Posts Tagged ‘chinoiserie’

Updating from Decorative Paint to Beautiful Wallpaper

November 18, 2020

The walls in this small entry in a pretty original condition 1935 home in the Montrose / Upper Kirby neighborhood of Houston had been painted by an artist with a wide stripe pattern in deep orange and gold, with a darker wash over the surface. It was probably done in the ’90’s, and was a good look then.

But the new homeowner never loved it. As for me, I think the look is too modern to suit the era and style of the home, and also the colors have a sort of dirty cast to them. After living there several years and focusing on career and raising kids, the homeowners were finally ready to bring a new concept to the entry.

The first photo shows the existing wall finish. The white stuff is my smoothing compound, which I have started to apply over the lightly-but-irregularly textured walls.

The next photo shows the walls sanded smooth, vacuumed and then wiped free of dust, primed with a wallpaper primer, and ready for wallpaper.

In the “after” photos, note that the dark or blotchy areas are simply wet with paste or water, and will disappear as the paper dries.

This is a particularly pretty pattern that suits the room well. There is a slight Chinoiserie / Asian feel to the design. And the grey is a good colorway for this home’s décor. I love the arched moldings that frame the passageways to both the living room and the dining room. Typical adorable 1930’s architecture!

The wallpaper is by Anderson Prints. It was pretty nice to work with, but did tend to dry out even before the booking time was up, so presented a bit of a challenge in that respect.

In the distant shot, you can make out a sort of hourglass figure in the branches and vines. I plotted the placement so a full “swoop” would display over the doors.

And also so the “hourglass” would play out down the center of the main wall, as shown in the photo. This will look nice as the vines and flowers gently surround the chest of drawers and oval mirror when they are placed back into the room.

Classic Chinoiserie Toile in Powder Room

October 30, 2020

The homeowner chose the rough marble tile backsplash wall in hopes that it would enliven the room. But with the other walls painted a bland taupe, the effect fell flat. She chose this classic 2-tone “Pillement Toile” by Scalamandre to add softness to the room and to bring out the tile wall. Mission accomplished!

This was not the easiest wallpaper to hang. For starters, like many higher-end papers, it comes with a selvage edge that had to be trimmed off by hand. (5th photo)

Also, as with many hand-screened prints that are made with “stinky inks” – the ink smells like mothballs – the ink, substrate, and moisture from the paste all fight each other, resulting in what we call curl. (4th photo) There was also some warping and stretching. It took quite a bit of time and effort to finesse that strip in the fourth photo to lie flat and tight to the wall.

Once the paper started to dry, the seams laid down tighter to the wall.

If you’re curious, that blue plastic tape in the fourth photo is placed on the edge of the wallpaper to prevent paste from getting onto the marble tile wall. Once the wallpaper is trimmed along that edge, the tape is removed. Voilà! No need to wipe paste off the stone!

The home is off Braeswood in Houston.

Gorgeous Chinoiserie Mural in West Houston “Cocktail Room”

August 5, 2020


Here is a much more economical take on the hand-painted silk Chinoiserie or Oriental murals crafted in China that can cost $1000-$2000 per panel (this accent wall required 10 panels).

This digitally-printed mural is made in Sweden on easy-to-install Non-Woven material, and was sized to fit the wall with no major measuring gymnastics required. No color differences between panels, as with real silk products. Close-up photos show the detail work that mimics silk material and hand-painted fowl and foliage…. Just as nice as the $$$ cousin.

But this entire mural cost only about $600. (plus labor to install)

The finished wall, seen from a distance through the entry and dining room is jaw-dropping.

The family intends to use this as a “cocktail room,” with svelte custom-made tables and sink-into lounging chairs. I sure hope they send me a picture of the finished room!

I skim-floated the wall to smooth it, and the top photo shows my fans working to dry the smoothing compound.

Another photo shows the strips cut from the bolt, collated, and rolled backwards to both reduce “memory” (the inclination of the material to stay curled up) and to prevent the surface from bopping into the paste on the wall.

To hang this wallpaper, I use the paste-the-wall method.

An important thing to note is that, when measuring to order a mural, measure your wall’s height and width accurately, and then ADD TWO INCHES TO EACH SIDE. In other words, add 4″ to the height and 4″ to the width. This will allow for trimming at floor and ceiling and either side, and will help accommodate crooked or unlevel / unplumb walls and ceilings.

The homeowner wanted the serene feel of this muted colorway, but this mural is available in other colors, too. The home is in the Energy Corridor area of West Houston. The manufacturer is Rebel Walls. I have hung their paper a good number of times, and like it a lot.

Pearlized Chinoiserie + Stunning Mirror in a Powder Room

February 14, 2018


Here’s a photo of the Briargrove (Houston) powder room I did recently, with the light sconces up and the fantastic mirror taking center stage.

The wallpaper is by Thibaut.

Raising Ceiling and Brightening Room with Upward Pattern and Pearlized Finish

December 9, 2017


This powder room in a townhome in the Bunker Hill area of Houston was affected by flood water damage from Hurricane Harvey. Contractors replaced two walls with new Sheetrock. But the sink wall remained intact (top photo) and needed to be stripped of its original wallpaper, then skim-floated, sanded smooth, and then primed, before wallpaper could be hung. In addition, there were two other walls that needed to be smoothed and primed.

Fixing damaged walls also gives homeowners a chance to update their décor. The Chinoiserie pattern in the top photo is fine. But after the re-do, the homeowners wanted something more modern and in keeping with a more vibrant lifestyle. See the second photo for their new take on style!

This is a small under-the-stairs powder room with no window, and the ceilings are less than 7′ high. The upward movement of the wallpaper pattern, coupled with the swoopy design of the foliage, sweep your eye up, and add dimension to the walls. The pearlized color further helps visually expand the space.

This wallpaper pattern is by Designer Wallpapers, and is a very good quality, mid-price range product. It 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

Innovative Kill Point – Between Moldings

August 4, 2017

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The kill point is where the last strip you hang meets up with the first strip you hung. This virtually always ends up in a mis-match of the pattern’s design. This is usually in a corner, and the paperhanger will try to place it in an inconspicuous location (such as behind a door).

But not all corners are hidden behind a door. In such cases, and depending on the design, the pattern mis-match will be noticeable, even eye-jarring.

Sometimes it’s possible to get creative and hide that kill point where it will be less visible. That’s what I was able to do today.

The first photo shows you the Chinoiserie pattern, so you get an idea of what it looks like. In this room, because all four corners were very visible, I wanted to keep the pattern intact in the corners. So I needed somewhere else to hide the kill point.

The room had a spot where the molding around the door came very close (6″) to the wall-hung linen cabinet. This was a good option to place the kill point, because it would be only 6″ wide, vs. my other option, which was a corner that was 5′ high. I’ll take a 6″ mis-match over a 5′ mis-match any day!

By manipulating the wallpaper pattern a little, it was easy to disguise the kill point and the mis-matched pattern. It’s there, in the second photo – but I’ll bet you will have a hard time spotting it.

Bright Chinoiserie in a Heights Powder Room

August 3, 2017

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This homeowner loves wallpaper, but their newish house in the Houston Heights had none. Her first venture into the world of wallpaper was in the downstairs powder room – a room that you can get pretty dramatic with, because the door is closed most of the time and because you don’t spend a whole lot of time in there.

The color of the new wallpaper is bold, but the overall effect is not overwhelming, because the pattern is very traditional and because the scale and contrast are fairly subdued. In other words – you COULD spend a lot of time in this room, quite comfortably.

The pattern is called a Chinoiserie, a classic theme that includes Asian figures in various scenes from daily life.

It was a difficult room to hang, because of various fixed features that don’t show up on these photos (pedestal sink, over-and-under window, mirror attached to the wall, eight points of decorative molding to cut around)… let’s just say that the wall with the mirror and sink took two full hours.

The finished room turned out beautiful, and the client is happy beyond words. Where previously there was a bland beige room, now there is color, life, movement, and a happy feeling, plus some color contrast that showcases the beautiful wood trim.

This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, called “Fishing Village,” and has what I call a “satiny feel.” The seams are invisible, it is fairly washable, and it will stay flat and bright for years to come. It was a positive delight to work with. That pretty well makes up for the difficulty of working around the room’s many challenging features.

The paper 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.

Wallpaper Chinoiserie in a Powder Room – South Sea

April 27, 2017

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The powder room in this 20-year old home in the Houston Heights was originally painted a deep avocado green. It was beautiful but claustrophobic, and the new homeowners wanted an updated change. This two-toned Chinoiserie in grey and white is lighter and brighter, has an uplifting feel, trends modern yet is timeless (Chinoiseries never go out of style), and visually expands the room.

This was a difficult room to wallpaper. Due to its location under the stairs, it has a sloping ceiling. There is a window smack in the middle of the focal wall, there was a wall-mounted mirror and a wall-mounted cabinet, there were four points of intricate molding to cut around, there were obtuse wall angles (more tricky than right angles), the width of the wallpaper strips didn’t correlate to the dimensions of the walls, door, or window, and there were numerous areas where the paper had to go from floor to ceiling, instead of the traditional ceiling to floor – all to name a few challenges in this room.

The wallpaper rolls had shards of shavings left on its edges, which I scrubbed off with a toothbrush, and then used a sanding block to really clean the edges of each strip. Still, there were rough edges so that not all the seams fit together quite as nicely as usual.

Instead of being set in the ceiling, the exhaust fan was set in the wall. This directed it straight outside which is nice, but it left the ugly vent cover smack in the middle of the wall. To disguise this, I covered the appliance with wallpaper. This took about an hour, and presented challenges in itself. See other post (do a Search) for more info.

This wallpaper pattern is called “South Sea,” by Thibaut Designs, 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.

Subtle Shimmer in a Home Office

February 12, 2017

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It’s easier to find beautiful shimmery Chinoiserie murals on HOUZZ – than it is to swallow the price tag … Some of those you see pictured are very high-end, meaning, $1000-$10,000 per panel.

I suggested this homeowner go visit Dorota (read below) and she was able to find a very similar design and color that she loves, for a very reasonable price. It has just enough of the Asian look, and the flowers look like they are hand painted on. It compliments her mirrored desk and side tables, and it offers a bit of upscale shimmer, but does not overpower the room.

The soft colors blend nicely with the rest of the house. The homeowner will probably pick up some of the soft peach color from the flowers as an accent color in other areas of the room. I’m hoping she will paint the other three walls this color.

I hung this on one accent wall of a second floor home office, in a new home in the Houston Heights. It’s by Wallquest, in their Jaima Brown Home line. This wallpaper 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.

From Country Child’s Room to Cozy Guest Room

September 12, 2016

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With it’s bold brown color, contrasting horizontal band, and stenciled pattern, the original treatment of this room had taken a lot of planning and careful execution. To me, it had a country look, but I am told that the room sported a “cars & trucks” theme, and was used by a little boy. See first photo.

The new homeowners plan to use the room as a guest bedroom, though, and wanted something more grown up and more soothing. This neutral-toned Chinoiserie (Oriental-themed) toile (two-color pen-and-ink type drawing of daily life scenics) perfectly transformed the room.

The walls had a fairly heavy texture, which I skim-floated the first day, then sanded smooth and primed the second day. I love the second photo, with the new paper juxtaposed against the freshly-prepped walls.

The second-to-last photo shows my kill point, where the last strip meets up to the first strip, which virtually always ends in a mis-match. I pulled a few tricks out of my hat, and I think I disguised this mis-matched corner nicely.

This wallpaper is on a non-woven substrate, and is by Brewster. It was more pliable than many non-wovens, and was pretty nice to work with. The seams were practically invisible, and even going around corners and windows, the paper performed well. It was bought below retail price from Sherwin-Williams, at the Durham & Washington store, in Houston.