Posts Tagged ‘bird’

Un-Plumb, Un-Level

January 24, 2023
Shot of the finished breakfast room , for pattern reference.
Close-up view. The vertical lines are not wrinkles , but shadows cast by the macrame light fixture in this breakfast room .
The problem is, when walls aren’t plumb , and ceiling and floor and chair rail are not level , the pattern motifs won’t march across the wall at the same height on every strip . I’ve learned that, in most cases, it’s more important to match the pattern in the corner , and then allow the pattern to go off-track at ceiling or floor if necessary.
In this photo, note that the humming bird is sitting completely above the chair rail.
Here he’s dropped down to where his tail is swallowed up by the chair rail .
By the time we get to the left corner , half of the bird has dropped down and disappeared .
Here’s another bird motif doing the same disappearing act .
Feet and belly gone.
This house in the Eastwood neighborhood of Houston is nearly 85 years, so you can expect some settling and shifting on its foundation . But even brand new homes can have walls that are out of whack .
This beautiful pattern is by Cole & Son and is called Hummingbirds – it’s very popular and has been around more than 100 years … that’s older than the house!

But ,,, But ,,, I See A Butt !

November 21, 2022
Although it’s free and loose, this is essentially a symmetrical pattern . After studying the pattern on-line , I determined that this dark berry motif with the red bird was the dominant element in the design .
I measured and plotted carefully , to plant that motif right in the center above the window molding .
This would ensure that the dark berry motif would fall evenly on both sides of the window as it moves down the wall .
What I didn’t anticipate is how the individual design elements would also play out , being divided equally on both sides of the window . Take a look …
On the left side of the window molding is the rear end of a bird . See his tail ?
And on the right side of the window , at the same height , is the front end of the bird !
The flowers and other motifs were affected the same way .
The pattern is called Apothecary’s Garden and is by C.F.A. Voysey , a designer from the turn of the last century, in the Arts & Crafts period .
This is by Lord Twig Wallpaper , out of Canada . I’ve heard all positive results in dealing with this company.
Please see previous post for more information re the wallpaper itself.

Dramatic, Colorful, Surprise, WOW! in Heights Powder Room

June 16, 2022
The homeowner has lived in more than a dozen homes, but has never had wallpaper. Previously this new townhome had boring beige walls. The homeowner wanted to liven things up and fell in love with this bold botanic and bird pattern.
I love the slightly mottled background, and the way the colors pop against the black.
There’s some slight shading / paneling ( difference in color ) between the strips, but it’s minimal.
(It shows up more in this photo than in real life.)
Likewise, the seams are much less visible in person.
Close-up showing the lightly textured material. It looks a lot like an oil painting .
This wallpaper is by BN Walls . It’s a non-woven / paste-the-wall material with a textured vinyl surface.
It’s more durable and washable than most traditional papers, and is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate.
houston installer

Bringing Back The Bird

August 6, 2020


Re my previous post, where I explain why to add 2″ to EACH side of EACH dimension (height and width) of the wall when measuring for a mural (for a total of 4″ to both height and width),,, thus when the mural is installed, there will be 2″ or more of excess paper trimmed off and discarded from each side.

Usually, the manufacturer leaves a good bit of space around all sides that has no important pattern or motifs, so you are not losing anything special when this excess paper is trimmed off.

But this mural had a part of a bird flying in from the left edge. And he was going to be completely cut off and thrown into the trash.

I thought it would look better if the mural included this arriving feathered friend.

So I took the strip of wallpaper that had been trimmed off from the left side of the mural, and cut around his figure, pasted the back side, and appliquéd him to the upper left edge of the mural – right where the artists planned to have him be.

Navy & White Schumacher – Finishing Touch to a Harvey Flooded Home

March 27, 2020


Still not completely finished fixing major damage caused by the devastating flood of 2017, this young couple in the Pearland area of Houston has done virtually all the repairs themselves – and done a mighty fine job of it, too…. Way better than most of the work done by “professionals” that I have seen in “Harvey homes.”

With many details still unfinished, the homeowners wanted just one room that would be done. The lady of the house loves this navy and white fauna/botanical print by Schumacher. She envisioned it on just the back wall of the powder room – the room that everyone sees when walking through the first floor.

You get two strips of paper out of one double-roll bolt, and the wall was 2.5″ wider than two strips of paper. Since Schumacher is expensive, the homeowners decided not to buy another bolt of paper to cover those 2.5 inches, but instead to “float” two strips of paper in the middle of the wall, and then use their DIY skills to build a frame around it.

The frame will be painted a very dark blue. I hate to fall back on the overused term “pop,” but that is exactly what the blue frame will do … It will make the wallpaper pop against the white walls, and also stand out from other design features in the home.

Scroll back a few days and you will see my encounters with a very difficult navy and white paper, also by Schumacher. This one was totally different.

The bird design I worked with today was printed with good quality inks on a non-woven substrate. N-W’s have a degree of fiberglass in their content, and thus are “dimensionally stable.” Among other positive features, they do not expand, and thus you have no wrinkling or waffling or puckers.

This paper went up very nicely.

Although, in two of the photos, true to reputation, you can see printing defects. Just par for the course, if you buy a Schumacher product

When the homeowner saw the finished job, she almost broke down into tears – one room finally complete and pretty and all reminders of the flood gone.

It was an honor to help this couple get to this one small milestone.

Matching the Pattern – Horizontally or Vertically?

November 22, 2019


See that funny jut-out near the top of the photo? That is the underside of a stair, cutting into the sloped ceiling of this powder room.

As I hung wallpaper around this room, at first I thought I would match the pattern of this 10″ high stair-area to the pattern on its left.

But then I realized that the vertical (striped) element of this design was pretty noticeable. And that it would look better if the stripes below the stair area lined up with the stripes on the stair area.

This caused a slight pattern mis-match in the corner to the left. But I think it looks much better to have the vertical foliage elements line up, as well as to maintain the sequence of birds and leaves.

Also, instead of matching the bird motif to the bird under the stair, (which no one would see), I chose to line up the bird figures so they would be continguous as you viewed them from standing-height as you entered the room.

As for the slight pattern mis-match to the left … I took a part of a bird that matched the design, and appliquéd it over the corner. Now all you see is a bird, and no one notices that a few leaves don’t match up perfectly.

Wallpaper jargon, and too complicated, I know. Just look and note that the pattern continues vertically from floor to ceiling. This didn’t just “happen.” It all was planned out and engineered.

Deco-y Pattern for Art Deco Home

August 15, 2019


This mid-1930’s home on the eastern edge of the River Oaks neighborhood of Houston has a lot of cool Art Deco features. For the powder room, the homeowners chose this intertwined diamond-and-bird pattern. I think it suits the home perfectly, and it looks great with the marble wainscoting (sorry, no pic! 😦 )

This wallpaper pattern is in the Antonia Vella line by York, 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.

Chinese Hand-Painted Silk Mural

June 27, 2019


Here is some delicious stuff! This is silk wallpaper, hand painted in China with these beautiful bird, butterfly, and botanical motifs. Look at the close-up shots to see the gorgeous paint detail.

There are some historic companies who make these murals, like Zuber, Gracie, Fromental, and de Gournay, and they can run $500-$1200 per panel. (This wall took seven panels.) But my client found another manufacturer who was way more reasonable. http://www.worldsilkroad.com/

The mural was custom-sized to the homeowners’ wall. The studio added 2″ to the top and bottom, and a little more to each side, for trimming, and to accommodate walls that are not perfectly plumb and ceilings that are not perfectly level. (Never order a mural to the exact dimensions of the wall, and always best to have the paperhanger measure before ordering.)

There are a lot of things that make an install like this much more complicated than a traditional wallpaper. For starters, the silk can easily be stained by just about anything … wallpaper paste, water, hands. So it’s important to work absolutely clean. You will NOT be able to wipe off any errant bit of paste. The paper also had a half inch “bleed” of excess paper along the edges that had to be trimmed off by hand (no photo).

The material was thicker than expected, wanted to stay curled up as it had been in its shipping tube, and the backing was very absorbent, which meant that it sucked up paste and was almost dry by the time it was finished booking and got to the wall… So it required extra paste on the edges to get them to stick tight, while, once again, taking care to not get any paste on the surface of the paper.

The company provided precious little information. Well, actually there was information, but it came in Chinesnglish, and, bless their hearts, was virtually indecipherable. The company was very responsive, but, unfortunately, was unable to provide adequate information about paste recommendations, booking time, was a liner spec’ed, if the substrate was paper or non-woven, if the silk had a protective coating, and even whether or not the goods had to be hand-trimmed or came pre-trimmed. There was a lot of other mysterious content on their instruction sheet that ended up best being disregarded.

So I used common sense and traditional installation methods, and it turned out great.

In one photo, I am rolling out the panels, to be sure they are in the correct sequence. Even though the manufacturer had told me the panels were pre-trimmed and ready to butt on the wall, while rolling them out, I discovered that if I did that, the pattern match would be off. This is when I discovered that 1/2″ had to be trimmed off one side of every strip.

This also meant that each strip would be 36″ wide, rather than 36.5″, so my measurements and layout calculations had to be revised. This was particularly important because that first area to the left of the window was barely more than 36″ wide – and I didn’t want to end up having to piece in a 3/8″ wide strip of this delicate material.

Two other pictures show some crinkles in the material. I believe these happened at the factory or during shipping, because the same defects appear in two consecutive panels, at the same position. They were both up high, and, once the material got wet with paste, expanded a little, and then applied to the wall, these flaws were not detectable.

The last photo shows what you should expect from hand-painted products. They probably had one guy working on Panel 6, and another working on Panel 7, and each probably had a different size paint brush, and possibly their stencil (or whatever they use) was a bit off. Either way, this mis-match is not considered a defect, and is part of the beauty of a hand-crafted mural. There were really only two areas that matched this poorly, and they were both low toward the floor. In the upper areas where branches crossed the seams, the pattern matched very nicely. Really, it’s quite incredible that their precision can be as good as it is.

I’ve never worked with this brand before, but overall, I was pleased with the quality and the installation. You can find the manufacturer by Googling World Silk Road. It comes from England, but is made in China. (Gee…. why can’t they have one of those British guys translate the installation instructions?!)

This mural went on one accent wall in a master bedroom of a home in Idylwood, a small, idyllic, and very desirable neighborhood of 1930’s and 1940’s homes on Houston’s east side. The homeowners love vintage as much as I do, and are keeping most of their home true to its original state.

Keeping Ahead

April 23, 2019


This poor bird got his head chopped off by the window molding. I want to help him keep it!

In the top photo, you see the bird and the point where his head got cut off. On the right side, against the window molding, I am holding a head that I cut from scrap wallpaper. I’ve trimmed it to fit the bird’s body, and to look as natural as possible by sculpting it and cutting around ruffled feathers.

In the second photo, I am holding the appliqué in place. Once it is pasted and applied, even though it is far removed from what the bird is supposed to look like, the bird looks intact.

The casual observer would never notice that this bird has been altered.

Once Again, Wallpaper in Better Homes & Gardens Magazine

August 2, 2017

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Here are several rooms featuring wallpaper in the August 2017 issue of Better Homes & Gardens magazine. There are at least two other rooms with paper that I didn’t photograph, including a cool mural of some bright watercolory flowers clustered around the upper right corner and center top of the wall – a very effective look.

As usual, please forgive my crummy photos.

The navy blue sailing ships are by Walnut Wallpaper.

The second photo shows large stars on the ceiling of a baby’s nursery.

Photos 3 & 4 are actually fabric, but they look and function as backdrops like wallpaper.

Photos 5 & 6 are a classic and popular humming bird pattern by Cole & Son. I just hung this in the Houston Heights on April 9, 2017, and did it prior to that on March 24, 2016, among other times. You can look up my blog posts for those days. I have the same pattern and same color coming up in a bedroom in Riverside. Note the matching fabric on the chairs.

In the seventh photo the wallpaper is barely visible over the kitchen window.

Photo 8 is an overscaled dramatic white on black floral that is quite popular right now. I find it a little overwhelming on the ceiling, but if you want drama, that’s a good way to get it. And you’ll have good view of it while lying in bed.

Photos 9 & 10 are a fun and colorful pattern for a kids’ room.

The last photo is not wallpaper, but tile, but it still shows pattern on the wall, so I’m including it here to show how it enlivens the room. There is a hexagonal geometric pattern by Jonathan Adler that is quite similar, and very popular.