Posts Tagged ‘florals’

Sweetening an All-White Bathroom / Treating Trials

July 2, 2019



This homeowner was just trying to update her hall bathroom. She chose a new countertop, new tile, and new wallpaper. Unfortunately, some of the workmen who showed up for the job were less than stellar. I won’t say anything about the tile guys or the painters, but in the top photo, you can see how the “I can hang wallpaper” guy prepped the wall… which he proclaimed as “wallpaper-ready.”

I took down the light fixture, removed the remaining old wallpaper, and skim-floated the surface. Because the ridges in the original guy’s float job were so thick, I went there a few days early to get an initial layer of smoothing compound spread on the wall, so it would have time to dry. Then when I came back, I skim-floated the entire room. Because this second coat was thinner, it dried in a few hours (with fans, a space heater (to pull humidity from the air), and the home’s A/C unit cranking dry air through the room.)

I sanded smooth, vacuumed and wiped off the dust, and applied a coat of Gardz, which is my preferred primer for newly smoothed walls.

Mysterious tan dots worked their way through the smoothing compound and the Gardz. I didn’t know what they came from (mold, oil, tobacco, soft drink or food the workers splashed on the walls?), but I knew they would eventually bleed through the new wallpaper. So I rolled on BIN, a shellac-based stain-blocker made by Rust Oleum, to seal the wall.

This effectively sealed the stain, and the wall was nice and white after that.

A week later, I came back to hang the wallpaper. First I applied a coat of Roman’s Pro 977 Ultra Prime, a primer made specifically for wallpaper. For some reason, this product didn’t stick well to the BIN – which is surprising, because one reason I use this primer is because it sticks to anything, even glossy surfaces (the BIN was not particularly glossy). Look closely or enlarge the third photo, and you will see it sliding and dripping down the wall. Well, no fear. I brushed out the worst of the drips, and as the primer dried, it tightened up and clung flat and tight to the wall.

With the wall finally smooth and appropriately primed, I was ready to get that paper up on the wall. This was an old fashioned pulp paper, which the British companies were making before most of them switched to non-woven materials. I was looking forward to working with an authentic pulp paper, because it’s been a while since I’ve come across one.

But this one didn’t behave as most of them do… It was thicker and stiffer, which made trimming and intricate detail work difficult, and increased the potential for creasing (for instance, while fitting the paper into a corner at a ceiling line). And it sucked up paste and dried out way sooner than I could get a strip to the wall. So I ended up using a spray bottle to add extra moisture to the back of the paper while I was applying the paste. This did help a lot.

Some of the edges had been banged up during shipping, so some of the seams looked a little weathered. And the edges had not been cut perfectly straight at the factory, so we had a bit of what we call “gaps and overlaps.”

Still, the finished room looks great. With its sweet flowers and calming colors, the pattern reminds me of the Laura Ashley era. The blue really pops against the white woodwork and tile in the room, and the red roses are nothing short of romantic.

Such a happy turn-around, for a bathroom that started out full of trials and tribulations.

I’m not sure what the brand name is, but the label says “English Florals.” The homeowner found it on-line (free shipping!), and the cost was low – about $60 for a double roll bolt. The home is on the north side of Houston.

Out of the ’90’s, and Into the …. ’90’s ….

December 30, 2015
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The owners of this newish home in Garden Oaks were updating their powder room, including a new console style vanity, a point-of-use tankless water heater, and new wallpaper. They wanted it all done before the Super Bowl game…. I am generally booked with work several weeks out, but had an unexpected opening, so was able to squeeze them in today, between Christmas and New Year’s. They were happy to let me come this holiday week!

I have hung a ton of that chintz style floral (top photo) in the ’90’s. It’s a pleasing pattern, but has become dated. Really, the homeowners’ new choice isn’t much different, but it’s an updated version, plus the red color has a lot of impact, and that helps the walls stand out against the white woodwork.

One good thing about a pattern like this is that it won’t really ever go out of style.

The paper was printed on what we call a pulp substrate. I usually like pulps, but this one was thick and stiff and brittle and it abraded easily. I had to color the edges with oil pastel, to keep the white backing from peeking out at the seams. Pasting it was a wrestling match, because it kept wanting to curl back into a roll. It didn’t want to turn corners, it bubbled, and it abraded if it was rubbed too much, especially at the seams. It will stay nice and flat to the wall over time, but has no coating, so cannot be washed, and will stain if water splashes onto it. In other words, don’t buy this brand. 🙂

All that said, the room looked great when I was finished, and the homeowners loved it. The plumber is coming tomorrow, to install the sink, and they will be all ready for Super Bowl Sunday!

This wallpaper was bought from the Sherwin-Williams on N. Shepherd in Garden Oaks. I believe it was made in England, and the brand appears to be English Florals.