Posts Tagged ‘animals’

Fairytale Wonderland for Young Boy’s West U Bedroom

May 9, 2019


This young family in the West University Place neighborhood of Houston started out with another installation company that was not a good fit. They also started out with a wallpaper selection from a company that I find to be of poor quality (Hygge & West). I was honored that they let me take on the wallpaper install. AND that they listened to my suggestion to explore other manufactuers … the paper they chose is superior in quality, and is a far more charming and fitting design for their young son.

The walls originally had a light texture that I skim-floated over, then sanded smooth, and then primed with Gardz.

The new wallpaper is very similar in color to their original choice of palm leaves, so they could keep the trim and wainscot paint that had already been applied.

Whereas paper from the original manufacturer is known for curling and disappointing “pouches” at the seams, their final selection from Boras Tapeter (a Scandinavian company) is some of the most cooperative and best performing paper I have every worked with.

The seams are invisible, the material doesn’t expand (no pattern distortion or screwed up measurements) and it doesn’t shrink (no gaps at the seams). There is no booking time, so each strip can be pasted and then hung immediately. It can also be hung via the paste-the-wall method. It hugs the wall tightly and turns corners nicely. It doesn’t crease easily, as many thicker non-wovens do. When it’s time to redecorate, this non-woven material is designed to strip off the wall easily and with minimal damage to the wall. And the surface is more washable than most, making it well suited to a young child’s room.

And best of all, the “Wonderland” design, with frolicking animals and whimsical foliage, is much better suited to a child’s room than the original palm leaf option.

This wallpaper pattern is by Boras Tapeter, 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.

Timorous Beasties “Indie Wood” Wallpaper in a Dining Room

April 21, 2019


This is some novel stuff!

This wallpaper pattern is something like a mural, but with a little more brain-bending. It is one continuous design, with no element or motif repeating or showing up more than once in the 33′ length of each bolt.

It’s a good thing that no one was living in the house, and that furniture had not been moved in yet. Because I needed a LOT of floor space to roll out and study each bolt.

I had to compare the height of the walls and the length of each strip that I needed, to the placement of various animals in the design. This enabled me to plot where on the wall any given critter would appear, and to get as many creatures as possible on each strip, all while accommodating the homeowner’s preference for a few special ones.

I rolled the entire 33′ long bolt out on the floor, took measurements, and used blue tape to indicate the tops and bottoms of each strip. This enabled me to fiddle with various layouts and animal positions, and I could make changes if needed.

We needed 22 strips, and I was getting 5 strips out of each double roll bolt. So after I cut five strips from the first bolt, I moved on to the second bolt.

To give a more random look, I wanted the same animals (the squirrels, for instance) to be placed at different heights moving around the room. So when I started plotting my strips and cuts from the second bolt, I made sure that the creatures landed at different heights from the first bolt. That first bolt and the animals’ positions I called “A” and the second bolt and positions were “B”. I only got four strips out of the “B” bolt.

This meant that any given motif would appear at the same height on the wall only every 9th strip. This would give a pleasing, random look.

The plan was to hang all the strips taken in order from the “A” bolt first, followed by strips taken sequentially from the “B” bolt. Repeat with another “A” and another “B”, and then back to an “A” bolt again.

To be sure, I measured and marked and double-checked everything carefully before I cut anything. Then each strip was labeled … (“2A,” “4B,” etc.)

Working around the doors and windows, the room was divided into four sections. The next step was to get all those strips of paper placed in proper sequential order, standing in queue all around the room – all while figuring the center point of each of those four spaces and plotting which strips would be placed flanking the middle of that wall.

Some cool features of this pattern is that it was placed smack down the middle of the 20.5″ wide strip, which made it a lot easier to center and balance the design than if it had been placed off-center. Also, the design did not reach across any seams, so (other than plotting the height where each critter would fall) there was no pattern match. This made it a lot easier to accommodate crooked walls and un-level ceiling and wainscoting.

The dimensions of the room were also amazingly in sync with those of the wallpaper pattern. Vertically, the 82″ height of each wall / strip worked with the placement of animals on the paper, so virtually all animals were kept intact. There was only one bird who got cut in half at the wainscoting, and that happened only every 9th strip (twice in the whole room).

Horizontally the pattern worked out just as incredibly. The width of all of the walls worked out to be within an inch or two of a multiple of the width of the paper. So centering the strips / pattern on each wall resulted in a look as if the design were “framed” by the door and window moldings. Sorry, no pics.

The downside was, just by happenstance, I ended up with an extraordinary number 1″-2″ strips that had to be squeezed in. Time-consuming and PITA.

I centered the pattern on each of these four wall spaces. But that meant that the rhythm of the pattern would get screwed up as it passed over the door to the butler’s pantry, two windows, and the 12′ wide entry to the hallway.

Here again, the dimensions worked amazingly well, and so did the very accommodating pattern. In the short 10″ high areas over these doors, I was able to “fudge” the pattern by slicing strips vertically along a tree trunk, for instance, and then overlapping the two sections an inch or two, to “shrink” the strip’s width. Making an inch of width disappear from each of seven strips is barely noticeable, and maintains the rhythm that the viewer’s eye wants to see as it travels around the room. Again, sorry, no pictures.

The walls had been primed a few days before; just laying out and hanging the paper took me 12 hours.

I hung this “Indie Wood” pattern by Timorous Beasties on the top 5′ above paneled wainscoting in a new home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston. It’s made of non-woven material, and can be hung by paste-the-wall or paste-the-paper (which was what I opted to do). Non-wovens are strong and have a high fiber-glass content. They are designed to strip off the wall easily when it’s time to redecorate. Additionally, they are dimensionally-stable – they do not expand when wet with paste. This makes it much easier to plot placement of strips and motifs.

The interior designer for this job is Stacie Cokinos of Cokinos Design.

Birds on Black Wallpaper by Witch and Watchman

March 2, 2019


This very cool wallpaper pattern looks almost photographic. The design has depth, and look at those eyes! – you feel like you are being drawn into the jungle.

The paper was pricy, so, to cut down on the number of rolls needed, the homeowner ran chair rail around the middle of the room, and had the paper applied to the top 5′ only. She painted the bottom an almost-black purple (it’s way darker than the photo shows), and the ceiling got the same paint, too.

The room will be finished with a sort of mosaic, three-dimensional, leaded-glass mirror – that lights up!

Tucked into a large powder room, this is a bold, gutsy look that not every home is ready for. But it’s perfectly suites to this Montrose (Houston) couple!

My second black paper in two days, I again used artist’s chalk pastels to color the edges, so the white substrate would not show at the seams. I tried different install methods, but this non-woven material worked better and had less shrinking when I pasted the wall (rather than the paper).

This is a perfect example of “If you love it, nothing else will do, so find a way to make it happen.” The homeowner saw this pattern and went nuts over it – then went nuts when she learned the price. I suggested that she search for similar patterns by other companies … but nothing grabbed her like this one. After a few months, she came back to her original choice. Eliminating the bottom portion of the room helped bring the price down.

The paper is by Witch & Watchman, and is called “Folia.” It comes in other colorways, but nothing is nearly as dramatic as this “Dark” option. Their patterns are pretty cool. I’ve hung a similar jungle-themed design, but it had cute furry animals on it in addition to the birds – with the same piercing, luring eyes. https://wallpaperlady.wordpress.com/2016/08/21/how-many-birds-in-the-forest/

Animal Blocks in a Baby’s Room

December 25, 2018


A new baby will soon be welcomed into the home of this young couple in the Houston Heights neighborhood called Norhill (or Woodland Heights). Mom wanted something gender-neutral, and found this colorful and adorable shapes-and-animals-in-blocks print on line at Lulie Wallace.

This went on just one accent wall of the room, but it is tame enough that it would work OK if put on all four walls.

I skim-floated the walls first, to smooth out the light texture on them, then followed with a primer coat of Gardz.

This wallpaper is a bit atypical, because it is pre-pasted, which means it comes with a thin layer of paste on the back that you activate with water (instead of having to roll paste on the back of every strip). I do like the pre-pasted papers. I do roll a light coat of paste on the wall, to augment the manufacturer’s pre-paste.

Another dissimilarity is that the paper comes packaged in individual strips, rather than traditional rolls with several strips rolled up together.

Even more unusual is that the strips were meant to be overlapped, instead of butted together. Overlapping the seams creates a vertical ridge under the paper which is somewhat visible. You also have to have an adhesive that will stick to the acrylic coating on top of the paper.

There are some good aspects to overlapping seams. For one, this makes for a very strong bond. For another, it takes stress of drying and shrinking paper off the seam and distributes it across that 3/4″ of overlapped area. In this 80-year-old house, with it’s many layers of paint with a history of not sticking to each other, this is important, because it greatly reduces the chances of the tension on the seams causing the paint layers to come apart, which would cause gapping at the seams. See previous post.

Another positive feature about overlapping the seams, and how that worked with this particular pattern, is that, in this 1930 home, with its unlevel ceiling and floor and its greatly-out-of-plumb walls, I was able to manipulate the strips of wallpaper so that they looked straight and plumb – even though they were actually hung quite off-plumb.

This wallpaper pattern is by Lulie Wallace, and was bought on line.

Getting A-head

January 26, 2018


I plotted the layout of this pattern to have the leopards’ heads be at the top of the wall, just under the crown molding. This worked nicely for the first three walls. But due to unplumb walls and a very unlevel ceiling, as the wallpaper strips moved from left to right across the four subsequent walls, these poor leopards got their heads got cut off.

I cut new intact heads from scrap wallpaper, and appliquéd them onto the cats’ chests. A little snipping and trimming was needed to get the various body parts to line up.

The leopards’ necks are a little shorter than when they started out. But that is much less disagreeable than half-heads. 🙂 From 9′ down on the floor, all the eye can see is that the animals’ heads are lined up perfectly under the crown molding.

Noah’s Ark for a Baby Girl’s Nursery

December 24, 2017


Rooms for baby girls don’t have to be all about pink. Here’s a neutral-toned, animal-rich, Noah’s Ark-themed pattern that will grow with the child. This is just one accent wall, a very effective use of pattern, and economical, too.

The mother-to-be commented that the pattern was soft enough that it could go on all four walls of the room. I agreed. But I think it would look better, perhaps, if wainscoting were added at the bottom 1/3 of the wall, or a wooden chair rail and a slightly darker shade of paint at the bottom, and then have the paper on just the top 2/3 of the wall.

This wallpaper is by Andrew Martin, a British company, and was printed on a pulp stock substrate. It has no protective coating, so mom will have to be sure the little one keeps her hands off the paper. The home is in the Rice Village area of Houston.

Playful World Map With Fun Animals for Baby’s Nursery

August 8, 2017

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Couples love this mural for their new baby – I’m betting it’s all over HOUZZ and Pintrest, and that’s where web surfers are finding it. This is the third time I’ve hung it, each time in a different color. The seams were much better this time, having been cut straight so there were not gaps of overlaps, and lying down better. (Search to read my previous posts.)

The mural came from Portugal, and was custom-sized to fit this accent wall in the nursery. The homeowner did the measuring, and he did a good job (as opposed to a prior install – read previous post), and the manufacturer also added a little around all the edges, to allow for trimming at the side walls, floor, and ceiling.

Now, if the homeowner had called me before he ordered that mural, I would have had him get it a little larger. The manufacturer’s guidelines allowed for a scant 1″ at the ceiling and baseboard. In a perfect world, this would be fine.

But in this room (in a beautifully renovated 1940 bungalow in the Houston Heights), the walls were not plumb, and the ceiling was not level. If I had hung the mural true-to-plumb, it would have started tracking off-kilter along the ceiling and floor lines, quickly eating up that 1″ allowance, and quite possibly ending up running out of paper at the top of the wall or at the baseboard. The same thing could happen at the corners, too. (That did happen on one of my other installs.)

Before I pasted a piece, I did a lot of measuring and plotting, to be sure I could position the mural so it would cover the entire height and width of the wall space. Much too complicated to explain. But, in a nutshell, what I did was to hang the mural off-plumb, but parallel with the un-level ceiling.

I started with the center panel, to minimize any tracking on either the left or right sides. I also made sure that the strips falling on either side of that center piece would be wide enough to reach the two wall corners, even if they hung crooked.

My strategy worked, and I ended up trimming off 1 1/4″ from the top, and 3/4″ from the bottom, on each strip. This meant that the mural was running parallel with the ceiling and floor, which was more important than being perfectly plumb. (Note: Usually you’re trimming off 2″ at both top and bottom, so today we were really cutting it close.)

Another complicating factor to this install was that, while most wallpaper widths are 20.5″, 27″, or 36,” these three mural panels were each 4′ wide. I’m 5’3″ tall, and my arm stretch is probably not a full 4,’ so handling, positioning, manipulating the pasted 9′ long strips was very difficult.

Additionally, it was important to “work clean,” because the surface is textured and it’s not easy to remove any paste that might get on the front of the wallpaper.

There’s more: My work table is 33″ wide, so pasting and booking the 48″ wide x 9′ long strips was a challenge. And the pasted strips, which I booked in accordion folds, were heavy and unwieldy.

All that mental plotting and physical gymnastics were worth it, though, because the finished mural looked fantastic, and the mom-and-dad-to-be loved it.

I have a pretty long lead time (4 months), but this couple called at the moment when another job had just postponed due to construction delays, so I had an open day and could get them done right away. That’s really good, because the baby’s coming, and the parents want to get the room furnished and decorated and ready.

I’m glad I was able to help them. 🙂

“Otomi” Forest Frollic Wallpaper Pattern by Hygge & West

March 16, 2017

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Like animals? Like the forest? Like a little whimsy? Then this wallpaper pattern is for you!

I hung this in a children’s bathroom in a very nicely remodeled 1939 brick cottage in Montrose (inner Houston). The bottom 1/3 of the walls was shiny white subway tile, and the straight-lined vanity cabinets below were painted a strong, glossy yellow. The navy blue wallpaper pattern looked smart against the white tile, and the color perfectly complimented the yellow cabinetry.

This wallpaper pattern is called “Otomi,” and is in the Emily Isabella line by Hygge & West. This wallpaper can be bought on-line.

Map & Anni-Mal Mural for a Baby’s Room Accent Wall

January 15, 2017
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Here is a neutral-hued, map-and-animal mural for an accent wall in a baby’s nursery in Baytown (a distant suburb of Houston). This is a new home, and the walls had the typical builder’s heavy-ish texture. I spent the first five hours of the day smoothing the wall. The prevents bumps from marring the face of the mural, and provides a smooth surface for the paper to adhere to.

I don’t know the manufacturer of this mural, but I am not keen on their quality control. As with the last time I hung this mural (exactly one month ago), the seams were not cut straight (see photo with pencil pointing to a jagged edge), and that resulted in some “gaps and overlaps.” The seams also did not lie down as nicely as I would have liked. (See photo) The paper did lie tighter and flatter to the wall as it dried, but the slight gap between the seams remained.

In addition, we had discrepancies in the size of the mural compared to the dimensions of the wall. Please read my previous blog post about this. https://wallpaperlady.wordpress.com/2016/12/13/soft-toned-map-mural-for-a-new-babys-room/ For any wallpaper project, and especially for something custom-made, like this mural, always have the wallpaper installer come out and measure BEFORE you order your paper.

In this case, the homeowner measured his wall accurately, but he had not realized that 2″ should be added to EACH SIDE to allow for trimming at the ceiling, floor, and sides, and to accommodate for unplumb walls and unlevel ceilings and floors, and the twisting and warping that happens to paper when it becomes wet from the paste.

The manufacturer added 2 cm to the mural’s dimensions, but this scant amount was not enough to camouflage the sloped ceiling line, so they ended up with a gap between the paper and the ceiling, that grew from 1/16″ to 1/2″ as the mural moved from left to right across the wall. The good thing is, the homeowner is going to install crown molding, which will cover this gap nicely.

This is an adorable pattern that is popular with mothers-to-be. Plus, the mural is printed on a durable canvas-and-vinyl material, that will resist dings, tears, water, and grimy little fingers. 🙂

Soft Toned Map Mural for a New Baby’s Room

December 13, 2016
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These new parents-to-be chose not to know the gender of the baby ahead of time. Mom loves this cute wall mural map, and so she picked this neutral color for the baby’s nursery accent wall.

The mural was custom made to fit the wall. It came in four panels, each being 40″ wide. That’s a little wider than is comfortable for me to handle easily, but I came up with some tricks that made it manageable. It’s a somewhat heavy vinyl on a canvas type backing, and will be durable in a child’s room.

I was not 100% happy with the seams, as some were not cut straight and so there were a few “gaps and overlaps,” and there were areas where the seams did not lie as flat as I would have liked. But those are things that I notice, but most other people don’t. Once you stand a few feet back, all you see is the cute animals and the countries they come from.

I hung this in a newish home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston.

Interestingly enough, a few days later, I visited a home where the new parents-to-be had chosen the exact same mural, but in a different color.

IMPORTANT NOTE: In both these cases, the homeowners measured the wall on their own and ordered the mural before calling a paperhanger. The result is that both custom made murals were too small. The homeowners didn’t realize that you need to add about 2″ on EACH SIDE of the mural, to allow for trimming at the ceiling and floor, and to accommodate for unplumb walls and unlevel floors and ceilings.

In the case of the mural pictured above, the husband had allowed a few inches on either side, and there was a wee bit of wiggle room on the height, so we ended up with about 3/4″ of gap at the bottom, between the mural and the baseboard. It’s so small that they will probably leave it alone.

In the other home, where the mural was made to the exact dimensions of the wall, there will probably be a wider gap at the bottom, and possibly on other sides, as well. They may need to get some decorative wood molding to fill in the gap.

Morale: Always call the paperhanger BEFORE your order your paper.