Archive for September, 2020

Doing the Opposite Today – Removing Wallpaper

September 30, 2020


The large medallion on soft lavender on all walls of this large bedroom worked well for this gal for many years – but now that she’s an older teen, it was time for an update.

So instead of putting wallpaper up, today I took it down.

Most people think that stripping wallpaper is difficult. But if the walls were prepped properly, and if the paper was hung properly, and if the proper removal steps are followed, it should all go well, with minimal damage to the walls. See my link at right, on how to strip wallpaper.

The most important thing is to separate the top, inked layer of paper from the backing / substrate layer. I find that wetting this top layer with a sponge and plain water helps strengthen the fibers, so the top layer can be pulled off in larger strips.

In the second and third photos, you see how the purple layer has been stripped off, leaving the white backing attached to the wall. This top layer has to be removed, because it has an acrylic (or vinyl) coating, and will not allow water to pass through it.

The next step is to soak the backing with plain water and a sponge (see photo). No chemicals, no additives – just plain warm water. You will have to reapply water several times. The idea is to let water soak through this backing layer, to reactivate the paste underneath. Once that paste is good and wet, it should release from the wall. Sometimes you have to gently scrape the backing from the wall. But in my case today, once that paste was reactivated, the substrate layer came away from the wall in full, intact sheets. Easy peasy!

One photo shows my “dull” 3″ stiff putty knife. I call it “dull,” because it’s old and beaten up. But it’s really rather sharp. I use it to carefully get between the inked top layer of wallpaper and the bottom substrate layer. And then I use it to gently scrape wallpaper from the wall.

In my case today, the previous installer had done a superb job of hanging the wallpaper. He applied a primer before hanging the paper. That primer helped make this whole removal job go well, and it protected the walls from damage.

The family will need to apply a stain blocker to prevent any residual paste from causing the new paint from crackling or flaking off. Once that’s dry, the walls can be textured and / or painted. The room’s resident told me that she is planning to go all white.

This home is in the West University area of Houston.

Paint Must Be De-Glossed Before Adding A New Coat On Top

September 29, 2020


The original paint in both these photos was a gloss or semi-gloss. When it came time to update, someone applied a coat of new paint right on top. Then the floor guys came and stained the floor. To protect the new paint, they applied painter’s tape. Unfortunately, when the tape was removed, it took some of the new paint along with it.

Believe it or not, even something as relatively gentle as wiping wallpaper paste off the woodwork is enough to cause poorly-adhered paint to delaminate.

This happens because the new coat of paint was not given a sound surface to grab ahold of and adhere to.

To have properly prepared the original gloss paint to accept the new coat of white paint, the painter should have done one or more of the below:

1.) Sanded the paint to knock off the gloss. This leaves dust residue, so that dust will need to be wiped off with a damp rag or sponge (rinsed clean frequently) or a Tack Cloth.

2.) Wiped down with liquid chemical deglosser, such as Liquid Sandpaper.

3.) Primed with a bonding primer, formulated to stick to glossy surfaces, and also formulated to serve as an appropriate base for the new paint.

A primer is also not a bad idea to follow up in the case of 1.) and 2.) above.

Yes, all of this is a whole lot of work, and it creates dust and/or odors, takes more time, and adds cost.

But it’s a step well worth the investment, because properly prepped and painted surfaces will hold up and look professional for decades to come.

Showing Off A Friend’s Work

September 28, 2020


I didn’t hang this wallpaper, but a friend of mine did. I wanted to showcase his outstanding workmanship in a very difficult and time-consuming setting – entry with 2-story curved stairway and upper hallway.

Applause to Alex & Irma Sanchez, of Space City Wallcoverings.

Old World Look for a Long Master Bedroom Accent Wall

September 27, 2020


Originally, the homeowner wasn’t “really” thinking about adding wallpaper to her master bedroom. But, in the back of her mind, she must have been “kinda” thinking about it, because, after I finished measuring several bathrooms in the home and was poised to leave, she hauled me into the bedroom and asked what could be done to create more of a haven.

I pulled out some samples of patterns I have hung in other homes, and she immediately zeroed in on this one. My sample was the navy blue colorway, but she grasped that wallpaper comes in different color options, and was able to envision this in a softer color to coordinate with the rest of the walls. (Note that that hot pink is a protective plastic sheet – not the color of the headboard!)

To me, the pattern looks like architectural details from old Roman ruins. The distant photos distort the design a bit, so please look at the close up to get a better idea.

Usually I will place a design like this in the middle of the wall. But in the case of this 18′ wide wall, the bed was not centered on the wall, nor was the chandelier. In addition, there curtains on either side of the wall that obscured the corners.

So I opted to center the circular design motif on the chandelier. This meant the bed had to be moved to the right … a whole 3″. This way, as you walk out of the master bathroom, you see the chandelier, the headboard, and the wallpaper design all synced up vertically.

The pattern doesn’t hit the wall uniformly on the right and left sides of the wall, but the drapes cover that. And, on a wall this wide with lots of furniture in front of it, who cares, anyway?!

The wallpaper is by Designer Wallpapers, one of my favorite companies, and was bought at Southwestern Paint. See link on the right for where to purchase wallpaper in Houston. This home is in Katy.

Simple Line Flowers for a Pre-Teen Girl’s Bedroom Accent Wall

September 26, 2020


The manufacturer is Brewster, in the A Street Prints line. It’s a medium-weight non-woven material, and I used the paste-the-wall installation method.

Because the dark wallpaper was printed on a white substrate, to prevent the white from showing at the seams, I used a dark grey chalk pastel to color the edges of the seams. You have to do this from the back, and be careful not to let the chalk rub onto the surface, because it could cause a visible dark line – just as visible as a white line.

The home is in the Bellaire neighborhood of Houston.

Not Afraid To Be Daring and Dashing!

September 25, 2020


Originally, the wall was just a grey-tan. Now look how bold and exciting it is, with some strong color and an adventurous pattern! Baboons! – Who would ever think of putting them across a wall??!

This is one accent wall in a dining room in southwest Houston (Meyerland/Fondren Southwest). The home had flooded during Hurricane Harvey, and the couple had it raised 10′ and then refurbished. This dramatic dining room was the final touch!

The wallpaper pattern is “Savuti” in the Dark colorway, by Cole & Son. It is a sturdy non-woven material, and I used the paste-the-wall installation method.

170 Year Old Wallpaper Discovered

September 22, 2020

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-08-20/rococo-wallpaper-uncovered-in-historic-tasmanian-house/12567422?fbclid=IwAR08U939ZXIsB071nO5hkYxlb175kaj0iUmMI1SIcf3PGVwvJA8PSPT2Jko

Skooshing to Better a Kill Point

September 22, 2020


Re the dining room in yesterday’s post … a kill point is the point in a room where your last strip of wallpaper meets up with your first strip. This virtually always results in a pattern mis-match. So we try to put it in a corner behind a door, or some other spot where it won’t be too visible.

But this room (see yesterday’s blog post) did not have any hidden corners. If I had placed the kill point in one of the four corners, you would have had an eye-jarring, 5′ long pattern mis-match.

The areas over the doors and windows were only about 5″ tall, and way up high, so are not very noticeable. Especially the one over the entry way, because people’s eyes are focused on the far wall. So I decided to put the kill point there.

In the top photo, about 1/3 from the right, the pattern ended only about 1/2″ from matching perfectly. To be honest, this is not a bad look, and would have been acceptable as a finish point.

But I knew I could make it look better.

I took the piece to the left and cut it apart, following the curvy design. I made two such cuts, turning it into three separate pieces.

Then I skooshed the pieces to the left, overlapping that excess 1/2″ (divided between the three strips).

In the finished photo, you can’t tell that the original pattern doesn’t match perfectly, nor that some of the motifs are 1/4″ narrower than they were originally printed.

From the floor, this kill point is undetectable.

Bringing Fresh Life to a Heights Dining Room

September 20, 2020


This is the same house as in yesterday’s post, and I love the way the papers in the two near-by rooms coordinate in theme and color.

Note how the light blue color is just enough to make the beautiful millwork / moldings in this room stand out.

A geometric pattern in this dining room was more than a bit of a challenge. The wainscoting ran to slightly different heights as it went around the room. The ceiling in most sections was pretty level – but on the right side of the east wall, the crown molding ran up, and then back down again.

All of this means that the design motifs were not going to line up perfectly all the way around the room.

Even though the eye sees the pattern at the level of the chair rail most prominently, I chose to position the motifs so they hit the top of the wall with their tops intact. This meant that the bottom of the motifs were cut off when they reached the chair rail.

This ended up being a good decision, because, as already mentioned, the varying heights of the chair rail meant that the motifs would land on it at different points, anyway. Also, since so much of the room was comprised of the 5″ high areas over the doors and windows, I felt it more important to keep the motifs intact at the ceiling line.

That worked fine most of the way around the room. Except for that east wall, where the crown molding rose and dipped. The wainscoting also got off-level here. That is the second photo above.

I ended up with motifs that tracked up and down from the two moldings. That meant that the motifs became taller or shorter, or had more or less space between them and the moldings than the rest of the room. This would have been acceptable, because the homeowner was well aware of the home’s framing issues.

But I pulled a few tricks out of my hat to camouflage this. I took scrap wallpaper and cut out around the design motifs, to make them the correct shape and height to match others around the room, and appliqu├ęd them on top of the skewed motifs.

No photos of this process, sorry. But you can see in the second photo that the motifs look whole and uniform all the way across the wall.

This wallpaper is by Baker Lifestyle. It is a sturdy non-woven material. It can be hung by paste-the-wall, but I prefer to paste the paper. The home is in the Heights neighborhood of Houston.

Heights Powder Room Revamp

September 19, 2020


The original all-white walls just didn’t have any personality. Now the room has pizazz – and it’s a lot brighter, too.

This wallpaper is called Lido and is by Lee Jofa. It is a medium thickness non-woven material. I chose to paste the paper, but it can also be hung with the paste-the-wall method.

The home is in the Heights neighborhood of Houston.