Posts Tagged ‘home’

Drywall Has Different Surfaces

February 7, 2023
Here I’m preparing to hang wallpaper on new drywall in a new addition to a 1930’s home in east Houston .
First I’ve used a damp sponge to remove all construction and sanding dust. Next I’m going to apply my primer.
It’s important to note that, even though this is wall is a new sheet of drywall, it’s not all the same surface.
We have mostly large expanses of drywall / greenrock (the type of drywall that’s used in wet areas ).
But at the joints , and covering where the screws and nails hold the drywall to the studs , we have joint compound . That’s the strips of white areas.
And next to the crown and door molding and the baseboards is overspray from the paint that was applied to the wood trim.
Here I’ve applied my light blue-tinted wallpaper primer over the top 1/3 of the wall.
It’s important to be sure that the primer you use is suited for use under wallpaper . But also that it will properly adhere to and seal all the surfaces on the wall .
My primer (below) will stick to just about anything. But this photo is interesting. Because my primer has been rolled on evenly across the wall , and cut in with a trim brush along the trim and corners . But you see that the primer is drying at different rates . On the right side of the photo, the primer is applied over the bare drywall, and it’s drying quickly. But toward the left, next to the door trim , the primer is drying more slowly. This is because there is paint overspray next to the door trim . The paint is semi-gloss enamel , and my wallpaper primer reacts with it differently from how it reacts to flat paint or drywall or other surfaces.
Not a big deal. Just be aware of the need for different dry times due to different surfaces the primer is applied to.
My preferred wallpaper primer is by Roman , called Pro 977 Ultra Prime. It’s not readily available, but you can find it on-line. All Sherwin-Williams stores can get it from the distribution center – but not all store managers know that, or are willing to do so. I get mine from Murphy Brothers Paint on Bissonnet near the Rice Village , who stocks it just for me.

Fanciful Mural for Baby’s Crib / Accent Wall

December 23, 2022
Typical textured wall in new homes in suburban Houston has been skim-floated , sanded smooth , and primed with Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime wallpaper primer .
All ready for baby Noah! The parents-to-be will spend the weekend bringing in the crib and other furnishings .
This is a 4-panel mural . Here I’ve laid out the panels , to ensure correct placement , and get accurate measurements .
We had some ” issues ” and I wasn’t completely happy with this product / vendor . For starters, they custom-printed custom-sized the material to the exact dimensions I had asked. Problem is, these panels are intended to be overlapped and double-cut ( spliced ). That means losing an inch on every seam . The company should have accommodated for that by providing us with four extra inches. They did not, so I had a real math and juggling match trying to plot how to get enough paper to cover the width of the wall.
The grey colors go nicely with the current trend toward greys and beiges ; the rest of the home follows this color scheme .
i thought this was going to be a pre-trimmed non-woven / paste the wall material. I was caught off guard when I discovered it was a textured vinyl on a paper backing , untrimmed and had to be double cut . See other post and/or do some Searching here for more info on this DC process . I think a better material would have resulted in better seams . But – wallpaper is meant to be viewed from about 5′ away, and from there, the wall is perfect.
Remember the picture of the panels laid out on the floor . The panel on the far right had a cool train near the top. It was a prominent feature in the scene . But, as you see in this photo, that train was cut off by the door. So all you see over the door is blank sky . I really liked that train, and so did the mom . I wanted to put it where she could see it .
So I took the bottom portion of that last panel and found the train. I used a straightedge to cut the bottom edge, and then used a scissors to trim around the top of the train and its trail of smoke .
Vinyl is slick , and wallpaper paste won’t adhere to it. So I applied special paste designed to grab ahold of vinyl. Then I placed it over the door , butting it up against the right where it meets the adjoining wall.
But – dangnabit! I forgot to take a picture of it finished! It looked great. Over the door was no longer all that dead-air blank space. Now there is a streamlined train with wisps of smoke , heading toward the distant castle !
I’m not going to mention where this was purchased from, because it’s one of the sites that I hope people will steer away from – a place that sells batteries , jewelry , fishing tackle , and – oh, yeah – wallpaper, too,,, you’re just better off with one of the established companies that specializes in wallpaper .
nursery installer houston sienna

Ceiling is NOwhere NEAR Level

November 29, 2022
We wallpaper hangers / installers like to have a nice straight ceiling line . Meaning, that the same pattern motif will show up at the same height on the wall on every strip . For instance, the top of the sailboat will touch the bottom of the crown molding all the way around the room.
But in old houses, poorly-built houses, or just plain old wonky houses (which are most homes in Houston! ), you can’t count on ceilings and floors being level , nor on walls being perfectly plumb .
When I used my level to check the ceiling in this 1926 home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood , I admit – I laughed out loud!
When a surface is level, the air bubble will be in the middle of the two black lines . It’s common for the bubble to be a little “off.” But this one isn’t even trying to be in the middle. Meaning – the ceiling is nowhere near level. The ceiling line is moving up and / or down as it moves across the room. The discrepancy can be as much as an inch or even more from one end of the room to the other.
Meaning, there is no way that that sailboat is going to be just below the ceiling on every strip.
Luckily, this particular wallpaper pattern was such that you aren’t going to notice much.
The other thing is, most people who live in older homes, or homes with shifting foundations , or even new homes , understand that walls and floors rearrange themselves over time . So they’re understanding if sailboats drift down the ceiling line , or if patterns don’t match absolutely perfectly in the corners.

Wanderlust? City Maps Wallpaper in Hall Bathroom

November 26, 2022
Original tile in this 1926 home goes beautifully with the colors in this globe-trotting wallpaper . I positioned the pattern to try to get the most names and maps within the area between the tile and ceiling .
The paper turned out to have a complicated multiple drop pattern match . Basically, in a nutshell, most of the time, with a straight match , a particular pattern motif (the word ” Bangkok ” for instance) will appear at the same height , such as the top of the wall , on every strip . Or, with a drop match , it’s at the top of the wall every other strip . These are the two typical pattern match types. But with a multiple drop match , the pattern will fall down and down across the wall further and further , and finally appear back at the top of the wall on the fourth , or, sometimes, more, strip. That’s why in this shot, you see the bottom half of the city names cut off by the tile, instead of the full name.
And the pattern match is different if you’re moving from left to right, or from right to left .
It’s a real head-scratcher to figure out – and you had better notice it before you start cutting strips, or you could end up running short of paper . It also eats up a lot of paper. I always measure to have a little extra , but in this case, we ended up with just barely enough to finish the 2-room bathroom .
City Maps is by Rifle Paper , which is made by York , generally a good company – although starting to have lots of printing defects – which we did experience on this installation. Also, usually, Rifle Paper is an easy non-woven / paste-the-wall material . This time, second time in a month, it was printed on traditional paper. Another surprise that added time to this job , since after pasting , each piece had to be booked and then set in a plastic bag for a few minutes to absorb the paste , expand , and relax . Best to have this occur in the bag, rather than put it immediately on the wall – which would result in wrinkles and bubbles. But it does slow the process down.
This home is in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston .

Humidity Causes Curling Edges on Vinyl / Non-Woven Wallpaper

November 23, 2022
I hung this wallpaper about 10 years ago. It’s a main bathroom in a 1920’s home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston. The home has been remodeled including updated HVAC systems , but surely still suffering from issues of humidity and air circulation.
At some point, the very edges of the wallpaper started curling back at the seams. This is more pronounced at the upper portions of the wall than at the chair rail. Meaning, humidity from showering is rising into the air, collecting under the ceiling, and working its way into the seams.
Once humidity gets into the backing of the wallpaper, it can cause the backing to expand. When that happens, the paper has to go somewhere. So it pushes itself away from the wall. Hence the curling that you see here.
What’s odd to me is that this happened with a paper that’s on a non-woven backing. Non-wovens are 20% polyester, so pretty resistant to moisture and humidity. I’m guessing that this company used less than the industry standard of 20% polyester. The material was super thin and flexible, which is unlike most non-wovens I’ve worked with.
I was able to make this look pretty good again. I used a putty knife to gently lift the compromised edges away from the wall, and then I worked some of my regular wallpaper paste back behind there. (no super glue or heavy duty paste or contact cement )
Then I used my heat gun – set on Low – to gently warm up the vinyl surface of the wallpaper . The heat gun served several purposes … It helped speed the drying of the paste , so it got tacky and held more quickly and firmly. The heat gun also ” melted ” the vinyl surface a wee bit, so it would curl back in the opposite direction.
I used a 3″ stiff metal putty knife to push the two edges of wallpaper back down to the wall. The metal knife heated up, too, and helped to get the vinyl to conform.
Using the heat gun and the metal putty knife also helped the two edges from the two strips to meet up together … sort of like two mountain big horn sheep butting their heads together . Butted together this way is better than one lying on top of the other.
I was really pleased with how well this worked. Sorry – no pics!
The brand is Super Fresco Easy .

Artsy Display for Old “Junk”

November 16, 2022
My clients live in a 1930’s home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston. They’ve done an exceptionally nice renovation / restoration of the home , taking care to retain much of the old-style character, along with many of the original features.
Instead of chucking vintage door and window hardware into the trash, they’ve placed these hinges and latches – even old nails – into attractive glass apothecary and mason jars.
Now these old-house treasures have become works of art!

Picasso Slept Here – Crazy Pattern in a Complicated Powder Room

November 11, 2022
This is a fairly large powder room with a sloped ceiling, as it is situated under the stairs. You can see a bit of the ceiling at the top of the photo. The room also had this odd recessed niche with “columns” on either side, and a door leading to a closet.
In addition, there were tons of the rounded / bull-nosed edges that have been common in new homes in the last 10 years or so. These are tricky to wrap wallpaper around, and equally difficult to trim wallpaper to the edge.
Here is the niche area done, with wallpaper wrapped around the columns, and cut neatly along the horizontal bull nosed edge above the entry.
Wrapping the wallpaper around this edge and onto the ceiling of the niche would have made the area way too busy and claustrophobic. Because these edges are never perfectly straight and level, it’s also quite likely that the wallpaper will go crooked, and you’ll end up with gaps or overlaps at the seams.
A better option is to paint that ceiling area. I suggested the murky green color that’s in the leaves on the wallpaper pattern.
Here’s the east wall of the room. The vanity and sink are at the bottom right.
Here it is finished. In this case, the fir-down underside was only about a foot deep, so less chance of the wallpaper going crooked, so I did wrap it around the rounded edge and underneath. Still, one of the wallpaper strips did twist askew, and there was a small gap at one seam. With this pattern, no biggie – I just cut out a leaf and pasted it over the gap.
I told you the room had crazy angles!
Note that in papering angled areas like this, you can match the pattern in some places, but there will be mis-matches in others, such as where the sloped ceiling meets the fir-down. This wild pattern is perfect for disguising any mis-matches!
Rolling the paper out on the floor, to get an idea of the pattern’s layout .
Closer look at the lemons and leaves . And angles .
It looks like a Picasso painting, don’t you think? The homeowner wanted something wild and fun , to set off the white minimalism in the rest of the home .
The pattern is called Citrus and is by A Street Prints . It’s a nice non-woven material , doesn’t expand , and can be hung by the paste the wall method , although I opted to paste the paper , as I usually do.
Non-wovens are designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece, with no / minimal damage to the wall when you redecorate . They’re usually a pleasure to install . They’re more stain resistant and more able to withstand humidity than many traditional wallpapers .
The home of this busy young family is in the West University area of Houston .

Swirly Leafy Priano Wallpaper in Spring Branch Powder Room

October 7, 2022
Walls were originally a light tan , with a poor texture job , too much caulk along the top of the backsplash , and later it was discovered that someone had painted (several layers ) on top of wallpaper .
Same area after I’ve skim-floated and sanded smooth , then primed with Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime made specifically for use under wallpaper . I have Murphy Brothers paint store add a little blue tint so I can see where I’ve rolled it on.
Finished!
Such a happy pattern to look at – swirly , nods to foliage and ferns , crisp . Yet not too busy , due to the 2-tone color palate and the tight, overall design .
Close up. You get the feel of a watercolor artist / painting .
The design matched up perfectly in the last corner . This only happens about once in every 10 years!
In addition, what’s even more astounding is that EACH of the four walls in this powder room was EXACTLY the width of two strips of my Serena & Lily 27″ wide paper + expansion. The strips fell in EACH corner ABSOLUTELY tight and straight. I’ve had perfect kills before, but never had paper fall in the corners with no need to wrap or trim.
I know that’s a little techy for the non-professional reader to grasp. But just know that it was a room and a day full of almost paranormal-grade coincidences , math , and execution .
Pattern is Priano and is made by Serena & Lily , one of my favorite companies.
This is the home of a young family in the Spring Branch area of Houston .

Sweet Toile Trellis For Baby Girl

October 5, 2022
Baby’s coming, so the nondescript tan walls in this this home office are about to make way for a nursery.
I love how one wall done contrasted against the plain painted wall shows how much more life and brightness wallpaper adds to the space.
Sweet, but not overly gooey , this pattern and simple two-tone colorway will grow with the child and be appropriate from infant to teen years.
Opposite corner.
Window wall.
Toile is a French word that describes a sort of pen & ink line drawing of one color on a simple background . Classic toiles are cherubs floating and shepherdesses playing flutes while lambs frolic in the meadow. But these days there are lots of themes, from seaside villages to Winnie the Pooh to the Cities series by Katie Kime (do a Search here to see more of that ).
This is a non-woven substrate with a lightly textured raised ink surface. It can be hung via the paste-the-wall method. But I usually prefer to paste the material , which worked nicely this time because the wallpaper was thick and stiff, and moisture from the paste softened it and made it much more pliable and workable .
This pattern is Rosalind Floral and it’s by McGee and Co. But I highly suspect that the actual manufacturer is York , one of my favorite brands.
This is a nicely renovated 1920’s home in the Heights neighborhood of Houston .
wallpaper installer

Horizontal Cut To Ease Installation in Tight Spot

October 2, 2022
This is an under-the-stairs cloffice ( closet turned home office ). Wallpaper needs to go along the wall on the right. Over the top of the shelf alcove on the right, over the top of the shelf on the left, down the center, into the niche above the desk area on the left, and then down and under into the knee / kick area under the desk on the left.
Easily accomplished with paint. But tricky with wallpaper – which can twist, crease, tear, buckle, etc. Not to mention paste getting slopped onto all that nice newly-painted woodwork.
The part above the desk is not so horribly tricky, but this portion under the desk is, mostly due to the narrow transition point.
Another issue is that the strip of wallpaper is set to extend to the right about 5″ over the shelf alcove. This means that paste will be getting onto the woodwork, as well as adding weight and stress to the whole strip.
Since the wallpaper comes in a rectangular strip, a whole lot of the top section is going to overlap onto that sloped ceiling area, getting paste on that, too.
To make all that easier and cleaner, here I have roughed in some cuts, measuring and templating ahead of time, to reduce the amount of paper that will overlap onto the shelf woodwork and the ceiling.
Once this strip is pasted, I’ll use my blue plastic tape on the pasted side of the paper, to keep paste from getting on to the navy blue paint. No photo of that, but you can Search on ” blue tape ” to see previous posts about that cool stuff.
As mentioned above, it was going to be really difficult to manipulate the wallpaper down the wall and then down and under the desk area without damaging the paper.
So I decided to eliminate stress on the paper by cutting the strip into two sections – one for above the desk and one for under it. I used my straightedge and a razor blade and cut along a horizontal element of the design.
Here I have the top section in place. No need to wrestle a 24″ wide strip down that narrow area and then down and underneath the desk.
Here I’m about to position the bottom piece.
Here it is in place.
All finished! No stress on the paper, no creases or tears. And no swearing during the installation!
This wallpaper pattern is called Florida Toile and is by Katie Kime in their very popular Cities Toile collection .