Posts Tagged ‘bungalow’

More William Morris Strawberry Thief in Houston Heights Hall Bathroom

June 24, 2022
Because I feared unstable walls in this 1920’s bungalow in this neighborhood (do a Search for previous posts), before hanging the decorative wallpaper, first I hung a non-woven liner paper on all the walls. That’s the white material you see in the photo.
The liner was hung horizontally so its seams can’t line up with the decorative paper. The idea is to disperse tension from drying wallpaper and changes due to humidity and etc., so as to deflect tension away from sketchy wall surfaces, and thus prevent delamination of multiple unstable layers deep inside the wall. Again, do a Search here to learn more.
Finished vanity area, with pattern centered on the light fixture.
Corner shot.
This colorful and symmetrical pattern is quite popular; I’ve hung it a number of times just this year.
Englishman William Morris designed wallpaper and fabrics during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.
The styles then were Art Nouveau and Arts & Crafts. This design reflects a bit of each.
Wallpaper expands when it gets wet with paste, and then can shrink just a tad as it dries. The liner helps prevent that, but you can still end up with teeny gaps at some seams.
To prevent the white backing from showing through, I run a stripe of dark paint under where each seam will fall.
I use matt finish craft paint from the hobby store, diluted with a little water (in the orange bottle cap) and smeared on the wall with a scrap of sponge. Use a ruler or level and a pencil to mark where you want to stripe the dark paint.
Remember to allow for that expansion as the paper absorbs moisture from the paste. Meaning, if the paper is 20.5″ wide, and expands 1/2″, you’ll want to run your line at about 21.” And make sure that your painted swath is about an inch wide.
I also run a bit of dark chalk along the edges of each strip, to prevent the white substrate from showing at the seams (no photo).
Morris & Co. makes this iconic Strawberry Thief.
Interestingly enough, most times when I’ve hung a Morris paper, it’s been a non-woven paste-the-wall material.
Today’s option was a surprise – a traditional British pulp . This is a pretty basic and somewhat old-fashioned type of substrate . Sort of like construction paper, or the pages of an old family Bible .
The paper is very fragile , and can tear easily. You have to keep using new razor / trimming blades, because the material dulls blades quickly, and when dull they will drag and tear the paper.
Pulp papers also require a soaking / booking time after pasting , to allow time for the material to absorb the paste , soften a bit, and expand . The edges of the strips like to dry out , so I’ve learned to dip about 1/4″ of the booked ends ( booked means the pasted side of the wallpaper strip is folded onto itself, bottom edge folded up and top edge folded down to meet in the middle), into a bucket of clean water.
Then it goes into a black plastic trash bag to soak and relax for a few minutes before hanging. I use this opportunity to paste the next strip.
Non-woven wallpapers have advantages, because they do not expand when wet, and therefor you can get accurate measurements. They also can be pasted and hung immediately, with no waiting time. Alternately, you can paste the wall .

William Morris Strawberry Thief in Houston Heights Powder Room

May 26, 2022

Originally, the whole room was this not-quite-milk-chocolate brown. Dark can look good in a small room like a powder room. But stark dark with no pattern is often claustrophobic.
Since this is a 100-year old bungalow with many layers of paint and potentially incompatible wall coatings, I was worried about unstable conditions inside the wall. Long story short, these conditions can lead to stress on the wall and delaminating layers, which also mean wallpaper seams that don’t stay down. Do a Search here to learn more.
So the homeowners agreed to have the walls lined, as a way to avoid these potential problems. Read previous post for more info.
The photo above shows the walls covered in the white liner.
Finished!
William Morris’s designs, and Strawberry Thief in particular, have been very popular the last two years or so.
His patterns are studies in symmetry and rhythm , and evoke the era of Art Nouveau and even Art Deco .
Last corner magically ended up with virtually no mis-match.

Morris & Co is the manufacturer. This is a nice, supple, non-woven material, and can be hung by pasting the wall , although I prefer to paste the paper. It has a vinyl coating and will be fairly washable – good for this family with a toddler. It’s also designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate.
See previous post for a pic of the label of the liner paper.

Tech Perk at Work

May 4, 2022
The battery on my phone doesn’t last very long, and my Sirius XM radio will drain it in an hour, so I have to keep it plugged into the charger. Today I didn’t need to use my adapter, because this newly renovated bungalow in the Houston Heights comes complete with built-in wall chargers!

You Can’t Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd …

February 2, 2022

And you can’t hang wallpaper when the house isn’t ready!

The poor homeowners of this completely renovated bungalow in the Houston Heights have had delays of up to nearly a year. Some COVID and supply-chain related. But lots more due to … well, due to tasks just not getting done. The mom pressed the contractor hard to be sure the space would be ready for wallpaper today. But as soon as I pulled up, I knew it wasn’t gonna happen.

No A/C and no heat = humidity = not good for wallpaper

Workmen in the area (my specs specify no one else on-site)

Workmen’s ladders blocking my access to rooms I am supposed to paper

Workmen’s power tools blasting noise = disrupts concentration

No running water in the house (I need to keep paper and woodwork clean)

Floors need to be sanded = dust getting onto the walls / wallpaper

High probability that someone will get handprints, paint, or other on the new paper

Yard is a mudpit = not good carrying my 50lb bucket of paste or 7′ long table back and forth

House not secure and likelihood of tools and equipment “walking off” esp. overnight

No one but me wearing a COVID-conscious mask

So, no wallpaper went up today. At first I thought I could at least get the primer up. But various factors made that not viable.

A day of work lost for me. For the rest of the week, I will have to try to find other clients who can be ready on 1-day’s notice. And reschedule these folks for later down the road.

This is a big disappointment for the homeowners, who are very much wanting the work to be finished and to move into their lovely new home.

Oh, and song lyrics compliments of Roger Miller, 1965.

Wallpaper Coming Off – Delaminating Wall

January 14, 2022

An Unfortunate Situation

This Brooklyn Toile wallpaper by Flavor Paper on an accent wall in a nursery went up beautifully. The contractor had added new Sheetrock to one wall, and painted the other, old/original wall. I skim-floated both walls and sanded smooth, primed, and hung the wallpaper. Perfect! (Search here to see my original post.) But within less than a month, the homeowner contacted me and said that the wallpaper was ” coming off the wall .” It was a 1920’s bungalow in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston. And therein lies the brunt of the problem.
The wallpaper itself is not ” coming off the wall .” What’s happening is that the wall surface itself is coming apart – or, delaminating . This is because multiple layers of paint and other substances on the wall may not be compatible. A probably scenario: In 1920 oil-based paint was used. Later someone rolled on a coat of latex paint. Then the homeowners redecorated and used gloss paint. Then some ” flippers ” who had watched too much HGTV slapped on more paint without bothering to de-gloss or prime first. And somewhere in the mix you’ve got cheap paint and dust and other incompatible materials.
Over time, and especially when stress is put on the wall surface, such as when wet wallpaper paste dries and the paper shrinks, this stress can tug at the wall and actually pull these layers apart. There are other contributing factors, too, such as humidity, temperature, and location. I find it interesting that the worst parts of the affected seams were toward the top of the wall. This speaks of heat, humidity, and forced air (either hot or cold) coming out of the air vent just to the right of this wall. This photo is of the area over a door, very close to the air vent.
See how thick that is? It’s not just the wallpaper. There are several layers of wall coming apart. Some layers are clinging to the back of the wallpaper, and some are staying stuck to the wall.
Multiple layers, many years of coatings on this wall.
Easy to see the many layers. The paper itself, my blue primer, my layer of smoothing compound, paint, more paint coming off the wall. Then multiple layers of paint and texture still clinging to the wall. This shot is just below the ceiling.
Same thing happening at the baseboard at the floor.
Layers of paint separating from the wall in chunks. Some pulled off easily, and some I had to chop off with my 3″ putty knife.
Most of the paint and unstable surface material clung to the back of the wallpaper. This pile is just three strips – only half the wall. But it’s thick and stiff and heavy because of the paint stuck to the back of the wallpaper. There was so much and it was so heavy and bulky that I had to carry it out to my van in two trips. When I got home, it totally filled my trash bin.
Here’s the wall once all the other layers came off. Brushing my hand over it revealed a layer of dust. No wonder the paint and other coatings wouldn’t stick. Nothing sticks to dust. It’s like flouring a cake pan… The paint or wallpaper will kinda stick – but won’t really stick. Paint on top may be fine. But add a little stress from drying / shrinking wallpaper, and you may end up with layers that pull apart.
Wiping the walls with a damp sponge removed a lot more dust. But the wall still felt chalky. Whatever type of paint this was, it was not holding together.
I had to stabilize this chalky surface. Enter Gardz, a wonderful product – Gardz is a thin, penetrating sealer that soaks into porous surfaces and binds substances together. It dries hard and creates an intact surface. The darker area in the picture is where I’ve rolled on a test area. Gardz is thin like water, and it runs and drips and splatters. It’s imperative that you cover floors, countertops, and baseboards, and roll carefully, and roll upward rather than downward, to minimize runs and drips. A microfiber roller holds the liquid well, and reduces drips.
Gardz is made by Zinsser.
No photo of the finished wall, but I was very pleased with the stability of the surface. No more chalk or dust. Now, there still could be unstable or incompatible layers deeper inside the wall. (Latex paint over oil without proper prep.) But for now I feel pretty confident that this wall is solid and will hold up to the next process in preparation for getting the new wallpaper up.

Popular ” Raphael ” in Heights Mud Room

October 28, 2021
This nicely renovated bungalow in the Houston Heights had a 3-room suite in the rear of the house. Included were a mud room, a walk-in pantry, and a vestibule leading to the kitchen. This photo shows the mud room before wallpaper. The paper will be installed above the wainscoting.
The mud room finished. I plotted so the trees would land evenly balanced (centered) on the wall.
Pantry before
Pantry after
From kitchen looking through vestibule into mud room, before.
Same area finished. A very, very cool 3-dimensional affect!
Another view of the mud room. The blue colorway of the wallpaper works beautifully with the khaki color of the woodwork.
The vestibule had four doors, and thus four areas in between the doors. In the two larger spaces, which flanked the pantry door, I futzed with the width of the strips so that I could place the trunk of the tree down the center of each space. I didn’t want all four areas to have the tree down the center, so in the third I let the pattern fall as it would, which placed the tree trunk to the left of center. This was a softer look. Sorry – no photo. The fourth space was only about 6″ wide, and the tree trunk would be much too distracting here. So I again manipulated the width of the strips so that only foliage showed between the door moldings in that last space. Sorry – no photo.
Close up
This very popular pattern is called Raphael and is by Sandberg, a Swedish company. Their papers are quite nice. They are on a non-woven material. There are quite a few advantages to these non-wovens, both while working with them and after they are up on your wall.

Monkeying Around With Forbidden Fruit

October 27, 2021
Powder room before.
Whoah … this is really COOL! I love the colors against the blue woodwork. The homeowner is debating what color to paint the vanity base.
This wallpaper is in the Fornasetti collection by Cole & Son. It’s called ” Frutto Proibito “

Like most papers by this manufacturer, this was a non-woven material. The instructions say to paste the wall, but this brand is known to expand when wet with paste, so it’s better to paste the material.

The home is in the Heights area of Houston, and is a nicely updated older bungalow.

Client Using Salvaged Wood for Flooring in Renovated Heights Bungalow

October 7, 2021

This home in the Heights area of Houston is being enlarged, renovated, and saved from the wrecking ball! The homeowners are using the original features where they can (reworking original windows, for instance), and in other areas are using vintage items salvaged from other area homes.

I love that they have found flooring that will work in this entryway. I don’t know what the plans are … they may have the boards sanded down to bare wood, stained, and sealed. Which would give a mighty nice and formal look to the home.

But I wouldn’t mind one iota if they kept the planks as-is, sealed them, and left this cool, funky, colorful, shabby-chic mosaic on their entry floor.

Bridges, Lovers, and Rabbis – Quirky Brooklyn Toile for Baby’s Nursery

August 21, 2021
Before. Textured wall has been smoothed, and is primed and ready for wallpaper. The pattern comes in “A” and “B” rolls, which is atypical. In the photo I am plotting strips and rolling everything out, before cutting anything up.
Done!
The pattern highlights special features and landmarks of Brooklyn. I’d sure like to know who the guy with the crown is. I get a kick out of all the Jewish guys. The dancing men – I can just hear the strains of Hava Nigala!
Close-up.
This was a pre-pasted material – simple installation process and dries nice and flat.
Manufacturer is Flavor Paper. Flavor Paper prints on many different substrates – and most are quite tricky to work with. The homeowner took my advice and went with the pre-pasted (EZ Papes) option. This material went up like a dream, and will cling nice and tight to the wall for years to come.

Not many babies can brag a decorating scheme like this! The pattern reminds the homeowner of her time in New York City.

The 1920 bungalow is in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston.

A Sweet Laundry Room in the Heights

May 1, 2021
Before: Drab, lifeless khaki paint.
After: Bright and cheerful, and definitely unexpected.
Wallpaper coordinates nicely with the stained glass window.
Fun surprise – Are they pineapples or flower bouquets?
The pattern is “Ludic” by Woodchip & Magnolia.

The home is a nicely renovated bungalow in the Houston Heights. The only place to tuck in a laundry room was in an alcove off the master bedroom. Not only does the wallpaper brighten the space, but it looks pretty when viewed from the bedroom.

The material is “non-woven” and can be hung by pasting the back of the paper, or by pasting the wall. I usually choose to paste the paper.