Posts Tagged ‘living room’

Cork Wallpaper Living Room Revisited

April 11, 2018


I hung this wallpaper a few months ago, and am back to do another room. I couldn’t resist peeking in the living room to see how it looked furnished.

While I’d like to say that the wallpaper makes the room, really – that SOFA rocks the place! And the lamps. These homeowners have taken their time pulling their home together, and they’ve been rewarded with a unique and stunning d√©cor.

The wallpaper is by Thibaut, and is silver cork embellished with a white damask pattern. The bottom of the room is covered with dark brown cork wallpaper. Both were sold by Dorota (see Where To Buy Wallpaper link to the right of this page).

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Grasscloth in Tiny Bookshelf Cubicles

February 3, 2018

This neutral-hued grasscloth sure warms up the look of these display shelves, adding both soft color and texture. The homeowner’s books and decorative items stand out much better.

None of the shelves was removable, so I had to cut and install TWENTY FIVE separate pieces of grasscloth wallpaper for the backs of these bookshelves.

To minimize trimming inside those small, tight cubicles, I took careful measurements and then pre-cut my pieces. I used a straight edge, razor blade, and one of those “self-healing” cutting mats that are used for sewing and crafts. The mat was marked both vertically and horizontally in inches (and graduations) and had easy to see right angles.

I cut all my pieces a mere 1/2″ larger than the dimensions of each cubicle. I used the craft mat and straight edge to cut a right angle in the upper left corner of each piece of grasscloth. I could position this in the upper left corner of each cubicle, which also butted it up perfectly against the top and left sides of the cubicle.

Then all I had to do was use my razor knife to trim the grasscloth on the right and bottom sides, to fit into the cubicle.

I spent a full four hours priming, then measuring and labeling each cubicle, and then cutting and pre-trimming each of the 25 pieces of grasscloth. Look at the photo of my measurements!

All this effort paid off, because every single piece of material went into its cubbyhole perfectly, and required trimming on just two sides (instead of four). The install still took a full eight hours. But it was fun and challenging, and a different work-out for the brain from hanging paper on tall, flat walls.

This grasscloth wallpaper is by Thibaut. I forgot to take a photo of the label, but it was a really nice paper, and, even though I had only one seam (in the TV niche), for once there was no issue with shading or color differences – in fact, that one seam is all but invisible. I hung this in a living room in a townhouse in the Rice Military / Camp Logan neighborhood of Houston.

More Pictures of the Cork Living Room

October 15, 2017


Here are more photos of the silver & white damask cork, and dark brown cork papers used as companions in a large living room. Note that the damask pattern is nicely balanced from top to bottom of the wall.

Also note how the seams are noticeable – but only if you are standing right in front of them. This is because cork is so think, and possibly the factory trimmed the paper with a slight bevel. At any rate, it’s normal, and considered “part of the inherent natural beauty of the product.”

The damask paper is by Thibaut. See previous post for purchasing information.

Metallic Cork Married With Earthy Cork Breathes New Life Into A ’70’s Living Room

October 13, 2017

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This 1967 home in a unique neighborhood in Pasadena (Houston) is like a time capsule. It’s a little larger and nicer than the typical ranch-style houses of that era. And just about everything in it was original when my clients bought it … terrazzo floors, dental crown molding, upholstered wall panels in the dining room, diamond paned windows, French Provincial painted iron stairway railing, heavy pleated drapes, and much more.

The homeowners love the look and want to preserve as much as possible. But they also want the home to live a little more modern, and they want it to work with the lifestyle of their young – and very busy – family. They’ve already done a fabulous redo of the kitchen that still respects the era and feel of the home’s bones.

Now it’s time to update the living room. Enter – wallpaper! They used the same grey-brown, wood-look floor tile that they put in the kitchen. They kept the chair rail molding that runs around the room. A sliding barn-style door was custom made to divide the living room from the dining room, and it immediately became the focal point of the room.

Wallpaper was the next element … The couple wanted something earthy, yet elegant, and it had to meld with the vintage theme of the house.

They fell in love with a dark brown cork wallcovering enhanced with metallic accents called Enchanted Woods, by Phillip Jeffries. Whoops! – that brand is crazy expensive! My source (below) found them something nearly identical, but at a much more reasonable price. This dark brown material was used on the bottom 1/3 of the walls, below the chair rail. I was able to railroad this product (run it horizontally, instead of vertically), which eliminated seams. (Sorry, I did not get any photos of this.)

For the upper 2/3 of the wall space, they went with a silver metallic cork wallpaper embellished with a classic damask pattern in white. This is a classy, traditional look jazzed up by a luscious shimmery sheen.

The husband was worried that the dark cork at the bottom of the walls would visually occlude the barn door. At first, I tended to agree with him. But once the cork went up, it was clear that the door still stood out as a dominant feature in the room. Furthermore, it was apparent that the dark band of brown cork was needed all around the room, to balance the visual heft of that massive sliding barn door and to bring continuity to the remaining three walls.

As for the upper 2/3 of the walls, there is no question that the barn door stands out against the silver and white damask cork wallpaper. In addition, the natural texture of the cork coordinates nicely with the stained wood of the door.

Cork wallpaper, especially the metallic colors, is pretty popular right now, and I’ve hung a fair amount of it. But this room was the most challenging. Cork is thick and stiff, and does not want to turn corners (In fact, the instructions say you should not attempt to turn outside corners, but should, instead, cover the corners with wooden molding.), nor is it easy to fit around intricate moldings, and it will give a lot of argument when you try to bend it into a small, tight spot. This room had many of those features!

There was one wall that had two trim-less windows that had reveals (and outside corners) to be covered with the cork material, plus four points of wainscoting trim to cut around, as well as two sections of drapery valances to manipulate the stiff material up and under and into. This wall alone took me 4 1/2 hours to paper!

The rest of the room was easier, but still had its challenges. The cork material is thick and stiff and won’t push tightly against moldings or into corners, which means you have to work extra hard and make several cuts before it will sit snugly against the molding or corner. When trimming around intricate moldings (like the edges of the chair rail), you can’t see or feel where the cuts should be made, so you have to inch your way along, taking a bit here and a sliver there. I estimate that each of the six chair rail edges took me at least 15 minutes – each.

The metallic sheen made it difficult to see the pattern, so it took longer than usual to plot and cut strips.

Cork wallcovering is pretty thick, and you have to expect that the seams will show, just as they do with other natural materials, such as grasscloth. Depending on where you stand in the room, the seams on this product are either invisible, or fairly noticeable. I think the seams could have been better – I have a feeling that the manufacturer’s trimming blade was set at a bit of an angle, making a beveled cut. A perfectly straight cut, or even a slightly reversed-bevel, would perhaps have been less noticeable. Still, this is part of the look of the natural material, and not considered a defect. To be honest, unless you’re looking at a particular seam from just a certain angle, you won’t even see a thing – except the beautiful pattern, color, and shimmer.

The dark brown cork is by Monarque, and the upper cork in the silvery damask pattern is by Thibaut. Both papers were 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.

Over the last few years, I have papered three other rooms for this family. Now that the wallpaper in the living room is up, they are on to other things – furniture, drapes – and then on to update / decorate other rooms. As I left tonight, the mom assured me that I would be back at some point, to paper another room.

Lights Out, And I’ve Got To Work…Big Larry To The Rescue!

October 12, 2017

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This week I’m hanging wallpaper in a large living room near Pasadena (Houston). There is no overhead light in the room, nor any air vent or other fixture that I can hang an extension cord and work light from.

I’ve been able to get by with three light bulb sockets I’ve plugged into the wall outlets, along with the sun light coming through two large windows. But as the sun went down this evening, I didn’t have enough light over my table to see what I was pasting.

Big Larry to the rescue! This is a compact yet very bright LED flashlight that will stand on end. It provided just enough light for me to paste the strips of wallpaper.

In addition, Big Larry has a high beam and a low beam, plus a flashing red light. He has a magnet on the base and fits easily in my toolbox. He is about $20 at Southwestern Paint in Houston. He even has a little brother, Little Larry, for about half the price, and half the light.

And, psssst… either one makes a nice gift. ūüôā

Small Print in a Quiet Color Warms a Reading Nook

October 1, 2017

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The homeowner of this newish house in the Houston Heights wanted to make this reading nook in the living room special, as well as differentiate it from the rest of the room.

She chose this Linden tiny leaf wallpaper pattern by Serena & Lily  in a Fog grey color.  It added just a touch of pattern and enough warmth to make the area cozy.

Serena & Lily has some lovely and young feeling patterns, and the material is wonderful to work with and will hold up for years.  It is an on-line company.

Subtle Wallpaper Pattern in a Magazine Spread

May 30, 2017

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The May 2017 issue of Better Homes & Gardens magazine has a feature on the color pink. Along with paint samples, bedding, and accessories, this wallpaper was shown, as a backdrop in a living room.

Pink is a pretty bold color for what’s considered a public room. But this particular treatment is not overwhelming at all. The pattern is light and airy, and the monochromatic color scheme keeps it from looking busy.

You could easily live with this wallpaper on all four walls.

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.

Crazy, Wacky, Mid-Century Modern Look

October 8, 2016
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This home in the Meyerland area of Houston had been nicely updated, and had a sleek, slightly contemporary feel. The homeowner wanted something “crazy” to liven up the entry wall, which is open to the living room, dining room, and kitchen.

Well, here you have crazy! But the pattern is not too wild or overwhelming, because of the subdued colors. The colors coordinate with the rest of the first floor, and the little bit of color really bring life to the house.

This paper is by A-Street Prints, by Brewster, and is a non-woven material, and a paste-the-wall product.

A Soft Backdrop Wallpaper

September 29, 2016
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Located in River Oaks (Houston), this 1940 home had been completely gutted and renovated. Now the whole house has a serene, clean, open look. The living room was originally painted a semi-gloss white. It went with the look, but was rather sterile.

Interior decorator Elizabeth Mann helped the homeowner find this wallpaper, in a soft, mossy green, with narrow vertical blocks of irregular shape and shade. It was custom made, and was sold by the yard (instead of by the roll). Like many high-end papers, it had to be hand-trimmed, to remove the selvedge edge, as you see in the last photo.

The gentle color and subtle pattern are just enough to snug up the room, and will be a wonderful backdrop for furniture and artwork.