Posts Tagged ‘bathroom’

Light-Hued Geometric Updates a Hollywood Bath in West U

June 8, 2019



The kids are grown and gone, so it’s time for an update to this bathroom. The original black & white floral wasn’t bad, but perhaps a bit outdated. And most of the seams had succumbed the curling and pouching that happens when you use the lower-end pre-pasted paper-backed solid vinyl wallpapers in humid rooms – like two teenaged girls showering. 🙂 Besides all that, Mom wanted a fresh new look for her empty nest.

I stripped the paper and prepped the walls – both of which took a lot more work than expected, and way more detail than you want to read here. The install also took a long time … Let’s just say it was way after dark when I finished and went home.

The room had its share of complicated elements. But also working with a geometric print requires a lot of extra steps, to keep the design elements plumb and aligned with the ceiling and woodwork (which are not necessarily plumb), and to keep the pattern matched up as it turns corners – most of which are wonky.

Also, it took a certain amount of plotting and measuring to have the pattern look uninterrupted as it played out above and then below the chair rail.

This paper is in the SureStrip line by York, and is one of my favorites to work with. It is a thin non-woven material, and is designed to strip off the wall easily and with minimal damage to the walls when it’s time to redecorate. It’s pre-pasted, which means that there is a thin layer of dry adhesive on the back, that is activated by water – you can use several methods to do this. SureStrip is always a nice, cooperative paper to hang, and on the wall, it performs well over time.

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Humidity in Bathrooms – Not Good for Lower-End Solid Vinyl Wallpapers

June 7, 2019

People often think that vinyl wallpaper will be good in a bathroom, because water will roll off it. but in reality, very little water gets splashed on the walls – but a lot of moisture can get wicked into the seams.

These photos (you may want to scroll to enlarge them) show how the lower-end, paper-backed, solid-vinyl wallpapers tend to perform poorly in humid rooms like bathrooms. The problem is that moisture gets in between the seams and into the paper backing. That backing absorbs moisture and expands, curling away from the wall. The backing can actually go a step further and delaminate from the top vinyl layer.

This type of paper often performs like this when you’ve got people taking steamy showers, forgetting to turn on the vent fan, forgetting to keep the door open for air circulation, etc. Neither of these situations can be fixed. You will be stuck with these slightly curled seams.

The thing is, there are plenty of nice, paper or non-woven wallpapers out there, that will hold up a lot better in bathrooms.

Diamonds Brighten a Bellaire Bathroom

May 11, 2019


Originally, this home in the Bellaire neighborhood of Houston was rife with the “Tuscan” look, and this under-the-stairs powder room shows just that … The gold overlaid with a red glaze was a good look, but the new homeowners wanted a brighter, more modern look.

Just look at how the diamond pattern on a white background changed the room! The heavy darkness is gone, and the feeling is totally modern. The black and white scheme goes beautifully with the new black countertop and white sink.

One not-so-great thing is that somehow we got two different run numbers. Different run numbers were printed at different times, and can be slightly different in shade, so cannot be used on the same wall. Luckily, we had enough paper that I was able to plot out which bolts to use on which walls, and the room turned out looking great.

This paper is by A-Street Prints, which is made by Brewster, a good company. It is a non-woven product with a high fiberglass content that is designed to strip off the walls easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate. The material is dimensionally-stable and will not shrink as it dries.

It can be hung by the paste-the-wall method, but I preferred to paste the paper. In a bathroom with choppy areas, this ensures that paste will get to every surface, and it also makes the paper more pliable and malleable, which is essential in a room like this with crooked corners and a curved wall (not shown).

This wallpaper 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 Pretty Paper in a Humble Bathroom

May 5, 2019


Ahhh … fooled ya a little … People from the Houston area know that “Humble” doesn’t mean “modest,” but, rather, is pronounced “Umble” and is the name of a suburb to the north east of town.

Anyway, I hung this in a nicely renovated and updated master bathroom in a home in an early ’80’s subdivision. The color is perfect with the new tile and countertop. The homeowner had originally chosen something similar, but the actual colors in that selection were just a tad off. This one worked better.

The brand is A Street Prints, by Brewster, and is a non-woven material that can be hung by the paste-the-wall method. I chose to paste the paper today instead, because it makes the material more pliable and less likely to crease when manipulating it into tight spaces. And because it ensures that paste will be on the paper, even in those tight spaces where you couldn’t reach to paste the wall (like behind the toilet or in between narrow spaces.

Also, when it’s time to redecorate, non-wovens are designed to strip off the wall easily and with minimal damage to the wall.

This wallpaper 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.

The homeowners are so tickled with their new bathroom that they had me measure another bathroom for them, which I will do in a few months.

Soft Mattress Ticking Stripe in an All-White Bathroom

April 24, 2019


With just paint on the upper walls, this all-white bathroom was simply … too white. The addition of a soft stripe, in the shape of a classic mattress ticking pattern, was just enough to add some warmth and definition to the space.

While I like the pattern, I am not fond of the material, nor the brand. Norwall is one of the lowest-priced manufacturers out there, and … you get what you pay for. This is a solid vinyl wallpaper with a paper backing. The vinyl surface sounds attractive to homeowners, because it is a tad more stain resistant than other papers, and because it repels water.

The bad news is that humidity (such as when someone takes a shower, or splashes water on a seam) tends to find its way behind the seams and into the paper backing. That paper then swells and pushes away from the wall, causing the seams to curl.

Over time, the vinyl top layer can actually separate (delaminate) from the paper backing, leaving curled seams that cannot be reattached.

In addition, the seams are always a little “pouched” when the paper is installed, and never lie completely flat. It’s also common for this material to bubble or blister as it dries … I call it “burping” … or more properly termed off-gassing as the air released by the drying paste tries to find an escape but is trapped by the vinyl surface. So you have to keep going around the room chasing out bubbles. Really small ones usually disappear as paper dries.

Type in key words and use the Search feature here (upper right corner) to read my previous posts about these topics.

This was the first time I’ve encountered a Norwall solid vinyl paper-backed product that was not pre-pasted. Maybe the manufacturer has figured out what made it’s wallpaper so crap…py… er… disappointing. To be honest, the paper I worked with today (which had to have adhesive applied by hand/paint roller) went up with fewer problems than usual. There were still blisters, and still seams that were not as flat as they should have been. But overall, it was better than I expected.

Only time will tell how this product stands up to humidity in a family bathroom.

This is a new-but-classic-looking home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston. The interior designer is Stacie Cokinos of Cokinos Design.

Helping Crooked Walls Look Straight. Geometric Pattern

March 27, 2019

Geometric patterns are very popular right now. But one of the things I hate about them is that your eye expects to see the pattern motif march straight across the ceiling and walls … But ceilings are never perfectly level and walls are never perfectly plumb. And wallpaper itself will expand when it gets wet with paste, and can stretch out of shape, causing it to go off-kilter.

In the top photo, the wallpaper was hung butted straight up against the most visible corner, the left edge (not shown). But since that corner was not absolutely perpendicular to the corner to the right of it, this tight geometric pattern started to track off-kilter. As you see in the photo, the black line at the far right is wider at the bottom of the wall, and tapers off to nothing by the time it gets to the top of the wall.

With a geometric design, your eye wants to see that black line reproduced rhythmically all the way along the wall.

With a thin paper, I might have been able to cut vertically along the design and pull the paper into alignment with the wall on the right, overlapping the excess paper as it moved to the top of the wall. But such an overlap would have been very noticeable on this thick non-woven wallpaper material.

So I did something else. I took some scrap paper and cut appliqués of the black line design that were the same dimensions of the lines at the bottom of the wall. I then pasted them onto the corresponding spot on the right edge of the wall.

As I mentioned, this as a thick non-woven material, and an appliqué would be pretty noticeable. So I fiddled with the paper a bit, and pulled the thick backing away from the inked layer of the front. In the second photo, you see the white backing discarded on the left side of the photo.

Once the appliqués were measured, cut, pasted, and applied to the proper spot on the wall, you don’t notice that anything is not plumb. All you see is a consistent row of black lines marching vertically along the right edge of the wall.

Note that by doing this, I have moved the black line closer than it’s supposed to be to it’s parallel partner to the left of it. But the eye notices this much less than it would a fading away line on the right edge of the wall.

I’m glad that I spent the extra 45 minutes to do this to both vanity walls in this master bathroom in a nicely renovated Mid-Century Modern home in the Piney Point (the Villages) neighborhood of Houston.

Broken Lines, Angles, and Triangles

March 16, 2019


These “broken lines” type designs are quite popular right now, and this one is particularly suited to this Mid-Century Modern home, which is being renovated to highlight all its retro glory.

This paper is by York, in their SureStrip line, and is a very affordable alternative to high-profile and high-end patterns like “Channels” by Kelly Wearstler. It’s a thin non-woven material, comes pre-pasted, is a dream to work with, and hugs the wall tightly. By contrast, often times, high-end papers are bugger-bears to work with and get to look good on the wall.

I hung this in a rear bathroom in a home in Piney Point, in the area of Houston referred to as “the Villages.”

Wallpaper in Midwest Living Magazine

March 12, 2019


These two rooms were featured in the March/April 2019 issue of Midwest Living.

The first wallpaper pattern is in an entry, and is by Schumacher, a well-established company. The bathroom pattern is by Jana Bek. She has some pretty interesting, coordinating lamps on her website. She sells linens, too – as you can see the curtains reflected in the vanity mirrors!

Same Geometric Pattern, Different Colorway

March 9, 2019


In the same home where I worked yesterday (see previous post), they are using the same small geometric wallpaper pattern in all four bathrooms – the tan in the two guest baths, and the silver in the powder room and master bathroom. These pics are of the silver colorway.

The pattern is by Anderson Prints, was not easy to work with (there will be a post about that) and was bought from Dorota (see previous post).

A Geometric Pattern Adds Subtle Warmth

March 7, 2019


This week I’m working in a very contemporary newish home in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston. Everything is straight lines and white walls. The bathrooms are getting a little warmth and personality with wallpaper.

The color scheme, pattern, and scale of this wallpaper all help it feel muted, so it doesn’t overpower the “minimalist” feel of the home. The geometric design, on the other hand, goes very nicely with the clean lines of the home, and with modern artwork collected by the homeowners.

This product is paper (not vinyl or non-woven) and is by Anderson Prints. It is not particularly easy to work with, since it tends to dry out after only a few minutes of booking time, and I had to repaste most of the edges so the seams would stay down. It also tears up my razor blades faster than most papers.

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.