Posts Tagged ‘fireplace’

Shimmering Trees in Heights Entry, Historic Home

October 22, 2020

Built in 1895, this 4-square home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston recently underwent a renovation, so the rear area contains many modern aesthetics. The front areas, though, including this entry, are original to the home.

This wallpaper was chosen as a way to unite the classic spaces with the newer areas.

But also, the homeowners thought the all-white walls felt cold and impersonal, as well as blended in too much with the white fireplace.

This “Shimmering Foliage” pattern of gold and shadows on a white background met all the criteria!

The tree design leans traditional, but the metallic gold color and abstract print are what I call “sassed up” – just enough modern feel to blend with the newer areas in the rear of the house.

I particularly like the way the gold trees accentuate the gold filigree on the fireplace. The homeowners may use a light touch with metallic gold craft paint to highlight some of the carved wood even more.

Just the wall behind the fireplace was papered. Putting this bright, shiny paper on all four walls would have felt overwhelming.

The wallpaper is by York, one of my preferred brands, in their line by designer Antonina Vella. It’s a non-woven material, and can be hung by the paste-the-wall method. But I got better adhesion as well as flexibility by pasting the paper.

The interior designer is Stacie Cokinos of Cokinos Design.

Warming Heights Living Room With Faux Grasscloth

August 7, 2020


Top photo – you’re looking at a living room in a beautifully renovated 1910 home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston. The bottom 3/4 of the walls are clad in beautiful white board-and-batten paneling. I skim-floated (smoothed) the upper 2′ of wall space a few months ago – and, due to construction delays, the poor family has been living with these uninspiring grey walls ever since.

Today I was able to finally get their paper up on the wall. This is an embossed vinyl faux grasscloth product by York. It is good quality, and the close-up shot shows that it does a good job of mimicking real grasscloth in texture and design. Unlike real grasscloth, because this material is vinyl, it will be resistant to stains. And because it’s man-made, there won’t be the sharp color variations from strip to strip.

However, like real grasscloth, this particular product does not have a pattern match (some by other manufactures, like Thibaut, do have a pattern match). No pattern match means that you will see a visible pattern break at every seam, every 27″ apart.

The homeowner knew immediately that she would not be happy with that. So she suggested running the material horizontally instead of vertically (called “railroading”). The width of the wallpaper accommodated the height of the wall space wonderfully, and we had just enough yardage to cover each of the four wall areas without having to splice any paper.

Another benefit is that, with the “grass” in the design directed vertically, it correlated nicely with the vertical paneling below.

And … the room has special tiny LED lights running along the top of the wainscoting. When turned on, they light up the wallpaper in a beautiful way. If the texture had been running horizontally, those lights would cast some really disconcerting shadows. (Remember when you were a kid and held a flashlight under your chin?!)

The true colors don’t show up well in the photos. This material mixes strands of murky blue, navy, mossy green, and gold. These colors coordinate sooo nicely with the deep blue ceiling, the navy paint in the adjoining dining room, and the tiles in the era-accurate fireplace.

The wallpaper manufacturer is York. The interior designer is Stacie Cokinos of Cokinos Design. She works mainly in the Heights area, and mostly on new builds or whole-house renovations.

Candice Olson Goes Earthy In The Heights

May 1, 2020

Usually, you expect Candice Olson wallpaper designs to be full of glitz and shimmer and glamour. In both theme and sheen, this one is much more earthy.

This is the main living area of a beautifully and respectfully renovated 1895 home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston. Like most contemporary re-dos, the walls in this home are mostly white. The original-to-the-house fireplace was getting lost in that sea of white.

To the rescue comes this chocolate-brown wallpaper pattern with 3-D raised-ink impressions of Queen Ann’s Lace flowers. To keep with Candice Olson’s “glam” vibe, the stems are printed in gold ink. The dimensional quality of the ink syncs with today’s trend toward textured materials.

The dark hue really makes the fireplace stand out, yet the white flowers keep the look from being foreboding, and tie into the white used in the rest of the room.

I love the way the nature design and earthy color add an organic element to the room.

This wallpaper is made from a very sturdy non-woven material, which has a high fiberglass content. In fact, you could readily see the fibers, especially when the material was torn. Which was quite hard to do, because one selling point of the non-woven materials is their strength and durability.

These papers are made to stay intact and strip off the wall easily and in one piece, when it’s time to redecorate. They also do not expand when wet with paste, which means there is no booking time or delay between pasting and hanging. And your measurements will be accurate.

Non-wovens also offer the option to paste the wall instead of the paper. Although, in most circumstances, I prefer to paste the paper, for many reasons. Although this material is thick and stiff, it was not difficult to wrap it around the corner to the right in the photo.

The interior designer for this job is Stacie Cokinos, of Cokinos Design, and her jobs are mostly in the Heights area.

The wallpaper manufacturer is York.

Soft Pink Envelopes a Little Girl’s Room

August 27, 2019


I hung pink wallpaper in this little girl’s room and bathroom in the family’s Houston home a year or two ago, and they asked me to bring some more pink sweetness to the girl’s room in their country home outside of Chappell Hill, Texas.

This design is called “Yukutori” and is by Farrow & Ball. While a stronger design would work well on a single accent wall, this is a good pattern for putting on all four walls, because it’s soft and receding, and will be a good backdrop without stealing attention from furniture and artwork.

The slight orange-y tinge to the color works well with the red brick fireplace and chimney.

This paper is by Farrow & Ball, a British company.

I am disappointed in the quality of their paper, especially for the price the homeowners paid. I’ll talk more about this in later posts, which will include photos.

For now, enjoy the sweet look of this little girl’s bedroom in the country.

Calming Faux Grasscloth on a TV / Fireplace Accent Wall

October 16, 2018


If you’ve read this blog for long, or if you’ve read my informative page on grasscloth to the right, you know that I am not a fan of this material. So when clients want texture and an earthy, organic feel, I suggest some alternatives.

One of my favorite alternatives to real grasscloth is this textured vinyl product, called Bankun Raffia, made by Thibaut. It has none of the visible seams, shading, paneling, or color variations of the real stuff. What’s more, it is strong and durable, just about tear- and water-proof, and it is stain resistant.

The homeowner wisely chose this product to use as two panels flanking the fireplace wall (which is also the TV wall). The faux grasscloth adds warmth and texture and subtle color. It will hold up well against daily use, and it will be easy to remove when they are ready to redecorate.

Dining in the Meadow

August 26, 2018


Such a beautiful pattern really transformed this dining room in the Highland Village area of Houston.

The homeowner started out wanting the whole dining room papered, but the material (by Peter Fasano, called “Meadow”) is crazy expensive. So she toyed with the idea of papering just the fireplace wall. Then she decided to paper that fireplace wall, and also the mirror-image fireplace wall in the living room directly across the hallway.

But as we approached the install date, she decided that she wouldn’t be completely happy unless she had what she really wanted, which was her original vision for the room – all four walls.

Now she’s crazy happy. And her husband is happy, too – he likes the wallpapered look so much that he is ready to do another room. 🙂

From my point of view, this is one of the nicest papers I’ve ever worked with. It had to be hand-trimmed to remove the unprinted selvedge, and the trim marks were spot-on. The paper took the adhesive well, and it was easy to smooth into place. It would stretch when needed, and wrinkles of excess paper could be eliminated, which helped a lot when accommodating for unplumb walls. There was minimal shrinking as it dried. It is thin and hugs the wall tightly, and was easy to turn corners.

The design is a soft black line drawing on a slightly off-white pearlized background.

A Beautiful Faux Grasscloth Sets Off a Fireplace Wall

February 9, 2018


This homeowner wanted something to set off the beautiful stone in her fireplace mantel, and to accent colors she has used elsewhere in the home. She was originally thinking of grasscloth, but I told her of the many problems with visible seams, staining, bleeding, and color variations (see the Grasscloth Info Pack link on the right side of this page), and she opted to go with this faux vinyl grass product instead. What a wonderful choice!

This embossed vinyl product has the look and texture of a woven grasscloth product, but it has a uniform color, and the seams are invisible. It is water and stain resistant, and durable to the point of being nearly indestructible.

It looks mighty nice on her fireplace wall, too.

This wallpaper pattern is called Bankun Raffia, and is made 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.

Blue & White Medallion Brightens a Newly Remodeled Kitchen

August 26, 2016

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The walls in this newly updated kitchen in a condo in the Houston Heights were new and white. I spent a couple hours priming and putting the paper up, and was focused on what I was doing. When I finished and started to pack up my gear, I looked at the wall and said – Wow!

I couldn’t believe how much brighter the wallpaper made the room look! It’s funny how that works.

Another cool thing is that I centered the pattern on the dining room wall, so it would line up with the chandelier. But as I worked my way to the left, the pattern fell smack centered on the sink and faucet. (Well, O.K., if you look hard, it’s off a smidgen – but that’s pretty good for an unplanned happenstance.)

A couple years ago, I hung this same paper in the adjoining living room, on a fireplace accent wall. The homeowner made a wise choice to use the same paper in the dining room and the kitchen (one long wall), because it ties the areas together, but does not overwhelm with too much pattern.

This wallpaper is by Thibaut, had to be hand-pasted, and went up very nicely.

Shimmery, Sparkly Glass Bead Wallpaper

November 12, 2015

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These days, for lots of people, it’s all about glitz and bling. Well, how about a little bling for your walls?! Wallpaper decorated with glass beads, which catch and reflect the light, are all the rage right now.

Yes, real glass beads, a little larger than grains of sand, are embedded onto the wallpaper substrate in this example, in a medallion motif. Many companies make shiny, glittery wallpapers, using various techniques. But this product, by Ronald Redding, of York Wallcoverings, is the real deal.

I have to admit, this wallpaper is more difficult to work with than I had expected, and it is taking an extra day to finish this relatively small, but cut-up and complicated eating area in a new home in Oak Forest, Houston.

The material is thick and stiff and unmalleable, and it’s hard to get it to fit snugly into corners, such as at the ceiling and moldings, and particularly the rounded curves around the fireplace mantel.  And cutting through those pretty glass beads with a trimming blade is the Devil!

Those beads just love to come lose and fall all over the floor, mess with the surface of my work table, contaminate my paste, and, yes, stray onto the back of the wallpaper, creating a very visible bump under the shiny paper.  Removing them is very tenuous, first because they are miniscule and difficult to track down, but also because peeling the paper away from the wall is prone to cause creases or mar the surface.

Also, because it’s a thick and stiff non-woven material, the seams are always going to show more than with a regular wallpaper (last photo).

The going may be low, but room is “waking up” more and more as each wall takes on a cloak of the shimmery wallpaper. With windows on three walls, there will always be light coming at just the right angle to illuminate those pretty glass beads!

Purple Grasscloth in a Family Room

October 10, 2015

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Well, it’s more of a plum than a purple, but it’s a beautiful color, and it shook the room – and the whole house – out of its monochromatic nap and into a cheery and energized state – perfect for a busy family with two pre-school children.

The wall started out painted a deep chocolate brown. It was “nice,” but “not enough.” This richly colored grasscloth in a plum hue injected a whole ‘nother stage of color and emotion. It is by Schumacher, and I hung it on a feature wall (fireplace wall) in a newish home in the Houston Heights. The last picture shows a close-up of the beautiful and warm texture of the product.

Note that grasscloth has no pattern and cannot be matched at the seams, so the seams will always be visible to some degree. You can also expect color differences between strips – even those that come off the same roll of wallpaper.

These slight variations in color and texture are considered to be part of the “inherent beauty of this natural product,” and are expected and appreciated with grasscloth jobs.

The interior designer for this job is Pamela O’Brien, of Pamela Hope Designs, in Houston.