Posts Tagged ‘clear lake’

Disguising the Kill Point

June 13, 2018

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Digital ImageI hung this beautiful tan peacock pattern on a pearlized background in a powder room in the Clear Lake / Seabrook area of Houston. The “kill point” is the last corner in a room, and you will virtually always have a pattern mis-match at that point, so I plan the layout so that falls in an inconspicuous place. Usually, that’s a door that is set close to a corner.

But in this powder room, all four corners were very visible. I didn’t want to end in one of those corners, because that would result in a half a peacock butting up against a cut-off tree branch, for the entire 8′ height of the wall.

So I put the kill point over the door, where the strip was only 10″ high. A 10″ mis-match is better than an 8′ mis-match, but I still didn’t want to end up with a chopped up peacock. So I fiddled around a little, played with the pattern, overlapped two pieces (with wax paper protecting them from paste), and spliced the two pieces together, using a curved cut instead of a straight cut, so I could cut around the tree branches and leaves, instead of cutting them off abruptly.

You can see that the pattern motif repeats itself, but that is not too noticeable, in the grand scheme of things, and looks way better than the alternative.

Interestingly, I did a similar trick earlier in the week with another kind of paper, and the technique was entirely different. The other paper was thin and could be overlapped and have appliqués applied to it. This paper, a thick non-woven with a textured surface, could not be overlapped, so a splice was the best route.

This wallpaper is by Ronald Redding for York Wallcoverings, and was sold by Ethan Allen’s Friendswood (Baybrook) location. Betcha didn’t know they had (free!) design services, did you?

Soft Pink and – Wild Green Banana Leaves for a Baby Girl

January 11, 2018

Here’s something different for a baby girl’s nursery. The mother wanted a “Beverly Hilton Hotel” look – this hotel features the iconic “Martinique” banana leaf wallpaper. It is fabulous, but it’s quite expensive, and it’s difficult to install, too. Do a search here to read my experience with it.

I was able to direct this mom-to-be to my favorite source for buying wallpaper (read below), and she helped her find something at a more reasonable price, that is better looking, too, and definitely is holding to the wall better.

The rest of the room – walls, ceiling, woodwork, are painted a very pale pink. There’s just enough pink in the wallpaper to coordinate it with the rest of the room and pull everything together.

This went on one accent wall in a baby’s room in Clear Lake. The paper is in the Sure Strip line by York, one of my favorite brands. I did have a little trouble this time with seams wanting to curl back, but only where the dark ink crossed the seam. This tends to be because the inks absorb moisture from the paste differently from the paper substrate, and they fight each other. I stayed a little late to be sure the seams were setting securely as the paper dried.

This wallpaper pattern was bought at below retail price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or 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 Repairs

November 26, 2016
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Some people get upset when there is a fair amount of wallpaper left over after the room is finished. This Clear Lake (Houston) couple felt the same, 15 years ago when I papered their kitchen and powder room. Well, come 2016, and the 40-year-old pipes in their ’70’s era home began to fail. Bottom line – they had to have the whole house completely re-piped. And to do that, the plumbers had to cut holes here and there in the drywall. When the drywall gets messed up, so does the wallpaper. Good thing they had extra wallpaper on hand!

The plumbers did a good job of patching the Sheetrock and then floating over the joints where the new patched-in drywall met the old. But there were still some areas that I needed to refloat and / or sand smooth, and then prime, before the wallpaper could be replaced.

The 2nd and 3rd photos show the soffit or fur down over the kitchen cabinets, first with the plumbers’ patch, and then with my new wallpaper repair.

The powder room had a swirly pattern, and had four walls that needed wallpaper repairs. In this room, as shown in the 5th photo, I appliquéd the new paper over the existing paper. Cutting along the design helps disguise the patch by eliminating visual breaks.

There is even a little paper still left over, in case another calamity strikes and more wallpaper repairs are needed. 🙂

Woodsy Accent Wall in a Clear Lake Living Room

August 6, 2016
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Trees are a popular decorating theme – I’ve hung this or similar patterns quite a few times. The homeowner was originally somewhat surprised to see that the paper had a tan color to it, because that had not shown up on the on-line images. (Note: Always best to go to a brick-and-mortar store to see and feel actual samples. You can also order samples before you buy.)

But once the paper went up, it was evident that the tan color works very nicely with the deeper tan walls in the rest of the living room and dining room. In fact, I like this better than if they had gotten paper that was grey tones only. The tan color helps pull the whole room together. They have black accents, too, like the dining table and the doors in the home, and the bits of black really punch it up!

This is an accent wall in a living room, and a comfy sofa will be placed in front of the trees.

I’ve hung this same pattern before, in paper, but this time it was printed on the newish non-woven substrate. One advantage of the non-wovens is that they will strip off the wall (hopefully) more easily than paper wallpapers. Also, they don’t expand when wet paste hits them, like papers do, so that helps you get accurate measurements, as well as offers the option of pasting the wall instead of pasting the back of the paper.

This foresty design is by Ronald Redding, and is from York Wallcoverings.

I LOVE It When the Pedestal Sink is GONE!

February 10, 2015

Digital ImageWow, was I happy to come to work today, and discover that the homeowner had removed the pedestal sink. These free-standing sinks are real buggers to hang paper around, and under, and around all those pipes.

Not having it there meant saved me about 40 minutes of time, gave the homeowners a neater look around the pipes (a decorative escutcheon will go around the pipes and drain to dress it up a little more), and it meant that there is no cut edge at the top of the sink, which eliminates the worry of splashed water causing the wallpaper to curl.

This textured peacock pattern is by Ronald Redding by York Wallcoverings, and was sold by Ethan Allen’s Friendswood (Bay Brook) location. It went in a powder room in the Clear Lake / Seabrook area.

Gesso-Like Texture on Wallpaper

August 27, 2014

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Digital ImageThis wallpaper has a wonderful texture, something like an artist’s gesso on a canvas painting. When light hits it from the side, as in the 2nd photo, you can really see the thickness and texture.

Textures are popular these days, and are usually embossed in heavy vinyl goods, or printed on a heavy non-woven backing, which is the case here.

Because the backing is so thick and stiff, it works best on a flat wall with little decorative elements – no turns or corners, not intricate moldings to cut around. Also, as you see in the last shot, the seams can be visible, although in this case they are not too bad.

This beautiful peacock pattern is by Ronald Redding for York Wallcoverings, and was sold by Ethan Allen’s Friendswood (Baybrook) store. I hung it in a powder room in Clear Lake / Seabrook, that previously had a dark red / black faux finish paper. This pearlized tone-on-tone design was a welcome and brightening update.

Ink Is an Enemy of Wallpaper!

August 25, 2014

Digital ImageThe Sheetrock on this job has a lot of tears, so to get it ready for wallpaper, I am skim-floating it, to smooth it. The horizontal red line and the red numbers you see are where someone wrote on the wall in red ink, way back in the ’60’s when this Clear Lake home was built. Mirrors covered this wall for decades, so the ink never showed.

But if I were to hang wallpaper over this ink, it would, rather quickly, I am betting, work its way through the paper and show up on the surface. Several substances will do that, including blood, rust, water stains, grease, and ink – which is why we contractors (are supposed to) only use pencil when writing on walls.

The best product to seal this ink is oil-based KILZ, which is a wonderful sealer and stain blocker. However, putting an oil-based product on top of another oil-based product, like ink, sometimes does not work well. So here I have gone over the ink with joint compound. I have found that “mud,” as we call it, contains stains a little better, plus it is porous and allows the sealer to soak in, creating a better seal. As you can see, the ink is working its way through the joint compound, too.

So, once the mud is dry and sanded, I am going to put Gardz on the area. Gardz is a very thin, watery sealer that will soak into the mud, hopefully sealing it. Just to be sure, I will add another layer of mud over that. Once that is dry, I will apply a coat of KILZ. If the stains continue to show through, I will apply more coats of KILZ, and possibly more coats of mud, as well.


August 19, 2014

Digital ImageThis week I am to hang paper on a wall that was originally mirrored from floor to ceiling. When the glass guys removed the mirror, some areas like this were exposed. Here I am floating the wall to smooth it, but below the white smoothing compound, you can see the recessed area in the wall, and the little bitty brown specks. Can you guess what this is?

OK, well, the title gave it away. Yes, this is a sign of termites, as they chew into the drywall and leave their guano (poop) behind (the little specks). It’s an outside wall, which is where you most typically see this sort of thing. It’s probably old damage, and the house has probably been treated and the termites long gone. I have, in the past, seen live termites and their larvae inside walls!

Some of the chewed drywall is crumbly, and the guano definitely is loose, which would provide an unstable surface for the wallpaper to stick to. So I used a product called Gardz to seal the loose areas, and then am skim-floating the wall to smooth it (the white stuff). Once it’s dry, I’ll sand and prime, again using Gardz, and the wall should be good and solid for the wallpaper.

This home is in the Clear Lake area of Houston.

A Lesson in Pattern Repeat and Match

August 15, 2014

Digital ImageHere is a wallpaper pattern by Stroheim, a somewhat high-end brand. Pick out a left-facing leopard. I’ll bet you think it is an exact match to the left-facing leopard beneath it. But you’re wrong!

This pattern has a 36″ repeat, which means that you’d have to roll off 36 inches of left-facing leopards before you came to the exact same leopard again. It’s important to not assume it’s a typical straight-across match, and to catch this before you start cutting up the roll of wallpaper, because lining up a leopard on one strip to a different leopard on the next strip, there will be an eye-catching mis-match along the entire seam.

Whoever designed this pattern gave us paperhangers a break, though, and did not put any leopards at the seams. Instead he put the trees and leaf motifs at the seams. And, oddly enough, even if these were not matched up to the proper motif on the next strip, it didn’t show, because all the tree canopies lined up, and all the leaves lined up. Well, some of the leaves were a little off, but we’re talking a 32nd of an inch, and with this busy pattern, no one’s gonna notice.

I could not believe it, and had some fun butting different tree canopies up against one another, and proving that all of them matched perfectly. That’s some pretty amazing engineering on the designer’s part!

This wallpaper pattern is by Stroheim and was hung in an entry hall in Clear Lake, near Houston.

Mirror Tar + Wallpaper = Bad Stains!!

August 14, 2014

Digital ImageThe dining room wall to be papered in this Clear Lake home was originally covered in floor-to-ceiling mirrors. When the glass guys removed the mirrors, these big globs of black tar (used to adhere the mirror to the wall) were left behind. (the two black spots on the right of the photo) Oily tar like this is very bad for wallpaper, because it will bleed through the paper, creating a dark stain on the surface of the paper.

Oil-based KILZ is a wonderful product for sealing stains like this (and also blood, ink, water, rust, etc.) However, since KILZ is oil-based, and so is the tar, when the KILZ is applied to the tar, instead of sealing it, it seems to reactivate it, and mixes with it, and would allow the tar to come in contact with the wallpaper – which means a dark stain.

So to prevent this, I’ve found that, rather than try to seal off the tar, it’s best to remove it completely. So on the left of the photo, you see where I’ve taken a Stanley knife and cut out the surface of the Sheetrock, taking the icky tar with it.

Now I have Sheetrock with an torn, uneven surface, which needs to be skim-floated to smooth it out. But putting water-based joint compound on top of torn Sheetrock causes bubbles, and bubbles would show under the wallpaper. To counter that, I have applied Gardz (by Zinzer), a sort of miracle cure for torn drywall, over the torn area. Once it’s dry, moisture won’t penetrate it, and I could skim-float the wall with joint compound with no worries about bubbling.

Still, some residue of tar remains on the wall. I need the joint compound to smooth the wall, but I have found that “mud,” as we call it, also helps to seal the tar. Plus it is porous and allows the sealer to soak in, creating a better seal.

So, once the mud is dry and sanded, I am going to put Gardz on the area. Gardz is a very thin, watery sealer that will soak into the mud, hopefully sealing it. Once that is dry, I will apply a coat of oil-based KILZ. KILZ is a wonderful sealer and stain-blocker. If any stains continue to show through, I will apply more coats of KILZ, and possibly more coats of mud, as well.