Posts Tagged ‘customer service’

World Map Mural – Focus on Africa

February 17, 2023
This couple in a beautifully updated 1939 home (4-plex converted to single family) in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston loves Africa and has traveled there several times. This spare bedroom on the first floor is devoted to Africa. On the walls they have hanging artifacts from their travels.
And now they have a map of the continent , front and center!
accent wall
Close up looks like old paper that has been folded and stashed and aged , then uncovered and now placed on the wall.
The mural is custom-sized to the wall. Remember to add 3″ to both width and height, to accommodate trimming and also wonky walls.
The material comes as one big roll , with six panels all in one long piece. You have to unroll the whole thing and cut the panels apart . Note that five panels are 19″ wide. But that sixth one on the far right is only 16″ wide. I have cut off the 3″ overage. So when you’re plotting your lay-out, don’t go assuming that you will have six panels of the same width. That last panel is going to be whatever it needs to be, to custom-fit the size of the wall.
Here, I’m laying the panels out to compare dimensions of width and length with those of the wall . Also checking to be sure the sequence of panels is correct. Note the diagram provided by the company on the white sheet of paper at the top of the photo.
Here’s a close-up of the diagram / install instruction sheet .
The mural is by Rebel Walls , a part of Gimmersta . I love their hundreds of selections, their material , quality , and excellent customer service.
This particular mural is called World Map . I’m not sure, but it may come in other colors .
Here’s the mock-up the company sent. The homeowner requested that Africa be placed in the center . You see what a good job Rebel Walls did with that. The mural that we received was actually a little smaller, and didn’t contain that much of America on the left, nor the far right sides of the countries on the right.
Interestingly, the mural doesn’t meet up with itself. In other words, you can’t place two murals side-by-side. Look at the left, where America is. There’s only the eastern half of America. But there is no connecting western half of America on the right side of the mural. So you couldn’t order several of these and place them next to each other, to go around a bedroom , for instance. This may be because the mural was designed to fit one wall only , and to focus on Africa . It’s possible that the same mural is available so that it will connect to itself, and so that you could use it all the way around a room.
According to the shipping box, Rebel Walls is also connected with Sandberg , another manufacturer of fine wallpapers . This stuff comes from Sweden . It is a non-woven material and can be hung using the paste the wall method . I often prefer to paste the paper , but on this simple accent wall, I did paste the wall . Saves space, because I don’t have to set up my big table .
Non-woven wallpapers don’t expand when wet with paste like traditional papers do, which is a nice advantage for many reasons. They also are durable and stain-resistant . And are also designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece, and with no damage to your wall when you redecorate .¬† Non-woven is MUCH better than the false-hopes peel & stick material being pushed by some mfgrs today. Click my link to the right.
Rebel Walls also includes special paste for this non-woven paper. This is important, because some other types of paste have been known to stain N-W’s, also called blushing – paper looks wet in areas, but never dries out .
It’s believed that excess moisture is a reason for this staining / blushing . Which is the main reason why I don’t used the paste provided by RW. If the powdered substance has to be mixed with water to turn into paste , it stands to reason that it can be too liquidy and could bleed through the surface of the wallpaper, causing staining.
I prefer a pre-mixed paste made by Roman called 780 . You can also use Roman 838 . These both have lower moisture contents, and have good record of not staining wallpapers . Most Sherwin-Williams stores carry these pastes. But call first!

Slight Problems With Katie Kime Wallpaper

January 11, 2023
There were eight double roll bolts of this wallpaper , to cover a large powder room in Houston.
Four were rolled so the pattern came off the top of the roll, and four were rolled the opposite way, with the bottom coming off first. This Katie Kime brand is custom-printed , so you can assume that all these rolls are from the same run , or batch . But maybe not - why are some forward and some backward ? Possibly the company substituted some returned goods, or some old stock they had sitting around the warehouse, for half of this order.
I didn't want to risk putting strips of slightly different shades on the same wall. So I had to carefully plot the room so I used the "forward" rolls on some walls, and the "backward" rolls on the others. This does eat up additional paper , so good thing I always have the homeowner purchase a little extra.
Also note the crease in the roll on the right. There were a few other creases in other rolls.

I have no idea what happened to the font in the section above, nor do I know how to get it back to the original. All I know is that I HATE this “New Editor” that WordPress foisted on us a few years ago. Perfectly HORRIBLE. And their Customer Service doesn’t care. Anyway … moving on …
Note the horizontal smudge next to the top of the capitol. Since this Austin Toile pattern has a 25″ pattern repeat, discarding this piece ate up minimum of 2′ of material (x 24″ width = 4 square feet) and potentially more, to get the correct pattern match.
Usually this brand prints on a nice non-woven / paste the wall substrate. But, like other manufacturers, Katie Kime has had supply issues obtaining raw materials . During the height of the Pandemic , they resorted to printing on some positively awful stuff. Extremely heavy , thick , un- pliable , stretched to the extent that the pattern wouldn’t match properly, and more. One was completely un-hangable and had to be sent back. I can’t find all my posts re those challenges, but here is one:
https://wallpaperlady.wordpress.com/2021/07/21/katie-kime-tough-install-today-draft-messed-up-delete/
But they’ve since gone back to printing on their usual stock, and I’ve not had problems lately. So when I first picked up this box of 8 double roll bolts, I was surprised at the weight of it. Also the paper had a shiny surface and was obviously composed of vinyl . I couldn’t tell if the substrate was non-woven or paper . I feared they had gone back to printing on that bad material , or perhaps were using up what they had in the back of the warehouse .
There were no instructions included, nor any information at all – not even a brand name! Although I could find instructions on-line, you can’t be sure these are current and applicable to the rolls in the box. KK has amazingly good customer service , and you can usually get intelligent answers via phone or on-line chat … but my call to them went to voice mail , and then we got disconnected, so I gave up.
After hanging the first few strips, I figured out that this was a flexible vinyl on a non-woven substrate, so that part was good. However, the thickness of the material interfered with getting good, tight, flat seams , as you can see somewhat in the photo. The seams aren’t horrible, but a better non-woven without the vinyl usually produces almost invisible seams.
The surface was shinier than usual. Shiny tends to show every imperfection in the wall underneath. Here the thickness was a bit of a help, as it helped cushion any slight dips or pimples on the wall.
There was also an odd orange discoloration about 1.5″ long on the edge of one strip. Very faint, but I could see it, and sometimes these things end up catching your eye. I also worry that it might be some substance that will bleed into the paper and cause a larger stain over time. Of course, this popped up after I had hung a very difficult piece in a tight spot, and then hung the subsequent strip. In other words – no way was I taking it off the wall and re-doing. I cut out a design motif and pasted it over the area.
Another thing I was unhappy with has happened a number of times with KK paper. The pattern will match perfectly at the top of the wall, but begin to slide up or down, creating a mis-match , as you move down the wall. I think that a lot of it has to do with the vinyl material, because it’s stretchy. The weight of the paste and the vinyl will cause the bottom section of the strip to sag. This simply doesn’t make sense, though, because, if the paper is going to absorb moisture from the paste and expand (which many papers do), each strip should do so at the same rate, right? But not.
I finally deduced, correctly or not, that the pattern gets distorted as it’s wound into a roll. So my theory is that if you take your 10′ strips from the same position in each roll, the pattern should match. In other words, take a 10′ strip from the top of roll #1. Take your next strip from a brand new roll #2. Third strip from roll #3. Obviously, this leaves a whole lot of unused paper. For shorter areas like over doors, where it’s harder to see, and where you can fudge the pattern a bit, I used the paper from the insides of the rolls, again, roll #1 next to roll #2, etc. But this doesn’t work on every instance, so you’re gonna be stuck with many areas where the pattern doesn’t match perfectly across the seams. The solution is to match the pattern at eye-level , and then allow it to go off as it moves toward the ceiling and floor.
There were other issues with this paper that were disappointing to me. But not overwhelmingly awful. Most homeowners would not notice. But I sure hope that this was a one-time issue, and Katie Kime will go back to its former good-quality, non-woven material.

Floaty Palm Mural in Master Bedroom

August 12, 2022
Before. Primed and ready for wallpaper .
Done. This image could be positioned so that the palm leaves push up from the floor , or, as in the photo , they hang down from the ceiling. This is a popular look right now, and very fitting to an accent / headboard wall in a bedroom .
Done. The homeowner bought one mural from Russia before she and I consulted , so it would be difficult to get another. In addition, the mural images don’t continue from right to left, so you can’t place two murals next to each other and have palm leaves continue unbroken .
The manufacturer’s picture on-line is misleading, too, because it’s been Photoshopped to look like it fills the whole wall with tropical fronds .
As you can see, the actual mural is a lot narrower than the wall, plus shorter by about a foot and a half.
The mural is placed slightly off-center on the wall , because the homeowner wanted it centered on the bed , which sits a little to the right of center .
Plans are still incubating, but she’ll probably have wooden panels or trim placed on the wall flanking the mural as well as beneath it, to give a finished look.
All in all, I think the room looks dreamy !
Close-up .
The material is vinyl and has a woven fabric – like texture .
The mural came in four panels, each about 3′ wide by about 8.5′ high .
Here I am laying them out so I can get measurements and to be sure they go up in the right sequence.
There were a lot of these little black specks of a chalk – like substance on the back , and even some on one area of the front .
Did I tell you this came from Russia ?!
Sorry, no brand name, but this was thin and very flexible and pretty nice to work with .
This is a popular design concept , and many companies are making similar patterns . Try RebelWalls.com , which is super quality and really good customer service, plus tons of designs and images to cover your walls .

The Big Easy On The Walls

March 5, 2022
West wall smoothed, primed, and ready for wallpaper.
The homeowner used to live in New Orleans, and she tells me that signs like this are very common in local convenience stores and neighborhood dives. Transplanted to Houston, these signs are very dear to her heart as a reminder of her roots – and the funky lifestyle in the Big Easy.
She wanted the signs recreated somehow to cover the walls in their newly-renovated powder room in the Houston Heights. I suggested she contact rebelwalls.com , who custom made the paper and sized it specifically to fit each wall in the room individually. I measured and made drawings, and a designer named Simon at RebelWalls laid it all out.
North wall before. This is the wall with the toilet and sink.
There were a couple of glitches, the first being that the strips were printed about 10″ longer than I requested. No biggie – I’d rather have too much paper than come up short.
But the main glitch being that I had asked for this “sign” to be centered over the toilet, which meant that the center of the sign (I used the middle fleur-de-lis) would land at 17.5″ from the wall to the left. But somehow it got printed to where the left edge of the pattern was 17.5″ from the wall … That left a whole lot of white space between the wall and the design, and also pushed the words too close to the mirror, which will hang over the sink to the right.
After careful measuring, calculating, and testing, I determined that if I used my straightedge and razor blade to take off a 12″ wide slice from the left side, the “sign” would move to the left such that its center would fall over the mid-point of the toilet.
Voilà! As you see in the photo, now the words are nicely balanced on this section of wall, and will not crowd the mirror which will be hung to the right.
The rest of the wallpaper moving to the right is unprinted, so as to leave a blank slate for the mirror to hang on. Here you see that wall, and also the wall to its right. This east wall has the same sign, but in a smaller scale, sized to fit the narrower wall. It’s also placed at a different height
Graphic designer Simon used my drawings and measurements to get the words nicely centered on this wall. The area above the door to the right (not visible) is left blank.
Here is the west wall (on the right) abutting the south / window wall.
The bull-nosed / rounded edges / corners such as you see around the window are really a pain with wallpaper, especially when they go both around the sides and the top, and can lead to some impossibilities. Too complicated to get into here. But I was pleased with the way this worked out. And the placement of the pleated shades toward the front of the opening helped a lot, too.
One interesting thing to note is that the thickness of this non-woven wallcovering (along with the joint compound I used to smooth the textured wall) is enough that it narrows the space inside the window just a tad,,, and that makes it a bit tight for the shades to fit back in,,, and that opens the potential for abrading the wallpaper as the shade is raised and lowered over time.
Another point … even though the widths of the wall spaces to be covered were different, we requested that the size of the font on the “sign” lettering be the same on the west wall and the north / mirror wall, and ditto for the window wall and the door wall.
I also made sure that the “signs” started at the same distance from the ceiling. This then ensured that each “sign” would land at the same distance from the tile below it.
Synchronizing the size of the fonts as well as the spacing between ceiling and tile helps immensely to lend a feeling of unity and order to this room.
I spent a full 2 1/2 hours plotting, measuring, testing mock-ups, and going back to the drawing board, before I ever cut any paper.
Prior to that, there were two visits to the home to get measurements and kick around options with the homeowner. In addition, she spent countless communications with the manufacturer and with our specific designer.
All this futzing is important, because, with murals, there is no second chance. There’s only one of each panel, and if one gets screwed up, there are no more to pull off the bolt, like you’d have with regular rolled goods.
RebelWalls is the manufacturer. I’ve had lots of great installs with this company.
What was inside our box, including Simon’s dimensions and lay-out.
Basic installation instructions. Ours was a bit – a whole lot – more complicated, because it covered not one but four walls. In our case, it worked best to have each wall be a separate mural, so to speak.
RebelWalls includes free wallpaper paste. I prefer to use my own pre-mixed vinyl adhesive, which is SureStik Dynomite 780. Recently bought by Roman, so the name has changed to just 780.
Certain pastes have been known to ” stain ” non-woven wallpapers (areas look wet but never dry out). I think that a high moisture content in the paste has a lot to do with this. So I’m hesitant to use a powdered paste that needs to be mixed with water.
I’ll squirrel away that RebelWalls powdered paste for another, better suited job. For this home’s install, I’m sticking with my tried and true 780.
A coupla more notes.
One, this project was a study in vision, desire, anticipation, and patience. The homeowner first contacted me in July 2021. It took nearly eight months to come to fruition. Granted, they had a whole kitchen remodel in the middle, which also included an update to this powder room. But just speaking for the wallpaper, there were several site visits, many emails, and then innumerable communications with the design team at RW.
In fact, since I’ve hung lots of RebelWalls and am familiar with their process, I thought I could lay out the design. But this project of separate “sign” motifs for each wall section was taxing my skill set. Finally I laid down my pencil and paper and said, “Stop doing what you yell at your clients for doing, which is trying to do something you don’t have expertise in! RebelWalls has designers who are trained to figure all this out. So let THEM do the math and placement and calculating and layout.” So we turned it over to them, and within a short time they had it all worked out perfectly (except for those few glitches I mentioned). Their customer service was amazing.
All this was crucial to ensuring that mural pieces fit the wall perfectly and that the final product looks stunning.
I also want to mention that the RebelWalls quality is excellent. It’s a non-woven material which has many advantages (too numerous to go into here, but you can Search). The seams melt together like butter and are invisible – even on areas with all that bare white space with no pattern. On a simple accent wall, you can paste-the-wall to hang it. In this (and most) cases, I pasted-the-material, which gives more flexibility and also ensures that paste gets into hard-to-reach areas – like behind a toilet.
In addition, the non-woven material is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when you redecorate.
The company offers scores of patterns, from cute to sophisticated, and, as we did this time around, can make custom creations.
Super customer service, too.

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