Posts Tagged ‘hand painted’

Pocket Book Friendly Chinoiserie Mural

July 15, 2021
Getting ready to apply my Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime wallpaper primer.
Finished mural install.
Birds and flowers and trees – classic Chinoiserie themes.
Although it’s actually digitally-printed, it looks hand-painted.
Rebel Walls brand. Photo shows general simple installation instructions.

Burst pipes from the deadly February 2021 freeze here in Texas caused major water damage to the first floor of this home in the Memorial Villages area of Houston. The drywall walls and ceiling, wooden floors, kitchen cabinetry, electrical, plumbing, and more had to be yanked out and replaced.

The homeowner took advantage of this chaos to reimagine her master bedroom. Searching the likes of Pintrest and other sites, she fell in love with the concept of Chinoiserie (Oriental) murals … but not the price tag. The custom-made, hand-painted silk murals such as de Gournay, Gracie, and Fromental imported from China can cost from $1000-$1500+ per panel … and this sole wall took 12 panels. !

I encouraged her to explore other options, including digitally-printed custom murals on a durable non-woven substrate. A good number of manufacturers are making these, but Rebel Walls comes to the top of the heap for selection, quality, and customer service.

This wallpaper mural was easy to hang, and will be easy to remove when the time comes. Best of all, it’s as beautiful as the fancy-schmancy brands … but with a price tag that is much easier on the budget.

Serena & Lily “Feather” in Houston Play Room

June 12, 2021

The original all-white walls didn’t do much to make this play room for young kids feel fun. Mom chose “Feather” by Serena & Lily to pump it up a couple of notches!

In the close-up photo, you can see the irregular lines of this design, as well as the hand-painted, watercolor-y look. The material has a slight “raised ink” texture.

You might think the pattern is a little busy now, but once the furniture is back in place and the artwork goes up, the room will feel more balanced.

The homeowners also commented that the pattern on the walls makes the room feel bigger and less “lost” than with the all-white look.

The home is in the Braes Heights neighborhood of southwest inner Loop Houston. The wallpaper is called “Feather” and is by Serena & Lily – one of my favorite brands.

Wallpaper in Victoria Magazine

November 25, 2020


I always love to see wallpaper featured in magazines. Victoria’s spring 2018 issue showed these rooms, which are in the Twin Farms inn in Vermont.

The small print on soft blue serves as a nice backdrop for a soothing bedroom retreat. But I like the quirky turtle design used in the hallway, and I love the red color.

Even better is the classic scenic mural in the entryway. Most likely, this is a custom-made, hand-painted, and fittingly expensive mural that comes in panels that must be meticulously measured for each specific section of the room, and then painstakingly installed with special materials and delicate care. Some of these are very old (a hundred years or more), but they are still being made today – but most recreate the old look of their original era.

Some brands, such as Gracie, Fromental, de Gournay, are quite pricy. But there are plenty of other manufacturers producing products with a similar look at prices attractive to the Average Joe Homeowner.

Gorgeous Chinoiserie Mural in West Houston “Cocktail Room”

August 5, 2020


Here is a much more economical take on the hand-painted silk Chinoiserie or Oriental murals crafted in China that can cost $1000-$2000 per panel (this accent wall required 10 panels).

This digitally-printed mural is made in Sweden on easy-to-install Non-Woven material, and was sized to fit the wall with no major measuring gymnastics required. No color differences between panels, as with real silk products. Close-up photos show the detail work that mimics silk material and hand-painted fowl and foliage…. Just as nice as the $$$ cousin.

But this entire mural cost only about $600. (plus labor to install)

The finished wall, seen from a distance through the entry and dining room is jaw-dropping.

The family intends to use this as a “cocktail room,” with svelte custom-made tables and sink-into lounging chairs. I sure hope they send me a picture of the finished room!

I skim-floated the wall to smooth it, and the top photo shows my fans working to dry the smoothing compound.

Another photo shows the strips cut from the bolt, collated, and rolled backwards to both reduce “memory” (the inclination of the material to stay curled up) and to prevent the surface from bopping into the paste on the wall.

To hang this wallpaper, I use the paste-the-wall method.

An important thing to note is that, when measuring to order a mural, measure your wall’s height and width accurately, and then ADD TWO INCHES TO EACH SIDE. In other words, add 4″ to the height and 4″ to the width. This will allow for trimming at floor and ceiling and either side, and will help accommodate crooked or unlevel / unplumb walls and ceilings.

The homeowner wanted the serene feel of this muted colorway, but this mural is available in other colors, too. The home is in the Energy Corridor area of West Houston. The manufacturer is Rebel Walls. I have hung their paper a good number of times, and like it a lot.

Tall Trees in a Tall Dining Room

February 13, 2020


The ceilings in this dining room in the West University neighborhood of Houston are more than 11′ high – and this vertical tree pattern visually swoops them even higher!

I love the hand-painted look of this paper. Actually, it’s machine-printed on a non-woven material, and can be hung via the paste-the-wall method – but I find the paste-the-paper process to be more effective.

The wallpaper is called “Raphael” and is by Sandberg, which is affiliated with Scalamandre.

Chinese Hand-Painted Silk Mural

June 27, 2019


Here is some delicious stuff! This is silk wallpaper, hand painted in China with these beautiful bird, butterfly, and botanical motifs. Look at the close-up shots to see the gorgeous paint detail.

There are some historic companies who make these murals, like Zuber, Gracie, Fromental, and de Gournay, and they can run $500-$1200 per panel. (This wall took seven panels.) But my client found another manufacturer who was way more reasonable. http://www.worldsilkroad.com/

The mural was custom-sized to the homeowners’ wall. The studio added 2″ to the top and bottom, and a little more to each side, for trimming, and to accommodate walls that are not perfectly plumb and ceilings that are not perfectly level. (Never order a mural to the exact dimensions of the wall, and always best to have the paperhanger measure before ordering.)

There are a lot of things that make an install like this much more complicated than a traditional wallpaper. For starters, the silk can easily be stained by just about anything … wallpaper paste, water, hands. So it’s important to work absolutely clean. You will NOT be able to wipe off any errant bit of paste. The paper also had a half inch “bleed” of excess paper along the edges that had to be trimmed off by hand (no photo).

The material was thicker than expected, wanted to stay curled up as it had been in its shipping tube, and the backing was very absorbent, which meant that it sucked up paste and was almost dry by the time it was finished booking and got to the wall… So it required extra paste on the edges to get them to stick tight, while, once again, taking care to not get any paste on the surface of the paper.

The company provided precious little information. Well, actually there was information, but it came in Chinesnglish, and, bless their hearts, was virtually indecipherable. The company was very responsive, but, unfortunately, was unable to provide adequate information about paste recommendations, booking time, was a liner spec’ed, if the substrate was paper or non-woven, if the silk had a protective coating, and even whether or not the goods had to be hand-trimmed or came pre-trimmed. There was a lot of other mysterious content on their instruction sheet that ended up best being disregarded.

So I used common sense and traditional installation methods, and it turned out great.

In one photo, I am rolling out the panels, to be sure they are in the correct sequence. Even though the manufacturer had told me the panels were pre-trimmed and ready to butt on the wall, while rolling them out, I discovered that if I did that, the pattern match would be off. This is when I discovered that 1/2″ had to be trimmed off one side of every strip.

This also meant that each strip would be 36″ wide, rather than 36.5″, so my measurements and layout calculations had to be revised. This was particularly important because that first area to the left of the window was barely more than 36″ wide – and I didn’t want to end up having to piece in a 3/8″ wide strip of this delicate material.

Two other pictures show some crinkles in the material. I believe these happened at the factory or during shipping, because the same defects appear in two consecutive panels, at the same position. They were both up high, and, once the material got wet with paste, expanded a little, and then applied to the wall, these flaws were not detectable.

The last photo shows what you should expect from hand-painted products. They probably had one guy working on Panel 6, and another working on Panel 7, and each probably had a different size paint brush, and possibly their stencil (or whatever they use) was a bit off. Either way, this mis-match is not considered a defect, and is part of the beauty of a hand-crafted mural. There were really only two areas that matched this poorly, and they were both low toward the floor. In the upper areas where branches crossed the seams, the pattern matched very nicely. Really, it’s quite incredible that their precision can be as good as it is.

I’ve never worked with this brand before, but overall, I was pleased with the quality and the installation. You can find the manufacturer by Googling World Silk Road. It comes from England, but is made in China. (Gee…. why can’t they have one of those British guys translate the installation instructions?!)

This mural went on one accent wall in a master bedroom of a home in Idylwood, a small, idyllic, and very desirable neighborhood of 1930’s and 1940’s homes on Houston’s east side. The homeowners love vintage as much as I do, and are keeping most of their home true to its original state.

Wallpaper in March 2019 Issue of Better Homes & Gardens Magazine

March 5, 2019


The first picture is the most exciting. Murals have exploded in popularity these days, but they’re not the traditional palm-trees-hanging-over-a-white-sandy-beach photo. The pink floral mural looks like a very traditional hand-painted silk, most of which are very expensive. These days, there are all sorts of digitally-printed knock-offs, which are very reasonably priced. The other three murals are examples of more contemporary designs. Since many companies are printing digitally, their murals can be custom-sized to fit your specific wall. (Remember to have the paperhanger measure before you order – we know how to measure better than homeowners. 🙂 )

The second and third photos accompany an article about decorating with house plants. I am tickled that they chose wallpaper as a backdrop for these rooms.

The last photo shows a bedroom papered with an abstract palm leaf pattern – which just happens to be yellow – the magazine’s feature color of the month.

Wallpaper Gets Exposure in Magazines

October 1, 2018


Thank you again, Better Homes & Gardens, for featuring wallpaper in your magazine.

The first photo is a powder room done in “Nuvolette,” a rolling cloud pattern in the Fornasetti line by the British company Cole & Son.

Next is a hand-painted scenic mural, and think the brand was Gracie, although there are a few other companies that make similar. These are very high-end products, and this homeowner saved mega bucks by having just a few panels made, and then framing them and hanging as artwork (as opposed to papering the entire room with the mural).

Third photo is a popular foresty pattern by Hygge & West. They have delightful designs, but I am not crazy about their papers, because the seams tend to “pouch” just a little. Do a Search here to read more (upper right corner).

In the last photo, you see just a little wallpaper in the background.

Gracie Wallpaper Mural in Victoria Magazine

April 8, 2018


Sorry, this is a really, really bad picture, I know. It’s a shot of a page in the Spring 2018 issue of Victoria magazine.

But what’s cool is that it shows a really fabulous hand-painted, custom-made, probably silk wallpaper mural, in an equally fabulous and beautifully furnished home full of antiques.

The mural is by Gracie, and took a year to produce. The room has to be measured meticulously, with notes made where very door, window, bump-out, and other elements of the room are located. Then the silk is hand-painted in panels, which are then shipped to the home and reassembled sequentially as they fit around the room. Installation is tedious and exacting, and requires special liners, pastes, techniques, and sometimes even gloves, to prevent hands from touching the delicate paper and inks.