Archive for March, 2022

Dachshund Madness!

March 31, 2022
Two opposing walls in a home office
covered in quirky doggie pattern.
This cute design of dachshunds is called Tillsammans, and is by Studio Lisa Bengtsson and comes from Sweden.
It’s a non-woven wallpaper material, and I used the paste-the-wall method to install.
This is a townhome in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston.

Wallpaper Featured in the March 2022 Issue of Southern Living Magazine

March 30, 2022
I’ve hung this one recently. It’s a Schumacher brand.
A small, tight, cozy pattern. Peter Fasano is lovely paper, but a high-end price tag. As I like to say, there is always something similar made by a more standard company that is lower priced and easier to work with.
I’m seeing a big uptick in interest in classic murals like this. Gucci products are pricy, but very easy to install and care for.
I’m also seeing lots of homeowners interested in jungle or tropical themed patterns. LOTS of patterns out there to choose from.
Another classic Chinoiserie mural.

Almost better than the check that came with it!

March 29, 2022

She was out of town when I wallpapered her powder room, and sent the check – and this note – when she got back home.

Brightening a Breakfast Area

March 25, 2022
Breakfast nook before. The blue is a pretty color. But …
… the wallpaper is so much brighter and lighter.
The homeowners will have the banquette painted (still deciding on what color) and a cushion made for the seat (still deciding on color and pattern).
The rest of the home has a strong mid-century modern feel, so this mod pattern and colorway fit right in.
The gold is slightly metallic.
The brand is Designer Wallpapers. It’s a traditional wallpaper material, and I like this brand a lot.
The home is in the far north east Heights area of Houston.

Making A Corner Look Straight When It’s Not

March 25, 2022
Here I’m hanging wallpaper from right to left, working around this corner. I’ve wrapped the paper 1/8″ around the corner, and then cut a new piece that will overlap that 1/8″ and continue to move to the left. (Search here to learn more about turning inside corners.)
This is a 100 year old house, and this corner is way off-plumb – on both the right side and the left side. The chair rail, however, is perfectly level.
Here, the pattern matches nicely at the bottom of the wall. But as it moves up, the crooked corner takes over, and the pattern becomes mis-aligned.
By hanging the paper crooked, I can match the wallpaper pattern perfectly in the corner. But that will skew the left edge of this new strip off-plumb by slanting it to the right. That means that every subsequent strip will track off-plumb … and the motif at the top of the chair rail will start to climb uphill.
Since the chair rail is so prominently visible, I think it’s more important for the pattern motif to be straight along the chair rail, than to be perfectly matched in the corner.
But I didn’t like the way the pattern was getting un-matched at the upper part of the wall. I thought I could make it look better.
This design gave me something to fiddle with.
One option was to cut the paper vertically between the two rows of “swoops.” Then I could match the pattern in the corner, and pull the excess paper to the left, overlapping one strip on top of the other about 1/4″ at the top and tapering down to nothing at the chair rail. It’s a thin paper in a room with not-great lighting, so this overlapped lip would not be very noticeable. Still, I thought I could make it look better.
I could make the overlap invisible by trimming the paper along the design. Here I’ve removed that corner piece.
On the left is the strip I’ve cut off.
Here I’m putting the strip into place, and making sure that the pattern matches nicely in the corner. This pushes the upper part of this cut strip further to the left, so it overlaps the other strip of paper just a little
Now, instead of a visible straight overlap the full height of the strip, the overlap comes along the rounded edges of the design. That black line disguises the overlap beautifully!
Here it is nicely matched in the corner, with invisible overlap along the curved black line.
The excess still needs to be trimmed off at the ceiling and chair rail.
Mission accomplished! The design matches nicely in the corner, the paper moving to the left is hung perfectly plumb, and the motifs are all at their proper heights along the chair rail and ceiling.
This fun retro mid-century modern pattern is by Designer Wallpapers.

Stuff Doesn’t Wanna Stick To Slick

March 23, 2022
Tomorrow this breakfast area wall will get wallpaper. Today is prep day.
The wall has a very heavy texture, plus some issues with previous patches in areas, probably due to drywall cracks. I need to skim-float over all this to smooth the surface.
In addition, the current paint is quite glossy – and this can present a problem for the smoothing compound to adhere to it properly.
So I want to prime over this gloss paint before I skim-coat the walls. The primer has to both stick to the gloss paint and provide a base that the smoothing compound will adhere to.
Another issue is that I won’t be using this every day, so keeping it shaken up and useable was a consideration. I looked high and low for an appropriate primer. Finally I snapped that the Roman Ultra Prime Pro 977 that I use under my wallpaper jobs checks off all the boxes … It sticks to just about anything, and it dries nice and flat / matt so any topcoat (wallpaper or smoothing compound) can grab ahold and stick, I have it in my van all the time, and I use it frequently enough that it’s always mixed up and ready to use. To top it all off, it dries in less than an hour. VoilĂ !
This stuff can be tricky to find. Sherwin-Williams used to stock it for me, but became unreliable. Now Murphy Brothers on Bissonnet (Houston) gets it just for me.
Besides dropcloths on the floor, here I’ve tacked strips of thin paper dropcloth material along the wainscoting (I also do this along baseboards) to keep any drops or roller splatters from marring the homeowners’ floor and moldings.
Here it is applied. Since my goal is to cover and eliminate the glossy paint, and then provide a base for the smoothing compound, this coat doesn’t need to be opaque or cover the wall evenly.
Tomorrow we’ll see how the wallpaper turns out!
Fast-forward … I’ve floated the wall and sanded it smooth. Compare the smoothness to the “before” picture at the top.

This is What You Get When You Ask the Painters to Wrap 1/4″ of Paint onto the Wall to Be Papered

March 22, 2022
A quarter inch of new pink paint from the sidewalls underlapping onto the wall where I will be hanging a mural will ensure that none of the original tan wall paint will peek out of the corner. All it takes is 1/4″ , which is what I asked the painters to provide.
As you can see, someone has a little problem with his measurements and math. This swath is more like 2″-4″.
Not a biggie. It’s a matt finish paint, and won’t be difficult for either my smoothing compound or wallpaper paste to adhere to.
My first task in this room is to skim-float the wall to smooth over the orange peel texture. That task took a lot longer than hanging the wallpaper!

Stains on Wall Around Crib

March 20, 2022
Look carefully and you’ll see an oval-shaped dark area on this wall. Stains have soiled the high areas of the textured wall. This is where the crib was up against the wall. Probably the child ran her hand or feet across the wall. Over time, oils from our skin can cause stains like this.
Before smoothing the wall, I applied a stain blocker to this area, to prevent anything from bleeding through the new wallpaper.
I like oil-based KILZ Original best, but there are others out there. BIN by Zinsser is another good option.
The smoothing compound and / or wallpaper primer then goes over the stain blocker.
Additionally, once the new wallpaper is up, it’s important to protect the wall and take steps to prevent new stains from developing.

Activating Adhesive on Pre-Pasted Mural Wallpaper

March 20, 2022
Mural panels standing on edge are cut, sequenced, staged, and ready to be pasted.
The panel lying on the floor will be my last strip, and will need to be measured and trimmed narrower before it’s ready to be pasted or hung.
I use several different methods to paste pre-pasted wallpaper, and you can do a Search here to read more.
But for today, I’m using the tried-and-true historic method of running the strip quickly through a water tray .
At the top of the photo, several strips have already been submerged and pulled through the water, then folded pasted-side-to-pasted-side. This is called booking .
Booking allows the adhesive on the back of the wallpaper to absorb the water and become activated. And it allows the wallpaper substrate to absorb moisture, expand, and then contract a little.
This method can sometimes get the material a little too wet, which can lead to over-expansion and then bubbles on the wall. That’s why I’ve placed the booked strips at a slant and over the bucket – so excess water can drain off.
Usually I paste and book one strip and then paste and book the next strip. While I’m hanging one, the second one is booking and waiting its turn to be hung. But with this water tray method and certain brands of pre-pasted material, such as Anewall , York , or Sure Strip , the paper sometimes gets so wet that it needs more time to dry before attempting to hang. So I’m pasting more strips at a time, so they can be drying out a bit while I hang the first strips.
There’s a bit of a risk to this, which is the potential for the paper to over-expand as it sits wet waiting to be hung. Then once it’s on the wall and starts to dry, it can shrink. All wallpaper shrinks when it dries. But if it has expanded too much, then when it dries and shrinks, you can be left with small gaps at the seams. Again, gaps are common with all wallpapers (most all), but can be exaggerated when dealing with over-saturated pre-pasted material as it shrinks.
Back to the method … You see the water tray, filled 3/4 full with clean water. I’ve set it on towels, which are in turn set on top of a thick plastic clear shower curtain. And that’s on top of my usual dropcloths, which are absorbent on the top (blue) side and water-proof on the underside. All this keeps any splashed water from getting onto the clients’ floors.
I also sometimes set the water tray in a bathtub, with towels set over the edge of the tub and on the floor.

Pretty Floral Mural for 1-Year Old’s Nursery Accent Wall

March 19, 2022
In anticipation of this accent wall mural, the parents had the three other walls painted a soft salmon-y pink.
Finished! I love the way the pattern ” crescendos ” toward the center and top…. perfect for cradling the crib.
The blotchy look will disappear as the wallpaper dries, and the background will become more bright white.
The mural came a set size, of 12.5′ W x 9′ H. The width fit the wall with just a few inches extra, which was perfect. But the wall was less than 8′ high and the mural was 9′, so we lost about 12″ of the mural. I brought the design as close to the ceiling as I could, while still preserving that light blue flower at the center top. This meant that most of the pattern lost was from the bottom, which has more stems and flowers – but not as pretty as the elements toward the top. And most of the bottom is going to be hidden by the crib and other furnishings, anyway.
Also note that the right side of the mural pattern does not match up with the pattern on the left. Meaning, the mural does not continue from one mural to the next. This means that, if you have a really wide wall, for instance, or a powder room more than 12′ wide, you cannot place two or more murals next to each other and have the pattern continue uninterrupted.
This is pretty standard for Anewall murals. But there are tons of other mural manufacturers who do make products that will accommodate wider spaces. And that are also custom-sized to your rooms’ specific dimensions.
Close-up looks like a translucent watercolor painting.
The pattern is called Wildflower .
Cute hidden creatures like this snail.
On her own, the mom originally purchased a peel & stick mural. Once she contacted me, I set her straight on how … err … awful that stuff is. (Click the link on the right to read my page about this material.)
The company allowed her to send the P&S back and exchange it for this better quality pre-pasted option, which I like a lot. (I’m not fond of their traditional which is vinyl and requires special install techniques).
Still, we had some issues which I’ve come to expect from Anewall, such as gaps and overlaps at the seams, and some minor pattern mis-matches at the seams .
This is a newish home in the League City area of Houston.