Posts Tagged ‘montrose’

From Humid Houston to the Sunny Shores of the Mediterranean

August 22, 2018


If you’re stuck in the city but long for the warm shores of an exotic land, what do you do? How about using a scenic wallpaper mural to fool the eye into believing you’re in Paradise?

I hung this on a wall in a garage in inside-the-Loop Houston near Montrose and downtown. It will be surrounded by automobiles, bicycles, lawn equipment, and all manner of “garage stuff” – but, boy – what a view! The homeowners plan to have a big party later this year, and will use the decorated garage as an extended dining area.

This is the typical, old-school, 8-panel photo mural that has been popular for decades. After the “palm trees swaying over a tropical white sand beach” scene, Mediterranean themes like this are the most popular. But these days, you can get just about anything, even custom made from your own photos, and sized to fit your wall.

Most of these murals are 12′ wide by 9′ high, but this one was 13′ 8″ wide by 8′ 3″ high. It was smaller than the wall all-around, so I placed it more or less in the center, and also balanced on the stairs to the left (not pictured).

The mural comes in eight panels, and is hung with four panels across the top, and four across the bottom. Unlike regular wallpaper, where the seams are butted, these seams are overlapped by about 1/4″. The top photo shows just four of the panels (two top and two bottom), rolled up and laid out on the floor. It’s essential to plot and double-check like this, before you grab pieces and paste them and go to stick them to the wall.

These murals are printed on a somewhat flimsy, plain paper type material. They come with special powdered cellulose paste. I’ve always used the provided paste with these murals. But since this was going in a garage and would be exposed to heat and humidity, I wanted something a bit stronger. The instructions mentioned that, alternately, a traditional pre-mixed wallpaper adhesive could be used. So I used my go-to, Sure Stick Dynamite 780 paste.

The 780 is not as liquid as the cellulose, so it wetted-out the material differently from what I was accustomed to. It is also more aggressive, so it was a bit harder to unfold the booked sheets; too much tugging could cause the delicate paper to tear.

The cellulose paste always causes bubbling. (These disappear as the mural dries. But, still, they are unsettling.) I was happy that the pre-mixed paste did not produce any bubbles, and also allowed the paper to be more stable, with fewer wrinkles and waves. The paper did expand once it got wet with the paste, as much as a full inch per panel, so even with the 1/4″ overlap at seams, it ended up being nearly 14′ wide.

This is a paper mural, and not very durable. The homeowners plan to use a sealant, or perhaps will cover it with huge sheets of Plexiglas, to protect it. How it holds up in the humidity and heat of Houston remains to be seen. They had a similar mural (different scene) up for close to 10 years. I didn’t hang it originally, but I did some touch up and repaste a few years ago. Eventually, though, it succumbed to the elements and had to be removed. This time around, I’m hoping that my use of a wallpaper primer, along with a stronger paste, will help keep the mural nice and tight to the wall for many years to come.

Advertisements

Completing the Look

August 9, 2018


Obviously, wallpaper went on all the walls of the entry of this new home in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston. But this last wall didn’t lend itself to wallpaper because of the rounded edge that ended on the stairway… I knew that this busy family with two young athletic sons would probably rub against the cut edge and cause it to release from the wall. But that wall faced into the room, and really needed to have the pattern and color on it.

So I took scraps of the wallpaper and cut flower and leaf appliqués that I pasted to the wall over the door. The large red flower on the right, and the yellow flower on the top left are at the same position as they are in the design on the rest of the walls.

Just this small number of figures helps pull the pattern and color onto this final wall, and makes the room look complete.

Wild, Wonderful Chintz Wallpaper in a Montrose Entry

August 8, 2018


This newish townhome in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston is fairly traditional in style. But the new owner loves color, and she’s not afraid to be a bit daring! She had the ho-hum tan travertine tile floor taken out and replaced with this large, vibrant black & white checkerboard.

Next she woke up the walls with this vivid chintz floral wallpaper pattern. Chintz is an old and classic design – but there is nothing stuffy or old fashioned about these wild colors!

I love the “in progress” shots (2nd photo) because they show the stark contrast between the original white walls and the drama starting to transform them.

This wallpaper is by Eijffinger, a European manufacturer. It is a non-woven material, and is intended to be a hung using the paste-the-wall method – but I prefer the results when I paste the paper.

Swirly “Priano” Wakes Up a Tiny Powder Room

August 4, 2018


Here is a tiny powder room squeezed under the stairs in a nicely updated large home in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston. The homeowner wanted the powder room to match the feel of the more modern rest of the house – while coordinating with the dark blue tile floor. This swirly leaf pattern does all of that – and it visually pushes the walls away, while adding fun movement to the tiny room.

I don’t usually like wallpaper on ceilings, because I think it crunches the ceiling down on you. But here in this diminutive powder room, I think that papering the ceiling was the best design option. When a ceiling is papered, only one corner where the wall meets the ceiling can have the pattern matched (see top photo), and the rest will result in a mis-match. So it’s preferable to find a wild pattern like this, where any design mis-match in the corners will hardly be noticeable.

This room was particularly tricky, because the bottom-side-of-the-stairs ceiling came down not only at a slope, but at an angle. You can kind of see this in the fourth photo. The third shot shows the ceiling in the process of being hung.

“Priano” is a popular wallpaper pattern by Serena & Lily. Their papers are always a joy to work with, and they have cute patterns, too!

What’s extra cool is that I hung this pattern a few months ago, and the homeowner ended up with twice as much paper as she needed. (The old single roll / double roll conundrum. A good reason to always check with me before ordering your paper.) I was able to hook the two gals up, and some of the excess paper was sold to the new client, quick and easy.

Wild Wallpaper In Frames That Will Be Hung On The Wall

July 31, 2018



Here’s some really cool, custom-made wallpaper that, expectedly, costs a ton. The homeowners wanted to accentuate two rooms (dining room, master bedroom) with these patterns, but, considering the investment, wanted to be able to take it with them, should they move.

After much deliberation and investigation of backings, weight, sturdiness, etc., it was decided to mount each mural on plywood, wrap each of those with a wooden frame, and then mount them on the walls with brackets that attach invisibly to the back.

The largest one, which already has its frame attached, and which you see in the top photo, measures about 7′ x 7′, and weights 80 pounds. Imagine getting that thing up two flights of stairs!

The top photo shows the large mural finished. It consists of two panels spliced in the middle. It was trimmed in place to fit inside the good frame you see around it.

The second photo shows the smaller mural being laid out. It will be applied to the board you seeing lying on the floor in the third photo. The plywood board has been sealed with KILZ, to prevent knotholes from bleeding through, sanded smooth, and then primed with a wallpaper-specific primer. I used Roman’s Pro 977 Ultra Prime.

These wallpaper panels are custom-made to fit the project’s dimensions, and have a few extra inches “bleed” area on each side to allow for trimming and adjusting for wonky walls. The bordering silver area will be trimmed off, as will an inch or so of the printed area on each side of the mural.

On the smaller, dark mural, someone forgot to add an extra inch for the top and bottom, so the mural was centered as perfectly as possible, but a little bit of the white plywood peeked out on both the top and bottom. Don’t worry – a black frame will be constructed to cover the edges of the plywood, and it will have a lip (rabbet) that will cover this teeny gap.

The last photo shows one page of the instruction sheets, which includes drawings from the manufacturer detailing the layout and dimensions of each mural. The large mural came in two panels, which had to be overlapped in the center, carefully matching the pattern, and then double cut, or spliced.

Double cutting involves overlapping the edges of the two strips of wallpaper, while carefully matching the pattern. Then you take a straight edge and a brand new, very sharp razor blade and cut through both layers of paper. This paper was very thick, so I had to press really hard to get through both layers in one sweep. You want to avoid making multiple cuts if possible.

To keep from scoring into the plywood below (and it’s even more important if you are cutting on a wall made of drywall and / or many layers of paint and primer), I put a strip of polystyrene plastic on the plywood surface to keep the razor blade from cutting into the bottom surface. Once the double cut is made, the excess wallpaper, as well as the polystyrene strip, are removed, and the two edges of wallpaper smoothed into place. This makes for a very perfect seam.

All this takes a lot of time. It would be really cumbersome in a larger or more complicated room. But protecting the subsurface is important, because, once the wallpaper starts drying, it shrinks a little and pulls taught, and if the surface below is not intact (due to a cut from a razor blade, or from something else like dust on the surface or layers of incompatible materials such as old oil based paint covered with latex paint), these layers can come apart (delaminate), and the wallpaper seams will pull apart. This is not the paper “coming loose,” and it cannot be “glued back.” It is actually layers of the wall delaminating.

Anyway, back to today’s project, and, sorry, a little out of sequential order, but all important information. These panels were to be hung on the walls, but had not been hung yet. This allowed me to do them flat on the floor, which I think was easier. The instructions said to paste the paper, but that was extremely difficult because they were much wider than my work table. I didn’t want to crease or damage the material. Most non-woven products can be hung by pasting the wall, so that’s what I opted to do. Except, in this instance, they were laid out on the floor. 🙂

The material was a thick non-woven on a mylar plastic, and was very thick and somewhat difficult to work with. In addition, the panels were much wider than normal wallpaper, and hard for me to manipulate. I was glad that the interior designer was hanging around and was game for helping me position these pieces.

As I said, the material was thick and stiff, and no matter how hard I pushed or what extreme tool I used (metal plate), it would not press tightly into the corners of the gold frame enough for me to get a satisfactory cut – meaning that there was a slight (1/16″ – 1/8″ gap between the material and the frame. No matter… The interior designer was easy going, and said she will add a small piece of molding to the inside of the gold frame, to cover any gap, as well as to prevent the thick material from curling up. On the smaller, dark mural, the black frame to be constructed will include a lip (rabbet) that will cover the open edge and help hold it down, as well as cover the outside edge of the plywood panel.

This gutsy wallpaper is made by Calico, a husband-and-wife team out of New York City that is just a few years old – not many people have this stuff – and even fewer have the balls to put it on their walls!

The interior designer for the project is Elizabeth Maciel, and the location is a newish home in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston.

Real Cork in a Pewter for a “Disco” Bedroom

July 29, 2018


More cork wallcovering today, on an accent wall in the first floor guest bedroom of the same home in Montrose (Houston) where I worked yesterday. The homeowners were going for a “retro disco” look. In the adjoining bathroom, there’s a disco ball chandelier (trust me – you can find anything on the internet!), and 1920’s speakeasy-era artwork and statuary in the bedroom.

This glamourous, smolderingly moody metallic wallpaper with its sparkles of gold round out the look with a very loud bang!

As you might expect, this wallpaper is in the line by the Queen of Glam – Candice Olson, and is made by York. The interior designer who pulled this room together is Elizabeth Maciel.

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.

My Favorite Faux Grasscloth Wallpaper

May 29, 2018


This breakfast and kitchen area in a 26-year old townhome in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston was originally papered with a very small print on a darkish brown background. It served its purpose for two decades, but the homeowners were ready for a change.

They originally considered grasscloth, but after hearing my opinion on the real stuff (read “Grasscloth – Info Pack” page on the right), they opted for this fine faux material instead. I love this particular product because it uses vertical strings to create the textured feel that people like, as well as has a printed grass design in the background. Because it’s machine-printed, the pattern can be matched, so there are no visible seams like with real grasscloth. There also is no paneling or shading (variations in color between strips, or even within strips, even when they come off the same bolt) that are common with real grasscloth.

I have another couple using this same material in another month or so, in their entry.

I do have to say that this time, there was one strip that did panel – it was a slightly different shade from the one next to it, even though it came off the same bolt. This was disappointing, because I promote this brand specifically because you do not expect that. Anyway, I always have people order enough that we can cover a situation like that, so there was plenty of paper to remove that strip and replace it with one with better color.

This wallpaper is by Walquest, in their Grass Effects book, in the Ecochic line. 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.

Brilliantly Bold

March 16, 2018


Dark powder rooms are a good look. But dark paint by itself can feel uninteresting and even closed-in.

A bit of glowing aqua and green palm leaves on this black background really punch up the drama in this Montrose (Houston) area powder room! The stacked leaves add a distinct upward movement (and fun!) to this tall, narrow space.

The homeowner searched for a long time to find a pattern she liked, in a colorway that would compliment the ice-aqua color of the glass sink. (Sorry, my poor photo doesn’t do justice to the beautiful color of this unique sink.) (The wall to the right of the wallpaper and above the sink is covered with tiny squares of tile, and the lighted mirror.)

The original blue paint just blended in with the medium-toned brown bamboo free-standing console vanity sink base. But against the black wallpaper, the stained bamboo really stood out.

This tropical wallpaper pattern is called Kalani, and is in the “Fine Décor Collection” by Brewster. It is a non-woven material (which means it should strip off the wall easily when it’s time to redecorate), and is designed for a paste-the-wall installation (but I opted to paste the paper, instead.).

The material was thin, which I like, but I wasn’t fond of the plastic-y feel to the surface, plus it creased really easily. Because the paper was black and was printed on a white substrate, I used chalk to color the edges of the paper, which prevented white from showing at the seams. Once this was done, the seams were practically invisible.

A Whale of a Fun Paper

March 8, 2018


This whimsical wallpaper went in the powder room of an updated townhouse in the Midtown / Montrose area of Houston. The paper is a non-woven material and is intended to be hung by the paste-the-wall method. I had great results by pasting the paper instead.

The paper has a pearlized, somewhat metallic sheen, and was a bit delicate – the surface could be damaged by abrading, overworking, or creasing.

The manufacturer is Cole & Son, a British company. The name of the pattern is “Melville.”

Classic Pattern for Home With Traditional Décor

December 28, 2017


The home where I worked today (in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston) has very traditional décor, with carved moldings, elegant furniture, warm colors, and classic styling. This traditional oak leaf wreath design by an established (meaning, old) British manufacturer compliments the owner’s taste beautifully.

The material is a pulp paper, an old-school sort of material that has no protective coating and is rather delicate. The manufacturer is Zoffany. The wallpaper was purchased through an interior designer, and I hung it in a powder room.