Posts Tagged ‘black’

Yes, I’m A Little Obsessed

January 19, 2023
Re previous post … This accent wall is in the butler’s pantry , and ends at the corner that turns into the main kitchen area. Since this corner was visible from the great room / family room , I plotted the lay-out so the full motif would fall at that corner . In other words, I butted the right edge of the wallpaper up against the corner of that wall . This left a vertical gold line running the height of the wall. A good stopping point for the eye. Just perfect!
But … the paper came with a teeny bit of black next to that gold line. So there was about 1/16″ of black showing to the right of that vertical gold line. (Sorry, no pic) I thought it was so minor that it wouldn’t be a big deal. But, once that strip got up on the wall, I thought that black edge caught your eye . It bugged the heck out of me!
So I took straightedge and razor blade and trimmed off that miniscule bit of black.
No we have a crisp gold line against the corner.
As the wallpaper hung from right to left, at the final corner, naturally, the pattern didn’t fall exactly along one of the vertical gold lines. For one thing, walls are always wonky . Also, that last section of black trapezoids were less than their full width. But only by about a half an inch. I had measured ahead of time and knew this, and I felt 1/2″ shorter box wouldn’t bother anybody.
But I did think I could make that left edge look crisper , and also wanted it to match the edge on the right side of the wall.
So I took a bit of scrap wallpaper (like what you see lying on the floor on the left), and again my straightedge and razor blade, and trimmed off one of those gold lines. This is about 1/8″ wide .
Next, I pasted it over that left edge, as seen in the photo.
Here is the left edge finished. Nice and sharp , and more ” finished ” than just a black box ending at the wall. Speaking of black blocks … those on the far left are a bit narrower than the ones on the rest of the strips. But, seriously – who cares, and who notices?? What you do notice is the gold strip neatly trimming off the wall corner .
This geometric pattern is in the Jaclyn Smith line by Trend Fabrics . It’s a nice non-woven , paste the wall material , and is durable and stain-resistant . Also, it will strip off the wall easily and with little / no damage to the wall when it’s time to redecorate .
The install was in a home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston .

Gold Geometric on Black Accent Wall in Kitchen Area

January 18, 2023
” Floating ” accent wall between kitchen and dining room . The homeowners originally considered a mural for this area . But with help from the wallpaper sales guy, they landed on this.
Both husband and wife love this. The black color plays beautifully off the black cabinets in the kitchen , butler’s pantry , and mud room . The gold geometric lines keep everything lively .
The specs say this is is a 25″ pattern repeat. But from looking at it, you’d think it was much shorter … the narrow lines match up with the narrow lines, and the fat sections line up with fat sections. Maybe 4″ repeat. But – not. I’ve hung this before, so I was already aware that those lines and sections are not all the same distance apart. It’s essential that you lay your strips next to each other and make sure you’ve got the pattern match correct. Because if not, you could end up with tiny 1/8″ mis-matches across the seams between some of those gold lines .
This is a Jaclyn Smith design by Trend . It’s a paste-the-wall / non-woven material , and is strong and durable , and resistant to stains and tears . Flexible and easy to install . Will strip off the wall easily and in one piece when you redecorate .
It has a raised ink / lightly textured surface .
The wallpaper was purchased from Calico / Calico Corners on W. Alabama in Houston , with the expert knowledge and interior design assistance of Ron Dillon , whom I’ve known for about 25 years .
The home is in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston.

From Dark and Dated to Light and Livable

December 17, 2022

Oh, my! – I hung lots of these chintz florals, ” satin ” look (the design of the dark green at the bottom of the wall), and dark colors back in the ’90’s . Sure enough – this home was built and wallpapered in 1994.
IIt’s still a good look, IMO, and the homeowner still likes it. But she’s just gotten tired of it. So – time for an update !
She also decided to eliminate the chair rail , so the new wallpaper will go ceiling to floor . Here you see some damage to the drywall where the chair rail molding was removed .
What a change! Now the room’s look is quiet and fresh .
The buffet , topped with a decorative mirror , will go on this wall . That’s why I centered the pattern in between the windows , so it will fall evenly on either side of the furnishings .
I also plotted so that a full “Moroccan lantern” (that’s what this style of trellis pattern is called), would balance out between the crown molding and the window molding. There were several of these 12.5″ high areas all around the room, so this placement of whole “lantern” motifs gave the room a pleasing look.
It also worked out that the lanterns were evenly placed and kept whole between the crown molding and the baseboard. See the second following photo to see what I’m talking about
As a note – just this one window wall took me about five hours to measure , calculate , and hang . Getting the pattern to go over, around, and under the two windows , and still line up and match correctly , took some time and futzing. The material was thick and stiff , and a bit tricky to fit into corners and trim around the decorative window molding .
In the foreground you see my work table area . The homeowner has let me put protective padding on her dining room table and then set my work table on that. This saves space and allows plenty of room for my ladder and other tools as I work around all four walls.
So that I could center the pattern on this wall , I had to start hanging my first strip in the middle of the wall. I was lucky this time, that the pattern was centered exactly on the edge of the wallpaper roll . Sometimes (as in the one I did yesterday – see previous post ) the center of the design motif is a to the right or left of the edge of the wallpaper . This, naturally, means you’ve got to do more measuring and plotting and double-checking , to be sure the center of the design falls down the center of the wall .
Back to the photo above … that dark block on the right side of my work table is my laser level. It’s shooting a perfectly plumb red line onto the wall. Here I’m lining up my first strip of paper butted against this red line .
Switch topics … Back in 1994, the original installer did a very nice job of hanging the wallpaper. But … he didn’t prime the new drywall first. That lack of primer / protective layer means that the wallpaper will actually bond to the drywall. I tried, but was unable to get the existing wallpaper off . Eventually, you need to factor in time , damage to the wall , paste residue left on the wall, and take a different tac if called for.
So I skim-floated over the seams , so they wouldn’t show under the new paper , and also floated over the damaged drywall where the chair rail had been removed . Sanded smooth , and then primed the patched areas as well as the original wallpaper, with Roman Ultra Prime Pro 977 . This stuff will adhere to the light acrylic (slick) surface of the original wallpaper, as well as protect it from moisture from my paste on the new wallpaper. ( Moisture could cause the underlying original wallpaper to expand , creating bubbles that will look bad, or loose areas that will pull away from the wall, creating a bubble or pocket.)
My primer is also lightly pigmented, so it helps block out the dark color and busy pattern of the original wallpaper . This particular new wallpaper is quite opaque , but not all of them are, so a pigmented primer is important , IMO .

Left corner of the buffet wall. Here you can see how the lantern motifs are placed between ceiling and floor.
The background has a lightly mottled effect, that mimics grasscloth a bit, and also adds more depth and warmth than just a plain solid color .
Been havin’ more than a fair share of defects lately, especially this week. This paper had on both front and back sides, incidences of these black flecks . They seemed to be maybe charcoal , so I wasn’t too worried about their black bleeding through to the surface , like ink or any oil-based substance will do.
Most of them were embedded in the material itself, so could not be wiped off , nor dug out with a razor blade . Some I had to cut around and discard the affected paper. Others were so small as to not be noticeable once the paper was up on the wall and all the furniture and artwork was back in the room.
There was also one 3′ section of wallpaper that had an odd streak or arc running across it. It wasn’t ink . It was more like some kind of compromise to the substrate . I noticed it was I was pasting the back of the paper . I turned it over and, sure enough, you could see it a little on the surface. (see photo in previous post) It’s the kind of thing that was subtle, but would catch your eye when looking at the wall from a distance . It was minor , but I discarded that strip . Good thing I have the homeowners purchase a little extra wallpaper .
The manufacturer is Designer Wallcoverings , which is a good quality brand (aside from the printing defects I described earlier ). It was a non-woven / paste the wall material , which is pretty user-friendly . It will strip off the wall easily and in one piece when you redecorate . Stain-resistant , and ” breathable ” in humid conditions .
The home is in the West University neighborhood of Houston . Dining room installer

Dramatic Background for Bathtub Wall Niche

December 10, 2022

An interesting feature to this master bathroom is this recessed wall niche . But you just can’t have a niche. You’ve gotta have something in it! The color scheme of this home is grey , neutral , and white . The homeowners were originally considering a similarly-hued nature – themed Chinoiserie mural by RebelWalls.com . But it wasn’t scaled to fit their space , and other factors weren’t feeling right.
So they opted for this instead. Way more dramatic , but still coordinates with the home’s color scheme . The branches have a light gold sheen .
Interestingly enough, this is the same paper used on the backs of their bookcases (see post a day ago). They realized there was left over paper , and it was enough to do the back of this niche. Win-win!
The wallpaper has a lightly textured vinyl surface on a non-woven backing material . I hung it via the paste the wall method . Non-wovens will strip off the wall easily and in one piece , with no damage to the wall , when you redecorate. The manufacturer is York , one of my favorites .
The modern / contemporary style home is in the Spring Branch neighborhood of Houston .

Shimmery Trees on Back of Bookshelves

December 8, 2022

Before – living room in Spring Branch ( Houston ). I’m in the process of priming the backs of these bookshelves , so the wallpaper will adhere to the semi-gloss enamel paint .
Done. Simple , subtle , but makes a statement .
The shelves will be replaced, and decorative items will be set on them.
Close-up . A light black background with beautiful glimmering gold trees and branches. The pattern is dispersed evenly across the paper, making for a homogeneous look.

Called Luminous Branches , this wallpaper is made by York . It’s a thin , flexible non-woven material . I hung it easily by pasting the wall , rather than by pasting the paper . When it’s time to redecorate , it will strip off the wall easily and with no damage to the wall surface . Nice stuff!

White Flowers on Black Background in Dining Room

November 13, 2022
Before. Waaay too much white. Bland, boring white! Primed with Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime and ready for wallpaper .
Done! A small, tight design in just a few colors, as well as placing the pattern above the wainscoting (instead of papering floor-to-ceiling) keeps this from being too busy.
If these homeowners really wanted to pump it up, I could see painting those ” beams ” a semi-gloss black. Or maybe the recessed ceiling areas inside the beams . What do you think?
I love the way the white flowers play off the white molding and wainscoting.
This shot shows the true colors
This is by Rifle Paper . This brand has exploded in popularity since they expanded into selling wallpaper . And no wonder – their patterns are overwhelmingly cheerful and fun.
The material is a non-woven , and can be hung by the paste the wall method , or by pasting the paper . I usually prefer to paste the paper as it makes the material more flexible, as well as ensures that paste gets to every surface.
The home is in the Oak Forest / Garden Oaks area of Houston . I papered this couple’s nursery a few months ago, and almost immediately they were eager to enhance another room with wallpaper.

Preparing To Work With Black Wallpaper

November 12, 2022
Black wallpaper’s gonna go on this wall . Because wallpaper sometimes shrinks a tad as it dries , and because manufacturers can’t always guarantee a perfectly straight cut edge , it’s possible that some of the wall will peek out from behind the seams .
One way to prevent this is to stripe dark paint on the wall under where the seams will fall. This wallpaper is made of non-woven and won’t expand as it gets wet with paste . Each strip is 27″ wide . This makes it easy to measure and plot where each seam will fall.
The center of the pattern is not placed in the middle of the wallpaper strip, but 10″ in from the left edge . I used that information to calculate where the seams would fall .
The paint I use is just craft paint from Michael’s or Texas Art Supply . I thin it with water (in the orange Gatorade cap) and swipe it on the wall with that scrap of sponge . It’s important not to make the paint too thick , because you want the wallpaper to be adhering to the wallpaper primer , and too heavy a coat of craft paint will prevent that primer from doing its job.
After laying out where each seam will fall, I use this laser level to shoot a vertical red line onto the wall, as a guide for where to swipe on the black paint .
Because this wallpaper is printed on a white substrate, it’s possible that that backing will show at the seams. So I use black chalk – again from the art supply store – to run down the edges of the wallpaper .
There’s been an uptick in interest in dark colors in wallpaper these days.
This wallpaper is by Rifle Paper .

Modern Electrical Technology Makes Hanging Paper Easier

November 10, 2022
Bad photo, but I’m to put wallpaper in this room, including the tall and deep fir-down at the top right, which has two recessed light fixtures in it. You want the paper to go behind the light fixtures, not cut around them, if at all possible. In the photo, at the far middle left, you can see one fixture dangling by it’s wires below the fir-down.
Some of these recessed fixtures are tricky to take down (many won’t come down at all), but these ones turned out to be held in place by tension springs, which fit into sideways hooks, which you can see at the left inside the hole.
Here’s a closer look. These are the same type springs that hold the vent covers to exhaust fans in place. As you push them upward, they spread apart and hold the fixture securely in place. Easy-peasy! You can also squeeze the springs together and remove them from the mounting housing, which lets the fixture dangle from its electrical wires.
That’s what I’ve done here. Now it’s much easier to work the wallpaper around the fixture. But it could be made even easier – by removing the light fixture all together.
Most light fixtures have black and white wires coming from inside the wall that connect to black and white wires on the electrical fixture and are connected and held in place by a twist-on screw cap or wire nut. What’s very cool about this particular fixture’s electrical connections is that it’s made by this orange plug, which fits into the orange receptacle – no wires to twist or cap, and no need to cut off the power. It’s all simple and perfectly safe.
Here I’ve disconnected the two orange parts.
With the light fixture completely out of the way, it’s much easier to install the wallpaper, and no paste gets slopped onto the fixture.
Here’s the wallpaper installed and trimmed around the inside of the opening.
Oh, and don’t mind the slight pattern mis-match on the left … there were issues with un-plumb and un-level walls coming into play.
And here I’ve reconnected the orange plug parts, and placed the spring back inside those hooks, then pushed the light fixture up and back into place. Look at how nicely the flange (outer ring) of the fixture covers the cut edge of the hole and the wallpaper.

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 .
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Busting a Myth – Dark Wallpaper Makes Rooms Look LARGER – Not Smaller

September 3, 2022
Everyone advised this homeowner not to put black in the dining room, that it would make the room too dark. But she had a vision and went with her gut. She was right – the room looks fabulous and elegant. And the texture and sheen on the walls visually expanded the space.
There is enough white molding in the room to play against the black. And the satiny drapes, along with the slight sheen of the grasscloth wallcovering bounce light around the room.
Accent wall in dining room. White swirls (look closely – they’re snakes!) add movement that make this wall lively, not closed-in.
In this master bedroom , everything’s dark – dark green walls , black ceiling , and black floral wallpaper .
If this accent wall had been left painted green , the room would have felt dark and lifeless . But the black against the green, along with the limited color pallet and the visual movement of the wallpaper pattern visually push the wall back and add depth .
This powder room started out all black. And it was a bit oppressive .
But add wallpaper with a little color and pattern , and now the room feels larger and alive with personality .
A powder room with black moldings and black wallpaper. Nothing claustrophobic here!
Another powder room that started out with black painted walls . Yes, it has an enclosed feeling.
Wallpaper with a black background and dark flora / fauna open up the space.
wallpaper installer houston