Posts Tagged ‘designer’

Affordable Alternative to Ellie Cashman Dark Floral

March 10, 2022
Back door entry accent wall before.
Done and dramatic!
This overs-scaled floral on a black background has become infinitely popular. But you don’t need to pay designer prices for the big name brands. As I like to say, for every high-end manufacturer making a cool design that’s expensive and probably difficult to work with, there is someone else making a knock-off that is affordable and better quality.
This is a very good alternative to the big name. It even has these beautiful humming birds.
Graham & Brown makes scores of designs, printed on a really nice non-woven , paste the wall substrate. One of my preferred brands.
Their version of this floral is called Allure .
The home is in the Hobby Airport area of Houston .

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.
VoilĂ ! 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.

lottery , money order , checks cashed , household supplies

A Soft POW! Factor

February 16, 2022
This home in the Energy Corridor / Memorial area of west Houston is dressed in soft tones of white, grey, pale wood tones. The homeowner wanted something dramatic in their exercise room bath, but also wanted to stick with the muted color scheme.
Looks like she got what she was hunting for!
Although this is actually a digital print, close-up it looks like brush strokes.
The wallpaper designer and manufacturer is Lindsay Cowles. The material is a stiff, thick, heavy non-woven like what we call a bridging liner. And to be honest, I’m not enjoying working with it. Hard to manipulate into corners and intricate moldings, and creases easily, among other misbehaviors. I’d much rather they would print on a more standard weight non-woven substrate.
This is a high-end brand, and the goods are sold by the yard and come packed in one huge, very heavy bolt, rather than several standard-sized rolls.

Hand Trimming Wallpaper

March 28, 2021

A lot of high-end wallpapers come with an unprinted selvedge edge that has to be trimmed off by hand before the paper can go up on the wall.

Hmmm … they charge you more because it’s a “designer brand.” But they give you less, because it takes a lot of time, precision, and razor blades to trim this off, when the company could have simply done it at their factory.

O.K., moving past that … To trim off the selvedge, I used my 6′ brass-bound straight edge and lots of new, sharp, single-edge razor blades. The “Trim” mark guides printed on the material by the manufacturer were pretty much on-target.

Thus the pattern on the trimmed strips matched up very nicely once pasted and hung on the wall.

William Morris “Fruit” in Historic 1885 Home

December 20, 2020

Moving from the entry to the adjoining dining room of the historic home in Houston mentioned in my two previous posts. This pattern by William Morris is called “Fruit,” and is true to the period in which the home was built.

I love the way the colors work with the wainscoting and also the picture rail around the top.

This pattern is less repetitive and the color is softer than the option used in the entry (see yesterday’s post), making it an easy-to-live-with choice for this large dining room.

The material is a traditional British pulp which you don’t see much these days, as most European manufacturers have moved to the newer non-woven substrates. I do like the pulps for their matt finish and tight adhesion to the wall. Although, they are brittle and tend to drag and tear when being cut, so they require some special handling.

This one also has a raised ink feature, which adds just a tad of texture. Look closely at the close-up shot.

This was purchased from FinestWallpaper.com, who has a large selection of Morris and also Voysey (another designer from that Arts & Crafts period) patterns. The home is in the Old Sixth Ward neighborhood in central inner-loop Houston.

Black & White Geometric Accent Wall in Katy Sewing Room

November 7, 2020

This homeowner in the Katy area of west Houston had recently retired, and was looking forward to spending a lot more time with her favorite hobby – sewing.

She chose this strong black and white geometric pattern to be an accent wall backdrop to the work she would be doing in her sewing room.

The wallpaper is by Designer Wallpapers. It is a non-woven material, and I hung it using the paste-the-wall process.

Since I don’t need my bulky pasting table for this job, in the top photo, you see me rolling the material out on the floor.

Old World Look for a Long Master Bedroom Accent Wall

September 27, 2020


Originally, the homeowner wasn’t “really” thinking about adding wallpaper to her master bedroom. But, in the back of her mind, she must have been “kinda” thinking about it, because, after I finished measuring several bathrooms in the home and was poised to leave, she hauled me into the bedroom and asked what could be done to create more of a haven.

I pulled out some samples of patterns I have hung in other homes, and she immediately zeroed in on this one. My sample was the navy blue colorway, but she grasped that wallpaper comes in different color options, and was able to envision this in a softer color to coordinate with the rest of the walls. (Note that that hot pink is a protective plastic sheet – not the color of the headboard!)

To me, the pattern looks like architectural details from old Roman ruins. The distant photos distort the design a bit, so please look at the close up to get a better idea.

Usually I will place a design like this in the middle of the wall. But in the case of this 18′ wide wall, the bed was not centered on the wall, nor was the chandelier. In addition, there curtains on either side of the wall that obscured the corners.

So I opted to center the circular design motif on the chandelier. This meant the bed had to be moved to the right … a whole 3″. This way, as you walk out of the master bathroom, you see the chandelier, the headboard, and the wallpaper design all synced up vertically.

The pattern doesn’t hit the wall uniformly on the right and left sides of the wall, but the drapes cover that. And, on a wall this wide with lots of furniture in front of it, who cares, anyway?!

The wallpaper is by Designer Wallpapers, one of my favorite companies, and was bought at Southwestern Paint. See link on the right for where to purchase wallpaper in Houston. This home is in Katy.

Swirls in Black on White in Master Bath Water Closet

June 28, 2020


Just about everything in this townhome is white. The master bath has white walls and woodwork, white cabinets and countertops, a white tub, and a white marble floor with wisps of soft grey.

This wallpaper continues the crisp clean look, but adds some contrast, dimension, and movement. In addition, the swirls are composed of dots about the size of a pencil eraser, and they are slightly raised, so the wallpaper actually has a bit of texture to it.

The wallpaper is on a non-woven substrate. With the characteristics of this material, you have the option of pasting the wall instead of the paper. But since bathrooms have more complicated spaces and access, it’s preferable to me to paste the paper.

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.

The home is in the Rice Village / West University Place area of Houston.

Yet Another Benefit from the COVID Lockdown …

April 12, 2020

I was working in the remodeled living room of a home out in the Memorial Villages (west Houston). I had the space to myself, even with a private water supply (wet bar). The family was in the rear of the house.

I had spent two days smoothing and priming the walls, and on Day 3 had set up my table, unrolled two bolts, and was plotting the layout of the wallpaper pattern.

The homeowner, who has been working from home, just happened to wander past at that time. (keeping 8′ distance) She noticed that the paper I had spread out on my table was not the same shade as the sample she and the designer had chosen.

Sure enough – the paper was the wrong pattern number – two digits off.

Whew! I had not cut anything yet. So there should be no problems in sending the material back and exchanging for the correct colorway.

So lucky the homeowner was there – or I would have had two walls up by the end of the day.

The issue now is, with the virus crisis, shipping is bollixed up, and so is manufacturing and warehousing. So it’s not certain when that replacement paper will be here.

Adjoining Hall Bathroom Gets Complimentary Wallpaper

December 23, 2019


Right next to the bedroom of my previous post is this hall bath. The homeowner chose a wallpaper with a pattern and color that compliment not just the tile and granite countertop in the bathroom, but also coordinates with the paper in the bedroom.

The paper was equally nice to work with. In addition, because it is paper (and not vinyl), it will stay nice and flat even if this bathroom sees bouts of humidity. It, like most papers, is not particularly stain-resistant. But the homeowners have already received my care “lecture,” and I’m sure they will keep fingers and glass cleaners and air fresheners away from the wallpaper.

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.