Posts Tagged ‘laser level’

MC Escher-ish Wallpaper Pattern in a Mid Century Modern Home

July 7, 2018


This couple scored a cool, mint-condition authentic Mid-Century Modern home in the Reliant Stadium / Medical Center area of Houston. They have some wonderful authentic period furnishings, and wanted to add a little “pop” as an accent, but not so much as to overwhelm the home. Well, you’ve gotta admit – this pattern really delivers!

This design is in the feel of the artist MC Escher, who bent minds back in in the Art Deco and Modern periods (’20’s-’50’s) with his “never ending stairways” type drawings. It’s by York, and is a non-woven material, and can be installed by either paste-the-wall or paste-the-paper (I prefer the paste-the-paper method). It is dimensionally-stable (doesn’t expand when it gets wet with paste), and is designed to strip off the wall easily when it’s time to redecorate.

It was bought from my favorite source for good quality, product knowledge, expert service, and competitive price – 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.

The ceiling in this entryway was way off-level, so I knew that the motif I placed at the top of the wall would start going off-track as it moved across the wall. So I started in the middle of the wall, so that any pattern distortion would be visually lessened by being split across the width of the wall evenly from the center. In the second photo, I’m using my laser level to get a plumb starting point for my first strip.

The blue you see at the top of the second photo is plastic tape I use to keep paste off the ceiling.  It can be used around woodwork and other surfaces, too.   You can also see how the bottom section of the strip of paper is “booked” (folded back on itself).  This shortens the strip of paper, thus making it easier to handle, and also keeps the pasted side from bumping against the wall, which could cause paste stains and also make the paper stick to the wall where I don’t want it to.

And, most important, with standard papers that need to absorb moisture from the paste, then expand and relax before hanging, booking helps keep the paper from drying out.  Note:  This is a non-woven material, so no waiting period is required, but I still booked the paper to make it easier to handle.)

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Centering and Plumbing Grasscloth Seam

May 15, 2018


Re my previous posts, here I am using my laser level to help get the seam aligned with the light sconce, as well as ensure that it hangs level. The laser level is the small dark object in the lower center of the photo.

Wild Color for Twin Baby Girls

April 6, 2018


No soft pink ribbons and polka-dots for these two baby girls… This mom wanted a room full of color! This is a mural, so there are no repeating design elements. It came in eight panels. But the wall was narrower than the eight panels, so the homeowner chose to eliminate the right and the left panels. The width of the remaining six panels worked out perfectly with the width of the wall.

The mom wanted this mural to “float” on the wall, so I did some measuring and line-drawing and plotted to move it in from each side and up from the floor by 6.” You can see my white wallpaper primer inside the area where the mural is to go. A 2″ wooden frame will be built around the outside of the mural. That will leave 4″ of painted wall around the whole thing, effectively letting it “float” on the wall. I plotted the height so the wooden frame would line up with the top of the doorway to the right.

In the third photo, I am using the red vertical beam from my laser level as a guild for trimming that right edge 6″ from the end of the wall.

This mural was bought through Anthropologie, and is made by York, in their Sure Strip line. It was prepasted, easy to hang, and is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate.

Narrow Strip Coming Out of a Corner – Keeping It Straight & Plumb

March 31, 2018


OK, this is a little difficult to explain, but hopefully you can follow along. I have hung paper above this door from the right and am heading toward the left, and ended in the corner. The next strip will be 9′ high, and will be narrow, having only 3″ on the wall to the left of the corner, plus 4″ wrapping around to the right of the corner and ending up against the door molding.

The problem is, a narrow strip of paper like this, coming out of an inside corner, and especially in homes with un-plumb and un-straight walls (like this one), the left edge of that narrow strip of paper is likely to not fall straight. This will be a problem when trying to get the next strip of paper to butt up against it. I didn’t want any gaps or overlaps or white wall peeking through the seam.

So I pasted up both the narrow first strip, and also the full width second strip that was to go to the left. I positioned the narrow strip, but didn’t press it firmly against the wall. (This is called keeping it open.) Then I positioned the second strip next to it, matching up the pattern, but also not affixing it to the wall.

I used my laser level to shoot a vertical line along the left edge of that second strip of paper (the red line slightly visible in the photo). This ensured me that both strips were hanging plumb. I had to reposition the second strip a bit, to be sure it aligned with the laser’s plumb line. Then I took my smoothing brush and pressed it against the wall.

Then I went back to that still-open narrow strip to the right, and maneuvered it around until the pattern matched and the two edges butted together nicely. I smoothed the 3 inches into place on the wall to the left of the corner, and then did the same with the 4 inches that fell to the right of the corner and met up with the door molding.

Beautiful!

It was actually a little more intricate than that, because of having to keep the pattern matched to the piece already in place above the door, and due to stretching of the paper as it was pulled away from the wall several times, and the shiny surface being prone to blemishes if it got creased or overworked.

It was worth the trouble, though, because keeping the edges straight meant that the seam butted together perfectly, with no gaps and no overlaps. And keeping the paper plumb meant that the whale motif at the top of the wall stayed where I wanted it. (If paper goes off-plumb, a design motif will start moving up or down the ceiling line.)

This fun swimmy pattern is called Melville and is a non-woven, paste-the-wall product, made by Cole & Son.

Soring Birds Day Dream in a Baby’s Nursery

May 4, 2017

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What a well-loved pattern for babies’ rooms! This soon-to-be-with-us baby in a Spring Branch (Houston) home has a lovely new nursery. I have hung this many times, but this is the first time in this colorway.

The pattern is called “Day Dream” and is by Hygge & West, an on-line company. It comes in many colors, and fits into many rooms or themes.

The second photo shows me about to hang the first strip, having plotted the layout so the bird will fall down the center of the wall, and using my laser level (the red line on the wall) to keep the paper plumb.

Hygge & West papers can be challenging to hang. The seams curl and the paper waffles. The second-to-last photo shows the slight curling at the seams where ink falls on the seams, which is common to their paper. However, this time, I had much less difficulty with the paper in general….It laid flat without waffling or wrinkling, and there was very little curling at the seams. I hope that this means that the H & W team has listened to us out here in the field, and has started to use a better substrate and ink formula.

Still, they could use some help in packaging their merchandise for shipping – the final photo shows damaged ends of rolls of paper, due to being banged about during shipping. Unfortunately, all of the rolls were banged up, and the damage went deep into each bolt – meaning that I couldn’t cut around and discard the damaged areas. Since this pattern has a lot of open space, there isn’t much pattern to disguise these bashed areas, so they are going to show on the wall.

Fun Geometric Wallpaper in a High School Teen’s Bedroom

March 3, 2017
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What 15 year old girl would not love this wallpaper pattern?! And when she leaves for college and her room gets turned over to guests, the paper will still be perfect!

One photo shows the use of my laser level, to be sure the first strip hangs perfectly plumb. I measured and centered the pattern on the wall horizontally, so it would fall perfectly behind the arched headboard, and the laser level was also useful to mark the spot for that fist strip to land.

This wallpaper pattern went on one accent wall, and the black ceiling really sets the room off! It is called “Riviera” and is by Cole & Son, a British company. It is on a thickish non-woven stock, and was a paste-the-wall install process.  Don’t tell anyone, but I think it looks a little like grasshopper heads.  🙂

The interior designers for this job are Neal LeBouef and Anthony Stransky, of L Design Group. Wonderful guys, and I love their crisp, clean, sophisticated style. The home is in West University Place (Houston).

Hanging Paper Plumb

February 14, 2017
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Here is my laser level, shooting a line onto the wall, so I can hang my first strip of wallpaper perfectly straight and plumb in the middle of this accent wall.

Using My New Laser Level

August 17, 2016
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O.K. So some &*@#^$%!& broke into my van two weeks ago and made off with some of my equipment and supplies, including my laser level. Here is the one I bought to replace it. This one came with a clamp-on stand, which you can see in the top photo.

In the second photo, the red laser beam is projecting onto the wall, and I am going to use this line to hang my first strip of wallpaper against, to be sure it’s nice and straight and plumb.

I also used the laser level to get plumb cuts on either side of the desk area, as seen in the last photo.

Avoiding White Seams With Dark Paper

June 7, 2016
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A dark wallpaper + white primer sometimes = teeny strips of white peeping out from between the seems. This is because the edges may not be cut perfectly straight by the manufacturer, or the natural variations in a textured product like grasscloth can result in uneven seams, or because wallpaper expands when it absorbs moisture from the paste, then shrinks just a tad as it dries.

One way to avoid that white gap is to stripe the wall with a similar color of paint.

You only have to do this where the seams will fall. In the top photo, I have measured the paper and plotted where the seams will lie, and am using my laser level to shoot a red line that I can follow while I swipe on a stripe of dark brown paint along the seam line.

In the second photo, you see the edge of the paper as it falls along the painted wall. The next photo shows a seam – but you don’t see any white. Mission accomplished!

This glittery grasscloth by Phillip Jeffries is pretty cool, so I’ve included a close up shot of it in the last photo.

Wavy Laser Line – What’s Up?!

July 29, 2015
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Wow – the line from my laser level projected onto the wall is nowhere near straight! What’s up?

The wall is bowed – in many directions … horizontally, vertically, and in various spots, but particularly in the center. I suspect there might have been a door on this wall, that was removed and Sheetrocked over, and perhaps they didn’t get the new framing straight. It was hard to float the wall (to smooth it), too, because my flat trowel kept skipping over the dipped areas.

When I moved my laser line to the left edge of the strip, I was able to get a straight line, and the wallpaper hung nice and straight and true to plumb.

Interestingly, this is the third or fourth house with bowed walls I have worked in in two weeks. Some were new homes, some were remodeled homes, and this one is a ’60’s era one that has had many improvements done to it over the years.