Posts Tagged ‘briargrove’

Three-Dimensional Square “Dots” on Pale Neutral Grasscloth

April 2, 2019


Thibaut’s “Union Square” wallpaper pattern is a response to the popular Phillip Jeffries’s “Rivets.” Thibaut’s looser design and pattern placement make it much easier to align with the walls and woodwork – including rooms that are out of square and out of plumb. Which is just about every house in every neighborhood in every state.

The 3-D squares are made of some kind of plastic stuff, and are virtually impossible to cut through with a razor blade or a scissors (such as when trimming at the ceiling door or window moldings). I was able to engineer the room so that I did not have to cut through any of those rivets! Because the PJ pattern is much tighter, this would have been virtually impossible.

Also, I found that my soft short-bristled smoothing brush worked well enough to press the material against the wall while skimming over the 3/8″ high square bumps (sorry, for some reason, the photo did not turn out). But my beloved plastic trapezoidal squeegee smoother was just about useless, because it would not accommodate the 3-D “rivets.” So I had to adjust my install tactics a bit, and figure how to get along without the plastic smoother.

This wallcovering is made of grasscloth, which provides the subtle texture that homeowners are loving these days. But because grasscloth is made of natural fibers, there can be a lot of variations between bolts, and even between strips off the same bolt.

For that reason, Thibaut not only notes the run number of a bolt of wallpaper, but also the sequence in which the material was produced (see photo). The idea is that if you hang strips sequentially, you will see less shading or paneling (difference in color between two strips of wallcovering). Thibaut’s insert also includes a LOT of jargon about the color differences inherent to natural products, and the admonishment to use the bolts and strips sequentially.

I used three double rolls / bolts of grasscloth for this entry. Two of the bolts (the first two in the sequence) were pretty homogenous in color. The room was small and had low ceilings, and so I was able to keep the three strips needed for the longest wall all from the same bolt (#1).

I cut my other full-length strips from the second bolt (#2). That left the third bolt (#3) for the many short pieces needed to go over the four doorways in the room. As you can see from the last two photos, even though it was the same run number and printed at the same time, this third bolt was noticeably different in color from the previous two. The background color is the same, but there is a lot – a LOT – more dark brown fibrous material that got worked into the woven grass material.

Keeping these darker strips over the doors was a good way to minimize this color difference. The strips were only 9″ high. If these strips had been placed side-by-side on an 8′ high wall, the color difference would have been abruptly noticeable.

Color variations are to be expected with grasscloth, or any natural product. But helpful labeling by the manufacturer, and careful plotting by the installer, can minimize these differences.

This ’60’s-era ranch-style home in the Briargrove neighborhood of Houston is very much a “sea of tranquility,” as the whole house is entwined in off-whites, creams, and tans, with various textures like rough wood, sisal, and this grasscloth, used to pull in depth and warmth.

The interior designer on this project is Layne Ogden, of Layne Torsch Interiors.

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What’s Missing?

March 29, 2019


Here’s a wall in an entry in a 1960’s ranch style home in the Briargrove neighborhood of Houston. See that brown line around the middle? Someone has removed the chair rail.

All that is fine and good – but no one told me that the chair rail would be removed, and that they wanted their wallpaper to go floor-to-ceiling.

So, unfortunately, when I measured this room (while the chair rail was in place), I did not figure for enough paper to do the full-length walls. In other words, they don’t have enough paper to do the job.

The other thing is, the walls have a light-to-medium texture, and I planned to skim-float them to smooth them before the paper goes up. That was to take the first half of the day, and I would hang the paper in the afternoon.

But removing the chair rail changes things … Because when the chair rail came off, it took many 50 years’ worth of paint with it – about 1/4″ worth – which means that the area of the brown horizontal stripe needs a thicker layer of smoothing compound than the rest of the walls. This means that it needs more time to dry. A LOT more time, like at least overnight, or even better, a second day. (Quick dry hot mud was not an option, for several reasons.)

This means that this one-day job now requires two, and it means that the homeowners will not get their room done as they expected, and will have to put up with me being there another day. It’s also disrupted my schedule.

Good communication at the beginning and when I first visited this site would have prevented this, kept us on-schedule, and kept everyone happy.

White “Woods” Wallpaper Wakes Up A Dark, Dated Powder Room

January 19, 2019

OK, so my original whole-room photo of the “before” powder room didn’t take. But in the top photo here, at least you can see the dark color that the windowless room was covered with. Actually, this faux-finish pattern and dark color was a good look for back in the ’90’s when this townhome in the Briargrove / Tanglewood neighborhood of Houston was built.

But the homeowner now wanted a brighter room; she was leaning heavily toward black & white, with some hits of red tossed in.

I stripped off the old vinyl wallpaper (those photos didn’t turn out, either! 😦 ), then patched areas where the old paper had pulled paint off the wall, sanded smooth, and then primed all surfaces with Gardz.

The homeowner is completely in love with the new paper and the new, bright powder room. She will accent with a mirror in a wide black frame, and with some custom-painted artwork that will incorporate touches of black, white, and red.

This wallpaper is by Cole & Son, a British company. It is a very popular pattern called “Woods.” It’s on a non-woven substrate, which has a fiberglass component to strengthen it; it is designed to strip off the wall easily and with minimal damage to the wall, when it’s time to redecorate It is a little more cleanable than a paper-wallpaper.

It 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.

Serene Serena & Lily Grasscloth in a Hall Bathroom

November 28, 2018


If you’ve read my page about grasscloth (click link on the right), you know that I don’t like it much, and that it is not suited for use in bathrooms, because water can easily stain it.

This homeowner, however, had found a beautiful paper in her perfect colorway on the popular Serena & Lily website.

She bought two double rolls. Now, if I had been called in earlier, before they ordered their paper, I would have told them to order an additional bolt. Most of the time, grasscloth is not figured via the square foot, but by the strip count. Which is not as straight forward as it sounds … there are tricks to measuring for grasscloth (and any paper, really), so please don’ order any wallpaper until the space has been measured by a professional.

Back to the wallpaper – This natural grasscloth product by Serena & Lily was wonderful. It had NO color variations and NO shading. It was thinner than many grasscloth products, and was easy to work with. It turned corners well. It also bridged / disguised minor defects in the wall. I can’t remember the last time I had such a nice grasscloth product to work with.

How Wildly Colorful Can You Get? – Here It Is!

October 11, 2018


Just one accent wall (4 strips) in an entry in the Briargrove / Tanglewood neighborhood of Houston – but boy was it fun! This is one homeowner who is not afraid of color, that’s for sure!

The third photo shows me laying it out on the floor, to determine the pattern match and how I want to plot the design layout on the wall.

The designer is Manuel Canovas, and I believe the manufacturer or distributor is the British company Colefax & Fowler. It was a fairly thick non-woven material, and I used the paste-the-wall installation method. It is more durable and washable than most other types of paper.

Interestingly, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts had an exhibit earlier this year of art from India that looks a whole lot like this wallpaper. https://www.mfah.org/exhibitions/peacock-in-desert-royal-arts-jodhpur-india

1950’s Bathroom Revisited – and Updated

February 17, 2018


This hall bathroom in a 1955 home in the Briargrove / Tanglewood neighborhood of Houston suffered damaged during Hurricane Harvey. The wallpaper had to be replaced. The homeowner chose the aqua trellis paper, thinking it would compliment the original sea-foam colored tile (which I happen to love, BTW). The contractor let his painter hang the new wallpaper. Both these decisions turned out to be mistakes.

I was called in to remove the trellis paper, prep and prime the walls, and then hang this beautiful and bold paisley pattern. Some of the photos are washed out, but in the good ones you can see the rich hues of this fun pattern. And it coordinates perfectly with the tile.

This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, 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.

Stripping Off Old Wallpaper

February 14, 2018


This hall bathroom in a 1955 ranch-style home in the Briargrove / Tanglewood neighborhood of Houston was damaged by a roof leak during Hurricane Harvey. The contractor’s guys did a good job replacing drywall and painting the woodwork, but they fell short when it came to wallpaper. See first photo.

But this just gave the homeowner a chance to choose something that coordinated better with the decades-old tile that she loves (and that I love, too), and to pick a paper with more color and flair, that is more suited to her taste. See tomorrow’s post for that.

My first task was to remove the existing wallpaper. It turned out that there were two layers of paper, and, in some places, THREE layers.

In the second photo, I have removed most of the top (new) paper, which is the aqua trellis by Thibaut. I took it off by simply tearing it off the wall. Below it, you see the green savoy (small, tight, squiggly) by Waverly. Interestingly enough, I have hung this a bunch of times – in the ’90’s. 🙂

This paper was attached more tightly to the wall. To remove it, I had to first separate the top inked layer from it’s paper backing. You can see this in the second photo. Once the top layer, with it’s water-resistant acrylic surface was removed, it left behind a white paper backing. I used a sponge and bucket of hot water to soak the backing. It didn’t take long before the underlying paste reactivated, and then it was ready to let go of the wallpaper. You can see clean wall revealed in the photo, where the layers of wallpaper have come away.

In one area of the room, I got a surprise. There was a third layer of paper under the others. The top vinyl layer had been stripped of eons ago, but the tan, gritty paper backing was left on the wall. You can see this in the third photo dry (light tan) and soaked with water (dark tan). Once that tan paper backing got soaked enough with several spongings with hot water, the paste reactivated and the paper was happy to come away from the wall.

I was uncommonly lucky today, because whoever hung the original wallpaper had taken the time to prep the walls correctly. First, he skim-coated the textured walls to yield a smooth surface for the paper to adhere to. Second, he applied good quality penetrating sealer. This sealer might have been Gardz, a product that I use now, or another similar sealer, perhaps even a solvent-based (as opposed to water-based) sealer. His sealer provided a hard surface for the new paper to stick to, and also gave a surface that was resistant to all the water I was using to strip off the old wallpaper.

Check out the fourth picture to see the huge pile of wallpaper I pulled off this one small hall bathroom.

Once all the paper was off, the walls were in very good condition. There were no delaminated areas, no lifted areas, nothing that needed patching – just an amazingly intact surface.

I did a few little touch-ups to a few little areas (I wanted to clean up 60 years of grime collected along the top of the tile), and then rolled on my favorite wallpaper primer, by Roman’s, their Pro 977 / Ultra Prime. It’s a white pigmented primer, and is a wonderful surface to hang wallpaper on.

Pearlized Chinoiserie + Stunning Mirror in a Powder Room

February 14, 2018


Here’s a photo of the Briargrove (Houston) powder room I did recently, with the light sconces up and the fantastic mirror taking center stage.

The wallpaper is by Thibaut.

Grasscloth in a Powder Room

May 8, 2015
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OK, I apologize for the crummy pictures, which don’t do justice to the paper, the room, and don’t even show the true color of this finely-textured, sandy-colored grasscloth. But the bottom line is, it looks fantastic, and the homeowner is ecstatic.

The original wallpaper in this windowless room was black (black!) with colored ribbons swirling all around, in the “sweetly elegant” style of the early ’90’s. The homeowner wanted something lighter and less cave-like, and something reminiscent of the Caribbean beaches. This tan grasscloth fills the bill perfectly. Plus, it will be a subtle textured backdrop to the framed art (tropical scenes) that she will hang on the main wall.

I was very pleased that there was no paneling, shading, or color variations that can plague grasscloth products.  The material is so homogenous, even the seams are barely noticeable (2nd photo).  Good job, Thibaut!  Incidentally, it was quite tedious, cutting around that backsplash, with its seven “camel humps.”

I normally recommend against grasscloth in rooms where it can be splashed with water or toiletries, because grasscloth stains easily. But these homeowners’ children are long gone, and I trust that they will be careful, and that their grasscloth will look as good ten years from now as it does today.

I hung this in a powder room in a home in the Briargrove / Tanglewood / Galleria area of Houston. This grasscloth is by Thibaut Designs, 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.

Silver, Cream, & Pearl on White

November 21, 2014

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This homeowner did a fantastic job updating her ’70’s era home in the Tanglewood / Briargrove area of Houston. In the powder room, she kept the original black brick floors, then added a white vanity, Carrera marble countertop, and antique silver light sconces. (Hopefully photos coming tomorrow.)

She wanted the room to make her feel happy. Well, this pattern does it! I call it an ikat star. From the small sample, it looked like white on a semi-shiny silver background. Once it went up on the wall, you can see that it’s really several pale colors – white, cream, and pearl, on the silver background.

This wallpaper pattern was challenging to work with. Those stars all LOOK the same, but they are not. There is actually a 4-star repeat, meaning, to match the second strip to the first strip, you have to roll off and throw away four rows of stars before you can match the pattern. You have to look really carefully, to be sure you have the right stars lined up.

To make it harder, even though you can see the color difference once it’s on the wall, on the table, it’s darned difficult to tell which is a white star, which is pearl, and which is cream.

These goods are printed on the newish “non-woven” substrate material, which is thick and stiff, somewhat difficult to fit into corners and trim around moldings, but designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when it comes time to redecorate. It was also a paste-the-wall product, instead of paste-the-back-of-the-paper.

This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, 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.