Posts Tagged ‘dining room’

Blue Faux Woven Grasscloth In A New Home’s Dining Room

February 20, 2018


This homeowner was originally considering grasscloth for the dining room in her home in a new subdivision in Cypress, in far northwest Houston. I sent her my “info pack” showing the visible seams, color variations, staining, bleeding, and other problems inherent to a natural material like grasscloth (see the grasscloth link on the right side of this page). She quickly realized that she would not be happy with the look of real grasscloth.

Instead, she chose this faux product made of embossed vinyl. This ‘woven look’ pattern has the texture that people love, and the different shades of blue add depth. This paper has become quite popular, and is available in about 30 colors. The homeowner was able to find this beautiful cloudy blue, which coordinated beautifully with furnishings and accents in her home.

One option for this dining room was to paper just the top 2/3 of the walls, and then leave the part below the chair rail painted. As you can see in the second photo, this look was a little lifeless. Once paper was added to the bottom area below the chair rail, the room began to feel snug and inviting.

This wallpaper is called Bankun Raffia, and is one of my favorite alternatives to real grasscloth. The seams are invisible. There is no shading or color variation between strips. It’s extremely durable, and is also water- and stain-resistant. It’s one of the few wallpapers that is a good choice for bathrooms or areas where it might be splashed by water or touched by grimy hands.

This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, and 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.

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Improper Prep Leads to Failed Wallpaper Job

February 7, 2018


The new homeowners bought an adorable 1920’s home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston, and inherited a dining room with a beautiful wallpaper pattern – that unfortunately had not been hung properly. The wallpaper was curling at the seams, peeling away, and literally falling off the wall. It is taking chunks of a white substance along with it.

It’s hard to determine exactly what is causing the failure, but the first issue is that the underlying wallpaper was not removed. Since wallpaper has an acrylic coating, it does not provide a secure foundation for the new paper to adhere to. In some cases, it’s not possible to remove the old paper, and then the seams should be floated over, and the old paper should be primed so it will have a surface that the new paper can grab ahold of.

Here, it looks like the walls were either not primed at all, or were primed with a flat wall paint. Some of that paint is letting go of the old wallpaper and pulling away from the wall, which allows the new paper to fall off.

Ideally, that striped ’90’s paper should be stripped off, along with any other layers of paper underneath. But it looks like some of the underlying paper was floated over, and that makes it particularly difficult to remove.

I suspect there are other issues going on, so it will take some time and exploration to decide what will be the proper approach for removing the beige paper and then prepping the walls, before the new homeowners’ new paper can go up.

Starburst Medallion in a Heights Dining Room

February 2, 2018


This dining room with four large windows in the Houston Heights was not dark to begin with, but once the white paper with its metallic starburst medallion went up, the room really became BRIGHT!

This wallpaper is printed on a non-woven substrate and was intended to be a paste-the-wall application. But I found that pasting the paper worked better. The manufacturer is Thibaut.

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.

Faux Grasscloth on an Accent Wall in a Dining Room

June 30, 2017

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This retired couple near the Montrose neighborhood of Houston wanted to update their 15-year old house by adding a textured wallpaper to one wall in their dining room. Originally, they were considering grasscloth.

Luckily, they listened to my “lecture” about grasscloth – the disappointing visible seams, color variations, shading, paneling – and attractiveness to cats who like to scratch. Instead of grasscloth, they chose this alternative.

This product is surfaced with stringcloth (real vertical string fibers), so it has a tangible texture. But because it has a printed grass-like design, the pattern can be matched from strip to strip, so you never see the seams. In addition, the color is uniform so you don’t have the shading and paneling problems so prevalent with real grasscloth.

And, to top it off, the paper is lovely to work with, and will hold up for many years to come.

This wallpaper pattern is by Wallquest, in their “Grass Effects” book, and 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.

Beautiful Custom Mural in River Oaks Dining Room

June 7, 2017

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This beautiful mural was custom-sized to fit the walls in this dining room in River Oaks (Houston). The house was built in 1940, and this is the style of mural that was fashionable at that time, in well-to-do homes in that neighborhood. It still is perfectly suited for today!

My friend Theron Moore, of WallWorks, hung this mural.

Candice Olson Wallpaper in a Home Office

April 12, 2017

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This home in the far west end of Spring Branch (Houston) has the typical 60’s era ranch-style home floor plan. But the passage between the dining room and the kitchen had been walled over. Plus, the new homeowner wanted a home office. So she decided to turn the former dining room into her office.

The bottom wainscoting is painted deep navy blue. This “ink blot” pattern by Candicd Olson for York Wallcoverings is a bold and daring, but very well-suited, choice. The homeowner love it.

Once this went up in the home office, she looked at the adjoining living room with it’s painted walls and said, “I think I need wallpaper in here, too – this room is starting to look pretty blahhh.”

One photo shows my first strip centered on the wall. This makes a nice backdrop for the sofa, and other furnishings that will be moved into the room later.

This wallpaper pattern is by York Wallcoverings, and 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.

Wallpaper In Better Homes & Gardens Once Again

April 4, 2017

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I am always tickled to see wallpaper featured in national magazines. It draws a lot of attention to the many faces of wallcoverings, and entices more people to use them. These photos are from the April 2017 issue of Better Homes & Gardens.

Sigourney by Quadrille, in a powder room. Interestingly enough, I have this same pattern coming up, but in a softer tan color, in a dining room, in a few weeks.

Daydream by Hygge & West. This a well-loved pattern, and I have hung it several times, in many colors. Interestingly enough, I have it coming up, also, in a few weeks, for a baby’s nursery accent wall.

A yellow ikat trellis by Thibaut. Interestingly enough, I hung this same pattern, but in aqua, with a complimentary leopard print companion paper, in a powder room a few months ago.

Navy blue grasscloth in a dining room, above the white wainscoting. The strips in this photo are narrow, and do not show the visible seams and possible color variations (shading, paneling) that are common with many grasscloths.

An over-sized floral of cabbage roses on a smoky black background. I have not hung this one yet, but many of my colleagues across the country have. It’s a popular look. The overscaled size of this pattern, and the dramatic color contrasts, make it a daring choice for a small room like this powder room.

A wildly and brightly colored geometric pattern for a children’s play room. This is a little similar to what is in the background of the twins’ room on the TV show Blackish.

A pattern reminiscent of tropical thatched roofs. This is reminiscent of a similar pattern I put in a “tree house” home office a few months ago. (Search on my blog to see pics of the full project.)

A mural of misty mountain fog. I totally love this mural. Murals have taken on a whole new look these days, leaving behind the old scenes of palm trees leaning over tropical white sand beaches, and bringing us to much more modern and innovative vignettes.

More murals, including an impressionistic floral in bright colors (I have done two in the similar theme – do a Search on my blog), and an updated beach scene. (Note the current trend among manufacturers / vendors to not go to the trouble to hang the paper on the wall, but to instead run a clothes line across the wall and use clothes pins to “artfully” string up the rolls of wallpaper, letting them drop loosely to the floor. This method is easy / inexpensive for the vendor to do, and it looks oh-so-cool- but it prevents the shopper from seeing what the product would look like attached firmly to a smooth surface.)

The final mural is a tropical forest scene. This has been a popular mural scene / theme for decades. But this version is printed on better quality paper, and the photo image has much more detail, depth of color, texture, etc.

Many of these murals can be custom-made, to fit the dimensions of your wall / room. Measuring is tricky, so be sure to contact your wallcovering installer BEFORE you order the mural or wallpaper.

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.

Shiny, Shimmery, Sexy Silver Cork in a Laundry Room

January 19, 2017
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This wallpaper is composed of thin slices of real cork on a paper backing, frosted with a delicious silver metallic ink. Women love this dazzling paper, and I have hung it a bunch of times, in powder rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, and more, in several different color incarnations. In this home, the husband loves it as much as the wife! I hung it in a laundry room of a beautifully renovated home in the Runnels Creek neighborhood of far west Houston.

It is by Thibaut Designs, pattern #839-T-7047, and was bought at a below retail price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. A fellow Wallcovering Installers Association member hung an identical paper today, but it was by Scalmandre – I’ll bet his client paid a whole lot more for that high-end designer’s name.

Reach Dorota at (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.