Posts Tagged ‘designer’

City Scape Zig Zag Lines

April 26, 2019


I love this headboard. The homeowner and his father-in-law made this from scratch, and they made the bed frame, too. I think it’s supposed to look like rough ship-lapped wood … but to me, it looks like the skyline of a major city.

Realizing that the dark navy paint on the accent wall behind the headboard was flat and boring, the couple went to Dorota (read below) and found this fun and lively wallpaper pattern. It echoes the shape of the headboard, while adding a modern, urban edge to the room. And I think it looks like a city skyline!

Note that this pattern very much resembles one by York, in the Candice Olson line, which I have hung a number of times. I guess there is nothing wrong with a company riding the tide of trends, and making a knock-off of a proven design winner.

This is in a master bedroom in a newish townhome in the Cottage Grove neighborhood of Houston. My photo of the label didn’t turn out (Note to self: Always check your phone’s photo log before leaving work for the day.), but I can tell you that the manufacturer is Designer Wallpapers.

The material is a crisp, stiff, medium-weight non-woven material. This stuff has a fiberglass content, so it does not expand when it becomes wet with paste, and it also is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate.

This material would have been more flexible if I had pasted the paper. But since this was one solitary accent wall, with no corners or toilets or sinks or windows to cut around, and since I didn’t feel like lugging my 7′ long and 30lbs table up the three flights of stairs to the master bedroom, I chose to paste the wall.

Because it was a dark paper adhered to a white backing, I used artist’s chalk to color the edges of the strips, so that the white backing would not peek out from the seams.

After cutting the non-woven strips, I roll them up backwards, with the colored surface rolled up inside, and the top coming off the roll first, and then secure it by wrapping an elastic hairband around it. This way, after paste is spread on the wall, when I climb up the ladder with the paper and unroll it, the printed surface will not come in contact with the paste on the wall.

Pasting the wall is a clean way to work, because no paste gets on the woodwork or ceiling, so there is nothing to wipe off. And the excess paper that is trimmed off at the ceiling and baseboard has no paste on it, so it’s clean and won’t stain anything it might fall onto.

The paper went up nicely, and the seams were positively invisible. Oddly enough, because the paper was supposed to not stretch or expand, I did have a little trouble with the pattern match dropping – the pattern matched at the top of the wall, but as you followed it down the 9′ high wall, the pattern began to rise. In order to accommodate this, I had to lower the pattern and allow a slight mis-match at the top of the wall, which permitted me to have a perfect pattern match at eye-level.

Also odd, since the paper was supposed to not expand, even though I hung my first strip against a plumb line (laser level beam), as it moved down the height of the wall, the pattern started to track to the right. As subsequent strips were hung, the paper became more and more off-plumb, until I reached the far left corner, and it was out of whack by more than half an inch from ceiling to floor.

If this had been some wild floral pattern, it would not have mattered. But with a rigid geometric pattern, and especially a vertical one like this, and on a dark background, even with a mere 1/8″ discrepancy, you’re going to notice when things get crooked.

Since the paper is not malleable, I was not able to stretch it into plumb. But I was able to pull a few tricks out of my hat to make it look like the paper was perfectly parallel to that left wall. I didn’t take photos, so no sense in my trying to explain it here. ūüė¶

This wallpaper pattern is by Designer Wallcoverings, 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.

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A Kaleidoscope of Mid-Century Modern, Frank Lloyd Wright – Wild

July 7, 2018

What a fun pattern from Bradbury & Bradbury, in their newish line of “Atomic Age,” Mid Century Modern, in the theme of architect and designer Frank Lloyd Wright!

The young couple that bought this mint-condition, Mid-Century home in the Medical Center / Reliant Stadium neighborhood of Houston is way crazy about the modern look, and wanted an accent wall in the kitchen breakfast nook to both play up that theme, as well as bring color into the room.

There are four bright orange molded plastic “mod” chairs that will ring around that round table.

The pattern is called Kaleidoscope. The wallpaper is custom made, but is not outrageously expensive. It comes with a selvedge edge that has to be trimmed off by hand. (Do a search here for pics and more info on this process.) The paper is normally hung vertically, but the homeowners liked the design better run horizontally (called railroading in wallpaper terms).

It took a lot of trimming, plotting, planning, and engineering, plus plenty of time with the laser level (see second photo), to get the pattern matched correctly and then laid out on the wall so everything lined up perfectly. I also took steps to keep as much paste off the woodwork and shutters as possible. Yeah, it wipes off relatively easily. But always best to keep it off in the first place.

Raising Ceiling and Brightening Room with Upward Pattern and Pearlized Finish

December 9, 2017


This powder room in a townhome in the Bunker Hill area of Houston was affected by flood water damage from Hurricane Harvey. Contractors replaced two walls with new Sheetrock. But the sink wall remained intact (top photo) and needed to be stripped of its original wallpaper, then skim-floated, sanded smooth, and then primed, before wallpaper could be hung. In addition, there were two other walls that needed to be smoothed and primed.

Fixing damaged walls also gives homeowners a chance to update their décor. The Chinoiserie pattern in the top photo is fine. But after the re-do, the homeowners wanted something more modern and in keeping with a more vibrant lifestyle. See the second photo for their new take on style!

This is a small under-the-stairs powder room with no window, and the ceilings are less than 7′ high. The upward movement of the wallpaper pattern, coupled with the swoopy design of the foliage, sweep your eye up, and add dimension to the walls. The pearlized color further helps visually expand the space.

This wallpaper pattern is by Designer Wallpapers, and is a very good quality, mid-price range product. 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

Flaw of the Day – Banged Edges

September 28, 2017

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Well, it’s been a while since I complained about edges of wallpaper that got banged up during handing by the shipping company.¬† But today, here we are.

Often these little imperfections will flatten out as the paper dries.  But these creases were pretty severe.  And with a pearlized paper like I hung yesterday, every defect will show.  So I had to unroll and throw away a lot of wallpaper before I got to material that was suitable for putting on the wall.

Interestingly enough, the heaviest “bashed” areas were INSIDE the bolts.¬† It sure makes you wonder what the heck the guys are doing at the factory!

Navy Denim Striped Wallpaper in a Boys’ Shared Bathroom

September 26, 2017

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The original wallpaper in this bathroom, which is shared by two teen aged boys, was a drab,¬†mid-tone grey with little maroon “swoops” on it.¬† Not much to get excited about there.

The homeowner switched to this denim-look stripe pattern for the boys’ bathroom.¬†¬†Everyone loves the new, more sophisticated, lighter and brighter look.

Look closely at the second photo.  You will notice that there is one white stripe that is narrower than the others.  The factory had a slight discrepancy during either printing or trimming, and thus the factory edges butted up against one another did not match the pattern correctly.

I didn’t catch this until I had papered most of the room.¬† By that time, it was too far into the game to make changes to the walls that had already been hung.

But for the remaining walls, which were all 24″ to 72″¬†in height, I took some extra time and hand-trimmed off the ill-sized stripes, and then trimmed new strips so that the stripes would match up with the aforementioned stripes.¬† If you are not following this – no worries.¬† I know what I’m talking about, and I was able to make the stripes on¬†all the subsequent strips match up perfectly.¬† ūüôā

This wallpaper is by Designer Wallpapers, and was wonderful to work with.¬† The interior designer for the job (a whole house!) ¬†is Pamela O’Brien of Pamela Hope Designs, assisted by Joni Karnowski and Danna Smith.

http://www.pamelahopedesigns.com/

Fuzzy Stuff vs. Toothbrush

September 23, 2017

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See the fuzzy stuff on the edge of this paper?¬† This roll by Designer Wallpapers has shards of paper left by the factory’s trimming process.¬† If left in place, they could cause gaps or rough looking seams.

A toothbrush has turned out to be a handy tool for scrubbing off these minute particles of paper.

Beautiful, Quiet-Toned Master Bath Remodel

May 19, 2016
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This poor couple in a home near Tanglewood, Houston, started the remodel of her master bathroom more than a year ago, and they have been living in disarray ever since (a pretty common story ūüė¶ ). Wallpaper is one of the last elements of the job, so they are now almost finished and able to get back into the room!

This is a subtle stripe pattern with a faux crackle finish motif – quite unusual. It compliments their tile and paint very nicely.

The homeowner had asked me to place the pattern so that the “crackle” design would not fall against the shower tile, because she thought the tile and the wallpaper¬†looked too much alike.¬† I was happy to accommodate this request.¬† But I was also concerned about how the stripe pattern would play out across the various walls.¬† Once that first strip is hung, all the other strips – and the stripes on them –¬†pretty much have to fall where the geometry dictates.

But because the pattern was “fuzzy,” I was could play with it a little, and was able to manipulate it so that the stripes were centered on four key¬†walls – on the wall next to the shower tile (shown), behind the toilet (shown), on a wall next to the closet, and on the wall with the sink.

This wallpaper pattern is by Designer Wallpapers, and was a dream to work with. It will hold up well in this bathroom.  It was bought at a discounted price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

Crazy-Making Undersides of Staircase

August 12, 2015
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Thank goodness the designer agreed with me to NOT paper each of these four boxes, on the ceiling of an under-the-stairs powder room. Usually, the undersides of the staircase is finished off with a sloped ceiling.

Wallpapering a sloped ceiling is relatively easy. But if I had had to put wallpaper on each of these 3-strip wide, 2-sided, curving boxes built around the individual stairs, it would have taken a good couple of hours, not including the prep.

The interior designer instead had a painter put gold paint on the boxes, which will look fabulous with the wallpaper – more pics tomorrow!

Defects in Wallpaper!

June 17, 2010

I prepped a bathroom yesterday, and this morning got set up to install some beautiful chocolate brown paper with a mottled silver lattice-and-fleur-de-lis pattern.

While rolling it out on my table, I noticed a small-but-noticeable flaw. There a very slight abraision all along most of the left edge of most of the double rolls, leaving a white edge showing. This happens from time to time, and it’s not usually such a big deal. But on a dark paper like that rich brown, the exposed white on the left edge of each strip butted up against the dark brown on the right edge of the next strip would be very visible, in my opinion, catching your eye every 27″ (the width of the paper) down the entire length of each strip.

This is a high-end Thibaut paper, and generally a dependable brand of good quality. But
I have been encountering problems with this brand more and more recently, and that’s a shame. It stresses the client, delays the job, and messes up the installation schedule for other clients.

People pay a lot for the paper, and for labor, and they’re going to live with the finished room for many years, so they should have as perfect a job as possible. When I detect defects, I usually won’t put it up.

I recommended that the designer return the paper, and have Thibaut replace it with a different run. Workers at the company should HAND CHECK the new paper before sending it out. They should roll out several yards from several different rolls and butt them against each other, to be sure the new run is free of the same defect.

Know Your Clients! Protocol

March 10, 2010

I had a potentially dicey situation yesterday.

I am currently working¬†for a design firm, to paper a powder room in a nice home being updated for new occupants. I know the homeowners only as “the Joneses.”

The designer had asked me to also measure two other rooms, a second powder room and a laundry room on the second floor.

While I was getting set up to start, a woman came in and identified herself only as “Sue.” She asked me to be sure to measure the two additional rooms, and talked about her wallpaper selections, how quickly they could be shipped, and if they would arrive in time to be installed that same week.

I assumed she was a member of the design team. When she asked if I could recommend any places where she could find wallpaper, and especially stores with paper in-stock, I gave her my printed sheet that lists Wallpapers to Go http://www.wallpaperstogo.com/index.htm , which is about the only nearby place that still carries wallpaper in-stock, and also two other stores with which I deal frequently, Southwestern Paint http://southwesternpaint.com/ on Bissonnet and Sherwin Williams http://www.sherwin-williams.com/ in the Rice Village.

The woman also wanted to know how many rolls of paper she would need to buy. So I gave her my yellow sheet, which lists how many rolls are needed for each room, how many days to do the job, and my price for labor and materials.

BIG mistake!

Turns out the lady was NOT a designer, but the HOMEOWNER herself!

Now, when a contractor (such as me) is working for a designer, it is very important to learn their “ground rules” up front; how they like me to interact with the client. Some designers want the homeowner to pay me directly, and don’t mind if I talk freely with her. Other designers prefer that I keep communications with the homeowner to a minimum, not interfere with their decisions, not give my opinion on selections, and not discuss prices or payment. In these cases, when a designer is working with a client, she doesn’t want “meddling” to interfere with choices they have made. Also, since many designers add a mark-up to my installation fee, they prefer the client not be aware of this. Now, it’s perfectly all right for a designer to tack on a little, because, after all, this is how she earns her living, and a little commission on a sale is simply a way of doing that. They also like to deal with their own vendors, where they quite likely get a discount on the wallpaper, and then, frequently, do a markup on the price of the paper, earning a little more income the same way. This is all quite common in the design industry, perfectly acceptable, and should never be viewed as “cheating” or “gouging” the customer… It’s simply a way of making a living in a field that does not pay like a 9:00-5:00 job.

If you’ve read this far, you understand the goof I made. This particular designer had asked me NOT to discuss money with the client, and here I had gone and done just that Then I went a step further and even suggested other places where the client could purchase wallpaper. Some designers aren’t that touchy about this subject, but others can get quite upset, even angry. I certainly don’t want to upset the designer, nor do I wish to compromise either the relationship between the designer and her client, and especially not the relationship between the designer and ME… I very much want to continue to work with this design firm, and hope this one error hasn’t jeapordized that.