Posts Tagged ‘chair rail’

Plumbing Up Coming Out Of A Corner DRAFT

January 29, 2023
Here I’m hanging wallpaper, moving from right to left, preparing to turn this corner . You don’t wrap a strip of wallpaper around an inside corner (see previous post for more information). So I’ve cut a new strip, trimmed off excess on the right so the pattern on the new strip matches that on the existing strip, and am getting ready to proceed to the left.
But corners are never straight or plumb , and chair rail and ceilings are never perfectly level . So if I butt the new strip right up into the corner, if that corner is off-plumb , it will cause the new strip, and all subsequent strips, to be off-plumb. And that means that the design motifs will start tracking up or down hill as we move across the wall.
You want all the motifs to be at the same height along the ceiling and chair rail – within reason, of course, because if those features are not level, the motifs can’t help but move up or down.
Anyway, the best you can do is to hang your new strip perfectly plumb . So here you see I’ve shot my laser level at the wall at the far edge of the new strip. I’m butting my new strip up to that red line. I’m also using my 2′ bubble level as an extra guide.
Note that sometimes this means the new strip will not butt up perfectly in the corner, because it may tilt a bit to the left or right. When that happens, you just trim off the slight overlap. This means you may end up with a slight pattern mis-match in the corner. Usually not too noticeable.

Light Bright Trellis Geometric Updates Red Dining Room

January 27, 2023
For more than a decade, the dining room was bold red from head to toe. In this photo, I’m applying drywall joint compound to smooth the textured wall .
Here’s the wall sanded smooth , primed , and ready for wallpaper .
Done. The next question is – what color to paint the bottom 1/3 of the wall ? What do you think?
Using the red beam from my laser level to center the design on the wall, and directly under the decorative corbel which the wood-worker homeowner husband installed as a feature to the crown molding .
Close-up. I also balanced the pattern between the ceiling and chair rail / wainscoting .
The wallpaper design is by Candice Olson , of HGTV fame, and is made by York , a company that I like a lot. It was purchased at a discount through Dorota at the Sherwin-Williams on University in the Rice Village . Call before heading over (713) 529-6515 . The homeowner had originally chosen something else, but it was unavailable. Dorota dug through her large library of selection books and found this, which is very similar, but more open and airy . We all three agree that this is the better option.
It is a non-woven material , and can be hung via the paste-the-wall method , or the paste-the-material method – which is what I usually prefer to do. This NW stuff is durable , stain-resistant , humidity -resistant , and easy to strip off the wall when you decorate down the road.
Cute in his bandana . But not very helpful at all! 🙂
The home is in the Candlelight Plaza / Shephard Park Plaza / Oak Forest / Garden Oaks neighborhood of Houston .

Un-Plumb, Un-Level

January 24, 2023
Shot of the finished breakfast room , for pattern reference.
Close-up view. The vertical lines are not wrinkles , but shadows cast by the macrame light fixture in this breakfast room .
The problem is, when walls aren’t plumb , and ceiling and floor and chair rail are not level , the pattern motifs won’t march across the wall at the same height on every strip . I’ve learned that, in most cases, it’s more important to match the pattern in the corner , and then allow the pattern to go off-track at ceiling or floor if necessary.
In this photo, note that the humming bird is sitting completely above the chair rail.
Here he’s dropped down to where his tail is swallowed up by the chair rail .
By the time we get to the left corner , half of the bird has dropped down and disappeared .
Here’s another bird motif doing the same disappearing act .
Feet and belly gone.
This house in the Eastwood neighborhood of Houston is nearly 85 years, so you can expect some settling and shifting on its foundation . But even brand new homes can have walls that are out of whack .
This beautiful pattern is by Cole & Son and is called Hummingbirds – it’s very popular and has been around more than 100 years … that’s older than the house!

Pretty , Airy Humming Birds on Breakfast Nook Walls

January 22, 2023
Before. Note that those vertical lines on the wall are cast by the macrame light fixture. You also see bench seating with storage underneath . There will be a wall-mounted table in the center . The wainscoting / chair rail is high enough to keep any food splashes or sticky fingers from staining the wallpaper .
Finished .

Mum Flowers in Heights Entry

January 14, 2023
Painted walls in this new-build in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston have been primed with Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime wallpaper primer .
Done
Just the area above the wainscoting / chair rail was papered .
Obstacles to trim around included six doors – with a total of TWELVE corners of decorative molding to trim around. In addition, there were EIGHT terminations of wood ceiling beams , also with uneven edges , to trim around.
Absolutely NO information came with the wallpaper . No run number , no installation instructions , no nuttin’. Confoundingly, the company’s website was malfunctioning, and pop-ups prevented me from getting information , or even from seeing what the pattern looked like on a large wall .
So here I am rolling the paper out on the floor , to get a scope of the pattern and layout .
Note the unprinted selvedge edge , which I’ll have to trim off using a straightedge and a razor blade. See previous posts (do a Search) to learn more about this.
The pattern is called Kanoko and the manufacturer is Relativity Textiles . This material was VERY difficult to work with. More about that in a future post.

From Dark and Dated to Light and Livable

December 17, 2022

Oh, my! – I hung lots of these chintz florals, ” satin ” look (the design of the dark green at the bottom of the wall), and dark colors back in the ’90’s . Sure enough – this home was built and wallpapered in 1994.
IIt’s still a good look, IMO, and the homeowner still likes it. But she’s just gotten tired of it. So – time for an update !
She also decided to eliminate the chair rail , so the new wallpaper will go ceiling to floor . Here you see some damage to the drywall where the chair rail molding was removed .
What a change! Now the room’s look is quiet and fresh .
The buffet , topped with a decorative mirror , will go on this wall . That’s why I centered the pattern in between the windows , so it will fall evenly on either side of the furnishings .
I also plotted so that a full “Moroccan lantern” (that’s what this style of trellis pattern is called), would balance out between the crown molding and the window molding. There were several of these 12.5″ high areas all around the room, so this placement of whole “lantern” motifs gave the room a pleasing look.
It also worked out that the lanterns were evenly placed and kept whole between the crown molding and the baseboard. See the second following photo to see what I’m talking about
As a note – just this one window wall took me about five hours to measure , calculate , and hang . Getting the pattern to go over, around, and under the two windows , and still line up and match correctly , took some time and futzing. The material was thick and stiff , and a bit tricky to fit into corners and trim around the decorative window molding .
In the foreground you see my work table area . The homeowner has let me put protective padding on her dining room table and then set my work table on that. This saves space and allows plenty of room for my ladder and other tools as I work around all four walls.
So that I could center the pattern on this wall , I had to start hanging my first strip in the middle of the wall. I was lucky this time, that the pattern was centered exactly on the edge of the wallpaper roll . Sometimes (as in the one I did yesterday – see previous post ) the center of the design motif is a to the right or left of the edge of the wallpaper . This, naturally, means you’ve got to do more measuring and plotting and double-checking , to be sure the center of the design falls down the center of the wall .
Back to the photo above … that dark block on the right side of my work table is my laser level. It’s shooting a perfectly plumb red line onto the wall. Here I’m lining up my first strip of paper butted against this red line .
Switch topics … Back in 1994, the original installer did a very nice job of hanging the wallpaper. But … he didn’t prime the new drywall first. That lack of primer / protective layer means that the wallpaper will actually bond to the drywall. I tried, but was unable to get the existing wallpaper off . Eventually, you need to factor in time , damage to the wall , paste residue left on the wall, and take a different tac if called for.
So I skim-floated over the seams , so they wouldn’t show under the new paper , and also floated over the damaged drywall where the chair rail had been removed . Sanded smooth , and then primed the patched areas as well as the original wallpaper, with Roman Ultra Prime Pro 977 . This stuff will adhere to the light acrylic (slick) surface of the original wallpaper, as well as protect it from moisture from my paste on the new wallpaper. ( Moisture could cause the underlying original wallpaper to expand , creating bubbles that will look bad, or loose areas that will pull away from the wall, creating a bubble or pocket.)
My primer is also lightly pigmented, so it helps block out the dark color and busy pattern of the original wallpaper . This particular new wallpaper is quite opaque , but not all of them are, so a pigmented primer is important , IMO .

Left corner of the buffet wall. Here you can see how the lantern motifs are placed between ceiling and floor.
The background has a lightly mottled effect, that mimics grasscloth a bit, and also adds more depth and warmth than just a plain solid color .
Been havin’ more than a fair share of defects lately, especially this week. This paper had on both front and back sides, incidences of these black flecks . They seemed to be maybe charcoal , so I wasn’t too worried about their black bleeding through to the surface , like ink or any oil-based substance will do.
Most of them were embedded in the material itself, so could not be wiped off , nor dug out with a razor blade . Some I had to cut around and discard the affected paper. Others were so small as to not be noticeable once the paper was up on the wall and all the furniture and artwork was back in the room.
There was also one 3′ section of wallpaper that had an odd streak or arc running across it. It wasn’t ink . It was more like some kind of compromise to the substrate . I noticed it was I was pasting the back of the paper . I turned it over and, sure enough, you could see it a little on the surface. (see photo in previous post) It’s the kind of thing that was subtle, but would catch your eye when looking at the wall from a distance . It was minor , but I discarded that strip . Good thing I have the homeowners purchase a little extra wallpaper .
The manufacturer is Designer Wallcoverings , which is a good quality brand (aside from the printing defects I described earlier ). It was a non-woven / paste the wall material , which is pretty user-friendly . It will strip off the wall easily and in one piece when you redecorate . Stain-resistant , and ” breathable ” in humid conditions .
The home is in the West University neighborhood of Houston . Dining room installer

Humidity Causes Curling Edges on Vinyl / Non-Woven Wallpaper

November 23, 2022
I hung this wallpaper about 10 years ago. It’s a main bathroom in a 1920’s home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston. The home has been remodeled including updated HVAC systems , but surely still suffering from issues of humidity and air circulation.
At some point, the very edges of the wallpaper started curling back at the seams. This is more pronounced at the upper portions of the wall than at the chair rail. Meaning, humidity from showering is rising into the air, collecting under the ceiling, and working its way into the seams.
Once humidity gets into the backing of the wallpaper, it can cause the backing to expand. When that happens, the paper has to go somewhere. So it pushes itself away from the wall. Hence the curling that you see here.
What’s odd to me is that this happened with a paper that’s on a non-woven backing. Non-wovens are 20% polyester, so pretty resistant to moisture and humidity. I’m guessing that this company used less than the industry standard of 20% polyester. The material was super thin and flexible, which is unlike most non-wovens I’ve worked with.
I was able to make this look pretty good again. I used a putty knife to gently lift the compromised edges away from the wall, and then I worked some of my regular wallpaper paste back behind there. (no super glue or heavy duty paste or contact cement )
Then I used my heat gun – set on Low – to gently warm up the vinyl surface of the wallpaper . The heat gun served several purposes … It helped speed the drying of the paste , so it got tacky and held more quickly and firmly. The heat gun also ” melted ” the vinyl surface a wee bit, so it would curl back in the opposite direction.
I used a 3″ stiff metal putty knife to push the two edges of wallpaper back down to the wall. The metal knife heated up, too, and helped to get the vinyl to conform.
Using the heat gun and the metal putty knife also helped the two edges from the two strips to meet up together … sort of like two mountain big horn sheep butting their heads together . Butted together this way is better than one lying on top of the other.
I was really pleased with how well this worked. Sorry – no pics!
The brand is Super Fresco Easy .

Meg Braff Bad Printing Job

November 15, 2022
The homeowner very much loves this simple, tone-on-tone shore bird pattern for her dining room – just the top , above the chair rail / wainscoting. Here I’m plotting where to best situate the pattern on the wall , between the chair rail and ceiling , while keeping the most important pattern elements and motifs intact . (no cutting off birds’ heads at the ceiling , nor at the wainscoting ) I’m also checking the pattern match .
It quickly became evident that the pattern match, as laid out by the factory, was incorrect . Match it at the bottom (by my thumb ), but as you move up , the pattern goes a little out of whack . This is actually not all that bad , and is considered acceptable – the industry standard allows for up to 1/8″ – 3/8″ mis-match .
Hand-trim screen-print materials such as this are particularly notable for pattern mis-matches .
For the record, they’re also known for curling edges , puckering , waffling , and other issues that make them difficult to hang , as well as questionability as to how long they’ll perform on your wall before wanting to resort to that curling at the seams .
More pattern mis-matching .
But the situation got worse . These high-end screen prints often come with an unprinted selvedge edge that has to be trimmed off by hand , with a straightedge (the blue metal thing ), a razor blade – and a steady hand.
If the trim guide marks printed on the material by the company are ” off ,” then you’re supposed to ” trim to the pattern .” This means that you find the design element on the left edge of the paper and then find the corresponding element on the right side, and place your straightedge so that your trim cuts will result in the two edges matching up perfectly. (Or at least within that 1/8″ -3/8″)
At this point, the white lines in the design – let’s call them ‘grapes’ – are abutting my blue straightedge , and should meet up perfectly with the corresponding white lines on the grapes on the opposite side of the subsequent strip of wallpaper.
But, unfortunately, with this material, that didn’t work. If I lined my straightedge up with the pattern design elements , as in the photo above this one, by the time I moved down a few feet , as you can see in this photo , the pattern begins moving away from the straightedge . The white grape outlines do not butt up against my straightedge.
The likely reason is that this material has been printed on the bias . That means that the artisan at the factory got his screens out of whompus , for lack of a better term.
” Trim to the pattern .” OK. So here I’m placing my straightedge at 1/8″ away from the ” hook ” in this design .
Still the same distance from the “hook.” But the white lines are starting to move away from the straightedge.
Here they’ve moved farther off. With this design, from a distance , you could maybe live with the white lines not meeting up perfectly.
But what you couldn’t find acceptable is that the tan area between these white elements would be growing wider diagonally as you move both up and down the wall. Look at the photo. You can see the tan area growing larger .
But it gets worse as it spreads farther … As that tan section grows wider like a “V” or a wedge as you move up or down the wall, it additionally pushes the design motifs at the top of the ceiling or at top of the wainscoting either up or down along the horizontal lines of the ceiling and wainscoting .
So not only do you get a widening tan line between each seam , you also get the birds’ heads moving up or down from where they’re supposed to be positioned below the ceiling or above the wainscoting .
I spent an hour and a half trying different placements and trimming methods . I knew the client loved this pattern and that she was willing to accept reasonable flaws in the pattern match and positioning.
But even given that, I wanted her to have a good looking dining room – not one with uneven spacing between strips, or grossly irregular positioning along the horizontal lines in the room.
I even consulted with several (five!) “high-end” installer buddies of mine. No one had a ” tip ” for making an improperly printed design fall correctly on the wall. In fact, all five of them said it couldn’t be done.
I determined that this material was unhangable.
As mentioned, I tried to find an installer buddy who could make this work and get this client’s dining room done in time for Thanksgiving dinner. But no one wanted to take it on.
I don’t know if the manufacturer will replace the paper or refund the $ spend. Manufacturers are usually keen on saying that “it’s the installer’s fault .” I can say that I’ve had similar issues with Meg Braff papers in the past.
The homeowner really loves this pattern. It’s possible – but not assured – that purchasing the same design but in a different run will yield a better factory printing job.
Just a note that printing defects , curling seams , wrinkling / quilting , and more, are somewhat common with hand-screened wallpapers . And here’s another reason why I’m happiest when clients stick with middle-of-the-road, or slightly upper priced , wallpaper options . Email me and request my Info Pack (or see the link on the right) for more information and brand name recommendations.
Sad to bow out and leave this client with an unpapered room, and no viable solution or direction . But better that than to take on something that I can’t assure will look good. I hope she tells me what she ends up doing and how all this turns out.

Lots of Wallpaper in Nov/Dec Issue of American Farmhouse Style Magazine

November 1, 2022
Including right here on the cover! And a real coup! … A magazine that’s pretty much dedicated to the all-white or all-grey trend in decorating, as well as minimalism … it’s so exciting to see some pattern and color in the ” farmhouse ” themed homes. Let’s take a look …
Textured grasscloth behind bookshelves in a living room .
Two-tone classic toile on one wall as a background to a stairwell . It warms up the space, without hitting you in the face.
Soft , cloud – like feel behind this credenza . Look carefully right above the baskets , and you’ll see an overlapped seam. Some commercial murals are hung like this, as well as the very popular patterns by Spoonflower , which is a budget-friendly and DIY – able , good quality material and brand . (But ONLY their ” prepasted smooth ” option. Do NOT get the ” traditional pebble ” nor their ” peel and stick . “
More of the toile pattern , in the entry , with batten board wainscoting and a chair rail , in a mud room . Also called rear back door entry . : )
Floral pattern in the laundry room . I’m getting lots of queries for wallpaper in laundries … must be trending right now!
Soft two-tone floral in small bathroom .
Textured grasscloth behind desk in home office .
Apologies for the sideways image … WordPress used to be easy to use, and I could correct this. But they “upgraded” their program and made many, many features much more difficult to work with. I tried tutorials on how to fix this, but after reading and watching tons of info and videos, I gave up. It used to be just one click !
Anyway, note the cheery breakfast room. Colorful without being overwhelming .
Closer picture.
Very innovative use of floral pattern with subdued color around the archway / entry to another breakfast nook . Note that the back of the nook also wears a textured wallpaper .
Sorry for the out-of-order picture … another frustration from the “upgraded” WordPress Editor . This gives an idea of what the afore-mentioned breakfast area looked like pre-wallpaper.
The magazine didn’t mention a brand, but this sure looks like one of Serena & Lily ‘s designs . Of course, when one company makes a popular pattern , many other companies make their own versions .
These days, usually you see pattern on the accent wall behind the headboard . So it’s a little unusual to see wallpaper on all four walls of this master bedroom . But it works, because the pattern is simple and the colors are kept to only two , so the overall feel is calming , rather than busy .
Fooled me! I thought this headboard accent wall was done in tile – but it’s wallpaper !
The same paper on a kitchen cabinet .

Just A Whisper Of Color And Texture

August 30, 2022
Dining room in the Oak Forest area of Houston, before. All white and crisp – but bland .
Here with just a touch of color and texture . The homeowner took my suggestion to use an embossed vinyl faux grasscloth product, which is very consistent in color .
The problem with real grasscloth is that so very often there are disappointing color variations between strips , even if they come off the same roll . We call this shading and paneling . Do a search here to see previous posts about this.
Note that with both materials you will see the seams. With this faux material, once you got 3′ away, you can’t see the seams at all.
The paper along the top of the wainscoting chair rail is to prevent my wallpaper primer from splattering onto the molding . I do the same for baseboards and bathroom backsplash es .
Opposite corner done.
Close-up showing the realistic texture of the vinyl product .
This is by Designer Wallpapers and was purchased from the Sherwin-Williams in the Rice Village , by Dorota , who has been selling wallpaper for 25+ years and is THE expert on helping you select your perfect pattern .