Posts Tagged ‘dining room’

Do Bubbles Mean Trouble?

May 20, 2019

The walls in this dining room in a historic house in the Houston Heights had received many coats of paint over its 100 years. The latest was a coat of what appeared to be flat latex paint. Since this is not a suitable surface for wallpaper, I applied a wallpaper-specific primer.

I was surprised to see that, a few minutes after I rolled on my water-based wallpaper primer, blisters appeared.

I thought they would disappear as the primer dried, but they did not.

Obviously, the moisture in the primer was soaking into some of the layers below it, and causing something to expand and “off-gas”, which created the bubbles.

I switched from my wallpaper primer to a penetrating sealer called Gardz (also water-based) – and the same thing happened. (The Gardz dried so glossy that I feared the wallpaper would not stick to it, so I went back to my original Ultra Prime by Roman’s.)

Once the primer was good and dry, I used a stiff putty knife to knock off the high points of the blisters. The areas were not perfectly smooth, but they were OK for use under this particular wallpaper.

I’m doing some research, and am hoping to gain insight as to why this blistering happened, so I’ll know how to prevent it in the future.

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A Little Dazzle in the Dining Room

May 16, 2019


This is the same glam-heavy home as in yesterday’s post. Here we are, looking at an accent wall in the dining room, covered with a shimmery, metallic grasscloth superimposed with a silver metallic vertical stacked circle geometric design. The photos don’t do this paper justice – there is a lot of sparkle and sheen!

A mirrored buffet console will be placed in the center of this wall. Boy, will that set off the look!

I was pretty pleased with this product. It had virtually none of the paneling and shading and color variation problems that are common with most grasscloth wallpapers. It turned both vertical and horizontal outside corners well, and was easier to trim than most grasscloths.

I was NOT as pleased, however, with the support brackets and valance for the sliding barn door. Because they hold a whole lot of weight (just like big-screen TV’s) and are mounted deep into the wall studs, it’s often best to not remove or jack around with them. From the photo, you can’t see how complicated it is, but let’s just say that it took me TWO HOURS to hang just the one 3′ wide strip of paper over the door that went above, below, and around the various brackets, screws, and various pieces of metal that comprise the mounting mechanism. In the end, though, we got ‘er done, and it looks great.

This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, in the Anna French line, 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.

A Fun Backdrop Wallpaper for Artwork

May 2, 2019


This young family in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston ownes a lot of contemporary artwork. They wanted to brighten and enliven their ochre-colored dining room, while providing a suitable background that would not obscure their paintings.

This paintbrush-stroke gold rose petal design on a white background does that perfectly.

This pattern is from Anthropologie and is by York, in their SureStrip line, which is designed to strip off the wall easily when it’s time to redecorate. It’s a thin pre-pasted product, and goes up nicely, hugs the wall tightly, and the seams are nearly invisible.

What’s extra cool is that this design is very similar to the popular “Petal Pusher” by Hygge & West … but that company’s papers have the unfortunate problem of curling at the seams. (Do a Search here with key words to read my experiences.) I am tickled to know that there is an alternative that is much more cooperative and satisfactory.

Leopard Spots Across a Heights Dining Room

April 27, 2019


The original incarnation of this dining room in a nicely renovated bungalow in the Heights neighborhood of Houston, with its medium-grey walls (the first photo shows the room after I applied my white wallpaper primer), was classic and bordered on elegant. But that look did not suit this young couple.

They wanted something more youthful and fun, and also a background that would set off their collection of “somewhat wild and colorful” artwork.

Thibaut’s ‘Tanzania’ wallpaper pattern in chocolate brown on a very light tan background fills the bill perfectly. Note how the dark ceiling plays off the walls.

Two Pretty Blues Today

April 25, 2019


Another “all white” house gets a little personality and definition from a light dose of color and pattern. What a pleasant change!

The first three photos are Scalamandre’s “Balinese Peacock.” It came with a selvedge edge that had to be hand-trimmed off with a razor blade and a 6′ straight edge.

The last two photos are a fun elongated triangle floral stripe by Schumacher. My “after” sink photo didn’t come through, unfortunately, but the other pictures will give you an idea of the pattern.

Even though these papers are by two different manufacturers, the blue color is identical. It’s a lot brighter and prettier than my crummy camera depicts. The blue picks up hints of blue that the homeowner has in her living room (throw pillows) and in the dining room (navy blue paint above the wainscoting).

The peacock went in a small bar area off the living room, and the foliage stripe went in the under-the-stairs powder room that is right off the bar. The home is in the West University neighborhood of Houston.

More Timorous Beasties – Indie Wood, Mislabeled and Correct Versions

April 19, 2019


The top photo shows the wallpaper sample the client had received and made her selection from. She had taped it to the wall in the dining room, to designate which paper was to go there. It’s an overall foliage pattern with realistic delicate birds and insects, and a pattern that matches across the seam from strip to strip.

But when I opened the shipping box, the paper that we received was a very large and bold non-repeating vertical stripe. There were large forest creatures and plants drawn in a whimsical style. The design did not cross the seams, so there was no pattern match.

Obviously, the sample the homeowner had received was not the same as what we had received.

Happily, the wild and bold forest scene is what she wanted.

Like yesterday’s pattern by the same manufacturer, this is one long mural-like design that runs through the entire 33′ long bolt without any element or motif being repeated. The pattern does not cross the seam, so there is no match – you are free to place any element of the design at any position on the wall you wish.

Of course, you want to make sure not to place the same squirrel, for example, at the same wall height on every strip, and especially not on two strips next to each other.

This will be a bit of a mind-bender to plot and lay out, and will take up a lot of space on the floor while I roll out all the bolts to get a good look at the pattern.

I’m looking forward to this challenge. Plus, the beautifully-drawn pictures and the fairy tale-like feel of the design are mesmerizing, juxtaposed with the strong pattern color and width and the swirling vertical movement. I can’t wait to see how it transforms this dining room.

More in a day or two … !!

Timorous Beasties Ruskin Floral – A Trying Pattern Match

April 18, 2019


Timorous Beasties makes some unusual wallpapers, with most of them including animals or insects in the design. It’s cool stuff!

This particular pattern, called Ruskin Floral, was more than a bit of a challenge to plot and hang. The manufacturer said there was no pattern match, but just a subtle impression in the textured background that could be matched if you wanted to, but was not necessary. They also said that this pattern match came at something like every 56″. And that it was a quarter-drop match (pattern motif repeats at the same height in the strip every fourth strip).

All of this info was wrong. It turned out that the tree branches in the design did match across the seams. And the pattern repeat was more like 36″, instead of 56″. And, yes, you could have matched the design as a quarter-drop – but it looked better as a traditional half-drop (repeats every other strip).

But what was most unexpected was that the design had these areas of darker foliage that appeared mid-way through the bolt. In every photo that I saw on the manufacturer’s website or on-line, only the picture of the sparse tree branches was pictured (what you see at the top of the wall in the top photo). Even though I rolled out several feet of each bolt on the floor, I had no idea that there was this other area of colorful and full foliage and insects, which you see at the bottom of the wall in the top photo.

I plotted and got my first strip in the center of the wall, and then pinned the second strip next to it. Once I stood back, I was able to see that the foliage got darker and fuller as it dropped closer to the floor. I had not anticipated that.

With 13′ high walls and 13′ long strips, and 33′ on each bolt of paper, there were 20′ more feet (one more strip) left on each of those two first bolts.

But when I pulled more paper from the bolt and pinned it temporarily to the wall, matching the background tree branch motifs, this new strip, which had started from the middle of the first bolt (the first 1/3 of the bolt was now on the wall), was full of colorful foliage – which did not meld well with the sparser tree branch area on the first two strips that were now on the wall.

If I hung this new strip next to the two existing strips in the center of the wall, I would have had two sparse tree branch areas in the center, and then a stripe of darker, fuller foliage directly horizontal to it.

At first, I was going to go this route, because it made the best use of the number of rolls we had (two strips from each double roll). I planned to put two strips of darker foliage next to the two strips of lighter tree branches.

I also contemplated taking off the two center strips (the ones with lightly leafed foliage) and replacing them with ones that had more color and fullness. But I realized that if all the pictures I had seen of this pattern showed the sparse areas, then that’s what the homeowner had seen, too, and she probably was not expecting to see the very dark and full and busy heavily-patterned area, especially not at the top center of her accent wall.

Even more compelling – we didn’t have enough paper for me to rip off and discard two 13′ high strips.

I spent about an hour and a half contemplating various possible options.

Just then, the interior designer walked in – and she was just in time. Two sets of eyes are better than one. By then, I had a number of strips pinned to the wall, to see how the pattern could be played out. She didn’t like my idea of hanging two sparse strips, flanked by two heavily pattered strips – she thought it looked top-heavy, especially over the windows.

We fiddled some more, knocked around various options, and finally concluded that, even though the bed would be obscuring much of the fuller pattern, the wall looked better with the sparse area up high, and the fuller floral area near the floor.

I studied the 33′ long bolt I had rolled out on the floor, with the lighter area at the top, the fuller area in the center, and then tapering off to a lighter area toward the end of the bolt. Our decision meant that I could get only one strip of paper out of each double roll bolt.

The problem with that was that I needed 10 strips, but only had 8 bolts. We’ll come back to that in a minute.

The next issue was that quarter-drop pattern repeat. And that sloped ceiling, which also effected the way the pattern hit the wall. If I used the paper the most economically, and matched the first tree branches as they came off the roll, then that quarter-drop pattern match would have started marching diagonally up and across the wall, and then dropped down again, 7′ to the right. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s a look that would play out better on a larger space, such as a full dining room, not one accent wall in a bedroom.

(Quarter-drop pattern matches are very hard to get one’s head around, and way more than I can get into here, but suffice it to say – they lead to a lot of head scratching and a whole lot of wasted paper.)

After more fiddling, I realized that the pattern was printed on each bolt exactly the same; in other words, the design was more like a mural. With one strip per bolt, the design was played out across alternating “A” and “B” bolts. If I ignored the sloping ceiling and cut each strip to the full height of 13,’ I could ensure that specific flowers in the darker area near the floor would hit the wall at the same height, lending a homogenous and pleasing rhythm to the pattern.

Problem solved!

But now we get back to the wall that needs 10 strips, but we only have 8 bolts of paper (one strip per bolt).

In the top photo, all the paper has been hung except that last strip to the left of the window. (There is a mirror image on the right side of the wall.) That area was about 9′ high. Since I had already taken approximately 13′ off each 33′ long bolt, I had about 20′ still left. But since that started in the center of the bolt, it was an area full of the heavier colored and printed pattern. Even though the pattern of the tree branches would match, I didn’t want to place that darker strip next to the lighter strips already on the wall. It might have looked interesting, as a sort of darker “frame” for the outer edges of the wall – but, like the interior designer, I thought it would look too dark and heavy and lopsided.

I remembered that the pattern thinned out again as it moved toward the bottom of the bolt. So I unrolled the paper down to the bottom, and then, working from the bottom instead of the top, I found the pattern match that corresponded to what was on the wall, and cut it to fit the height of the wall.

Trimmed and put in place, it looked pretty darned good. This piece (and it’s twin on the opposite side of the wall) didn’t have nearly as much dark foliage at the bottom as the other strips. At first I was going to cut some flowers out of scrap paper and appliqué them to fill in the void areas. But I realized that was getting kinda obsessive over something that few people would even notice.

It was just a 12″ wide strip, and there will most likely be furniture in front of it, and we were able to get by without having to buy two extra double rolls (which would have been different runs (see previous posts).

Getting this wall with a tricky pattern match to look good was a mix of luck, skill, mathematics, and having purchased enough paper. Always buy more paper than you think you will need.

The interior designer is Stacie Cokinos of Cokinos Design, and the home is in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston.

Anthropologie Gem Stones on Dining Room Accent Wall

April 11, 2019

Talk about going from boring to bold! The homeowner likes geology, didn’t like the boring beige walls, and wanted to pull in some blue to this dining room, because she has dark blue accents in the adjoining living room. What a great choice this paper is!

The paper is by York, in the Antonia Vella line, and was bought through Anthropologie – but it is available via regular wallpaper retailers, too, like my favorite source (see page at right).

This homeowner purchased her paper before I came out to measure and, like many people unfamiliar with measuring for wallpaper, she ordered too little. So I had her order one more double roll… which, even though she requested the same run of #58, they sent run #88. I ended up needing that additional bolt for just the two short strips over the window, so the color difference between the two runs was not really very noticeable.

The dimensions in this room relative to the dimensions of the wallpaper were amazing. Because the two walls on either side of the window were symmetrical, and because the homeowners had a buffet and a china cabinet centered on each wall, I wanted to center the pattern in the middle of each wall. This meant that as the strips of paper met over the window, there would be a pattern mis-match. But since it was only 10″ high, and since the pattern was so wild, I figured I could disguise the mis-match fairly well.

What’s cool is, each of those wall spaces turned out to be just a tad less than the width of three strips of wallpaper (27″). So when I centered the first strip, and then hung one more on either side of it, only about 3/4″ needed to be trimmed off each side – and the pattern remained virtually intact. Meaning that none of the swoopy lines got chopped off vertically.

And then, as I was bringing the two pieces over the window together in the center of the window, it turned out that the width of the window was amazingly just a smidgen less than the width of the two strips of wallpaper. So when the two strips met in the middle, there wasn’t much of a pattern mis-match at all. Only about an inch of paper was lost, and the pattern was not disrupted visually much at all.

I don’t think I’ve ever hung wallpaper on a wall where the dimensions worked out so miraculously perfectly.

This home is in the Timbergrove neighborhood of Houston.

More Wallpaper from BH&G April 2019 Issue

April 7, 2019


The top photo is a look from a 1972 issue; these days, both geometrics and metallics / Mylars are popular. The second photo is also a throwback to late Mid Century Modern – terrazzo, like so many ’50’s and ’70’s homes had on their floor, but this look-alike is wallpaper. Third photo shows wallpaper framed in panels and hung on either side of an entry to a dining room.

You might have to look closely to see the pattern in the last photo, because it’s soft and faint. Everyone (including me) calls this “the blowfish,” but it’s really called “Aquario” and is by Cole & Son. I’ve hung it a number of times, in several colors, mostly on a more dramatic dark background, in small powder rooms, where you can get away with a lot of drama. This pale colorway is much easier to live with when the pattern is on all the walls of a large room.

“Indian Flower” by Jasper Wallcoverings, Hand Trimmed Goods

April 5, 2019


The selvedge edge of this wallpaper had to be trimmed off by hand, using a paperhanger’s straightedge and a razor blade.

Once that was done, the paper could be pasted, booked, and hung, just like any pre-trimmed paper.

The manufacturer is Jasper, and the pattern is called Indian Flower. I hung it in the dining room of a home in the rapidly-developing area off the Grand Parkway and Birnham Woods, in the Spring area of Houston.