Posts Tagged ‘molding’

Innovative Kill Point – Between Moldings

August 4, 2017

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The kill point is where the last strip you hang meets up with the first strip you hung. This virtually always ends up in a mis-match of the pattern’s design. This is usually in a corner, and the paperhanger will try to place it in an inconspicuous location (such as behind a door).

But not all corners are hidden behind a door. In such cases, and depending on the design, the pattern mis-match will be noticeable, even eye-jarring.

Sometimes it’s possible to get creative and hide that kill point where it will be less visible. That’s what I was able to do today.

The first photo shows you the Chinoiserie pattern, so you get an idea of what it looks like. In this room, because all four corners were very visible, I wanted to keep the pattern intact in the corners. So I needed somewhere else to hide the kill point.

The room had a spot where the molding around the door came very close (6″) to the wall-hung linen cabinet. This was a good option to place the kill point, because it would be only 6″ wide, vs. my other option, which was a corner that was 5′ high. I’ll take a 6″ mis-match over a 5′ mis-match any day!

By manipulating the wallpaper pattern a little, it was easy to disguise the kill point and the mis-matched pattern. It’s there, in the second photo – but I’ll bet you will have a hard time spotting it.

The Blow Fish Again – Second Time in One Week / Better Results!

February 1, 2017
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Last week, I wrestled with this same wallpaper (different color) and didn’t finish the job until 11:00 p.m. (Bless the homeowners who tolerated me working late, to get their powder room finished on schedule.) Today I had an easier powder room (shorter drops, fewer cuts, no pedestal sink to cut around, very little decorative molding), but I also tried a different installation technique. Instead of following the manufacturer’s instructions, which were to paste-the-wall, instead, I pasted the back of the paper. This made all the difference!

The paper relaxed and became much more malleable. The paper absorbed moisture from the paste and expanded and contracted on my table, not on the wall, so I had beautiful seams with no ‘gaps and overlaps.’ The second- and third-to-last photos are shots of the seams, showing that you can barely see them.

I hung this in a very nicely updated home of a young family in the Woodlands (north of Houston). This wallpaper pattern is by Cole & Son, a British import, and is called “Acquario.” 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.

A Pet Peeve – Paint On The Bottom Of Crown Molding

July 15, 2016
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See the beautiful white crown molding at the top of the photo? See the tan wallpaper at the bottom of the photo? Now see the ridiculous mauve line of paint along the bottom edge of the crown molding? That’s not a shadow. It’s paint. Unnecessary and marring paint.

Before the wallpaper went up, the walls were painted a reddish mauve color. Some painter was either too lazy or too unskilled to “cut a neat line” between the wall and the bottom edge of the crown molding. Instead, he let his brush run paint up onto the bottom edge of the crown molding, eliminating the crisp line between the wooden molding and the wall.

I think that beautiful trim work is one of the defining features of a home. One of my pet peeves is when a painter compromises that by blurring the line of definition between molding and wall. I’ve even seen them paint the edges of door and window moldings, because it’s easier than taping and takes less skill than cutting a sharp line with a proper trim brush.

A Scratchy, Blurry Geometric Trellis On A Dining Room Accent Wall

March 30, 2016
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The homeowners are fairly new to this house in the Shepherd Park Plaza neighborhood of Houston, and are doing lots of updates. In this dining room, they removed the built-in cabinet that was smack in the middle of this wall, as well as the chair rail molding around the middle. In the top photo, you see new Sheetrock that has been taped and floated in areas that were damaged by removing the cabinet.

To make a perfect surface, I skim-floated the wall. This eliminates hairs and grit from the drywall, and smoothed over the patched areas. I then sanded, wiped free of dust, and primed with a penetrating sealer called Gardz. The finished wall is shown in the second photo.

The homeowners found a paper that matched the colors on their walls and in their Oriental rug, and the scratchy, vague design is visible, but not at all overwhelming. I love the way that the trellis pattern mimics the carved design on the ceiling.

This wallpaper is by Designer Wallpaper, and was a non-woven, paste-the-wall product. It was bought from Sherwin-Williams. I made sure to center the pattern on the wall, so when they place furniture against it, the pattern will be balanced on either side.

Stripping Wallpaper, Damaged Sheetrock

December 29, 2015
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These days, I am hanging wallpaper in lots of new homes, which have never had wallpaper before. So today, when I had to strip off existing paper before I could hang the new, it was like a step back in time. And, since the first installer had skipped an essential step, it was a long step!

The navy-blue-on-white savoy pattern (Photo 1) was a nice paper that had been hung, unfortunately, directly on new Sheetrock, without a wallcovering primer, nor even a coat of paint. In this setting, most wallpapers will bond with the drywall, and can be very difficult to get off. Going too fast, or trying to force the paper to succumb to you, can severely damage the walls. To avoid this, I do it in steps.

The first step is to wet all the wallpaper with a damp sponge. That seems to strengthen the top layer of paper. Second, I strip off the top, inked / colored layer of paper. This leaves the backing / substrate – which in my photos today is a white paper. This white backing layer must then be soaked with a wet sponge. Unlike the top, colored layer of paper, which has a thin vinyl coating, this white backing layer can be penetrated by water. Once the water soaks in, the paste beneath it is reactivated. And once enough time has gone by and that paste is wet enough, the wallpaper can be removed.

If you are lucky, it will peel away easily. More likely, you will have to use a stiff 3″ putty knife to carefully scrape every inch of wallpaper backing away from the wall.

If you are lucky, it will come away with no damage to the Sheetrock. More typically, you will have some tears, and will have to do some repair work to the drywall.

The second photo is a wonderful shot of the various surfaces you might find when stripping old wallpaper. First is the layer with the pattern and color. When that has been removed, you see the white (or sometimes yellow) paper backing. Once that backing has been removed, you are left with other sub-surfaces. In the photo, the white is the areas that have been spread with “mud,” or joint compound, which is used over the tape that spans joints in the drywall. Another surface under the old wallpaper that is not shown in the photographs is paint, which you find where it has been oversprayed along the ceiling or next to where the woodwork was painted. The grey area is the top layer of the Sheetrock.

Wallpaper will stick to all these materials differently – It sticks to paint “kind of,” but can be removed with no damage to the walls; it sticks to joint compound not really well at all, but removes easily also with no damage to the walls, but leaving a thirsty porous surface beneath; and when it comes to raw drywall, wallpaper actually bonds to the surface, and can be a bugger bear to remove.

Usually, as in this case, pulling off the old wallpaper causes hairs on the unprimed drywall to pull up, so you end up with a gritty surface, which can leave bumps under the new wallpaper. Worse is when the top grey surface of the drywall de-laminates and pulls off, leaving the torn brown paper layer you see in the third photo. This is really bad, because, when hit with wet primer or wallpaper paste, this layer swells and likes to bubble up, leaving ugly bumps under the new wallpaper.

The cure for this torn Sheetrock is to seal it with Gardz or a similar penetrating sealer / primer. Then the area needs to be “skim floated” with joint compound (similar to plaster), sanded smooth, wiped free of dust, and sealed again.

All this takes a lot of time, eats up materials, makes a mess, and costs money.

As you can see, it would be much better if the builder and / or original wallpaper installer would prime the walls before hanging the paper. Or, at the very least, not ideal, but at least it would protect the walls, if they would slap on a quick coat of paint. And, when it’s time to redecorate, it would sure make removing the paper a whole lot easier.

Brown Stuff on Woodwork

December 8, 2015

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See that brown craggily line, running vertically up the door molding? That is residue from wallpaper paste, left by the previous installer – in 1994 !!

It’s common for paste to get onto ceilings and woodwork, but you’re supposed to wipe it off. Sometimes it’s hard to see, though. Or sometimes you think you’ve removed all the residue, but some hides from you and remains behind. And over time, the residue can darken and flake. That was the case in this home.

What gets me is, this brown cracked flaky stuff had stayed here, easy to see, for twenty years. That’s a shame, because all it took to remove it, after, yes, 20 years, was to wipe the woodwork with a damp rag.

We are lucky that the homeowners had not painted the woodwork in all this time, because putting paint over this paste residue would must surely cause the new paint to crackle and flake.

Note to self: Always wash, prime, and wipe off dust, from moldings or ceilings or other surfaces, before painting.

(I didn’t get pictures, but there was also crackly paint at the ceiling, caused by paste residue eating into the ceiling paint, which will cause bubbling, lifting, and cracking)

More Black Wallpaper – Powder Room / Geometric

September 25, 2015
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It takes guts to go with black! This summer, I have hung black or near-black wallpaper in two dining rooms, a bedroom accent wall, and, today, in a powder room.

This young couple with two pre-school children wanted to move their new home in the Houston Heights away from Boring Builder’s White toward a warmer and more contemporary look. For the powder room, they chose this black-on-grey geometric in a small, tight pattern.

The room was lit well enough, but still it was very hard for me to see what I was doing, because the dark paper “ate” shadows, so I could not see depth, nor was it easy to see well enough to trim around intricate molding or the pedestal sink – Aaahhh – that pedestal sink!… It took more than an hour and a half, just to hang the two pieces on the wall behind the pedestal sink.

I used craft paint to cut in around the molding, to ensure a neat finish, and I used chalk pastels to color the edges of the paper, so the lighter colored backing would not show at the seams.

One photo shows a slight defect in the paper – some shards that are bi-products of trimming at the factory, instead of being swept away, were pushed back onto the surface of the wallpaper and got stuck there; I was able to scratch most of them off, but a few had to remain.

In more than one corner, I actually had to pull out my tiny travel flashlight (thank you, companies that hand out gimmee / freebies!) so I could see to match the pattern!

The finished room looked fantastic. The homeowners want to update the lighting and towel ring, etc. (I suggested shiny silver chrome), so soon the powder room will suit the lifestyle and taste of this young and go-go-go family.

This wallpaper is by EcoChic, and was bought at a discounted price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

Detailed Work

October 29, 2014

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Hanging wallpaper is not all flat walls and simple cuts at the ceiling. Often there are corners and molding and windows and the like, to cut around.

Here is an example of a pretty simple decorative molding, and how the wallpaper was trimmed to conform to it.