn. But it was at least doable.

But when I finally got to the intersection with Hwy 288, which leads straight to my destination, I found that the traffic was at a dead standstill. No way I could head south.

It’s rare that I back out of an appointment. But, after an hour sitting at this same highway exchange, I gave up and called the client and told her that I simply could not get there.

This story includes a whole lot more wasted time, frustration, and boiling-point temperament – all of which I will bypass.

The point is, sometimes I’m not able to help a client simply because it’s impossible to get to her house!

Danged Banged Edges!

August 26, 2020


This family bought their wallpaper on-line, and I’m not sure from where. But the company should have included a little bubble wrap around the edges of the bolts, or at least in the bottom of the shipping box. And the UPS guy should have tossed the box more gently!

These banged up areas appeared on BOTH sides of EACH double roll bolt. Often, these damaged areas will flatten out as the paper dries on the wall. But these banged up areas were bad enough, and the paper was delicate enough, that they would be visible, and I would not put them on the wall.

This simple star pattern was reversible (either side could go up or down). So I rolled each bolt up backwards, so the inside, more protected section of the bolt was coming off first. I measured off two strips, and then discarded the remaining, damaged, 10′ or so of material.

10′ is a lot of paper to throw in the trash, all because the factory couldn’t bother to carefully pack their shipping boxes.

Normally, I would have gotten three strips from each of these double roll bolts. But because of cutting around the damaged paper, I only got two strips. Luckily, the homeowner had purchased an extra double roll bolt, so there was enough to finish the accent wall, with no real badly banged edges showing on the wall.

Warps and Wrinkles in a Non-Woven Material

August 25, 2020


Re yesterday’s install / post, one of the benefits of the newish non-woven wallpaper material is that it is dimensioally-stable, meaning that it will not expand when it gets wet with paste, and will not shrink or gap at the seams when it dries. So there is no need to paste the material, fold and book it, and wait several minutes before hanging. This characteristic allows you the option of hanging it by the paste-the-wall method.

This material by Wallmur, though, DID expand, as you can see by the wrinkles and bubbles in the photo. I was able to get the top area into place with a bit of wrangling. But the bottom half had more time to get wet with paste, and so swelled up more. Some of the wrinkles I could not get out.

My solution for that was to slice the paper vertically, along a flower stem and other vertical elements in the design. Then I smoothed out the wrinkles and overlapped the excess paper. In the finished photo, the area is to the left of the white daisy in the lower center of the mural. It is not noticeable. BUT … had this happened in the upper sky area, the slit and overlap might have been visible.

Most non-wovens contain a high fiberglass content. But I think this manufacturer used a lot of paper in his mix, which absorbed moisture and caused the material to swell.

If I had known this ahead of time, I could have done few things to mitigate the expansion. For one the paper could have been pasted on the back, instead of pasting the wall. Or, the back could have been very lightly dampened with a sponge or spray mister, and then allowed to sit for a few minutes. This moisture would have allowed the material to expand before the paper got to the wet paste on the wall.

1-Year Old Finally Gets Her Room Decorated

August 23, 2020

This family has been wrapped up in building a new home, moving in, and other hectic family tasks for many months. In the midst of that, the youngest member arrived – but there was never a chance to get her room all dolled up. Today that changed!

This is a 4-panel mural by Walmur. In one photo, you see how I have laid the panels out on the floor, to check the pattern match, sequence, measurements, and, because the mural is a foot+ too high for the wall, to determine which areas to cut off. Because there wasn’t much going on at the top other than plain sky, but a lot more interesting elements along the bottom, I took about 12″ off the top, and only about 1.5″ off the bottom. To preserve the dragonfly on the right edge, I placed the mural so that the excess 5″ width was trimmed off the left side.

The panels were 39″ wide, which was a bit difficult for short stuff me to handle. It was a non-woven material, and I hung it using the paste-the-wall method. I was not real crazy about the quality of this product (see tomorrow’s post). But once it was up on the wall, it looks great.

The room is all ready for the little girl to move into.

Wild and Fun Laundry Room

August 22, 2020


I love it when homeowners are adventurous and willing to go BOLD. Well, this wild pattern and strong color sure do that!

I hung this in the laundry room of a brand new contemporary townhome in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston. Other than this one lucky accent wall, every other wall in the entire home is plain white. 😦 A jolt of color and fun was sure called for!

One photo shows how I have rolled the paper out on the floor, to find the pattern match and plot where to place design elements.

Another photo shows the very narrow space – about 10″ ? – between the EXTREMELY heavy and unmoveable washing machine and the wall. I had to squeeze myself into that little space and reach way back about 30″ to the abutting wall, to get the first strip adhered and trimmed in place.

Rifle has been making paper goods for a long time. They have recently branched out into producing wallpaper. Smartly, and unlike many upstart companies, they researched how to make a good product, and partnered with York Wallcoverings (one of my favorite brands) to make their wallpaper. Good move!

This is a non-woven material, and I was able to use the paste-the-wall method.

I love the dark, dark green color, the vibrancy of the oranges, whites, and blues, and the luscious matt finish.

Cute As Can Be Pineapples In Clear Lake Powder Room

August 21, 2020


Originally, this powder room in a brand new home in the Clear Lake area south of Houston was painted a taupe-y grey, and the walls were heavily textured. This bright and crisp Pineapple pattern in navy on white really opened up and brightened the room, and made it fitting for a family with two toddlers.

It took a day and a half to smooth the textured walls, and a full day to hang the paper. The extremely un-plumb walls and un-level ceiling and floor and sink, and other features were all obstacles. The homeowner and I decided that it would be better to have the pattern match in the corners, and then let it run crooked along the ceiling and floor lines. Too complicated to get into here. But in the end, the finished room looks great!

I usually love Serena & Lily papers, but this time I encountered several printing defects. There was a slight pattern mis-match at the seams. There was a faint smudge on one motif at the point of every pattern repeat. And one bolt had a line of dark blue ink along the right edge that ran for several feet. AND … this bolt came with no label. I assumed it was a return, and was of a different run, and thus was unusable in this powder room Luckily, I usually have the homeowners order enough paper to accommodate issues like this.

Coincidentally enough, my Wallcovering Installers Association colleagues on our private Facebook page had just been discussing Serena & Lily papers, and a rash of printing defects and other issues that many installers had been experiencing lately.

Other than the printing defects and wonky walls, the paper went up nicely.

Serena & Lily papers (and other home good merchandise) can be bought on-line, or through their paper catalog – which they just mailed out recently.

Black & White Trees in New Remodel Pantry

August 20, 2020


This 1910 home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston has been renovated and updated beautifully.

I love the way this active and cheery black-on-white tree pattern compliments the view of trees and greenery outside the window.

This wallpaper pattern is by Anderson Prints. It is a traditional paper material.

The interior designer is Stacie Cokinos of Cokinos Design. She works mainly in the Heights area, and mostly on new builds or whole-house renovations.