Posts Tagged ‘custom-made’

Metallic Cork Married With Earthy Cork Breathes New Life Into A ’70’s Living Room

October 13, 2017

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This 1967 home in a unique neighborhood in Pasadena (Houston) is like a time capsule. It’s a little larger and nicer than the typical ranch-style houses of that era. And just about everything in it was original when my clients bought it … terrazzo floors, dental crown molding, upholstered wall panels in the dining room, diamond paned windows, French Provincial painted iron stairway railing, heavy pleated drapes, and much more.

The homeowners love the look and want to preserve as much as possible. But they also want the home to live a little more modern, and they want it to work with the lifestyle of their young – and very busy – family. They’ve already done a fabulous redo of the kitchen that still respects the era and feel of the home’s bones.

Now it’s time to update the living room. Enter – wallpaper! They used the same grey-brown, wood-look floor tile that they put in the kitchen. They kept the chair rail molding that runs around the room. A sliding barn-style door was custom made to divide the living room from the dining room, and it immediately became the focal point of the room.

Wallpaper was the next element … The couple wanted something earthy, yet elegant, and it had to meld with the vintage theme of the house.

They fell in love with a dark brown cork wallcovering enhanced with metallic accents called Enchanted Woods, by Phillip Jeffries. Whoops! – that brand is crazy expensive! My source (below) found them something nearly identical, but at a much more reasonable price. This dark brown material was used on the bottom 1/3 of the walls, below the chair rail. I was able to railroad this product (run it horizontally, instead of vertically), which eliminated seams. (Sorry, I did not get any photos of this.)

For the upper 2/3 of the wall space, they went with a silver metallic cork wallpaper embellished with a classic damask pattern in white. This is a classy, traditional look jazzed up by a luscious shimmery sheen.

The husband was worried that the dark cork at the bottom of the walls would visually occlude the barn door. At first, I tended to agree with him. But once the cork went up, it was clear that the door still stood out as a dominant feature in the room. Furthermore, it was apparent that the dark band of brown cork was needed all around the room, to balance the visual heft of that massive sliding barn door and to bring continuity to the remaining three walls.

As for the upper 2/3 of the walls, there is no question that the barn door stands out against the silver and white damask cork wallpaper. In addition, the natural texture of the cork coordinates nicely with the stained wood of the door.

Cork wallpaper, especially the metallic colors, is pretty popular right now, and I’ve hung a fair amount of it. But this room was the most challenging. Cork is thick and stiff, and does not want to turn corners (In fact, the instructions say you should not attempt to turn outside corners, but should, instead, cover the corners with wooden molding.), nor is it easy to fit around intricate moldings, and it will give a lot of argument when you try to bend it into a small, tight spot. This room had many of those features!

There was one wall that had two trim-less windows that had reveals (and outside corners) to be covered with the cork material, plus four points of wainscoting trim to cut around, as well as two sections of drapery valances to manipulate the stiff material up and under and into. This wall alone took me 4 1/2 hours to paper!

The rest of the room was easier, but still had its challenges. The cork material is thick and stiff and won’t push tightly against moldings or into corners, which means you have to work extra hard and make several cuts before it will sit snugly against the molding or corner. When trimming around intricate moldings (like the edges of the chair rail), you can’t see or feel where the cuts should be made, so you have to inch your way along, taking a bit here and a sliver there. I estimate that each of the six chair rail edges took me at least 15 minutes – each.

The metallic sheen made it difficult to see the pattern, so it took longer than usual to plot and cut strips.

Cork wallcovering is pretty thick, and you have to expect that the seams will show, just as they do with other natural materials, such as grasscloth. Depending on where you stand in the room, the seams on this product are either invisible, or fairly noticeable. I think the seams could have been better – I have a feeling that the manufacturer’s trimming blade was set at a bit of an angle, making a beveled cut. A perfectly straight cut, or even a slightly reversed-bevel, would perhaps have been less noticeable. Still, this is part of the look of the natural material, and not considered a defect. To be honest, unless you’re looking at a particular seam from just a certain angle, you won’t even see a thing – except the beautiful pattern, color, and shimmer.

The dark brown cork is by Monarque, and the upper cork in the silvery damask pattern is by Thibaut. Both papers were 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.

Over the last few years, I have papered three other rooms for this family. Now that the wallpaper in the living room is up, they are on to other things – furniture, drapes – and then on to update / decorate other rooms. As I left tonight, the mom assured me that I would be back at some point, to paper another room.

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Map & Anni-Mal Mural for a Baby’s Room Accent Wall

January 15, 2017
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Here is a neutral-hued, map-and-animal mural for an accent wall in a baby’s nursery in Baytown (a distant suburb of Houston). This is a new home, and the walls had the typical builder’s heavy-ish texture. I spent the first five hours of the day smoothing the wall. The prevents bumps from marring the face of the mural, and provides a smooth surface for the paper to adhere to.

I don’t know the manufacturer of this mural, but I am not keen on their quality control. As with the last time I hung this mural (exactly one month ago), the seams were not cut straight (see photo with pencil pointing to a jagged edge), and that resulted in some “gaps and overlaps.” The seams also did not lie down as nicely as I would have liked. (See photo) The paper did lie tighter and flatter to the wall as it dried, but the slight gap between the seams remained.

In addition, we had discrepancies in the size of the mural compared to the dimensions of the wall. Please read my previous blog post about this. https://wallpaperlady.wordpress.com/2016/12/13/soft-toned-map-mural-for-a-new-babys-room/ For any wallpaper project, and especially for something custom-made, like this mural, always have the wallpaper installer come out and measure BEFORE you order your paper.

In this case, the homeowner measured his wall accurately, but he had not realized that 2″ should be added to EACH SIDE to allow for trimming at the ceiling, floor, and sides, and to accommodate for unplumb walls and unlevel ceilings and floors, and the twisting and warping that happens to paper when it becomes wet from the paste.

The manufacturer added 2 cm to the mural’s dimensions, but this scant amount was not enough to camouflage the sloped ceiling line, so they ended up with a gap between the paper and the ceiling, that grew from 1/16″ to 1/2″ as the mural moved from left to right across the wall. The good thing is, the homeowner is going to install crown molding, which will cover this gap nicely.

This is an adorable pattern that is popular with mothers-to-be. Plus, the mural is printed on a durable canvas-and-vinyl material, that will resist dings, tears, water, and grimy little fingers. 🙂

Soft Toned Map Mural for a New Baby’s Room

December 13, 2016
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These new parents-to-be chose not to know the gender of the baby ahead of time. Mom loves this cute wall mural map, and so she picked this neutral color for the baby’s nursery accent wall.

The mural was custom made to fit the wall. It came in four panels, each being 40″ wide. That’s a little wider than is comfortable for me to handle easily, but I came up with some tricks that made it manageable. It’s a somewhat heavy vinyl on a canvas type backing, and will be durable in a child’s room.

I was not 100% happy with the seams, as some were not cut straight and so there were a few “gaps and overlaps,” and there were areas where the seams did not lie as flat as I would have liked. But those are things that I notice, but most other people don’t. Once you stand a few feet back, all you see is the cute animals and the countries they come from.

I hung this in a newish home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston.

Interestingly enough, a few days later, I visited a home where the new parents-to-be had chosen the exact same mural, but in a different color.

IMPORTANT NOTE: In both these cases, the homeowners measured the wall on their own and ordered the mural before calling a paperhanger. The result is that both custom made murals were too small. The homeowners didn’t realize that you need to add about 2″ on EACH SIDE of the mural, to allow for trimming at the ceiling and floor, and to accommodate for unplumb walls and unlevel floors and ceilings.

In the case of the mural pictured above, the husband had allowed a few inches on either side, and there was a wee bit of wiggle room on the height, so we ended up with about 3/4″ of gap at the bottom, between the mural and the baseboard. It’s so small that they will probably leave it alone.

In the other home, where the mural was made to the exact dimensions of the wall, there will probably be a wider gap at the bottom, and possibly on other sides, as well. They may need to get some decorative wood molding to fill in the gap.

Morale: Always call the paperhanger BEFORE your order your paper.

A Soft Backdrop Wallpaper

September 29, 2016
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Located in River Oaks (Houston), this 1940 home had been completely gutted and renovated. Now the whole house has a serene, clean, open look. The living room was originally painted a semi-gloss white. It went with the look, but was rather sterile.

Interior decorator Elizabeth Mann helped the homeowner find this wallpaper, in a soft, mossy green, with narrow vertical blocks of irregular shape and shade. It was custom made, and was sold by the yard (instead of by the roll). Like many high-end papers, it had to be hand-trimmed, to remove the selvedge edge, as you see in the last photo.

The gentle color and subtle pattern are just enough to snug up the room, and will be a wonderful backdrop for furniture and artwork.