Archive for November, 2020

Have a Seat – Revisiting Previous Job

November 19, 2020

I hung this wallpaper about five years ago in a guest bathroom in the Southside Place / West University neighborhood of Houston.

Except for a little wear and tear from the kids throwing around toothpaste and shampoo, the paper itself is tight to the wall and in perfect condition.

But the homeowner has grown tired of it. Check back tomorrow to see the new pattern and update.

Updating from Decorative Paint to Beautiful Wallpaper

November 18, 2020

The walls in this small entry in a pretty original condition 1935 home in the Montrose / Upper Kirby neighborhood of Houston had been painted by an artist with a wide stripe pattern in deep orange and gold, with a darker wash over the surface. It was probably done in the ’90’s, and was a good look then.

But the new homeowner never loved it. As for me, I think the look is too modern to suit the era and style of the home, and also the colors have a sort of dirty cast to them. After living there several years and focusing on career and raising kids, the homeowners were finally ready to bring a new concept to the entry.

The first photo shows the existing wall finish. The white stuff is my smoothing compound, which I have started to apply over the lightly-but-irregularly textured walls.

The next photo shows the walls sanded smooth, vacuumed and then wiped free of dust, primed with a wallpaper primer, and ready for wallpaper.

In the “after” photos, note that the dark or blotchy areas are simply wet with paste or water, and will disappear as the paper dries.

This is a particularly pretty pattern that suits the room well. There is a slight Chinoiserie / Asian feel to the design. And the grey is a good colorway for this home’s décor. I love the arched moldings that frame the passageways to both the living room and the dining room. Typical adorable 1930’s architecture!

The wallpaper is by Anderson Prints. It was pretty nice to work with, but did tend to dry out even before the booking time was up, so presented a bit of a challenge in that respect.

In the distant shot, you can make out a sort of hourglass figure in the branches and vines. I plotted the placement so a full “swoop” would display over the doors.

And also so the “hourglass” would play out down the center of the main wall, as shown in the photo. This will look nice as the vines and flowers gently surround the chest of drawers and oval mirror when they are placed back into the room.

November 17, 2020

Printing Defect – Shading Issue

Look at the seam, which runs down the center of the page. It is clear that the right side of these strips of wallpaper is darker than the left side.

Unfortunately, this homeowner’s paper is not going up today. And she will have to wait for the company to use up its current stock, and then make a new production run. (Do a Search here on “run” to learn more.)

And then we have to hope that the new run does not have the same defect. Once the paper arrives, I will run by the store and check it, before the client picks it up.

This has to be a fluke, because York, and their SureStrip line, is one of my favorite brands.

Treatment for Warped Outside Corner

November 15, 2020

The wall to the left is behind the toilet.  You can’t see it, but there is a wall to the right of the toilet that then wraps around that outside corner you see in the center of the picture.

Wallpaper, especially a stiff non-woven material like this, does not like to wrap around corners.  Most corners are not absolutely plumb, so wrapping around them throws the paper off-plumb, or even causes wrinkles and warps.  The next strip of paper will not butt up perfectly with a warped edge.  

This corner was way worse than the typical corner, because it actually had a bow in it, so it was nowhere near straight.  There was no way that wallpaper would wrap around the corner without warping and going off-plumb

My solution was to split the paper vertically and wrap just 1″ of the paper around the corner.  Then I would cut a new strip of paper, split it vertically, making sure to match the pattern at the corner’s edge, and overlap it on top of the wrapped 1″ piece.

The only problem is that the 1″ wrapped piece had a thickness, so it would leave a visible ridge under the new strip, the entire length of the wall.

So I took some joint compound (like plaster or putty) and used a 1 1/2″ flexible putty knife to run it along the cut edge and wall, evening out that little difference in height.

Once it was dry, I sanded it smooth and primed it with Gardz.  

The ridge is gone, no bump will show, and I am ready to proceed with hanging the new strip to moving to the right.  

’90’s Era Tissue Paper Wall Treatment

November 14, 2020

Here is an innovative wall treatment that was (sorta) popular a few years (decades) back. It involves taking tissue paper (such as wrapping paper), wetting it with diluted adhesive, wadding it up, and spreading it out on the wall. The ridges and folds create a unique textured effect.

The artist was quite talented, and actually laid these ridges of tissue texture in a pattern of oblong rings as you see in the photo above, spread out in horizontal bands around the room. I’m sorry I didn’t take a shot of the walls from a distance.

In order to hang wallpaper, I need to get the walls smooth. Unfortunately, this stuff does NOT want to come off the wall. So I am skim-floating over the mess, hoping to build up enough smoothing compound to bury these ridges (some of which are up to 1/4″ or more thick).

The challenge now is to get that thick layer of smoothing compound to dry overnight – in a small, enclosed powder room with poor air circulation.

Many of the globs of tissue paper swelled when they got wet with the smoothing compound, and created bubbles. In other situations – usually – when the compound is sanded smooth, these bubbles disappear. I hope that is the case tomorrow.

Stay tuned …

Funky New Orleans Toile in Inner Loop Houston Powder Room

November 13, 2020

 

The wife grew up in New Orleans and these days she and her husband visit family there regularly.  So the city and it’s vibe is ingrained in them.  

Enter “New Orleans Toile” in a bright green on white colorway by Katie Kime wallpaper.   The design features ionic images of life in that city, including the St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square, Mardi Gras revelers, a second line parade, a paddle-wheeler on the Missippi River, live oak trees draped with Spanish moss, and even alligators in the bayou.  

Once the homogeneous sea-foam green paint gave way to this bright wallpaper, the room lightened up and felt festive.  When the homeowners walked in, the first thing they did was study the line-drawing depictions.  I could tell that they related to the scenes.

Katie Kime products are becoming more user-friendly.  As in the past, this particular product came with a selvage edge that I had to trim off by hand.  But their intel says that the company has shifted to pre-trimmed wallpapers.  This makes installation much simpler and faster, and more DIY-friendly.

KK also has shifted to a non-woven substrate for their wallpaper.  While I do like the traditional paper substrate, there are many advantages to the newer non-woven materials.   For this room, I did use the paste-the-wall installation method.  

Nice to Not Have to Deal With a Toilet and Sink

November 12, 2020


This house is being updated, and I was lucky enough to be able to work before they put the powder room sink in place.

This makes it SO much easier to work the wallpaper in place around the plumbing fixtures.

Errr… I Thought I Spec’d 10 Single Rolls

November 11, 2020

When I figured rollage and sent a quote to the homeowner, I asked her to order 10 single rolls (5 double roll bolts) of wallpaper. Somehow, we ended up with only six.

It took some engineering and finagling, and there were some sacrifices as to pattern match in a few places. But I got ‘er done!

Disappointing Flaw of the Day – Printing Defect

November 10, 2020

Whoa-ah! I was rolling out my very first strip of wallpaper for this master bathroom in the Rice Military neighborhood of Houston, and discovered this.

This err of the printing press meant the loss of almost an entire double roll bolt (33′). That is two and a half strips of wallpaper.

In addition, this wallpaper pattern had some additional printing faux. No pic, but there were some minor pattern mis-matches across the edges of the strips. This was a relatively busy pattern, so these were not all that crucial.

In other areas, a black “accent” line got shifted to the left, making it more of a shadow than an accent. Again, this was very difficult to detect, and didn’t grossly affect the look of the project.

From these, it was obvious that the printing press had gotten off-register, and was stamping certain colors about a quarter inch to the left.

As far as that swervy line in the photo, I have no idea what went wrong at the factory. But it rendered a significant amount of paper unusable.

Another reason to always buy at least one extra double roll bolt of paper.

More Danged Rounded / Bull-Nosed Corners

November 8, 2020

Re my previous post, like many newer / suburban homes, some pass-through areas in this home have rounded / bull-nosed corners. These might look good as you walk past them – but they are the dickens to hang wallpaper on.

Most wallpapers – especially the non-wovens, are not pliable, and will not want to wrap around an outside corner, such as in the photo. And the stress caused by doing so can often cause the paper to torque and also to not hold tight to the wall surface.

It’s also really hard to get a straight cut along these rounded vertical edges, because, with the wallpaper hanging over the area you need to trim, it’s impossible to see where you want to cut. Even with a special trim guide tool as explained in previous posts, it’s really difficult.

There are many more facets that add to the difficulty of working on these rounded edges. But let’s move on, to today’s job.

Today, I was able to engineer the room so that I could get a full-width black band all along the vertical length of both the east an the west edges of this entry opening.

pre-trim my wallpaper strips along a design feature (a strong vertical black line) , on both of these strips of wallpaper that fell on either side of this pass-through wall.

This was ingenious, because it allowed me to place a perfectly uniform width vertical black stripe running vertically down along both edges. Very pleasing to the eye.

To explain how this was done would take a whole lot of time, plus cooperation from colleagues. Not confident that that’s going to happen.

But, basically; I took measurements, coordinated these with the wallpaper, trimmed vertically, along what would become the edge as it hit the bull-nosed corner,