Posts Tagged ‘ceilings’

Making a Geometric Wallpaper Pattern LOOK Straight in a Room with Crooked Walls

April 8, 2020

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Geometric wallpaper patterns are popular right now, but they are rigid and inflexible, and the eye sees any imperfection, so they are demanding to hang, especially in rooms where walls are not plumb and floors and ceilings are not level. This powder room in Fleetwood (far west Houston) really put me to the test.

Visually, it’s more important to keep the pattern intact, than to keep it running straight along the ceiling and floor lines. On the various walls and elevations in this room, I called a lot of tricks into play to keep the pattern looking straight – but here we’ll focus on this one corner.

In the top photo, the corner looks straight, but if you could see the full height of the wall, you would see that the wallpaper pattern moves to the left as it drops down the corner. I’m happy that all of the “lanterns” are intact. But as more strips are hung to the right of this corner, the lantern motif will start to travel up the wall and be cut off at the ceiling line.

To keep this from happening, I had to pull the pattern back into plumb. The second photo shows what the design should look like, and it’s my goal to keep the pattern intact, and all the lanterns looking like this.

In the third photo, I am hanging the first strip to the right of the corner. Because the corner is off-plumb, this strip of wallpaper would hang off-plumb, too. To keep that from happening, I hung the left side of the strip off-plumb, but then hung the right side of the strip plumb, lining it up against my laser level, a you see in the photo.

How did I do that? I took a sharp scissors, a good pair of close-up eyeglasses, a whole lot of patience, and even more time, and carefully cut around the left edge of the lantern motifs from floor to ceiling. You can pretty well see this loose edge in the third photo.

Then I pulled the right edge of the wallpaper to line up against the red line from my laser level, making it nice and plumb. This created an overlap of the left edge of the lantern motifs onto the right edge of left side of the wallpaper strip that had been cut in half. Got that? 🙂

This one corner took me about 45 minutes.

It was worth it. Once I smoothed the overlapped pieces into place, you really don’t notice that the lanterns are a little closer together at that one section than they should be. See third photo. This area is near the floor, across from the toilet, and not any place anyone is going to be studying the width of wallpaper motifs. 🙂 And it looks a whole lot better than chopped-off lanterns at the ceiling.

In this whole 10 single-roll powder room, I’d say that I spent a full two hours just on tweaking the pattern to keep it looking straight. That’s in addition to five hours regular labor to hang the paper. Plus the entire day before to prep the walls.

It was well worth it. The homeowners had originally tackled this wallpaper job themselves, but became overwhelmed. They had invested the better part of a year in getting the room into shape. In the end, the room looks great, it is MUCH brighter than when they started out (original paper was a dark teal faux finish), and it suits the wife’s love of all things geometric.

This wallpaper pattern is by Brewster, in their A-Street Prints line, 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.

Tall Trees in a Tall Dining Room

February 13, 2020


The ceilings in this dining room in the West University neighborhood of Houston are more than 11′ high – and this vertical tree pattern visually swoops them even higher!

I love the hand-painted look of this paper. Actually, it’s machine-printed on a non-woven material, and can be hung via the paste-the-wall method – but I find the paste-the-paper process to be more effective.

The wallpaper is called “Raphael” and is by Sandberg, which is affiliated with Scalamandre.

Swirly “Priano” Wakes Up a Tiny Powder Room

August 4, 2018


Here is a tiny powder room squeezed under the stairs in a nicely updated large home in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston. The homeowner wanted the powder room to match the feel of the more modern rest of the house – while coordinating with the dark blue tile floor. This swirly leaf pattern does all of that – and it visually pushes the walls away, while adding fun movement to the tiny room.

I don’t usually like wallpaper on ceilings, because I think it crunches the ceiling down on you. But here in this diminutive powder room, I think that papering the ceiling was the best design option. When a ceiling is papered, only one corner where the wall meets the ceiling can have the pattern matched (see top photo), and the rest will result in a mis-match. So it’s preferable to find a wild pattern like this, where any design mis-match in the corners will hardly be noticeable.

This room was particularly tricky, because the bottom-side-of-the-stairs ceiling came down not only at a slope, but at an angle. You can kind of see this in the fourth photo. The third shot shows the ceiling in the process of being hung.

“Priano” is a popular wallpaper pattern by Serena & Lily. Their papers are always a joy to work with, and they have cute patterns, too!

What’s extra cool is that I hung this pattern a few months ago, and the homeowner ended up with twice as much paper as she needed. (The old single roll / double roll conundrum. A good reason to always check with me before ordering your paper.) I was able to hook the two gals up, and some of the excess paper was sold to the new client, quick and easy.

Prepping Heavily Textured Walls for Wallpaper

February 15, 2017
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Wow. Some DIY remodeler / house flipper loved this textured wall finish, and sprayed it on EVERY WALL AND CEILING in this otherwise-beautifully-updated home near Gessner & Kempwood. The young couple who bought the home want wallpaper in their two daughters’ rooms and in a front room study, plus they want chalkboard paint on one wall in the kitchen.

Wallpaper looks best and sticks best to smooth walls, and the chalkboard wall needs to be perfectly smooth, so I am spending two days smoothing these surfaces. The wallpaper will go up later.

Today I skim-floated the walls with joint compound. (It’s kind of like plaster, and is applied with a trowel.) I went through nearly FIVE boxes of the stuff (see photo). Each box is 44 lbs. Need I say that my arms and shoulders are tired and sore? 🙂

Applying it thickly enough to cover the 1/4″ – 1/2″ bumps means that it will take a looong time to dry, so I have turned on the heat in the house (to help draw moisture out of the smoothing compound) as well as the house fan (to circulate air), set several fans up blowing against the walls, and left it to dry overnight. Tomorrow, I will sand the walls.

Because the skim coat was so thick, even when it is sanded, the surface will not be perfectly smooth, and will also have many holes caused by air bubbles. So I will trowel on a second, much lighter coat, to cover these irregularities. With the heat cranking, and the fans blowing, this second skim coat should dry fairly quickly.

Then I will sand one final time, vacuum up the dust, wipe the walls free of dust with a damp sponge, and finally roll on a sealing primer called Gardz.

The painters can then apply the chalkboard paint to the kitchen wall. And when I come back to hang wallpaper in a month or so, the messy part of the job will be over and done with, so no more dust or mess or smells in the clients’ home – just new, pretty wallpaper for the little girls’s rooms and for Mom’s study.

Wallpapering A Ceiling With Just One Person

June 6, 2016

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I don’t wallpaper a lot of ceilings, and when I do, I prefer small areas that are not too high. Here I am papering the ceiling in a closet that has 9′ ceilings. I am using two ladders that are placed close to each other, so I can work off one and position the paper on the ceiling above it, and then step to the other ladder and paper another few feet.

The problem is, once you step down off the ladder to move forward, if you don’t have some way to hold the wallpaper to the ceiling, it’s all going to come pulling off.

Working alone, my trick is to use push-pins to hold the paper to the ceiling while I climb down and move the ladder.

Textured, Copper Colored Paper on a Closet Ceiling

June 2, 2016
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I don’t wallpaper many ceilings, but when I do, I prefer small areas that are not too high. Here is a closet in a home in Bellaire (Houston) that has been decked out to fit the needs (lots of handbags and shoes!) and taste (glam, glam glam!) of the homeowner.

The room boasts some fancy wall light sconces with large crystals, and this huge chandelier with the same mega-crystals. The only thing that could stand up to all this glitz and glamor is a very dynamic wallpaper!

So here you have the perfect foil (pun intended 🙂 ) – a deeply textured, copper / gold embossed vinyl wallpaper. Light bounces off the metallic surface and brightens the room. But shadows are caught by the deep texture of the material, and the perimiter of the ceiling holds shadowy secrets.

This wallpaper is a textured embossed vinyl on a non-woven substrate, and is by Clarke & Clarke, a British manufacturer. The interior designer for the project is Martha Holmes, of MPH Designs, in Houston. I have worked with Martha for nearly two decades, and really love her classic-yet-livable style, and find her upbeat personality a joy to work with.