Posts Tagged ‘flooded’

Geometric Pattern in a Powder Room – Flooded Home

May 20, 2018


This home in the Energy Corridor area of Houston was flooded during Hurricane Harvey last August. A lower section of drywall had been cut out and replaced. The contractor’s wallpaper hanger put up this identical pattern. The homeowner wasn’t pleased with the job. To be honest, the installer did a pretty good job, in a room that was very difficult to hang. There were a few minor things that could have been done differently.

But what bothered the homeowner most was that the walls had not been smoothed properly before the paper went up. With that west-facing window blasting angled sunlight into the room, those irregular surface flaws were quite obvious. See the top two photos. (You may need to enlarge them.)

I stripped off the original paper and skim-floated the walls to make them as perfectly smooth as possible. I followed with a primer. (The previous installer had not primed the walls.) See third photo for walls that are ready to go.

This room was a major bugger bear to hang. For starters, there was a large metal mirror that protruded about 4″ from the wall, that could not be removed. This was directly over a pedestal sink. (The previous installer had the luxury of hanging the room before the sink was in place.) It’s hard to explain, but the logistics of winding wallpaper around these three-dimensional objects, preventing the paper from tearing, having the ridged and unforgiving pattern match on all planes, keeping the edges plumb, and keeping the edges straight so they would butt up with the next strip, all while fighting edges of the wallpaper that wanted to curl backwards, were extremely difficult.

In addition, the corners of the room were out of plumb, which pretty much guaranteed pattern mis-matches in all the corners. On a wild floral pattern, no one would notice. But with a geometric pattern like this trellis, the eye would catch even minor mis-matches.

Compounding all of that was the fact that nothing in the room was centered. The window was not in the center of the wall, nor was the toilet – and they were not aligned with each other, either. The sink was not centered on the mirror, the faucet was not in the center of the sink, and the spout was off-set from the handle. I finally decided to balance the trellis design on the mirror, and it did fall perfectly symmetrically on either side. The kicker is that the room is so narrow that you can’t stand back far enough to appreciate all my efforts. 😦

I probably spent 40 minutes plotting how to tackle the first wall, and then a full two hours hanging the first two strips (the ones around the mirror and sink) (sorry – the room was too small to get good pics). The longer I worked, the more appreciation I had for the previous installer and the job she had done.

In the end, the walls I had prepped were smooth, and there were no objectionable bumps or gouges showing under the paper. I pulled some tricks out of my hat and got the pattern to match in the corners pretty darned well.

That window with it’s danged strong light still was a foe, though. The wallpaper seams butted together just about perfectly. Yet because of the way the edges curled back when they got wet with paste, I fought to keep them down tight to the wall. Once dried, they were nice and flat. I was pretty content. But when the sun moved and light came through that window from a different angle – some of those seams looked positively horrid! The light was casting shadows and making it look like the seams were overlapped. Yet they were perfectly flat. The inclination is to go over and over the seams with various tools and try to “force” them to lie flatter – but this can burnish or otherwise damage the wallpaper or the underlying surface. The good news is that as the sun moved, and as the louvers on the shutters were adjusted, the shadows disappeared and the seams looked good.

Let’s hope that the homeowners see this room only in the most positive light. 🙂

This wallpaper is by York Wall, one of my favorite brands. Interestingly, the paper came with the correct label, but the instruction insert was for another line made by this same company. I’m glad that I was familiar with both products, and had the sense to disregard the info that was not relative.

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Lively Watercolor-y Koi Pond For A Flooded Powder Room

January 12, 2018


What a fun paper! I have a koi pond, so that makes me doubly crazy about this pattern!

I hung this lively pattern in a large powder room in a home in the Memorial area of Houston that had been flooded by Hurricane Harvey. It’s four months after the storm, and this is the first person whom I have seen who has had repairs finished and who has been able to move back into her home. (See the darker drywall at the bottom of the wall, in the top photo? That’s the new Greenrock that replaced the drywall that got damaged by water.)

The rest of the house is very traditional, with a lot of antiques. So going with bright color and a fanciful fish pattern was a bit of a leap. But you can get away with a lot of drama in a powder room, because you don’t spend a lot of time in there. And the homeowner was ready for something uplifting.

This pattern is by York, in their SureStrip line. I love both the manufacturer and this line of papers. It is a thin and pliable non-woven material, turns corners nicely, and will hug the wall tightly. It is nice to work with, and does not shrink when it dries, so no gaps at the seams. It is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate.

Two Months After Hurricane Harvey Things Are Not All Right In Houston

November 8, 2017

Digital Image

Digital Image


Some of the homeowners effected by this massive storm contacted me shortly afterward, seeking help with insurance quotes, repairs, etc. But now that more weeks have passed, I am getting a second wave of calls.

Some are from people whose homes are finally getting put back together. Some are from people who are half-way through initial repairs. Many more are not yet back in their homes, or who are living (“camping out” is a more appropriate term) in what is a shell of what was once their former home (read below). And there are countless families whose homes are just now coming out of the water, or that are still not yet approachable, or that have been underwater for so long that they are unlivable – meaning, totally destroyed, not salvageable, mold-infested, insurance won’t pay to fix it, you can’t sell it because no one will buy it, you can’t fix it yourself because you don’t have time because you have to go to work and you don’t have the money because insurance won’t cover it, and your brother has been very kind to let you stay in his home for two months, but it’s wearing thin because they want their privacy back and you want to be back in your own home … but it’s unlivable.

I visited two clients today who were effected by the flood. These photos are from a homeowner who lives in a neighborhood that was “intentionally flooded” when officials made the decision to open the reservoirs, which would save many thousands of homes and families, but would knowingly flood the homes of thousands more.

The city has been through this neighborhood THREE TIMES already to pick up debris – more keeps piling up. Most of it is white… drywall, doors, tile, door and window trim,,, and much of it is brown … wooden floors, cabinets, furniture. And books, clothing, artwork, television sets, garage stuff, toys, anything the sewage-tainted water could have touched or wicked its way into.

All the homes look like ghost houses – uncovered windows, empty rooms, lawns scraped to bare earth by the mechanical claws that swooped up their soggy Sheetrock and personal belongings. All the drywall is torn out, the bottom 4′ of it. No flooring, just the cement slab. No doors, no trim, no kitchen, no cabinets, counters, appliances, no toilet. My client and her family were living holed up on the 2nd floor. All they had downstairs on the concrete floor was a folding table with plastic chairs around it, and remnants of an easy-to-fix meal – sandwiches.

All this while trying to maintain a “normal” American life – going to work every day, kids going to school, mowing the lawn, walking the dog, church, groceries, laundry – but there is no washing machine, no hot water heater ….

All while trying to coordinate contractors, selecting tile and wallpaper, find the best deal on major appliances, juggle financing ….

Here is the “new normal” for hundreds of thousands of American families along the Gulf Coast.