Old Wallpaper Could Not Be Stripped Off

July 12, 2017

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The homeowner is ready for a new look, so the red wallpaper with the “broken coral” pattern has to go. I am pretty darned good at removing wallpaper, but this stuff was not agreeable with the idea.

Normally, you peel off the top, inked layer, and then soak the remaining backing layer with water until the paste loosens, and then you can either lift the paper from the wall, or gently scrape it off.

But this top inked layer came off in tiny pieces – 1/2″ square. Which meant it would take a year and a day to get the whole room stripped off. Then, on my test area, when I tried soaking the paper backing to loosen the paste, it would have non of it.

The backing would not come away from the wall. And in the tiny 1/2″ square area where I finally did get the paper off the wall, there were more problems underneath. Meaning, a gummy, rubbery substance that would not come off the wall, and that left a residue behind that was unsuitable for hanging new wallpaper on top of – it would have necessitated a whole lot of additional skim-floating, sanding, sealing, priming, etc.

I believe that the previous installer either primed the walls with RX-35, or hung the paper with VOV ( Vinyl Over Vinyl), both of which are inappropriate for this type of paper, and both of which are nearly impossible to remove, and both of which leave the gummy, rubbery residue that is so difficult to negate.

I found it preferable to leave the existing paper on the wall. I removed any loose areas (virtually none), and then skim-floated over the seams with joint compound, to remove any vertical lines that could show under the new paper. That’s the white stuff you see in the 2nd photo.

When dry, I sanded that smooth, wiped off the residual dust with a damp sponge, and then primed with Gardz, a penetrating sealing primer. This will yield a smooth, stable surface for the new wallpaper to grab onto.

Over the Door Kill Point with a Stripe

July 11, 2017

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The “kill point” is where you land your last strip of wallpaper. When it meets up against your first strip – which is usually in a corner – it almost always results in a mis-match of the pattern. And pattern mis-matches catch and jar the eye. So that’s why you try to hide the kill point in a corner or behind a door, or somewhere where it won’t be prominently displayed.

But this bathroom didn’t have a “hidden” corner where the mis-match would not be noticed. I was going to end up with two 8′ lengths of the wide white stripes closer to each other than they should have been.

So I decided to match the pattern correctly in the corner, and then move the kill point up and away from eye-level – to over the door.

On the right side of the photo, you see the stripes at their normal width. As you move to the left, though, there is one stripe that is not the same width. This is my kill point.

The thing is, even though that stripe is narrower than the others, it doesn’t scream at you; your eye passes right over it.

Subtle Stripe Wallpaper Coordinates With Main Room

July 9, 2017

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This dusty yellow striped wallpaper pattern went in the potty room / water closet of a master bathroom. In the larger room, the homeowner wanted a brightly colored, nautical-themed wallpaper. She chose this more muted color and subdued pattern for the smaller commode room.

I really like the idea of companion / coordinating wallpaper patterns in adjoining rooms. All it takes are colors from the same family, and design themes that are in the same league. This is a perfect example.

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.

Brightly Nautical Wallpaper in a Master Bathroom

July 8, 2017

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I didn’t get pictures of the original wallpaper, but it was a pre-pasted, paper-backed solid vinyl (my least favorite kind) and had been poorly installed on un-primed bare drywall. Over the 12 years it was up, humidity from the bathroom had penetrated the seams and caused the paper to curl.

This paper (not vinyl) wallpaper, hung over properly primed walls, will cling tightly to the wall and perform well for many years to come. Plus, it’s bright and pretty and adds a lot of life to the room.

One shot shows the oceanic paper in the main room, looking into the potty / water closet, which has been papered in a coordinating yellow striped pattern. I really like using two papers this way. See tomorrow’s post for pics of the potty room.

This home is in West University Place (Houston). The wallpaper pattern is #839-T-6701 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.

Spring Time in a Powder Room

July 7, 2017

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I forgot my camera yesterday, the day I stripped off the old paper and prepped the walls, so I cannot show you the 15 year-old wallpaper with its curling seams, due to 1.) being an inexpensive paper-backed solid vinyl wallpaper (my least favorite kind – do a Search here), and 2.) the previous installer did not prime the walls but instead hung the wallpaper directly on the new home’s bare Sheetrock, and 3.) age, heat, and humidity. The pattern, however, was not too dissimilar to this one, being a sort of “impressionistic painting” design in the same blue, pink, yellow, and green color scheme.

Anyway, the new powder room looks fantastic. The colors are similar to what the homeowner had before, but this wallpaper should hold up much better. The material is paper (not vinyl), and will hug the wall tightly. I removed every scrap of old paper and sealed the walls with a penetrating sealer named Gardz, and then primed with a wallpaper-specific primer called Roman’s Ultra Prime Pro 977.

On top of this good foundation, the new wallpaper is a pre-pasted, raised-ink paper by Thibaut, and is one of my favorite products to work with, and I also love it’s dependable performance down the road. The pattern is #6936, and is very similar to their “Augustine” hummingbird design (Do a Search here). I love the barely-discernible texture of these raised-ink papers. A unique printing process results in this effect.

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.

Shiny Geometric Wallpaper Pattern Brings Life to a Dark, Dull Powder Room

July 6, 2017

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This retired couple near the Montrose neighborhood of Houston has a 15-year-old home that is, along with their furnishings, pretty traditional. They wanted to update with wallpaper, but didn’t want the new look to clash with the rest of their house. Going a little wild in the powder room is a great way to do this, because you only see the contemporary look when you are in the powder room – the rest of the time, the door is closed.

But now that the new paper is up, they will surely want to keep the door open!

This powder room was originally painted a deep, murky aqua/teal. Despite the high ceilings and large footprint, the matt finish and dark color made the room look small, and it definitely was lacking in personality.

The first day, I skim-floated the textured walls to smooth them (see first photo). The second day, the paper went up. The new wallpaper sports a fluid, interlocking geometric pattern that is in the same color family as the original paint, but much lighter, and the shiny surface adds a lot of light and dazzle.

Interestingly, I hung this same pattern, but in a darker color, just last week. It is lovely to work with. The walls in this room were pretty off-plumb, and also bowed, which can be Hell with a rigid geometric design. But I used some tricks to make the pattern look like it’s hanging straight and plumb. The homeowners were very happy with the finished room.

This wallpaper pattern is by York, in their Designer Series, 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.

A More Positive News Article About Wallpaper

July 4, 2017

Juxtaposed against the news article I recently blogged about (wallpaper supposedly making people sick), this one is much more positive, and has more accurate information. Just the top portion, though – when you get down to the bullet points, much of the info is off-base.

http://www.tampabay.com/features/homeandgarden/wallpaper-once-a-design-punchline-entices-a-new-generation/2326489

Repainting Woodwork? Don’t Let Painters Tape the Wallpaper!

July 3, 2017

Read the rest of this entry »

Blue Goes With Grey – But Not Always

July 2, 2017

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In 2002, I hung this small blue floral print in the kitchen / breakfast area of a 1950 home in Riverside (Houston). The homeowner inherited the house from her grandmother, and she loves the vintage style and has kept her decorating pretty much true to the theme – including the floral wallpaper.

But a water leak changed all that. Damage was extensive enough that it made sense to remodel the entire kitchen. So new tile and granite came in. As much as the homeowner loved the blue flowery wallpaper, it didn’t go with the new grey-hued surfaces. So new wallpaper was called for.

As you can see in the third photo, the new pattern coordinates much better.

The homeowner has bought paint and wallpaper from Dorota at Southwestern Paint (see below) for many years, and she knew she could trust her to find the right paper. Sure enough – She told Dorota about the kitchen remodel and sent pics of the granite and tile, then made an appointment to visit in person. When she got to the store, Dorota walked over to her library of wallpaper books, chose one, opened it up, and pointed to this pattern. “This is what you need,” she said. And she was absolutely spot-on. The selection is perfect with the granite, the tile, the updated room, and even works beautifully with the older home.

This wallpaper pattern is by Wallquest, in their Ecochic collection, a series that I like a lot, and 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.

Jungle Mural on a Bedroom Niche Wall

July 1, 2017

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This alcove / sitting area is in the entry vestibule of the master bedroom in a renovated-and-expanded 1914 home in the Houston Heights. Every wall and surface in the home is white, or some faint derivative of white. Meaning, colorless and lifeless.

This fun jungle mural with birds and foliage and a good (but not crazy) dose of color changes all that. Behind the headboard, as most accent walls are, might have been too much with this particular mural. But the homeowner envisioned it on this on one wall in the vestibule – the wall that the family will see when they are in the room with the kids, or on the bed.

In the second photo, I am laying out the mural, to see how I want to position it on the wall. The mural is about two feet too wide for the wall, and about 10″ too tall, so some of it had to be trimmed off. The homeowner wanted the bird on the left to be visible, so I plotted my placement around that.

One of the photos shows a mock-up of the mural which was included in the instruction sheet. It shows that the mural comes in eight panels, and it shows which design elements are included in each panel. This is very helpful in deciding which areas will be cut off, and which will be placed prominently on the wall.

Complicating that is the width of the individual panels relative to the width of the wall, and the fact that the paper will expand just a tad once it is wet with paste, which throws off initial measurements based on dry paper.

I’ll skip all the math and engineering, but to cut to the chase, I trimmed a little off here and added a little there, and the mural fit the wall beautifully, with the bird taking prominence on the left, an another large bird being featured just about in the dead center.

This mural is by SureStrip, one of my favorite brands. It is a thin, pliable, pre-pasted non-woven material that is designed to strip off the wall when it’s time to redecorate. In the meantime, it was positively lovely to work with, and it will stay on the wall and perform beautifully for years / decades to come.