When’s The Last Time You Saw A – Bidet?

September 6, 2017

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Wow, this takes me back to the ’90’s, when all the expensive new homes came with a toilet, and alongside it, a bidet. (If you don’t know what that is, Google it.) I hardly ever see them anymore. (And did anyone ever use them, anyway?)

The odd thing is, if all those homes were built with a large 2-seater water closet – where are they today? I mean, I am in a lot of homes, and a lot of bathrooms, including ones from the bidet-era, but I don’t see bidets. Did the homeowners rip them out? And if they did, what did they do with the floor space left in the large room? Or are these people just hiding their over-accessorized water closets, too embarrassed to reveal that they have one of these relics from the past?

Well, bidet or not, I would be happy to update the room, and I think that wallpaper is the perfect accent to do that!

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Hiding the Tail Ends

September 3, 2017

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When deciding where to position this wallpaper pattern on the wall, I had two options.  One was to place the medallion at the top of the wall.  This meant that a little slice of the medallion above it would show beneath the crown molding.

The other option was to place a half a medallion at the top of the wall, which keep all the other medallions intact.

But I just couldn’t like the idea of having half-medallions at the top of the wall.  So, as you can see, I chose the first option.  But I also didn’t like the idea of fragments of medallions peeking out from below the crown molding.

My solution was to take little scraps of paper and cut half-moon slices that I then appliquéd over the offending bottom-ends.  From the floor, the appliqués are not visible, and the finished view looks a whole lot better.

Bohemian Chic in a Master Bedroom

September 3, 2017

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The walls in this 2nd floor addition to a 1950 ranch style home in west end of the Houston Heights started with a heavy texture and gloss paint.  The project was an 18′ wide accent wall in a master bedroom.

I skim-floated to smooth the wall, and it took a full day of multiple fans blowing at high speed, hitting areas with the heat gun, and alternating between cold air-conditioning and warm forced-air heat to get them to dry.

The third photo shows how they looked after sanding and priming.

The homeowners have a real eclectic taste in decorating, with lots of furnishings and accessories that are vintage, worn, quirky, repurposed, colorful, and the like.  I love this medallion pattern because it goes with the home’s aesthetic… and just look at how it matches the bedspread!

Keeping the medallions straight at the top of the wall took some tweaking, because the walls were not plumb, nor was the crown molding level.  In the end it looks great.

The wallpaper is a non-woven material and a paste-the-wall installation.  The seams were positively invisible.  The paper is by A Street Prints, by Brewster, and came from the U.K.  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.

 

Painting Grasscloth is NOT a Good Idea

September 2, 2017

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This room was originally wallpapered with an olive green grasscloth. Then, perhaps to “update” the room before putting the house on the market, the grasscloth was painted over with tan paint.

Folks, this is a bad idea. For one thing, it just looks bad. Look at the second picture. The paint is dull and lifeless, and takes away the depth and natural look of the grasscloth material.

Secondly, it makes the material virtually impossible to remove. The paint soaks into the fibers, congealing into one hard, solid, stiff mass. Pulling this stuff off the wall took about the most physical strength that I have ever had to use to strip wallpaper.

The pity is that they could have simply taken a few steps to properly remove the grasscloth.

Getting Smoothing Compound to Dry – Fast

August 31, 2017

Digital Image  Many homes here in Houston have textured walls.  The texture will show through wallpaper and look bad, and it also prevents good adherence to the wall (because the paper wants to stick to a smooth, flat surface, not to the tops of bumps on the wall).

 

 

 

So I smooth the wall by troweling on a smoothing compound (drywall joint compound), which is similar to plaster,

UnBEARably Cute

August 31, 2017

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Here’s something cleverly fun for a little boy who’s coming in a couple of months.  Bear paws and bear faces.  What could be cuter?!  The color coordinates beautifully with the blue paint chosen for the walls and ceiling.

This wallpaper is by Dwell Studios and is in the Sure Strip line, one of my favorite wallpaper brands.  It is pre-pasted and easy to work with, thin and hugs the wall tightly, seams are invisible.  And, when it’s designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece with no damage to the wall.

I hung this in a baby boy’s nursery in the Cottage Grove neighborhood of Houston.

Light Fixtures With Small Bases Are Difficult To Work Around

August 30, 2017

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On some light fixtures, the base is barely larger than the electrical box or its mounting plate, so it won’t cover any imperfections in the wall, and it’s essential that the wallpaper comes up exactly to the very edges of the mounting plate.  I often remove that mounting plate so the paper can go under it, which gives a neat look.

In this room, the light was changed from one fixture centered over the sink to two wall sconces.  The electrician had a hard time fitting the new boxes into the wall.  (It is much easier on new construction.)

There are a lot of things going on wrong with these sconce settings, but some are not visible and are difficult to explain.  It took me about an hour to figure out what was going on, and how to rectify a box that was cattywhompus in the wall – but that’s a different story.

Here you see a gap because the sconce base is too small to cover the hole for the electrical junction box.  This fixture had a larger (3/4″) gap on the other side that is not pictured.   In the next photo, the box is extra large, and extends out beyond the small sconce base.

I had to cover up those gaps to make a solid base for the wallpaper to hold on to.  In the case of the blue box, I had to smooth over the ridge caused by the thickness of the blue plastic against the wall (to prevent a ring from showing under the wallpaper, all around the fixture).

To bridge the gaps, I used a certain kind of paper, dunked in Gardz, a penetrating wall sealer that dries hard.  That essentially recreated the portion of wall that had been cut away.  Once that dried, I skim-floated over it with joint compound and then sanded smooth, to even everything out.

I used joint compound again to float all around the ridge on the blue box, and got a perfectly smooth wall.

Since I had been able to remove the mounting plate, I was able to get the wallpaper to fit under it, so no gaps showed around the base.  Then I reconnected the wires and rehung the sconces.

As you can see in the finished photo, it turned out great.

 

Flooding in Houston

August 29, 2017

Sitting home, house-bound, rained in, jobs postponed, due to Hurricane Harvey and massive flooding in Houston.  It’s impossible to get anywhere safely.  I and my house are fine.  I hope my customers, past and future, are equally well.  Many people here have lost their homes.

Wallpaper in Better Homes & Gardens Again – Not Lovin’ It This Time

August 27, 2017

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“…Mitchell Black (company) is taking the intimidation out of wallpaper, one bold pattern and easy-hang strip at a time,” says the bi-line.  I’m always glad to see wall décor in public media.  But I see a number of problems with the rest of their information.

First, they print commercial grade (fine for its setting), traditional paper (great – as long as it’s a good substrate), and peel-and-stick (horrible).  P&S paper is like putting a large and unworkable sheet of Contact Paper on your walls.   Even though they call it “removable paper,” it will tear up the wall as you pull it off.   It’s very difficult to get smoothed out and looking good; the article even says that you can expect it to trap air bubbles so “…save it for rooms with lots of furniture and soft light.”  !!

Next, they print on 24″ wide x 18′ long rolls.   Regular wallpaper comes either 20.5″ or 27″ wide.  Why print on an odd sized roll?  And what’s with a measly 18′ long roll?  Most papers come 33′ long or 27′ long, and generally yield three or two strips respectively.  With a roll 18′ long, with 8′ high ceilings, you might get two strips (after allowing for trimming and pattern placement / matching), but with the more common 9′ ceilings, you will get only one strip).  And a whole lot of paper you paid for that is going in the trash can.

Last, it says, “Some pros paint first, but it’s not necessary.  Just spackle holes and sand rough spots.”  Wrong, wrong, WRONG!  Proper wall prep counts for 60% or more of a successful job!  Paperhangers don’t “paint” – they prime, with a primer specifically suited for wallpaper.  And merely glossing over imperfections won’t hide them … walls must be as perfectly smooth as possible.  If you paper over a textured wall, the bumps will show through.  If you paper over a glossy wall, the paper won’t stick.

I’m not fond of their patterns, either.  Cute designs, but three of the four photos of room sets with furniture and accessories looked awfully busy.

Just my 2c.

Who Thought A Black Bathroom Was A Good Idea? Here’s Better …

August 27, 2017

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This large powder room in a brand new townhome in between Montrose and the Heights (Houst0n) was originally painted black.  It was just too intense.  The interior designer knew that, while still keeping the dark color scheme the homeowners wanted, a little pattern would make the room less foreboding and more inviting.

I skim-floated the walls to smooth them (2nd photo), primed, then hung the paper.  OK, the 3rd photo is dark (not much light in the room + crummy camera), but if you look closely, you can see the pattern.  The other photos show the design nicely.  It’s large in scale, and that’s good, because the walls are nearly 10′ high, so the pattern fills the space nicely.

The interior designer for the job is Pamela O’Brien assisted by Danna Smith, of Pamela Hope Designs.  Their interiors are lovely, clean-lined, yet still warm and liveable.  The wallpaper is by Designer Wallpapers, and was a delight to work with.