Archive for June, 2022

Don’t Assume the Width

June 30, 2022
Here’s a finished map / mural on an accent wall in a child’s room in the Tanglewood neighborhood of Houston.
It’s made by Rebel Walls ( rebelwalls.com ), one of my favorite mural companies, and was custom-sized to fit this wall.
The mural came in a set of nine panels. The instructions above explain how the mural should be hung.
Careful measurements are important, both before ordering (note: Always let the wallpaper installer calculate rollage and mural dimensions before your order ) and then before you start hanging the mural.
This one large roll was cut apart into nine panels. You see them rolled up at the top of the photo.
Each of those panels was 19.75″ wide. So based on that, you might start measuring and calculating and plotting where to position your panels on the wall.
STOP!
Just because the manufacturer’s stock comes 19.75″ wide doesn’t mean that the printed part of each panel fills that full width.
The mural was custom-sized to fit the wall, right? The width of the wall is not an exact multiple of 19.75″. That means that the printed portion of the last panel will be narrower than the others. As you can see in the last photo, that narrow portion turned out to be just 2.5″ wide.
So it’s important that you unroll every strip / panel and take careful measurements of both the wall and the wallpaper , before cutting anything and definitely before pasting anything to the wall.
One more thing, while we’re on the topic of murals. Please don’t order until the paperhanger has measured and figured . It’s very important that the mural NOT be printed to the exact dimensions of the wall. FOUR INCHES of ” bleed ” are necessary to be added to EACH DIMENSION (meaning, four inches added to both width and height ). This will allow for trimming at floor and ceiling , and will accommodate walls / ceilings / floors that are not perfectly level or plumb.

Soft Animal / Mural Map for Big Boy’s Room

June 30, 2022
To make room for a new baby, little Henry is moving from the nursery to this room. So the the grown-up furniture, the frou-frou chandelier, and the pink wallpaper have to go!
He was very excited to see the new accent wall, covered with a map showing fun places to visit and the animals that inhabit them.
The muted colors meld beautifully with the d├ęcor in the rest of the house.
North America. Henry knows the names of many of the animals on the map.
Europe
Exotic lands, exotic animals.
The mural pattern is called Animal World . The color is Mint .
Rebel Walls is one of my favorite mural manufacturers for typical use. Their budget-friendly products can be custom-sized to fit your particular wall / room . They print on a lovely non-woven stock, which is durable and will strip off the wall easily and with minimal damage to the wall when you want to redecorate. It can be hung by pasting the paper or by pasting the wall . Today, I chose to paste the wall .
The home is in the Tanglewood area of Houston .
rebelwalls.com

Geometric Grasscloth in Home Gathering Area

June 29, 2022
No, this large room with sink and counters isn’t a kitchen. The family loves to entertain both family and friends, so included this “bonus” room in their new home’s plans. It’s used for both entertaining and crafting.
The wall facing you was originally painted a semi-gloss navy blue. In the photo, I’ve applied my wallpaper primer.
It will adhere to the glossy paint, and provide a matt finish for the wallpaper paste to grab ahold of.
Taking measurements and plotting the layout.
This paper has a selvedge edge , which has to be trimmed off by hand with a straightedge and razor blade. The manufacturer has not provided trim guide marks , so I am using a ruler and my eye.
The new look is so dramatically different I couldn’t resist taking a photo mid-hang. As you can see, I’ve used dark paint to stripe under where the seams will fall, to prevent any of my primer from showing through at the seams.
You can see the ceiling line starting to track upward on the right portion. More on that below.
Finished. Perfectly centered.
This is the mounting hardware for the big screen TV . I asked them to remove the TV, but we left the mounts in place. In order to support the heavy TV, they are placed quite securely into the wall , and I feel it’s best not to jimmy around with that.
Rather than have the first strip straddle the TV mount, I plotted to have my first seam fall down the middle of the wall, placing a seam in the mid point of the mount. This meant I had to hang four strips instead of three, but it made it a whole lot easier to work around the TV mount, as well as to keep the left and right edges of the grasscloth straight and plumb.
Close up showing the texture of this grasscloth material. It’s atypical to have grass cloth printed with a pattern , and I rather like the way the ink looks somewhat scratchy against the rough background.
Because it’s Schumacher, you can expect printing defects . The slight pattern match doesn’t bother me, as there were many more places along each strip that matched up perfectly. Nor do I mind the different intensity of ink on the two strips. That’s all part of the look of grasscloth.
But I wasn’t pleased with the white ink out in the middle of nowhere, as seen about 1//3 down the center of the picture. This isn’t considered a defect , and from a distance it’s not really noticeable. But it bugged me.
So I used some water-based paint and a very small brush from the craft store and lightly touched up the spots.
I also softened the mis-matched edges a bit. There’s a fine line between covering the white spots and staining the material, so use a light hand. And never permanent ink or oil-based markers or pastels.
Likewise, the ceiling line was not level, so as I moved from the mid-point out to the right, the ceiling rose above the geometric motif’s top edge, and a white line began to be visible, but only to the right of the centerpoint.
So I used the black paint to cover up that extra bit of white. This increases the width of that horizontal navy blue line from 1/4″ to about 1/2″. But from down on the floor you can’t tell, and it looks a whole lot better than having white on the right side and none on the left.
The brand is Schumacher and the home is in the Garden Oaks / Oak Forest area of Houston.
The interior designer who came up with this bold and lively look is Clayton Brooks .

Slipping Wallpaper Behind a Toilet

June 28, 2022

This toilet was less than an inch away from the wall, yet I was able to slip both the liner and the decorative papers behind it. This saved the homeowner the $$ expense of paying a plumber to come remove the tank, and then come back and replace it.
I could unbook the paper and slide it behind the tank without creasing or damaging the material. But it still needed to be smoothed against the wall. I work a yardstick back there and use it to press the paper gently against the wall. Sometimes it works better to wrap a damp cloth around the yardstick, because that puts more pressure – gentle pressure – on the paper and helps press it against uneven areas of the wall. I often use a shorter length of yardstick, which is handy because many toilets are recessed into areas that are narrower than 36″.

Romantic Vintage Look Rose Bedroom Accent Wall

June 26, 2022
Textured wall has been skim-floated smooth , primed , and ready for wallpaper .
This pattern is called Smoky Rose and also London Rose . Both are appropriate!
Charcoal on an off-white background . Up close, it looks like water color strokes.
The wallpaper is by House of Hackney . Most of their wallpapers are the user-friendly non-woven material. This one surprised me being a British pulp. This is a rather old-fashioned basic paper material with no protective coating. It’s brittle when dry and gets soggy when wet with paste, making it tear easily or to drag when the razor blade runs across it. Definitely takes a different approach during installation .
I was lucky enough to have hung a pulp just the day before, so was in good practice!
Although not resistant to stains and tricky to work with, I do like the matt finish and how the paper dries tight and flat to the wall.

My Work Set-Up

June 25, 2022




Here’s my pasting / trimming table , set up in my client’s living room, which is just a few steps away from the hall bathroom where I’m hanging wallpaper. In that room, of course, I have my ladder, as well as my smaller hand tools used for actually getting the paper onto the wall.

More William Morris Strawberry Thief in Houston Heights Hall Bathroom

June 24, 2022
Because I feared unstable walls in this 1920’s bungalow in this neighborhood (do a Search for previous posts), before hanging the decorative wallpaper, first I hung a non-woven liner paper on all the walls. That’s the white material you see in the photo.
The liner was hung horizontally so its seams can’t line up with the decorative paper. The idea is to disperse tension from drying wallpaper and changes due to humidity and etc., so as to deflect tension away from sketchy wall surfaces, and thus prevent delamination of multiple unstable layers deep inside the wall. Again, do a Search here to learn more.
Finished vanity area, with pattern centered on the light fixture.
Corner shot.
This colorful and symmetrical pattern is quite popular; I’ve hung it a number of times just this year.
Englishman William Morris designed wallpaper and fabrics during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.
The styles then were Art Nouveau and Arts & Crafts. This design reflects a bit of each.
Wallpaper expands when it gets wet with paste, and then can shrink just a tad as it dries. The liner helps prevent that, but you can still end up with teeny gaps at some seams.
To prevent the white backing from showing through, I run a stripe of dark paint under where each seam will fall.
I use matt finish craft paint from the hobby store, diluted with a little water (in the orange bottle cap) and smeared on the wall with a scrap of sponge. Use a ruler or level and a pencil to mark where you want to stripe the dark paint.
Remember to allow for that expansion as the paper absorbs moisture from the paste. Meaning, if the paper is 20.5″ wide, and expands 1/2″, you’ll want to run your line at about 21.” And make sure that your painted swath is about an inch wide.
I also run a bit of dark chalk along the edges of each strip, to prevent the white substrate from showing at the seams (no photo).
Morris & Co. makes this iconic Strawberry Thief.
Interestingly enough, most times when I’ve hung a Morris paper, it’s been a non-woven paste-the-wall material.
Today’s option was a surprise – a traditional British pulp . This is a pretty basic and somewhat old-fashioned type of substrate . Sort of like construction paper, or the pages of an old family Bible .
The paper is very fragile , and can tear easily. You have to keep using new razor / trimming blades, because the material dulls blades quickly, and when dull they will drag and tear the paper.
Pulp papers also require a soaking / booking time after pasting , to allow time for the material to absorb the paste , soften a bit, and expand . The edges of the strips like to dry out , so I’ve learned to dip about 1/4″ of the booked ends ( booked means the pasted side of the wallpaper strip is folded onto itself, bottom edge folded up and top edge folded down to meet in the middle), into a bucket of clean water.
Then it goes into a black plastic trash bag to soak and relax for a few minutes before hanging. I use this opportunity to paste the next strip.
Non-woven wallpapers have advantages, because they do not expand when wet, and therefor you can get accurate measurements. They also can be pasted and hung immediately, with no waiting time. Alternately, you can paste the wall .

For All You Dreamers Who Think That Liner Will Smooth Texture Walls … NOT!

June 23, 2022
Some people have spent too much time on YouTube or DIY websites. There is a misconception that liner paper will smooth out textured walls.
Nope, sorry, it ain’t happenin.’
The special type of paper called liner is used under some wallpaper s, and serves certain functions. Smoothing walls is not one of them.
If you’re planning to hang wallpaper over textured walls, liner paper cannot be used as a replacement for skim-floating , sanding , priming , and properly prepping the walls .
As you can see in the photo, liner paper shrinks as the paste dries, and pulls tight against the wall. This means that little imperfections will show through.
In the photo above, a towel bar had been removed, and the support bracket had been stuck / recessed into the wall paint , so the indentation and ridges from the bracket were still evident on the wall.
Covering them with a wallpaper liner helped mitigate them a bit … but, as you can see, the raised outline of the mounting bracket is still visible.
The issue is that this raised area, covered with liner or not, will still ” telegraph ” through the new wallpaper, creating a noticeable and unpleasing look.
To properly smooth a textured wall before hanging wallpaper, the surface must be skim-floated with joint compound (also referred to as mud ), sanded smooth, wiped free of dust, and then primed. Now the wall should be smooth enough to provide a good surface for the new wallpaper.

Sandberg Raphael in Heights Powder Room

June 22, 2022
Vanity area primed and ready for wallpaper.
Finished. The soft murky blues meld so nicely with the carrera marble countertop.
Opposite wall before.
The pattern has a strong upward movement, as well as lush fullness from the leafy areas.
Rear window wall. This room had a number of intricate moldings to trim around.
Close up.
Detail.
Raphael is a very popular pattern. Do a Search here (upper right corner) to see my previous installations of this wallpaper.
The material is called non-woven , and can be hung by pasting-the-wall or pasting the paper. I prefer to paste the paper, as it makes the material more pliable, and also gets paste to difficult-to-access areas, such as behind the toilet.
One big advantage of non-wovens is they don’t expand when wet with paste, and so you can get accurate measurements. And also there is no booking time, so you can paste and head straight to the wall to hang each strip.
Houston wallpaper installer

Shells / Fans in Master Bedroom Closet

June 21, 2022
Left side of entry wall primed and ready for wallpaper.
Starting the right side of the wall.
Instead of laying a 9.5′ length of wallpaper down along the door frame and wrestling it around the tops and bottoms of several fixed-in-place shelves, I used a razor blade and my straightedge to slice the strip horizontally into sections, measured carefully to coincide with the position of the shelf brackets.
This way I was working with much smaller and more manageable chunks of paper.
Entry wall finished.
Entry and side walls finished.
Opposite, window wall finished.
This closet, with 20 single rolls (10 double roll bolts) of wallpaper, several fixed shelves to wrangle paper around, support brackets to trim around, and two windows to wrap wallpaper inside, took me two 10-hour days to prime and paper.
Here’s a close-up, with a light switch for perspective, to show the lightly textured surface of the wallpaper.
BN European brand of wallpaper.
This is a non-woven material and could be hung via the paste the wall method or the paste the paper installation process.
Pasting the material made it much easier to work around all the obstacles and tight areas.
The paper was very soft and pliable. It is an embossed ( textured ) vinyl and will be more resistant to stains and dings than most traditional wallpapers.
This home is in the Heights neighborhood of Houston.