Posts Tagged ‘bird’

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

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image


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.

Brilliant Colors on a Dark Background

June 14, 2016
Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image


This beautiful botanical and bird print is enhanced by rich colors in a matt finish on a deep chocolate background. I hung this in a remodeled powder room in the Galleria area (Houston), and it is just gorgeous.

I usually love Thibaut brand papers, but this one was thick and stiff, the edges had debris left from the machine trimming process, the seams didn’t butt up well, and it should have been printed on dark stock instead of the white backing.

What I did to minimize these things was to use a toothbrush to scrub the ends of the rolls to remove the flakes of paper. I striped dark paint the wall along where the seams would fall, to prevent the white wall from peeking through. I also used artist’s pastel to color the edges of the paper (see photo), to try to cover up the white paper backing. This was somewhat successful.

The seams had what we call “gaps and overlaps,” which means they butted well in some sections, gapped in others (see photo), and overlapped slightly in others. I wasn’t thrilled with the seams, but not every paper cooperates well, and most people don’t see what I see, anyway.

The overall effect is beautiful, and once the new vanity and the light sconces go in place, the room will be stunning. The homeowner is very happy.

This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, and was bought at a discounted price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

A Twitter With Birds in a Powder Room

May 13, 2016
Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image


The homeowner was ecstatic with this cute and lively wallpaper. In fact, she said she has other bird-themed accents for her home (like framed Audubon prints), and worries that people might call her the “Crazy Bird Lady.” Well, no fear of that! This wallpaper pattern is very popular, and I have hung it many times in several colors.

This went in a powder room in the Heights, which has beaded-board paneling going about 4′ up the wall, a brick floor, a hanging pendant light fixture, and 12′ ceilings. The builder is Dee Todd-Simmons of HDT Builders, who works primarily in the Heights, and who does phenomenal work and exceptional quality on custom and spec homes – plus, she is great to work for.

This wallpaper pattern is called “A Twitter,” and is by Schumacher, and was bought at a discounted price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

Because it was Schumacher, I anticipated printing defects, and I was not disappointed – I had to discard a certain amount of paper due to printing flaws, and other strips I was able to engineer so that the flawed area would be cut off by door frames, etc.