Posts Tagged ‘damask’

Cork Wallpaper Living Room Revisited

April 11, 2018


I hung this wallpaper a few months ago, and am back to do another room. I couldn’t resist peeking in the living room to see how it looked furnished.

While I’d like to say that the wallpaper makes the room, really – that SOFA rocks the place! And the lamps. These homeowners have taken their time pulling their home together, and they’ve been rewarded with a unique and stunning décor.

The wallpaper is by Thibaut, and is silver cork embellished with a white damask pattern. The bottom of the room is covered with dark brown cork wallpaper. Both were sold by Dorota (see Where To Buy Wallpaper link to the right of this page).

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More Pictures of the Cork Living Room

October 15, 2017


Here are more photos of the silver & white damask cork, and dark brown cork papers used as companions in a large living room. Note that the damask pattern is nicely balanced from top to bottom of the wall.

Also note how the seams are noticeable – but only if you are standing right in front of them. This is because cork is so think, and possibly the factory trimmed the paper with a slight bevel. At any rate, it’s normal, and considered “part of the inherent natural beauty of the product.”

The damask paper is by Thibaut. See previous post for purchasing information.

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.

Transforming a Stark Hallway

October 7, 2017

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This young couple in the Garden Oaks neighborhood of Houston has a beautifully updated and furnished 1940 ranch style home. But they wanted to up the volume, so to speak, and thought that this hallway, which slices through the center of the home, would make a fine focal point.

I’ve hung this classic damask pattern twice before, and was carrying around a sample of it when I visited them for an initial consultation. They liked it immediately, and, after considering several other patterns, decided on the damask.

To make the area really special, they added a chair rail and crown molding.

It’s hard to get a good shot of a long, narrow hallway. But you can see how the color and pattern adds warmth and dimension to the space, and the lightly pearlized shimmer of the paper definitely adds a touch of understated glamor.

Since the chair rail was a main feature of the room, I positioned the pattern so that the bottom of the damask motif landed just above the chair rail. Likewise, the top of the motif sits just below the crown molding. This looks a lot better than having part of the design chopped off in mid-motif.

This wallpaper is by Designer Wallpapers, and was delightful to work with. 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.

In fact, the couple is going to meet with Dorota tomorrow, to choose a complimentary paint color for the bottom portion of the walls.

Dark Bar Goes Bright

September 21, 2017

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The woodwork and cabinets throughout this home in the West University (Houston) area were originally painted a smudgy, moldering, dispiriting grey-green.  Many of the walls were a similar sad color.  The new homeowners hated the gloomy green, and had all the walls and most of the woodwork lightened up.

But the green wood stayed in the bar area.  In addition, the bar was papered with a dark moldery green stripe pattern.  There wasn’t much differentiation between the walls and the trim, and the whole room had a feeling of malaise.

Repainting the woodwork would have been costly.  So the interior designer found this lovely pearlized wallpaper that lightens the mood in the room, and also coordinates nicely with the paint color on the trim.  In addition, the large damask is a classy pattern that fits right in with the home’s lightly-traditional décor.

This wallpaper is by Fabricut.  The interior designer is Pamela O’Brien of Pamela Hope Designs, assisted by Joni Karnowski and Danna Smith.  http://www.pamelahopedesigns.com/

Overscaled Flocked Damask Wallpaper Pattern in a Living Room

April 1, 2017

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Originally, this living room accent wall in a home in the Museum District of Houston was painted a deep gold/brown, and was covered with a large number of framed art pieces. The first photo shows the wall after I have skim-floated it to smooth away the texture.

The wife wanted something updated and fun. She chose this taupe-on-silver extra large damask pattern with a flocked (raised velvet-like) surface. To top it all off, there are flecks of silver in the flocked material.

The new wallpaper really jazzed up the room. The family is very into the arts, and the wife was eager to put her paintings and photographs back up on the wall. But once the paper went up and sent waves of impact throughout the room, she hesitated.

I, personally, would rather see something large, like a huge mirror, framed in an almost-ridiculously carved and filigreed gold frame.

The paper is by Graham & Brown, and was a durable non-woven material, and entailed a paste-the-wall process; it was nice enough to work with. Seen from head-on, the wallpaper was dazzling. However, if you stood at an angle to the wall, you could see color differences between every strip.

I don’t think these are actually color differences, but rather differences in the nap of the flocked material. The look didn’t seem to bother the homeowners at all. They love the pattern, the texture, and the sassiness of the whole look.

Me, I am busy cleaning up little specks of silver dust from all my tools, drop cloths, work table – everything is permeated with them.

Wallpaper on the Azalea Trail Home Tour, 2017, pt II

March 15, 2017

I attended the Azalea Trail Home Tour yesterday, which took me to four homes in the rather exclusive neighborhood of River Oaks (Houston). As always, I was scrutinizing the wallpaper.

One traditional style home had a very classic design of wallpaper (sort of a damask) in the dining room. Ever since I attended a Wallcovering Installers Association convention seminar years ago on “balancing” wallpaper patterns, I have been obsessed with the concept. This means that you position a dominant feature of the pattern so that it is centered on the wall. (Do a Search here to see some of my previous posts.) Normally, you can do this once in a room. Thereafter, the pattern has to fall on subsequent walls as it comes off the roll.

But in this dining room, there were about three walls that had the pattern centered. It looked wonderful, because the design was centered on a main focal wall between two windows, and again on an adjacent wall behind the buffet, an then on another wall that was highly visible.

Now, how can this happen?

I really studied the room. And I realized that all the draperies in the room reached way above the windows to the ceiling. And the drapery fabric and hardware pretty much filled up the entire space over the windows. Meaning that, the drapes would hide anything that was above the windows.

Meaning that, if the paperhanger chose, he could place the pattern as he wanted on the walls, and then mis-match the wallpaper pattern over the windows, knowing that it would be hidden from view. Then he could move on to the next section of wall and place the pattern as he wanted.

This trick worked nicely in this room, because the wallpaper design and color, as well as the draperies and hardware were all amenable.

It also took collaboration from the very planning stages, between the interior designer and the wallpaper installer, and also including input from the drapery lady and the hardware installer.

Beautiful Over Scaled Damask in a Bedroom

December 31, 2016
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Here is an example of a current trend in wallpaper designs – a traditional motif like this damask, but blown up to be very large, and in unexpected colors. This taupe-on-taupe goes amazingly well with the builder’s choice of color on the woodwork. A damask is a traditional design, but in this over scale size, it has a bit of sass, and works nicely with the room’s “modern rustic industrial” features, like the rolling wooden barn door.

The room was meant to be a home office, but this young family is using it for “Grandma’s room.” Grandma visits weekly, and the homeowner wanted her room to be inviting and spa-like. Accent colors will be a murky turquoise, with bits of lighter turquoise, which are superb spa colors.

The paper was bought from Walls Republic, and is a non-woven material and was installed with the paste-the-wall method. The house is in the far eastern edge of the Houston Heights.

Dramatic Damask in a ’70’s- Influenced Powder Room

November 19, 2016

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I didn’t hang this wallpaper. But I did consult (via Internet) with the homeowners on various topics prior to the installation in this powder room.

They took my suggestions to not put that busy paper on the ceiling, and painted the ceiling gloss black instead. The door was likewise painted gloss black, and had a cool sentiment stenciled on it. They also took my suggestion to center the damask pattern on the sink / mirror, rather than on the wall facing you as you walk into the room. You can see in the 2nd photo how nice this looks.

The chandelier is a genuine 1970’s Lucite gem.

I spend way more time at night than I should, perhaps, replying to e-mails and answering questions from people who live in other cities and who are not going to hire me to do their wallpaper. But I enjoy helping people, and it really makes me feel good that these homeowners took the time to get back to me, months later, and let me know how the job turned out, and to include the photographs.

Subtle Damask in a Rice Village Powder Room

September 3, 2016

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A damask is a timeless design, and will never go out of style – even when it’s been jazzed up with a pearly shimmer.

I hung this in the powder room of a newish home that straddles the Houston neighborhoods of the Rice Village, Montrose, and the Museum District. The interior designer is Pamela O’Brien of Pamela Hope Designs. The wallpaper is by Designer Wallpapers, and was nice to work with.

The room itself presented some challenges, particularly the obtuse angles to the right of the sink, not to mention the un-plumb corners, wavy corners, and bowed walls.

I’m glad I had the designer order a little extra wallpaper, because I used three full strips and a whole lot of waste, to go around those two angled corners you see in the third photo. I needed the extra paper to make the pattern match in the corners as true as possible. We were lucky that this paper had a somewhat “scratchy” look, so a little mismatch would hardly be noticeable.

The pearlized finish also made it very difficult to see the design, or to be sure I had lined up the pattern match correctly.

Of course, that’s just what I fret about. Which other people never see. The homeowner loves the new powder room, and will spend the holiday weekend getting the mirror and artwork back up on the walls.