Posts Tagged ‘birds’

Historic “Lafayette” Bird Pattern in Galleria Area Powder Room

July 12, 2019


With a black granite floor, a black toilet, a dark wood vanity, and a dark granite countertop, adding black wallpaper to this under-the-stairs powder room seemed like a bold venture. But the gutsiness paid off – the finished room looks fantastic. And there is nothing dark or brooding about it.

In fact, the light color of the birds, along with the uplifiting feel of the vertical foliage in the design work together to give the room light and movement. Ditto the new paint color on the ceiling.

Sorry there is no photo, but this room, which is tucked under the stairway, has a deeply sloped ceiling. Originally, the homeowners considered papering the slope and the flat ceiling areas, too. But I told them that would make the room far too dark and closed-in. I suggested they pull a color from the wallpaper and dilute it to what I call a “whisper color” – almost white, but with just a whisper of color.

They could have gone with a light shade of tan (birds’ wings), green (plants), purple (birds), or salmon (birds, flowers). After consulting with the gal who sells the wallpaper (read below), they decided on a pale orangey-pink shade. I love the choice!

The ceiling does not look “pink.” Yet the hint of peachy pink adds warmth, while all the while pulls your eye up and adds a feeling of openness and even joy.

Fourth photo – the tan paint from the original faux finish wall treatment wrapped around onto the top of the backsplash. Once the dark paper went up, I didn’t want to have a gold stripe running around the top of the backsplash. So I used artist’s craft paint and a small brush to paint it black, to blend in with the granite backsplash. Once the wallpaper was up, to protect both the paint and the bottom edge of the wallpaer, I ran a bead of clear caulk along the top of the backsplash. This will prevent splashes of water that land on top of the backsplash from being wicked up under the paper – which could cause curling.

This historic “Lafayette” wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, and dates back to the 1800’s. In fact, it is 2″ narrower than most wallpapers, and I’m told that that is because it is printed with the same engraved rollers as were used back then. It’s a raised-ink printing process, and the material is pre-pasted. I experimented with a couple of pasting techniques, and found that the old-fashioned method of pulling the strips through a water tray resulted in even saturation and activation of the paste, and the flattest seams.

This paper 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 (inner loop Houston). (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.

Advertisements

Timorous Beasties “Indie Wood” Wallpaper in a Dining Room

April 21, 2019


This is some novel stuff!

This wallpaper pattern is something like a mural, but with a little more brain-bending. It is one continuous design, with no element or motif repeating or showing up more than once in the 33′ length of each bolt.

It’s a good thing that no one was living in the house, and that furniture had not been moved in yet. Because I needed a LOT of floor space to roll out and study each bolt.

I had to compare the height of the walls and the length of each strip that I needed, to the placement of various animals in the design. This enabled me to plot where on the wall any given critter would appear, and to get as many creatures as possible on each strip, all while accommodating the homeowner’s preference for a few special ones.

I rolled the entire 33′ long bolt out on the floor, took measurements, and used blue tape to indicate the tops and bottoms of each strip. This enabled me to fiddle with various layouts and animal positions, and I could make changes if needed.

We needed 22 strips, and I was getting 5 strips out of each double roll bolt. So after I cut five strips from the first bolt, I moved on to the second bolt.

To give a more random look, I wanted the same animals (the squirrels, for instance) to be placed at different heights moving around the room. So when I started plotting my strips and cuts from the second bolt, I made sure that the creatures landed at different heights from the first bolt. That first bolt and the animals’ positions I called “A” and the second bolt and positions were “B”. I only got four strips out of the “B” bolt.

This meant that any given motif would appear at the same height on the wall only every 9th strip. This would give a pleasing, random look.

The plan was to hang all the strips taken in order from the “A” bolt first, followed by strips taken sequentially from the “B” bolt. Repeat with another “A” and another “B”, and then back to an “A” bolt again.

To be sure, I measured and marked and double-checked everything carefully before I cut anything. Then each strip was labeled … (“2A,” “4B,” etc.)

Working around the doors and windows, the room was divided into four sections. The next step was to get all those strips of paper placed in proper sequential order, standing in queue all around the room – all while figuring the center point of each of those four spaces and plotting which strips would be placed flanking the middle of that wall.

Some cool features of this pattern is that it was placed smack down the middle of the 20.5″ wide strip, which made it a lot easier to center and balance the design than if it had been placed off-center. Also, the design did not reach across any seams, so (other than plotting the height where each critter would fall) there was no pattern match. This made it a lot easier to accommodate crooked walls and un-level ceiling and wainscoting.

The dimensions of the room were also amazingly in sync with those of the wallpaper pattern. Vertically, the 82″ height of each wall / strip worked with the placement of animals on the paper, so virtually all animals were kept intact. There was only one bird who got cut in half at the wainscoting, and that happened only every 9th strip (twice in the whole room).

Horizontally the pattern worked out just as incredibly. The width of all of the walls worked out to be within an inch or two of a multiple of the width of the paper. So centering the strips / pattern on each wall resulted in a look as if the design were “framed” by the door and window moldings. Sorry, no pics.

The downside was, just by happenstance, I ended up with an extraordinary number 1″-2″ strips that had to be squeezed in. Time-consuming and PITA.

I centered the pattern on each of these four wall spaces. But that meant that the rhythm of the pattern would get screwed up as it passed over the door to the butler’s pantry, two windows, and the 12′ wide entry to the hallway.

Here again, the dimensions worked amazingly well, and so did the very accommodating pattern. In the short 10″ high areas over these doors, I was able to “fudge” the pattern by slicing strips vertically along a tree trunk, for instance, and then overlapping the two sections an inch or two, to “shrink” the strip’s width. Making an inch of width disappear from each of seven strips is barely noticeable, and maintains the rhythm that the viewer’s eye wants to see as it travels around the room. Again, sorry, no pictures.

The walls had been primed a few days before; just laying out and hanging the paper took me 12 hours.

I hung this “Indie Wood” pattern by Timorous Beasties on the top 5′ above paneled wainscoting in a new home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston. It’s made of non-woven material, and can be hung by paste-the-wall or paste-the-paper (which was what I opted to do). Non-wovens are strong and have a high fiber-glass content. They are designed to strip off the wall easily when it’s time to redecorate. Additionally, they are dimensionally-stable – they do not expand when wet with paste. This makes it much easier to plot placement of strips and motifs.

The interior designer for this job is Stacie Cokinos of Cokinos Design.

More Timorous Beasties – Indie Wood, Mislabeled and Correct Versions

April 19, 2019


The top photo shows the wallpaper sample the client had received and made her selection from. She had taped it to the wall in the dining room, to designate which paper was to go there. It’s an overall foliage pattern with realistic delicate birds and insects, and a pattern that matches across the seam from strip to strip.

But when I opened the shipping box, the paper that we received was a very large and bold non-repeating vertical stripe. There were large forest creatures and plants drawn in a whimsical style. The design did not cross the seams, so there was no pattern match.

Obviously, the sample the homeowner had received was not the same as what we had received.

Happily, the wild and bold forest scene is what she wanted.

Like yesterday’s pattern by the same manufacturer, this is one long mural-like design that runs through the entire 33′ long bolt without any element or motif being repeated. The pattern does not cross the seam, so there is no match – you are free to place any element of the design at any position on the wall you wish.

Of course, you want to make sure not to place the same squirrel, for example, at the same wall height on every strip, and especially not on two strips next to each other.

This will be a bit of a mind-bender to plot and lay out, and will take up a lot of space on the floor while I roll out all the bolts to get a good look at the pattern.

I’m looking forward to this challenge. Plus, the beautifully-drawn pictures and the fairy tale-like feel of the design are mesmerizing, juxtaposed with the strong pattern color and width and the swirling vertical movement. I can’t wait to see how it transforms this dining room.

More in a day or two … !!

Birds for the Bold of Heart

August 18, 2018


A lot of clients tell me they love birds, and are seeking wallpaper patterns with foliage and birds. (Do a Search here (upper right corner) on the word “birds.”) Most of those are what you would call sweet patterns. This design, on the other hand, can only be called BOLD.

The homeowner, also in the Houston Heights, is the sister to the guy mentioned in yesterday’s post. As you can see, they share an adventurous taste in decorating!

Although the pattern has a lot going on, it doesn’t feel busy, even in a powder room, partly because of the fairly homogenous color scheme, and also because of the all-over placement of the design elements. Besides, who can resist those intense faces? My favorite is the owl-like bird staring you dead in the eye.

The walls in this new home were heavily textured, so I had to smooth them first (see top photos) and then prime with a penetrating sealer called Gardz.

This wallpaper pattern is by Clarke & Clarke, a British company. As are many British products, it is printed on a non-woven substrate and is quite durable. It can be dry-hung using the paste-the-wall method – but I prefer to paste the paper. It was a little easier to work with than yesterday’s paper, being thinner and softer and less prone to creasing.

This 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.

Beautiful Bradbury Birds

June 29, 2018


Bradbury & Bradbury is a well-established company based in California that produces wallpaper patterns in the style of by-gone eras – Victorian, Arts & Crafts, Art Deco, Oriental and more. I have their Raspberry Bramble, from the Victorian collection, in my own master bathroom. Do a Search here to see pics.

Bradbury has unveiled some new genres recently, including the ’50’s Atomic Age and the ’20’s Vintage. These new products are digitally-printed, which is a little different from their other papers, most of which are screen-printed.

Today I hung half of a master bedroom with their 2D-103. Those numbers are not very interesting, but the pattern is – see it in the photos above. It’s a lovely, cheery, and easy-to-live-with birds, branches, and flowers, on a soft yellow background.

Bradbury wallpapers come with a selvedge edge that has to be trimmed off by hand, using a razor blade and straight edge (not shown). This takes precision and a lot of sharp new razor blades – I spent two hours trimming paper for these two walls (with more to come tomorrow for the remaining two walls).

Once all that tedious trimming was over, the paper was a delight to work with. The seams melted together and were next to invisible. The paper hugged the wall nicely with no curling at the edges. Other companies with cantankerous papers could take a lesson from Bradbury.

This home is in the Bellaire neighborhood of Houston, and was partially destroyed in the flooding after Hurricane Harvey in 2017. The homeowners love the vintage vibe of their older home, and when the house was rebuilt after the flood, they took great care to recreate the look of the original home … woodwork, flooring, kitchen cabinets, kitchen appliances… all are true to the home’s original look.

Jungle Mural on a Bedroom Niche Wall

July 1, 2017

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image


This alcove / sitting area is in the entry vestibule of the master bedroom in a renovated-and-expanded 1914 home in the Houston Heights. Every wall and surface in the home is white, or some faint derivative of white. Meaning, colorless and lifeless.

This fun jungle mural with birds and foliage and a good (but not crazy) dose of color changes all that. Behind the headboard, as most accent walls are, might have been too much with this particular mural. But the homeowner envisioned it on this on one wall in the vestibule – the wall that the family will see when they are in the room with the kids, or on the bed.

In the second photo, I am laying out the mural, to see how I want to position it on the wall. The mural is about two feet too wide for the wall, and about 10″ too tall, so some of it had to be trimmed off. The homeowner wanted the bird on the left to be visible, so I plotted my placement around that.

One of the photos shows a mock-up of the mural which was included in the instruction sheet. It shows that the mural comes in eight panels, and it shows which design elements are included in each panel. This is very helpful in deciding which areas will be cut off, and which will be placed prominently on the wall.

Complicating that is the width of the individual panels relative to the width of the wall, and the fact that the paper will expand just a tad once it is wet with paste, which throws off initial measurements based on dry paper.

I’ll skip all the math and engineering, but to cut to the chase, I trimmed a little off here and added a little there, and the mural fit the wall beautifully, with the bird taking prominence on the left, an another large bird being featured just about in the dead center.

This mural is by SureStrip, one of my favorite brands. It is a thin, pliable, pre-pasted non-woven material that is designed to strip off the wall when it’s time to redecorate. In the meantime, it was positively lovely to work with, and it will stay on the wall and perform beautifully for years / decades to come.

Tone-On-Tone and Movement Open Up A Guest Bathroom

May 12, 2017

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image


Digital Image


This guest bathroom is large, but with nothing but grey paint on the walls, it felt claustrophobic and bland. This pen-and-ink look foliage pattern with watercolor birds has just enough movement to bring life to the room, but the scale and the monochromatic color scheme keep it from overpowering.

This wallpaper is by Prestigious Textiles, a British company, and is a non-woven material and is meant to be hung by pasting the wall (not the paper). It is amazingly similar to another paper I hung a few months ago. (last photo) https://wallpaperlady.wordpress.com/2016/11/18/birds-pen-and-ink-and-watercolor/ I guess when someone has a good concept, there is always someone quick to knock it off.

The interior designer for this room is Pamela O’Brien of Pamela Hope Designs. http://www.pamelahopedesigns.com/ PHD does a lot of work on new builds, helping to get everything organized and coordinated from the ground up. This home is brand new, and is in the Crestwood neighborhood, across from Memorial Park in Houston.

Birds! Pen-and-Ink and Watercolor

November 18, 2016
Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image


Here is wallpaper pattern that is subtle, whimsical, and colorful all at the same time. It looks like a pen-and-ink drawing of trees, with birds filled in in watercolor. Positively beautiful!

I hung this on an accent wall in the dining room of a very nicely updated 1930 brick bungalow in the Norhill district of the Heights neighborhood of Houston. The paper was a non-woven material, and was a paste-the-wall installation process, and was nice to work with. The manufacturer is Holden.

How Many Birds In The Forest?

August 21, 2016
Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image


It takes guts to put a dark paper in a small room. In this small hall bathroom, this pattern looks super! What helps this black wallpaper work is the white tile floor and shower surround, and a black vanity with a soft grey marble top. There are enough light colored surfaces to balance all the dark.

What’s extra cool is that this home is set on about an acre, and all the land is planted with foliage and large trees and looks quite wooded. The homeowner also owns an aviary with several types birds. So this woodland scene is perfect!

This paper is by Witch & Watchman, and is a non-woven material and uses a paste-the-wall process of installation. I ran black chalk along the edges, to hide the white backing, and that made the seams disappear.

I hung this in a home in Hedwig Village (Houston). The remodel work is being done by a company I work for from time to time, Greymark Construction, who does mighty fine work.

Chirpy Birds and Cheery Color for a Little Girl’s Room

June 16, 2016
Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image


Today I hung this bright, happy paper on an accent wall in a little girl’s bedroom, in the Highland Village area of Houston. It sure changed the all-white room into something cheery and fun!

The paper is in the EcoChic line of WallQuest. It was a little thicker and stiffer than most of the EcoChic papers I have worked with before, and I would have preferred the thinner paper. I also was not happy with the edges that got banged up in shipping – but they pretty well flatten out as the paper dries. The paper doesn’t have a coating, and it will stain easily, so the family will have to be careful to avoid touching it or splashing it. But since it’s behind the headboard, it will be well protected.

The paper 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.