Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

A Blast from the Past

July 23, 2017

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I’ll bet that no one under 30 knows what this is.

It’s a phone jack for a land-line telephone.

As you might guess, it’s in a home that was built in the ’70’s.

These days, when I’m about to wallpaper a wall and I come across a jack for a land line, I ask the homeowner if she will be using it. Since so many people are eliminating land-lines in favor of cell phones, many people don’t want the jack or it’s wall plate messing up their new wallpaper.

In that case, it’s easy enough for me to undo the wires, remove the jack, and just let the wallpaper cover the small rectangular hole left in the wall. The wallpaper hides the hole nicely, and it’s usually not very noticeable.

That way, if the homeowners ever want to access the wires or reinstall the jack, they can easily cut the wallpaper and open up the box.

Untextured Faux Grasscloth in a Kitchen

July 22, 2017

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The kitchen and breakfast area of this ’70’s era kitchen are quite typical of the ranch style homes that were popular at that time. I have papered about a million of them. 🙂

The first photo shows the breakfast area stripped of three previous layers of wallpaper, primed, and ready for its new look. The second photo shows the same corner with the new wallpaper up on the walls.

It’s a subtle, quiet, restful look, with a bit of rustic tossed in.

The “rustic” comes from the grasscloth-look to this wallpaper. But it’s paper, not real grass, and it’s not the new three-dimensional stringcloth that I have been loving lately. That stringcloth faux grass product was too pricy for this homeowner’s remodel budget.

So she chose this instead. This is a wonderful alternative to real grass products. It is uniform in color so you don’t have the horrible shading and paneling and color variations that are inherent with real grasscloth. Even better, it has pattern that can be matched, so you can’t see the seams.

It does have a bit of texture from its “raised ink” printed surface, which is pleasing, but very minimal.

This wallpaper pattern is by York, in their Sure Strip line (I love the stuff!), and is a non-woven material that is meant to easily strip off the wall years later when it’s time to redecorate. It’s thin and hugs the wall nicely, and dries nice and flat and tight against the wall.

The paper was bought at below retail price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. She is great at helping you find just the perfect paper! Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

Out of the ’70’s and Into a Bright Splash of Color and Fun!

July 21, 2017

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The top photo shows the entry of this ’70’s ranch style home in far west Houston in it’s ’90’s era shiny, striped, vinyl wallpaper. Once I stripped that off, below it was revealed the original wild orange and gold ’70’s era paper, which you see in the second photo.

That orange paper would not come off without damaging the Sheetrock (because the previous installer had not primed the walls), so I prepped the seams, sealed the paper, primed it, and then hung the new paper over it. The third photo shows the new paper going up. I love the picture, because it shows the dramatic transformation.

What a wild punch of color, and a cherry, fun pattern – and a little wildlife, too!

The new wallpaper is by York, in their Sure Strip line, which is a pre-pasted, non-woven material that is designed to strip off the wall easily and with no damage to the wall, when it’s time to redecorate. I love their products. This pattern is in their Williamsburg collection. It was bought at below retail price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. She is great at helping you find just the perfect paper! Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

Stripping Off The ’90’s To Reveal – The ’70’s

July 20, 2017

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Today I stripped paper off the walls of a typical entry in a typical ’60’s / ’70’s-era home.

The paper I removed was a pre-pasted, paper-backed, solid vinyl in a striped design. This is a typical pattern, and a typical type of material, for that time.

Under it was the original paper from when the home was built in the ’70’s. If you remember, that was back in the days of Harvest Gold, Avacado Green, orange, and Flower Power. This vintage paper has three out of the four!

After all these years, and despite having been covered up by the vinyl wallcovering, the orange paper was in perfect shape – tight to the wall, and brilliantly colored. The vinyl paper, on the other hand, was curling at the edges and was discolored.

This is partly due to age, but mostly due to having been improperly installed… previous installer did not remove the old wallpaper, and did not prime the walls, plus these pre-pasted, paper-backed, solid vinyls are just not good papers.

This home is in the Kirkwood / Briar Forest area of Houston.

Sunny Starburst Entry

July 19, 2017

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The walls in this 60’s era Meyerland-era entry may have been white, but they did nothing to lighten the small room. The homeowner’s vision of a gold-on-white sunburst medallion motif brightened things immediately. The feel is crisp and playful.

The homeowners plan to change the light fixture in the room, and I am trying to convince them to go with a gold one that is spherical and spoke-like, and resembles the sunburst design.

This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, printed on a non-woven substrate, and was intended to be a paste-the-wall installation. However, the paper behaved better and the seams looked better when I pasted the back of the paper, instead of the wall.

was bought at below retail price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. She is great at helping you find just the perfect paper! Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

Prepping Walls When Existing Wallpaper Won’t Come Off

July 18, 2017

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Almost always, when homeowners are switching from an outdated wallpaper to a new pattern, I am able to get the old paper off the wall. But twice this week I have run into papers that would not come off the wall – at least, not without causing significant damage to the Sheetrock or creating other problems. Sometimes it’s because they were installed improperly in the first place. And other times it’s just the nature of the beast.

Either way, it is possible to hang wallpaper over old existing wallpaper – IF the walls are prepared correctly.

In these two rooms, I used joint compound (“mud”) to skim float over the seams in the original wallpaper, to ensure that they would not telegraph through and show up as vertical lines under the new wallpaper. These are the white stripes and patches you see in the photos.

Then I sanded the mud smooth, making sure that the edges were feathered out, so the joint compound patch would not be detectable under the new wallpaper. I used a damp sponge to wipe dust off the sanded areas.

The next step was to seal the walls with a penetrating sealer called Gardz (by Zinsser). Gardz is a thin liquid sealer that soaks into the surface and binds it together. It dries hard, and prevents moisture from passing through.

In other words, you can hang wallpaper that is wet with paste on top of this primer, and not worry about moisture passing through and causing the original paste to loosen, or the original paper to swell and bubble away from the wall.

In addition, Gardz dries with a crystalized molecular surface that is ideal for wallpaper and its paste to “bite into” and “get a hold of.”

Bottom line – Gardz is a super fixer of problem walls, it’s a wonderful sealer, and it is a great primer for using under wallpaper.

Wallpaper Change – What to Keep, What to Cover Up

July 16, 2017

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It’s not uncommon for me to work in a house where no one is home. In these cases, I’ll ask the homeowners to clarify for me which fixtures they intend to reuse, and which they want to get rid of.

Here you see where the homeowner has left me Sticky Notes to let me know that they want to reuse the toilet paper holder, light sconces, and hanger for the mirror, but they do not want to keep certain other fixtures.

This tells me which attachment brackets I can remove from the wall and then fill in the holes, and cover with the new wallpaper, with nary a trace of the old bracket to be seen.

The other fixtures I will remove – and that usually includes removing the attachment brackets, too – and then, once the new wallpaper is in place, I will replace the mounting hardware and then reinstall the fixtures (towel bars, toilet paper holder, artwork, light fixtures, etc.).

It’s easy – just let me know which fixtures you plan to reuse, and which you want to trash.

Major Transformation – From Cave-Like to Bright, Warm and Tranquil

July 15, 2017

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Wow, what a change! This home office / TV room in Southside Place / West University neighborhood of Houston, was papered in a dark-navy-on-navy stripe. In my opinion, it looked great in the room, especially above the white paneled wainscoting. But it was time for a change … in fact, the husband said, “We should have gotten rid of this when we bought the house 25 years ago.”

The navy wallpaper was hung properly, but it would not come off the wall without a LOT of time and mess (and $ ). So I prepped and sealed the walls and hung over it (see other posts). I love the 2nd photo, because it shows the new, light wallpaper juxtaposed against the original dark paper.

This material is a light tan stringcloth superimposed with a barely-there white Moroccan lantern motif. I love this as an alternative to grasscloth. It is uniform in color, has a wonderful tactile texture, and has none of the shading, paneling, color variations, visible seams, or propensity to staining and bleeding that make grasscloth so disappointing.

In addition, it is a non-woven, paste-the-wall product, and was nice to work with. The design was even perfectly centered on the 27″ wide material, and could be reverse-hung (hung upside down and still match up perfectly with the previous strip).

The new, light colored wallpaper looked super against the wainscoting, and had just enough color to stand out against the white woodwork. The sofa was a tan linen fabric, and synced with the new wallpaper in color and texture. The armoire that holds the TV is a medium wood tone, and contrasts against the light walls “just enough.” The whole overall look is relaxing.

This wallpaper pattern is by Designer Wallpaper, in their EcoChic line, in a book or line called Wallpaper Effects, and was bought at below retail price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. She is great at helping you find just the perfect paper! Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

Similar Theme; Different Feel

July 14, 2017

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The original wallpaper in this large powder room in Hunter’s Creek Village was red and had “broken twigs” as its design. The homeowner wanted a subtle change, so went with something fairly similar, but more modern. The paper is a grasscloth, and is dark blue, with gold “broken lines” covering the surface.

The paper had a selvedge edge that had to be trimmed off by hand, using a straightedge and a razor blade. This is a bit more difficult to do with grasscloth, which is thick and stiff, than with regular paper. In addition, the manufacturer’s trim guideline marks were off, which resulted in edges that were not straight. It took some time to figure out how to bypass that, and how to salvage the strip that got the crookedly cut edge.

There were a lot of other challenges to this room, including crooked walls, bowed walls, 12′ high ceiling, paper that twisted when it got wet with paste, a console vanity with exposed plumbing and a lower shelf, and less paper than I asked for – I needed 11 1/2 strips, and I had 12 strips….which meant that there was no extra paper to fix an error. Every strip had to be cut and hung perfectly.

I trimmed, pasted, and hung one strip at a time. This was tedious and slow, but it allowed me to gauge what was going on with each strip and how it interacted with the other strips (previous and succeeding), crooked corners, and the conformation of the room, as I worked my way around the walls, plus it gave me time to work around more difficult areas, such as the light fixtures, the “low boy” toilet, and the console sink.

The finished room looks great, and the homeowner loves it.

Because it’s grasscloth, the family will have to be careful to not splash water onto it, because it will eventually stain the material, or cause the dyes to run.

This paper is by Kravat, and I was very pleased with the quality of the material. (But, let me say here, I was NOT pleased with the mis-marked trim guidelines.) Back to the grasscloth – the color was very uniform, and there were virtually no shading or paneling or color variations, which are problems with most other grasscloth products I have hung. Do a Search here on those terms, to learn more.

You get what you pay for. This Kravat grasscloth cost about $350 per single roll (about 22 useable square feet).

Towel Bars & Light Fixtures … Homeowner Input

July 13, 2017

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Before I start a job, I ask the homeowner if she is going to use the same towel bars, toilet paper holder, mirror, light fixtures, etc., or if she plans to replace them. Then I know if I should save the mounting hardware and replace the fixtures, or if I should remove these things and fill in the holes in the wall.

This homeowner was away from the house when I arrived, so she left good instructions as to what she wanted done. She marked the fixtures she plans to reuse, and she also marked the mirror hangers that are not to be reused. She used Sticky Notes, which will not damage the wall, and which will not cause marks that will bleed through the new wallpaper (like ink or a Sharpie will). She also arranged to have the mirror removed, because it was too heavy for me to handle. (Isn’t it nice to have a husband and a teenaged son around the house? 🙂 )