Earthy, Natural Serenity on a Master Bedroom Accent Wall

June 26, 2020


The headboard wall had been painted a darker brown than the other walls in this master bedroom … but the homeowner sought a more soothing and comforting feeling for her bedroom – which has become something of a sanctuary, during these days of COVID and stay at home.

Interior designer Kandi Palella, of Kandi Contemporary Design, found this warm, earthy, organic wallpaper pattern. Viewed up close, it has the look of a hand-woven blanket … It really makes this room feel snug and welcoming.

Kandi coordinated other elements of the room (not pictured). Like a rug in the exact same colors and with the same woven texture. And artwork that includes leaves in the same color, as well as the scratchy fabric-like texture. One thing you can see are leaves reiterated on the bedspread, that are almost identical to the pattern on the wall.

This wallpaper is a non-woven material, and I used the paste-the-wall installation method. The manufacturer is Chesapeake, by Brewster.

The home is in Porter, which is way north east Houston.

Wallpaper Coverage …. Not What They Lead You To Believe

June 25, 2020

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Photo: Waste from one 2-wall room; all this paper is going into the trash.

For all those folk who think they can figure up how much wallpaper they need without first consulting a professional installer, and they try to calculate based on square footage, along with “calculators” found on vendor websites … Here is a good example of why square footage is NOT an accurate calculator.

Referencing yesterday’s post …. I’m not going to get into a whole lot of math re square footage. Let’s focus on the Strip Count method. Let’s just say that this accent wall required 12.3 strips. Effectively, that is 13 strips.

Due to the 11′ height of the wall and due to the length of the pattern repeat, each 33′ long double roll bolt yielded two strips.

After I used those two strips, I was left with a “tail end” that was about 8′ long. Since my wall height was 11′, here was nothing I could do with a strip 8′ long. So it went to the scrap pile.

The paper was about 2′ wide. 2′ wide x 8′ long = about 16 square feet of waste. Multiply that times the 13 strips it took to cross the wall, and you get 208 square feet of paper that is going right into the trash bin.

That’s roughly equivalent to FOUR DOUBLE ROLL BOLTS of wallpaper. Bought and paid for, but not available to put on your wall.

In real life, measuring is even more complicated than that.

In addition, the photo above shows the waste from today’s install of a 14 single roll breakfast room. The large roll lying on the floor, and the roll behind it, are tightly wound up and are both WAY bigger than the photo makes them appear… A whole lot of paper cut off and thrown away, in order to match the pattern.

So, folks, please let the professional measure, before you order your wallpaper. There are many, many factors to be considered, aside from raw square footage.

More info is available on my page to the right.

Entwined Circles Geometric Fills a Massive Living Room Accent Wall

June 24, 2020


This couple wanted to warm up their living room, inject some color and personality, and visually define the space as separate from other areas of their open-concept main floor.

The wall is 11′ high and nearly 22′ wide. With that massive a space, you need a design that will stand up and fill the wall.

They considered a couple of options, before falling in love with this pattern of interlocking silver circles on a dark blue background with agate / stone swirls.

This is a non-woven product, and I hung it using the paste-the-wall method. The material doesn’t expand when wet with paste, and is designed to strip off the wall easily when it’s time to redecorate. This one was a little stiffer and thicker than I would have liked, but it went up nicely enough.

This wallpaper pattern is by Graham & Brown. I generally like their papers. This was bought from my favorite source for good quality, product knowledge, expert service, and competitive price – 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.

This is a newish townhome in the Rice Village neighborhood of Houston.

Angled Geometric Accent Wall

June 23, 2020


This small first-floor room will serve two purposes … One: The homeowner is a massage therapist, and treats clients in this room. Two: The room will serve as a reception / living room area for guests when the couple entertains.

There will be a kidney bean-shaped, bright orange sofa placed in front of this accent wall, and a dynamic round coffee table with a black & white geometric pattern will sit in front of that.

An invigorating room for sure!

There were a few minor printing defects, as noted in the close-up shots. I had the same thing when I hung this wallpaper pattern before. The homeowners were not bothered by these slight issues – but I have a plan to disguise them (using appliqu├ęs) if they wish to do so later.

The townhome is brand new, in a new gated development in the Timbergrove neighborhood of Houston. The walls are textured, and I spent yesterday skim-floating, sanding, and then priming the walls (two different rooms). This morning, the walls were smooth, dry, and ready for wallpaper.

This wallpaper pattern is by York, in their SureStrip line – one of my favorite brands. It is pre-pasted and goes up on the wall easily. It is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece, when it’s time to redecorate.

The paper was bought from my favorite source for good quality, product knowledge, expert service, and competitive price – 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.

Complimenting Artwork With Wallpaper

June 21, 2020


This all-white master bedroom definitely needed perking up. The homeowners also wanted to coordinate with the large painting you see on the right.

This salmon-colored accent wall fills the bill!

Once the bed gets put back in place, the soft grey wooden headboard will be set off nicely against the adventurous wallpaper.

I say the pattern looks like stock market ticker-tape, or the control panel of a space ship. Take look at the close-up – how would you like to try to find that pattern match from one strip to the next?!

The townhome is brand new, and is in the Timbergrove area of central Houston. The paper is by Designer Wallpapers, and was very nice to work with, and will hold up nicely over time.

This wallpaper was bought from my favorite source for good quality, product knowledge, expert service, and competitive price – 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, Virginia, These Walls Are NOT Ready For Wallpaper!

June 20, 2020


This powder room in a townhouse in the Galleria / Tanglewood neighborhood of Houston has been remodeled. When the old vanity countertop was removed, the drywall was torn.

When the old vanity, which had spanned from wall-to-wall, was removed, it revealed the original wall behind it, complete with heavily-textured paint.

The contractor made a half-hearted attempt to smooth the torn drywall. But he didn’t even attempt to cover the textured bottom portion.

Seriously? Does anyone think that wallpaper can be applied over walls in this condition?!

Mirror Tar Bleeds Through Wallpaper – Prevention

June 18, 2020



The owner of this newish home in the Woodland Heights (Houston) had her handyman remove the powder room mirror and its surrounding built-in wooden frame. Mirrors are often adhered to the wall with mastic, a tar-like substance. When the mirror comes off, some of the tar residue invariably remains.

In the top photo, you can see where removing the mirror took the blobs of mastic along with it, as well as round sections of the drywall. But there are small smudges of tar still remaining on the wall.

The problem is that tar (among a lot of other substances) will bleed through wallpaper (as well as paint, and a lot of other materials).

There are stain blockers like my beloved KILZ Original Oil Based, BIN shellac based, or others, that are designed to block these stains. But I don’t trust them. For water, rust, blood, wood sap, etc., yes. But for oil-based substances like tar, I want more assurance. The best way to prevent bleed-through is not to cover the stain, but to remove it.

So I take a Stanley knife and cut into the drywall and then peel up the top layer of drywall, taking along the offending tar residue.

So now the dangerous tar is gone. But you’re left with torn drywall. This is bad for several reasons. For one thing, you have an uneven surface that will look bad under the new wallpaper (or paint). And since the top, protective layer of drywall is gone, any moisture (such as from wallpaper paste or from latex paint) will penetrate into the torn paper layer – which will swell and cause bubbling.

All of which looks pretty bad under wallpaper or paint.

So I used the product Gardz to seal the torn drywall. It is formulated to soak into the paper; then it dries hard and acts as a sealer and moisture-blocker. It won’t block stains, but it will prevent moisture from penetrating the paper and causing bubbling.

Once that was dry, I skim-floated over the entire area with joint compound. It looks rough in the photo, but once it’s dry, I’ll sand it smooth. Then I’ll give it another coat of the penetrating sealer Gardz. See last photo. Once that is dry, I’ll cover it with a coat of Roman’s Ultra Prime Pro 977 wallpaper primer, when I prime the other walls in this powder room.

All of these various products do take a while to dry, especially the joint compound as thick as I applied it. So I went to this job site a few days before the install date, to do the initial prep, so it would have plenty of time to dry before I come back for the final prep and wallpaper hang.

Warping Wallpaper – Grasscloth

June 17, 2020

Well, this was a first for me. I can’t say that I remember having a grasscloth that stretched and warped out of shape this badly.

What’s odd is that, after I pasted and booked the wallpaper, it was perfectly lined up and flat. It was only after the paper had sat for the resting period, and then I unfolded it and took it to the wall, that it started warping out of shape.

My first strip laid against the wall nice and flat, but did not line up against my laser level’s red beam, moving to the left the farther down the wall the strip went. The subsequent strip to its right, naturally, would not butt up against the first strip. However, this second strip did line up against the laser plumb line, on both the right and left sides. So I left it on the wall.

But I had to tear off and discard that first strip.

I had problems with many of the strips. As you can see, there was major warping and wrinkling. I was unable to smooth out most of these warps.

Some of my colleagues have suggested that my trimmed edges were not straight. And I admit that I sense that my ($200!) straightedge is not true (perfectly straight). But a 1/8″ discrepancy over a 9′ drop should not result in wrinkles of this magnitude.

I think that the substrate that S&L is using is absorbing moisture from the paste unevenly, and thus creating the warps and twists.

The only way I could make this work was to do a double-cut (spliced seam). I smoothed the grasscloth onto the wall as best I could, even though both the right and left edges still presented wrinkles.

I carefully pulled away from the wall the left edge of the previous strip (having applied extra paste, to keep everything wet and “open”). Between that edge of the strip and the wall, I placed a “Boggess Strip,” (invented by a fellow WIA member) which is a thin strip of 2″ wide polyethelyne plastic, that will protect the wall from my razor blade.

Now hanging the next grasscloth strip, I then covered the underside of the right (wrinkled) edge with blue plastic tape (also invented by the same WIA genius member). This would keep paste off the surface of the strip I was overlapping it onto. Then I smoothed the paper onto the wall, allowing the right side of the strip to overlap on top of the previous strip, by 1.5″.

I worked out wrinkles as best as I could, but some insisted on remaining. I then took my EuniTool straightedge (invented by yet another WIA member), and used it as a guide, along with the red light line from my laser level, and a new, fresh razor blade, to cut a straight, plumb line between the edges of the two strips.

The grasscloth was thick, and I had to press really hard to cut through both layers. The Boggess strip prevented scoring into the wall. This is important, because an un-intact wall can delaminate under the stress of drying / shrinking wallpaper, and this can cause the seams to pop open.

Back to the double-cut. Once the cut was done, I removed the plastic Boggess strip from the wall, and the protective blue plastic tape from the edge of the grasscloth, as well as the two excess strips of paper that I had just cut off. (Do a Search here to see pics and read more about the double cut / splice process.)

I could then smooth the newly-cut edges of the two strips together.

All this takes a lot of time.

I still had more strips to hang – and each required the same procedure. You only have so much “open” time before a piece of wallpaper starts sticking to the wall and cannot be jacked around with anymore.

I had to jump to the left edge of the current strip I was working with, and add a Boggess strip behind it. And then I had to paste and book my next strip, and apply some blue tape to the area that would overlap the previous strip. Wait a few minutes for it to book and absorb the paste.

Then repeat the double cutting procedure used on the first strip.

All this caught me off guard, and it threw off my engineering of the wall and my planned width of the strips. It also took a lot more time … I spent 5 hours hanging just these 5 strips.

Bottom line – I got ‘er done … But I am definitely NOT going to recommend Serena & Lily grasscloth to future clients.

And I am VERY grateful to my WIA colleagues for inventing tools and gadgets that help with these tricky situations, which I’m glad I bought and had stashed in my van, and for sharing their knowledge and experiences so I knew what techniques I might try.

Serena & Lily Silvery Grasscloth on Master Bedroom Accent Wall

June 15, 2020


Every wall of this brand-new home in the Houston ‘burbs is WHITE. The homeowners have opted to warm up their master bedroom – as well as add a little dazzle – with this silver metallic-backed grasscloth by Serena & Lily.

I have striped on the wall with a similar-hued paint, where the seams will fall, so any gaps between strips will not show white wall primer.

Note that with grasscloth, there is no pattern to be matched, so you will always see the seams. The S&L grasscloth I have hung has been pretty homogeneous in color, as you see above, so not much paneling or shading as with other brands and posts I have done.

Still, this was NOT an easy install. See future post(s) for info.

The home is in the brand new Pomona subdivision in Manvel, south of Pearland, both a bit southeast of Houston.

Flower Bomb on Teen Girl’s Bedroom Accent Wall

June 14, 2020


They tell me the 13-year-old girl who uses this bedroom has a BIG personality. Well, here is a wallpaper pattern bold enough to match that!

The pattern is called “Flower Bomb,” and is by Milton & King, a British company.

It is a non-woven material, so could be hung using the paste-the-wall method, which was nice because I didn’t need to haul in my big pasting table. The material is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece, when it’s time to redecorate.

The new home is in the Pomono community south of Pearland / Manvel / Houston.