Posts Tagged ‘all-white’

Blue Rose Floral in Laundry Room

March 17, 2022
A few months ago, I papered the adjoining powder room in this same watercolor -y wallpaper pattern. Now that the homeowner’s new custom cabinetry has been installed in the laundry room, I’m papering that area, too. Here’s the before picture.
The homeowner made the point that, after all the money they spent on the carpentry, everything was swallowed up by the all-white walls. Well, a little color and pattern from wallpaper changes all that! Besides being beautiful, note how the wallpaper makes the moldings and cabinets stand out.
Here the roses look purple … they’re actually more navy blue in color.
Close up. The design looks like real watercolor brush strokes.
Note there’s a slight pattern mis-match at the seam. This is a very close-up shot. From three feet away, you don’t notice it.
Tomorrow I’m hanging another room with the same pattern but from a different run … Let’s see if the pattern matches better in the new run.
The pattern is by Caitlin Wilson and is in the Sure Strip line, made by York , one of my favorite manufacturers.
This is a unique pre-pasted material, as it’s designed to strip off the wall easily when you redecorate. I like Sure Strip a lot.
Do a Search here to read about my install techniques with these.
This is a nicely renovated and updated home in the energy corridor / Memorial area of west Houston.

Bright and Fun Retro Look in Powder Room

March 12, 2022
No boring beige or all-white walls in this home of a growing and active family in the Cypress / Jersey Village area of Houston.
Throughout the home, the mom has added touches of blue, green, yellow, and pink, along with a heavy dose of mid-century modern furnishings and accessories.
Time to pull the powder room into the mix!
Originally, this room was wallpapered in a typical ’80’s pattern, complete with a border running below the ceiling. Did I say ’80’s ?!
That wallpaper had been removed, and the walls were painted a dark tan. The room was very boring and boxy and uninspiring.
But … add a little wallpaper and – nothing boring here!
And the look definitely invokes the ’50’s, ’60’s, and ’70’s – can you say Flower Power ?
Spoonflower sells several types of wallpaper. Definitely do NOT get their peel & stick (see my page to the right), and I’m not fond of their vinyl material. I do like their pre-pasted smooth , which is what my client chose.
Spoonflower doesn’t come in standard dimension rolls. It comes in 24″ wide ” rolls ” of 1′, 3′, 9′, or 12′ lengths. So measuring and calculating is a little more complicated than for traditional wallpapers.
(The mermaid kitchen towel on the right is also by Spoonflower – and they have wallpaper to match!)
Strips of this material are designed to be overlapped at the seams. This is good, because it prevents gapping at the seams as the paste dries, and it also eliminates stress on the wall that could cause underlying surfaces to delaminate and come apart. Do a Search here to learn more.
The downside is that this overlapped area does leave a ridge running the length of the seam. Most people don’t mind the look, especially with a busy pattern like this one.
Pattern # 4330883 is called Party Posies.
This material is custom-printed. The homeowner ordered 11 rolls, and here you can see how the manufacturer has numbered each of the rolls in sequence (5th roll of 11 total).

Wallpaper in Midwest Living Magazine

March 1, 2022
Always cool to see wallpaper featured in a decorating magazine, to nudge homeowners toward using paper in their own homes. This dark jungle pattern is a dramatic transition from entry to living room.
No boring all-white walls here! Bold color and a pattern full of visual movement make this powder room a fun and energizing space. As I like to say – you can get away with a lot of drama in a small space like a powder room!

Christmas Grinch is Thumbs Down on Modern Farmhouse

December 16, 2021

I love old things and old homes, so I’m always thrilled when someone preserves a historic (or just plain old “old”) home and updates or renovates it. Many bungalows in the Houston Heights have been lovingly rescued. And many others that are torn down are replaced with large new homes that fit the original architectural style(s) of the neighborhood.

Personally, I prefer traditional styles. And steer away from trends in decorating … if it’s in style now, it will be out of style in a short while. IMO that includes the current craze called ” Modern Farmhouse ,” as well as all-white color schemes, open floor plans, shiplap, and minimalist interiors.

This home in the Heights is doomed to be razed. By his holiday yard decorations, I can tell that the outgoing homeowner shares my sentiments.

Serena & Lily “Feather” in Houston Play Room

June 12, 2021

The original all-white walls didn’t do much to make this play room for young kids feel fun. Mom chose “Feather” by Serena & Lily to pump it up a couple of notches!

In the close-up photo, you can see the irregular lines of this design, as well as the hand-painted, watercolor-y look. The material has a slight “raised ink” texture.

You might think the pattern is a little busy now, but once the furniture is back in place and the artwork goes up, the room will feel more balanced.

The homeowners also commented that the pattern on the walls makes the room feel bigger and less “lost” than with the all-white look.

The home is in the Braes Heights neighborhood of southwest inner Loop Houston. The wallpaper is called “Feather” and is by Serena & Lily – one of my favorite brands.

Fun and Loose Geometric in Bellaire Powder Room

July 15, 2020


Same house as the last three posts. The homeowners have done a super job of coordinating the decorating in the downstairs living area, as well as keeping the husband happy (he likes the all-white look), by choosing soft patterns made with thin lines and light colors, all on white backgrounds.

This powder room got a dose of geometric, but without the rigid lines and harsh bold strokes of many geometrics. This softer version is much easier to live with, and the hand-drawn look is plenty fun.

The wallpaper is by A Street Prints, and they’ve cleverly gotten the Scott brothers of HGTV fame to sponsor a line, “Scott Living.”

The paper is a non-woven material, and is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate. The seams are virtually invisible.

This wallpaper pattern 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.

Another All-White Room Goes Wild With Color

November 7, 2019

Boy, did I have fun with this one! Another all-white room rescued from the igloo-look.

This is the bathroom of a pre-teen gal in the West University neighborhood of Houston. She likes pink and orange, but is too old for flowers or girly stuff. Another focus was to keep in theme with the bold black band of tile around the top of the wainscoting.

This wallpaper is by Marimekko, 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.

This is a non-woven product, and can be hung by the paste-the-wall or the paste-the-paper methods. (I pasted the paper.) This material is dimensionally -stable and should not shrink or put tension on the wall as it dries. It has high fiberglass content, and is designed to pull off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate.

It was nice to work with.

Warming Up a Heights Family Room

July 10, 2019

Originally, this family room in a recently and beautifully renovated and enlarged home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston wasn’t exactly “all white” – but the ecru colored walls were pretty close. The home owner wanted to warm up the walls, as well as tie this room to the blue Tartan plaid wallpaper used in the living room. Additionally, she noted that since three rooms in the front of the home had beautiful wall treatments (meaning, of course – wallpaper! 🙂 ), with the white kitchen and pale family room, the house felt “top heavy.” It was time for some counterbalance in the back of the home!

Originally she considered grasscloth. But after I explained about the noticeable seams and drastic color variations between strips, she took my suggestion and checked out this Bankun Raffia, a fabric-backed vinyl product that is embossed with a basket-weave texture, and has a pleasing glazed-wash finish effect. And … the color is quite uniform, so you don’t see seams or panels, as with real grasscloth.

Unlike most wallpapers, this product is very durable and washable, and it even strips off the wall easily when it’s time to redecorate. Thanks to the fabric backing (instead of the more common, lower-end paper backing) it’s one of the few vinyl products that will hold up to humidity in a bathroom.

Another benefit is that the beautiful woodwork in this room is no longer lost in a sea of white, but stands out against the dark wallpaper. The color is navy, but because the room has a lot of white woodwork, as well as two walls of 8′ high windows, the room still feels open and airy.

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.

Quiet Glitter and Glamor for the Grandparents’ Guest Bedroom

May 17, 2019


No “Before” picture, because the wall started out just a boring white.

This is the fourth accent wall I did in a very contemporary new-build in the River Oaks neighborhood of Houston, and it has the least amount of color. So it fits the all-white theme in the home, and it lends a very soothing feel to this guest bedroom, which is used by the grandparents when they visit.

This wallpaper features a textured, embossed vinyl surface, with jagged stripes alternating between white and cream. Silver glitter worms its way along the stripes, lending just a tad of dazzle.

This was a paste-the-paper material, and there was no pattern match, so there was virtually no waste.

The paper is by Zambaiti, an Italian manufacturer. 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.

Stroheim Playful Geometric – A Tough Hang Today

March 24, 2019


This colorful and playful geometric pattern went in an elevated “nook” in an open play area in a new home in the Oak Forest neighborhood of Houston. It wakes up an otherwise all-white house, and coordinates perfectly with bright artwork in the room.

The paper is by Stroheim, and was somewhat difficult to work with, especially in a room that presented the challenges it did – wide window, and four cubbyholes around three fixed built-in shelves.

First, the paper had a selvedge edge that had to be trimmed off by hand, a straight edge, and a razor blade. This is tedious and took about an hour to trim eight single rolls.

Second, any time you have wallpaper whose ink smells like mothballs, you know you are in for a tough day. The ink absorbs moisture from the paste at a slower rate than the substrate, so the paper backing puckers (called waffling or quilting). This doesn’t go away, even after booking and sitting in a closed plastic bag for several minutes – so you end up with wrinkles and blisters on the wall.

One thing that helps with this is lightly wetting the surface of the paper with a damp sponge. This allows the ink to absorb moisture, and relax at the same time the paper backing is expanding and relaxing.

You will also notice in the photo that the edges of the paper are curling toward the front. This is, again, the result of uneven absorption of moisture from the paste. Unfortunately, this continues once the paper is on the wall. I had to keep going over the seams to make sure they were down and that edges were not coming away from the wall. No matter how much paste I put under the seams, or how tacky I let the paste get, it didn’t seem to want to grab those edges.

Once the paper is good and dry, though, usually the seams lie down nice and flat, and any blisters or wrinkles will disappear.

Clay-based paste has less moisture content, and could possibly help reduce the waffling. I hate clay paste, though, because it’s hard to wipe off woodwork and off the surface of the wallpaper, and because it works its way through the paper and casts a tan tinge on the paper.

One thing that will help with issues like these is a liner paper. A liner is a plain paper of a special material that is applied to the wall before the decorative wallpaper goes up. It’s job is to absorb moisture from the paste, which causes the paper to dry more quickly, and to “lock down” the seams quickly. So a liner has its place, but it does add an extra day of labor, plus the cost of the liner material.

Interestingly, the Stroheim instructions did not spec a liner; only a good quality wallpaper primer (which I did use). They also did not spec clay-based paste, but recommended three different types of clear pastes (vinyl, wheat, or cellulose), each of which is distinctly different and contains different moisture contents. I would think wheat or cellulose to be too thin and weak to adequately adhere this particular material.

I’ve hung plenty of their products and had no problems with waffling or curling seams; it’s clear that the company has a blanket set of instructions that they stuff into every roll, with no regard to the substrate it’s printed on or the type of ink that was used.

The other thing is, most of the time, you don’t know what you’re going to be working with until you show up at the job site. Even if you research the brand and pattern number ahead of time, there will likely be no mention of the type of substrate or the “mothball” smelling ink. If I had known, I would probably have suggested that this homeowner use a liner. Beyond that, it’s good to have your truck stocked with a variety of primers and adhesives.

Back to the difficult room … I always say that a window like that is easy for you to look at, but very difficult for me to get paper around, at least while keeping the pattern straight and properly lined up. That’s because papers stretch and twist when they get wet with paste, and can contort out of whack. And the wider the obstacle you are working around, the more the paper can go off-kilter. So you can start perfectly lined up on the left of the window, but by the time you get to the right side, the strip coming down from the top of the wall may not line up with the pattern coming across horizontally below, and the two edges may not butt up perfectly, either.

It didn’t help that the pattern had an irregular hand-drawn look, so I couldn’t use a ruler to make sure every horizontal line was equidistant from the window molding. So that window wall took about two hours in itself.

Then there was the wall on the right, with the four cubbyholes in between the three shelves. I had to get two strips of paper on the backs of each of those cubbies, keep the seams from curling, and keep the pattern straight, continuing to four more strips on the wall to the right (the inside side of the wall you see on the right of the photo next to the door molding), so that all four of those strips would line up with one long piece coming down from the ceiling. Oh, and did I mention the extremely unlevel ceiling? This wall in itself took about three hours.

Actually, the irregular hand-drawn look of the pattern helped immensely, because the pattern didn’t have to line up exactly perfectly. Also, the way it was printed on the paper, the design motifs didn’t cross a seam, so that allowed me to raise or lower a strip slightly, to keep the pattern where I wanted it, without disrupting the look of the design. In fact, it was possible to not follow the correct pattern match, and the eye really couldn’t detect it. I could also cut strips vertically to narrower widths, to suit the area I was working in.

There were a few other tricks I pulled out of my hat, in lining up the design after coming around the window and shelf walls, to plumb up the pattern after turning a corner, and to disguise the very unlevel ceiling. The kill point (last strip meets up with first strip) turned out amazingly undetectable, with very little tweaking from me.

In the end, the nook turned out fantastic, and is ready to host children’s performances, reading marathons, or just gazing out the window.

The interior designer for this job is Stacie Cokinos, of Cokinos Design. She works mostly on new builds and on whole-house remodels, and is a great resource for finding and coordinating all the details – tile, plumbing and light fixtures, rugs, furniture, lamps, accessories, paint colors, and, of course – wallpaper. 🙂