Posts Tagged ‘install’

Dining in the Meadow

August 26, 2018


Such a beautiful pattern really transformed this dining room in the Highland Village area of Houston.

The homeowner started out wanting the whole dining room papered, but the material (by Peter Fasano, called “Meadow”) is crazy expensive. So she toyed with the idea of papering just the fireplace wall. Then she decided to paper that fireplace wall, and also the mirror-image fireplace wall in the living room directly across the hallway.

But as we approached the install date, she decided that she wouldn’t be completely happy unless she had what she really wanted, which was her original vision for the room – all four walls.

Now she’s crazy happy. And her husband is happy, too – he likes the wallpapered look so much that he is ready to do another room. 🙂

From my point of view, this is one of the nicest papers I’ve ever worked with. It had to be hand-trimmed to remove the unprinted selvedge, and the trim marks were spot-on. The paper took the adhesive well, and it was easy to smooth into place. It would stretch when needed, and wrinkles of excess paper could be eliminated, which helped a lot when accommodating for unplumb walls. There was minimal shrinking as it dried. It is thin and hugs the wall tightly, and was easy to turn corners.

The design is a soft black line drawing on a slightly off-white pearlized background.

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I Lost a Job Today

March 19, 2010

Wallpaper Installation in Houston

I lost a job today, due to price. Yes, it happens from time to time. But it puzzles me a little, and it concerns me, when people choose an installer seemingly based on price ONLY.

This job was for a room in a very nice home – valued at nearly a million dollars; with furnishings and accessories, the value is easily over a million.

You could safely assume that money was not an issue with this family. You would also logically assume that, in a home of this caliber, quality and perfection would be an expectation.

When I visited the home, measured, and presented my estimate for the job, as always, I took care to explain exactly how I would prepare the walls, why prep is important, the types of materials I use, and the care and attention to detail I employ when installing wallcoverings. I spent quite a bit of time at the home, consulting on colors and selections for several rooms, in addition to the wallpaper selection for the children’s bathroom.

Yet the client chose to use another installer, who supposedly said he would do the job for half my price.

Now, you have to wonder, HOW can he do the SAME job, for half the price? The answer is, he most likely is NOT providing the same work.

I’ll bet you that this other installer is not going to prep the walls as carefully as I would. In fact, I’ll bet you that he will not do ANY prep at all – and simply install the new paper right over the existing paper. This is a combination leading to disaster.

The thing is, usually such jobs LOOK good, at least, as I like to say, until the guy cashes her check. At some point down the road, and probably not too far, problems with improperly installed wallpaper will pop up.

Or, another scenerio, he may simply do a sloppy job, rushing through, or not bothering to remove paste from the surface of the paper, not using sharp razor blades – who knows what short cuts of sloppy techniques he might employ?

Well, chances are, I will never know, because it’s unlikely I will ever hear feedback as to how the job turned out. But I am left wondering – why, when money obviously is not in short supply, does a client make her decision based solely on price?

The Kind of Phone Call I LOVE to Get!!

March 17, 2010

I got a call from a woman yesterday, and I just had to save it on my answering machine.

She said something like, “We want you to come finish wallpapering our entry. My husband and I tried doing it ourselves. After just about all day, we got one strip up, it’s all twisted and shredded at the top, and we looked at it and decided we need to get a professional to come and do it correcty.”

I LOVE clients like that! They have tried it themselves, they know how hard it can be – or at least how much technical knowlege and proper materials are required – and are willing to pay a fair price to have someone make the job look good.

In this case, the wallpaper is grasscloth, and that’s a material that takes special know-how to install correctly. You need special very clear paste, sharp cutting blades, and must take great care not to soil the surface. Oh, and, my big crusade – proper wall prep with an oil-based primer.

Know Your Clients! Protocol

March 10, 2010

I had a potentially dicey situation yesterday.

I am currently working for a design firm, to paper a powder room in a nice home being updated for new occupants. I know the homeowners only as “the Joneses.”

The designer had asked me to also measure two other rooms, a second powder room and a laundry room on the second floor.

While I was getting set up to start, a woman came in and identified herself only as “Sue.” She asked me to be sure to measure the two additional rooms, and talked about her wallpaper selections, how quickly they could be shipped, and if they would arrive in time to be installed that same week.

I assumed she was a member of the design team. When she asked if I could recommend any places where she could find wallpaper, and especially stores with paper in-stock, I gave her my printed sheet that lists Wallpapers to Go http://www.wallpaperstogo.com/index.htm , which is about the only nearby place that still carries wallpaper in-stock, and also two other stores with which I deal frequently, Southwestern Paint http://southwesternpaint.com/ on Bissonnet and Sherwin Williams http://www.sherwin-williams.com/ in the Rice Village.

The woman also wanted to know how many rolls of paper she would need to buy. So I gave her my yellow sheet, which lists how many rolls are needed for each room, how many days to do the job, and my price for labor and materials.

BIG mistake!

Turns out the lady was NOT a designer, but the HOMEOWNER herself!

Now, when a contractor (such as me) is working for a designer, it is very important to learn their “ground rules” up front; how they like me to interact with the client. Some designers want the homeowner to pay me directly, and don’t mind if I talk freely with her. Other designers prefer that I keep communications with the homeowner to a minimum, not interfere with their decisions, not give my opinion on selections, and not discuss prices or payment. In these cases, when a designer is working with a client, she doesn’t want “meddling” to interfere with choices they have made. Also, since many designers add a mark-up to my installation fee, they prefer the client not be aware of this. Now, it’s perfectly all right for a designer to tack on a little, because, after all, this is how she earns her living, and a little commission on a sale is simply a way of doing that. They also like to deal with their own vendors, where they quite likely get a discount on the wallpaper, and then, frequently, do a markup on the price of the paper, earning a little more income the same way. This is all quite common in the design industry, perfectly acceptable, and should never be viewed as “cheating” or “gouging” the customer… It’s simply a way of making a living in a field that does not pay like a 9:00-5:00 job.

If you’ve read this far, you understand the goof I made. This particular designer had asked me NOT to discuss money with the client, and here I had gone and done just that Then I went a step further and even suggested other places where the client could purchase wallpaper. Some designers aren’t that touchy about this subject, but others can get quite upset, even angry. I certainly don’t want to upset the designer, nor do I wish to compromise either the relationship between the designer and her client, and especially not the relationship between the designer and ME… I very much want to continue to work with this design firm, and hope this one error hasn’t jeapordized that.

Wallpaper & Rich People

March 9, 2010

I attended the Azalea Trail yesterday, a home and garden tour in River Oaks, one of Houston’s (and the nation’s) wealthiest neighborhoods.

People say that “wallpaper is out of style.” Well, if the decor in homes of the well-to-do is any indication, that statement is FALSE!

EVERY house had either wallpaper or fauxed finishes in virtually every room, demonstrating that people feel more comfortable with at least a little pattern in their surroundings.

As soon as you entered one home, your eye was struck by the stunning two-story entry, with it’s wallpaper that looked like cut-stone blocks. (Oddly enough, I had installed that very same pattern, about 10 years ago, and even have a piece of it at home, because I contemplated putting it in my TV room at one time.)

A butler’s pantry had a large and bold blue and brown pattern on the walls, to complement the soft blue woodwork and cabinets. (Designers in these homes tend to like colored wood trim.) The installed had taken care to center the huge pattern on certain walls, and the effect was show-stopping.

A large 2-section powder room had a red and black Oriental paper on all surfaces – including the ceiling. (Interior designers in these grand homes also seem to love paper on the ceiling – I do not.) The paper was pretty, but the dark color on the ceiling was overwhelming, I felt.

A den was outfitted with grasscloth, which lent a warm textured feel to the room.

Many other rooms throughout the tour showcased wallpaper, from simple background textures to bold eye-stopping patterns and colors.

Oddly enough, I had done a bid at a home the day before, to quote prices for removing wallpaper from several rooms, and the homeowner had been on the same home tour. She commented, “Everyone keeps telling me that wallpaper is out, and that’s why I thought I wanted my paper removed. But I see that these expensive homes are covered with wallpaper.” I could see the wheels turning in her head… Hopefully she’ll consider installing paper again.

I think the seed has been sown!