Archive for May, 2022

Another Installer’s Problems With British Pulp Paper

May 31, 2022
Scroll down a few posts to see where I hung this exact same pattern, and coincidentally just a few blocks away. I had absolutely no problems. Yet this poor installer struggled and ended up with many dissatisfactory issues.
In this photo, you see where the wallpaper has shrunk at the seams and left a gap, some tears, and a patch to cover a mishap.
More tears and gaps.
Paper coming lose from the wall. Not taking primer or paint with it. But you can see the adhesive clinging to the back of the paper. I’m suspecting this is clay adhesive. Nothing wrong with clay, but I prefer one of the vinyl-based adhesives.
Not sure what the guy used as a primer (if any).

This is the popular Strawberry Thief by William Morris , usually sold by Morris & Co. I’m believing the problem here is the material on which this pattern was printed.

The site from which this was purchased called it a ” heritage ” paper. It is, indeed, made of what we call a British pulp material. Old-fashioned, it is. These days, most wallpaper coming from the U.K. is printed on non-woven stock. The paper I hung a few days ago was non-woven.

Pulp wallpapers have a nice look. But they have no protective coating, so become soiled easily. They soften when wet with paste and tear easily, and can also shred under the razor blade while trimming. They expand when wet with paste, and then shrink as they dry, which often results in gaps at the seams.

Even skilled installers can have difficulties when working with this stuff. In fact, on the private Facebook page of the Wallcovering Installers Association ( WIA ), we have just been discussing this very same topic.

I believe this previous installer had a few shortcomings, such as lack of skill and maybe used the wrong or no wallpaper primer. But I think the real and unsurmountable culprit was the substrate.

Moral: If given the option, choose a non-woven material. They are made with minimum 20% polyester content, and thus are resistant to shrinking, tearing, and tension at the seams. Many other advantages, too. Non-wovens are also referred to as paste the wall .

Bright Colorful Wildness On Bedroom Accent Wall

May 29, 2022
Textured wall has been skim-floated, sanded smooth, primed, and ready for wallpaper.
Done!
Here’s how we got there …. First, this is a non-woven , paste-the-wall material. It’s nice paper, but very stiff and wants to remain curled up. So to get it to cooperate, after cutting my strips, I roll them backward, backing side facing out, and secure with an elastic hairband.
This helps get rid of the curl, and also ensures that when I’m on my ladder at the wall and unroll the strip, the face will not bump into the pasted wall.
After finding the mid point of the wall, and the center of the wallpaper pattern (beware – it’s usually not perfectly in the center or at the edge of the paper), I draw a plumb line (or use my laser level) and hang the first strip against it.
It’s important to start in the middle, first to get the pattern centered.
Next, because ceiling lines are never perfectly level, the pattern can start to go off-track as it moves across the wall. Meaning, the motif I placed at the tip of the wall may start drifting up or down.
By starting in the middle and working outward, any drifting is lessened because it’s split between the right and left sides of the wall.
Close up.
Called Amazon , this is by Clarke & Clarke, in their Animalia line. I hung some very colorful zebras from this same company just a few weeks ago – go Search and find the photos!
Matching pattern on the throw pillow, and a bolster pillow in the same colors against the white bedding really pulls the room together, and gives the colors more impact. The homeowner dabbles in interior design , and has really put together a Wow Factor guest bedroom !
The home is in the Garden Oaks neighborhood of Houston . installer

Some Finished Photos of Previous Post

May 29, 2022
We’ve got the whole swanky ’60’s thing going on in here!
The homeowner swears he’s going to put an ice-filled champagne bucket next to the poolside lounging area.

Open the Pool Bath Door and – SURPRISE!

May 28, 2022
Sink wall primed and ready for wallpaper.
Sink wall done. (except for a 1″ wide sliver on the left)
A larger view of this pattern. Don’t know why it’s showing pink here … it’s not.
The craze started years ago with the ” iconic ” Martinique tropical pattern, which has graced the walls of the Beverly Hills Hotel since 1942.
The design is fabulously lush, and overscaled.
Makes an unmistakable impact when you walk from the pool and into the adjoining bathroom and are met with – WHAM! Deep in the tropics!
My client was drawn to Brazilliance by Dorothy Draper. And of course, there’s the original Martinique. Both these versions are screen prints made with bad (IMO) inks on uncooperative substrates, and result in puckering within the wallpaper and curling at the seams. Do a Search here to read my experience hanging the Martinique.
In addition, these high-end papers are notoriously expensive. And a very long 41″ pattern repeat means there’s potentially a lot of waste – meaning, a lot of paper that is cut off and thrown away in order to match the pattern.
My client was open to suggestions, and happily found a much better option. This Daintree Palm by Graham & Brown is equally huge and stunning, but at a fraction of the price.
In addition, it’s printed on a non-woven substrate, which is much easier to work with, the vinyl surface is much more resistant to splashes and dirt, and it will strip off the wall easily when it’s time to redecorate.
I want to make the point that while this pool bath is not part of the main house, it does have air conditioning and heat – climate control are imperative to ensuring that wallpaper stays on the walls, and stays free of mildew and other issues.
The home is in the Garden Oaks neighborhood of Houston.

A Narrow Strip and a Teeny Strip

May 28, 2022
I wanted to center this wallpaper pattern so the palm tree / banana leaves would fall nicely over the sink and in between the light sconces. That took a lot of measuring, plotting, planning, and time, But it gives the wall – and the whole room – a nicely balanced feel.
Unfortunately, due to the dimensions of the room and the width of the wallpaper, it also led to some difficult, time consuming, and downright PITA logistics. Oh, and ate up a lot of wallpaper, too.
For starters, note the narrow gap on the left that needs to be filled with wallpaper. That 1″ wide strip along the linen cabinet requires a full 7′ length of wallpaper. That’s about 12 sq ft of wallpaper needed to cover the 1/4 sq ft of gap.
Moral: Always buy a little extra paper!
Note: I did other sections of the room before going back to fill in this gap, so was able to use a scrap from another area, rather than cut up a new 7′ long piece.
Here it is with that 1″ wide strip pieced in.

Arrrgh! Here’s another one. A gap between a strip of wallpaper and the door molding, that tapers (thanks to un-plumb walls) from 1/4″ down to nothing.
Thankfully, here again, I avoided cutting up a 7′ long strip of wallpaper by using scraps.
No pic of the finished placement.

Moody and Dramatic Backdrop to a Home Bar

May 27, 2022
I hung this deeply textured, striped wallpaper in murky blues and golds about three years ago, and am back to do two more rooms, so took the opportunity to snap a coupla photos.
The homeowner loves to entertain, and he says that guests always comment on this bold and unusual look.
The brand is Scalamandre, and the material had a selvedge edge that had to be trimmed off by hand. It’s a thick vinyl material, and was hard to cut through.
The finished look is show-stopping!
The home is in the Garden Oaks neighborhood of Houston.

Versace Wallpaper Powder Room Revisited

May 27, 2022
I hung this dramatic gold-on-black wallpaper about three years ago, and am back to do two more rooms, so took the opportunity to snap a coupla photos.
Looks amazing with the black sink and toilet, and ornate gold faucet set. Plus the bamboo-look framed mirror.
Close up, this material looks like embroidered stitching on menswear textured background. The glitter and shimmer adds even more pizzazz!
This non-woven wallpaper is by Versace, and the home is in the Garden Oaks area of Houston.

William Morris Strawberry Thief in Houston Heights Powder Room

May 26, 2022

Originally, the whole room was this not-quite-milk-chocolate brown. Dark can look good in a small room like a powder room. But stark dark with no pattern is often claustrophobic.
Since this is a 100-year old bungalow with many layers of paint and potentially incompatible wall coatings, I was worried about unstable conditions inside the wall. Long story short, these conditions can lead to stress on the wall and delaminating layers, which also mean wallpaper seams that don’t stay down. Do a Search here to learn more.
So the homeowners agreed to have the walls lined, as a way to avoid these potential problems. Read previous post for more info.
The photo above shows the walls covered in the white liner.
Finished!
William Morris’s designs, and Strawberry Thief in particular, have been very popular the last two years or so.
His patterns are studies in symmetry and rhythm , and evoke the era of Art Nouveau and even Art Deco .
Last corner magically ended up with virtually no mis-match.

Morris & Co is the manufacturer. This is a nice, supple, non-woven material, and can be hung by pasting the wall , although I prefer to paste the paper. It has a vinyl coating and will be fairly washable – good for this family with a toddler. It’s also designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate.
See previous post for a pic of the label of the liner paper.

It’s A Misconception That A Liner Will Smooth A Textured Wall

May 25, 2022

A theory has been circulating for decades that a liner disguise texture or imperfections in a wall. A liner is a special paper applied to the walls before the actual decorative wallpaper goes up. It has its purpose – but smoothing walls is not one of them. At least, not in my opinion.

Here you see an area where a pedestal sink has been removed. In so doing, part of the drywall was torn away (the reddish brown area) and the wall surface is left uneven.

I’m using liner in this room for another reason. Here it has been applied over the damaged area. As you can see, the uneven texture of the wall shows right through (we say that it telegraphs ). Once the liner is good and dry, it will shrink and pull even tighter to the wall, and the ridges underneath will be even more visible.
And once the wallpaper goes up, all this will telegraph through the new wallpaper, as well.
Here’s the liner paper I used today. It’s a fairly thick, stiff, non-woven material, so has more ” bridging ” power than other types of liner paper. Still, as you see above, it’s not enough to smooth textured or uneven wall surfaces.
The only way to properly and thoroughly smooth a textured wall, IMO , is to skim-float it and then sand it smooth, and then apply a wallpaper primer. Please do a Search here (upper right corner) to find previous posts on this process.

Dogs Have Their Own Room – Complete With Wallpaper!

May 24, 2022
Here’s an unusual but clever use of under-the-stairs space. It’s a series of three rooms, pretty much intended for storage / closet area. The height of the walls gets shorter / lower as you move further under the stairs.
The homeowners decided to use the outer / taller room as a lounge for their dogs.
As you can see, plain old tile floors and wall paint don’t quite cut it … These pooches get their own room, complete with wallpaper !
Looking from taller, outer room into middle and then into the inner, smallest room.
Only the outer, taller room gets wallpaper.
Lots of angles, under the stairs.
2 1/2″ wide space between door moldings.
I had fun choosing which part of the design to slip into this narrow area, to ensure we’d see the most dogs and with the least parts cut off.
Design is called Doggies and is by Milton and King . They make really nice wallpaper , although some patterns can be tricky to measure for, so consult your installer before ordering.
This is a non-woven product, and can be hung via the paste-the-wall method of by pasting the paper.