There’s No Mistaking Which Walls Get Papered!

April 11, 2021

My client was on a conference call working from home when I arrived, so she left the door unlocked and I let myself in.

She had made certain that I got the wallpaper on the right walls!

See tomorrow’s post for the finished room.

Whimsey and Color for Heights Downstairs Bathroom

April 10, 2021
“Before pic.” The grey paint does warm the room up a bit, and it definitely shows off the decorative moldings. Yet the room feels flat.
Here we are “After,” with the room energized by color and with all sorts of clever images to look at.
Under-the-stairs angles complicate hanging paper in and around the shower.
Super close-up shows an almost hand-painted look.

This family in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston is all about their two young daughters. The wallpaper pattern they chose for their powder room could be called “fantasy personified” – perfect for kids! And adults using the room will be wowed by the visual impact of the bold black background and bright pops of color.

It may look like “just a bathroom” to you – but this took me more than nine hours to hang (I had done the prep yesterday). Intricate moldings to trim around, small spaces, tight angles, dimensions that didn’t mesh, high ceilings that made reaching areas such as over the sink difficult (i.e. risky), and more.

The wallpaper is by Borastapeter, a Scandinavian company. It’s a non-woven material, which has a lot of advantages over traditional paper or vinyl. Although one could use the paste-the-wall installation method, in this chopped up bathroom with intricate detailed areas, I chose to paste the paper. This helped ensure adhesion in even the tightest spaces, and also made the material more flexible and easier to manipulate.

The interior designer is Stacie Cokinos of Cokinos Design.

Don’t you just love the pig wearing a sweater?!

Cool Antique Wallpaper Trimmer

April 9, 2021

Spotted at the huge bi-annual antiques and junk show in Round Top / Warrenton, Texas this spring.

It reminds me of the tools tucked in the basement of our family wallpaper & paint store back in St. Louis.

Check out this YouTube video of someone restoring one just like it.

Realistic, Textured Faux Brick Wallpaper Accent Wall

April 8, 2021
Textured wall skim-floated smooth, primed, and ready for wallpaper.
Starting in center to balance off-level ceiling line.
Pretty realistic!
The material has a slight texture, although it’s not visible in this photo.

Originally, the homeowner, a single guy in the Houston Heights, had a sort of Asian theme in his master bedroom. But he was ready for something more guttural and free form. Mission accomplished!

The new look is a little bit Industrial Modern, and a little Back Alley. 🙂

He has a lot of sports memorabilia, and I think that would look great hung on this faux brick wall.

The ceiling line was not level at all, which means that you can expect the bricks to not line up perfectly straight across the wall at the ceiling. Bricks would be taller on one end and cut shorter at the other end.

And so I started hanging in the middle of the wall, butting my strip up against a plumb line from my laser level. Moving across the wall, as the ceiling line starts to track up or down, by starting in the middle, you even out any wobbling of the pattern at the ceiling by spreading half of it on the right side of the wall and half at the left side.

As it turned out, the bricks stayed perfectly straight across the ceiling line.

This is a lightly textured, embossed vinyl product by Akea, a British company. I was really expecting a non-woven paste-the-wall substrate. But this was on a paper backing, which you don’t see often these days, especially with the European manufacturers.

It was thin and flexible, the seams laid down nicely, and no bubbling (bubbles are pretty typical with paper-backed vinyl goods).

Foliage Disguises a Kill Point

April 7, 2021
Too many elbows!
Printed layer delaminated from backing.
Design cut to size.
Successfully disguised.

When you finish wallpapering a room, the kill point is where the last strip meets up with the first strip. The pattern virtually never matches, so we try to put it in an inconspicuous place, such as a corner behind a door.

The double arm of the tiger in the top photo wasn’t really a big deal, especially 9′ up and obscured by the jutting door molding. But it bugged me, and I couldn’t resist playing with it.

I figured I could cover it up with something else. I found some foliage from another part of the design that was big enough to cover the offending elbow and repetitive palm leaves.

This paper is a non-woven material, and is fairly thick. Simply slapping this on top of the existing paper would mean that the patch would stick out a bit.

So I delaminated the material, by carefully peeling the inked layer off the backing layer. Then I trimmed around the leaves.

Last photo … the patch is pasted and put in place, hiding the elbow and breaking up the repetitiveness of the palm leaves.

Narrowing Wallpaper Strip to Fit Width of Door

April 6, 2021

Top photo: At 27″ wide, my next strip was going to extend past the door top molding a few mere inches, leaving me with a seam in an awkward place.

Second photo: I’ve drawn a pencil line parallel to the door molding, showing where that seam would fall. This means I would need two strips to fill that space, and both of them would be narrow, and thus wobbly and hard to keep straight.

If only I could make that next strip less wide…

Third photo: Voilà! The pattern was such that I was able to slice one of the motifs out of the center.

Fourth photo: This made my strip about 5″ narrower, while keeping motifs intact. It also kept the turtle at either end; important because it will be matched up to the turtle on strips on either side.

Last photo: My engineered strip lands just shy of the edge of the molding. Now I only need one strip to fill the space between it and the corner.

Abstract Desert Mural for Baby Boy

April 4, 2021

Original textured wall skim-floated smooth, primed, and ready to hang.
Ready for the crib!
Close-up showing watercolor-like effect.
Rolling panels out on the floor, to check sequence, pattern match, measurements, layout, etc.

No teddy bears or rubber duckies for this baby-boy-to-be. His parents wanted a more earthy theme and color scheme, as well as a pattern that would grow with him.

This mural went on an accent wall. The crib will sit in front of it. The remaining three walls will be painted a light, earthy grey, which will make the whole room feel unified and snug.

It’s uncommon to have a door on an accent wall, and note that that 3′ wide door ate up a good chunk of the 12 1/2′ wide mural. I debated putting paper on that 1 3/4″ wide strip to the right of the door. But I’m glad I did, because it sets the door off and, most important, it provides visual continuity of the sand dunes and mesas moving across the wall.

That narrow piece took about 45 minutes. It felt really good that that was one of the first things the homeowners commented on when they came in to view the finished wall.

Anewall is the manufacturer. I really like most of their products. I had the homeowners avoid the vinyl version, in favor of this thin, pre-pasted option. You simply need to use water to activate the paste on the back, let book a few minutes, and it’s ready to hang. I always augment with a little extra paste, which this time I rolled onto the wall, especially under the seams. This will help prevent shrinking and gapping at the seams as the wallpaper dries.

The thin paper will hug the wall more tightly and be more resistant to humidity (curling seams) than the vinyl option. It’s not particularly soil-resistant, though, so the parents will have to make sure that little hands stay far away from the wall.

Although not printed on the label, I believe the actual manufacturer of this is York Wallcoverings, in their SureStrip line. I like just about everything this company makes.

The townhome is in the Rice Military area of close-in Houston.

Textured & Tailored – Great Alternative to Grasscloth

April 3, 2021
Before
After
Close-up showing texture

All too often, real grasscloth wallcoverings are a disappointment, due to their color variations, shading, paneling, and lack of durability.

So I steer clients toward alternative products made by established wallpaper companies, that should deliver more consistent color throughout the bolts.

Warner is one such of the “good guys.” The paper is on a non-woven backing, which makes it easier to install, as well as easy to strip off the wall when you want to redecorate.

In addition, the embossed (textured) vinyl products are pleasingly tactile, and are much, much more resistant to water and stains than real grasscloth would have been.

Textured Vinyl Wallpaper Looks Like a Real Oil Painting

April 2, 2021

Re my previous post: The embossed (textured) vinyl on this wallpaper material almost makes us think it’s an authentic piece of art .

Abstract Art & Wild Color for Nursery

April 2, 2021
Before
After
Close-Up

This brand-new baby will get a jolt of color and energy from this very cool wallpaper pattern!

The manufacturer is Pierre Frey, a French company with a lot of presences, mostly in local art galleries.

Appropriately, the pattern is called “Arty.”