Posts Tagged ‘downtown’

From Humid Houston to the Sunny Shores of the Mediterranean

August 22, 2018


If you’re stuck in the city but long for the warm shores of an exotic land, what do you do? How about using a scenic wallpaper mural to fool the eye into believing you’re in Paradise?

I hung this on a wall in a garage in inside-the-Loop Houston near Montrose and downtown. It will be surrounded by automobiles, bicycles, lawn equipment, and all manner of “garage stuff” – but, boy – what a view! The homeowners plan to have a big party later this year, and will use the decorated garage as an extended dining area.

This is the typical, old-school, 8-panel photo mural that has been popular for decades. After the “palm trees swaying over a tropical white sand beach” scene, Mediterranean themes like this are the most popular. But these days, you can get just about anything, even custom made from your own photos, and sized to fit your wall.

Most of these murals are 12′ wide by 9′ high, but this one was 13′ 8″ wide by 8′ 3″ high. It was smaller than the wall all-around, so I placed it more or less in the center, and also balanced on the stairs to the left (not pictured).

The mural comes in eight panels, and is hung with four panels across the top, and four across the bottom. Unlike regular wallpaper, where the seams are butted, these seams are overlapped by about 1/4″. The top photo shows just four of the panels (two top and two bottom), rolled up and laid out on the floor. It’s essential to plot and double-check like this, before you grab pieces and paste them and go to stick them to the wall.

These murals are printed on a somewhat flimsy, plain paper type material. They come with special powdered cellulose paste. I’ve always used the provided paste with these murals. But since this was going in a garage and would be exposed to heat and humidity, I wanted something a bit stronger. The instructions mentioned that, alternately, a traditional pre-mixed wallpaper adhesive could be used. So I used my go-to, Sure Stick Dynamite 780 paste.

The 780 is not as liquid as the cellulose, so it wetted-out the material differently from what I was accustomed to. It is also more aggressive, so it was a bit harder to unfold the booked sheets; too much tugging could cause the delicate paper to tear.

The cellulose paste always causes bubbling. (These disappear as the mural dries. But, still, they are unsettling.) I was happy that the pre-mixed paste did not produce any bubbles, and also allowed the paper to be more stable, with fewer wrinkles and waves. The paper did expand once it got wet with the paste, as much as a full inch per panel, so even with the 1/4″ overlap at seams, it ended up being nearly 14′ wide.

This is a paper mural, and not very durable. The homeowners plan to use a sealant, or perhaps will cover it with huge sheets of Plexiglas, to protect it. How it holds up in the humidity and heat of Houston remains to be seen. They had a similar mural (different scene) up for close to 10 years. I didn’t hang it originally, but I did some touch up and repaste a few years ago. Eventually, though, it succumbed to the elements and had to be removed. This time around, I’m hoping that my use of a wallpaper primer, along with a stronger paste, will help keep the mural nice and tight to the wall for many years to come.

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Basket Weave Wallpaper Pattern on a Bedroom Accent Wall

August 14, 2018

For this accent / feature wall of Grandma’s bedroom in a very contemporary new home in the West U. area of Houston, the homeowner wanted something fun but not too edgy (Grandma’s gonna sleep in there, after all! 🙂 ). Plus she wanted to pull in colors from other rooms, particularly navy blue, as well as coordinate with the tufted headboard (grey) and upholstered bench (navy). And a little Asian flavor wouldn’t hurt.

Here’s a pattern that fills the bill! The hatch design is reminiscent of a woven bamboo mat. The navy background coordinates with the bench, as well as fabrics in other rooms of the house, and the grey and silver accents work perfectly with the tufted headboard. The design is contemporary, but not overwhelmingly so. Its surface is vinyl, but it has a velvet-like feel, and I believe it will help absorb sound, too.

The homeowner took my recommendation and visited Dorota (read below), who helped her track down this perfect fit!

The material is non-woven, and I hung it using the paste-the-wall technique. The backing and edges of this dark paper were white, so I ran a chalk pastel crayon along them to disguise the light color.

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.

Most of the furniture and accessories are from High Fashion Home near downtown Houston.

The Perfect Pattern for a Lady’s Bathroom

October 5, 2017

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I love this artist’s-swath-of-ink-hand-drawn-design of lovely ladies for a single gal’s private bathroom. It goes nicely with the white and minimalist theme of this contemporary style townhome in the Midtown area just south of downtown Houston.

Even though the design has lots of movement, it does not feel busy, because the palette is limited to black and white.

This pattern is by York, in their Sure Strip line, which is designed to strip off the wall easily and with no damage to the wall when its time to redecorate. But don’t worry – it will stick nice and tight in the interim.

The wallpaper 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 for a Guy – and for a Skyline

May 27, 2016
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The homeowner bought this townhouse just east of downtown because of the incredible view of the Houston skyline. He especially likes the way the buildings sparkle at night.

He chose this dark brown grasscloth with lots of glitter because it accentuates the view out his bedroom window.

The grasscloth is by Phillip Jeffries, and has a masculine, tailored look. I hung it on one accent wall – the wall behind the headboard. It was nice to work with, and will hold up nicely in this bedroom. (Grasscloth is not a good choice in rooms that have water or see a lot of traffic.)

Beautiful British Birds & Foliage in a Powder Room

March 24, 2016
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I have hung this pattern a couple of times before, and I have to say, it is one of my all-time favorites. The idea of this pattern dates back to the 1800’s, so it is very historic and classic. It is by a British manufacturer, and one of the homeowners is from England, where they pretty well “wallpaper everything” – and generally in flowery prints – so this bird-and-foliage pattern felt like home to her.

She got a good deal on it, too. Bought new, this paper is about $150 a double roll. Well, she stumbled upon an unopened bolt at an art store for a steal, and snatched it up. Once I got to the house and measured, though, it was clear that she would need more paper. Once again, she got lucky, by finding two more bolts on ebay for a price way below retail.

Unfortunately, the run number of the original paper did not match the run number of the new ebay paper, so we had the potential for color variations between strips. Also, the room really should have had four bolts, not the three we had.

But I measured the walls carefully, counted how many strips would be needed, figured where I would be able to fudge on the pattern, and then rolled out the paper to see how we would do. It turned out that this homeowner was, once again, lucky, because the baseboard and crown molding in the room reduced the wall height from 8′ to 7′ – and that was just enough to allow me to get four strips of paper from each bolt, instead of the usual three.

There was just enough paper to do the room, and I was able to keep the different runs on separate walls, so there were no eye-jarring color variations between strips. We ended up with, literally, about 2′ of paper left over. Whew!

This wallpaper is by Cole & Son, a British company, and is printed on a traditional pulp substrate, different from the non-woven material that they are using these days for much of their paper. Pulp papers do not have a protective coatings so they will look wet if they get splashed by water. They also will not stand up to stains or spills of any kind, and you have to be careful not to touch the paper when reaching for a light switch, or the paper may discolor from oils in your hands.

That said, I love the pulps, because the colors and inks and matt finish are unique and beautiful. They lie flat on your wall and don’t have issues with curling at the seams or delaminating like vinyl papers sometimes do.

I hung this in the powder room of a 1930’s home in Riverside (near downtown Houston).  Most everything in the home (floors, tile, sinks, faucets, windows, doors, doorknobs, stairway’s iron railing, telephone nook, stained glass windows, Art Deco features, on and on) are original to the home, and are in perfect condition.  The home even has plaster walls!   These elements are reveared and will be preserved by the homeowners.    It was a real honor to work there.

Daydreaming in a Baby’s Nursery Bathroom

October 23, 2015
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What a cheery bathroom, for a coming-tomorrow baby girl! This pattern is called “Daydream,” and is by Hygge & West, and can be bought on line.

The home is in the Museum District near downtown Houston.