Posts Tagged ‘houston’

Out of the ’70’s and Into a Bright Splash of Color and Fun!

July 21, 2017

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The top photo shows the entry of this ’70’s ranch style home in far west Houston in it’s ’90’s era shiny, striped, vinyl wallpaper. Once I stripped that off, below it was revealed the original wild orange and gold ’70’s era paper, which you see in the second photo.

That orange paper would not come off without damaging the Sheetrock (because the previous installer had not primed the walls), so I prepped the seams, sealed the paper, primed it, and then hung the new paper over it. The third photo shows the new paper going up. I love the picture, because it shows the dramatic transformation.

What a wild punch of color, and a cherry, fun pattern – and a little wildlife, too!

The new wallpaper is by York, in their Sure Strip line, which is a pre-pasted, non-woven material that is designed to strip off the wall easily and with no damage to the wall, when it’s time to redecorate. I love their products. This pattern is in their Williamsburg collection. It 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.

Stripping Off The ’90’s To Reveal – The ’70’s

July 20, 2017

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Today I stripped paper off the walls of a typical entry in a typical ’60’s / ’70’s-era home.

The paper I removed was a pre-pasted, paper-backed, solid vinyl in a striped design. This is a typical pattern, and a typical type of material, for that time.

Under it was the original paper from when the home was built in the ’70’s. If you remember, that was back in the days of Harvest Gold, Avacado Green, orange, and Flower Power. This vintage paper has three out of the four!

After all these years, and despite having been covered up by the vinyl wallcovering, the orange paper was in perfect shape – tight to the wall, and brilliantly colored. The vinyl paper, on the other hand, was curling at the edges and was discolored.

This is partly due to age, but mostly due to having been improperly installed… previous installer did not remove the old wallpaper, and did not prime the walls, plus these pre-pasted, paper-backed, solid vinyls are just not good papers.

This home is in the Kirkwood / Briar Forest area of Houston.

Major Transformation – From Cave-Like to Bright, Warm and Tranquil

July 15, 2017

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Wow, what a change! This home office / TV room in Southside Place / West University neighborhood of Houston, was papered in a dark-navy-on-navy stripe. In my opinion, it looked great in the room, especially above the white paneled wainscoting. But it was time for a change … in fact, the husband said, “We should have gotten rid of this when we bought the house 25 years ago.”

The navy wallpaper was hung properly, but it would not come off the wall without a LOT of time and mess (and $ ). So I prepped and sealed the walls and hung over it (see other posts). I love the 2nd photo, because it shows the new, light wallpaper juxtaposed against the original dark paper.

This material is a light tan stringcloth superimposed with a barely-there white Moroccan lantern motif. I love this as an alternative to grasscloth. It is uniform in color, has a wonderful tactile texture, and has none of the shading, paneling, color variations, visible seams, or propensity to staining and bleeding that make grasscloth so disappointing.

In addition, it is a non-woven, paste-the-wall product, and was nice to work with. The design was even perfectly centered on the 27″ wide material, and could be reverse-hung (hung upside down and still match up perfectly with the previous strip).

The new, light colored wallpaper looked super against the wainscoting, and had just enough color to stand out against the white woodwork. The sofa was a tan linen fabric, and synced with the new wallpaper in color and texture. The armoire that holds the TV is a medium wood tone, and contrasts against the light walls “just enough.” The whole overall look is relaxing.

This wallpaper pattern is by Designer Wallpaper, in their EcoChic line, in a book or line called Wallpaper Effects, 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.

Brightly Nautical Wallpaper in a Master Bathroom

July 8, 2017

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I didn’t get pictures of the original wallpaper, but it was a pre-pasted, paper-backed solid vinyl (my least favorite kind) and had been poorly installed on un-primed bare drywall. Over the 12 years it was up, humidity from the bathroom had penetrated the seams and caused the paper to curl.

This paper (not vinyl) wallpaper, hung over properly primed walls, will cling tightly to the wall and perform well for many years to come. Plus, it’s bright and pretty and adds a lot of life to the room.

One shot shows the oceanic paper in the main room, looking into the potty / water closet, which has been papered in a coordinating yellow striped pattern. I really like using two papers this way. See tomorrow’s post for pics of the potty room.

This home is in West University Place (Houston). The wallpaper pattern is #839-T-6701 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.

Shiny Geometric Wallpaper Pattern Brings Life to a Dark, Dull Powder Room

July 6, 2017

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This retired couple near the Montrose neighborhood of Houston has a 15-year-old home that is, along with their furnishings, pretty traditional. They wanted to update with wallpaper, but didn’t want the new look to clash with the rest of their house. Going a little wild in the powder room is a great way to do this, because you only see the contemporary look when you are in the powder room – the rest of the time, the door is closed.

But now that the new paper is up, they will surely want to keep the door open!

This powder room was originally painted a deep, murky aqua/teal. Despite the high ceilings and large footprint, the matt finish and dark color made the room look small, and it definitely was lacking in personality.

The first day, I skim-floated the textured walls to smooth them (see first photo). The second day, the paper went up. The new wallpaper sports a fluid, interlocking geometric pattern that is in the same color family as the original paint, but much lighter, and the shiny surface adds a lot of light and dazzle.

Interestingly, I hung this same pattern, but in a darker color, just last week. It is lovely to work with. The walls in this room were pretty off-plumb, and also bowed, which can be Hell with a rigid geometric design. But I used some tricks to make the pattern look like it’s hanging straight and plumb. The homeowners were very happy with the finished room.

This wallpaper pattern is by York, in their Designer Series, 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.

Jungle Mural on a Bedroom Niche Wall

July 1, 2017

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This alcove / sitting area is in the entry vestibule of the master bedroom in a renovated-and-expanded 1914 home in the Houston Heights. Every wall and surface in the home is white, or some faint derivative of white. Meaning, colorless and lifeless.

This fun jungle mural with birds and foliage and a good (but not crazy) dose of color changes all that. Behind the headboard, as most accent walls are, might have been too much with this particular mural. But the homeowner envisioned it on this on one wall in the vestibule – the wall that the family will see when they are in the room with the kids, or on the bed.

In the second photo, I am laying out the mural, to see how I want to position it on the wall. The mural is about two feet too wide for the wall, and about 10″ too tall, so some of it had to be trimmed off. The homeowner wanted the bird on the left to be visible, so I plotted my placement around that.

One of the photos shows a mock-up of the mural which was included in the instruction sheet. It shows that the mural comes in eight panels, and it shows which design elements are included in each panel. This is very helpful in deciding which areas will be cut off, and which will be placed prominently on the wall.

Complicating that is the width of the individual panels relative to the width of the wall, and the fact that the paper will expand just a tad once it is wet with paste, which throws off initial measurements based on dry paper.

I’ll skip all the math and engineering, but to cut to the chase, I trimmed a little off here and added a little there, and the mural fit the wall beautifully, with the bird taking prominence on the left, an another large bird being featured just about in the dead center.

This mural is by SureStrip, one of my favorite brands. It is a thin, pliable, pre-pasted non-woven material that is designed to strip off the wall when it’s time to redecorate. In the meantime, it was positively lovely to work with, and it will stay on the wall and perform beautifully for years / decades to come.

Faux Grasscloth on an Accent Wall in a Dining Room

June 30, 2017

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This retired couple near the Montrose neighborhood of Houston wanted to update their 15-year old house by adding a textured wallpaper to one wall in their dining room. Originally, they were considering grasscloth.

Luckily, they listened to my “lecture” about grasscloth – the disappointing visible seams, color variations, shading, paneling – and attractiveness to cats who like to scratch. Instead of grasscloth, they chose this alternative.

This product is surfaced with stringcloth (real vertical string fibers), so it has a tangible texture. But because it has a printed grass-like design, the pattern can be matched from strip to strip, so you never see the seams. In addition, the color is uniform so you don’t have the shading and paneling problems so prevalent with real grasscloth.

And, to top it off, the paper is lovely to work with, and will hold up for many years to come.

This wallpaper pattern is by Wallquest, in their “Grass Effects” book, 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.

Water Color-y Pink Floral for Little Girl’s Room

June 29, 2017

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Here is a sweet pattern that really charmed up a little girl’s room in the Briar Meadows neighborhood of Houston. I hung it on one accent wall behind the bed’s headboard. In the first three photos (before, during, & after), the vertical shadows on the wall are from the dangling crystals on the chandelier. There is also a little splotchiness because the paper is still wet – the spots will disappear when it dries.

This pre-pasted wallpaper is by Jolie, and was bought on-line. It is a mural, meaning that the paper comes in panels, instead of rolls, and the pattern does not repeat itself nearly as frequently as a regular wallpaper pattern does. It is popular with moms who have little girls, and I have hung it several times. (Do a Search here.)

Just like the other times, I was disappointed in the quality of this paper. (Do a Search here.) Actually, the quality of the paper itself is fine. It is the manufacturer’s inattention to detail that is the stumbling block.

Photo #4 shows a mis-match in the pattern. These were relatively few and relatively minor, though, and really weren’t a big deal.

Other issues, however, were more noticeable and less satisfactory. Photos #5 & #6 show where the trimming blades at the factory got off-kilter, and created curved cuts. This is the exact same shape of bad cuts I have had with my other installs of this product. (Do a Search here.)

When the edges of wallpaper are not cut straight, it’s impossible to butt them together perfectly. So with this material, you are left with “gaps and overlaps,” which you can see see in Photo #7…I know the photo is crummy, but if you enlarge it and look closely, you see three distinct and rather wide gaps, all within about a 6″ length of seam.

Besides gaps, badly cut seams will result in overlaps. Photo #8 shows an overlap of about 1/8″. I hate overlaps more than gaps. I’ll take a gap over an overlap any day. But I’d rather not have either, because both look bad, in my opinion – and a conscientious manufacturer will ensure that his product is not cut like this.

Most people would not have even noticed the gaps or overlaps. But they were bugging me, and I thought I could give these homeowners a little better.

So, on some of the worst overlaps, I took a straightedge and a brand new, very sharp razor blade, and trimmed off the excess, which amounted to 1/8″ of an inch in some areas, and down to about 1/32″ in others. When dealing with these minuscule widths, this procedure is tedious and exacting, and it doesn’t always result in perfect results. Before cutting, you have to pad the wall to protect it, and then work carefully so your razor blade cuts only the two layers of paper, but not into the wall. (Scoring the wall can cause delaminating (the wall coming apart and the wallpaper seams curling) down the road.) There are a lot more factors that complicate the trimming process. But the end result, although imperfect, looked much better and was worth the time and effort.

And, from a distance, and with the furniture back in place and the shade down and my 100 watt light bulb out of the room, the wall looks fantastically feminine is perfectly suited to this young daughter.

Can’t Sell the House With Outdated Wallpaper

June 23, 2017

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The homeowners have put this Bellaire (Houston) house on the market, but it has not been attracting much attention, and the realtor says it’s partially due to the outdated wallpaper. My camera ate pics of three of the rooms, so you have only this mossy green stripe combined with a coordinating faux finish accent wall – topped with a topiary themed border. Gee – NO ONE is doing borders these days. The paper has to go!

So, today I am stripping off paper that I hung in 2001. I am proud to say that every wallpaper in every room I did 16 years ago is still in absolutely perfect condition, even in the humid bathrooms.

This job went especially well, since I used a good paste and because I had primed the wall with an excellent primer, oil-based KILZ Original. I was able to remove the paper in three bathrooms in just a few hours, with virtually no damage to the walls, because the KILZ protected them.  Because KILZ Original is oil-based, it will not re-wet when wallpaper paste is put on top of it, or when water is used to remove old wallpaper.

NOTE: The formula for KILZ has changed in recent years, due to environmental regulations. Wallpaper paste won’t adhere to it, so it is no longer a good primer for wallpaper projects.

In the second photo, I am stripping off top vinyl layer of the green striped wallpaper. The tan colored paper backing is left on the wall. In the third photo, you see the tan backing. I have soaked some of it, and the wet areas are a darker tan color. Once it gets good and wet, the paste reactivates, and the paper can be gently scraped from the wall, or, if you’re really lucky, gently pulled from the wall in large pieces. In the third photo, the white area in the center is where the paper backing has been removed, revealing the KILZ primer underneath. It was fun to also find my measurements and notes written on the wall back in 2001.

See the next post for a pic of the room with the paper off.  The realtor walked in and was very happy.  Next the painter will prime with a stain-blocking primer (like oil-based KILZ Original or Zinsser’s BIN) to prevent residual wallpaper paste from causing the new paint to crackle and flake off, and then paint the walls.

Fun Rainbow Fan Pattern in a Hall Bathroom

June 22, 2017

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Another all-white bathroom goes from dull to lively and fun, thanks to wallpaper!

This pattern is called Chou Chou, and is by Sister Parish Design. The substrate was paper, and it was a hand-trim product. It was positively lovely to work with.

The pattern, however, was NOT. Those rainbows look alike, but they are not. It was the Devil trying to tell one blue dot from another. Add to that extremely off-plumb walls, bowed walls, and an unlevel ceiling, plus the selvedge edge obscuring the pattern motif at the edges of the paper. I spent more time trying to match up dots than I did hanging paper.

The room had some tricky elements to it, too, so this install took way longer than I had anticipated or planned for. Let’s just say, the homeowners gave me a key, told me how to let myself out and lock up, and went to bed.

So it was a loooong work day (night). Still, it turned out looking fantastic.

This home is in the Galleria area of Houston. The interior designer for the job is Layne Ogden.