Posts Tagged ‘level’

More William Morris Strawberry Thief in Houston Heights Hall Bathroom

June 24, 2022
Because I feared unstable walls in this 1920’s bungalow in this neighborhood (do a Search for previous posts), before hanging the decorative wallpaper, first I hung a non-woven liner paper on all the walls. That’s the white material you see in the photo.
The liner was hung horizontally so its seams can’t line up with the decorative paper. The idea is to disperse tension from drying wallpaper and changes due to humidity and etc., so as to deflect tension away from sketchy wall surfaces, and thus prevent delamination of multiple unstable layers deep inside the wall. Again, do a Search here to learn more.
Finished vanity area, with pattern centered on the light fixture.
Corner shot.
This colorful and symmetrical pattern is quite popular; I’ve hung it a number of times just this year.
Englishman William Morris designed wallpaper and fabrics during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.
The styles then were Art Nouveau and Arts & Crafts. This design reflects a bit of each.
Wallpaper expands when it gets wet with paste, and then can shrink just a tad as it dries. The liner helps prevent that, but you can still end up with teeny gaps at some seams.
To prevent the white backing from showing through, I run a stripe of dark paint under where each seam will fall.
I use matt finish craft paint from the hobby store, diluted with a little water (in the orange bottle cap) and smeared on the wall with a scrap of sponge. Use a ruler or level and a pencil to mark where you want to stripe the dark paint.
Remember to allow for that expansion as the paper absorbs moisture from the paste. Meaning, if the paper is 20.5″ wide, and expands 1/2″, you’ll want to run your line at about 21.” And make sure that your painted swath is about an inch wide.
I also run a bit of dark chalk along the edges of each strip, to prevent the white substrate from showing at the seams (no photo).
Morris & Co. makes this iconic Strawberry Thief.
Interestingly enough, most times when I’ve hung a Morris paper, it’s been a non-woven paste-the-wall material.
Today’s option was a surprise – a traditional British pulp . This is a pretty basic and somewhat old-fashioned type of substrate . Sort of like construction paper, or the pages of an old family Bible .
The paper is very fragile , and can tear easily. You have to keep using new razor / trimming blades, because the material dulls blades quickly, and when dull they will drag and tear the paper.
Pulp papers also require a soaking / booking time after pasting , to allow time for the material to absorb the paste , soften a bit, and expand . The edges of the strips like to dry out , so I’ve learned to dip about 1/4″ of the booked ends ( booked means the pasted side of the wallpaper strip is folded onto itself, bottom edge folded up and top edge folded down to meet in the middle), into a bucket of clean water.
Then it goes into a black plastic trash bag to soak and relax for a few minutes before hanging. I use this opportunity to paste the next strip.
Non-woven wallpapers have advantages, because they do not expand when wet, and therefor you can get accurate measurements. They also can be pasted and hung immediately, with no waiting time. Alternately, you can paste the wall .

Bright Colorful Wildness On Bedroom Accent Wall

May 29, 2022
Textured wall has been skim-floated, sanded smooth, primed, and ready for wallpaper.
Done!
Here’s how we got there …. First, this is a non-woven , paste-the-wall material. It’s nice paper, but very stiff and wants to remain curled up. So to get it to cooperate, after cutting my strips, I roll them backward, backing side facing out, and secure with an elastic hairband.
This helps get rid of the curl, and also ensures that when I’m on my ladder at the wall and unroll the strip, the face will not bump into the pasted wall.
After finding the mid point of the wall, and the center of the wallpaper pattern (beware – it’s usually not perfectly in the center or at the edge of the paper), I draw a plumb line (or use my laser level) and hang the first strip against it.
It’s important to start in the middle, first to get the pattern centered.
Next, because ceiling lines are never perfectly level, the pattern can start to go off-track as it moves across the wall. Meaning, the motif I placed at the tip of the wall may start drifting up or down.
By starting in the middle and working outward, any drifting is lessened because it’s split between the right and left sides of the wall.
Close up.
Called Amazon , this is by Clarke & Clarke, in their Animalia line. I hung some very colorful zebras from this same company just a few weeks ago – go Search and find the photos!
Matching pattern on the throw pillow, and a bolster pillow in the same colors against the white bedding really pulls the room together, and gives the colors more impact. The homeowner dabbles in interior design , and has really put together a Wow Factor guest bedroom !
The home is in the Garden Oaks neighborhood of Houston . installer

Logistics for Hanging Jungle Wallpaper Mural in Nursery

May 19, 2022

Let’s do some engineering so we can get this mural on the wall. The wall is a few inches less than 12′ wide, and 9′ high.
The mural comes as a set of four panels, and the total width of the mural is 6′ wide x 9′ high.
Therefore we need two 4-panel sets to span this wall.
Here is the first set of four panels, pasted and hung. A really tricky thing with murals is that the strips / panels you place next to your first set need to match up with the existing pattern. Meaning, the panels need to be able to be hung consecutively next to each other and have the pattern continue uninterrupted.
Not all murals are designed to continue from one to the next. Some will only fit a wall of certain dimensions.
Still others are custom made to fit specific sizes … but that’s a topic for another blog post.
You’re looking at two sets of mock-ups of the mural, side-by-side. The dotted lines show each individual panel.
Toward the center, you see where Panel 4 of the mural on the right meets up with Panel 1 of the mural placed on the right. You can see that the trees and other elements from the mural on the left match up with the motifs on the mural to the right. This is good! It means that we can place murals next to each other to cover a wider wall space.

Here is the finished wall with two murals placed next to each other, with the trees and animals continuing from one mural to the next.
Second issue: The wall height between crown molding and baseboard was exactly 9′ high. The mural came exactly 9′ high. This might sound perfect – but it ain’t agonna work.
The wallpaper / mural needs to be a few inches (preferably 3″-4″) taller than the wall itself. (Same goes for width) This little bit of wiggle room allows you to trim at the top and bottom of the wall. And it allows for walls that are not perfectly plumb and floors and ceilings that are not perfectly level.
In this case, it wasn’t going to be possible to get the mural to fit inside that 9′ high space across a 12′ wide wall without going off-track a bit. We needed about 2″ of extra height at BOTH top and bottom.
Well, you can’t make the wallpaper mural any taller, so we opted to make the wall shorter. The builder added an extra tall baseboard along the bottom of just this one wall.
This reduced the wall height by about 3″, which gave us just enough extra paper length to split between the ceiling and baseboard. A little will be trimmed off at the ceiling line, and a little off the bottom / baseboard.
If you look at the picture of the finished wall, the 4th photo, you’ll see that there are more “important” design elements at the bottom of the mural than at the top. The manufacturer does this on purpose, because they know that some of the mural will need to be cut off, in order to accommodate different wall heights, and for trimming at the ceiling and baseboard. Nearly a foot can be trimmed off the top of this mural without losing anything like an animal or a tree top.
The same is not true about the bottom, though. As you can see in this photo, the designer has let elements run all the way down to the bottom of the mural … leaves, plant stems, and, as in the photo above, a bird’s feet.
I tried to raise the strips up as high as possible, to avoid cutting off his feet. But I had to leave enough to accommodate trimming and wonky walls. So, as you see in the photo, the poor guy got his feet cut off.
Still, all this is happening at the bottom of the wall, and no one is really paying attention to this area. Plus, there will be furniture in front.
Still, all worth noting.
Jungle Wallpaper Mural is by Lulu and Georgia and is in the Sure Strip line made by York .
Some take-aways from this post that I hope you will keep in mind …
~Never order a mural to the exact dimensions of the wall. Add 4″ to height & width
~Consult with the paperhanger before ordering any material
~Rather than a mural that comes in one set size as this one does, consider a custom-sized mural that can be made to fit your specific wall. I like rebelwalls.com among others.

Making A Corner Look Straight When It’s Not

March 25, 2022
Here I’m hanging wallpaper from right to left, working around this corner. I’ve wrapped the paper 1/8″ around the corner, and then cut a new piece that will overlap that 1/8″ and continue to move to the left. (Search here to learn more about turning inside corners.)
This is a 100 year old house, and this corner is way off-plumb – on both the right side and the left side. The chair rail, however, is perfectly level.
Here, the pattern matches nicely at the bottom of the wall. But as it moves up, the crooked corner takes over, and the pattern becomes mis-aligned.
By hanging the paper crooked, I can match the wallpaper pattern perfectly in the corner. But that will skew the left edge of this new strip off-plumb by slanting it to the right. That means that every subsequent strip will track off-plumb … and the motif at the top of the chair rail will start to climb uphill.
Since the chair rail is so prominently visible, I think it’s more important for the pattern motif to be straight along the chair rail, than to be perfectly matched in the corner.
But I didn’t like the way the pattern was getting un-matched at the upper part of the wall. I thought I could make it look better.
This design gave me something to fiddle with.
One option was to cut the paper vertically between the two rows of “swoops.” Then I could match the pattern in the corner, and pull the excess paper to the left, overlapping one strip on top of the other about 1/4″ at the top and tapering down to nothing at the chair rail. It’s a thin paper in a room with not-great lighting, so this overlapped lip would not be very noticeable. Still, I thought I could make it look better.
I could make the overlap invisible by trimming the paper along the design. Here I’ve removed that corner piece.
On the left is the strip I’ve cut off.
Here I’m putting the strip into place, and making sure that the pattern matches nicely in the corner. This pushes the upper part of this cut strip further to the left, so it overlaps the other strip of paper just a little
Now, instead of a visible straight overlap the full height of the strip, the overlap comes along the rounded edges of the design. That black line disguises the overlap beautifully!
Here it is nicely matched in the corner, with invisible overlap along the curved black line.
The excess still needs to be trimmed off at the ceiling and chair rail.
Mission accomplished! The design matches nicely in the corner, the paper moving to the left is hung perfectly plumb, and the motifs are all at their proper heights along the chair rail and ceiling.
This fun retro mid-century modern pattern is by Designer Wallpapers.

Preventing White From Showing At The Seams

March 10, 2022
When wallpaper gets wet with paste, it expands a bit. And when it dries, it can shrink just a tad. That teeny gap at the seams can expose the wall underneath it. This can happen even with the non-woven materials, which are supposed to be dimensionally stable.
In addition, manufacturers usually print on a white substrate, so sometimes you see the edges of the paper at the seams, too.
All this is much more noticeable on a dark paper, such as here.
One thing I do to prevent / minimize this is to strip the wall with dark paint under where the seams will fall. So even if a seam opens up a bit, you’ll see dark, not white.
Since non-woven wallpapers don’t expand (much), it’s easy to measure the width of your strips and plot where the seams will fall, use a level, and then apply the paint.
I use plain old craft paint from the hobby store. I use a scrap of sponge and dip that in water (in my orange bottle cap) then into the paint, and then run my stripe down the plumb line I’ve drawn on the wall or used my laser level to shoot a vertical line.
It’s important to not get the paint too heavy or thick, because the wallpaper paste may not want to grab ahold of paint like it wants to hold on to a wallpaper primer. And definitely don’t use a gloss paint.
Be sure that it’s good and dry before you hang the wallpaper. A heat gun will speed things along if needed.
Not pictured, but you can look up other posts here … I also take a bit of chalk of a corresponding color and run it along the edge of the wallpaper to cover up that white edge. It’s important to apply the chalk from the back, to avoid getting any on the front of the wallpaper. Some colleagues use water markers, pencils, or gouache paint. Whatever you use, do not use anything with oil-based inks or colors. These will bleed and stain your wallpaper.
Chalking the edges is more important than striping the wall, IMO.
This pattern is called Allure and is by Graham & Brown , a brand I like a lot.

Paint Stripes to Prevent White Wall Peeking Out

January 8, 2022
Sometimes (usually) wallpaper expands when it gets wet with paste and then shrinks just a tad when it dries. This can result in hair-breadth gaps at the seams. Usually not a big deal. But when the paper is dark and the sub-surface is light, you can end up with white wall visible at the seams.
So sometimes I’ll paint a stripe of matching color behind where the seams will lie. Measure to plot where the seam will fall, then use a level and pencil, or a laser level, to indicate where, and then run a stripe of paint along that line. Make the stripe wide enough to accommodate slight variations in measurements and wallpaper expansion.
I use craft paint from the hobby store or Texas Art Supply. The photo shows an outdoor paint – not the best option, but it’s what I had in the truck. 🙂 I use a small rectangle of sponge dipped in water and then in the paint.
For extra assurance, on thick papers, dark surface printed on a white backing, you can also use artist’s chalk pastels (chalk only and NOT oil pastels) to color the edges of the seams. Do a Search here (upper right corner) to find previous posts about that.

Bold David Hicks Geometric in Garden Oaks Powder Room

December 18, 2021
This young family wanted some WOW! Factor for their new home’s plain-Jane powder room. It’s a 2-room set up, with the sink in one area and the toity around the corner in a more private area.
Looking through one room into the next – yes, really a WOW! Factor!
Looks fantastic with the burnished gold faucets, light sconces, and hand towel ring.
Opposite wall. I centered the pattern on the wall opposite the mirror, so that the design would work around the room evenly and the pattern would fall equally on these two walls. In other words, the pattern hits the tile wall on the left at exactly the same point as it does on the tile wall to the right. The sconces also land on the same element in the wallpaper. This gives a very symmetrical look as you face the mirror. One of those things no one can put his finger on, but it makes the whole room feel balanced and in sync.
Back wall connecting to right wall with door that leads to the entry hall.
The commode room is under the stairway, so has a strongly sloped ceiling – and tight working quarters. You can also see that the wall is bowed in the corner, resulting in a good pattern match at top and bottom, but some mis-alignment in the center. Pretty typical. No walls are perfectly plumb, no ceiling is perfectly level, and corners are just about always a bit wonky. Geometric designs like this are particularly difficult to make look perfect.
On close-up, you can see a slight raised ink texture. This surface printed wallpaper was not a crisp look – nothing wrong with that … it’s part of the hand-crafted look. The non-woven material is thick and stiff, and the seams were a bit more noticeable than on many other non-wovens. I also noted that where the gold ink hit the edges of the paper, there were ever-so-slight curls and overlaps. My guess is the gold ink reacted to the wet paste and expanded differently from the black and the background color. Never mind. From two feet away, you can’t notice it at all.
The David Hicks Collection by GP & J Baker contains several variations of this type of bold geometric pattern. Some of the vendors are calling this a “new” release … but I first hung one of these designs maybe 10 years ago.
Unfortunately, they haven’t gotten any better with the quality. Surprising, because GP&J Baker’s papers are usually very nice – I did one just a few months ago and loved it. Conversely, this one is quite stiff, and trying to work it into tight spots such as corners or behind a toilet or around a vanity or light fixture can result in creases. And the ink flakes off very easily. Here, just pressing the wallpaper against the baseboard so it could be trimmed caused the ink to chip off, and you can see little bits of it collected on top of the baseboard on the left. Luckily, this was at the floor and not very noticeable. I used some black chalk to cover the white areas. But at eye-level, this would have necessitated removing the whole strip and replacing with a new one.

Wallpaper installer Houston

Hallway Wallpaper Repair – Thibaut Honshu

December 11, 2021
This couple in the West University neighborhood of Houston loves color and avant garde – unexpected and fun! I hung this Honshu wallpaper by Thibaut in their small hallway at the beginning of the pandemic – April 2020. Since then, they decided to change the faucets and showerhead in the bathroom on the other side of this wall. To access the pipes, the plumber had to cut a hole in the drywall. The ‘guy’ that this couple uses did a fantastic job of cutting the drywall, preserving the wallpaper, and then patching the hole. You can even see that his cuts are perfectly level and plumb!
Slapping wallpaper patches over the two holes would have probably sufficed. But I wanted to make it better, so I stripped off and replaced the old wallpaper. This meant patching the guy’s drywall repairs. I didn’t get a photo, but I used drywall tape and joint compound to even out the areas. A heavy duty floor fan plus a heat gun helped get the smoothing compound to dry in a few hours. I sanded smooth and applied wallpaper primer, and ended up with what you see in the photo.
To conserve paper, instead of replacing the entire two strips from ceiling to floor, which could have caused some problems with matching the pattern on the left side, I patched in about one foot down from the ceiling line. To disguise the appliqued area, I used a scissors and trimmed around the wallpaper design, as you see here. This is less visible than a straight horizontal cut.
In this photo, the two strips have been put into place. You could never tell there was a hole (or two) !

Soft Look in Heights Powder Room

December 10, 2021
Before
Finished. I love the soft colors against the putty-colored woodwork and wainscoting.
The red beam from my laser level helps get that first strip centered and plumb.
Perfect!
From a distance.
Close up, you can see a very slight raised ink texture to this wallpaper.
The last corner ( kill point ) matched almost perfectly. This rarely happens, so it’s always a thrill when it looks this good all by itself.
The pattern is called Khotan and is by Zak & Fox. It’s a non-woven, paste-the-wall product. It was a bit thick and stiff to work with, and creased easily. But it went up nicely, and the seams were invisible. And, when it’s time to redecorate, this non-woven material will strip off the wall easily and in one piece, with minimal damage to the wall.

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Keeping the Pattern Straight Going Around a Wide Window

November 17, 2021
Hanging wallpaper around windows is tricky. You’ve got to keep the pattern straight along the top and the bottom, and coming down the far side, and hope that the pattern will match up when those last pieces meet. That’s harder than it sounds, because ceiling lines and window frames and floors are never perfectly level, nor are walls perfectly plumb. And wallpaper expands when it gets wet with paste, and twists out of shape, and does other contortions. The wider the window is, the more likely it is that things will get off kilter. And this window was 8′ wide! For the strips along the top, it was fairly easy to keep the pattern straight across the top of the window, as I used a ruler and made sure that a certain design motif was 3/4″ from the top of the window. Keeping this uniformity looks good to the eye. But just because it was the same height across the top of the window, it doesn’t mean it was level, or keeping equidistant from the design below the window. Like I said, patterns and walls and windows go off track. Still, it’s the best shot we’ve got.

Below the window, instead of using a ruler, I tried another trick. I measured the distance from the window molding that a certain design motif was to hit the wall, and drew a pencil line horizontally right at that measurement. Then I made sure that each strip I hung, the motif synced up with this line. In order to do this, I had to pull the design up or down a bit in some places, which meant some minor pattern mis-matches here and there.

I didn’t get pictures of my final strip coming around the right top side of the window, and how it met up with the pattern below the window. The pattern match was off a little, but not much. I was able to tweak one strip and fudge the pattern a bit. In another area I cut a strip in two vertically, following the contours of the design, and did a bit of overlapping.

All this disguised the minor pattern mis-match, while also keeping the right edge of the wallpaper nice and straight – which is important because the next strip of paper would need to butt up against it.

It did help that this material was a non-woven, which has a content of polyester / synthetic, and so is dimensionally stable – which is a fancy way of saying that it’s not supposed to expand (much) when it gets wet with paste.

IAll that sounds confusing, and it is. But I hope it has helped a bit to explain how this can be done.