Beginning – A General Info Pack

Here is a general info pack about how I do bids, info about purchasing your paper, time frame, and pretty well explains the process.

I generally have a pretty long lead time, so it may be 1-3 months before I can start new jobs. The measuring can be done much sooner, of course, and you can buy your paper. That way, if I get an unexpected change in schedule, I might be able to get your job done sooner.

Here’s how the process typically works:

I like to see the job in person first, so I can measure for the amount of paper needed, determine the wall prep required, type of paper, other factors, etc.  I can also give my opinion on patterns, colors, etc.  If you’re already looking at a pattern, you might send me the brand and pattern number, or a link to the page.

I usually do my bids on Sunday afternoon, starting at noon.  I usually have several stops inside the Loop, and then head out to wherever else I need to go.  By Saturday evening, I will be able to pin down the time a bit better, and will call to tell you approximately when I can stop by.

When I come over, I can measure it up and tell you how many rolls you need to buy, what prep is involved, and give you a price for the job.  I don’t sell wallpaper, but I do carry around a few samples of patterns I have put up, to get our mind percolating.  Then the paper is ordered, and we set a date for the installation.

In the meantime, if you want to start looking for paper, here are some tips:   In general, when choosing a wallpaper, I suggest you stay away from the ones made from “solid vinyl” with a “paper backing.”  The gritty manila paper backing tends to absorb moisture in humid rooms and cause curling at the seams.  These are primarily budget-friendly prepasted materials.

I prefer paper wallpaper, and Thibaut, York, Seabrook, Designer Wallpapers, and Wallquest are some very nice, but not-too-expensive brands, but there are many, many others.

Many manufactures are now printing patterns on “non-woven” substrates, which are made to strip off the wall easily, and will also support textured patterns.  The thicker and stiffer these are, the harder they are to work with, don’t want to turn corners, and often the seams show, simply because the material is so thick.  There are nice non-woven papers, though, that are thin and flexible.

If you are looking for a natural material like grasscloth, know that it is generally a poor choice in bathrooms, as it will stain or bleed if it gets splashed with water.  There are also many instances of “shading” or “paneling” with grasscloth – difference in color between the strips, and even within a strip.  Do a Search on my blog.  Alternately, there are good quality faux grasscloths.  Thibaut’s Natural Resource Volume 4 is a good place to search.

When looking at samples in a selection book, be sure to also look at the page with a photograph of the wallpaper pattern in a room-like setting.  The full-sized overall pattern can be quite different from what you see on just one page in a book.

Sherwin-Williams has a lot of good books.  I like their “Easy Change” line, as well as (most of) the HGTV collection.  All the stores have wallpaper books, but I deal mostly with the store at 2525 University at Kirby in the Rice Village (713) 529-6515.  Look for books by Thibaut, York, Seabrook, Brewster, and Easy-Walls.  They also offer a 90-minute in-home color consultation for $95.

My favorite place to buy wallpaper is the Southwestern Paint (Benjamin Moore) near the Rice Village, at 2726 Bissonnet, just west of Kirby at Wakeforest.  Talk to Dorota Hartwig, who is THE wallpaper specialist in town, and knows what’s in all the books.  The paint store is open to walk-in shoppers, but Dorota works by appointment.  Call her first, and make an appointment, to be sure she can give you her full attention and that no one has checked out the books she wants to show you.  (713) 520-6262.  She can’t always get to e-mail quickly, so a phone call is better.  Her hours are usually Tues – Fri, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., and Sat. 9:00 a.m. – noon.  (Saturdays can be very hectic, and are difficult for looking through the wallpaper books.)

Tell her what you are looking for – your decorating taste, colors, age of kids who may be sharing a bathroom, etc., and she will go through the books and pull some suggestions for you, so you don’t waste your time going through books that are not suitable.

You can bring her samples of your bedding fabric or bathroom tile, and even e-mail her info or photos of your room and ideas.  You can check out books, and if you have them at your home when I come to measure, I can look at them with you and give my opinion – I see a LOT of papered rooms !  J

All prices are competitive with retail.  She can even get designer papers at lower prices, and if you see something on the Internet you like, she can track it down for you – or find something similar at a better price.   Schedule an appointment and bring my paperwork with you for an additional discount.  She has a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts, and can help coordinate your colors, papers, fabrics, etc.  My clients love her!

Buying local is a good thing.  It may be tempting to look through a store’s books, and then try to hunt down the paper on-line to find a lower price.  But remember that by buying from one of the sources I recommend, you have someone giving you personal attention, who is knowledgeable about paper quality, single / double roll lingo, discontinued patterns, backorders, shipping time frame, and who can act as an advocate for you if there is a problem.  When you use someone’s sample books, facility, expertise and time, it really is right to buy the paper there, too.  And by buying local, you are helping the economy right in our area.  J

Avoid buying the wrong amount of paper – do not order your wallpaper until the space has been measured by a professional, who will factor in the pattern repeat, size of rolls, features in the room, etc.   Do not trust a clerk at a paint store or an on-line calculator.

Also, know that proper prep for a wallpaper job should be done by a paperhanger – not a painter or contractor or handyman.  I am picky about prep… As I like to say, you can pay someone else to prep the wall, but you’re going to pay me to do it over again.  J

Note:  I work primarily in single family residences, and steer away from multi-unit buildings (mid- and hi-rises) as well as business or commercial settings.  I do not work on new construction or remodel projects while the work is going on.  To ensure that your paper stays clean and undamaged, I will be happy to hang paper once the work is completed, utilities are functioning, and other workmen are off the premises.

If you’d like me to stop by for a consultation, please e-mail back with your address and phone numbers.

I’ll call you Saturday evening and give a more definite time for Sunday afternoon.

Note:  A $50 consultation fee is requested, to help cover time, gas, tolls, product research, and calculations.  This is payable at the time of the consultation, and will be deducted from the cost of the job.

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