Posts Tagged ‘molding’

Home Office Goes From Studious to Beachy

September 14, 2021
I admit, I really like the dark chocolate paint again the beautiful moldings in this home office.
But the homeowner is embarking on a new chapter in life, and wanted to freshen things up. She likes the beach and ocean, so this soft aqua look was just the ticket. I love the way it looks with the deep brown doors.
Railroaded (run sideways) over the cabinets. The wall to the right has not been papered yet.
Textured embossed commercial grade vinyl that mimics woven cloth. This stuff will wear like iron.
Manufacturer is Thibaut, in their Texture Resources collection.

This textured vinyl wallpaper is a beautiful and beachy update to this home office. But – man – it sure beat my butt! This should have been a one-long-day job, but it took me two days.

The material is very thick and hard to manipulate into place. And it is extremely difficult to cut through – even with a brand new razor blade. Add to that the many (10 – count ’em -10!) points of decorative door and window molding to cut around. And several other tricky spaces.

The end result, though, is beautiful and calming, and the homeowner loves it.

The home is in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston. The interior designer is Stacie Cokinos of Cokinos Design, who does mainly new-builds and whole-house remodels in the greater Heights area.

“Shrinking” a Strip of Wallpaper, to Avoid a Bad Seam Placement

August 1, 2021
The strip on the left over the door was going to extend to the right, about 2″ beyond the door frame and wall corner. This was going to result in an awkward seam placement, and make for a difficult install of the next two strips. I could avoid this by moving that next seam to over the right corner of the door. To do this, I had to “shrink” the strip over the door. I cut along the pattern, and pulled out the right half of the strip. Then I hung the full-length strip to the right, making sure to position the motifs so they would line up with the motifs on the left.
Here I am placing that right portion of the strip next to the full-height strip on the right. I am lapping it under the strip to the left. (The blue plastic tape you see at the top is to keep paste off the ceiling paint.)
Trimmed at ceiling and molding, and smoothed into place. Because I sliced the paper vertically along the design of the tree trunk, once the pieces are smoothed back into place, you don’t notice at all that about 1″ of material and pattern are missing.

Narrowing Wallpaper Strip to Fit Width of Door

April 6, 2021

Top photo: At 27″ wide, my next strip was going to extend past the door top molding a few mere inches, leaving me with a seam in an awkward place.

Second photo: I’ve drawn a pencil line parallel to the door molding, showing where that seam would fall. This means I would need two strips to fill that space, and both of them would be narrow, and thus wobbly and hard to keep straight.

If only I could make that next strip less wide…

Third photo: Voilà! The pattern was such that I was able to slice one of the motifs out of the center.

Fourth photo: This made my strip about 5″ narrower, while keeping motifs intact. It also kept the turtle at either end; important because it will be matched up to the turtle on strips on either side.

Last photo: My engineered strip lands just shy of the edge of the molding. Now I only need one strip to fill the space between it and the corner.

A Few Tricks of the Trade

February 2, 2021

Artist’s chalk pastel stick, for coloring edges of dark wallpaper, so the white substrate does not show at the seams.

Craft store paint, for diluting and striping under where wallpaper seams will fall, to prevent the stark white wall below from peeking out.

Blue plastic “cut tape.” I place this along the top of a strip of wallpaper, to prevent paste from getting onto the molding or ceiling.

In the instance pictured above, the left edge of that strip of wallpaper was going to lap onto the newly tiled wall. A pain to wipe paste off all those small and irregular tiles.

Running protective blue plastic tape down the left edge of the wallpaper strip kept paste from getting slopped onto the tile, and eliminated the need to wipe areas clean

Avoid Damaging the New Wallpaper – Have All Work Done BEFORE the Paper Goes Up

October 8, 2020


See those dark smudges and scrapes on the wall, on both sides of the corner? The homeowner had crown molding installed, and this resulted in damage to the walls.

Either scraping while manipulating the wood into place, or the carpenter letting his sweaty hands touch the walls, or maybe leaning against the wall with his keychain rubbing on it.

So, best to have work like this done before the new wallpaper goes up.

Bringing Fresh Life to a Heights Dining Room

September 20, 2020


This is the same house as in yesterday’s post, and I love the way the papers in the two near-by rooms coordinate in theme and color.

Note how the light blue color is just enough to make the beautiful millwork / moldings in this room stand out.

A geometric pattern in this dining room was more than a bit of a challenge. The wainscoting ran to slightly different heights as it went around the room. The ceiling in most sections was pretty level – but on the right side of the east wall, the crown molding ran up, and then back down again.

All of this means that the design motifs were not going to line up perfectly all the way around the room.

Even though the eye sees the pattern at the level of the chair rail most prominently, I chose to position the motifs so they hit the top of the wall with their tops intact. This meant that the bottom of the motifs were cut off when they reached the chair rail.

This ended up being a good decision, because, as already mentioned, the varying heights of the chair rail meant that the motifs would land on it at different points, anyway. Also, since so much of the room was comprised of the 5″ high areas over the doors and windows, I felt it more important to keep the motifs intact at the ceiling line.

That worked fine most of the way around the room. Except for that east wall, where the crown molding rose and dipped. The wainscoting also got off-level here. That is the second photo above.

I ended up with motifs that tracked up and down from the two moldings. That meant that the motifs became taller or shorter, or had more or less space between them and the moldings than the rest of the room. This would have been acceptable, because the homeowner was well aware of the home’s framing issues.

But I pulled a few tricks out of my hat to camouflage this. I took scrap wallpaper and cut out around the design motifs, to make them the correct shape and height to match others around the room, and appliquéd them on top of the skewed motifs.

No photos of this process, sorry. But you can see in the second photo that the motifs look whole and uniform all the way across the wall.

This wallpaper is by Baker Lifestyle. It is a sturdy non-woven material. It can be hung by paste-the-wall, but I prefer to paste the paper. The home is in the Heights neighborhood of Houston.

Arts & Crafts Authenticity in a 1908 Heights Home

July 16, 2020


This home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston dates back to the very early 20th Century, back when the Arts & Crafts movement was in full force. The style emphasized nature, earthy colors, blocky features, and stylized designs.

I like this look a lot, so it was really fun to work with the wallpaper and help bring their living room to their vision. They have the period furniture to go with it.

The wallpaper is by Bradbury & Bradbury, a California company that makes wallpaper in vintage and antique designs – Victorian, William Morris, Art Nouveau, Arts & Crafts, Oriental, Atomic Age, ’20’s, and more.

Their paper is a little tricky to work with. First, there is an unprinted selvedge edge that has to be trimmed off with a 6′ straightedge and razor blade (search here for other posts showing that process).

The manufacturer calls for clay-based paste, which I hate, for various reasons. But to comply with their specs, I bought a $50, 50lb, 5-gallon bucket of it – and used only about 1/2 gallon. Clay is a low-moisture paste, which helps with this material.

When wet with paste, the heavy inks on this paper absorb moisture differently from the paper backing, and the result is “waffling” or “quilting” – which is when you get wrinkles inside the unprinted areas (do a search here for more posts on this issue). To prevent this, it helps to lightly dampen the surface of the paper with a sponge and clean water. This helps even out the moisture ratio. I found that this pattern also fared better with a little water sponged lightly onto the back, as well.

To handle the 20′ long horizontal strips, after pasting, I folded the strips accordion-style. I also added blue plastic tape to the bottom edge, to prevent paste from getting onto the painted woodwork, which would eliminate the need to wipe it off during installation. Then all went into a plastic trash bag to “book” for a few minutes.

I set up two ladders, so I could step between them as I unfolded the accordion pleats, and I also used push pins to hold the booked strip up while I got down and moved the ladders.

The paper adhered nicely to the wall without curling at the edges. There were a few wrinkles in the inked areas, but these disappeared as the paper dried.

A wide decorative border like this, especially dating to this era, is called a “frieze.”

What’s really cool is that the homeowner (a former contractor), added the block wood molding because he wanted to unite the heights of the door molding with that of the windows (both just barely visible in the photos). That was way before they thought of adding a wallpaper border. Once they discovered Bradbury and started hunting for a wallpaper, turns out that the height of the space between the two moldings was exactly the height of the wallpaper frieze.

Even more amazing is that the paint colors were chosen before they went searching for wallpaper – but are magically perfectly harmonious with the colors in the frieze.

This wallpaper pattern is called “Birchwood Frieze,” by Bradbury & Bradbury. They have lots more gorgeous stuff on their website.

Bringing Zen to a Yoga Room

July 5, 2020


One of the homeowners from yesterday’s post has an in-home yoga studio, and, as I hung wallpaper in three other areas of the home, she began toying with the idea of wallpapering one accent wall in that room, too. When the serene rural-themed pattern went up across the hall in the dining room, she immediately knew it would be the perfect finish for her yoga room, too.

I did some futzing and calculating, and was able to come up with one extra 10′ panel. I hung this centered on the accent wall. The “villa” homestead is perfectly centered in the panel.

The homeowner ran to Home Depot and got some decorative molding, that will be used as a frame on either side (not the top or bottom). The molding will be painted, or stained, or maybe antiqued (it’s to be decided!), in color(s) that compliment the wallpaper.

The pastel colors and soothing pastoral feel make this the perfect backdrop for a Zen experience in a yoga room.

Adding Arches to the “Windows”

May 16, 2020


I positioned this pattern so the tops of the arches would align with the top of the wall.

But on the pictured wall, which was shorter than the main walls, the pattern got chopped off mid-motif.

I thought it would be cool to continue the arch theme. So I took some scrap paper and carefully cut along the design, to create some arch tops. See second photo.

Once appliquéd to the top of the wall, they give the effect that the trellis grids are now complete, instead of chopped in half.

This looks very much like what you would find in a leaded or decorative glass window, from a by-gone era.

This is fitting, because the homeowners chose this pattern partly because it coordinated with the molding detail in the windows in the front rooms of their 1895 home in the Houston Heights.

Lotsa Color, and a Nice Faux Silk

April 16, 2020


I have worked for this couple in their charming 1929 bungalow in West University (Houston) several times since the 1990’s. They definitely are not people to go with the all-white or all-grey or minimalist trends that are popular today. These folks like COLOR!

The dining room walls were originally upholstered in a botanical print on blue (which the homeowner did himself, and did a mighty find job of, too). So the room never was bland white. 🙂 But now, 20 years later, they were ready for an update.

Their contractor removed the fabric and then skim-floated the walls smooth. Usually I have to go back and re-smooth the walls … but this guy did a really good job, and I was able to simply prime, and then hang the paper.

This is a vinyl product named “Wild Silk,” and is by Thibaut. It’s much more stain-resistant and durable than real fabric. Unlike real silk and other natural materials like grasscloth, this product has a pattern match. This means that you are not going to see each separate panel or visible seams, like you do with real silk. So the walls have a much more homogeneous and pleasing look.

The challenge lay with the old house and its un-plumb walls and un-level ceiling and window/door moldings. Since the ceiling was not level, if I hung the wallpaper true to plumb, then it would start “tracking” off-kilter at the ceiling line, and appear to be running either uphill or downhill. This effect was further complicated by the way the pattern ran along the window and door frames.

I decided to keep the pattern parallel to the ceiling molding line. This meant letting it go crooked along the door and window frames, if that’s how it turned out. The ceiling line was more visible and more important.

Since the pattern was tracking off-kilter, I used a razor blade and a straightedge to trim off a wedge-shaped chunk from one side of the wallpaper. This forced the pattern to move up (or down). After a few strips, I had tweaked it enough that the design was moving straight across under the crown molding.

Even though the strips were not hanging plumb, it looked wonderful along the ceiling line. This “silk” pattern was very accommodating of that. If it had been a design with a prominent motif that the eye wanted to see marching straight across the ceiling AND straight down along a door frame, it would have been much more difficult to pull off – maybe impossible.

Going around the window (no pic) was even more complicated. Because I was tweaking the three strips above the window to follow the crown molding, and also the three strips below the window – and you can’t guarantee that these will all adjust at the same rate. So getting the strip to the left of the window (no pic) to match up with the strips above AND below the window would be pretty impossible.

So I was extremely pleased when the pattern on all these strips did match up, within about 1/16″.

This is a vinyl material and was somewhat difficult to push tightly into edges and corners, and to cut through. I was glad that I didn’t have intricate decorative moldings to cut around. I used orange chalk to color the edges of the material, to keep the white substrate from showing at the seams.

I love the way the salmon color coordinates with the painted trim. Who paints door moldings orange??! THESE people do – and I highly applaud it! No boring all-white rooms in this house!

The look is bold, but surprisingly warm. The orange moldings against white walls would have been jolting. But with the salmon colored wallpaper, the whole effect is unified, inviting, and invigorating!