Posts Tagged ‘birds’

An Amazingly Well-Balanced Room

January 3, 2023
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O.K. – this is going to be a pretty technical post, and it will probably thrill me (and other paperhangers) more than it will the typical homeowner, but I was really tickled with the way this turned out. Here goes:

This wallpaper pattern is called “A Twitter,” and is by Schumacher. It is a fun design, and has a strong vertical element, with the trunks of trees very dominant in the design. I hung it in a powder room in the Heights neighborhood of Houston. This room was a rectangle, with the front and rear walls the same width, and the two side walls the same width.

Before I start hanging paper, I plot out the room (engineering), to plan where I want to place the pattern, where seams will fall, etc. I considered running the tree trunk behind the mirror. But that would have made the pattern sit off-center on the wall. Since that wall is facing you as you enter the room, I wanted it to be more symmetrical.

So I decided to center the pattern on the wall. But if I placed the tree trunk in the middle of the wall, then there would be only one tree trunk on that wall, and the next time the tree trunk appeared, it would be on the side walls, and not visible on the main wall. I thought it would look better to have the tree trunk on the main wall. So I planned it so that branches fell down the center line of the wall, and were flanked by a pair of tree trunks on either side. See photo.

What’s cool is, by placing the pattern this way, it turned out that the tree trunk fell almost perfectly centered behind both the mirror and the toilet. See top photo.

Then, as I progressed around the room and papered the side walls, the pattern fell symmetrically on these side walls, and mirrored itself perfectly. Meaning that the two walls that were perpendicular to the main wall, both had the same pattern as it advanced toward the back wall.

The back wall, then, also had the same pattern at the same measurements coming in from the corners as the wallpaper approached the door. See third and fourth photos.

What’s even cooler is that as the paper went around the door, the tree trunk magically “almost” perfectly centered itself over the door. It was so close that it looks like it is centered.

What’s even more cool is how the kill point in this room turned out. The “kill point” is the final corner in a room, where the first strip of wallpaper meets the last strip of wallpaper; this point is virtually always a pattern mis-match. So we try to place it over a door, or behind a door, or somewhere where it won’t be too noticeable.

But in this bathroom, as you can see in the third and fourth photos, the wall area on either side of the final wall was 9″ or more wide, and a mis-match would be very obvious. What I like to do in these cases is to keep the pattern intact by wrapping the paper from the final corner around onto the final wall where it butts up against the door. The door stops the pattern, so you don’t notice that the pattern would not match if you continued it to the opposite corner.

The thing is, there is still the area above the door that needs to be covered with wallpaper, and the design coming along the top of the door was not going to match up with the pattern I had wrapped around the corner to the left of the door. It almost lined up, but was off by about 2″ vertically, as well as about 3/4″ at the top of the wall, because un-plumb walls and un-level ceiling lines had caused the pattern to travel upwards a little.

So what I did was, referring to the last photo, as the paper above the door was moving to the left, and as the pattern on the left of the door was moving to the right and about to meet the pattern over the door, which would have resulted about 2″ of excess paper, and in tree limbs not lining up and birds being cut in half, as well as one bird’s head being at the top of the wall and another same bird’s head being 3/4″ below the top of the wall.

So what I did was, I slit the paper along the right side of the tree trunk. Then I took the right side of the strip of wallpaper that had been cut off and slid it down until the pattern matched up with the strip that was already over the door. Then I slipped the excess 2″ of paper on the left side of this piece under the cut tree trunk to its left. This effectively “swallowed up” the 2″ of excess paper. I trimmed this off so the overlap would be more like 1/2″ and could be disguised by the tree trunk.

So I had lined up the heads of the birds, and I had eliminated the 2′ excess of paper, and everything was hidden by that tree trunk.

One eye-jarring problem remained – The bird at the top of the tree trunk had been disembodied, and his head was at the top of the wall but his body was an inch or two below.

So what I did was to take a piece of left over paper that had the same bird on it and cut around the bird and the branches, and paste that over the tree trunk so the bird you see is completely intact. I needed to cut a few extra piece of brown paper and paste them over the tree trunk so your eye would not catch any incongruency, but you have to admit – that bird and the tree trunk it is sitting on looks pretty darned natural.

There was another area that had a void spot due to where the strips of paper had been moved over or to the side from one another, and I also used this appliqué method to disguise it.

Note that all of this is up 12′ off the ground, so you can’t see overlaps or appliqués or ridges. These techniques might work equally well at eye-level, or they might be more obvious. But in this room, with this pattern and this lay-out and this paper, it sure looks great.

I would challenge any homeowner – and even most any paperhanger – to stand on the floor and find where the pattern / paper was manipulated to disguise the kill point.

All this took a lot of time and math and plotting – but it sure was fun, and it sure was gratifying.

Apothecary’s Garden in Powder Room – Fairy Tale Floral

November 21, 2022
Deep green wainscoting at the bottom, and on the right is a 100 year old ” dry sink ” with coordinating colored tile backsplash turned into a vanity, with period-appropriate faucet .
Fresh and lively . But can you believe the design dates back about 100 years ? – same as the house!
Close up. Looks like watercolor paint . Birds , butterflies , plants , flowers , and grasshoppers !
C.F.A. Voysey is a male designer who worked around the turn of the last century, late 1800’s through about the 1920’s , and was part of the Arts & Crafts decorating movement . Most of his patterns are somewhat symmetrical , as well as whimsical and fanciful , with heavy emphasis on nature .
This is a non-woven material , can be hung via the paste the wall method , although I prefer the paste the paper installation . It has a 20% polyester content and is thus more resistant to stains and humidity than traditional papers . And it’s designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece with no damage to your walls when you redecorate .
The brand name is Lord Twig and it comes from Finest Wallpaper , which is in Canada.
This went in the rear powder room of a beautifully renovated 1926 4-plex apartment that has been artfully converted into a single family home , in the Woodland Heights area of Houston .

Meg Braff Bad Printing Job

November 15, 2022
The homeowner very much loves this simple, tone-on-tone shore bird pattern for her dining room – just the top , above the chair rail / wainscoting. Here I’m plotting where to best situate the pattern on the wall , between the chair rail and ceiling , while keeping the most important pattern elements and motifs intact . (no cutting off birds’ heads at the ceiling , nor at the wainscoting ) I’m also checking the pattern match .
It quickly became evident that the pattern match, as laid out by the factory, was incorrect . Match it at the bottom (by my thumb ), but as you move up , the pattern goes a little out of whack . This is actually not all that bad , and is considered acceptable – the industry standard allows for up to 1/8″ – 3/8″ mis-match .
Hand-trim screen-print materials such as this are particularly notable for pattern mis-matches .
For the record, they’re also known for curling edges , puckering , waffling , and other issues that make them difficult to hang , as well as questionability as to how long they’ll perform on your wall before wanting to resort to that curling at the seams .
More pattern mis-matching .
But the situation got worse . These high-end screen prints often come with an unprinted selvedge edge that has to be trimmed off by hand , with a straightedge (the blue metal thing ), a razor blade – and a steady hand.
If the trim guide marks printed on the material by the company are ” off ,” then you’re supposed to ” trim to the pattern .” This means that you find the design element on the left edge of the paper and then find the corresponding element on the right side, and place your straightedge so that your trim cuts will result in the two edges matching up perfectly. (Or at least within that 1/8″ -3/8″)
At this point, the white lines in the design – let’s call them ‘grapes’ – are abutting my blue straightedge , and should meet up perfectly with the corresponding white lines on the grapes on the opposite side of the subsequent strip of wallpaper.
But, unfortunately, with this material, that didn’t work. If I lined my straightedge up with the pattern design elements , as in the photo above this one, by the time I moved down a few feet , as you can see in this photo , the pattern begins moving away from the straightedge . The white grape outlines do not butt up against my straightedge.
The likely reason is that this material has been printed on the bias . That means that the artisan at the factory got his screens out of whompus , for lack of a better term.
” Trim to the pattern .” OK. So here I’m placing my straightedge at 1/8″ away from the ” hook ” in this design .
Still the same distance from the “hook.” But the white lines are starting to move away from the straightedge.
Here they’ve moved farther off. With this design, from a distance , you could maybe live with the white lines not meeting up perfectly.
But what you couldn’t find acceptable is that the tan area between these white elements would be growing wider diagonally as you move both up and down the wall. Look at the photo. You can see the tan area growing larger .
But it gets worse as it spreads farther … As that tan section grows wider like a “V” or a wedge as you move up or down the wall, it additionally pushes the design motifs at the top of the ceiling or at top of the wainscoting either up or down along the horizontal lines of the ceiling and wainscoting .
So not only do you get a widening tan line between each seam , you also get the birds’ heads moving up or down from where they’re supposed to be positioned below the ceiling or above the wainscoting .
I spent an hour and a half trying different placements and trimming methods . I knew the client loved this pattern and that she was willing to accept reasonable flaws in the pattern match and positioning.
But even given that, I wanted her to have a good looking dining room – not one with uneven spacing between strips, or grossly irregular positioning along the horizontal lines in the room.
I even consulted with several (five!) “high-end” installer buddies of mine. No one had a ” tip ” for making an improperly printed design fall correctly on the wall. In fact, all five of them said it couldn’t be done.
I determined that this material was unhangable.
As mentioned, I tried to find an installer buddy who could make this work and get this client’s dining room done in time for Thanksgiving dinner. But no one wanted to take it on.
I don’t know if the manufacturer will replace the paper or refund the $ spend. Manufacturers are usually keen on saying that “it’s the installer’s fault .” I can say that I’ve had similar issues with Meg Braff papers in the past.
The homeowner really loves this pattern. It’s possible – but not assured – that purchasing the same design but in a different run will yield a better factory printing job.
Just a note that printing defects , curling seams , wrinkling / quilting , and more, are somewhat common with hand-screened wallpapers . And here’s another reason why I’m happiest when clients stick with middle-of-the-road, or slightly upper priced , wallpaper options . Email me and request my Info Pack (or see the link on the right) for more information and brand name recommendations.
Sad to bow out and leave this client with an unpapered room, and no viable solution or direction . But better that than to take on something that I can’t assure will look good. I hope she tells me what she ends up doing and how all this turns out.

Swallowtail in Heights Dining Room

September 29, 2022
This is a beautifully renovated and updated 2-story 1920’s bungalow in the Heights neighborhood of central Houston.
Unlike the trend for homes that are all white or grey , this family went for color and fun . In other rooms, the woodwork and walls are painted cheery yet soft shades of blue , orange , yellow , salmon , and green . You may be able to find some photos by doing a Search here.
The fun doesn’t stop with paint colors … Here is a colorful and visually active wallpaper pattern in the family’s dining room .
The pattern might be overwhelming floor-to-ceiling , so the board and baton wainscoting gives the eyes a resting place.
The pattern is called Swallowtail . Not sure if that refers to birds or butterflies , but either way, it’s a fitting description .
You can almost feel the swooping and swirling wings .
The homeowner chose sconces that coordinate beautifully with the theme of the wallpaper .
The manufacturer is Flat Vernacular . The material was pre-trimmed , and was printed on a non-woven substrate . It could be hung by pasting the paper or by pasting the wall (I pasted the paper, as I usually do). It was nice to work with.
Unlike most wallpapers that come in rolls of standard dimensions , this material was priced and sold by the yard , and came in bolts of continuous lengths .

Two Color Rhythmic Print for Heights Breakfast Nook

September 7, 2022
Before. Grey and boring .
The built-in banquette seating has been removed.
Finished.
Closer look.
Showing the pattern centered on the wall, and with the shutters. The dimensions of the paper not corresponding well with the width of the window, along with logistics of pattern placement at the ceiling line but starting my first strip under the window all created some plotting and engineering challenges. Fun, but time consuming. But it turned out great!
The original idea was to just paper the nook area, ending at the vertical door molding. But it would have looked odd to stop the wallpaper above this doorway. So the homeowner and I decided to run the paper along the top of the doorway, and then down the left side (not shown), which dead-ends into some cabinets and the granite countertop. It looked good and was the right call.
It tickles me that this is quite obviously a riff on the very popular Strawberry Thief wallpaper pattern by William Morris , which is quite popular right now (do a Search here to see my installations of it). When a company comes up with a hit, you can be assured that a competitor will soon be making its own version of it.
The original has a lot more color, but this version is limited to just two colors. Even though there is a lot of contrast between the black and the white , the pattern doesn’t feel busy, because the design is so close and tight .
There is a lot of symmetry , repetitiveness , and balance in Wm Morris and similar styles .
I love the raised ink texture to this material .
Whoops! A slight pattern mis-match . The overall design is busy enough that small imperfections like this (as well as some color variations / shading ) are not really noticeable .
It’s odd to me that the printing defects are different in different strips / rolls of the wallpaper . You’d think that if the print roller was out of whack, it would create the same image every time it strikes the wallpaper surface. Or maybe it’s the trimmers that are off. If they had cut 1/16″ more off that left edge, we might have a perfect pattern match .
The manufacturer is York , one of my favorites , in their Sure Strip line, also one of my favorites.
It’s in the Magnolia Home collection , by, yes, Joanna Gaines , of HGTV fame with the show Fixer Upper .
SureStrip is a pre-pasted , thin , flexible , non-woven material that is easy to hang . It’s also easy to remove when you’re ready to redecorate , because it’s designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece with no damage to your walls .
installer houston birds

Animal Menagerie in Baby’s Nursery

August 10, 2022
What a cute pattern! Suited for a boy or girl, and will “grow” with the child for several years.
Before. The parents had this block paneling wainscoting added before the wallpaper went up. It keeps the wallpaper pattern from being overwhelming, and the green color really sets off the colors in the wallpaper.
Trees , flowers , forest animals , deer , leopards , peacocks , birds .
Made by Rifle Paper by York , one of my favorite brands.
Rifle Paper is a non-woven material , DIY – friendly , and designed to strip off the wall easily when it’s time to redecorate .

Finished Wall Re-Do – See Previous Post

July 26, 2022
Here’s the wall after I stripped, sealed, skim-floated, sanded, and primed it.
Finished. The birds in the pattern balanced nicely with between the ceiling line and the wainscoting.
I had more success with this install than the previous guy, due to proper prep, and also the material used this time was the user-friendly non-woven , rather than the old fashioned pulp type wallpaper the other guy had to wrestle with.
Strawberry Thief is a very popular pattern right now, and comes in many colorways. Do a Search here to see my other installations of this design.
There were some issues at the top of the wainscoting where the painters had used tape to mask off areas, long with caulk, an it left a rather large (1/8″) unpainted area between the wood molding and the wall. I filled this in with joint compound and primed it, and wallpaper would have adhered just fine. But that would have left a white gap between the wallpaper and the green molding.
I rummaged in my truck for the best matching paint I could come up with, and painted over the white edge. This would have left a bit of a thin brown line between the wallpaper and the green molding. It would have looked OK, but I had an idea to get rid of the gap altogether.
If I had used my regular thin straightedge (the red one), it would have let me trim the bottom edge of the wallpaper nice and close to the wall. But that would have left the aforementioned brown line showing.
So I used the metal plate you see at the upper right of the photo as a trim guide. It’s thicker than my red straightedge, and so gives a fat cut that leaves more wallpaper and less of that brown line.
In fact, the left edge, as you can see, is rolled, and that creates an even thicker edge to trim against, leaving even more wallpaper at the bottom of the cut. See the photo just above, to see how the wallpaper now completely covers the brown line.
These metal plates have a lot of other uses. They are made and sold by a fellow member of the Wallcovering Installers Association . She makes a lot of other cool tools, too. If you are interested, send me an email. wallpaperlady@att.net
The wallpaper design is by William Morris , a famed artist of the Arts & Crafts / Art Nouveau periods . The brand is Morris & Co.
This label is EXACTLY the same as the pulp material the original installer worked with – save for that one word non-woven . Be sure you get the non-woven version, which is also called paste the wall .
The home is in the Heights neighborhood of Houston .

William Morris Strawberry Thief in Houston Heights Breakfast Nook

May 5, 2022
Primed and ready for wallpaper.
Finished!
I love the way the light fixture repeats the red color, as well as mimics the curve of the birds’ bodies.
It’s almost like a hummingbird hovering over flowers in an English garden.
Strawberry Thief is a popular pattern, and I have it coming up two more times, in the same neighborhood, also in renovated 1920’s bungalows. Usually you see it in the red or navy colorway.
This is the first time I’ve seen it in this muted, pastel colorway. This color is available only from Morris & Co.
The symmetry and the fluidity of the design are very pleasing.
I’m seeing a lot of interest in William Morris designs lately. Many vendors are offering his originals, and many others are designing similar patterns. Dorota at the Sherwin-Williams in the Rice Village showed me two new wallpaper books with patterns reminiscent of the Arts & Crafts and Art Nouveau eras. See my post from April 17, 2022.
This material is very user-friendly, being a non-woven material that can be hung by pasting the wall or by pasting the paper.

Pocket Book Friendly Chinoiserie Mural

July 15, 2021
Getting ready to apply my Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime wallpaper primer.
Finished mural install.
Birds and flowers and trees – classic Chinoiserie themes.
Although it’s actually digitally-printed, it looks hand-painted.
Rebel Walls brand. Photo shows general simple installation instructions.

Burst pipes from the deadly February 2021 freeze here in Texas caused major water damage to the first floor of this home in the Memorial Villages area of Houston. The drywall walls and ceiling, wooden floors, kitchen cabinetry, electrical, plumbing, and more had to be yanked out and replaced.

The homeowner took advantage of this chaos to reimagine her master bedroom. Searching the likes of Pintrest and other sites, she fell in love with the concept of Chinoiserie (Oriental) murals … but not the price tag. The custom-made, hand-painted silk murals such as de Gournay, Gracie, and Fromental imported from China can cost from $1000-$1500+ per panel … and this sole wall took 12 panels. !

I encouraged her to explore other options, including digitally-printed custom murals on a durable non-woven substrate. A good number of manufacturers are making these, but Rebel Walls comes to the top of the heap for selection, quality, and customer service.

This wallpaper mural was easy to hang, and will be easy to remove when the time comes. Best of all, it’s as beautiful as the fancy-schmancy brands … but with a price tag that is much easier on the budget.

Rebelwalls rebelwalls.com

Pretty Leaves and Birds in Northwest Houston Powder Room

June 17, 2021
Walls were originally mud-brown. Here my wallpaper primer has been applied.
So lively and fresh!
Close-up.
Detail. It looks like a water color artist has taken his brush to the walls.
Wallquest – one of my preferred brands.

A once-drab, cookie-cutter powder room in a new build in Cypress (far northwest Houston) is now airy and fresh, thanks to this water color-y pattern of trees, leaves, and birds.

The manufacturer is Wallquest, and the wallpaper was purchased at Ballard Designs. This well-loved mail order company has a brand new actual store on W. Gray in River Oaks / Montrose (Houston). They sell a number of wallpaper brands (good quality and medium price range), and have designers with extensive wallpaper experience available to help you (call before heading over).