Archive for February, 2021

Pretty Severe Shading / Color Variations in Natural Cork Wallpaper

February 14, 2021

I’ve tacked two strips of this cork wallpaper to the wall. The obvious thing you see is the color difference between the two strips where they meet in the center of the wall.

But look more closely and you will notice that there is an abrupt shading difference between the left and right sides of each bolt. And in the strip on the left, the dark left side is even darker at the top of the bolt, than several feet down as you move toward the floor.

These effects are called shading and paneling and color variations. It’s important to note that these are not considered “defects,” but are deemed to be the “inherent beauty of the natural materials.” In other words, if you don’t like that paneled look, they are not going to give you your money back.

There are some tricks to minimize these effects when the paper is on the wall. I will delve into those in another post … at some point.

Tailored and White-Washed Cork Wallpaper – Home Office

February 13, 2021

During the pandemic, the man and wife are both working from home … in the same improvised home office … and getting on each other’s nerves. The lady of the house decreed it’s time for the guy to move out!

So they commandeered the home’s original living room and are turning it into an office for him.

They wanted something to warm the look of the four all-white walls, while maintaining an air of professionalism and business, and at the same time being a choice that could transition to another use, once the pandemic ends and the room no longer needs to serve as an office.

This white-washed cork wallpaper with flecks of gold is the perfect choice for an accent wall behind the man’s desk.

As with all natural material wallpapers, you can expect shading and color variations between and even within strips. This one turned out pretty homogeneous.

I don’t have information on the brand or manufacturer. The material is natural cork, which is applied to the paper backing in bocks approximately 6″ square. It comes 3′ wide x 24′ long, and is a paste-the-material product.

The rather contemporary home is located in Bellaire (Houston).

Another Pretty, Garden-y Wallpaper In A Bathroom

February 12, 2021

A second pretty, nature-themed bathroom this week! This room was a long time coming, because, back in November when I first started this job, the original selection had printing defects, so, long story short, the homeowner had to choose a whole new pattern.

To be honest, both she and I think we like this new option even better! There are more birds, the motifs are more realistic, and the white background just brightens the entire space. In addition, the raised ink printing process creates a textured look with subtle beauty.

This wallpaper is by Thibaut, one of my favorite brands. This particular paper comes pre-pasted, and is a perfect joy to work with. It is thin and adheres tightly to the wall, and will last for many, many years.

This was purchased from Sarah at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby.

A Very Pretty Heights House Renovation

February 10, 2021
New drywall. I draped strips of protective dropcloth paper over the top of the wainscoting, to protect from splatters from my primer.
Notice the “raised ink” and the hand-painted look.

Recent updates reflect respect for the original feel of this 1920 bungalow in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston. There will be a claw-foot tub, as well as a very cool authentic vintage pedestal sink that the homeowner found on the side of the road, discarded from another older bungalow just a few blocks away. !!

Vintage-look beaded board paneling was added, along with hexagonal floor tile, both in a warm, muddy green that compliments the greens in the wallpaper.

The homeowner has a stunningly beautiful garden, and sought a wallpaper pattern that would bring the feel of nature indoors.

The top photo shows the walls as the contractor left them, in what we call a “Level 4” condition. This is optimal for wallpaper installation. No texture for me to get rid of, and no paint or PVA-based primers under the wallpaper. All I had to do was roll on my wallpaper-specific primer, Romans Pro 977, Ultra Prime.

The wallpaper is called Garden Party and is by York, in the Waverly collection (yes, reviving classic designs from the 1990’s!), and in their SureStrip line – one of my favorite products. It is pre-pasted, goes up nicely, hugs tight and thin to the wall, and performs wonderfully over the years, even under (mildly) humid conditions – such as a bathroom in an old house with poor ventilation.

The interior designer for this job is Stacie Cokinos, of Cokinos Design. She works mostly on new builds and whole-house remodels, and mostly in the Heights / Garden Oaks neighborhoods.

Defects With York Wallpaper Today

February 10, 2021

Look closely at the top photo, and you will notice a very thin, light brown line down the left edge of the wallpaper. Lucky I noticed this before cutting or pasting any strips, because, if this had been hung on the wall, you would see a faint brown vertical stripe every 20.5″ around the room.

In the second photo, you will also notice a slight pattern mis-match.

Obviously, this paper was not trimmed correctly at the factory.

This is in the SureStrip line by York. It’s a shame, because this is one of my favorite brands and lines – but I’ve run into a number of printing defects with York papers recently.

Going For More Of The Same

February 9, 2021

I hung the original wallpaper in 2014, when the house was first built. The PEX water lines used in the home (flexible hoses instead of PVC pipes) were new at the time. Tragically, after a few years, the lines used in this home failed and caused leaks all over the house. Replacing all the water lines required cutting holes in MANY places throughout the home.

You can see in the photos where the plumbers cut out drywall and then patched it back in. This company actually did a good job of removing the wallpaper in the areas of their repairs.

Unfortunately, with the amount of wallpaper that was left over from 2014, I was not able to do repairs. The entire room had to be repapered.

The homeowner loved the pattern and wanted to keep it. It was still available, so she bought enough to repaper the room.

For various reasons, the original wallpaper was much more difficult to get off the wall than I expected. I could have gotten it off – but it would have taken about two full days.

So I opted to hang over it. It’s important to skim-float over the seam areas. First, because the seams will leave a little ridge that will telegraph through and show under the new paper. But also, because as wallpaper dries, it shrinks and puts tension on the seams. There is always the potential that this tension will cause the the surface below to pull away from the wall, and especially so if there is a weak area such as a seam. So you always want to avoid putting a seam on top of a seam.

So I skim-floated (do a Search here to learn more) over the seams, as well as over the patched areas left by the plumbers. See photos. Then I sealed the walls with Gardz, a product that penetrates and seals porous materials – like drywall joint compound and like this traditional British pulp wallpaper. Because it soaks in and dries hard, it helps to prevent moisture from paint or wallpaper paste from soaking through, and thus prevents bubbling of the underlying surface. That’s why this product is primarily used for sealing torn layers of drywall.

Although a bit glossy for my liking, Gardz is also a good primer to hang wallpaper on.

Interestingly, the expansion rate of the new wallpaper was a bit less than the original, and so the seams fell about 1/4″ to the right of the original seams. This reduced the worry of seams falling on top of seams and causing lifting.

It was a complicated room, and the paper was thick and stiff and difficult to work with. Prep took one day, and it took me two additional days to hang the paper (16 single rolls – 8 double roll bolts).

The wallpaper is in the line of Nina Campbell, by Osborne & Little, a British company. While most British papers these days are printed on an agreeable non-woven substrate, this one is a traditional, old-school British pulp … thick, stiff, difficult to fit into turns and angles, easy to tear, easily stained, non-malleable, plus the factory’s trimming roller blades must have been dull or wobbly, because the edges were not cut perfectly straight, which meant the seams had some “gaps and overlaps.”

Still, the finished room did look pretty darned good – even if it looks exactly the same as it did in 2014.

But that’s exactly what the homeowner wanted. So all is good and mission accomplished!

Crazy Corners & Angles

February 9, 2021

No wonder it took me two days to hang this powder room!

Mess Stripping Wallpaper

February 6, 2021

Over the years, this powder room ended up with at least four layers of wallpaper. Some had been stripped down to the backing layer before the next layer went up, sometimes a primer was used, and in other cases, the installer simply plopped the new paper on top of the old.

The homeowners attempted to remove the multiple layers of paper. This mess would have been difficult to begin with, but, to complicate things, unfortunately, they pulled some bad information off the Internet. You can see how the use of a “paper tiger” scoring tool caused damage to the wallpaper as well as to the surface underneath – and didn’t help at all to loosen the old wallpaper.

My solution was to peel off the top layer of vinyl paper – the brownish striped faux finished pattern in the upper left of the photo. Then I used a sponge and lots of water to soak the tan backing until the paste reactivated and the paper could be scraped off the wall.

I would have preferred to also take off the layers of paper that remained underneath. But time was a consideration, and also the likelihood of damage to the wall surface. And I wasn’t sure if there was drywall or plaster under there.

So I used the product Gardz to seal off the revealed wallpaper. (Do a Search here on the word ‘Gardz” to learn more about this ingenious product.) Once that was dry, I skim-floated over the entire surface, to create a new, plaster-like layer. That was allowed to dry overnight.

The next day, I sanded this skim-float layer smooth. Because the smoothing compound had to be applied thickly, this resulted in a massive amount of dust. Luckily, it was all contained in the powder room, and was easily vacuumed up.

Then I used a damp sponge to wipe residual dust off the wall. This was followed by another coat of Gardz – a product that soaks in, dries hard, and effectively seals the surface. It’s a good sealer for new skim-coat, and it also works nicely as a primer under wallpaper.

With fans blowing on it, it dries quickly, and I was able to start hanging paper in an hour or so.

Ivory Coast by Copper Corners

February 5, 2021

Slightly African in feel, “Ivory Coast” makes a bold statement in this under-the-stairs powder room in a home in the Heights (Houston). Yet, due to the subdued colorway, the look is not overwhelming.

The wallpaper is by Copper Corners, and is a pre-pasted product that comes in strips of various set sizes, rather than rolls. It was nice enough to work with, although I did have a few printing defect issues.

I suspect this wallpaper is (secretly) made by York (yorkwall.com) as it sure looks and acts like their SureStrip line. One of my favorite brands.

The interior designer is Katie Hilburn Interiors.

Sweet Watercolor Floral for “Big Girl’s Room”

February 3, 2021

Toddler Claire is moving from a crib to a bed, and her “Big Girl’s Room” needs a new look.

Enter “Watercolor Roses” in the Joanna Gaines Magnolia Home line by York (yorkwall.com), in their SureStrip line – one of my favorites.

The material is pre-pasted, and designed to strip off the wall easily when it’s time to redecorate.

The home is in the Oak Forest neighborhood of north Houston.