Posts Tagged ‘blue’

What A Fun Entry To Come Home To!

October 14, 2018


This entry is open to the living, dining, and kitchen areas of a neatly modernized home in the Briar Park neighborhood of Houston. It was originally white. Needless to say, it wasn’t very interesting.

The homeowner chose this “Larkspur” pattern in navy blue by Serena & Lily. Boy, does this ever change things! It adds a cherry welcome when you walk through the door.

But it also sets a fun tone for the whole rest of the home. All the furnishings in the rooms are pretty subdued, so this slightly wacky pattern really jazzes things up! There is a small amount of blue in the living room rug and in a few accessories, so the navy color of the wallpaper pulls all that together.

S & L is nice paper to work with.

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From Bold and Dashing to Soft and Pretty

October 2, 2018


The homeowner loved the “Longwood” pattern originally in her powder room (see a snippet of it in the second photo), but, after going through the flooding from Hurricane Harvey, she worried that putting the same paper in her renovated bathroom would remind her of the horrible storm. So she decided to tame things down a little, and went with this “Augustine” pattern by the same company.

She chose this muted colorway (it’s a tad brighter in person than in my photos) partly because the greens in the paper melded nicely with her marble countertop, and also because the blues looked great with her blue ceiling (which was chosen to go with the original Longwood design).

The contractors did a reasonably good job prepping the walls. However, they painted over the old wallpaper, which is not a good idea. They also didn’t bother to remove the mirror or light sconces when they applied their smoothing compound, and you can see remnants of white gunk under the oval where the mirror hung and by peeking behind the light fixture. These were small things, but it took me two hours to smooth over these areas, get to dry, sand, and then prime.

The new Augustine humming bird pattern is one of my all-time favorites. It’s a very old, historic design. I love the design, and the paper is wonderful to work with. It is pre-pasted, so goes up more quickly than papers that have to be pasted by hand. It is easy to manipulate around turns, it doesn’t tear easily, it is thin and hugs the wall tightly, it dries quickly, and it has a lovely “raised ink” texture.

This paper is by Thibaut, 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.

The home is in the Memorial-Dairy Ashford / Energy Corridor area of Houston.

From Diagonal to Vertical

March 3, 2018


This home in Bellaire was (Houston) built in the ’90’s, and the original wallpaper (top photo) in this bathroom was outdated and had begun to curl at the seams. I stripped off the old paper and primed the walls with Gardz, a penetrating sealer that is a good base for wallpaper to adhere to. See second photo.

The new tone-on-tone blue striped wallpaper updates the room, and adds a softer look. The homeowner chose cherry red accessories to accent the room. These are toned down by navy blue rugs and towels that are a slightly duskier navy and red.

This paper is a pre-pasted solid vinyl on a paper backing. Despite the economical price-point, I don’t recommend these types of papers, especially in rooms that are prone to humidity, such as bathrooms.

For starters, it’s difficult to install, and the seams never really look good. Second, the paper backing tends to absorb moisture from the air and then expand, and that causes the seams to curl. The vinyl surface layer is known for delaminating (separating from that paper backing). This, again, results in curled seams. This is not something that can be pasted back. So you are either left with curled seams or faced with repapering the entire room.

The best way to (hopefully) avoid this is to properly prep the walls, and to keep humidity to a minimum (avoid steamy showers, keep the A/C / heating vents open, run the exhaust fan, keep the door open).

Better yet, avoid purchasing paper-backed solid vinyl wallcoverings. If you shop at my favorite place (see the page on the right), you will be steered to beautiful papers of a better quality, while still at affordable prices.

Keeping Paste Off The Bookshelf Cubicle Paint (see previous post)

February 4, 2018


In yesterday’s post (below), I talked about pre-trimming pieces of grasscloth, so that two sides and one corner would fit neatly into the bookshelf cubicle’s back. That left me needing to trim excess paper off just two sides (plus the three attached corners).

I measured and pre-trimmed my pieces so that there would be only a 1/2″ excess that needed to be removed. That’s not very much, but, still, paste was on the back, and it would get onto the surrounding wood and paint. It’s easy enough to wipe the paste off of enamel paint. But in the case of grasscloth wallpaper, you really don’t want to get the surface wet (from the damp rag wiping paste off the painted wood), because it can stain, bleed, or lose color.

So I used strips of this cool blue plastic tape that is sold by a colleague of mine, Steve Boggess, a fellow member of the WIA (Wallcovering Installers Association), who imports it from Japan.

In the top photo, you see it applied to the back of the pasted piece of wallpaper. Two sides of the piece will butt against the walls of the cubicle, but the two sides that will overlap onto the painted walls will need to be taped. This tape will prevent paste from getting onto the painted walls.

In the second photo, you see a wee little bit of the tape peeking out from behind the grasscloth. In the third photo, I have made my trim cuts and am removing the excess grasscloth. The blue tape is coming along with it. It’s important to get all the tape off – if not, there will be no paste exposed to the wall to hold the grasscloth onto the wall.

The blue tape is expensive, and it adds extra time. But it saves time by eliminating the need to wipe paste off surfaces. And it keeps both paper and other surfaces absolutely clean and paste-free.

Cole & Son Woods / Stars for a Baby Boy’s Nursery

December 15, 2017


See that top photo? This newborn baby was doomed to a boring, blaagh, unstimulating nursery. But Mom wanted more for her first-born son. Pastels and teddy bears wouldn’t do it. Mom found this innovative design in an un-baby-like color – and, boy, does it look great!

In the top photo, I am in the process of applying smoothing compound to a textured wall. Once dry, it will be sanded smooth and then primed, making it ready for wallpaper.

I hung this in a new home in the Bridgelands area of Cypress / Katy (Houston). The manufacturer is Cole & Son, a British company. It is a thick, fairly stiff non-woven material. It is intended to be installed with the paste-the-wall method, and it works nicely for single accent-wall projects like this.

But that thickness and stiffness means that it would be less suitable if it had to turn corners or meld into cuts around intricate moldings. That means it would be difficult to get to look great in rooms that have a lot of angles, edges to wrap, or detailed cuts. (bathrooms, kitchens, rooms with decorative moldings, etc.)

I don’t have a finished-room shot of this baby’s room, but, as you can see, the crib accent wall looks fantastic.

I like this matt-finish charcoal blue color much better than the more common black-on-white designs I have seen. And the gold stars really amp up the appeal.

Light Fixtures With Small Bases Are Difficult To Work Around

August 30, 2017

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On some light fixtures, the base is barely larger than the electrical box or its mounting plate, so it won’t cover any imperfections in the wall, and it’s essential that the wallpaper comes up exactly to the very edges of the mounting plate.  I often remove that mounting plate so the paper can go under it, which gives a neat look.

In this room, the light was changed from one fixture centered over the sink to two wall sconces.  The electrician had a hard time fitting the new boxes into the wall.  (It is much easier on new construction.)

There are a lot of things going on wrong with these sconce settings, but some are not visible and are difficult to explain.  It took me about an hour to figure out what was going on, and how to rectify a box that was cattywhompus in the wall – but that’s a different story.

Here you see a gap because the sconce base is too small to cover the hole for the electrical junction box.  This fixture had a larger (3/4″) gap on the other side that is not pictured.   In the next photo, the box is extra large, and extends out beyond the small sconce base.

I had to cover up those gaps to make a solid base for the wallpaper to hold on to.  In the case of the blue box, I had to smooth over the ridge caused by the thickness of the blue plastic against the wall (to prevent a ring from showing under the wallpaper, all around the fixture).

To bridge the gaps, I used a certain kind of paper, dunked in Gardz, a penetrating wall sealer that dries hard.  That essentially recreated the portion of wall that had been cut away.  Once that dried, I skim-floated over it with joint compound and then sanded smooth, to even everything out.

I used joint compound again to float all around the ridge on the blue box, and got a perfectly smooth wall.

Since I had been able to remove the mounting plate, I was able to get the wallpaper to fit under it, so no gaps showed around the base.  Then I reconnected the wires and rehung the sconces.

As you can see in the finished photo, it turned out great.

 

Blue Goes With Grey – But Not Always

July 2, 2017

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In 2002, I hung this small blue floral print in the kitchen / breakfast area of a 1950 home in Riverside (Houston). The homeowner inherited the house from her grandmother, and she loves the vintage style and has kept her decorating pretty much true to the theme – including the floral wallpaper.

But a water leak changed all that. Damage was extensive enough that it made sense to remodel the entire kitchen. So new tile and granite came in. As much as the homeowner loved the blue flowery wallpaper, it didn’t go with the new grey-hued surfaces. So new wallpaper was called for.

As you can see in the third photo, the new pattern coordinates much better.

The homeowner has bought paint and wallpaper from Dorota at Southwestern Paint (see below) for many years, and she knew she could trust her to find the right paper. Sure enough – She told Dorota about the kitchen remodel and sent pics of the granite and tile, then made an appointment to visit in person. When she got to the store, Dorota walked over to her library of wallpaper books, chose one, opened it up, and pointed to this pattern. “This is what you need,” she said. And she was absolutely spot-on. The selection is perfect with the granite, the tile, the updated room, and even works beautifully with the older home.

This wallpaper pattern is by Wallquest, in their Ecochic collection, a series that I like a lot, and it 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.

DON’T CUT UP THE WALLPAPER BOOKS!

January 18, 2017
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Oh boy. The wallpaper store generously let shoppers take this wallpaper selection book home for a few days, and look at how it was returned. “Someone” took a razor and sliced out the sample of blue cork. And another “Someone” didn’t even bother to be neat, but crudely ripped out the most popular colorway sample of Candice Olson’s “Onyx.”

Wallpaper shoppers – DON’T DO THIS. First of all, we know who you are. After all, to check out the book, you filled out a form with your name and contact info. Oh, and that same form had a waiver that you signed, and the first line, in all capital letters, said, DO NOT CUT THE BOOKS. Did I mention that you signed your agreement that you would not cut up the book, and would return it in its original condition?

But beyond that, there is no need to do this. You can easily and very inexpensively order samples of any wallpaper pattern you like, and that sample will be much larger than the puny page you ripped out of the book. It will arrive in just a few days. But even quicker – you can snap a photo of the sample, front and back, and have it immediately.

Did you stop to consider that those wallpaper sample books cost the stores $100+ each? It takes a lot of wallpaper sales to cover employee salaries, facility costs such as air conditioning, phone/Internet, parking lot, etc., and then extras such as a good selection of wallpaper sample books. And if a page is missing, then another shopper will miss the opportunity to see and consider that wallpaper selection.

Please click and read the “Comment” link below,  which is from my favorite wallpaper retailer.  (Click the page on the right entitled “Where to Buy Wallpaper.”