Posts Tagged ‘chalk’

Turbulent Intertwined Arboreals

March 16, 2019


I love this pattern. It’s swirly and ominous and woodsy and fun all at the same time. I hung it in the black and white colorway not long ago. It’s very similar to “Daintree” by Thibaut – As I like to say, for every cool pattern, there is someone making a knock-off.

This one is by York, one of my favorite brands, and is in their Dwell Studios line. It is a non-woven material, and can be hung by the paste-the-wall method or the paste-the-paper method (I used the latter). Non-woven does not expand, and can be hung immediately after pasting (as opposed to having to sit booked for a few minutes). I colored the edges of the paper with chalk before pasting, so the white backing would not show at the seams.

This went in the powder room of the same MidCentury Modern house as my three previous posts. The walls were equally unplumb, and the ceiling off-level, so it’s good that the pattern was forgiving.

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Birds on Black Wallpaper by Witch and Watchman

March 2, 2019


This very cool wallpaper pattern looks almost photographic. The design has depth, and look at those eyes! – you feel like you are being drawn into the jungle.

The paper was pricy, so, to cut down on the number of rolls needed, the homeowner ran chair rail around the middle of the room, and had the paper applied to the top 5′ only. She painted the bottom an almost-black purple (it’s way darker than the photo shows), and the ceiling got the same paint, too.

The room will be finished with a sort of mosaic, three-dimensional, leaded-glass mirror – that lights up!

Tucked into a large powder room, this is a bold, gutsy look that not every home is ready for. But it’s perfectly suites to this Montrose (Houston) couple!

My second black paper in two days, I again used artist’s chalk pastels to color the edges, so the white substrate would not show at the seams. I tried different install methods, but this non-woven material worked better and had less shrinking when I pasted the wall (rather than the paper).

This is a perfect example of “If you love it, nothing else will do, so find a way to make it happen.” The homeowner saw this pattern and went nuts over it – then went nuts when she learned the price. I suggested that she search for similar patterns by other companies … but nothing grabbed her like this one. After a few months, she came back to her original choice. Eliminating the bottom portion of the room helped bring the price down.

The paper is by Witch & Watchman, and is called “Folia.” It comes in other colorways, but nothing is nearly as dramatic as this “Dark” option. Their patterns are pretty cool. I’ve hung a similar jungle-themed design, but it had cute furry animals on it in addition to the birds – with the same piercing, luring eyes. https://wallpaperlady.wordpress.com/2016/08/21/how-many-birds-in-the-forest/

After 30 Years, It’s Time for an Update

December 19, 2018


These homeowners were updating their 30-year old home in Sugarland. To the dining room and hallway, they added crown molding at the top and wainscoting with block-and-panel molding at the bottom. Fine moldings add a real touch of elegance.

But the wife has a bit of a renegade spirit, and really likes the new “industrial modern” decorating style. So it was time for the ’90’s era faux-finish wallpaper to go – along with the border which you can just see a tidbit of it peeking out from under the new crown molding.

The new wallcovering choice is a small “flame” textured vinyl in a steely grey/taupe/gold color. It perfectly pulls together the industrial modern light fixture and the classic paneling.

The cut edges of the textured vinyl, along with the sheen of the material, really reflect light and bounce it around the room.

Like most solid-colored wallcoverings with no pattern, with or without a texture, this selection was subject to some color differences between strips. The dining area with 5′ high walls went up with a very homogenous look. Ditto one wall of the 8′ high hallway to the right. But another wall in that same hallway showed some differences between strips.

To minimize these differences, I tried various things.

First, I made sure to hang each strip sequentially, as they came off the bolt. That would reduce color variations, if the ink had gotten lighter or darker as the printing process went on at the factory.

I colored the edges of the vinyl with chalk of a matching hue, so that if a “high” area of the textured vinyl butted up against a “low” area of the next strip, the white edges would be covered with a matching color.

Next I tried reversing every other strip. This means you hang one strip right-side-up, and the next one upside-down. This ensures that one edge of the paper is being hung against itself, so, if there is a color difference, it is gradual instead of abrupt. Difficult to explain, but it makes sense if your mind’s eye can follow it through.

Interestingly enough, reversing every other strip worked quite nicely on the dining room walls, as you see in the photo. But in the full-height walls to the right, reversing the strips resulted in paneling. So there I hung all the strips right-side-up – and it looked great.

But on the far wall, no matter if I hung right-side-up or reversed, you could see differences between the strips (last photo). I replaced one strip once, and another I replaced twice – but never really loved the way it turned out. On some of the other seams, even though I had colored the edges with chalk, the white vinyl still showed. At some point, you just have to say, “This is how the product is.”

This is also why you discuss this with the homeowner before starting the project – and hopefully before she makes her decision to purchase this product. In this case, the homeowner was originally looking at grasscloth – and that product would most likely have had much more noticeable color differences.

Lighting has a lot to do with it, too. Strong light, filtered light, incandescent or LED, light straight-on or light from an angle, all put their thumbprint on how the wallpaper looks.

This wallpaper pattern is by York (one of the homeowners is originally from York, Pensylvania!), and was bought from my favorite source for good quality, product knowledge, expert service, and competitive price – 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.

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.

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.