Posts Tagged ‘balanced’

Light Bright Trellis Geometric Updates Red Dining Room

January 27, 2023
For more than a decade, the dining room was bold red from head to toe. In this photo, I’m applying drywall joint compound to smooth the textured wall .
Here’s the wall sanded smooth , primed , and ready for wallpaper .
Done. The next question is – what color to paint the bottom 1/3 of the wall ? What do you think?
Using the red beam from my laser level to center the design on the wall, and directly under the decorative corbel which the wood-worker homeowner husband installed as a feature to the crown molding .
Close-up. I also balanced the pattern between the ceiling and chair rail / wainscoting .
The wallpaper design is by Candice Olson , of HGTV fame, and is made by York , a company that I like a lot. It was purchased at a discount through Dorota at the Sherwin-Williams on University in the Rice Village . Call before heading over (713) 529-6515 . The homeowner had originally chosen something else, but it was unavailable. Dorota dug through her large library of selection books and found this, which is very similar, but more open and airy . We all three agree that this is the better option.
It is a non-woven material , and can be hung via the paste-the-wall method , or the paste-the-material method – which is what I usually prefer to do. This NW stuff is durable , stain-resistant , humidity -resistant , and easy to strip off the wall when you decorate down the road.
Cute in his bandana . But not very helpful at all! 🙂
The home is in the Candlelight Plaza / Shephard Park Plaza / Oak Forest / Garden Oaks neighborhood of Houston .

Whimsical Arabian Nights Dance in Powder Room

January 13, 2023
You’ve got to look at this close-up, to notice the antelope and flames / foliage .
You gotta make a decision … The light sconces (they are currently removed, but you can see the electrical boxes where they will be placed) were centered on the vanity top, but the faucet was off-center by about an inch. So I chose to center / balance the pattern on the sconces and countertop. The mirror will be hung between the two light fixtures, so we’ll end up with a pleasing, balanced look. The faucet isn’t exactly in the middle of the design motif, but no biggie – there’s going to be a mirror there, anyway.

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Corner going around shower. Note the window looking into the shower.
Although the website specs said this is a pre-trimmed non-woven material , that was incorrect. Turns out it had an unprinted selvedge edge that had to be trimmed off by hand . Here I’m using my straightedge and razor blade to remove this selvedge. This takes precision and a LOT of time .
The manufacturer usually provides trim guides to help you know where to cut. But it’s usually better to trim to the pattern – determine an element in the design motif that will meet up with the corresponding motif on the opposite side of the strip when the strips are hung on the wall, and use that as your guide . Be sure to trim off the trim guide marks, or they will show on the wall.
The pattern is called Arabian Nights and is by Relativity Textiles . I’ve never worked with this brand before. I was not pleased . In addition to the incorrect information about the pre-trimmed paper , the mfgr’s specs said this was printed on a non-woven substrate . It was not. It wasn’t even printed on standard wallpaper stock . Instead, it was a pulp material – This is a sort of old-fashioned wallpaper , and is very brittle and prone to tearing and dragging (your trimming knife or razor blade will get snagged and you’ll end up with a ” chewed ” jagged cut, instead of a crisp cut . It also tears easily. It also has no coating, so it’s not stain-resistant … Not good in a busy household with a 3-year old toddler , or anyone splashing water or soap or air freshener .
It was also difficult to hang . Applying wet paste to the backing causes the substrate to absorb moisture and expand at a different rate from the ink on the surface. So you end up with wrinkles , waffling , and quilting .
Sponging a light bit of water on the front before pasting helps even out the moisture differential and ease installation . I’ve never before encountered a pulp that had this type of ink on the surface. One clue for this bad stuff is when you open the package and it smells like moth balls . Once I figured out how to work with it, , it went OK – although tedious . The seams did look very nice.
BUT … all this effort would have been unnecessary and the finished room would be more durable if the mfgr had printed on a non-woven substrate (as their on-line specs stated) and had used standard inks instead of this weird , smelly , high-end stuff. In fact, the material would have cost the homeowners a whole lot less $ if it had been normal ink on a non-woven backing .
The home is in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston .
installer

From Dark and Dated to Light and Livable

December 17, 2022

Oh, my! – I hung lots of these chintz florals, ” satin ” look (the design of the dark green at the bottom of the wall), and dark colors back in the ’90’s . Sure enough – this home was built and wallpapered in 1994.
IIt’s still a good look, IMO, and the homeowner still likes it. But she’s just gotten tired of it. So – time for an update !
She also decided to eliminate the chair rail , so the new wallpaper will go ceiling to floor . Here you see some damage to the drywall where the chair rail molding was removed .
What a change! Now the room’s look is quiet and fresh .
The buffet , topped with a decorative mirror , will go on this wall . That’s why I centered the pattern in between the windows , so it will fall evenly on either side of the furnishings .
I also plotted so that a full “Moroccan lantern” (that’s what this style of trellis pattern is called), would balance out between the crown molding and the window molding. There were several of these 12.5″ high areas all around the room, so this placement of whole “lantern” motifs gave the room a pleasing look.
It also worked out that the lanterns were evenly placed and kept whole between the crown molding and the baseboard. See the second following photo to see what I’m talking about
As a note – just this one window wall took me about five hours to measure , calculate , and hang . Getting the pattern to go over, around, and under the two windows , and still line up and match correctly , took some time and futzing. The material was thick and stiff , and a bit tricky to fit into corners and trim around the decorative window molding .
In the foreground you see my work table area . The homeowner has let me put protective padding on her dining room table and then set my work table on that. This saves space and allows plenty of room for my ladder and other tools as I work around all four walls.
So that I could center the pattern on this wall , I had to start hanging my first strip in the middle of the wall. I was lucky this time, that the pattern was centered exactly on the edge of the wallpaper roll . Sometimes (as in the one I did yesterday – see previous post ) the center of the design motif is a to the right or left of the edge of the wallpaper . This, naturally, means you’ve got to do more measuring and plotting and double-checking , to be sure the center of the design falls down the center of the wall .
Back to the photo above … that dark block on the right side of my work table is my laser level. It’s shooting a perfectly plumb red line onto the wall. Here I’m lining up my first strip of paper butted against this red line .
Switch topics … Back in 1994, the original installer did a very nice job of hanging the wallpaper. But … he didn’t prime the new drywall first. That lack of primer / protective layer means that the wallpaper will actually bond to the drywall. I tried, but was unable to get the existing wallpaper off . Eventually, you need to factor in time , damage to the wall , paste residue left on the wall, and take a different tac if called for.
So I skim-floated over the seams , so they wouldn’t show under the new paper , and also floated over the damaged drywall where the chair rail had been removed . Sanded smooth , and then primed the patched areas as well as the original wallpaper, with Roman Ultra Prime Pro 977 . This stuff will adhere to the light acrylic (slick) surface of the original wallpaper, as well as protect it from moisture from my paste on the new wallpaper. ( Moisture could cause the underlying original wallpaper to expand , creating bubbles that will look bad, or loose areas that will pull away from the wall, creating a bubble or pocket.)
My primer is also lightly pigmented, so it helps block out the dark color and busy pattern of the original wallpaper . This particular new wallpaper is quite opaque , but not all of them are, so a pigmented primer is important , IMO .

Left corner of the buffet wall. Here you can see how the lantern motifs are placed between ceiling and floor.
The background has a lightly mottled effect, that mimics grasscloth a bit, and also adds more depth and warmth than just a plain solid color .
Been havin’ more than a fair share of defects lately, especially this week. This paper had on both front and back sides, incidences of these black flecks . They seemed to be maybe charcoal , so I wasn’t too worried about their black bleeding through to the surface , like ink or any oil-based substance will do.
Most of them were embedded in the material itself, so could not be wiped off , nor dug out with a razor blade . Some I had to cut around and discard the affected paper. Others were so small as to not be noticeable once the paper was up on the wall and all the furniture and artwork was back in the room.
There was also one 3′ section of wallpaper that had an odd streak or arc running across it. It wasn’t ink . It was more like some kind of compromise to the substrate . I noticed it was I was pasting the back of the paper . I turned it over and, sure enough, you could see it a little on the surface. (see photo in previous post) It’s the kind of thing that was subtle, but would catch your eye when looking at the wall from a distance . It was minor , but I discarded that strip . Good thing I have the homeowners purchase a little extra wallpaper .
The manufacturer is Designer Wallcoverings , which is a good quality brand (aside from the printing defects I described earlier ). It was a non-woven / paste the wall material , which is pretty user-friendly . It will strip off the wall easily and in one piece when you redecorate . Stain-resistant , and ” breathable ” in humid conditions .
The home is in the West University neighborhood of Houston . Dining room installer

1/2 Inch Width = A Full Strip

December 15, 2022

I’m fixin’n to hang faux grasscloth on this accent / headboard wall in a master bedroom in the Spring Branch area of Houston. The textured wall has been skim-floated , sanded smooth , primed , and is ready for wallpaper .
The material is 20.75″ (20 and 3/4″) wide . So here I’m measuring off how many strips of wallpaper I’ll need.
I’ve counted out seven strips across the wall, and have come to my last (8th) strip. Look at my pencil mark – it’s at 21.” Remember that the paper is 20 3/4″ wide. This means that, to cover that last, scant 1/4″ width , I’ll have to use a ninth strip. Which will be a whole 9′ high strip that’s 20.75″ wide.
Useing a 1/4″ wide strip off a 9′ long length leaves us with a whole lot of waste – paper / square footage just going into the trash.
This is, again, why you should not purchase wallpaper based on square footage. It’s more a matter of determining how many strips you will need – factoring in the pattern repeat, etc.
Even better , have the wallpaper installer make a site – visit and calculate for you.
Going a step further … Since this is a (faux) grasscloth and has not pattern match , the seams will all be visible . So we try to balance the panels on the wall. Meaning, the wall will look better with panels of equal-widths, instead of, for instance, eight panels at 21″ wide and one at 1/2″.
For the record, it also looks better to not have a seam fall at dead-center on the wall. Better to have that center panel straddle the mid-point.
With this particular install, that’s what I chose to do. I took the first (let’s just call it 21″ wide for ease) … I took the first 21″ wide panel and used my laser level to line it up so 10 1/2″ fell on either side of the center line on the wall. So, this first panel was straddling the center line.
From there, I used full-width (21″) panels one either side.
Until I got to the last panel on the left, and the last one on the right. These two ended up each being about 15″ wide. So I had seven panels that were 21″ wide, and then two flanking on either side that were 15″ wide. This gave the wall a nice, balanced, uniform look.
Yes, I could have hand-trimmed each strip to 19″ wide or whatever the math would have worked out to. But my option was simpler, faster, maintained uniformity between the majority of the panels, as well as uniform width on the two outer panels, eliminated the worry of gaps at the seams due to unevenly trimmed rigid vinyl goods, and the 6″ width difference wasn’t very noticeable. And, also, since this was a faux grasscloth and color variations were minimized, you could hardly see the seams, nor the width of the panels, anyway.
From 5′ away, this wall looked perfectly homogeneous .

Cozy, Slightly Rustic, Textured Paperweave for Houston Heights Breakfast Nook

October 30, 2022
Breakfast nook “before” is bright and airy – but washed out and uninspiring. The vertical tan lines are paint I’ve striped under where the seams will fall, to prevent the light colored primer from peeking through.
“After” has warmth, life, and a cheery feel. With a little color contrast, now you can see the detailed woodwork and window molding. The paper has a bit of a tropical, thatched roof, Ernest Hemmingway, sort of feel.
Note I’ve balanced / centered the pattern so it falls evenly and equally on either side of the window . Note how perfectly the motifs fill the space above the windows, as well as below the windows. It’s a minor thing that you don’t consciously notice, but it gives the room a grounded , balanced feeling .
Another angle . The chandelier is a major feature in the room. I love the way the chunky beads repeat the color and theme of the white pattern in the wallpaper.
Unlike most wallpapers that come in rolls of standard sizes , this material comes in continuous yardage on one huge (and HEAVY ) bolt .
The height of the motifs perfectly fits the space between the window and the crown molding . No flower tops got chopped off in this room !
There are five windows. This is the area between two of them, including an obtuse angle . It took a LONG time to get the paper around all five windows, keeping the pattern intact .
Close-up showing the texture . This is a paperweave , which is similar to a grasscloth , as both are natural fibers and materials . Because this paper weave is woven, instead of having stiff, straight strands of grass crossing the wallpaper , it was a lot more flexible and workable than regular grasscloth .
The space over the door molding was just 4 1/16″ high. The flower motif fit in here perfectly .
You can see along the seam in the center of the photo , that some of the fibers may try to come off the backing , especially at seams and areas where you’ve cut into the material , such as trimming around window moldings and other obstacles . This is pretty minor .
Overall, the seams are virtually invisible .
One other thing I didn’t like about this paper is that, after the wallpaper was made, the color was applied to the front, like paint . This made the color subject to abrading or flaking off under even light rubbing . It would have been better IMO to have dyed the fibers and then sewn / glued them on to the paper backing . Then the color would go all the way through. Not a biggie – you just have to work slowly and carefully and gently.
Oh, and you can’t get paste or water or fingerprints on the surface, either – because they can’t be washed off and can stain .
The pattern is called Papavero and is by Casa Branca .
The material has an unprinted selvedge edge that has to be trimmed off by hand, using a straightedge and razor blade . Takes a lot of extra time , and even more so because you have to press harder to get through the thick fibers than with a traditional wallpaper .
A picture of my straightedge and razor blade . I’m trimming something else here (that will be blogged about later), but you get the idea .
A really bad photo of a really perfect chandelier . It’s chunky , white , and the shape of the ‘beads’ repeat the flower motifs in the wallpaper. The windows will have Roman shades made of a somewhat coarse white linen type fabric , which will coordinate beautifully with the texture of the wallpaper .
The home is in the Heights neighborhood of Houston .

A Narrow Strip and a Teeny Strip

May 28, 2022
I wanted to center this wallpaper pattern so the palm tree / banana leaves would fall nicely over the sink and in between the light sconces. That took a lot of measuring, plotting, planning, and time, But it gives the wall – and the whole room – a nicely balanced feel.
Unfortunately, due to the dimensions of the room and the width of the wallpaper, it also led to some difficult, time consuming, and downright PITA logistics. Oh, and ate up a lot of wallpaper, too.
For starters, note the narrow gap on the left that needs to be filled with wallpaper. That 1″ wide strip along the linen cabinet requires a full 7′ length of wallpaper. That’s about 12 sq ft of wallpaper needed to cover the 1/4 sq ft of gap.
Moral: Always buy a little extra paper!
Note: I did other sections of the room before going back to fill in this gap, so was able to use a scrap from another area, rather than cut up a new 7′ long piece.
Here it is with that 1″ wide strip pieced in.

Arrrgh! Here’s another one. A gap between a strip of wallpaper and the door molding, that tapers (thanks to un-plumb walls) from 1/4″ down to nothing.
Thankfully, here again, I avoided cutting up a 7′ long strip of wallpaper by using scraps.
No pic of the finished placement.

Another Calm and Quiet Bathroom

January 29, 2022
Textured walls have been skim-floated and sanded smooth, wiped free of dust, primed, and are ready for wallpaper.
For the master bathroom, the homeowner again chose a symmetrical, fanciful, woodland themed design in muted tones of cream on tan.
The overall look is balanced and calm.
I added the paper towel cushions to the cabinet handles on the left, to prevent them from slamming into and marring the new wallpaper.
Close-up shows the unique light texture of raised ink on this material.
The manufacturer is Schumacher, pattern name is Chenoceau. Usually I don’t like this brand, but this paper was actually pretty nice to work with. It does not have a protective coating, so the homeowner will need to be careful with splashes of water and toiletries to prevent staining, and to not let damp towels hang against the wallpaper.

Cactus Patch Powder Room

January 5, 2022
I didn’t get a picture of the original dull, putty-brown paint, which did nothing for this space. Here is the room primed with my favorite Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime, formulated specifically for use under wallpaper.
Sink / vanity area before.
Wow! This billowy cactus pattern makes a statement!
Tall! The ceilings in this home are over 10′ high. This very fluid, vertical design makes them seem even higher! Your eye just swoops up toward the ceiling! This back wall is what you see when you first enter the room, so I centered the cactus pattern on this wall.

I was also able to center the pattern on this sink / vanity wall. It will look nicely balanced when the mirror goes up. A new light fixture is coming, and will be installed where you see the round hole / electrical box in the wall.
Close up.
Milton & King is the manufacturer, and San Pedro is the pattern name. M&K makes nice wallpaper, and I enjoyed working with this. It’s a non-woven substrate, so you can paste the wall if you like – but I usually prefer to paste the paper. The surface felt like a thin, flexible vinyl – durable and fairly resistant to splashes in a bathroom. Their patterns often come as a 2-roll set, with an ” A ” roll and a ” B ” roll. It can be a little tricky to measure for these until you get accustomed to how they work. Further complicating the issue is that this design has a 51″ pattern repeat. In a nutshell, this means that, in order to match the pattern from strip to strip, you may have to cut off and throw away as much as 50″ (more than 4′ ! ). Thus, with these high ceilings and the long pattern repeat, instead of getting three strips from each 33′ long roll, I got only two. So a lot of paper went into the trash pile. It’s important to be cognizant of that and include the waste factor when calculating how much paper to purchase. Better yet – have the paperhanger figure it up for you!
These homeowners had already ordered their paper before I arrived for the initial consultation. After measuring and calculating, I told them to purchase one more 2-roll set.
Another odd thing is that at the end of the day, we ended up with two full unopened “B” rolls plus one full-length “B” strip,,,, that’s a total of five full-length strips. But we had only one 10′ strip left of the “A” rolls. This points out that, depending on the layout of the room, you can use more “B’s” than “A’s” or vice versa. I’m sure glad I made them buy that additional 2-roll set!
This new townhouse in the Heights neighborhood of Houston is home to a young couple. They will be married in a month or two. I had originally set their install date for a week or so before the wedding. I got a last-minute schedule change, they were able to get the room ready for me on short notice, and so I got their wallpaper up today,,, and they can spend the next months focusing on their upcoming special day!

Bold David Hicks Geometric in Garden Oaks Powder Room

December 18, 2021
This young family wanted some WOW! Factor for their new home’s plain-Jane powder room. It’s a 2-room set up, with the sink in one area and the toity around the corner in a more private area.
Looking through one room into the next – yes, really a WOW! Factor!
Looks fantastic with the burnished gold faucets, light sconces, and hand towel ring.
Opposite wall. I centered the pattern on the wall opposite the mirror, so that the design would work around the room evenly and the pattern would fall equally on these two walls. In other words, the pattern hits the tile wall on the left at exactly the same point as it does on the tile wall to the right. The sconces also land on the same element in the wallpaper. This gives a very symmetrical look as you face the mirror. One of those things no one can put his finger on, but it makes the whole room feel balanced and in sync.
Back wall connecting to right wall with door that leads to the entry hall.
The commode room is under the stairway, so has a strongly sloped ceiling – and tight working quarters. You can also see that the wall is bowed in the corner, resulting in a good pattern match at top and bottom, but some mis-alignment in the center. Pretty typical. No walls are perfectly plumb, no ceiling is perfectly level, and corners are just about always a bit wonky. Geometric designs like this are particularly difficult to make look perfect.
On close-up, you can see a slight raised ink texture. This surface printed wallpaper was not a crisp look – nothing wrong with that … it’s part of the hand-crafted look. The non-woven material is thick and stiff, and the seams were a bit more noticeable than on many other non-wovens. I also noted that where the gold ink hit the edges of the paper, there were ever-so-slight curls and overlaps. My guess is the gold ink reacted to the wet paste and expanded differently from the black and the background color. Never mind. From two feet away, you can’t notice it at all.
The David Hicks Collection by GP & J Baker contains several variations of this type of bold geometric pattern. Some of the vendors are calling this a “new” release … but I first hung one of these designs maybe 10 years ago.
Unfortunately, they haven’t gotten any better with the quality. Surprising, because GP&J Baker’s papers are usually very nice – I did one just a few months ago and loved it. Conversely, this one is quite stiff, and trying to work it into tight spots such as corners or behind a toilet or around a vanity or light fixture can result in creases. And the ink flakes off very easily. Here, just pressing the wallpaper against the baseboard so it could be trimmed caused the ink to chip off, and you can see little bits of it collected on top of the baseboard on the left. Luckily, this was at the floor and not very noticeable. I used some black chalk to cover the white areas. But at eye-level, this would have necessitated removing the whole strip and replacing with a new one.

Wallpaper installer Houston

Wall-Mounted Faucet And Handles Job, Pt. II

December 5, 2021
Wrestling a full strip of wallpaper around the whole wall, around the mirror, and then around those faucets would have been extremely cumbersome, would have slopped paste all over the mirror, and would have risked tearing or creasing the paper. So I decided to trim the paper down so I could place it just under and above the mirror. I placed the strips on the wall, making sure that the orange stripes were equidistant from the left and the right walls, and making sure that they were perfectly plumb. To get around that faucet, I sliced the paper vertically at the mid point. I used a scissors to cut half-circles around the faucet, and to cut holes for the handles. I had to leave enough room for the plumber to work, but not make the holes too large. As it was, the faucet escutcheon (gold ring back plate) just barely covered the hole I cut in the wallpaper. The striped pattern made this easier, but you could do the same thing with another type of design; you’d have to choose where to make your slices.
Done. Waiting for the plumber to reattach the handles and back plates.
Finished. (In the mirror you’re seeing a reflection of the linen cabinet on the opposite wall.) I used a similar technique to get around the drain pipe under the sink. I also had to make sure the stripes were centered on the wall, and lined up with the stripes above the vanity. This area was a bit easier because I didn’t have to work around a mirror. Still, this one wall took me about two and a half hours. !!