Wallpaper – Twos are Bad News

May 6, 2017

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The homeowners were testing colors of paint for their woodwork. No problem with that. But what WAS a problem is that they labeled those choices by writing numbers on the wall with a Sharpie – in INK!

Ink bleeds through paint, and it bleeds through wallpaper. The stain might not appear immediately, but over time, the shadow of this “2” would eventually work its way through the new wallpaper.

There are sealers that will cover this (I like oil-based KILZ Original). But in this case, since the spots were small, I used sandpaper to scrub all traces of the ink off the wall.

For the record, there are other substances that will bleed through wallpaper, too. Ink, blood, rust, water stains, and any oil- or petroleum-based material, like crayon, lipstick, baby oil, cooking oil, grease, pet stains, etc.

Pulling Areas Together in a Large Room

May 5, 2017

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The first photo shows a long (35′!) wall in the living / dining / kitchen area of a new townhome in the north end of the Houston Heights. The wall had four windows like this. At the opposite end of the room was another, much shorter wall, recessed into an alcove at the base of the stairs, also with a window.

The homeowners, a young family, were considering grasscloth for the long wall. I saw the recessed wall and suggested they put the same wallpaper there, to pull the two areas of the large room together, and help make the cavernous space feel snugger.

They liked that idea! The first photo shows the long wall with a faux grasscloth on it. The second photo shows the inset wall, which has yet to receive its wallpaper.

The wallpaper is a wonderful fake grasscloth product by Wallquest, in their EcoChic line. It’s a grass-look pattern with strings (stringcloth) running vertically over the top, giving it the texture that people love. But, because it is man-made, so it has virtually none of the color variations inherent to the natural grasscloth products. Even better, there is a pattern match, so the seams are virtually invisible.

This wallpaper pattern is by Wallquest, in their Grass Effects book, 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.

Soring Birds Day Dream in a Baby’s Nursery

May 4, 2017

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What a well-loved pattern for babies’ rooms! This soon-to-be-with-us baby in a Spring Branch (Houston) home has a lovely new nursery. I have hung this many times, but this is the first time in this colorway.

The pattern is called “Day Dream” and is by Hygge & West, an on-line company. It comes in many colors, and fits into many rooms or themes.

The second photo shows me about to hang the first strip, having plotted the layout so the bird will fall down the center of the wall, and using my laser level (the red line on the wall) to keep the paper plumb.

Hygge & West papers can be challenging to hang. The seams curl and the paper waffles. The second-to-last photo shows the slight curling at the seams where ink falls on the seams, which is common to their paper. However, this time, I had much less difficulty with the paper in general….It laid flat without waffling or wrinkling, and there was very little curling at the seams. I hope that this means that the H & W team has listened to us out here in the field, and has started to use a better substrate and ink formula.

Still, they could use some help in packaging their merchandise for shipping – the final photo shows damaged ends of rolls of paper, due to being banged about during shipping. Unfortunately, all of the rolls were banged up, and the damage went deep into each bolt – meaning that I couldn’t cut around and discard the damaged areas. Since this pattern has a lot of open space, there isn’t much pattern to disguise these bashed areas, so they are going to show on the wall.

Hand-Trimming Jill Malek Elephant Wallpaper

May 3, 2017

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This Jill Malek wallpaper came with a selvedge edge, just like most fabrics. See the first photo. The edges had to be trimmed off before the paper could go up.

In the second photo, I am using my 6′ straight edge and a sharp, new razor blade to trim off this selvedge.

It’s important that this be done carefully and precisely, so that the pattern matches correctly, and so that the seams will butt nicely with no gapping or overlapping. This process is tedious and time consuming.

Many of the higher-end brands furnish their paper in this way.

Elephants Walk Across Twin Babies’ Nursery Wall

May 2, 2017

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Here is an accent wall in a nursery for new born twins – a boy and a girl. Instant family. 🙂 The expectant mom had seen pictures on HOUZZ and wanted to recreate the look in her babies’ room.

The top two photos show one wall, but there are two mirror-image 37″ wide walls flanking the recessed window. The wallpaper went on each wall, and the recessed walls around the window were painted metallic gold, to match the wallpaper. The walls had rounded outside corners, and the homeowner had them finished off with a piece of wood molding. I love this. See the last photo for a close up.

The homeowners had ordered their paper off the Internet before our initial consultation. If I had gotten to them first, I would have had them order more paper. As it was, we had one double roll bolt of paper to cover this 2-part wall.

Each wall section required two strips of wallpaper. With the height of their wall, and factoring in the atypically long pattern repeat of 30″, the bolt of paper would yield three strips. Not enough paper.

But I was able to make it work. Because the wall was 37″ wide and the wallpaper was 27″ wide, that first strip would cover 27″ of the wall, leaving 10″ to be covered. Since the paper was 27″ wide, if I split it in two vertically, I could get two 10″ strips from it, taking one from the right side and one from the left side.

If I positioned these four strips on the two walls precisely, I could get the job done with the amount of paper they had purchased.

The job was much more complicated than this, though. I won’t go into all the details or all the math, but things to factor in were the 30″ pattern repeat juxtaposed against the exact height of the walls, the 3″ additional paper needed at the top of the two center strips to accommodate the crown molding (see photo), the numbers the manufacturer stamped in ink on the back of the paper which would bleed through the paper which necessitated that a certain amount of paper had to be discarded, the secondary pattern – which is the diagonal movement and the rhythm of the pattern that you see from a distance (see photo), coupled with the fact that all those elephants looked alike – but were not. If one line of elephants got mispositioned – placed too high or too low – that secondary pattern’s rhythm would be thrown off.

Before I took the job, I did some calculating at home, to be sure they had enough paper. I figured that we could squeak by.

At the site, before I cut any paper, I plotted, measured, calculated – and repeated – to be sure everything was correct. I placed strips side-by-side on the floor (see photo, and thankfully this room had a lot of open floor space to do this), to be sure the pattern match was spot-on. As you can see, everything worked out perfectly.

This paper had to be hand-trimmed (see tomorrow’s post), which took additional time, concentration, and equipment. In addition, the walls were far from straight / plumb, so the wallpaper didn’t want to butt up against the new molding, nor did it meet up with the painter’s finish line under the windows. Luckily it was printed on a very malleable substrate, and I was able to twist it into position. That created wrinkles, but it was forgiving paper, and I was able to work out those wrinkles. I’m glad there were only 1 1/2 strips per wall, because the paper would not have cooperated so generously for multiple strips.

This wallpaper pattern is called “Elephant Walk” and is by Jill Malek, and was bought on-line. It comes in a small scale (pictured) and a larger scale. I hung a very similar giraffe pattern by the same company last year, also in a baby’s room. https://wallpaperlady.wordpress.com/2016/04/19/wavy-giraffes-jolly-up-a-babys-nursery/

Wonderful Trim to Finish a Bull-Nosed Corner

April 29, 2017

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Rounded / bull-nosed corners have been popular in new construction for about 10 years. But they are Hell for wallpaper hangers, because it’s very hard to cut a straight line along them, plus having wallpaper end on a rounded corner like this invites peeling up.

Here is a piece of inexpensive wooden trim that a client found at Home Depot and applied to the rounded edge. It really gives a nice, finished look. And it gives a good, secure place for the wallpaper to land against.

Grasscloth Wallpaper in an Entry in West Houston

April 28, 2017

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This nubby-textured grasscloth really warmed up the space in this entry in an early ’60’s home in the Briar Park neighborhood of west Houston. The floor was Saltillo tile (rustic Mexican look), and furniture in adjoining rooms was in the “weathered chic” style. The natural color and rough texture of this grasscloth on the upper portion of the entry walls really pulls the look together.

The first photo shows a close-up of the texture and color. The next photo shows two strips and a seam slightly to the right of the middle of the photo (crummy dark picture, as usual 😦 ). I was very pleased that this paper did not have much of the shading and paneling (color variations) that are inherent to most grasscloth products.

HOWEVER – There really were many color variations in this product. But I had had the homeowners buy enough paper to do the room, plus one extra double roll bolt. This extra bolt provided enough paper that I could cut around the worst of the color variances, so that the paper that went up on the walls was fairly uniform in color.

The third photo shows some of these color variations. Those are not wrinkles in the paper – what you are seeing are three different colors, or shades of colors, running across the paper in wide stripes. Had I hung strips like this, it would have resulted in noticeable (and, to me, eye-jarring) horizontal stripes of different colors in the paper.

In addition to these color differences, some of the strips had areas that were riddled with dark threads and knots. A few of these here and there are O.K. But when one strips has very few dark knots, and the one next to it has 30 of them, it is disturbing to the eye.

Luckily, we had enough paper that I could cut around and discard much of the discolored paper.

The finished room looked better and more homogeneous in color than I had expected it to.

This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, 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.

Wallpaper Chinoiserie in a Powder Room – China Seas

April 27, 2017

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The powder room in this 20-year old home in the Houston Heights was originally painted a deep avocado green. It was beautiful but claustrophobic, and the new homeowners wanted an updated change. This two-toned Chinoiserie in grey and white is lighter and brighter, has an uplifting feel, trends modern yet is timeless (Chinoiseries never go out of style), and visually expands the room.

This was a difficult room to wallpaper. Due to its location under the stairs, it has a sloping ceiling. There is a window smack in the middle of the focal wall, there was a wall-mounted mirror and a wall-mounted cabinet, there were four points of intricate molding to cut around, there were obtuse wall angles (more tricky than right angles), the width of the wallpaper strips didn’t correlate to the dimensions of the walls, door, or window, and there were numerous areas where the paper had to go from floor to ceiling, instead of the traditional ceiling to floor – all to name a few challenges in this room.

The wallpaper rolls had shards of shavings left on its edges, which I scrubbed off with a toothbrush, and then used a sanding block to really clean the edges of each strip. Still, there were rough edges so that not all the seams fit together quite as nicely as usual.

Instead of being set in the ceiling, the exhaust fan was set in the wall. This directed it straight outside which is nice, but it left the ugly vent cover smack in the middle of the wall. To disguise this, I covered the appliance with wallpaper. This took about an hour, and presented challenges in itself. See other post (do a Search) for more info.

This wallpaper pattern is called “China Seas,” by Thibaut Designs, 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.

No Toilet? No Problem!

April 25, 2017

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The night before I arrived to hang wallpaper in this powder room, the handy husband removed the toilet tank. This gave me a whole lot more room to work, and made it a whole lot easier to put the wallpaper on that wall. It also ensured that the paper stuck nice and tight to the wall (which can’t always be done if the installer can’t get his hand back behind a toilet tank).

This geometric Moroccan lantern wallpaper pattern is by Brewster, in the A-Street Prints line, 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.

For the Love of Dogs

April 23, 2017

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The two large dogs who live in this home in the Woodland Heights (Houston) have their own room (which is also the home’s mudroom). They may have fancy digs, but the décor was bland. See top photo.

A little wallpaper changed all that. This “Trot” pattern by Stroheim is fresh and cute, but not in a cloying way – while it’s fun, it’s actually pretty sophisticated for a rear entry. The Stone color goes amazingly well with the paint on the wainscoting and other trim in the room.

The interior designer is also the homeowner – Stacie Cokinos, of Cokinos Design, here in Houston. She works a lot in the Heights neighborhoods, and works on a lot of whole-house remodels, and new builds.