Posts Tagged ‘install’

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!

Bright Botanical for Home Office Accent Wall

January 20, 2023
The windows look out into a green yard,
so the verdant , playful design frames the view perfectly.
The bull-nosed edges on the sides and top of the windows are really tricky to wrap wallpaper around, BTW.
Skim-floating / skim-coating the textured wall to smooth it, along with the puffy wallpaper, added enough thickness to the wall that the blinds on the right would not fit into their brackets. A window covering company can easily trim those down.
Arrrgh! Moving from left to right, the last strip ended up 1/2″ from the corner. That meant that I had to cut a narrow strip and work it into place. Trickier than it sounds.
Note that this required an entire 10′ long strip, to get that 1/2″ wide piece. Always order a little extra!
el like I’m stepping back into the ’70’s !
This ” House Plants ” design is buy MissPrint , a British company. It’s on a non-woven / paste the wall substrate , which is more durable and stain-resistant than traditional papers. And it’s designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when you redecorate .
The home is in the Eastwood neighborhood of Houston .
install installer

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 .

Like Willie Nelson? Like Tacos? Bats? Skinny Dipping?

January 8, 2023
Dang … I forgot to take a before pic. This large powder room was originally papered in Serena & Lily ‘s Feather , in green . I stripped it off and applied wallpaper primer , which took a day, and hung the paper the second day.
Larger than usual toilet alcove .
If you’re from Austin , Texas , you recognize these things.
Barton Springs , BBQ trucks , the State Capitol , cowboy boots . Hippy Hollow isn’t on there, and I’m not sure it even still exists, but the nudist colony there was definitely part of Austin’s culture!
The pattern is in the City Toile collection by Katie Kime , which is wildly popular .
I wasn’t crazy about the quality of the paper , but it install ed OK and will hold up for many years.
It sure changes the room!
iThe home is in the Oak Forest / Garden Oaks area of Houston

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!

More Pictures of Softened Dining Room Install

December 18, 2022

Before, with 1994 d├ęcor wallpaper .
Update is quieter in both color and pattern .
this recessed area took me about three hours to wallpaper . Too complicated for here, but later in a separate post I may explain the process and challenges .
A durable , DIY – friendly non-woven / paste the wall material by Designer Wallpapers .
This is a dining room in the West U area of Houston .

No Door on Powder Room Makes for Easier Install

December 14, 2022

Hanging wallpaper in small power rooms can be trying. They’re small (about the same width as the door, about 36″). You’ve got a sink and a toilet in there. You’ve stuffed a ladder in, too. You’re carrying tools and rolls of wallpaper in and out. And to top if off – in most homes, the door opens inward. (There are actually reasons for this – Google it.)
But that door pushing into an already over-crowded tiny room makes it even more difficult to get paper up on the wall. I need to go in and out of the room frequently. And it becomes a juggling act of squeezing my body around the door, repositioning the ladder, holding on to the paper and tools,,, yada. Over and over again all day long.
What’s great about this picture? The homeowner has had the door to her powder room removed!
Here’s another home where the door actually opens outward. Sure makes it easy for me to get my equipment in and out of the room! And less chance of damage to the wallpaper, too.

Conflicting Information On Label

December 13, 2022
First, note that this wallpaper came in two different runs . This is bad, because each run of a printing job will be a slightly different shade from other runs. This color difference shows up on the wall and looks bad. Do a Search here to see previous posts about this.
Next, note that one label says the material is ” paste the wall ” and the other says ” paste the paper .” This is unusual, because usually Rifle Paper is always paste-the-wall – another name for a non-woven material . So why does one say it’s paste-the-paper ?
Turns out that both of these runs – and all of the wallpaper I had for this job – were paste the paper. This was totally unexpected, especially since the label as well as the specs I had scouted out on line ahead of time said paste the wall .
As far as install techniques, these two methods are completely different animals. Paste-the-paper takes a lot more time, and also is less durable if exposed to water or stains
Not a biggie for me, because I’m familiar with installation techniques of both types. But if a homeowner was trying to DIY his room and was expecting an easy paste-the-wall , he would be in for a much more difficult go-round with the paste-the-paper .

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Textured Faux Grasscloth on Master Bedroom Accent Wall

December 9, 2022

Before. I’ve skim-floated the textured wall , sanded it smooth , wiped off the residual dust , and then primed with Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime wallpaper primer . Now we’re ready for wallpaper !
Done! Just a bit of texture , and a little neutral color to add some warmth to this large , mostly-grey , master bedroom . Oh – and some subtle sparkle . See following photos .
It looks like real grasscloth . But it’s a faux! To help these homeowners avoid the disappointing color variations and low durability of real grasscloth , I encouraged them to consider textured vinyl products that recreate the look and texture of the real stuff , but without the drawbacks. Please click and read my link to info about grasscloth on the right of this page.
Real grasscloth , and the fauxes , as well, have visible seams (very minimal issue with the fauxes). So it’s important to balance the strips , so you have equal widths of panels as you traverse the wall. In other words, you don’t want five 36″ wide strips and then one 20″ wide strip.
And you’ll want to center those strips on the wall. Position them so you have an equal number of equally-sized strips on both the right and left sides of the wall.
Another design concept is to not have a seam fall down the center of a wall. Rather, it just feels better aesthetically to have the strip straddle the center line .
Here I’m hanging my first strip, having already calculated where the center of the wall is, the center of the wallpaper panel is, measured over to where the seam should fall, and then placed the red line of my laser level so it will guide where I should butt the edge of the wallpaper against.
That’s my Bosch laser level gizmo sitting on the top of the headboard, shooting its red light beam onto the wall.
Another shot. I’m using the vertical light beam ; the horizontal beam is not relevant in this install .
This textured vinyl material does a pretty darned good job of recreating the look and feel of real grasscloth . This photo is from about 6′ away.
A closer look. Note the bit of silver shimmer in the background , that adds a luxe look to the overall effect .
The wallcovering is by York , one of my preferred brands . It’s on a non-woven backing , which has many advantages over traditional paper-papers. It’s breathable , stain-resistant , will strip off the wall easily and in one piece with minimal / no damage to the wall when it’s time to redecorate .
It can be hung by the paste-the-wall method (which is what I did today) or the paste the paper technique (which I use most of the time).
I felt that the seams laid down better and had less ” rebound ” edge curl from factory trimming than many of the heavier vinyl faux non-woven backed materials I’ve worked with. In other words, I liked this product pretty much!
this particular material was also thin and flexible , so it was easy to work with and manipulate if needed.
The home is in the Spring Branch area of Houston.

Two Runs – Bad News

December 4, 2022
Always check the Run number before starting your project. Also called Batch or Dye Lot. Wallpaper that is printed at the same time will marked with a Run number. The next time the factory mixes up a pot of ink and prints wallpaper, it’s likely that there will be a slight shade difference between the two batches. If strips from these two different runs are placed next to each other on the wall, you will see a slight striped effect, a difference in color or depth between the two strips. It may be minor, but it’s noticeable and unpleasant.
You can use two different runs in the same room – but not on the same wall. You can “break” the run in a corner, and use one run on one wall and the other run on the other wall. You won’t notice the color difference this way. But it does eat up additional paper.
To avoid ending up with two different runs, first of all, always buy from a reputable company dedicated to selling wallpaper – not an outfit that also sells boots, hubcaps, cold medicine, and whatnot. Second, check the Run number as soon as you receive your material. That way you’ll have time to return it or otherwise resolve the issue, before install day.