Posts Tagged ‘floors’

Farrow & Ball Lotus in River Oaks Master Bedroom

September 12, 2020


“Lotus” is a very old and very popular pattern by the British paint and wallpaper company Farrow & Ball.

It comes in several colors, but for all four walls in a large bedroom in the River Oaks neighborhood of Houston, the homeowner wisely chose this muted light tan-on-white.

It coordinates beautifully with the newly lightened and refinished floors, and the woodwork.

The material has an interesting gesso-like texture, which you can see in the last photo. It kind of makes the walls look like an artist’s painting.

Making a Geometric Wallpaper Pattern LOOK Straight in a Room with Crooked Walls

April 8, 2020

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Geometric wallpaper patterns are popular right now, but they are rigid and inflexible, and the eye sees any imperfection, so they are demanding to hang, especially in rooms where walls are not plumb and floors and ceilings are not level. This powder room in Fleetwood (far west Houston) really put me to the test.

Visually, it’s more important to keep the pattern intact, than to keep it running straight along the ceiling and floor lines. On the various walls and elevations in this room, I called a lot of tricks into play to keep the pattern looking straight – but here we’ll focus on this one corner.

In the top photo, the corner looks straight, but if you could see the full height of the wall, you would see that the wallpaper pattern moves to the left as it drops down the corner. I’m happy that all of the “lanterns” are intact. But as more strips are hung to the right of this corner, the lantern motif will start to travel up the wall and be cut off at the ceiling line.

To keep this from happening, I had to pull the pattern back into plumb. The second photo shows what the design should look like, and it’s my goal to keep the pattern intact, and all the lanterns looking like this.

In the third photo, I am hanging the first strip to the right of the corner. Because the corner is off-plumb, this strip of wallpaper would hang off-plumb, too. To keep that from happening, I hung the left side of the strip off-plumb, but then hung the right side of the strip plumb, lining it up against my laser level, a you see in the photo.

How did I do that? I took a sharp scissors, a good pair of close-up eyeglasses, a whole lot of patience, and even more time, and carefully cut around the left edge of the lantern motifs from floor to ceiling. You can pretty well see this loose edge in the third photo.

Then I pulled the right edge of the wallpaper to line up against the red line from my laser level, making it nice and plumb. This created an overlap of the left edge of the lantern motifs onto the right edge of left side of the wallpaper strip that had been cut in half. Got that? 🙂

This one corner took me about 45 minutes.

It was worth it. Once I smoothed the overlapped pieces into place, you really don’t notice that the lanterns are a little closer together at that one section than they should be. See third photo. This area is near the floor, across from the toilet, and not any place anyone is going to be studying the width of wallpaper motifs. 🙂 And it looks a whole lot better than chopped-off lanterns at the ceiling.

In this whole 10 single-roll powder room, I’d say that I spent a full two hours just on tweaking the pattern to keep it looking straight. That’s in addition to five hours regular labor to hang the paper. Plus the entire day before to prep the walls.

It was well worth it. The homeowners had originally tackled this wallpaper job themselves, but became overwhelmed. They had invested the better part of a year in getting the room into shape. In the end, the room looks great, it is MUCH brighter than when they started out (original paper was a dark teal faux finish), and it suits the wife’s love of all things geometric.

This wallpaper pattern is by Brewster, in their A-Street Prints line, 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.

Dopey Place to Leave Shoes!

March 19, 2020


This week I’m working in a house in the Houston Heights that has been completely updated. The floors were just refinished and sealed, so workers are requested to not wear shoes in the home.

But don’t you think the workmen would set their shoes TO THE SIDE OF THE DOOR, instead of right where everyone needs to walk through?

What Does A Plumbing Repair Have To Do With Wallpaper?

February 16, 2020


Thursday, I hung grasscloth on three walls of this master bedroom, and left for the night. When I arrived on Friday to finish the last wall, the homeowner hustled me into the adjoining bathroom and showed me where a repair had been done to the toilet’s water intake line the previous night.

By freak accident, some decorative item had fallen off the toilet tank and hit the water intake pipe “just so.” The pipe was of plastic, and had a few weaknesses in it. So when it was struck in just the right (or wrong!) place, it broke – and spewed water everywhere!

Luckily, the homeowner was home and caught this immediately. And, luckily, there is a neighborhood “guy” in the Heights (Inner Loop neighborhood of Houston) who is able and willing to come out at any hour to fix things like this.

Fixing it has to do with accessing the plumbing pipes. And that has to do with cutting into the wall.

Eeeek!

The homeowner was freaking out, that the plumber might have to access the pipe from the other side of the wall – the wall that I had just hung her beautiful new $$ grasscloth wallpaper on!

A cut through the drywall here would have necessitated replacing the entire strip of wallpaper. And because of how grasscloth is trimmed to fit specific dimensions, and because of the color differences between bolts and strips, it would have looked better to have replaced all the strips on the wall.

Major hassle, major work involved, and it would have used up all our “extra” paper.

Luckily, the plumber was able to fix the pipe by cutting through from the bathroom side.

The homeowner still has to get someone to come repair the drywall and paint. But VERY lucky that no other repairs had to be done.

And SO lucky that the homeowner was on-site, and knew to cut off the water to the house. If the leak had run for an hour – not to mention overnight or over a weekend – much more would have been damaged… Not just my new wallpaper, but the hardwood floors, moldings, insulation, possibly drywall and possibly furniture, and more.

It’s Hard to Conceive That This Painter Went Home Feeling Proud of His Work

November 4, 2018


Every bit of molding in this house had bizarre globs of paint like you see in the top two photos (and much worse). In addition, there were plenty of splatters of paint on the homeowners’ brand new dark hardwood floors.

A/C Guy Trashes My Hardwood Floor

March 14, 2018


I am extremely upset. I had my A/C guy come yesterday to enlarge an air return. They did not bother to put down drop cloths, so we had three 200-lb guys wearing their heavy work boots, stomping and swiveling their feet on my beautiful pine floor, while they climbed up and down the folding attic ladder, for over four hours on Monday.

Look what they did to my floor! The scratches are worse in person than they look in the photos. Some of the scratches are literally 1/8″ deep.

And… two years ago, one of his helpers got banned from my house because he did not protect my antique bookcase from the hinges on the folding stairs as I asked him to, and he put this huge gouge into the wood (last photo).

You’d think that, after damaging a client’s furniture two years ago, they would learn from that and take precautions to protect furniture and floors in the future. As we can see, they clearly did not get the message. Or, I guess they just didn’t give a shit.

I cut these boards, routed the edges, laid them myself, filled nail holes, sanded, stained, and poly-ed, and they were beautiful for 20 years. One afternoon of some clods not bothering to put down a $5 drop cloth and my floor is trashed. Fixing this will require stripping the finish, sanding it all smooth, re-staining, and re-polyurethaning. Which we all know will never get done, because I never have any free time, and when I do, it’s always taken up by other more pressing things (like laundry, or going to the paperhangers’ convention).

This is not something that can be cleanded or filled with a wax stick. It is permanent damage. So pissed.

Thanks for listening to the rant. I just don’t understand being so inconsiderate in someone else’s home. When I am in a client’s home, I am always thinking about protecting surfaces, where my feet are going, preventing splatters from primer, not knocking into furniture or walls, etc. It’s these “bubba type” workmen who just plow through their task, focused on the end result, but never paying attention to the process, or the collateral damage they may be causing. Oh, and they still get their big paycheck when they’re finished.

So pissed!!

Here is How I Protect Woodwork While I am Priming

June 14, 2017

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I do a lot of skim-floating to smooth textured walls, so the wallpaper will be bump-free and have a smooth surface to adhere to. The penetrating sealing primer I like for this is Gardz, because it soaks in, dries hard, and binds the surface together. The downside is, it’s thin like water, and splashes and runs like crazy. There are tricks, like using a micro fiber roller, rolling in an upward direction, using light pressure on the roller, and paying attention to what you’re doing.

Still, splatters and drips will happen. And they can happen with other primers, too, as well as with paint or any other product you are rolling or brushing on a wall.

Most painters use a dropcloth to cover the floor. But I can’t stand the tiny “speckles” that fly off a roller and land on the shoe mold, baseboard, chair rail, or backsplash. Many people wouldn’t even notice them, but I do, and I think the homeowner deserves better.

So I protect the homeowner’s floors and countertops as you see in the 2nd photo. I put dropcloths down on the floor or counter. Then I cover the baseboards or chair rail or backsplash with an additional dropcloth, this time a thin flexible plastic-backed paper material. I use push-pins to hold it tightly against the wall, to catch any and all splatters and drips.

It takes more time and it increases my material costs, but it sure is a better way to treat the client’s home.

Usurped – My Landing Place for Shoes & Tools

December 7, 2016

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I like to leave this scrap of sturdy vinyl wallpaper at the front door, to set my shoes on, and other equipment, to protect the homeowners’ floors.

Today I was working in a new-construction home. I turned around and found that the other workers in the home had followed suit, and that little patch of vinyl was covered with shoes and tools!

By the time I grabbed my camera, here’s what was there…