Posts Tagged ‘contemporary’

Warming Up a Contemporary Space

November 3, 2018


The owners of this newish contemporary-styled townhome in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston wanted to put some impact into their entry by using wallpaper on the first wall you see when you walk in – the sloped wall in the top photo. They have some antique furniture and a special piece of art that sit in front of this wall, so chose this very classic trellis pattern in a warm cream-on-brown colorway.

They were initially considering putting paper on the backs of bookshelves in the upstairs living room, but as I walked up the stairs and saw this one recessed wall directly in view, I suggested this as a better spot for a wallpaper treatment.

The home owers quickly agreed, and decided to use the same pattern here.

The manufacturer of this very old and historic design is Thibaut.

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Need a Little Reading Material in the Bathroom? ??

November 2, 2018


What fun wallpaper! This is very similar to grasscloth. But, instead of using natural grasses and reeds, this material is made of strips cut from magazine pages, rolled and folded into long narrow strips, and then sewed onto a paper backing. In some of the columns, you can actually read the words!

There is a similar product made from old newspapers – appropriately named “Yesterday’s News.”

I hung this in a powder room in a new, contemporary home in the Rice Military neighborhood of Houston. The homeowner, Cristin Wells, is an interior designer http://www.wellsdesignedhome.com/ who recently moved here from Chicago (not far from my hometown of St. Louis!), and brings her sophisticated playfulness here to the Bayou City.

This product is similar to grasscloth in that the seams are very visible. So I engineered the room to have seams fall evenly spaced on each wall, which we call balancing, and which gives a pleasing effect.

In addition, the material can be shaded, or paneled, which means there can be a noticeable color difference between strips, even if they come off the same bolt. In the third photo, you see how I have rolled the paper out on the floor, to check for shading / paneling, so the homeowner will be aware of this issue, and so I can plot how and where to use the various strips.

Indeed, before consulting with me, the homeowner initially purchased two bolts of paper; when I measured the space I told her that she needed five more. The additional bolts arrived in a different run. Run and batch and dye lot numbers are important – all bolts from the same run or batch were printed at the same time with the same batch of ink, and will generally be pretty much the same shade. Papers from a different run will be a slightly different shade, and will be very noticeable if placed next to one another on the same wall. This is true even with this recycled magazine page material – see the third photo – although instead of printing with ink, the ladies who manufacture this stuff (usually in China or somewhere in Asia) are grabbing handfuls of magazine pages. As you can see, color variations are still quite possible / probable.

In addition to the 10′ high ceilings, the room had a few features that made the install tricky. One was a deeper than usual vanity, which was difficult and somewhat dangerous to reach over to access the wall. This was also a “floating” vanity, which hung suspended on the wall with a short space underneath it that wanted to be covered with wallpaper. Contorting myself under a 30″ deep vanity into a 5″ high space to stick a couple of strips of paper to a rear wall that no one would ever see questioned my sense of reason – but I could not imagine leaving the wall unpapered, so I “got ‘er done!” Sorry, no photo.

Being a contemporary styled home, the window was recessed with a 1/2″ return,. This meant that I had to bring the paper to the edge of the window, and then wrap a mere 1/2″ around an outside corner. The paper was thick and didn’t want to make this turn, and, when it did, it didn’t want to stay stuck – it kept trying to lift up. Wetting the paper helped soften it so it was more agreeable to making these turns, and in some areas I also used a razor blade to make light horizontal slits in the material, right on the edge of the corner, to reduce tension and allow it to turn more easily. Sorry, no photo.

Speaking of making cuts … This stuff was thick and hard to cut, so it took a lot of pressure and several swipes to make many of the cuts, even with a brand new razor blade. When I trimmed the material horizontally at the ceiling and floor, the strings that held the folded magazine pages to the backing were cut also, and they came loose. That meant that there was nothing holding the folded magazine pages to the paper.

It turns out that each of those horizontal strips of folded magazine pages contained about 6 layers of paper, each folded accordion-style. Threads were sewn on to hold them to the backing. But once the threads were cut, the accordion-folded papers unfurled, spread apart, and pushed away from the backing. So when you looked at the ceiling or floor lines, you saw a puffy ridge running the width of the strip.

What I ended up doing was to go up to the ceiling and then down to the floor edges, gently pry apart the fanned layers, and use wallpaper paste to adhere them to one another. I had to get sufficient paste behind each of the six layers, for the entire 3′ width of each strip, press them back together, hold them until the adhesive tacked up – all without getting any paste on the paper or on the ceiling.

All of the above added a lot of time to this job, and I didn’t leave until 9:30 p.m. But the room looked great when I was finished. From its initial uninspired dull grey paint job to the colorful and quite unexpected recycled magazine pages covering the walls, this powder room has experienced a major transformation.

The wallpaper is by Seabrook, which has been purchased by York. Both are wonderful brands.

Basket Weave Wallpaper Pattern on a Bedroom Accent Wall

August 14, 2018

For this accent / feature wall of Grandma’s bedroom in a very contemporary new home in the West U. area of Houston, the homeowner wanted something fun but not too edgy (Grandma’s gonna sleep in there, after all! 🙂 ). Plus she wanted to pull in colors from other rooms, particularly navy blue, as well as coordinate with the tufted headboard (grey) and upholstered bench (navy). And a little Asian flavor wouldn’t hurt.

Here’s a pattern that fills the bill! The hatch design is reminiscent of a woven bamboo mat. The navy background coordinates with the bench, as well as fabrics in other rooms of the house, and the grey and silver accents work perfectly with the tufted headboard. The design is contemporary, but not overwhelmingly so. Its surface is vinyl, but it has a velvet-like feel, and I believe it will help absorb sound, too.

The homeowner took my recommendation and visited Dorota (read below), who helped her track down this perfect fit!

The material is non-woven, and I hung it using the paste-the-wall technique. The backing and edges of this dark paper were white, so I ran a chalk pastel crayon along them to disguise the light color.

This wallpaper pattern is by Designer Wallpapers, 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.

Most of the furniture and accessories are from High Fashion Home near downtown Houston.

3D Ruffles – or Wallpaper?

August 12, 2018


You want to reach out and touch this stuff – it looks like three dimensional ruffles of paper with singed edges. But no – it’s flat wallpaper!

What a modern edge it brings to this guest bedroom. And it suits the contemporary feel of the rest of the house.

This home is near West University, in Houston. The wallpaper is by York, and is in their SureStrip line. It is a pre-pasted, thin, non-woven material, and is one of my favorite brands. It is thin and agreeable to work with, and will hug the wall tightly for years – until the homeowners get the bug to try something different.

It 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.

Leopard Spots “Tanzania” for Baby’s Nursery

August 11, 2018


This little baby is on the way! Mom wanted something “jungle” looking, but not cutesy, so it would serve the child beyond the baby years. Dad is from South Africa. What could be better than this leopard spot print, called “Tanzania” ?!

I’ve done this pattern a number of times (do a Search in the upper right corner), but this is the first time in this brown-on-tan color. (I know, the photos make it look black on white.) Interestingly, this time, the brown and tan colorway weighed a lot, and seemed to have a vinyl surface, whereas the previous colorways were lighter and felt like plain printed paper.

Whatever it’s made of, it was wonderful to work with, and it will hold up on the wall until the child is old enough to want something different.

In the photo with the toothbrush – see all those little minute shards of paper on the floor? The edges of one side of the bolts of paper had loose shavings attached, caused by some trimming misfunction at the factory. I used the toothbrush to scrub them off.

This is a large, very contemporary home just north of West University, in Houston. I hung the paper on one accent / feature wall in the nursery.  I like this pattern a lot, because it doesn’t have a strong secondary pattern that might distract the eye.  It will be a good background for the crib and for any artwork the parents decide to hang.

This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, one of my favorite brands, 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.

Happy Humming Birds Take the Hum-Drum Out of a Heights Powder Room

August 2, 2018


The light murky-green color of the original wallpaper pattern in this under-the-stairs powder room in the north Heights neighborhood of Houston coordinated nicely with the paint in the main rooms of the house. But the tiny fleur-de-lis pattern was way too small to do any justice to the room. The new homeowner never liked it and, after four years in the home, decided it was time for a change.

This new hummingbird pattern by Thibaut is called “Augustine.” It is one of my favorite designs, as well as one of my favorite products to work with.

As you can see, it fills the wall space much better, it is light and bright and airy, and it adds a pleasing upward movement – the whole overall effect is uplifting.

Also, the colorway is perfect with the room’s beautiful stained glass window.

When I first consulted with the homeowners, I showed them samples of more contemporary designs. They were not sold. Then I looked at their historically styled home, with it’s Victorian accents and classic furnishings. So I pulled out my more traditional file – and they zeroed in on this pattern right away.

Perfect choice! Indeed, this pattern dates back more than a hundred years. In fact, the goods come 18.5″ wide, as opposed to the typical 20.5″ wide, and I’m told that that is because it is printed on the same exact printing presses they used back in the 1800’s.

It is printed using the raised-ink process, it comes pre-pasted, it is a joy to work with, it doesn’t shrink when it dries, it hugs the wall tightly and is easy to work around corners, and should stay nice and flat under most home conditions for decades.

This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, 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.

Large Gold Damask on a Bedroom Accent Wall

May 26, 2018


This young couple is in a brand new, very contemporary home in the eastern edge of the Houston Heights. Just about every surface in the home is white. WHITE. The over-scaled refurbished tufted leather headboard (along with a few other dark wood furniture pieces (not shown) in the master bedroom make a handsomely bold contrast.

But, still, the room SCREAMED for relief from all that white.

This gold-on-aqua damask wallpaper pattern came to the rescue! The soft aqua color softens the feel of the stark-white room – but doesn’t jar with the white theme. The shiny gold in the design adds a contemporary feel with just a touch of glam – but doesn’t upstage the fabulous headboard.

As the wallpaper went up, I noticed a difference in color between the right edge of one strip and the left edge of the next strip. (This is called shading.) The photos show it a little, but it was more pronounced when seen in person. I didn’t think it looked good, so I followed the 3-strip rule and put up three strips, then went to get the homeowner for approval.

She thought the wall looked gorgeous. In fact, even when I put my hand on the medallions with different shades on either side of the seam, she said she couldn’t see anything. She loves it, and that’s what counts!

Once the bed gets pushed back against the wall, the large medallions will be a little more in perspective. They are a good size for the scale of the wall and the headboard.

This wallpaper is in the “Designer Series” by York. It’s a non-woven product, and can be hung by paste-the-wall or paste-the-paper. I pasted the wall, but I think that pasting the paper would have worked a little better (It makes the paper more pliable.).

The homeowners bought this paper on-line from Arhaus.com. Arhaus also has a couple of showrooms / retail stores in Houston. The homeowners bought their paper before our initial consultation (I like to measure before they buy, so they get the proper amount). I was thrilled that – for once! – the proper amount of wallpaper was purchased.

The homeowner loves her master bedroom accent wall so much, she is now thinking of papering their powder room. 🙂

Stacks of Blocks in a Bellaire Powder Room

May 25, 2018



This 30-year old home was flooded last August during Hurricane Harvey, and today is just a couple of weeks from being finished with the rebuild. This gold-on-black stacked-block pattern was chosen to help bring a more contemporary look to the home, as well as pump up the drama factor – a stunning gold-on-black console-style vanity and a huge, jaw-dropping crystal chandelier will be installed next week. I hope they send me photos!

Keeping this very rigid pattern plumb and level was a bit of a challenge, especially since all the walls were out of plumb. At the top of the second photo you see my horizontal line marking where I wanted the top gold line to fall. This line helped me keep the pattern perfectly aligned all the way around the room.

This paper is by York Wall, in their Sure Strip line. It is a non-woven material, but is thin and soft and pliable, and was a delight to work with. You could paste the wall to install, but I chose to paste the paper, because it makes the material more flexible and easier to work with and easier to keep clean. I wouldn’t mind hanging this product every day!

The wallpaper 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.

The interior designer for this home is Wes Satterwhite, of Silver Oak Consulting, here in Houston. He’s been overseeing much of the selections of finishes, paint colors, hardware, cabinets, flooring, drapes, etc., from the very beginning.

Glamming Up and Brightening Up a Master Bedroom

April 17, 2018


This young family, in the Tammaron subdivision of Katy in far west Houston, has been in their home for two years, but had never gotten around to decorating their master bedroom. (Look closely, and you’ll see the protective plastic still on the mirrored parts of the headboard.) With a new baby coming next week, whom they plan to have share their bedroom for a while, they wanted to get the room’s décor pulled together so that when the baby comes, she’ll be all they need to focus on.

I am usually booked several months out with work, but I had a schedule change and was able to get this family’s paper up – a mere three days before the baby is due.

Originally, the whole room was painted a deep purple, which you can see to the right in the top photo. It was a pretty color, but it made the large room oppressively dark. In that top picture, the heavily textured wall has been smoothed and primed, and is ready for wallpaper.

The home has pretty contemporary furnishings. The wife’s taste is more glitzy and glamory than the husband’s. So she had to choose something that went with their modern style, but was not so shiny or highbrow that her husband would be uncomfortable.

The second photo shows the finished accent wall. I think she did a super job of choosing a paper with shine and glitz, but that does not overwhelm the room with Hollywood sparkle or femininity. And that one accent wall does much to brighten the dark room.

This wallpaper pattern is a textured, shiny vinyl on a non-woven backing. It was a paste-the-paper procedure, and was very nice to work with. When it’s time to redecorate, the paper is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece.

The paper is by York Wallcoverings, 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.

Lines in Boxes in a Hall Bathroom

March 23, 2018


The owner of this 1950’s ranch style home in the Highland Village neighborhood of Houston is an interior designer, and headed up the remodel of their hall bathroom. She found a perfect wallpaper to both imbue the room with a fun, crisp, contemporary feel, while coordinating precisely with the color of the glass shower tile.

The interior designer is Layne Torsch, of Layne Torsch Interiors.