Posts Tagged ‘chalk’

Updating a ’60’s Dining Room – But Staying True to Mid Century Modern

November 1, 2018

I love all things vintage, and have a keen fondness for old wallpaper in particular. So it really hurt to strip off this beautiful (albeit kitschy) mural – the original installed on one wall of a dining room in this 1960 home in the Timber Grove neighborhood of Houston.

The new homeowners, a young couple, had a more modern vision for the look of their home. This very whimsical “Franz” design feels both modern and mid-century at the same time. And, it perfectly mirrors the thin linear gold lines of the chandelier.

The wallpaper is by a company I had not heard of before – Half Full. It is based in California, and their products are reasonably priced. Unlike many “boutique” manufactures, the company was able to provide sensible product information over the phone, and I was pleased with the quality of their wallpaper.

The surface was printed with a clay-coated ink, and the substrate felt like a pulp material. Installation instructions called for a typical vinyl adhesive, and standard booking times. The material – particularly the edges – did tend to dry out a little too quickly, but a little additional pasting helped with that. There was no detectable shrinkage. I do wish they had printed this black design on a dark substrate, because, even though I used chalk to color the edges of the paper, the white paper backing did show through at the seams just a smidgeon.

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Dark Paper Bringing Brightness to a Harvey Hurricane Flooded Home

June 28, 2018


This home in the Bellaire subdivision of Houston was flooded during Hurricane Harvey in August of 2017. Everything below the 4′ high water mark had to be cut out and thrown out. The homeowners loved the Mid-Century Modern vibe of their 1952 home, so, as the structure was put back together, they re-created everything as accurately as they could – baseboards, doors, cabinets, flooring – they even found a funky green refrigerator designed in the style of what I can only describe as an old Studebaker sedan.

When it came to wallpaper, they wanted something to reflect the vintage vibe. After much research, they agreed on two papers from the Bradbury & Bradbury Vintage ’20’s collection. This colorful bird-flowers-and-foliage-on-black pattern went in their sun room, which can also be called the piano room.

The ’20’s Vintage wallpaper collection is pretty new from Bradbury and Bradbury, which is out in California. This company produces historic-styled patterns from eras such as Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Victorian, Asian, and more, right on through into the new offerings based on designs from the “Modern Age.”

Like many higher-end or specialty and / or “boutique” wallpaper brands, this paper came with a selvedge edge that had to be trimmed off by hand (by me!). The manufacturer’s trim guidelines were spot-on, and so the edges were nice and straight, and the pattern design matched from strip to strip perfectly.

This pattern is digitally-printed on a paper substrate with a somewhat shiny surface. I found that it accepted the paste (clay paste is recommended, to mesh with the paper which is printed on a clay-coated substrate) with no protests, and, after appropriate booking time, the paper handled nicely and the seams laid down nice and flat. That slightly shiny surface also allowed me to wipe any stray spots of paste off the surface.

Because the paper was black, I did take the extra step of using a piece of black chalk to color the edges of the strips, to keep the white substrate from peeking out at the seams.

This room holds a grand piano, and is in the back of the house, where it looks out onto the patio and backyard. It gets a lot of sunlight in the daytime, and the colors in the wallpaper will really stand out, and will bring a lot of light into this very deserving home.

Brilliantly Bold

March 16, 2018


Dark powder rooms are a good look. But dark paint by itself can feel uninteresting and even closed-in.

A bit of glowing aqua and green palm leaves on this black background really punch up the drama in this Montrose (Houston) area powder room! The stacked leaves add a distinct upward movement (and fun!) to this tall, narrow space.

The homeowner searched for a long time to find a pattern she liked, in a colorway that would compliment the ice-aqua color of the glass sink. (Sorry, my poor photo doesn’t do justice to the beautiful color of this unique sink.) (The wall to the right of the wallpaper and above the sink is covered with tiny squares of tile, and the lighted mirror.)

The original blue paint just blended in with the medium-toned brown bamboo free-standing console vanity sink base. But against the black wallpaper, the stained bamboo really stood out.

This tropical wallpaper pattern is called Kalani, and is in the “Fine D├ęcor Collection” by Brewster. It is a non-woven material (which means it should strip off the wall easily when it’s time to redecorate), and is designed for a paste-the-wall installation (but I opted to paste the paper, instead.).

The material was thin, which I like, but I wasn’t fond of the plastic-y feel to the surface, plus it creased really easily. Because the paper was black and was printed on a white substrate, I used chalk to color the edges of the paper, which prevented white from showing at the seams. Once this was done, the seams were practically invisible.

Jungle Book / Beverly Hills Hotel / Tropical Foliage

December 20, 2017

I hung wallpaper in this bathroom about 15 years ago. The girl has grown up and gone off to college – and it’s time for her room to get an update.

This banana leaf design is by Nobilis. Tropical greenery is a popular concept, and there are lots of manufacturers making similar patterns; you can find something beautiful at any price range.

This Nobilis product is printed on a non-woven substrate. It is meant to be a paste-the-wall installation, but I preferred the flexible handle-ability I got by pasting the paper instead. In addition, because the manufacturer printed the dark paper on a white substrate, it was highly likely that the seams would show up by hair-bredth gaps.

I used a black chalk pastel to color the edges (where the dark blue crossed the seams), to prevent the white backing from showing – and they disappeared. I didn’t have a green chalk stick, so left the green leaf areas untreated … so the seams did show a bit more. But visible seams are pretty expected with dark papers, and with thick non-woven materials.

Coloring the Edges of Dark Wallpaper

November 6, 2016
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Some conscientious wallpaper manufacturers print their dark colorways on a black or otherwise colored stock, but most wallpapers are printed on white substrate. If the surface of the wallpaper is dark, there is always the possibility (or, likelihood), that, when the seams are butted against one another, the white edges of the stock backing will show.

To help prevent this, I use chalk pastels to color the edges of the wallpaper strips. The color should be applied from the back side of the wallpaper, and with a light touch. Chalk that gets on the surface can be easily wiped off. The chalk won’t interfere with the paste, nor with adhesion. It does take time, though.

Stay away from oil pastels, because they can bleed into wallpaper and stain it, often taking many months to do so.

This wallpaper is by “Grow House Grow,” an on-line company.

Dark Chocolate Grasscloth on a Fireplace / TV Wall

September 17, 2015
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This couple with two young children in a new home in the Houston Heights wanted to add some color and texture to their nearly-all-white house, tie in to the dark brown wood floor, as well as minimize the impact of the large TV over the fireplace in the great room. This darker-than-chocolate brown grasscloth checked off all those points!

In the first shot, I have plotted where my pieces will lie and where the seams will fall, so the widths of strips will be uniform. I have striped the wall with dark brown paint, to prevent any white primer from peaking out in case the seams on this dark textured material do not butt up perfectly.

Also, because the paper is so dark, and because the primer is white, dark chalk was called for, to color the edges, to keep the white paper backing from peaking out.

I was very pleased with this product, as there was none of the color variation (shading / paneling) that is common with many grasscloth jobs. As the grasscloth progresses across the wall, you can see the seams because the strands of grass do not match, but you don’t see any color differences. This is how grasscloth SHOULD be.

This is a new home, and has the rounded / bull-nosed corners that have been popular for several years now. It is very hard to get a stiff grass product to bend and wrap around these corners. In one photo, you see how I have taken the grasscloth before it was pasted, and worked it in the area where it will hit the corner, to bend / break the grass fibers, hoping to get it to wrap around that rounded turn tightly and neatly. Once it gets wet with paste, it will become more pliable. You also see a pic of a metal plate tool (invented by a paperhanger colleague in Canada), that I used to “encourage” the material to wrap around the corner. I can put a lot of force behind this tool, without worry of burnishing or damaging the wallpaper.

In the end, the grasscloth wrapped nicely around the rounded corners and no white wall showed. And the TV, which previously stood out like a sore thumb against the builder’s white painted wall, is much less conspicuous against the dark wall. The whole room benefited from the warm color and texture of this grasscloth.

This grasscloth is made by Seabrook, 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.