Archive for December, 2020

Historic William Morris Wallpaper Pattern for a Historic Home

December 19, 2020

William Morris was an innovative designer who was instrumental in the Arts & Crafts movement from about 1880’s-1920’s.

This historic 1883 home (see previous post) has been kept very authentic to its origins. The current homeowners continue the authentic feel by decorating two front rooms with wallpaper patterns that are true to the era.

“Seasons in May” in the navy blue colorway is nothing short of a stunning transformation in the home’s entry.

Or maybe we should say that the home has refound its way – back to its roots.

Many sources are selling William Morris patterns. This one was purchased from Finest Wallpaper, a very reputable on-line outfit in Canada.

Working in a 19th Century Historic Home

December 18, 2020

I don’t normally show pictures of my clients’ personal spaces, but this is a documented historic home, and already well-known to the public. The homeowners were eager to share with me the history of the home as well as its inhabitants.

I am proud to be working in this well-preserved structure. It was built in 1883 and is still mostly authentic, retaining original woodwork, flooring, hardware (door knobs, hinges, transom mechanisms, doorbell), and many other elements.

The home is located in the Old Sixth Ward of central Houston. The whole neighborhood is designated a Historic District. This means that there are protections ensuring the preservation of buildings there, as well as preventing out-of-sync new construction.

I highly approve!

Wild Color & Pattern – Imperial Dragon

December 17, 2020

There’s nothing shy about this sunroom! The boldly-colored pattern with its swirling motifs would have been overwhelming on wide walls of full-height. But here, on just the area above the wainscoting and in between the windows, it’s the perfect punch of color and movement.

I love the way the curled dragon fits perfectly above the windows.

I engineered to place the dragon in the center between the two windows that look out onto the garden.

The homeowner had adjoining cabinetry color-matched at Sherwin-Williams to coordinate with the colors in the wallpaper.

The home is in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston. The wallpaper is “Imperial Dragon” by Thibaut, one of my favorite brands.

Chandeliers and Shadows

December 16, 2020

The shadowy smudges you might notice on this wall are not defects in the wallpaper, nor errors due to installation.

They are shadows cast by the chandelier.

Not convinced? Look up to the ceiling, and you will see that the smudgy areas are continued.

Trust me – I’ve done many a gut-wrenching job worrying that either the paper or my work were defective.

But all I had to do was to reach up and spin the light fixture around, to see that the dark areas were merely shadows cast by the hanging light.

Whew!

My Work Table On Client’s Dining Table

December 15, 2020

My folding work table and trestle legs take up a space about 5′ x 8.’ Usually there is space for me to set it up somewhere near where I am working.

But sometimes it works better for me to use the homeowner’s dining room table.

With their permission, I place a padded moving blanket over the table, spread dropcloths around and under, and put my table (a set of three boards) on top.

All ready now to hang wallpaper!

Preventing Speckles on Floors and Counter Tops

December 13, 2020

One of my pet peeves is splatters from a paint roller, that land all over a homeowner’s floor or countertop. See top two photos.

There are ways to prevent this. First and foremost is to use a dropcloth. You’d be surprised at how many contractors don’t bother.

But protecting shoe molding and backsplashes and faucets takes a bit more. A lot of people use blue painter’s tape across the top of surfaces.

But I like my method, which you see in the third photo. It’s a strip of dropcloth that I have cut into 9″ wide strips. The material is absorbant paper on the top side, and water-proof plastic on the back.

I use push-pins to tack it above the baseboards and shoe molding, and backsplashes, etc.

It’s wide enough to protect any width of molding, and also faucets on a vanity’s sink. And it’s thin and flexible enough that it will contour around any wall configuration.

Strengthening a Tenuous Seam

December 13, 2020

Most people don’t use phone or cable connections in the wall anymore, so it’s common for me to remove the cover plates, stuff the wires into the box, and cover the hole with the wallpaper.

In this case, the seam was going to fall where there really wasn’t going to be enough wall for the wallpaper to be able to grab ahold of (see top photo). I was worried about the seam coming loose and gaping open.

My solution was to tear a bit of backing from a piece of scrap paper and use it to bridge the area over the hole where the seam would fall. This way, the wallpaper would be able to grab hold of the paper, and the seam would not pop open.

I had to separate the non-woven backing from the textured vinyl surface of the wallpaper. This gave me a thin piece that was not likely to cause ridge under the new wallpaper. It also got rid of the vinyl surface – wallpaper adhesives don’t like to stick to vinyl or other slick surfaces.

I tore the strip because the edges were then slightly feathered, which makes any slight bump under the wallpaper less noticeable.

I put plenty of paste on both sides of the patch strip, so it would stick to both the wall behind it and to the new wallpaper going on top of it.

No photo of the finished area, but it worked perfectly, with the paper and the seam stuck tightly and invisibly to the wall.

Stormy Texture on Master Bedroom Accent Wall

December 12, 2020

This homeowner is all about glitz and sparkle and glitter, and originally she sought something of that ilk for the accent wall behind the headboard in their master bedroom. But she realized that if she toned down the wall, then the other aspects of the room (furniture, bedding, artwork) would stand out more.

So she went for this. I think it looks like roiling storm clouds rolling across the room. There is just enough glitter to make the wall sparkle in a subtle glow.

The pattern is by Exclusive Wallcoverings. It is an embossed (textured – see close-up shot) vinyl on a non-woven backing. I used the paste-the-wall installation method.

In the “before” photo, you see me rolling out the bolts to get a bead on the design, as well as the pattern match and placement, and measure out and cut my strips.

With PTW, it works best to roll your strips backward (from bottom up, and with the substrate facing out). Then, when you take these to the pasted wall, there is little chance of paste getting on the face of the wallpaper.

The home is in the Heights neighborhood of Houston.

‘Tis The Season – for Defects

December 11, 2020

This is the second time in a month that I have not been able to finish a job for a client, due to problems with the paper. In this case, it is not a defect in the paper itself, but rather, damage caused by improper storage – most likely at the vendor.

Look closely at the top photo and you will see slight light line along the far right edge. This is where ink has been pulled off the surface. There are also remnants of ink along the right edge of the backside of the wallpaper, as seen in the second and third photos.

What happened is, the bolts of wallpaper must have gotten a tad wet along one edge. Perhaps stored in a warehouse that had a water leak that accessed the wallpaper. Or the delivery guy spilled his Ozarka and a tiny splash found its way into the edge of the wallpaper.

Whatever happened, three of the five double roll bolts of paper were damaged.

What happened is, the wallpaper is pre-pasted, which means it has a thin layer of dry paste on the backside. When the spilled water reached the edge of the wallpaper bolt, it was absorbed, and the moisture re-activated the paste. The paste stuck the rolled-up layers of paper to themselves.

When I came along and started to unroll the wallpaper, the backside stuck to the printed front side, and pulled some of the ink off. Hence you see color missing from the surface, and color stuck to the back.

There is no way to know if this happened at the factory, or at one of the many middle-man vendors popping up on-line these days, or on the delivery guy’s truck.

This is a pretty minor flaw. Yet, once up on the wall, it would result in a faint, pale, vertical line from floor to ceiling, along each seam – every 27.”

I thought the homeowner deserved better, so I declined to hang it. She will have to reorder, making sure to get a different run number, which means the new paper will have been printed and shipped at a different time. Or, she may choose a whole different pattern altogether. Either way, it’s pretty sure that the new paper will not have encountered moisture that could cause this problem again.

The wallpaper is by Caitlin Wilson, and is made by York, in their SureStrip line – which is actually one of my favorite brands.

Green Leaf Pattern in 1930’s Home

December 10, 2020

I adore this home – a cute, yellow-brick bungalow directly across from Rice University (Houston). It has been updated, yet kept mostly authentic to its 1930’s roots. I papered several rooms in the main house a few months ago, and was back today to paper the bathroom in the garage apartment.

Originally, the homeowner wanted wallpaper from Hannah’s Treasurers, which would be the real-deal old wallpaper from the 1930’s or 1940’s. https://hannahstreasures.com/ But for various reasons, she ended up choosing this more modern, yet timeless, pattern of ginger foliage. One deciding factor was that the colors coordinate perfectly with the green subway tile in the shower.

The wallpaper has a vinyl surface (resistant to water splashes and light stains) on a non-woven backing (much superior to the paper backing used on lower-end pre-pasted vinyls – read more on my page at the right). It was nice to work with, and should hold up well over many years.

The wallpaper is by York, in their designer line by Antonina Vella. It was purchased from Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near the Rice Village.