Large Arched Niche With Rounded / Bull Nosed Edges

August 9, 2018


This is a very large art niche in the entry I blogged about yesterday. The edges are not just rounded, but the top is arched, as well. Wallpaper might turn the rounded edges alright, but it will not handle the arch and wrap under it, too – at least, not without a whole lot of cuts and splices. Best to trim at the edge and leave the underside of the arch painted.

It’s a whole lot harder than it sounds, because, with the paper hanging over the edge, it’s impossible to see where you are trimming. I have a little gadget (not shown) that is made from the same plastic edging that is used on the drywall to form these rounded corners. It has a couple of notches cut into it at various spots. I place a pencil in a notch and run the gadget around the rounded corner, and that gives me a nice, straight line to use as a guide for trimming.

Personally, I’ll be glad when these bull-nosed edges fall out of style. In the meantime, I am happy I have my little gadget in my toolbox.

Advertisements

Wild, Wonderful Chintz Wallpaper in a Montrose Entry

August 8, 2018


This newish townhome in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston is fairly traditional in style. But the new owner loves color, and she’s not afraid to be a bit daring! She had the ho-hum tan travertine tile floor taken out and replaced with this large, vibrant black & white checkerboard.

Next she woke up the walls with this vivid chintz floral wallpaper pattern. Chintz is an old and classic design – but there is nothing stuffy or old fashioned about these wild colors!

I love the “in progress” shots (2nd photo) because they show the stark contrast between the original white walls and the drama starting to transform them.

This wallpaper is by Eijffinger, a European manufacturer. It is a non-woven material, and is intended to be a hung using the paste-the-wall method – but I prefer the results when I paste the paper.

World Map – A Lesson in Measuring

August 6, 2018


Regarding the previous post about the world map … with murals, it’s always important to measure carefully before ordering. Some maps are custom made to fit your specific wall, and some come in a set size. In both cases, it’s best to have the paperhanger measure the space and tell you what to order.

When the mural is custom-sized to fit your wall, it’s imperative to add an extra 2″ to EACH SIDE of the map. This means that you will have an extra 4″ of both width and height. This will allow for trimming at the ceiling and floor and opposite ends, as well as accommodate crooked walls and unlevel floors and ceiliings.

In the case of this world map, the product came in one set size. Turns out the mural was half a foot or so taller than the wall. Good. That allows a little extra for trimming at the ceiling and floor.

But the width came out to be exactly the same as the width of the wall. Sounds perfect, huh? NOT! Because when I butted the mural up against the door frame on the right, that gave a nice, tight fit – but since that frame was not perfectly plumb, by the time the 12′ of mural reached the opposite wall, it had gone cattywhompus, and that resulted in a crooked gap at the left side. See first photo.

In addition, the ceiling was way off level. That meant that ceiling line sloped downwards and “ate up” some of the print at the top of the mural.

If I had had that extra 2″ of “bleed” area all around each side, I could have hung the map a bit off-plumb, so that the print would have lined up with the un-level ceiling. And I would have had enough to meet both the right side of the wall and the left side.

But none of that happened, so here’s what I did. I butted the mural up against the door frame on the right side of the wall. That left a gap when I got to the left side of the wall. See first photo. So I took some of the paper that was trimmed off at the floor, found some blue water that was the same color as the part of the map on the left side, and fit it in to that narrow 1/2″ gap. The pattern doesn’t match perfectly – but you don’t notice it. And it is the part of the wall that will be behind the door.

In the photos you can see that there is part of the map that extends over the tops of the doors on either side (only the right hand side and door are shown). This area extends further into the wall than the door frame molding that the mural was butted up against. This left another gap, this time about 1″ wide, over each door.

Again, I was able to take some scraps that had been trimmed off and find a piece with color and design that “kind of” blended in, and I patched those in in the 1″ gap over the doors. Again, the pattern doesn’t match perfectly, but the color and the themes do, and over the doors, no one is going to notice.

One final trick … Remember I said that the ceiling was not level, and so it was chopping off some elements at the top of the wall? Those were letters that spelled “ARTIC OCEAN.” As the mural moved across the room, and as the ceiling moved along with it, we had three-quarters of an “A” on the left, and only an eighth of an “N” on the right. (Note: If I had had enough extra height, I could have pulled the entire mural up high enough that all those letters would have been cut off. Another reason to consult the installer before ordering a mural. 🙂 )

Anyway, the eye wants to see uniformity, not letters getting smaller as you move across the room. So what I did was, I decided that those words really weren’t important at the top of the wall – especially because the corresponding letters spelling “SOUTHERN OCEAN” had been cut off at the bottom of the wall, and also because the letters were so thin and unimportant that no one was going to see them way at the top of the wall, anyway.

But if someone did look up there, he wouldn’t want to see the name of the ocean getting progressively smaller. So I took some scrap paper that matched in color, and cut small patches, and then glued these over the letters “A,” “R,” “T,” “I,”… and so on, to cover them up. I used a special adhesive that would stick to the glossy map surface.

Once they were gone from view, and the gap at the left edge filled in, no one will be able to see anything crooked on this world map!

Bottom line: Have the paperhanger measure BEFORE you order the mural.

World Map for a Worldly Little Boy

August 5, 2018


The five-year-old boy who has this bedroom in a newish house in the Heights neighborhood of Houston is “map crazy” – so says his mom. Interior designer Stacie Cokinos found this colorful map full of primary colors that kids relate to, and that will satisfy his wanderlust, too.

The mural came 12′ wide by a little more than 8′ tall, and came in four panels – two across the top, and two across the bottom. (see third photo) Since the wall was shorter than the map, we decided it was better to lose the excess paper from the bottom, which was mostly water; that saved the more interesting land and country portions for the more visible top section.

Those four panels turned out to be 6′ wide. But my wingspan is more like 3′. Yikes! How to handle these awkward panels? No problem – I ran home and grabbed my other ladder. By placing the two of them next to each other (see fourth photo), I was able to walk from one to the other, and could easily manipulate the 6′ wide material. It also helped that this product was a paste-the-wall installation.

Swirly “Priano” Wakes Up a Tiny Powder Room

August 4, 2018


Here is a tiny powder room squeezed under the stairs in a nicely updated large home in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston. The homeowner wanted the powder room to match the feel of the more modern rest of the house – while coordinating with the dark blue tile floor. This swirly leaf pattern does all of that – and it visually pushes the walls away, while adding fun movement to the tiny room.

I don’t usually like wallpaper on ceilings, because I think it crunches the ceiling down on you. But here in this diminutive powder room, I think that papering the ceiling was the best design option. When a ceiling is papered, only one corner where the wall meets the ceiling can have the pattern matched (see top photo), and the rest will result in a mis-match. So it’s preferable to find a wild pattern like this, where any design mis-match in the corners will hardly be noticeable.

This room was particularly tricky, because the bottom-side-of-the-stairs ceiling came down not only at a slope, but at an angle. You can kind of see this in the fourth photo. The third shot shows the ceiling in the process of being hung.

“Priano” is a popular wallpaper pattern by Serena & Lily. Their papers are always a joy to work with, and they have cute patterns, too!

What’s extra cool is that I hung this pattern a few months ago, and the homeowner ended up with twice as much paper as she needed. (The old single roll / double roll conundrum. A good reason to always check with me before ordering your paper.) I was able to hook the two gals up, and some of the excess paper was sold to the new client, quick and easy.

Prepasted Wallpapers

August 3, 2018


Yesterday’s post was regarding a pre-pasted wallpaper. A lot of my colleagues scoff at pre-pasted papers, because they are lower-priced and because they are targeted to the DIY crowd.

But I like them! As long as they are paper or the newer non-woven materials (and not vinyl, which is horrible low-end stuff!), I think they are fabulous products, as well as much faster to apply. Please read yesterday’s post for more reasons why I like these papers.

In the photo, you see the water tray I use. I roll the strip up and run it through the water to activate the thin layer of paste which the manufacturer has applied to the back. As the paper comes out of the water, I fold the pasted sides together – this is called booking. The paper is set aside for a few minutes so the paste can activate, the paper can absorb moisture and expand, and to let excess water can drain off.

Then the paper is applied to the wall. Because a lot of water comes in contact with the surface, it’s important to wipe the surface completely, and to rinse your cloths frequently.

Happy Humming Birds Take the Hum-Drum Out of a Heights Powder Room

August 2, 2018


The light murky-green color of the original wallpaper pattern in this under-the-stairs powder room in the north Heights neighborhood of Houston coordinated nicely with the paint in the main rooms of the house. But the tiny fleur-de-lis pattern was way too small to do any justice to the room. The new homeowner never liked it and, after four years in the home, decided it was time for a change.

This new hummingbird pattern by Thibaut is called “Augustine.” It is one of my favorite designs, as well as one of my favorite products to work with.

As you can see, it fills the wall space much better, it is light and bright and airy, and it adds a pleasing upward movement – the whole overall effect is uplifting.

Also, the colorway is perfect with the room’s beautiful stained glass window.

When I first consulted with the homeowners, I showed them samples of more contemporary designs. They were not sold. Then I looked at their historically styled home, with it’s Victorian accents and classic furnishings. So I pulled out my more traditional file – and they zeroed in on this pattern right away.

Perfect choice! Indeed, this pattern dates back more than a hundred years. In fact, the goods come 18.5″ wide, as opposed to the typical 20.5″ wide, and I’m told that that is because it is printed on the same exact printing presses they used back in the 1800’s.

It is printed using the raised-ink process, it comes pre-pasted, it is a joy to work with, it doesn’t shrink when it dries, it hugs the wall tightly and is easy to work around corners, and should stay nice and flat under most home conditions for decades.

This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, and 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.

Wild Wallpaper In Frames That Will Be Hung On The Wall

July 31, 2018



Here’s some really cool, custom-made wallpaper that, expectedly, costs a ton. The homeowners wanted to accentuate two rooms (dining room, master bedroom) with these patterns, but, considering the investment, wanted to be able to take it with them, should they move.

After much deliberation and investigation of backings, weight, sturdiness, etc., it was decided to mount each mural on plywood, wrap each of those with a wooden frame, and then mount them on the walls with brackets that attach invisibly to the back.

The largest one, which already has its frame attached, and which you see in the top photo, measures about 7′ x 7′, and weights 80 pounds. Imagine getting that thing up two flights of stairs!

The top photo shows the large mural finished. It consists of two panels spliced in the middle. It was trimmed in place to fit inside the good frame you see around it.

The second photo shows the smaller mural being laid out. It will be applied to the board you seeing lying on the floor in the third photo. The plywood board has been sealed with KILZ, to prevent knotholes from bleeding through, sanded smooth, and then primed with a wallpaper-specific primer. I used Roman’s Pro 977 Ultra Prime.

These wallpaper panels are custom-made to fit the project’s dimensions, and have a few extra inches “bleed” area on each side to allow for trimming and adjusting for wonky walls. The bordering silver area will be trimmed off, as will an inch or so of the printed area on each side of the mural.

On the smaller, dark mural, someone forgot to add an extra inch for the top and bottom, so the mural was centered as perfectly as possible, but a little bit of the white plywood peeked out on both the top and bottom. Don’t worry – a black frame will be constructed to cover the edges of the plywood, and it will have a lip (rabbet) that will cover this teeny gap.

The last photo shows one page of the instruction sheets, which includes drawings from the manufacturer detailing the layout and dimensions of each mural. The large mural came in two panels, which had to be overlapped in the center, carefully matching the pattern, and then double cut, or spliced.

Double cutting involves overlapping the edges of the two strips of wallpaper, while carefully matching the pattern. Then you take a straight edge and a brand new, very sharp razor blade and cut through both layers of paper. This paper was very thick, so I had to press really hard to get through both layers in one sweep. You want to avoid making multiple cuts if possible.

To keep from scoring into the plywood below (and it’s even more important if you are cutting on a wall made of drywall and / or many layers of paint and primer), I put a strip of polystyrene plastic on the plywood surface to keep the razor blade from cutting into the bottom surface. Once the double cut is made, the excess wallpaper, as well as the polystyrene strip, are removed, and the two edges of wallpaper smoothed into place. This makes for a very perfect seam.

All this takes a lot of time. It would be really cumbersome in a larger or more complicated room. But protecting the subsurface is important, because, once the wallpaper starts drying, it shrinks a little and pulls taught, and if the surface below is not intact (due to a cut from a razor blade, or from something else like dust on the surface or layers of incompatible materials such as old oil based paint covered with latex paint), these layers can come apart (delaminate), and the wallpaper seams will pull apart. This is not the paper “coming loose,” and it cannot be “glued back.” It is actually layers of the wall delaminating.

Anyway, back to today’s project, and, sorry, a little out of sequential order, but all important information. These panels were to be hung on the walls, but had not been hung yet. This allowed me to do them flat on the floor, which I think was easier. The instructions said to paste the paper, but that was extremely difficult because they were much wider than my work table. I didn’t want to crease or damage the material. Most non-woven products can be hung by pasting the wall, so that’s what I opted to do. Except, in this instance, they were laid out on the floor. 🙂

The material was a thick non-woven on a mylar plastic, and was very thick and somewhat difficult to work with. In addition, the panels were much wider than normal wallpaper, and hard for me to manipulate. I was glad that the interior designer was hanging around and was game for helping me position these pieces.

As I said, the material was thick and stiff, and no matter how hard I pushed or what extreme tool I used (metal plate), it would not press tightly into the corners of the gold frame enough for me to get a satisfactory cut – meaning that there was a slight (1/16″ – 1/8″ gap between the material and the frame. No matter… The interior designer was easy going, and said she will add a small piece of molding to the inside of the gold frame, to cover any gap, as well as to prevent the thick material from curling up. On the smaller, dark mural, the black frame to be constructed will include a lip (rabbet) that will cover the open edge and help hold it down, as well as cover the outside edge of the plywood panel.

This gutsy wallpaper is made by Calico, a husband-and-wife team out of New York City that is just a few years old – not many people have this stuff – and even fewer have the balls to put it on their walls!

The interior designer for the project is Elizabeth Maciel, and the location is a newish home in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston.

Real Cork in a Pewter for a “Disco” Bedroom

July 29, 2018


More cork wallcovering today, on an accent wall in the first floor guest bedroom of the same home in Montrose (Houston) where I worked yesterday. The homeowners were going for a “retro disco” look. In the adjoining bathroom, there’s a disco ball chandelier (trust me – you can find anything on the internet!), and 1920’s speakeasy-era artwork and statuary in the bedroom.

This glamourous, smolderingly moody metallic wallpaper with its sparkles of gold round out the look with a very loud bang!

As you might expect, this wallpaper is in the line by the Queen of Glam – Candice Olson, and is made by York. The interior designer who pulled this room together is Elizabeth Maciel.

It 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.

A Great Pattern Choice for All Walls In a Bedroom

July 27, 2018


I didn’t hang this wallpaper, but I couldn’t resist taking a picture when I saw it in a guest bedroom of one of my clients here in Houston.

If you want a sweet looking room, this is a perfect choice.

The two-hue color scheme is relaxing, and the overall viney pattern is easy to look at and live with. It has an “English country garden” feel to it.

It’s the perfect pattern to use on all four walls of a bedroom.

Note: Once the homeowners get fully moved into their new home, they will outfit the room with more appropriate bedding, and add a little furniture and artwork to this room.