Posts Tagged ‘heights’

Arts & Crafts Style Frieze in Heights Bungalow

January 21, 2023
Dining room before. This bungalow in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston is very true to the Arts & Crafts / Craftsman period. This style featured straight , clean lines , nature , and muted colors that mimicked those found in nature . The homeowner is a retired woodworker / carpenter and did much of the millwork you see here.
Done. The teal green is actually a little more muted than the photo shows.
From another angle.
Close-up. This wallpaper pattern is called Fir Tree .
A frieze is a wide wallpaper border , usually run around the middle or top of a room . The manufacturer is Bradbury & Bradbury . They specialize in period-inspired patterns from past eras, such as Victorian , Arts & Crafts , Oriental , Modern Age / Mid Century Modern , and more.
Bradbury prints on stock that’s about 28″ wide, and this border is about 13″ wide. So Bradbury prints two borders side-by-side , and then you need to use a straightedge and razor blade to cut them apart .
Although the border came about 13″ wide, the space between the beams was only about 11.5″ . So we were going to lose about 2″ . I consulted with the homeowner. He really wanted to see the copper metallic pine cones. We also felt the trunks of the trees were important design elements . We decided that the pattern could afford to lose more from the top , which would permit more of the tree trunks to show, all the while preserving those pine cones.
Here I am trimming 2″ off the top, so the overall height of the frieze is now 12″ . That will fill the space between the beams, and also allow a little bit to tuck down below the bottom beam (there is a gap between the wall and that beam).
The room was really dark , the wallpaper was dark , and my straightedge was casting a shadow where I needed to trim. So I grabbed my Big Larry flashlight from my toolbox and was able to see where to trim.
Bradbury uses inks that are quite delicate , and can be scratched or marred simply by brushing with my smoother brush , or my plastic trapezoid squeege smoother tool . Metal – like a trim guide or scissors – will also leave marks on it . Here I’ve wrapped tools in microfiber towels and baby socks , to soften contact with the wallpaper .
Bradbury inks and substrates can be finicky, and it’s important to use the paste recommended by the company for the particular colorway that you’re hanging . In this case, I had to use clay – based paste .
The inks and substrate aren’t always compatible , so when you add wet paste to the back , it can cause the substrate to absorb moisture and swell , while the inks on the surface are holding tight. This will result in wrinkles , warps , and bubbles on the surface . We call this quilting or waffling .
One trick is to lightly sponge clean water onto the inked surface. This will allow the surface to absorb moisture and expand hopefully at the same rate as the backing , hopefully eliminating wrinkles and bubbles .
On this install , I still had problems with uneven expansion . And with the paper drying out before I could get an entire strip up on the wall. So, while I was pasting the back, I also sprinkled a little water on the back and mixed it in with the paste . This did seem to even out moisture , and also help the material remain moist and workable during the installation .
In addition, I also had trouble with the edges of the paper drying out before I could get a full strip up on the wall. Part of this was because it’s winter time and the furnace was blowing hot air into the room and drying out the paper. My counter-attack was, again, to sprinkle a little water onto the back, to hydrate the material more. Also, once I had pasted a strip and rolled it up (see below), I dipped the edges into about 1/8″ of clean water. And then wrapped the pasted material in a plastic trash bag and allowed to book for a few minutes before hanging . This is standard procedure with wallpaper. Actually, what worked better was to paste, book, bag, and then just before hanging to dip the ends into water. This seemed to keep everything wet and workable better and longer.
Despite all this, some small bubbles did remain in the paper. As the paper dried, though, they flattened out.
When you book a strip of wallpaper, customarily you fold the top 1/3 down and the bottom 2/3 up. This keeps paste from smearing all over everything, and makes each strip shorter and easier to handle. And allows you to get the top section of the pattern lined up with that on the previous strip , before unfolding the bottom section and working that against the wall.
But it’s a little different handling a narrower border that’s maybe 12′-15′ long. What I do to make this manageable is to book the material in accordion pleats . See photo. Then I can unfold just a small section, work it into place, and then move along the strip, smoothing just a small section at a time against the wall.
Actually, with this install, I positioned my sections against the wall temporarily, to get the whole 15′ strip up there. And then went back and smoothed each section against the wall, working out bubbles and warps , and ensuring that the frieze was pressed tightly against the wall at both top and bottom .
There were four strips around the top of this dining room. On each strip I used a different install method. By the time I was done, I had learned how the material wanted to be treated.
The homeowners are in love with this period-authentic look for their vintage bungalow. The husband said it was like Christmas, because they had waited for so long to have this room completed, and now it’s finally finished and beautiful!

Revisiting Arts & Crafts Install in Heights Bungalow

January 21, 2023
Note: The camera has altered the colors here a bit … the blue is actually a lot more toned-down and murky . I hung this back in 2020. This bungalow in the Houston Heights / Woodland Heights is very Arts & Crafts in style … that’s a decorating theme that was popular back around the turn of the last century .
The manufacturer is Bradbury & Bradbury , who specializes in recreating the feel of by-gone wallcoverings , especially from the periods of Victorian , Arts & Crafts , Oriental , Modern Age , and more.
The color is a little more true here. A wide wallpaper border like this is called a frieze , and was poplar in Craftsman styled homes back about the turn of the last century .

Yes, I’m A Little Obsessed

January 19, 2023
Re previous post … This accent wall is in the butler’s pantry , and ends at the corner that turns into the main kitchen area. Since this corner was visible from the great room / family room , I plotted the lay-out so the full motif would fall at that corner . In other words, I butted the right edge of the wallpaper up against the corner of that wall . This left a vertical gold line running the height of the wall. A good stopping point for the eye. Just perfect!
But … the paper came with a teeny bit of black next to that gold line. So there was about 1/16″ of black showing to the right of that vertical gold line. (Sorry, no pic) I thought it was so minor that it wouldn’t be a big deal. But, once that strip got up on the wall, I thought that black edge caught your eye . It bugged the heck out of me!
So I took straightedge and razor blade and trimmed off that miniscule bit of black.
No we have a crisp gold line against the corner.
As the wallpaper hung from right to left, at the final corner, naturally, the pattern didn’t fall exactly along one of the vertical gold lines. For one thing, walls are always wonky . Also, that last section of black trapezoids were less than their full width. But only by about a half an inch. I had measured ahead of time and knew this, and I felt 1/2″ shorter box wouldn’t bother anybody.
But I did think I could make that left edge look crisper , and also wanted it to match the edge on the right side of the wall.
So I took a bit of scrap wallpaper (like what you see lying on the floor on the left), and again my straightedge and razor blade, and trimmed off one of those gold lines. This is about 1/8″ wide .
Next, I pasted it over that left edge, as seen in the photo.
Here is the left edge finished. Nice and sharp , and more ” finished ” than just a black box ending at the wall. Speaking of black blocks … those on the far left are a bit narrower than the ones on the rest of the strips. But, seriously – who cares, and who notices?? What you do notice is the gold strip neatly trimming off the wall corner .
This geometric pattern is in the Jaclyn Smith line by Trend Fabrics . It’s a nice non-woven , paste the wall material , and is durable and stain-resistant . Also, it will strip off the wall easily and with little / no damage to the wall when it’s time to redecorate .
The install was in a home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston .

Gold Geometric on Black Accent Wall in Kitchen Area

January 18, 2023
” Floating ” accent wall between kitchen and dining room . The homeowners originally considered a mural for this area . But with help from the wallpaper sales guy, they landed on this.
Both husband and wife love this. The black color plays beautifully off the black cabinets in the kitchen , butler’s pantry , and mud room . The gold geometric lines keep everything lively .
The specs say this is is a 25″ pattern repeat. But from looking at it, you’d think it was much shorter … the narrow lines match up with the narrow lines, and the fat sections line up with fat sections. Maybe 4″ repeat. But – not. I’ve hung this before, so I was already aware that those lines and sections are not all the same distance apart. It’s essential that you lay your strips next to each other and make sure you’ve got the pattern match correct. Because if not, you could end up with tiny 1/8″ mis-matches across the seams between some of those gold lines .
This is a Jaclyn Smith design by Trend . It’s a paste-the-wall / non-woven material , and is strong and durable , and resistant to stains and tears . Flexible and easy to install . Will strip off the wall easily and in one piece when you redecorate .
It has a raised ink / lightly textured surface .
The wallpaper was purchased from Calico / Calico Corners on W. Alabama in Houston , with the expert knowledge and interior design assistance of Ron Dillon , whom I’ve known for about 25 years .
The home is in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston.

Mum Flowers in Heights Entry

January 14, 2023
Painted walls in this new-build in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston have been primed with Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime wallpaper primer .
Done
Just the area above the wainscoting / chair rail was papered .
Obstacles to trim around included six doors – with a total of TWELVE corners of decorative molding to trim around. In addition, there were EIGHT terminations of wood ceiling beams , also with uneven edges , to trim around.
Absolutely NO information came with the wallpaper . No run number , no installation instructions , no nuttin’. Confoundingly, the company’s website was malfunctioning, and pop-ups prevented me from getting information , or even from seeing what the pattern looked like on a large wall .
So here I am rolling the paper out on the floor , to get a scope of the pattern and layout .
Note the unprinted selvedge edge , which I’ll have to trim off using a straightedge and a razor blade. See previous posts (do a Search) to learn more about this.
The pattern is called Kanoko and the manufacturer is Relativity Textiles . This material was VERY difficult to work with. More about that in a future post.

Whimsical Arabian Nights Dance in Powder Room

January 13, 2023
You’ve got to look at this close-up, to notice the antelope and flames / foliage .
You gotta make a decision … The light sconces (they are currently removed, but you can see the electrical boxes where they will be placed) were centered on the vanity top, but the faucet was off-center by about an inch. So I chose to center / balance the pattern on the sconces and countertop. The mirror will be hung between the two light fixtures, so we’ll end up with a pleasing, balanced look. The faucet isn’t exactly in the middle of the design motif, but no biggie – there’s going to be a mirror there, anyway.

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Corner going around shower. Note the window looking into the shower.
Although the website specs said this is a pre-trimmed non-woven material , that was incorrect. Turns out it had an unprinted selvedge edge that had to be trimmed off by hand . Here I’m using my straightedge and razor blade to remove this selvedge. This takes precision and a LOT of time .
The manufacturer usually provides trim guides to help you know where to cut. But it’s usually better to trim to the pattern – determine an element in the design motif that will meet up with the corresponding motif on the opposite side of the strip when the strips are hung on the wall, and use that as your guide . Be sure to trim off the trim guide marks, or they will show on the wall.
The pattern is called Arabian Nights and is by Relativity Textiles . I’ve never worked with this brand before. I was not pleased . In addition to the incorrect information about the pre-trimmed paper , the mfgr’s specs said this was printed on a non-woven substrate . It was not. It wasn’t even printed on standard wallpaper stock . Instead, it was a pulp material – This is a sort of old-fashioned wallpaper , and is very brittle and prone to tearing and dragging (your trimming knife or razor blade will get snagged and you’ll end up with a ” chewed ” jagged cut, instead of a crisp cut . It also tears easily. It also has no coating, so it’s not stain-resistant … Not good in a busy household with a 3-year old toddler , or anyone splashing water or soap or air freshener .
It was also difficult to hang . Applying wet paste to the backing causes the substrate to absorb moisture and expand at a different rate from the ink on the surface. So you end up with wrinkles , waffling , and quilting .
Sponging a light bit of water on the front before pasting helps even out the moisture differential and ease installation . I’ve never before encountered a pulp that had this type of ink on the surface. One clue for this bad stuff is when you open the package and it smells like moth balls . Once I figured out how to work with it, , it went OK – although tedious . The seams did look very nice.
BUT … all this effort would have been unnecessary and the finished room would be more durable if the mfgr had printed on a non-woven substrate (as their on-line specs stated) and had used standard inks instead of this weird , smelly , high-end stuff. In fact, the material would have cost the homeowners a whole lot less $ if it had been normal ink on a non-woven backing .
The home is in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston .
installer

Bright and Cheery Accent Wall for Toddler Girl

January 12, 2023
Just about every wall and surface in this home is white . This super fun , super colorful pattern really energizes the little girl’s room / nursery .
Before, with my tinted- blue wallpaper primer Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime applied.
I love contrasting the colorful wallpaper to the plain “before” look.
Red flowers centered under the window , so it will look nice falling around the crib .
Close-up .
The manufacturer is the popular Rifle Paper , made by York . I love this brand – but beware of printing defects , which have been popping up more and more these last few years. Also, Rifle Paper is usually a DIY-friendly non-woven or paste the wall material . So I was surprised today to find this is a traditional paste the paper product . Actually, I’ve had a good handful of RPs lately that were paste the paper .
These two materials call for completely different installation methods. The PTP takes more time and equipment , too.
The home is in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston .

Cool Fun Blue Flower Paper in Powder Room

January 5, 2023
Before. The homeowner wanted something much more fun than drab grey walls . Plus she need something that would coordinate with the brown tones in the vanity countertop.
Here’s the solution! The paper is actually muddier and murkier than these photos show it to be, so it melds nicely with the brown stone .
Here’s a better idea of what the true colors actually look like.
Close-up.
aManufacturer is York. This was purchased from Dorota at the Sherwin-Williams in the Rice Village of Houston , for a price below retail . Call before heading over to see her selection . (713) 59-6515
The Sure Strip line by York is a thin and pliable , water-activated , pre-pasted wallpaper that is DIY -friendly. It goes up nicely, and is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece – and with no damage to the wall – when it’s time to redecorate . I like this product a lot. Although York has been prone to lots of printing defects (including today) in recent years.
The home is in the Heights neighborhood of Houston .

An Amazingly Well-Balanced Room

January 3, 2023

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O.K. – this is going to be a pretty technical post, and it will probably thrill me (and other paperhangers) more than it will the typical homeowner, but I was really tickled with the way this turned out. Here goes:

This wallpaper pattern is called “A Twitter,” and is by Schumacher. It is a fun design, and has a strong vertical element, with the trunks of trees very dominant in the design. I hung it in a powder room in the Heights neighborhood of Houston. This room was a rectangle, with the front and rear walls the same width, and the two side walls the same width.

Before I start hanging paper, I plot out the room (engineering), to plan where I want to place the pattern, where seams will fall, etc. I considered running the tree trunk behind the mirror. But that would have made the pattern sit off-center on the wall. Since that wall is facing you as you enter the room, I wanted it to be more symmetrical.

So I decided to center the pattern on the wall. But if I placed the tree trunk in the middle of the wall, then there would be only one tree trunk on that wall, and the next time the tree trunk appeared, it would be on the side walls, and not visible on the main wall. I thought it would look better to have the tree trunk on the main wall. So I planned it so that branches fell down the center line of the wall, and were flanked by a pair of tree trunks on either side. See photo.

What’s cool is, by placing the pattern this way, it turned out that the tree trunk fell almost perfectly centered behind both the mirror and the toilet. See top photo.

Then, as I progressed around the room and papered the side walls, the pattern fell symmetrically on these side walls, and mirrored itself perfectly. Meaning that the two walls that were perpendicular to the main wall, both had the same pattern as it advanced toward the back wall.

The back wall, then, also had the same pattern at the same measurements coming in from the corners as the wallpaper approached the door. See third and fourth photos.

What’s even cooler is that as the paper went around the door, the tree trunk magically “almost” perfectly centered itself over the door. It was so close that it looks like it is centered.

What’s even more cool is how the kill point in this room turned out. The “kill point” is the final corner in a room, where the first strip of wallpaper meets the last strip of wallpaper; this point is virtually always a pattern mis-match. So we try to place it over a door, or behind a door, or somewhere where it won’t be too noticeable.

But in this bathroom, as you can see in the third and fourth photos, the wall area on either side of the final wall was 9″ or more wide, and a mis-match would be very obvious. What I like to do in these cases is to keep the pattern intact by wrapping the paper from the final corner around onto the final wall where it butts up against the door. The door stops the pattern, so you don’t notice that the pattern would not match if you continued it to the opposite corner.

The thing is, there is still the area above the door that needs to be covered with wallpaper, and the design coming along the top of the door was not going to match up with the pattern I had wrapped around the corner to the left of the door. It almost lined up, but was off by about 2″ vertically, as well as about 3/4″ at the top of the wall, because un-plumb walls and un-level ceiling lines had caused the pattern to travel upwards a little.

So what I did was, referring to the last photo, as the paper above the door was moving to the left, and as the pattern on the left of the door was moving to the right and about to meet the pattern over the door, which would have resulted about 2″ of excess paper, and in tree limbs not lining up and birds being cut in half, as well as one bird’s head being at the top of the wall and another same bird’s head being 3/4″ below the top of the wall.

So what I did was, I slit the paper along the right side of the tree trunk. Then I took the right side of the strip of wallpaper that had been cut off and slid it down until the pattern matched up with the strip that was already over the door. Then I slipped the excess 2″ of paper on the left side of this piece under the cut tree trunk to its left. This effectively “swallowed up” the 2″ of excess paper. I trimmed this off so the overlap would be more like 1/2″ and could be disguised by the tree trunk.

So I had lined up the heads of the birds, and I had eliminated the 2′ excess of paper, and everything was hidden by that tree trunk.

One eye-jarring problem remained – The bird at the top of the tree trunk had been disembodied, and his head was at the top of the wall but his body was an inch or two below.

So what I did was to take a piece of left over paper that had the same bird on it and cut around the bird and the branches, and paste that over the tree trunk so the bird you see is completely intact. I needed to cut a few extra piece of brown paper and paste them over the tree trunk so your eye would not catch any incongruency, but you have to admit – that bird and the tree trunk it is sitting on looks pretty darned natural.

There was another area that had a void spot due to where the strips of paper had been moved over or to the side from one another, and I also used this appliqué method to disguise it.

Note that all of this is up 12′ off the ground, so you can’t see overlaps or appliqués or ridges. These techniques might work equally well at eye-level, or they might be more obvious. But in this room, with this pattern and this lay-out and this paper, it sure looks great.

I would challenge any homeowner – and even most any paperhanger – to stand on the floor and find where the pattern / paper was manipulated to disguise the kill point.

All this took a lot of time and math and plotting – but it sure was fun, and it sure was gratifying.

Period-Correct Arts & Crafts Frieze in Dining Room

December 21, 2022

Before. Walls painted with a deep, murky teal blue. I’ve measured the width of the border and then applied my wallpaper primer 1/4″ narrower than the border. That’s the white you see around the top of the room.
I love the way the teal / blue walls coordinate with the green in the border (a tall , vintage border like this is called a frieze ). Painting the walls the same color as the border would have been too much, IMO. Plus, you can never get the color exactly perfectly the same – so it looks like what I call a “near-miss.” Better to opt for complimentary colors , as this homeowner did. The color in some of the leaf detail also coordinates with the avocado green in the adjoining living room – you can see a snatch of this color at the far left of this photo.
The camera is making this color brighter and greener than it actually is, but you get an idea of the design . Once the Victorian era faded away, the Arts & Crafts movement came to be in the very early 1900’s , with less fru-fru and more nature , clean lines , whimsy , and stylized designs .
The home also has furniture and decor that hark back to this time period .
The pattern is called Apple Tree Frieze , and comes in several colorways .
The manufacturer is Bradbury & Bradbury , in California. They are the go-to company for 19th & 20th century historic patterns . Delicious stuff on their website!
Bradbury can be tricky to install, so not for novices . Different colorways can call for different adhesives / pastes , so be sure to read the instructions before starting .
The bungalow home in the Houston Heights dates to 1920 (possibly earlier) which is just smack in the middle of the Arts & Crafts decorating style .
I hung another period-correct border in this room for this family 10 years ago. Now they’ve done some updating with new colors and, of course – a new wallpaper border frieze . It was a pleasure to be back and help bring new life to the place!