Posts Tagged ‘bungalow’

Playful World Map With Fun Animals for Baby’s Nursery

August 8, 2017

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Couples love this mural for their new baby – I’m betting it’s all over HOUZZ and Pintrest, and that’s where web surfers are finding it. This is the third time I’ve hung it, each time in a different color. The seams were much better this time, having been cut straight so there were not gaps of overlaps, and lying down better. (Search to read my previous posts.)

The mural came from Portugal, and was custom-sized to fit this accent wall in the nursery. The homeowner did the measuring, and he did a good job (as opposed to a prior install – read previous post), and the manufacturer also added a little around all the edges, to allow for trimming at the side walls, floor, and ceiling.

Now, if the homeowner had called me before he ordered that mural, I would have had him get it a little larger. The manufacturer’s guidelines allowed for a scant 1″ at the ceiling and baseboard. In a perfect world, this would be fine.

But in this room (in a beautifully renovated 1940 bungalow in the Houston Heights), the walls were not plumb, and the ceiling was not level. If I had hung the mural true-to-plumb, it would have started tracking off-kilter along the ceiling and floor lines, quickly eating up that 1″ allowance, and quite possibly ending up running out of paper at the top of the wall or at the baseboard. The same thing could happen at the corners, too. (That did happen on one of my other installs.)

Before I pasted a piece, I did a lot of measuring and plotting, to be sure I could position the mural so it would cover the entire height and width of the wall space. Much too complicated to explain. But, in a nutshell, what I did was to hang the mural off-plumb, but parallel with the un-level ceiling.

I started with the center panel, to minimize any tracking on either the left or right sides. I also made sure that the strips falling on either side of that center piece would be wide enough to reach the two wall corners, even if they hung crooked.

My strategy worked, and I ended up trimming off 1 1/4″ from the top, and 3/4″ from the bottom, on each strip. This meant that the mural was running parallel with the ceiling and floor, which was more important than being perfectly plumb. (Note: Usually you’re trimming off 2″ at both top and bottom, so today we were really cutting it close.)

Another complicating factor to this install was that, while most wallpaper widths are 20.5″, 27″, or 36,” these three mural panels were each 4′ wide. I’m 5’3″ tall, and my arm stretch is probably not a full 4,’ so handling, positioning, manipulating the pasted 9′ long strips was very difficult.

Additionally, it was important to “work clean,” because the surface is textured and it’s not easy to remove any paste that might get on the front of the wallpaper.

There’s more: My work table is 33″ wide, so pasting and booking the 48″ wide x 9′ long strips was a challenge. And the pasted strips, which I booked in accordion folds, were heavy and unwieldy.

All that mental plotting and physical gymnastics were worth it, though, because the finished mural looked fantastic, and the mom-and-dad-to-be loved it.

I have a pretty long lead time (4 months), but this couple called at the moment when another job had just postponed due to construction delays, so I had an open day and could get them done right away. That’s really good, because the baby’s coming, and the parents want to get the room furnished and decorated and ready.

I’m glad I was able to help them. 🙂

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Hummingbirds Bring Color and Life to a Heights Bedroom

April 9, 2017

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This Houston Heights home is an older bungalow that has been nicely renovated, updated, and enlarged. The outside has been kept traditional, to fit in with the historic neighborhood. But there is a slight mid-century / industrial modern feel to the new interior. Everything is very white.

The homeowner wanted some life and color in the master bedroom, and fell in love with this beautiful, cheery, historic pattern of hummingbirds on a dark background. It went on one accent wall in the bedroom.

The homeowner is thinking of pulling a color from the wallpaper and painting the walls. She’s thinking of a light green. I am all for it – no more white walls! Plus, the woodwork in will stand out better, and the room will feel cozier.

This pattern has been around for nearly 150 years, so “historic” is fitting. Thibaut makes a very similar, but smaller-scaled version, called “Augustine.” But this one is by Cole & Son. It is on a non-woven backing, and is installed by the paste-the-wall method.

Fun Wallpaper Pattern for a Not-Too-Serious Master Bath

March 17, 2017

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This fun and somewhat ethnic looking wallpaper pattern went into the master bathroom of a newly remodeled 1939 brick bungalow in Montrose (Houston).

The homeowner kept saying, “It changes it SO MUCH! Before, it was just all white. Boring white. This has personality, and the room feels larger, too.”

The wallpaper is by Hygge & West, an on-line company, and is called “Diamante.”  Unlike most of their papers, which waffle, and curl at the seams (see yesterday’s post), this one was a positive delight to work with. I am guessing that that’s because there is not as much ink on this pattern.

Finally – A Toilet I Can Get My Hand Behind!

December 25, 2016

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Ideally, the homeowner would have a plumber remove the toilet before the wallpaper goes up. But removing and then replacing plumbing fixtures can be expensive, you have to coordinate the plumber with the paperhanger, and you have to live with a non-functioning toilet for a period of time. So most people just leave the toilet where it is.

Hanging wallpaper around toilets can be tough. Sometimes there’s barely enough room to slide the paper behind the tank, and then I’ll have to use a tool or yardstick to try to smooth the paper against the wall. And there are some toilets that are so close to the wall that it is impossible to get the paper behind, so it will have to be cut around and then tucked behind the tank.

Today I got lucky, because this toilet was far enough away from the wall that I could get my hand, arm, and smoothing brush behind the tank. That means that I can get the wallpaper stuck nice and tight to the wall behind.

This wallpaper pattern is called “Bungalow” and is by Thibaut Designs.

Birds! Pen-and-Ink and Watercolor

November 18, 2016
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Here is wallpaper pattern that is subtle, whimsical, and colorful all at the same time. It looks like a pen-and-ink drawing of trees, with birds filled in in watercolor. Positively beautiful!

I hung this on an accent wall in the dining room of a very nicely updated 1930 brick bungalow in the Norhill district of the Heights neighborhood of Houston. The paper was a non-woven material, and was a paste-the-wall installation process, and was nice to work with. The manufacturer is Holden.

The Best Tool To Tackle Wrinkles

October 25, 2016
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When hanging wallpaper, you can end up with little wrinkles, for many reasons. Oftentimes, these will disappear as the paper dries. But there can be times when you want to be sure the wrinkles are gone before the paper gets a chance to dry.

Your first option for smoothing a paper against the wall is a smoothing brush, as shown in the first photo. I like a short-napped brush, although many installers use brushes with longer bristles. In this scenario, the bristles were too soft to remove the wrinkles from the wallpaper.

So I grabbed what I call a trapezoidial “squeegee” and used that to chase out those last little wrinkles. The squeegee worked fine for this purpose.

But you have to be careful, because it is not intended to smooth entire strips against a wall. If you try to use it for that, it can twist and stretch and distort the wallpaper, and you could end up with worse wrinkles and warps, and an edge that is off-plumb or even unstraight, so that the next strip will not butt up against it as it should.

This is a lively colorway of a popular pattern, called “Feathers,” by Serena & Lily, an on-line company. I hung it in a guest bedroom of an older bungalow in the Houston Heights.

Bathroom Revisited

October 22, 2016
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I hung this wallpaper a year ago, in the hall bath of a vintage bungalow that had been very nicely updated, in the Houston Heights.

It is by Serena & Lily, an on-line company, and was very nice to work with.

Wild Teal Leaf Pattern

September 23, 2016
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Teal is a popular color right now. This homeowner went back and forth on a few options for this accent wall in her living room in an older bungalow in the Woodland Heights (Houston). I love her final decision – and she did, too!

In the first photo, I have rolled the wallpaper out on the floor, to find the pattern match and to see how the overall pattern plays out across a large space.

This pattern is by Hygge & West, an on-line company. It adds a bold block of color to the living room, but, since there is not a lot of contrast, the pattern does not come across as busy. There is a flat screen TV that will be mounted on the wall, and the dark color of the wallpaper will help the TV “disappear.”

Treasure Trove of Vintage Wallpaper

September 20, 2016

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I did a bid at a new construction home in the Woodland Heights today, and right next door was a 1930 bungalow that was being renovated. I love old houses, so I walked in to see what they were doing, and discovered piles of old wallpaper that had been ripped off the ship-lapped wooden walls. Ah HA! More for my collection of vintage papers!

There were several patterns of wallpaper, and two or three selections of ceiling paper – the more plain paper, usually white with silver speckles. All of it was applied the old-fashioned way, on top of “cheesecloth” that had been tacked to the shiplap.

I find this interesting, because the colorful blue and yellow patterns are clearly from the ’60’s, and drywall came into common use in the ’40’s. There was drywall in the house, but I guess it was installed way later in the structure’s life. 🙂

I love the texture and feel of the old papers, and it always amazes me that the colors hold up perfectly without fading, over all these years.

Old House / Crooked Walls / Straight Paper / ??

March 23, 2016
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Who can expect the walls in a bungalow built on gumbo soil in the Houston Heights back in the 1920’s to be straight and plumb? These walls sure weren’t.

In the first photo, you see the tree motif running pretty evenly along the door frame and the shower tile from ceiling to wainscoting. But on the opposite wall (sorry, no photo), the door frame and tile were both off-plumb, so the wall was less like a rectangle and more like a trapezoid. That meant that the white tree trunk started out at the ceiling about 1/2″ away from the tile, with about 1/2″ of navy blue along it’s left edge. But by the time it dropped a mere 5′ to the wainscoting, the white tree trunk was running crooked and disappearing into the white tile, with no navy blue showing at all.

The eye really notices variances like this.

I needed to get some navy blue showing again, along the left side of that tree trunk.

This non-woven wallpaper was too stiff to manipulate or maneuver into a plumb position, and a cut-and-overlap would have been very visible on this thick material. So I tried something else.

In the second photo, you see where I have cut out a part of the pattern motif, which includes the white tree trunk and some of the navy blue area to the left of it. I then trimmed this piece so that it had 1/2″ of navy blue showing to the left of the tree trunk. Next, I appliquéd this piece over the tree, in the spot where it would have been if the wall had been plumb.

Some leaves of the tree got cut off or obscured by this appliqué. But that is much less noticeable than a disappearing navy blue line. The trick I used maintains that navy blue line to the left of the white tree trunk. My trick ensures that the eye sees a uniform width of navy blue from ceiling to wainscoting. This is much less jarring to the eye. And it makes the wall look plumb – even though we all know that it has not been plumb since about, oh, since about the 1940’s.

The wallpaper is by Brewster, in their A Street line, and was bought from the Sherwin Williams store in the Rice Village on University.