Posts Tagged ‘colorful’

Wildly Colorful Wallpaper

October 11, 2019


Looking for something innovative, unique, and hit-you-in-the-face colorful? The top photo is of a page from a magazine at my client’s home today. I don’t remember the name of the magazine, but it was geared toward women, vegetarian, artsy, bohemian, avant-garde, free-thinkers, world travelers, trend setters, tree huggers, etc. Every page in the Homes section was awash in pattern and color.

The top photo shows custom-sized murals from backtothewall.co.nz

The second photo is of a de Gournay silk mural hand-painted in China. Plan on spending $500-$2000 per panel for a mural of this caliber, plus additional charges for installation. But rest assured, there are plenty of more affordable options being offered by other companies.

Leopard Spots Across a Heights Dining Room

April 27, 2019


The original incarnation of this dining room in a nicely renovated bungalow in the Heights neighborhood of Houston, with its medium-grey walls (the first photo shows the room after I applied my white wallpaper primer), was classic and bordered on elegant. But that look did not suit this young couple.

They wanted something more youthful and fun, and also a background that would set off their collection of “somewhat wild and colorful” artwork.

Thibaut’s ‘Tanzania’ wallpaper pattern in chocolate brown on a very light tan background fills the bill perfectly. Note how the dark ceiling plays off the walls.

Stroheim Playful Geometric – A Tough Hang Today

March 24, 2019


This colorful and playful geometric pattern went in an elevated “nook” in an open play area in a new home in the Oak Forest neighborhood of Houston. It wakes up an otherwise all-white house, and coordinates perfectly with bright artwork in the room.

The paper is by Stroheim, and was somewhat difficult to work with, especially in a room that presented the challenges it did – wide window, and four cubbyholes around three fixed built-in shelves.

First, the paper had a selvedge edge that had to be trimmed off by hand, a straight edge, and a razor blade. This is tedious and took about an hour to trim eight single rolls.

Second, any time you have wallpaper whose ink smells like mothballs, you know you are in for a tough day. The ink absorbs moisture from the paste at a slower rate than the substrate, so the paper backing puckers (called waffling or quilting). This doesn’t go away, even after booking and sitting in a closed plastic bag for several minutes – so you end up with wrinkles and blisters on the wall.

One thing that helps with this is lightly wetting the surface of the paper with a damp sponge. This allows the ink to absorb moisture, and relax at the same time the paper backing is expanding and relaxing.

You will also notice in the photo that the edges of the paper are curling toward the front. This is, again, the result of uneven absorption of moisture from the paste. Unfortunately, this continues once the paper is on the wall. I had to keep going over the seams to make sure they were down and that edges were not coming away from the wall. No matter how much paste I put under the seams, or how tacky I let the paste get, it didn’t seem to want to grab those edges.

Once the paper is good and dry, though, usually the seams lie down nice and flat, and any blisters or wrinkles will disappear.

Clay-based paste has less moisture content, and could possibly help reduce the waffling. I hate clay paste, though, because it’s hard to wipe off woodwork and off the surface of the wallpaper, and because it works its way through the paper and casts a tan tinge on the paper.

One thing that will help with issues like these is a liner paper. A liner is a plain paper of a special material that is applied to the wall before the decorative wallpaper goes up. It’s job is to absorb moisture from the paste, which causes the paper to dry more quickly, and to “lock down” the seams quickly. So a liner has its place, but it does add an extra day of labor, plus the cost of the liner material.

Interestingly, the Stroheim instructions did not spec a liner; only a good quality wallpaper primer (which I did use). They also did not spec clay-based paste, but recommended three different types of clear pastes (vinyl, wheat, or cellulose), each of which is distinctly different and contains different moisture contents. I would think wheat or cellulose to be too thin and weak to adequately adhere this particular material.

I’ve hung plenty of their products and had no problems with waffling or curling seams; it’s clear that the company has a blanket set of instructions that they stuff into every roll, with no regard to the substrate it’s printed on or the type of ink that was used.

The other thing is, most of the time, you don’t know what you’re going to be working with until you show up at the job site. Even if you research the brand and pattern number ahead of time, there will likely be no mention of the type of substrate or the “mothball” smelling ink. If I had known, I would probably have suggested that this homeowner use a liner. Beyond that, it’s good to have your truck stocked with a variety of primers and adhesives.

Back to the difficult room … I always say that a window like that is easy for you to look at, but very difficult for me to get paper around, at least while keeping the pattern straight and properly lined up. That’s because papers stretch and twist when they get wet with paste, and can contort out of whack. And the wider the obstacle you are working around, the more the paper can go off-kilter. So you can start perfectly lined up on the left of the window, but by the time you get to the right side, the strip coming down from the top of the wall may not line up with the pattern coming across horizontally below, and the two edges may not butt up perfectly, either.

It didn’t help that the pattern had an irregular hand-drawn look, so I couldn’t use a ruler to make sure every horizontal line was equidistant from the window molding. So that window wall took about two hours in itself.

Then there was the wall on the right, with the four cubbyholes in between the three shelves. I had to get two strips of paper on the backs of each of those cubbies, keep the seams from curling, and keep the pattern straight, continuing to four more strips on the wall to the right (the inside side of the wall you see on the right of the photo next to the door molding), so that all four of those strips would line up with one long piece coming down from the ceiling. Oh, and did I mention the extremely unlevel ceiling? This wall in itself took about three hours.

Actually, the irregular hand-drawn look of the pattern helped immensely, because the pattern didn’t have to line up exactly perfectly. Also, the way it was printed on the paper, the design motifs didn’t cross a seam, so that allowed me to raise or lower a strip slightly, to keep the pattern where I wanted it, without disrupting the look of the design. In fact, it was possible to not follow the correct pattern match, and the eye really couldn’t detect it. I could also cut strips vertically to narrower widths, to suit the area I was working in.

There were a few other tricks I pulled out of my hat, in lining up the design after coming around the window and shelf walls, to plumb up the pattern after turning a corner, and to disguise the very unlevel ceiling. The kill point (last strip meets up with first strip) turned out amazingly undetectable, with very little tweaking from me.

In the end, the nook turned out fantastic, and is ready to host children’s performances, reading marathons, or just gazing out the window.

The interior designer for this job is Stacie Cokinos, of Cokinos Design. She works mostly on new builds and on whole-house remodels, and is a great resource for finding and coordinating all the details – tile, plumbing and light fixtures, rugs, furniture, lamps, accessories, paint colors, and, of course – wallpaper. 🙂

Some Patterns are More Fun to Hang than Others

August 17, 2018


Wow! What a cool pattern, and super fun colors – I couldn’t wait to hang it!

This wild dragon and flora wallpaper on a silver metallic background went in a largish powder room in a new townhome in the north Heights neighborhood of Houston. The single guy homeowner went through a maddening number of choices before finally settling on this one. Boy, is it a great one!

The paper was a little testy to work with, though. It is a thick and stiff and somewhat spongy non-woven material which was difficult to manipulate around features like the light fixture and the vanity top. In addition, the metallic surface was very prone to creasing.

The wall-mounted light fixture could not be removed, and I knew that working the paper around it would result in visible creases. My solution was to split the strip horizontally right where it would land on the light fixture. This made it easier for me to make relief cuts and to ease the wallpaper around the fixture.

I used similar techniques in other areas of the room.

The paper is a lot more vivid and colorful than the photos show. All that teal and chartreuse and silver, and the relentless swirling tails and scales and leaves combine to make one mesmerizing room! A mirror with a wide, dark brown frame set it off.

This wallpaper pattern is by York, in their Dwell Studios line, 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.

Wallpaper – Lots of Wallpaper – In Flea Market Décor Magazine

May 22, 2018

I know that the current interior design craze is HGTV’s Joanna Gaines / Fixer Upper look, with vast open rooms, white and grey on every surface, and uncluttered spaces. But there are plenty of people out there – me emphatically included – who like the feel of walls around us, love color, love all things vintage, love to collect, and love to look at our collections. At Christmas, my brother gifted me with a subscription to Flea Market Décor magazine, and, boy, was this a perfect fit! If you like old stuff, retro stuff, imperfect stuff, beat-up stuff, quirky, fun, colorful, funky, junque, thrift stores, and flea markets – go check out this magazine!

Anyway, I am always thrilled to see wallpaper in magazines, and the spring 2018 issue of Flea Market Décor had lots of it.

Note the use on all walls of a living room, and one accent wall of two different bedrooms. Bold patterns and receding patterns. Some paper was used to highlight panels in a door, the butterflies were captured in a large frame over a bathroom vanity, and a bright pink pattern accents a desk area.

You will notice vintage and retro furniture. Many of the rooms use recurring color, pulled from the wallpaper and used again throughout the room. Even though there is a lot of “stuff” in the rooms, the repetitive use of the same color keeps the look cohesive.

Some of the rooms are funky, and some are sophisticated and even elegant (the peacock feathers). All of them feel warm and inviting, and they definitely express the homeowner’s personality and individuality.

From Dark and Dated to Soft and Welcoming

April 20, 2018


This powder room in the West U neighborhood of Houston was decorated around the unique dark green pedestal sink and toilet. Back when the house was built, in 1992, the black floral wallpaper was a fun and in-vogue choice for this room. But by 2018, the look was dated, and some of the seams were succumbing to humidity and splashed water, which were causing curling. (2nd photo)

So the old black vinyl paper was stripped off. (3rd photo) The new paper still looks good with the plumbing fixtures, but it is bright and airy, and has a softness to it. But it’s not a sleeper – look closely and you’ll see a wonderland of fun characters playing and gallivanting through the forest. (4th photo)

This wallpaper pattern is by the Swedish company Boras Tapeter. While this particular choice is monochromatic and muted, the company has a wide variety of very playful designs with a whole lot of color – all the while reflecting the simple, clean-lined Scandinavian look. Interestingly enough, I have another client family looking at patterns from this same brand.

Additionally, the quality is great, and it was very nice to work with. It’s a non-woven material, and is designed to be a paste-the-wall install process – but I pasted the paper instead, which makes it more pliable and cooperative, especially around complicated areas like the fluted pedestal sink. Another advantage if the non-woven products is that they are engineered to strip off the wall easily and with minimal damage to the walls, when it’s time to redecorate.

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.

Little Girl’s Room is Full of Ants!

March 10, 2018



The bottom of these walls are covered in beautiful block paneling. Originally, the top of this bedroom belonging to a little girl in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston was painted tan. Tan’s a nice, safe color – but it’s bland and boring and is totally not up to the energy and zeal for life of a toddler.

Interior designer Rachel Goetz found this cool watercolor-like design from Anthropologie. It’s colorful and fun, and, if you look closely, there are hidden grasshoppers, butterflies, and ants!

The wallpaper is in the Sure Strip line made by York, one of my favorite papers – but this Ant pattern (also called “Watercolor Peony”) is only available through Anthropologie. It’s pre-pasted, and very thin, and no worries about curling seams. Sure Strip is designed to come off the wall easily later, when you’re ready to redecorate.

Wild, Crazy, Colorful, Fun – A Bold Step for a Heights Powder Room

February 16, 2018


I hung this in the powder room of a beautifully renovated and modernized 1912 Spanish-style home in the Houston Heights. The homeowners love color. Unfortunately, the contractor left everything white and washed out. See first photo.

Never fear! Wallpaper came to the rescue – and in a BIG WAY! This super bold and mega colorful “Expanded Floral” pattern by Anthropologie ramped up the Wow Factor in their powder room.

This home will be on the Historic Heights Home Tour this spring. Come on by and see it!

Bohemian Chic in a Master Bedroom

September 3, 2017

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The walls in this 2nd floor addition to a 1950 ranch style home in west end of the Houston Heights started with a heavy texture and gloss paint.  The project was an 18′ wide accent wall in a master bedroom.

I skim-floated to smooth the wall, and it took a full day of multiple fans blowing at high speed, hitting areas with the heat gun, and alternating between cold air-conditioning and warm forced-air heat to get them to dry.

The third photo shows how they looked after sanding and priming.

The homeowners have a real eclectic taste in decorating, with lots of furnishings and accessories that are vintage, worn, quirky, repurposed, colorful, and the like.  I love this medallion pattern because it goes with the home’s aesthetic… and just look at how it matches the bedspread!

Keeping the medallions straight at the top of the wall took some tweaking, because the walls were not plumb, nor was the crown molding level.  In the end it looks great.

The wallpaper is a non-woven material and a paste-the-wall installation.  The seams were positively invisible.  The paper is by A Street Prints, by Brewster, and came from the U.K.  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.

 

Once Again, Wallpaper in Better Homes & Gardens Magazine

August 2, 2017

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Here are several rooms featuring wallpaper in the August 2017 issue of Better Homes & Gardens magazine. There are at least two other rooms with paper that I didn’t photograph, including a cool mural of some bright watercolory flowers clustered around the upper right corner and center top of the wall – a very effective look.

As usual, please forgive my crummy photos.

The navy blue sailing ships are by Walnut Wallpaper.

The second photo shows large stars on the ceiling of a baby’s nursery.

Photos 3 & 4 are actually fabric, but they look and function as backdrops like wallpaper.

Photos 5 & 6 are a classic and popular humming bird pattern by Cole & Son. I just hung this in the Houston Heights on April 9, 2017, and did it prior to that on March 24, 2016, among other times. You can look up my blog posts for those days. I have the same pattern and same color coming up in a bedroom in Riverside. Note the matching fabric on the chairs.

In the seventh photo the wallpaper is barely visible over the kitchen window.

Photo 8 is an overscaled dramatic white on black floral that is quite popular right now. I find it a little overwhelming on the ceiling, but if you want drama, that’s a good way to get it. And you’ll have good view of it while lying in bed.

Photos 9 & 10 are a fun and colorful pattern for a kids’ room.

The last photo is not wallpaper, but tile, but it still shows pattern on the wall, so I’m including it here to show how it enlivens the room. There is a hexagonal geometric pattern by Jonathan Adler that is quite similar, and very popular.