Posts Tagged ‘level’

A Totally CUUUUTE Wallpaper for a Home Bar

March 14, 2019


The husband wasn’t sure he wanted this paper in their home bar area. The wife and I decided that it was sooo cute and charming, it was going up, hubby’s approval or not! ūüôā (Don’t worry – he loves it!)

This playful pattern is by Marimekko, and is a non-woven material. I hung it by pasting the wall (instead of the paper), which was ideal for this one accent wall with no turns or intricate cuts.

An interesting feature is that the company engineered this so that the glasses and goblets did not cross any seams. Also, they were aligned so that whole figures could be placed at the top of the wall, with none being cut off as the paper was trimmed at the ceiling.

This allowed me to put the motifs I wanted smack at the top of the wall on every strip – even if the ceiling line was not level, or if the side walls were not plumb.

This makes for a much more pleasing view of the wallpaper.

The home is a mid-century modern gem in the Piney Point neighborhood of Houston.

’90’s Check to Magnolia Buffalo Check

February 2, 2019


The differences in the before and after photos are subtle, so look carefully!

This laundry room in a far-north neighborhood of Houston (Louetta & I-45 area) happily sported it’s black & white checkered pattern for many years. The wallpaper dated to the ’90’s, but still looked fresh, and the homeowner loved it.

But an unfortunate water leak caused damage to the window wall, and a poor repair job left a very visible pattern mis-match over the window. Then another water leak required new drywall to be patched in behind the washer and dryer (see top photo). So once the repairs were made, the homeowner wanted to redo the room, and do a little updating along the way.

I stripped the old wallpaper, performed necessary patching and prep, primed the walls with Roman’s Ultra Prime Pro 977 wallcovering primer, and came back the next day to hang the new paper.

The new pattern is also a black & white checkered design, but it’s larger-scaled, and is just large enough to be called a “buffalo check.”

It’s also a freer design – meaning that the wavy edges of the vertical and horizontal pattern, along with the watercolor features of the ink, afforded me some breathing room while dealing with walls and ceiling that were not perfectly plumb and level.

This pattern is in the Magnolia Home collection (Joanna Gaines) by York Wall. 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.

Narrow Strip Coming Out of a Corner

August 28, 2018


See that narrow 3/8″ wide strip of wallpaper sitting on my table? That is to be my first piece coming out of this corner.

When you hang wallpaper around an inside corner, you don’t wrap it around the turn, but, rather, split the piece vertically so it wraps 1/16″ around the corner. Then the strip that you cut off is hung on the next wall, butted up into the corner. This avoids twists and wrinkles and bubbled areas caused by walls and corners that are not perfectly straight or plumb.

But when the piece that is to be the first strip on the new wall is this narrow, it presents problems, because it’s very likely to not hang straight, and you can’t hang the next strip of wallpaper against a crooked edge because you will get gaps and overlaps.

Adding to the dilemma is that this narrow strip had already been pasted. I had finished for the day, and intended to hang the window wall to the left the next day. The strip was already pasted, but I couldn’t hang it because of the aforementioned issues, plus, you are supposed to hang a whole wall at a time, because all of the strips have to “meld” together – you can’t hang a wet piece against a dry piece.

My solution was to wash the paste off this narrow strip, and hang it up to dry overnight. I just had to hope that the water would not cause it to expand too much, or warp, or other.

The next day, I pasted this narrow 3/8″ wide strip, along with the strip that would be placed next to it. Then I hung them together, as if they were all one piece of wallpaper. That way, I could work them into the corner snugly, and keep the seam between them nice and tight.

When coming out of corners, it’s common for the wallpaper to go off-plumb, because the corner might be out of wack. So you can (barely) see the red line of my laser level on the left edge of the strip of wallpaper, ensuring that the new strip falls plumb.

Finishing Touches to the Stacks of Blocks (Previous Post)

May 25, 2018


Because walls are never plumb, and because ceiling lines are never perfectly level, and because wallpaper can twist and distort once it gets wet with paste, with a pattern like in the previous post, it’s not advisable to place a key element, such as the gold horizontal line, at the top of the wall. It will begin to run crooked – either up into the ceiling, or fall down below it. So for this install, I raised the pattern so that the horizontal gold line would be cut off. This made that top block about 3/4″ shorter than the blocks below it. Not a biggie – at 10′ up, no one is going to notice this small discrepancy.

I did want to make the blocks look more homogenous, though. I thought that having a gold frame around all sides of the top blocks would make them blend in better with the other blocks all around the room.

So I used my straightedge to trim some narrow strips of the gold double-stripe out of left over wallpaper scrapes. Then I appliquéd them on top of the paper, just at the ceiling line.

The Corner’s Crooked, The Pattern’s Gone Wonky – But There Is A Fix

November 21, 2017

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Walls aren’t always plumb, horizontal surfaces (ceilings, floors, countertops) aren’t always level, and wet wallpaper can twist out of shape. Look down the center of the top photo, and you’ll see how poorly the pattern matches in a corner that is off-plumb by more than half an inch from top to bottom. Notice the double-images in the upper part of the picture.

When hanging the strip to the right of the corner, I could have manipulated the paper so that the pattern matched perfectly. But that would have meant hanging the strip off-plumb – and that would have meant that every subsequent strip would be off-plumb. And that would have meant that the design motifs would begin tracking down the wall.

Meaning that, the red leaves I plotted to sit at the top of the wall would begin walking their way down, further and further from the ceiling line. The whole wall would have a lopsided and off-kilter look.

I chose to keep the red leaves in their assigned position at the top of the wall. The trade-off was the mis-matched pattern you see in the corner in the top photo.

But I have a few tricks up my sleeve. Let’s just say that some craft paint, a tiny artist’s brush, a sharp scissors and a few appliqu√©s, time, patience, and a good pair of strong reading glasses did their magic.

Bohemian Chic in a Master Bedroom

September 3, 2017

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The walls in this 2nd floor addition to a 1950 ranch style home in west end of the Houston Heights started with a heavy texture and gloss paint.¬† The project was an 18′ wide accent wall in a master bedroom.

I skim-floated to smooth the wall, and it took a full day of multiple fans blowing at high speed, hitting areas with the heat gun, and alternating between cold air-conditioning and warm forced-air heat to get them to dry.

The third photo shows how they looked after sanding and priming.

The¬†homeowners have a real eclectic taste in decorating, with lots of¬†furnishings and accessories that are vintage, worn, quirky, repurposed, colorful, and the like.¬† I love this medallion pattern because it goes with the home’s aesthetic… and just look at how it matches the bedspread!

Keeping the medallions straight at the top of the wall took some tweaking, because the walls were not plumb, nor was the crown molding level.  In the end it looks great.

The wallpaper is a non-woven material and a paste-the-wall installation.  The seams were positively invisible.  The paper is by A Street Prints, by Brewster, and came from the U.K.  It was bought at below retail price from 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.

 

What’s It Like to Wallpaper Behind a Washing Machine?

April 19, 2017

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Originally, this laundry room had the White Wall Woes – too much of nothing. Once the wallpaper went up, the room took on warmth and a cheery personality. The homeowner, an interior designer, loved the way the pattern made the low ceilings look higher. And the color perfectly melds with the color of the woodwork.

What’s it like to hang wallpaper in a laundry room when the washer & dryer are still in the room? Well, you do a lot of reaching, squeezing, and contorting. Luckily for me, I’m small.

Because my ladder would not fit behind the appliances, I had to stand on the W & D (being careful to distribute my weight to the frame, not the center). This worked out because the ceiling was low enough that I could reach the top of the wall by standing on the W & D.

That took care of the top of the strips of wallpaper. To smooth them into place along the lower portion of the wall, I had to squeeze myself into that narrow space you see in the third photo, and work around all those hoses and wires.

This is a very nicely remodeled bungalow in the Woodland Heights (Houston), with a 2-story addition on the back. This room was in the new section, and it had about the most plumb walls and level floors / ceilings I have worked with – all important when dealing with strong straight lines such as these picture frames.

Nonetheless, I did have to pull a few tricks out of my hat, to keep the pattern looking straight around the whole room and against all the moldings.

This wallpaper is by Sanderson, a British company, and is called “Picture Gallery.” It is on a non-woven substrate and is intended to be a paste-the-wall product, but in this room with complicated cuts and narrow spaces, it was preferable to paste the material.

The interior designer (and home owner) is Stacie Cokinos, of Cokinos Design. All of the jobs I have done for her have been remodels or new builds in the greater Heights area of Houston.

Interestingly enough, I’ve had a number of queries and jobs about wallpaper in laundry rooms. It must be a new trend. I think this newish non-woven material will work well in a humid room, whereas the paper-backed solid vinyls that were popular for decades are a poor choice, due to moisture getting into the seams and causing curling.

And you just have to love the idea of doing mundane housework in a cherry, pretty setting!

A Horrible Place for a Wallpaper Seam

March 29, 2017

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Often you can “fudge” wallpaper patterns, to avoid awkward or unstable placement of seams – but just as often, you cannot.

Here I could not avoid having the seam fall ONE QUARTER OF AN INCH away from the outside corner on this wall.

So why all the consternation?

First, being just 1/4″ from the corner, there is little wall space for the paper to grab onto, which raises the worry about the paper not adhering, and curling away from the wall, or, at minimal, gapping in areas.

This brand is particularly challenging, because it is known for curling at the seams, which further hinders a good, tight, flat seam.

Second, since walls are never straight or plumb, it’s hard to keep the wallpaper design evenly spaced and correctly positioned down this length of wall.

The un-plumb walls also make it near impossible for wallpaper to wrap around the outside corner without warping, which makes it difficult for the subsequent strip, which is straight, to butt up nicely against the un-straight edge.

Un-plumb corners also throw the wrapped wallpaper off-plumb. That can result in the pattern’s design “going off-plumb.” This means that the horizontal pattern won’t line up perfectly along vertical walls (like in corners).

Another thing that will happen is that the pattern motifs can start creeping either up or down from the ceiling line (un-level ceiling lines factor in here, too.)

And, lastly, because wallpaper absorbs moisture from the paste and then expands and / or warps, it’s hard to keep everything straight and plumb as it turns a corner. Which makes it hard for the next strip to butt perfectly up against it.

This wallpaper is by Hygge & West, and can be bought from their on-line website.

Hold On To Your Head! – Wallpaper Pattern Placement

March 1, 2017
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The ceiling height in this room vaulted from 8′ on the north and south walls, to 9′ on the east and west walls. In most rooms, I like to place an important design element at the top of the wall. And I like to keep design motifs intact when I can, meaning, to keep whole flamingo heads at the top of the wall. But with a pattern like this, that moves diagonally up and down the wall, there’s always going to be someone who gets his head chopped off.

I felt it important to keep whole, intact flamingo heads at the top of the main focal wall. But the two adjoin walls were visually important to the room, too, and I didn’t want to have half-heads at the top of either of these two walls. So I took some time and plotted how to keep the most heads of flamingos at the most prominent points of the room for most of the time.

In the top photo, on the right, you see the highest point of the wall in this room. From this high point, I used my laser level to drop a plumb, vertical line from the ceiling to the floor (not shown). To the left of this, you see the wall angling down to meet with the lower-height wall to its left. I took a level and used it to draw a horizontal line from where the lower-height wall / crown molding started on the left, to where this line crossed onto the beamed vertical line shot from my laser level onto adjoining wall to its right.

Then I ran a level from the crown molding you see in the second photo then horizontally all the way across the 21″ width of a strip of the wallpaper, and then also across 21″ of it’s adjoining strip. This showed me where all the flamingo heads would fall on the wall, across two strips of wallpaper.

Along this vertical line, the distance between the ceiling crown molding and the horizontal line from the crown molding on the lower-height wall was 11.5″ (with a little allowance for un-level crown molding). I wanted to avoid chopping off any flamingo heads at the level point of either the 9′ high crown molding, or at level laser point of the horizontal line running 11.5″ below the crown molding.

To determine where the flamingo heads on the wallpaper would translate onto where they would actually fall on the wall, I rolled some of the paper out on my table, and considered options of which ostrich to place at the top of the wall. I played around, slid strips up and down, and eventually found the point where the most flamngos would have their whole heads at the top of the main focal wall, and also at the top of the shorter walls on either side.

The flamingo heads on both the sitting and the standing birds on the sections over the door on adjoining 8′ walls fell a little further down below the crown molding than I would have liked (see 3rd photo), but they still looked great, they kept their heads attached to their bodies, plus they were balanced nicely between the crown molding and the top of the door frame.

All this took much plotting, measuring, calculating, and time, and it’s not something that a homeowner is going to even notice. But I was really happy that I could give this couple (and the little boy whose room this will be) a nicely-placed, well-balanced pattern, with as few cut-off heads as possible.

This wallpaper pattern is called “Flamingo,” and is by Cole & Son, a British manufacturer, and was bought at below retail price from 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.

Crooked Walls = Wrinkly Paper

December 3, 2016
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Walls in homes are usually never perfectly plumb, just as ceilings and floors are never perfectly level. Not a problem if you’re painting. But if you are hanging wallpaper, that wallpaper wants to hang straight, and so it wants a straight wall to hang on to.

All of which is a long-winded way of saying that if a wall is crooked, bowed, or off-plumb, wallpaper will have difficulty hanging butted up against it.

In this case, I had turned a strip of wallpaper around an outside corner – very tricky for several reasons, and more so because virtually no outside corner is perfectly plumb, which compounds the trickiness. If you wrap wallpaper around a wall / corner that is not plumb / straight, the far edge of the wallpaper will likewise become bowed or un-straight. So when you go to butt the next strip of wallpaper against this one, one straight edge will not be able to find another straight edge to “marry with,” and the strips will want to gap or overlap. Not good.

So what I did was, once I got around the outside corner, I made sure that the far edge of the strip of wallpaper was plumb and straight. I used a 6′ magnesium straightedge and a 4′ level as guides.

But making the far edge of the wallpaper strip comply to plumb caused the body, or central area, of the wallpaper strip to become wrinkled due to excess material. Thankfully, this was a forgiving pattern.

What I did was, I cut along some lines of the wallpaper design motif. This created some relief, so I could ease out the wrinkles and smooth the paper against the wall. Voilà! The wrinkles and stress on the paper are gone; cuts, splices, and overlaps are invisible, and the the far edge of the paper is straight and ready to butt against the next strip of wallpaper.