Posts Tagged ‘home’

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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Mid Century Modern Bookshelves Get Grasscloth on Back

May 6, 2018


This 1960 ranch style home in the Westbury neighborhood of Houston is like a time capsule of Mid Century Modern design. The doors, windows, moldings, cabinetry, and even most of the bathrooms are original – and in mint condition. The homeowners love the look, and wanted to honor that, while updating some of the rooms. Grasscloth was all the rage in the ’60’s, so it was the perfect choice for the backs of these bookshelves in the family room.

I have to tell ya, covering this beautiful, original, perfectly maintained 1960 wood paneling with mud and a primer just about killed me. But since the wallcovering choice was grasscloth, the new look would be in keeping with the original feel of the house.

I don’t usually like grasscloth, because of the color variations (and many more reasons – do a Search – upper right corner) – But I was pleased with today’s product. The color was very uniform, and the material was very soft and pliable, as well as thin. It turned corners nicely and hugged the wall tightly.

This particular grasscloth has a bit more of a “nubby” texture than those with straight reeds, and this one had a nice sheen, too.

I wanted to avoid getting paste on that pristine wood, because I was afraid it might not wipe off without leaving residue, and also because I didn’t want to run a damp rag along the grasscloth, for fear of staining or bleeding. So I used my craft store cutting mat and a couple of different straightedges, to pre-trim the pieces to perfect right angels, so they would fit into the bookshelf alcoves, and also butt up against one another precisely.

I also used blue plastic tape (not shown) on the edges of certain pieces, to keep paste off the wood bookcase.

This grasscloth wallpaper is by Phillip Jeffries, a higher-end brand, 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.

Venetian Plaster – Whoever Thought This Was A Good Idea?!

February 18, 2018

In the early 2000’s, someone got the idea to put Venetian plaster in American homes. The fad caught on, and soon people were forsaking wallpaper and covering their walls with the new trendy texture, which was supposed to look “rustic,” and “Tuscan.”

To me, unless you had a house that was designed from the ground up to look “Tuscan,” this wall finish never looked good in the typical American home. Even worse was when the finish was poorly executed. Please see the photos.

I’m glad that the pendulum has swung, and people are going back to wallpaper.

There are special prep steps that must be taken, so that the texture won’t show under the new paper, and so the paper can adhere to the surface (true Venetian plaster has a slick wax coating).

Upward Movement Geometric in a Briarpark Entry Way

January 10, 2018


This beautifully updated 1971 Tudor-style ranch-style home in the Briarpark area of Houston was pretty much white and grey, from outside throughout the inside. The homeowner wanted some warmth and life, and some personality for the interior.

This scratchy black on white pattern does all of that. It is a combination of geometric, trellis, and medallion, and it has a strong vertical influence, too.

Notice how the design motif has been centered on the two walls pictured.

This wallpaper is from A Street Prints, by Brewster. It is a non-woven material and is intended to be a paste-the-wall installation. But I had better results by pasting-the-paper. The paper 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.

Marbleized Trend In Wallpaper

December 18, 2017


I’ve had a number or clients express interest in patterns like this recently. A faux-finish or marbleized pattern.

I didn’t realize that this was a hot decorating trend, until I saw it in a nation-wide magazine.

This is a nice backdrop pattern. Nothing to jar the eye or steal the show … Just an easy pattern in a muted color scheme. A perfect backdrop for business or home.

Wallpaper Chinoiserie in a Powder Room – South Sea

April 27, 2017

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The powder room in this 20-year old home in the Houston Heights was originally painted a deep avocado green. It was beautiful but claustrophobic, and the new homeowners wanted an updated change. This two-toned Chinoiserie in grey and white is lighter and brighter, has an uplifting feel, trends modern yet is timeless (Chinoiseries never go out of style), and visually expands the room.

This was a difficult room to wallpaper. Due to its location under the stairs, it has a sloping ceiling. There is a window smack in the middle of the focal wall, there was a wall-mounted mirror and a wall-mounted cabinet, there were four points of intricate molding to cut around, there were obtuse wall angles (more tricky than right angles), the width of the wallpaper strips didn’t correlate to the dimensions of the walls, door, or window, and there were numerous areas where the paper had to go from floor to ceiling, instead of the traditional ceiling to floor – all to name a few challenges in this room.

The wallpaper rolls had shards of shavings left on its edges, which I scrubbed off with a toothbrush, and then used a sanding block to really clean the edges of each strip. Still, there were rough edges so that not all the seams fit together quite as nicely as usual.

Instead of being set in the ceiling, the exhaust fan was set in the wall. This directed it straight outside which is nice, but it left the ugly vent cover smack in the middle of the wall. To disguise this, I covered the appliance with wallpaper. This took about an hour, and presented challenges in itself. See other post (do a Search) for more info.

This wallpaper pattern is called “South Sea,” by Thibaut Designs, 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.

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…

Modernizing, But Staying True to Colonial Roots

November 10, 2016
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This 1958 ranch-style home overlooking the jogging trail along Braes Bayou in central Houston has a strong Colonial flavor, and that is reiterated by the collection of antique furniture and accessories. In the powder room, the previous sweet tan-on-cream toile wallpaper pattern fit in perfectly.

But, over years of raising kids and careless splashing of water onto the wallpaper, some of the seams were curling (see first photo and my previous post). And, come late 2016, the homeowner was ready to update the home and bring in a more modern feel. But she didn’t want to fight the bones of the house.

She shopped at my favorite store (see below) and found the perfect pattern! A trellis is a classic design, dating back hundreds of years. But this version edges toward a contemporary feel. And the color is perfect with the unique shade of the woodwork.

I engineered the room so that the trellis pattern would be centered on the sink / faucet, and so it would look nicely balanced around the mirror and light sconces (4th photo).

The homeowner was ecstatic. She kept saying that it looked even better than she hoped it would.

This is my third time to paper this powder room, over 15-20 years. I have seen their kids grow up! 🙂

This wallpaper is by Wallquest, in their EcoChic line. I like this brand a lot. This paper was bought at a discounted 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.

Leave Your Shoes At The Door And You’re …. Half-Way Good

August 9, 2016

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Today I worked in an under-construction home, and, once the new floors are in, it’s pretty customary to have workmen remove their shoes. I liked that this contractor was considerate and removed his shoes before entering the house.

But, geeze, can’t you put them to the side and out of the way, so other people can get in and out the door? !

Just one of the small details that makes women better suited than men (in my opinion:) ), for tasks that involve care and attention to details and forethought and whole-picture thinking – like hanging wallpaper. 🙂