Jimmying the Kill Point

November 3, 2019


This is a shot of the last corner in a room, a spot we call the kill point. Almost always, this last corner results in a pattern mis-match.

In this case, the heavy vertical tree trunk was going to land just 5″ away from the identical tree trunk, which was originally close to the corner in the photo.

Two heavy tree trunks, both curving in the same direction, covered with the same leaves and flowers, would be very obvious to the eye. Not a big deal, because this is in a far corner up over a door. But, still, I thought I could remove the repetitiveness and make it look better.

Without going into a lot of detail, I took some scrap paper that did not match the pattern, and tucked its right side under the vertical tree trunk.

I used its left side to paste on top of / cover up the tree trunk that was originally in the corner.

Instead of cutting exactly in the corner, I allowed some leaves and flowers to wrap around the corner, trimming around them with a scissors so they were not cut off abruptly, but wrapped naturally around the corner in a continuation of the motifs.

Crooked Walls – Mismatch in the Corners, or at the Ceiling?

November 2, 2019

When turning an inside corner with wallpaper, you cut the strip in two vertically, so that just 1/8″ or so wraps around the corner, and then you overlap the remaining part of the strip onto that little bit. This eliminates wrinkles caused by crooked walls. And it allows you to plumb up the new strip.

The walls and corners in this powder room were off-plumb. This is pretty typical, but since the room had 10′ high ceilings, by the time you moved 10′ down the wall, a little discrepancy turned into a big discrepancy.

This means that, when turning a corner, I had the options of mis-matching the pattern in the corner, in order to keep the new strip properly plumb. OR matching the pattern precisely and then allowing the new strip to hang off-plumb – which would cause the design to track off-kilter along the ceiling and floor.

This pattern afforded me the chance to fiddle a bit, to get the best of both worlds. I was able to match the pattern perfectly in the corner, as well as keep the motifs in their proper positions at the ceiling line.

I matched the pattern exactly in the corner. That caused the new strip to hang off-plumb. So I cut the strip in two vertically, by slicing along the wavy edge of the tree trunk. See top photo.

The right half of the strip of wallpaper was left stuck to the wall, off-plumb and all. The left half I pulled away, and replaced onto the wall an inch or so lower, so the design elements hit the ceiling where I wanted them to. I then lined its left edge up against a plumb line, allowing the right edge to overlap the left edge of the strip that was still stuck to the wall.

There was a small overlap at the top, but the overlap grew wider as I moved toward the floor, due to one strip being plumb and one being off-plumb.

But since I had cut vertically along the tree trunk, your eye only sees that the tree is intact, and doesn’t notice a little bit of pattern being covered by that tree trunk. The overlap leaves a bit of a ridge under the paper, but the design of the tree trunk obscures that nicely.

As the overlap got wider as I moved down the wall, there were some motifs that got covered up enough that they were noticeable. I simply took some scrap paper and cut leaves or butterflies or other elements and pasted them in appropriate spots, to fill in missing parts.

OK, actually, it was a little more involved than that, and it took at least a half an hour. But as you can see in the second photo, no one would notice that the pattern has been tweaked.

And best of all, this trick kept the pattern intact in the corners, and placed it where it was supposed to be at the ceiling line, as well as kept it evenly spaced as it moved along the woodwork of the door frame to the left (not shown).

Powder Room Goes BIG and BOLD With COLOR

October 31, 2019


Enter another typically all-white-and-grey new home in suburbia – Towne Lake, Cypress (northwest Houston).

The homeowner, however, loves color, and is slowly adding her personality to the home. Starting with this powder room. You can’t get more fun than lime green and navy blue – with birds and flowers tossed in, too!

The wallpaper is called Giselle, and is by Thibaut, one of my favorite brands. The pattern has an unusually long 36″ repeat, and one photo shows me rolling it out on the floor to get a perspective before I start laying out the room.

Don’t Skip the Wallpaper Primer!

October 30, 2019


A primer is imperative for a good wallpaper installation – and I mean a primer designed to be used under wallpaper, not a generic primer or a paint primer.

A good primer will

seal porous surfaces
mitigate a glossy surface (paper won’t stick to gloss)
allow for “slip” and repositioning while installing the paper
provide “tooth” for the adhesive to grab ahold of
withstand the torque created when wallpaper dries and pulls taught,
preventing “popped seams”
protect the surface, making future removal of the paper easier while
preventing damage to the wall

Ultra Prime Pro 977 by Roman’s is my preferred primer.

But different situations call for different primers. When hanging on a thirsty surface like new drywall or a textured wall that has been skim-floated, I will use Gardz by Zinsser. Other primers could be called for in other situations.

Playful Jungle Animals for Baby Girl’s Nursery Accent Wall

October 29, 2019




No pink flowers or butterflies for this baby girl… Her parents chose a jungle-themed wallpaper pattern with cartoon-like animals and plants, in a predominately green colorway.

The pattern is called “Animal Kingdom” and is by Milton & King. It is a non-woven material, and I hung it by the paste-the-wall method.

Original painted wall
My preferred wallpaper primer
Fan to dry the primer faster
Initial strip hung alongside red line from laser level
Finished wall
Detail
Label

Balls on the Walls – Slight Pattern MisMatch

October 26, 2019


This slight pattern mismatch was not much of a big deal. From a distance you can’t even see it. I did use some pencil to touch up some of the darker balls, to disguise the mismatch for close-up viewing.

KILZ Stain Blocker to Cover Green Ink

October 26, 2019


See the green vertical line to the right of the paint can? The previous wallpaper installer probably had a little white wall showing at a seam, so used ink that matched the color of the wallpaper to disguise it.

Ink (along with other substances, like blood, rust, water stains, oil, tobacco, mildew, wood sap, and others) can bleed through joint compound, paint, and wallpaper. Sometimes it takes a few months or years.

So it’s important to discover these stains, and to treat them with a stain-blocking sealer. Water-borne products simply don’t work, no matter what the label claims. Shellac-based sealers like BIN are good. But I like KILZ Original, the oil-based version.

3-D “Rivet” Squares on Grasscloth in a Home Office

October 25, 2019


Phillip Jeffries’s “Rivets” pattern is popular and trendy. The wallpaper I hung today is Thibaut’s response to it.

Thibaut’s version offers the same texture and appeal of real natural fiber grasscloth, as well as three-dimensional squares that unite to form larger squares.

Thibaut’s version Union Square is better because:

1.) Less expensive

2.) Better color consistency (fewer paneling and shading issues)

3.) Squares form a more muted secondary pattern, so it’s much easier to live with (the pattern doesn’t hit you in the eye every time you look at a wall)

4.) Squares are positioned on the strips so the installer can easily manipulate the pattern to accommodate un-plumb walls and un-level ceilings.

5.) For similar reasons, the installer can “tweak” the design a bit to ensure favorable placement of the squares (to eliminate having to cut through any of the squares, or bend them around a corner). Read below.

6.) When it’s unavoidable to have to cut through the squares, the Thibaut 3-D material is much easier to get through with a blade or scissors than the PJ or the Schumacher products.

7.) The bolts are marked in the order they came off the printing press (see photo), so you can hang strips sequentially, to minimize shading and paneling (do a search here on those terms).

8.) Thibaut provides clear tips on how to work with natural materials and what to expect with the finished outcome.

9.) Thibaut offers to replace material lost to working around defects, and they will also reimburse an installer for (part) of his labor, if a product is defective.

10.) Other points which are escaping me right now. But suffice it to say, despite its grand reputation, Phillip Jeffries products are often extremely difficult to install, and disappointing in appearance, and customer service is basically, “We never had this problem before – it must be the installer’s fault.”

Thibaut, on the other hand, researches what it takes to make a good product, does test hangs, and, if there is a problem, Thibaut actually listens to feedback from us installers.

In the window photo, I did some tweaking to get the rivets to line up exactly over the middle of the window. It took some further tweaking to position the squares so they would march down either side of the window at the same distance from the edge.

How did I accomplish that? After much measuring and plotting and a few practice strips, I widened the distance between two sets of squares over the center of the window – by a full inch. 4.5″ instead of 3.5″ is a big difference, yet it is barely noticeable. What is more important is that the squares going down either side of the window are all 3/4″ from the edge.

This home is in the Briar Park neighborhood of Houston – interestingly enough, right next door to another home I papered a year or so ago, and a block away from another home I where I hung paper in the powder room and have more bathrooms to paper coming up … In fact, I have put wallpaper in a whole lot of homes in this one tiny neighborhood. Near Beltway 8 / Sam Houston Tollway and Briar Forest.

The interior designer is Layne Ogden of Layne Torsch Interiors.

Another Shot of Yesterday’s Woven Grasscloth Install

October 24, 2019

Textured Woven Grasscloth in Home Bar Area

October 23, 2019


This new home in the Briarpark neighborhood of west Houston is spacious and light, with floor-to-ceiling windows, white walls and neutral-colored floors and furnishings.

Like many young families, the homeowners were looking for texture, rather than pattern, to warm up their home bar area. Layne Ogden, of Layne Torsch Interiors, found them this 2-tone, basket-weave sort of grasscloth pattern by Thibaut.

Seams are a little less noticeable on this woven grasscloth, but buyers should still be aware that ANY “natural” product presents the possibility of mis-matched seams, shading and paneling, as well as being easily stained, or even targeted by cats or dogs who want something to dig into.

To help reduce the instances of paneling, Thibaut has labeled their bolts in the order they came off the manufacturing line. The idea is that if you place strips that were dyed at the same time next to one another, it will minimize any possible color differences as you move through the printing batch numbers.

The only weird thing for today’s project is … how did it happen that there are TWO bolts numbered #12? ?? AND … what’s up with that one bolt that has no label or wrapper of its own?

The two bolts of #12 I can deal with. But the unwrapped bolt I am afraid to work with. It is undoubtedly a return from gawd-knows-whom-or-when, and it’s impossible to know what run or batch it’s in.

So I’m ahopin’ that I will be able to pull enough tricks out of my hat to paper the room without having to use this bolt.