Posts Tagged ‘black’

Another All-White Room Goes Wild With Color

November 7, 2019

Boy, did I have fun with this one! Another all-white room rescued from the igloo-look.

This is the bathroom of a pre-teen gal in the West University neighborhood of Houston. She likes pink and orange, but is too old for flowers or girly stuff. Another focus was to keep in theme with the bold black band of tile around the top of the wainscoting.

This wallpaper is by Marimekko, 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.

This is a non-woven product, and can be hung by the paste-the-wall or the paste-the-paper methods. (I pasted the paper.) This material is dimensionally -stable and should not shrink or put tension on the wall as it dries. It has high fiberglass content, and is designed to pull off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate.

It was nice to work with.

Dark Papers – Visible Seams

September 10, 2019


Wallpaper is paper, and when paste is applied to the back, the paper gets wet and expands a little. When it hits the wall, it dries – and often that means it will shrink, even if just a tad. That will leave minute gaps at the seams. If the paper is dark and the wall or the substrate are light , you will most likely see white gaps at the seams.

Some manufacturers combat this by printing dark patterns on a darker substrate. This is what you see in the photo above. But it also helps to color the edges of the wallpaper with a corresponding color of chalk. (You can’t use ink, because ink will bleed and discolor the wallpaper.)

Sometimes you can go back and color in the seams with hobby paint or chalk, which sounds simple but actually takes some technique and finesse, to color the areas adequately and avoid staining the paper.

Painting the wall the color of the paper is a thought, but not as feasible as it sounds, because wallpaper wants to stick to wallpaper primer, not paint. And I’ve seen paint lift off the wall when the wallpaper dried and put tension on it – so, not using that trick again.

Paint with a clear wallpaper primer over it is another idea – but it adds an extra day (or two) and more labor and material costs.

What I did in this case, was to try different pasting methods. This wallpaper, from the Historic Homes Collection by Thibaut, is pre-pasted and engineered to be run through a water tray to activate the paste on the back of the paper.

This method works super with most of their colors. But, because the water tray adds a lot of moisture to the wallpaper, the amount of expansion and then shrinkage results in tiny gaps at the seams – not a big deal with a white or light-colored wallpaper. But with this black paper, it was showing too much white at the seams. Yes, a 1/64th” is too much, when you are looking at white between black.

So instead of running the paper through the water tray, I experimented with pasting the back of the paper. I knew this method would allow the paper to expand less, dry faster, and shrink minimally.

But wallpaper that has a thin layer of pre-paste on the back does not respond well to the installer applying paste to the back on top of the pre-paste. You are greeted with a thick, dry, gummy mess that is hard to manipulate on the wall.

There were also a lot of bubbles and blisters under the surface. Yes, you can be assured that these will disappear as the paper dries – but it sure makes you nervous while you are looking at them!

Spraying the back of the paper with water from a mister didn’t work, either, because the spray bottle spread water unevenly, water sloshed onto my work table, and there was nothing to enhance the “stickiness” of the manufacturer’s pre-paste.

After experimenting, what worked best was to apply paste to the back, full strength, and then quickly spritz the back with water and roll it around, to thin down the paste I had just applied, and to add enough moisture to activate the pre-paste.

The wallpaper strips with this pasting concoction were thick and muddy and difficult to maneuver, but the drier paste did lock down at the seams more quickly. I didn’t have issues with shrinking or gapping seams after I started using this pasting method.

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.

Black “Lafayette” Is A Dramatic Facelift For A ’70’s Hall Bathroom

January 5, 2019

The original paper wasn’t exactly what you would call exciting, but it had served well – for about 30 years. Now, in 2019, it was time for an update! The homeowner (who had lived happily with these pale walls for decades) knew she wanted a dramatic paper, and she was dead set on black. She zeroed in on this “Lafayette” design by Thibaut, and she was spot on… this paper really transformed the room!

This 1960’s / ’70’s home in the Tanglewood neighborhood of Houston has elegant finishes and furnishings, and has been immaculately cared for over the years. The homeowner has a great many items that date back several decades. So this paper is well-suited…. From the Historic Homes collection by Thibaut, it dates back to the 1800’s (Thibaut was founded in 1886).

Most wallpapers are 20.5″ wide, but this one is 18.5″ wide, which is because, I am told, it is printed on the exact same printing presses that were used back in the days of the original production (1800’s). It has a beautiful raised ink method of printing, and is lovely to work with. Look at tomorrow’s post to see a better pic of the true colors of this gorgeous pattern!

This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, 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.

Cute Paris Theme for Little Girls’ Shared Bathroom

October 4, 2018


Most everything in this new home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston is sleek and white. The homeowner wanted to add just a little pizazz to the hall bathroom shared by her two young daughters.

This Paris-themed design, with its pencil-thin lines and three-color palette is just perfect! I love the way the line drawing effect reiterates the lines in the shower’s subway tile. Charcoal grey, white, and just a touch of red are enough to brighten the room, without overwhelming the serene white color scheme. And it’s a fun design to look at. I mean, who wouldn’t love Paris – especially a Paris with a Ferris wheel?

The wallpaper is by York Wall, in their Sure Strip line, and is a pre-pasted product on a thin non-woven backing. It is designed to strip off the wall easily with no damage when it’s time to redecorate. In the meantime, it is thin and hugs the wall tightly, and the seams are practicably invisible. This brand is very reasonably-priced.

The interior designer for this project is Stacie Cokinos, of Cokinos Design. Stacie specializes in helping choose floor plans, finishes (flooring, countertops, paint colors), fixtures (faucets, lights, knobs), appliances, in new home construction and in remodel projects. Her look is fresh and clean, but very livable for modern families. She is a delight to work with.

Who Thought A Black Bathroom Was A Good Idea? Here’s Better …

August 27, 2017

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

This large powder room in a brand new townhome in between Montrose and the Heights (Houst0n) was originally painted black.  It was just too intense.  The interior designer knew that, while still keeping the dark color scheme the homeowners wanted, a little pattern would make the room less foreboding and more inviting.

I skim-floated the walls to smooth them (2nd photo), primed, then hung the paper.  OK, the 3rd photo is dark (not much light in the room + crummy camera), but if you look closely, you can see the pattern.  The other photos show the design nicely.  It’s large in scale, and that’s good, because the walls are nearly 10′ high, so the pattern fills the space nicely.

The interior designer for the job is Pamela O’Brien assisted by Danna Smith, of Pamela Hope Designs.  Their interiors are lovely, clean-lined, yet still warm and liveable.  The wallpaper is by Designer Wallpapers, and was a delight to work with.

A Dose of Light Dazzle for a Glam Bedroom

April 8, 2017

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image


This homeowner’s style is all about shimmer and lux and high glamour. But the bedroom felt cold, and she thought an accent wall would perk things up. We explored a number of wallpaper designs, mostly pretty dramatic. She ended up choosing this much more subtle pattern – really more of a texture than a pattern – and I think it is the perfect choice.

It has just enough design to bring life to the room, and the light flocked texture warms things up. But it is a background sort of pattern, and doesn’t overwhelm the room. This is good, because it means that the chrome-and-black headboard, the chrome end tables, and the large mirrors that hang above them (not pictured) will be the focal points of the room.

The homeowner loved the look so much that she is considering taking the paper all the way around the room, onto the three remaining walls. The pattern is soft enough, and the color light enough, and the room large enough, that I think this will work wonderfully.

This home is a new townhome with custom features, in Braes Heights, Houston.

The wallpaper pattern is by Designer Wallpapers, and was bought at below retail price from 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.

Wallpaper In Better Homes & Gardens Once Again

April 4, 2017

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image


I am always tickled to see wallpaper featured in national magazines. It draws a lot of attention to the many faces of wallcoverings, and entices more people to use them. These photos are from the April 2017 issue of Better Homes & Gardens.

Sigourney by Quadrille, in a powder room. Interestingly enough, I have this same pattern coming up, but in a softer tan color, in a dining room, in a few weeks.

Daydream by Hygge & West. This a well-loved pattern, and I have hung it several times, in many colors. Interestingly enough, I have it coming up, also, in a few weeks, for a baby’s nursery accent wall.

A yellow ikat trellis by Thibaut. Interestingly enough, I hung this same pattern, but in aqua, with a complimentary leopard print companion paper, in a powder room a few months ago.

Navy blue grasscloth in a dining room, above the white wainscoting. The strips in this photo are narrow, and do not show the visible seams and possible color variations (shading, paneling) that are common with many grasscloths.

An over-sized floral of cabbage roses on a smoky black background. I have not hung this one yet, but many of my colleagues across the country have. It’s a popular look. The overscaled size of this pattern, and the dramatic color contrasts, make it a daring choice for a small room like this powder room.

A wildly and brightly colored geometric pattern for a children’s play room. This is a little similar to what is in the background of the twins’ room on the TV show Blackish.

A pattern reminiscent of tropical thatched roofs. This is reminiscent of a similar pattern I put in a “tree house” home office a few months ago. (Search on my blog to see pics of the full project.)

A mural of misty mountain fog. I totally love this mural. Murals have taken on a whole new look these days, leaving behind the old scenes of palm trees leaning over tropical white sand beaches, and bringing us to much more modern and innovative vignettes.

More murals, including an impressionistic floral in bright colors (I have done two in the similar theme – do a Search on my blog), and an updated beach scene. (Note the current trend among manufacturers / vendors to not go to the trouble to hang the paper on the wall, but to instead run a clothes line across the wall and use clothes pins to “artfully” string up the rolls of wallpaper, letting them drop loosely to the floor. This method is easy / inexpensive for the vendor to do, and it looks oh-so-cool- but it prevents the shopper from seeing what the product would look like attached firmly to a smooth surface.)

The final mural is a tropical forest scene. This has been a popular mural scene / theme for decades. But this version is printed on better quality paper, and the photo image has much more detail, depth of color, texture, etc.

Many of these murals can be custom-made, to fit the dimensions of your wall / room. Measuring is tricky, so be sure to contact your wallcovering installer BEFORE you order the mural or wallpaper.

More Black Wallpaper – Powder Room / Geometric

September 25, 2015
Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image


Digital Image

Digital Image


Digital Image

Digital Image


It takes guts to go with black! This summer, I have hung black or near-black wallpaper in two dining rooms, a bedroom accent wall, and, today, in a powder room.

This young couple with two pre-school children wanted to move their new home in the Houston Heights away from Boring Builder’s White toward a warmer and more contemporary look. For the powder room, they chose this black-on-grey geometric in a small, tight pattern.

The room was lit well enough, but still it was very hard for me to see what I was doing, because the dark paper “ate” shadows, so I could not see depth, nor was it easy to see well enough to trim around intricate molding or the pedestal sink – Aaahhh – that pedestal sink!… It took more than an hour and a half, just to hang the two pieces on the wall behind the pedestal sink.

I used craft paint to cut in around the molding, to ensure a neat finish, and I used chalk pastels to color the edges of the paper, so the lighter colored backing would not show at the seams.

One photo shows a slight defect in the paper – some shards that are bi-products of trimming at the factory, instead of being swept away, were pushed back onto the surface of the wallpaper and got stuck there; I was able to scratch most of them off, but a few had to remain.

In more than one corner, I actually had to pull out my tiny travel flashlight (thank you, companies that hand out gimmee / freebies!) so I could see to match the pattern!

The finished room looked fantastic. The homeowners want to update the lighting and towel ring, etc. (I suggested shiny silver chrome), so soon the powder room will suit the lifestyle and taste of this young and go-go-go family.

This wallpaper is by EcoChic, 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.