Posts Tagged ‘black’

Wallpaper Woes in Chinese Restaurant

April 10, 2022
While waiting for my order to be ready, I couldn’t help but notice problems ….
Wallpaper starting to curl at the seams.
Wallpaper twisting in corners as the building shifts and drywall moves. This is pretty common in Houston.
Other signs of poorly maintained building and/or climate control issues.
Seam curling back. I believe this to be a lower-end solid vinyl wallpaper on a gritty paper backing – one of my least preferred types.
When the walls are not prepared correctly, and the paper is not hung properly, and when there is a lot of humidity (door left open, steam from kitchen getting into waiting area, A/C not running or turned off at night), humidity can enter into the seams and be wicked up by the paper backing. The paper expands and pushes away from the wall, causing the edges of the wallpaper to curl back.
The next step is that the vinyl surface can actually delaminate (come apart) from the paper backing. This is pretty impossible to repair.
At the very bottom, you can see the vinyl separating from the paper backing.
The wallpaper has been wrapped around this outside corner, and a new piece of paper overlapped on top of it. When this is done, with vinyl material, you’re supposed to use special vinyl-over-vinyl ( VOV ) adhesive, because regular wallpaper paste isn’t formulated to adhere to vinyl / plastic .
But even if the installer had used the correct adhesive, under humid conditions or with improper wall prep, the odds are that this wallpaper job will start to fail.
Also note dirt along the ceiling, and along the chair rail in the previous photo. General lack of maintenance and I am really suspecting lack of climate control.
The black smudges appear to be mildew coming from underneath the paper. Again, probably related to humidity.
Vinyl wallpaper is a sheet of plastic, and moisture can be trapped behind it. That can be a breeding ground for mold and mildew.
So why use vinyl wallpaper? Mainly because the surface is much more washable than most other types of wallpaper. In a business, washability is attractive.
But these property owners chose a low-end vinyl product, most likely skipped proper wall prep such as a wallpaper primer, and have not provided a hospitable environment for the paper.
There are other vinyl wallcoverings that would have held up better. For instance, vinyl on a scrim ( woven fabric ) backing, or the newer backing called non-woven , which has a 20% polyester content, and therefore less likely to wick up humidity.

Affordable Alternative to Ellie Cashman Dark Floral

March 10, 2022
Back door entry accent wall before.
Done and dramatic!
This overs-scaled floral on a black background has become infinitely popular. But you don’t need to pay designer prices for the big name brands. As I like to say, for every high-end manufacturer making a cool design that’s expensive and probably difficult to work with, there is someone else making a knock-off that is affordable and better quality.
This is a very good alternative to the big name. It even has these beautiful humming birds.
Graham & Brown makes scores of designs, printed on a really nice non-woven , paste the wall substrate. One of my preferred brands.
Their version of this floral is called Allure .
The home is in the Hobby Airport area of Houston .

Gold on Black Peonies in Bellaire (Houston) Powder Room

February 25, 2022
Originally the walls were a drab sorta-white. The homeowner wanted something bold and fun for this small powder room. Good choice in pattern, scale, and color!
Rifle wallpaper has only been around a couple of years, but it’s gotten really popular. I’ve hung it a number of times already is 2022, mostly in the dark colorways. It’s a nice non-woven material and can be hung using the paste-the-wall method. Although I usually paste the paper, for various reasons.

From Bland White to Captivating Black & Gold Geometric

January 8, 2022
Vanity area before. Note the nice homeowner had the plumber remove the wall-mounted faucet and handle. This made the wallpaper installation so much easier – and eliminated a zillion relief cuts around these objects that might later give entry for splashed water to wick under and loosen the wallpaper.
Done. I centered the pattern on the wall so it hits both corners equally, and it falls perfectly around the faucet (no photo). The light fixture was hung a tad off-center.
Burnished gold accents of the light fixture, faucet (to be installed later), and toilet paper holder, as well as a gold-painted ceiling, compliment the gold lines in the pattern, and really pull this room together.
This non-woven paste-the-wall material is made by Trend, and is in the Jaclyn Smith collection. It has a slightly textured surface, and appears to be vinyl on the surface. This makes is more durable and stain-resistant than most paper wallpapers. It is thin and flexible, and I liked it a lot.
The home is a contemporary new-build in the Lindale Park neighborhood of central Houston.

Bold David Hicks Geometric in Garden Oaks Powder Room

December 18, 2021
This young family wanted some WOW! Factor for their new home’s plain-Jane powder room. It’s a 2-room set up, with the sink in one area and the toity around the corner in a more private area.
Looking through one room into the next – yes, really a WOW! Factor!
Looks fantastic with the burnished gold faucets, light sconces, and hand towel ring.
Opposite wall. I centered the pattern on the wall opposite the mirror, so that the design would work around the room evenly and the pattern would fall equally on these two walls. In other words, the pattern hits the tile wall on the left at exactly the same point as it does on the tile wall to the right. The sconces also land on the same element in the wallpaper. This gives a very symmetrical look as you face the mirror. One of those things no one can put his finger on, but it makes the whole room feel balanced and in sync.
Back wall connecting to right wall with door that leads to the entry hall.
The commode room is under the stairway, so has a strongly sloped ceiling – and tight working quarters. You can also see that the wall is bowed in the corner, resulting in a good pattern match at top and bottom, but some mis-alignment in the center. Pretty typical. No walls are perfectly plumb, no ceiling is perfectly level, and corners are just about always a bit wonky. Geometric designs like this are particularly difficult to make look perfect.
On close-up, you can see a slight raised ink texture. This surface printed wallpaper was not a crisp look – nothing wrong with that … it’s part of the hand-crafted look. The non-woven material is thick and stiff, and the seams were a bit more noticeable than on many other non-wovens. I also noted that where the gold ink hit the edges of the paper, there were ever-so-slight curls and overlaps. My guess is the gold ink reacted to the wet paste and expanded differently from the black and the background color. Never mind. From two feet away, you can’t notice it at all.
The David Hicks Collection by GP & J Baker contains several variations of this type of bold geometric pattern. Some of the vendors are calling this a “new” release … but I first hung one of these designs maybe 10 years ago.
Unfortunately, they haven’t gotten any better with the quality. Surprising, because GP&J Baker’s papers are usually very nice – I did one just a few months ago and loved it. Conversely, this one is quite stiff, and trying to work it into tight spots such as corners or behind a toilet or around a vanity or light fixture can result in creases. And the ink flakes off very easily. Here, just pressing the wallpaper against the baseboard so it could be trimmed caused the ink to chip off, and you can see little bits of it collected on top of the baseboard on the left. Luckily, this was at the floor and not very noticeable. I used some black chalk to cover the white areas. But at eye-level, this would have necessitated removing the whole strip and replacing with a new one.

Wallpaper installer Houston

Candice Olson “Linden Flower” in Home Office

July 1, 2021
Before. Original chalkboard paint sealed off with KILZ Original to block any oil residue from chalk that might bleed through the wallpaper. Then primed with Roman 977 Ultra Prime wallpaper primer.
Finished. Airy, floral, fun place to work!
First strip goes up, lined up against the red light of my laser level. I measured and plotted the placement so that the center of that dominant black flower would drop along the vertical center line of the wall (about 8″ to the right of the laser line).
Detail. I like the shadows in the background.
Close-up shows pen & ink, and water color look of this design.
Manufacturer is York, one of my preferred brands. http://www.yorkwall.com

Working from home these days, the homeowner wanted an office that was bright and encouraged creativity. The black chalkboard paint scrawled with slogans and proverbs had to go!

Almost exactly a month ago, I prepped the walls and started to hang the paper – only to discover printing and trimming defects. See my post from May 26, 2021. The on-line vendor, Burke Decor, was quick to ship out replacement paper from a different run. The new paper was fine.

The new light sconce plays off the black and gold colors in the wallpaper.

This refreshing yet peaceful abstract floral pattern sets the perfect tone, when your office is in your home.

The home is in the Heights neighborhood of Houston.

Going Wild in a Heights Powder Room

May 27, 2021
Notice anything? No – you don’t. That’s because it’s virtually impossible to see ANYTHING in this all-black powder room. The homeowners acknowledged that this “haute design” idea was a mistake.
Two walls and part of the sloped ceiling.
Adorable interpretation of forest animals

Not only did this clever design and light background brighten up the space, the homeowner exclaimed how it also made the room look larger.

This is an under-the-stairs powder room in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston. Originally, everything was black – walls, woodwork, floor, ceiling. The sink / mirror wall was the exception, being covered with white tile.

What a perfect fit is this scene of whimsical animals in a forest setting, in black on white.

The wallpaper is by Marimekko, a Finnish company. It is a non-woven material made of synthetic fibers. It can be hung using the paste-the-wall method, but I prefer to paste-the-material because it makes the paper more pliable.

Whimsey and Color for Heights Downstairs Bathroom

April 10, 2021
“Before pic.” The grey paint does warm the room up a bit, and it definitely shows off the decorative moldings. Yet the room feels flat.
Here we are “After,” with the room energized by color and with all sorts of clever images to look at.
Under-the-stairs angles complicate hanging paper in and around the shower.
Super close-up shows an almost hand-painted look.

This family in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston is all about their two young daughters. The wallpaper pattern they chose for their powder room could be called “fantasy personified” – perfect for kids! And adults using the room will be wowed by the visual impact of the bold black background and bright pops of color.

It may look like “just a bathroom” to you – but this took me more than nine hours to hang (I had done the prep yesterday). Intricate moldings to trim around, small spaces, tight angles, dimensions that didn’t mesh, high ceilings that made reaching areas such as over the sink difficult (i.e. risky), and more.

The wallpaper is by Borastapeter, a Scandinavian company. It’s a non-woven material, which has a lot of advantages over traditional paper or vinyl. Although one could use the paste-the-wall installation method, in this chopped up bathroom with intricate detailed areas, I chose to paste the paper. This helped ensure adhesion in even the tightest spaces, and also made the material more flexible and easier to manipulate.

The interior designer is Stacie Cokinos of Cokinos Design.

Don’t you just love the pig wearing a sweater?!

Textured Faux Crocodile in Montrose Powder Room

October 1, 2020


From flat and white to textured and black, this powder room took a trip to the wild and exotic. The embossed vinyl wallpaper mimics the look of crocodile hide.

I centered the design on the sink wall, so the pattern would frame the mirror evenly. Then, since the toilet wall is the first thing you see when you enter the room, I thought it would look nice to have the pattern centered on that wall, too. Usually, you can only balance the pattern on one wall, and after that, the design has to fall sequentially as it works its way around the room. But I did some engineering, and figured a way to place the pattern in the center of the toilet wall, too.

The material is an unusually thin and flexible embossed vinyl on a thin non-woven substrate. It’s my second time in this year to hang this, and I like it a lot – much better than most non-wovens, which can be thick and stiff and can bruise easily.

Non-wovens have some fiberglass in their content and do not expand when they are wet with paste, nor do they shrink as they dry. They can be hung immediately after pasting – or you can use the paste-the-wall method. Non-wovens are designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate.

This is in the SuperFresco line by Graham & Brown, one of my preferred manufacturers. You don’t need a retailer, because this can be bought directly from the G&B website.

The home is new build, contemporary in style, in the Montrose area of central Houston.

Dramatic Artemis Black Floral Completely Changes Dining Room

July 26, 2020


Like many newish suburban houses, this Clear Lake (south of Houston) home is all pretty much a homogeneous light tan – every wall, every room. This is the homeowners’ first venture into wallpaper – and, boy, did they make the right move!

This salad plate-scaled, brightly colored floral design on a black background amplifies this dining room accent wall many times! The pattern comes in other colorways, but none of those would have the impact of this black version.

The wall was textured, so I had to skim-float it and sand that smooth, then apply a primer. In the photo, you see where I have striped dark paint under where the seams will fall, to prevent the white primer from peeking through. I also used black chalk (see photo) to color the edges of the paper, to prevent the white substrate from showing.

This wallpaper pattern is a multiple / quarter-drop pattern match, which is very complicated to plot and lay out. The House of Hackney company made it easy, by providing this material in a 4-panel mural format. See photo

In one photo, you see the strips arranged in the order they will be hung on the wall. Before hanging, these will be re-rolled backwards, so the unprinted white backing side is facing outward.

This is a non-woven material, and I hung it using the paste-the-wall method. When I am on the ladder and unroll the strip and working to get it into position, having the paper rolled backward keeps the printed side from coming in contact with the paste on the wall.

Non-woven wallpapers have a high fiberglass content, and do not expand when wet with paste, nor do they shrink when drying, so less chance of gaps appearing at the seams, and also you can get accurate measurements that won’t change. The fiber content also ensures that the wallpaper “should” strip off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate.

A few short hours after I left, the homeowners sent me some “finished” photos. I wish I were more tech savvy and knew how to get photos off of text and into this post, so I could show you the gorgeous room. But for now, you’ll just have to use your mind’s eye.