Posts Tagged ‘hurricane’

Raising Homes to Lower Risk of Flooding

July 15, 2018


The Meyerland neighborhood in Houston has flooded severely three times in five years, with 2017’s Harvey being the worst. Here is what people who want to stay in their neighborhood and their home are doing, to be safe from future floods. These are ’50’s & ’60’s era ranch-style homes.

They will add skirting around the bottom. All new construction, which tend to be larger 2-story homes, must be built up high. It’s major expensive to lift a house, so many of the ’60’s era homes have been patched up, but left on the ground. I’d say that at least 50% of the homes are still unoccupied, a year after the flood. Some have been raised, and some have been razed.

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Mildew, Bleach, KILZ

June 7, 2018


Whooah! I stripped off wallpaper from this wall around a window in a home that had some water damage from Hurricane Harvey, to find this black powdery stuff – mildew. You don’t want to put wallpaper over a wall that has mildew, because the black stuff will continue to grow. And because it’s chalky / powdery, it the wallpaper will not stick to it. And it will also work its way through the wallpaper and create a stain on the surface.

I use bleach to kill the mildew and remove it from the wall. Once dry, I use KILZ Original oil-based stain blocker to seal the surface. In this case, I also skim-coated the wall, to make it nice and smooth. I will follow that with a coat of Gardz, a penetrating sealer that is also a good product to hang wallpaper on.

Repairing Damage from Hurricane Harvey

April 27, 2018


This home in the Champions Forest area of north Houston received flood damage after Hurricane Harvey. The bottom 2′ or so of drywall had been cut out and replaced by the restoration contractor. The only thing is, the new drywall was recessed back about 3/8″ from the existing drywall. Even though this was near the floor in the niche behind the refrigerator, the homeowner didn’t want to have a difference in wall height, nor a mis-match in the wallpaper pattern.

So I used joint compound (“mud”) and drywall seam tape to bridge the gap and to float out the discrepancy. It took three coats, and several sandings, plus a sealing primer, but the finished wall is pretty even and smooth. (2nd photo)

There wasn’t enough left over paper to replace the whole alcove, so I used scraps to piece in the bottom area. Rather than make a straight horizontal cut 2′ above the floor, it’s less eye-catching to have the patched areas run along a feature of the design, such as the vines and branches in this pattern. (3rd photo)

Once the new strips were smoothed into place (4th and 5th photos), the patched areas are virtually undetectable.

Sometimes people complain about having left over wallpaper. But here’s a good example of why you should. (last photo) This homeowner had kept all her leftovers in their original wrappings and in their original box, in a climate-controlled environment (not the garage or attic), and she had what was needed to make this repair (and several others around the room that are not shown here).

Flooded and Updated

April 26, 2018


At first glance, there is nothing wrong with the original striped wallpaper in this dining room of a home in the Champions area of Houston. In fact, it has been performing well for nearly 30 years. The only problem is that it’s outdated.

This home was damaged by the flooding that came with Hurricane Harvey last year. So while the homeowners were replacing floors and drywall and appliances, they decided to replace and update the dining room wallpaper, too.

This damask / trellis pattern has some unusual shading effects. From certain angles, it looks like there is a shadowy stripe running vertically through the design. But from another angle, you see an alternating depth of color (light, dark) running horizontally.

In addition, the printed design of the wallpaper has a metallic sheen to it. This adds life and energy to the room, and also ensures that the dining room feels young and up to date.

The homeowner thoughtfully chose the blue-green color paint at the bottom of the wall, to coordinate with the wallpaper. The darker color at the bottom of the walls helps ground and balance the room.

This wallpaper pattern is by York, and has a “raised ink” texture. 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.

Don’t Let The Contractor Prep the Walls for Wallpaper

April 18, 2018


This home was repaired after the flood of Hurricane Harvey. The contractor told the homeowner he would prep the walls for wallpaper. As you can see, his guys did get some parts of the wall nice and smooth. However, they didn’t bother to remove the mirror hooks, light sconces, or electrical switch plates. The result is some pretty gaps that will need to be filled in (by me) before I can hang the wallpaper.

Best to just let the Wallpaper Lady do the prep.

Humming Birds After Harvey

April 15, 2018


This home in a southwest neighborhood of Houston was damaged by Hurricane Harvey. Eight months later, repairs have progressed enough that decorative touches can now go in. This is the powder room.

This pattern is one of my all-time favorites, for its beauty, for its history, for its ease of installation, and for its performance over time.

This wallpaper pattern is called “Augustine,” by Thibaut Designs. It is a gravure print process with raised ink, and comes pre-pasted. This is a very old pattern – over 100 years old! The paper is 2.5″ narrower than most papers, and I’m told that is because it is printed on the very same cylinders that were used in the 1800’s.

The wallpaper 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.

Lively Watercolor-y Koi Pond For A Flooded Powder Room

January 12, 2018


What a fun paper! I have a koi pond, so that makes me doubly crazy about this pattern!

I hung this lively pattern in a large powder room in a home in the Memorial area of Houston that had been flooded by Hurricane Harvey. It’s four months after the storm, and this is the first person whom I have seen who has had repairs finished and who has been able to move back into her home. (See the darker drywall at the bottom of the wall, in the top photo? That’s the new Greenrock that replaced the drywall that got damaged by water.)

The rest of the house is very traditional, with a lot of antiques. So going with bright color and a fanciful fish pattern was a bit of a leap. But you can get away with a lot of drama in a powder room, because you don’t spend a lot of time in there. And the homeowner was ready for something uplifting.

This pattern is by York, in their SureStrip line. I love both the manufacturer and this line of papers. It is a thin and pliable non-woven material, turns corners nicely, and will hug the wall tightly. It is nice to work with, and does not shrink when it dries, so no gaps at the seams. It is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate.

Cole & Son “Woods” in Bellaire Powder Room

January 7, 2018


This family’s home in Bellaire had been damaged by flooding during Hurricane Harvey in August of 2017. Four months later, much of the home has been fixed, but the house is still not livable yet and there is still much work to be done. The mom and dad are both at the point where they want just one room done, one room that is pretty, and a little normalcy back in their lives.

I, personally, think they are rushing things a bit (because I like wallpaper to be the very last element done in a home), but the wife assured me she would make sure that other contractors (painters, floor guys, plumbers, electricians, etc., would not damage the wallpaper.

The mom originally planned to have the powder room painted. She was at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet to look at paint samples, and happened to glimpse a sample of this wallpaper pattern. “Woods” by Cole & Son is a popular pattern (I have hung it many times – do a search for previous posts), and it pulled her in immediately.

The powder room is large, and “Woods” was a wonderful choice for it. It fills the wall space nicely, and adds a lot of upward movement. It also adds an element of contemporary style, which the homeowner wanted to add to her previously-traditional styled home.

This wallpaper pattern is by Cole & Son, a British company. It is a non-woven material and uses a paste-the-wall install technique (rather than paste-the-paper). 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.

View of the Day – Working on the Beach

December 31, 2015
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To brighten up this gloomy December day, here is a post I drafted a couple of weeks ago…

Well, O.K., I am not exactly working on the beach. But the home in Galveston where I am working today is just a few minute’s walk away. It was a beautiful day – uncharacteristically bright and clear, and even though I spent the day hanging wallpaper in the upstairs bathroom, I had an open window to look out, and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

The amusement park is Galveston’s Pleasure Pier, built after Hurricane Ike destroyed other facilities, and the grand building is the historic Galvez Hotel, which has withstood two hurricanes and is still lovely and going strong.