Posts Tagged ‘flood’

Jungle Dreams in a West Houston Powder Room

December 22, 2018


This home in the Briarpark neighborhood of West Houston was damaged in the flood from Hurricane Harvey. During the rebuild, the young homeowners did a major update, and now you would never guess the house dates to the ’70’s.

The powder room wasn’t very groovy, though. It had high ceilings and bare drywall walls. The woodwork was painted a chocolate brown, and the vanity was a muddy charcoal grey. The room was just screaming for some personality.

This “Jungle Dream” pattern by Aimée Wilder fills those tall walls perfectly. It’s a really cute pattern with a lot of animals and plants – the more you look, the more you discover.

The super-long 44″ pattern repeat eats up (and wastes) a lot of paper, but it ensures that you don’t keep seeing the same design element over and over.

The dark brown ink on a light tan background coordinates beautifully with the paint on the room’s trim.

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Low End Wallpaper – Not So Bad This Time

October 12, 2018


I’ve said it before – these budget-friendly, pre-pasted, manila paper-baked solid vinyl wallpaper products are generally not good quality, and the Norwall brand is about at the bottom of the list. In fact, I often will decline to hang it. Do a Search here on those terms, or click the Page to the right “Stay Away From … ” for more info.

However, this homeowner, a Meyerland neighborhood (Houston) victim of the Hurricane Harvey flooding, and a client for whom I had worked back in the ’90’s, really loved the pattern, as well as the price-point. And she wanted her entry to look as it had before the flood ravaged her home.

I was pleasantly surprised. The paper went up OK, and the seams looked fine. It’s possible that the company has improved its product. But it’s more likely that my new installation method helped.

Instead of following the manufacturer’s instructions to run the paper through a water tray, which makes the material too wet and promotes bubbling, and instead of pasting the back of the paper, which turns it into a gummy mess, I tried something new. I used a spray bottle to lightly spritz fresh water onto the back; this activated the paste, but was not so much water that it would cause bubbling or seam curling or over-expansion of the material. I booked the paper and put it in a black trash bag to sit a few minutes.

Next I rolled paste onto the wall. I started out using a very faint coat, but found that a tad more worked better. I used a brush to cut the paste into the edges and around the floor and ceiling.

When I took the very slightly dampened paper to the wall and smoothed it against the lightly pasted surface, it adhered very nicely. It was pretty easy to smooth into position, although there was some twisting of some strips, which could have been a problem in a room that required more strips next to one another.

Usually these inexpensive vinyl papers grow bubbles, because, as they dry, there is nowhere for the moisture to go (because it can’t pass through the vinyl surface), so blisters form. But today was very little bubbling.

Best of all, the seams looked good. I didn’t get any of the raised edges that are so unattractive, and that allow moisture / humidity to penetrate and cause the backing to swell and pull away from the wall.

I am not saying that I was happy with this paper. But it was a lot better than I expected. And I hope that it will continue to look good for years to come.

A Really Nice Textured Faux Grasscloth

September 27, 2018


I’m not a fan of grasscloth (read the page to the right), but there are wonderful alternatives – this product is about my favorite. The layers of string on the surface provide the texture that is so popular today, while the printed pattern mimics real grasscloth. Because the design is printed, it can be matched from strip to strip, so you don’t see the abrupt breaks between panels as you do with real grasscloth. It also has a bit of a protective coating, so it is more durable than the real stuff, too.

My only complaint is that this darker colorway tends to have some shading / paneling issues. In the fourth photo, you can see that the strip on the left is darker than the strip on the right. This happened on every strip, every bolt of paper, and some were worse than others; I had to discard two strips because of this. Interestingly enough, I have hung the lighter tan version of this material and did not have the shading issues.

I hung this in the hall bathroom of a home in the Meyerland area of Houston, that had been damaged by the flood from Hurricane Harvey in 2017. The house is a veritable temple to Mid-Century Modern, and the homeowner wanted the wallpaper to be era-appropriate to the style of the home.

This wallpaper pattern is by Wallquest, in their EcoChic line, and is in the Grass Effects book. It 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.

Raising Homes to Lower Risk of Flooding

July 15, 2018


The Meyerland neighborhood in Houston has flooded severely three times in five years, with 2017’s Harvey being the worst. Here is what people who want to stay in their neighborhood and their home are doing, to be safe from future floods. These are ’50’s & ’60’s era ranch-style homes.

They will add skirting around the bottom. All new construction, which tend to be larger 2-story homes, must be built up high. It’s major expensive to lift a house, so many of the ’60’s era homes have been patched up, but left on the ground. I’d say that at least 50% of the homes are still unoccupied, a year after the flood. Some have been raised, and some have been razed.

Repairing Water Stains from Flooding During Hurricane Harvey

May 2, 2018


This home in Bellaire (Houston) received damage from flooding during Hurricane Harvey in August 2017. Water stains appeared on a small area of the wallpaper just above the baseboard in this powder room. Luckily, the homeowners had saved the paper left over from the original install, so I had material to use for the repair.

Certain substances, like grease, blood, smoke, rust, ink, tobacco, and water stains will bleed through wallpaper (and also paint and other materials, too). To prevent this, the discolorations must be treated with a stain-blocking sealer. Many of these are shellac-based, such as BIN, made by Zinsser, but there are others. I prefer oil-based KILZ Original (2nd photo).

I could have just cut some wallpaper and slapped it on top of the stain. But I wanted to be sure these flood survivors wouldn’t have to look at water stains again. So I used KILZ to cover the stains (3rd photo).

The next week, I came back to do the patch. Using my self-healing craft cutting mat with angles and measurements to trim on, along with a straightedge and razor blade, I cut appliqués to paste on top of the stained paper.

It wasn’t quite as simple as it sounds, because the wallpaper had to be hand-trimmed (use a razor blade to trim off the unprinted selvedge edge). And pasting the paper causes it to absorb moisture and expand, which can throw off the pattern match. So I was dealing with factors relative to what the other guy did and the products he used, compared to my own techniques and products / paste.

It took two tries, but with careful trimming and a little touch-up paint, the job turned out great (last photo).

I also used paint to cover some stains at the top of the baseboard, and also re-pasted some loose areas in other parts of the room (no picture).

Repairing Damage from Hurricane Harvey

April 27, 2018


This home in the Champions Forest area of north Houston received flood damage after Hurricane Harvey. The bottom 2′ or so of drywall had been cut out and replaced by the restoration contractor. The only thing is, the new drywall was recessed back about 3/8″ from the existing drywall. Even though this was near the floor in the niche behind the refrigerator, the homeowner didn’t want to have a difference in wall height, nor a mis-match in the wallpaper pattern.

So I used joint compound (“mud”) and drywall seam tape to bridge the gap and to float out the discrepancy. It took three coats, and several sandings, plus a sealing primer, but the finished wall is pretty even and smooth. (2nd photo)

There wasn’t enough left over paper to replace the whole alcove, so I used scraps to piece in the bottom area. Rather than make a straight horizontal cut 2′ above the floor, it’s less eye-catching to have the patched areas run along a feature of the design, such as the vines and branches in this pattern. (3rd photo)

Once the new strips were smoothed into place (4th and 5th photos), the patched areas are virtually undetectable.

Sometimes people complain about having left over wallpaper. But here’s a good example of why you should. (last photo) This homeowner had kept all her leftovers in their original wrappings and in their original box, in a climate-controlled environment (not the garage or attic), and she had what was needed to make this repair (and several others around the room that are not shown here).

Don’t Let The Contractor Prep the Walls for Wallpaper

April 18, 2018


This home was repaired after the flood of Hurricane Harvey. The contractor told the homeowner he would prep the walls for wallpaper. As you can see, his guys did get some parts of the wall nice and smooth. However, they didn’t bother to remove the mirror hooks, light sconces, or electrical switch plates. The result is some pretty gaps that will need to be filled in (by me) before I can hang the wallpaper.

Best to just let the Wallpaper Lady do the prep.

Painters! Have Some Respect for the Homeowner’s Property

December 10, 2017


These homeowners’ home was damaged by flood waters in Hurricane Harvey. The wallpaper, drywall, and flooring in their Bunker Hill area townhome had to be ripped out and replaced.

After repairs, that means that everything in the room is new. Drywall, paint, sink, toilet, floor tiles, etc. It would be nice if people could KEEP everything looking new.

The homeowner asked me not to use the sink, because she already had to clean up messes left by the painters.

She might not have even seen these paint splatters on the floor. In the second photo, you see where the painters let their roller bang into the woodwork. These
dings” are small, but they are visible.

And they are sooo easy to prevent. All you need is a drop cloth. In addition, I like to tack an 18″ width of absorbant dropcloth fabric along the top of the baseboard, to prevent any spills or splatters from hitting the woodwork or the flooring.

It takes very little to protect a homeowner’s moldings, floor, and countertops.

Raising Ceiling and Brightening Room with Upward Pattern and Pearlized Finish

December 9, 2017


This powder room in a townhome in the Bunker Hill area of Houston was affected by flood water damage from Hurricane Harvey. Contractors replaced two walls with new Sheetrock. But the sink wall remained intact (top photo) and needed to be stripped of its original wallpaper, then skim-floated, sanded smooth, and then primed, before wallpaper could be hung. In addition, there were two other walls that needed to be smoothed and primed.

Fixing damaged walls also gives homeowners a chance to update their décor. The Chinoiserie pattern in the top photo is fine. But after the re-do, the homeowners wanted something more modern and in keeping with a more vibrant lifestyle. See the second photo for their new take on style!

This is a small under-the-stairs powder room with no window, and the ceilings are less than 7′ high. The upward movement of the wallpaper pattern, coupled with the swoopy design of the foliage, sweep your eye up, and add dimension to the walls. The pearlized color further helps visually expand the space.

This wallpaper pattern is by Designer Wallpapers, and is a very good quality, mid-price range product. It 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

New Countertops, Patches on Sheetrock = New Wallpaper

October 6, 2016
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Today I had the pleasure of working for personal friends of mine, and also in a powder room that I had papered twice before, over 20 or so years. The existing paper was a stone-wall-with-ivy effect, that the homeowner loved after having taken a trip to Italy and touring its wine country. But it was pretty 90’s looking, and didn’t go well with the new blue-with-sparkles countertop on the vanity. Plus, they had chunks cut out of the wall due to repiping the waterlines in the house (the white patch you see in the first photo), that ruined the wallpaper.

The existing wallpaper stripped off easily, thanks to my wonderful primer oil-based KILZ Original. The walls were left in perfect condition. Except for the lower 1/4 of the walls … Five years or so ago, these poor homeowners had had a toilet leak, with ensuing flood, that resulted in workers having to cut out and replace the bottom foot or so of Sheetrock. Naturally, the workmen put their patches on top of the wallpaper, which made it impossible for me to strip off the paper. So I had to skim-float the area to try to even out the transition from the thicker wall surface at the bottom of the wall, to the level of the wall above that area.

My floated area had to dry, and then had to be sanded smooth, and then sealed – I used Gardz, a penetrating sealer. Then I was able to hang the new wallpaper. The new pattern is a little “quieter,” and it goes from floor to ceiling, so the look is different from the previous 2-pattern look.

The new wallpaper was pre-pasted, and is in the Easy Walls line by Chesapeake, which is made by Brewster. It was bought at a discounted 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.