Posts Tagged ‘interior designer’

Tone-On-Tone and Movement Open Up A Guest Bathroom

May 12, 2017

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This guest bathroom is large, but with nothing but grey paint on the walls, it felt claustrophobic and bland. This pen-and-ink look foliage pattern with watercolor birds has just enough movement to bring life to the room, but the scale and the monochromatic color scheme keep it from overpowering.

This wallpaper is by Prestigious Textiles, a British company, and is a non-woven material and is meant to be hung by pasting the wall (not the paper). It is amazingly similar to another paper I hung a few months ago. (last photo) https://wallpaperlady.wordpress.com/2016/11/18/birds-pen-and-ink-and-watercolor/ I guess when someone has a good concept, there is always someone quick to knock it off.

The interior designer for this room is Pamela O’Brien of Pamela Hope Designs. http://www.pamelahopedesigns.com/ PHD does a lot of work on new builds, helping to get everything organized and coordinated from the ground up. This home is brand new, and is in the Crestwood neighborhood, across from Memorial Park in Houston.

Wild & Whimsical Wallpaper

March 19, 2017

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Today was fun! Just look at that wallpaper! I had another client considering this pattern a few months ago, but she chickened out. It is a bold and dramatic design, so it takes the right person to bring it into her living space.

In this case, that was a master bedroom, in a decades-old brick 4-plex that was recently remodeled into a single-family home. The style is light Industrial Modern, with plenty of Mid Century Modern touches tossed in. The home is in the First Ward, just down the street from the Summer Street art studios, so the artsy-feel all fits together.

This is a playful and busy pattern, but the colors are muted, so it feels subdued and restful in this bedroom. Still, it is the kind of design you would want on just an accent wall, as here, because it could be overwhelming if it were on all four walls of the room.

This wallpaper pattern is called Daintree, and is by Thibaut Designs. It was lovely to work with. The homeowner is also the interior designer – Laura Michaelides of Four Square Design Studio. Their office just happens to be directly across the street from the home. 🙂

This home won a Good Brick award from Preservation Houston, and will be on their home tour April 29 & 30.

Wallpaper on the Azalea Trail Home Tour, 2017, pt II

March 15, 2017

I attended the Azalea Trail Home Tour yesterday, which took me to four homes in the rather exclusive neighborhood of River Oaks (Houston). As always, I was scrutinizing the wallpaper.

One traditional style home had a very classic design of wallpaper (sort of a damask) in the dining room. Ever since I attended a Wallcovering Installers Association convention seminar years ago on “balancing” wallpaper patterns, I have been obsessed with the concept. This means that you position a dominant feature of the pattern so that it is centered on the wall. (Do a Search here to see some of my previous posts.) Normally, you can do this once in a room. Thereafter, the pattern has to fall on subsequent walls as it comes off the roll.

But in this dining room, there were about three walls that had the pattern centered. It looked wonderful, because the design was centered on a main focal wall between two windows, and again on an adjacent wall behind the buffet, an then on another wall that was highly visible.

Now, how can this happen?

I really studied the room. And I realized that all the draperies in the room reached way above the windows to the ceiling. And the drapery fabric and hardware pretty much filled up the entire space over the windows. Meaning that, the drapes would hide anything that was above the windows.

Meaning that, if the paperhanger chose, he could place the pattern as he wanted on the walls, and then mis-match the wallpaper pattern over the windows, knowing that it would be hidden from view. Then he could move on to the next section of wall and place the pattern as he wanted.

This trick worked nicely in this room, because the wallpaper design and color, as well as the draperies and hardware were all amenable.

It also took collaboration from the very planning stages, between the interior designer and the wallpaper installer, and also including input from the drapery lady and the hardware installer.

Wallpaper on Bookshelves Brightens a Dark Room

March 11, 2017

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This living room in a home in the Bunker Hill Village area has lots of windows, yet gets little natural light, and has skimpy interior lighting. In addition, the dark wood of the built-in bookcases seems to suck up what little light there is.

Interior designer Layne Ogden used this light tan faux grasscloth to both add textural interest to the back of the bookshelves, as well as lighten them up. Just this little touch brings a lot of lightness into the room.

The wallpaper is a vinyl product by Thibaut, with a textured surface that look like real woven grasscloth. Because it’s man-made, there is none of the visible seams or color variations between strips, nor the staining problems that are inherent to real grasscloth, plus it’s washable. It’s a little thick and tricky to trim or turn corners, but I like this product a whole lot and try to steer people toward it when they are considering grasscloth. It is called Bankun Raffia.

Big Pattern and Wide Movement Work Nicely in a Large Powder Room

December 2, 2016
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This powder room in the West University area of Houston had its large size and a very attractive marble-topped sink console going for it, but not much else, because the boring tan walls were simply – blah. The homeowner loved this classic one-color chintz floral pattern, and, even though she worried that it might “make the room looks smaller,” she took the leap to have it hung in the powder room.

When she saw the finished room, one of the first things she said was, “It makes the room look bigger!” And she is right. Any kind of pattern, but particularly something with movement (swirls) in it like this one, will make the walls appear to recede, and so the room looks larger.

This wallpaper is by Anderson Prints, and is in the EcoChic line. The interior designer is Pamela O’Brien, of Pamela Hope Designs, a Houston based company that has won acclaim for its design style, which is crisp, clean, uncluttered, warm, and livable for modern families. Pamela and her assistant Danna are a joy to work with, too.

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

June 10, 2016

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I have arrived at the home, ready to hang some wallpaper. Notice anything?

This box of wallpaper has never been opened. That means that the homeowner or interior designer has not checked to be sure that:

1. The right pattern has been received

2. The right number of rolls have been received

3. The rolls are all of the same run number

4. The paper has not been damaged in shipping

5. Any special instructions or requirements have been taken into consideration

Chinoiserie in a Small Bathroom

June 8, 2016
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Here is a classic Chinoiserie (Oriental design) that went in a guest bathroom in a new addition to a 1950’s ranch style Mid-Century Modern home in Shepherd Park Plaza / Oak Forest.

The aqua background coordinates nicely with the grey marble vanity. I lined up the figure holding the umbrella with the center spout on the sink, for a balanced look. The two circles at the top are the bases of light fixtures.

The pattern is called Shantung Silhouette, and is by Schumacher.

Schumacher used to be known for quality, higher-end wallpapers. But these days, the quality has slipped. This install did not have any printing defects, but they are pretty much de rigor with Schumacher products. I did encounter some other problems, though.

For starters, the instructions said this was a paste-the-wall non-woven material. It was not. It was paper, and needed to have paste applied to the back of the wallpaper, not to the wall.

And the material was thick and stiff and difficult to handle on my table, and difficult to manipulate into corners and tight areas. Going around the multiple curves on the backsplash was tricky and time consuming. Pasting the wall did not allow the paper to expand and relax, so bubbles appeared on the wall. Because the paper was dry and stiff, it did not meld to the contours of the vanity top, and was difficult to trim neatly. In fact, I was unhappy with my first attempt, and ripped it off and started over.

A good reminder to always buy a little extra paper.

I also was not happy with the seams. They weren’t bad, but a thinner substrate would have given tighter seams that held closer to the wall.

Overall, though, the room looked wonderful – light and airy with a sense of uplift from the parasols and tight ropes. The monkey adds something to smile at.

The interior designer for this job is Rachel Goetz.

Textured, Copper Colored Paper on a Closet Ceiling

June 2, 2016
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I don’t wallpaper many ceilings, but when I do, I prefer small areas that are not too high. Here is a closet in a home in Bellaire (Houston) that has been decked out to fit the needs (lots of handbags and shoes!) and taste (glam, glam glam!) of the homeowner.

The room boasts some fancy wall light sconces with large crystals, and this huge chandelier with the same mega-crystals. The only thing that could stand up to all this glitz and glamor is a very dynamic wallpaper!

So here you have the perfect foil (pun intended 🙂 ) – a deeply textured, copper / gold embossed vinyl wallpaper. Light bounces off the metallic surface and brightens the room. But shadows are caught by the deep texture of the material, and the perimiter of the ceiling holds shadowy secrets.

This wallpaper is a textured embossed vinyl on a non-woven substrate, and is by Clarke & Clarke, a British manufacturer. The interior designer for the project is Martha Holmes, of MPH Designs, in Houston. I have worked with Martha for nearly two decades, and really love her classic-yet-livable style, and find her upbeat personality a joy to work with.

Perfectly Balanced Dining Room Wall

May 31, 2016
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Most homeowners don’t notice things like this, but when the interior designer for this dining room in the Houston Heights walked into the room, the first thing she said was, “I love the way the pattern falls perfectly in the middle between the two windows. And I love how it hits at the ceiling line and just above the tops of the windows.” Yeaay – she gets it!

I was flattered when the designer noticed the placement of the pattern on this wall, because I had put a lot of time and engineering into it. Using math and pencil and rulers and a laser level, I also balanced the pattern vertically, between the crown molding and the wainscoting.

Because much of the wall space in this room was above the doors and windows, it was important that these short areas be equally well planned, so the pattern motif would appear uniform over every opening.

About the most flattering thing the designer said was, “I’m glad I found you.” 🙂

I hope I will work with her again soon. Her name is Stacie Cokinos.

More Reasons NOT to Let the Painters Prep the Walls for Wallpaper

May 16, 2016
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This week, I got at least three calls / e-mails that declared: “Our painters prepped the walls for you, so everything is ready to go.” NOT TRUE! Painters are good at painting, and at prepping walls and woodwork for paint. For PAINT. So why would you have them prep the walls for WALLPAPER?

I run into this a lot. I think the painters are at the house working on something else (like PAINT), and they want to pick up a little extra money, so they tell the homeowners that they can prep the walls for the paperhanger. Folks – don’t fall for it. Let the wallpaper professional do what he / she is good at. Let the WALLPAPER HANGER prep the walls, not the painter (or anyone else).

Here’s what I encountered today. The walls in this bathroom were originally textured. The painters (or contractor or some other worker) skim floated the walls to smooth them. They did a decent job. In the middle of the walls.

But look closer. These guys did not bother to remove the switch plates or the light fixtures (top photo), so there are rough areas under where the new wallpaper will go, plus a difference in height of the wall surface. I always remove towel bars and light fixtures and smooth the wall as completely as possible.

They also did not get the smoothing compound tightly into corners or along the ceiling and baseboards (second photo). This leaves a gap or jagged area where the wallpaper is supposed to be trying to hold onto the wall. Not good at all. I ask myself, “Is this a good bed for the wallpaper to lie in?” What you see in the photo is not. I always squish the smoothing compound into the corner, and then take my finger and run it along there, like you would with caulk, creating a smooth transition, which gives the wallpaper something solid to grab ahold of.

The painters did a good job of sanding the walls smooth, but they did not wipe dust off the walls. Nothing sticks to dust. Not paint, not primer, and not wallpaper. These things will “kinda” stick, but once tension / torque is put on the wall (by drying / shrinking paint or wallpaper), the subsurface is likely to let go, resulting in peeling paint or curling seams. It is imperative that sanding dust be wiped off the wall with a damp sponge, rinsed frequently, before paint or wallpaper are applied.

One e-mail I got the week stated that the painters had “prepped the walls” (whatever that means), and then applied KILZ 2 as a primer. “These guys prep walls for a high-end interior designer all the time, and this is what they use.” But why would you not ask the paperhanger who is going to hang the paper which primer he / she prefers? KILZ 2 is a sealer and stain blocker. It is not a wallpaper primer. It was developed as a more environmentally-friendly alternative to KILZ Original, but is not nearly as good. It is also latex, which is not a good choice under wallpaper.

Once a product is on the wall, it’s on there. You can’t get it off. So you can only go over it with something more suitable. This results in more and more layers piled up on the wall, some of which may be compatible and may adhere to one another, and some of which may not. Now put paste, wallpaper, and tension-while-drying on top of that. See where this is going?

If you want to have your painter prep the walls for wallpaper – go ahead. But as I tell my clients: You can pay your painter to “prep the walls,” but you’re going to pay me to do it over again.