Posts Tagged ‘motif’

Hidden Image – What Do You See?

July 3, 2018

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I loved the way this pattern looks in the entry of this Katy-area home. It’s funny how your mind works. I took a close up photo of the pattern motif – and almost gasped when I saw it! There is an image hidden in this design. At least, I can see it. Can you?

Some people see a man, some see a woman. Clothing can vary, but all see the figure holding something. What do you see?

Here is what I see: A king wearing a crown and beard, with a hairy chest (or possibly armor), clutching dumbbells in each hand, sitting cross legged like a Buddha.

What do you see?

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Transforming a Stark Hallway

October 7, 2017

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This young couple in the Garden Oaks neighborhood of Houston has a beautifully updated and furnished 1940 ranch style home. But they wanted to up the volume, so to speak, and thought that this hallway, which slices through the center of the home, would make a fine focal point.

I’ve hung this classic damask pattern twice before, and was carrying around a sample of it when I visited them for an initial consultation. They liked it immediately, and, after considering several other patterns, decided on the damask.

To make the area really special, they added a chair rail and crown molding.

It’s hard to get a good shot of a long, narrow hallway. But you can see how the color and pattern adds warmth and dimension to the space, and the lightly pearlized shimmer of the paper definitely adds a touch of understated glamor.

Since the chair rail was a main feature of the room, I positioned the pattern so that the bottom of the damask motif landed just above the chair rail. Likewise, the top of the motif sits just below the crown molding. This looks a lot better than having part of the design chopped off in mid-motif.

This wallpaper is by Designer Wallpapers, and was delightful to work with. 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.

In fact, the couple is going to meet with Dorota tomorrow, to choose a complimentary paint color for the bottom portion of the walls.

Clever Kill Point

January 1, 2017
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The “kill point” in a room is the last corner, where your last strip of wallpaper comes to meet up with the first strip. It almost always results in a pattern mis-match, so you try to hide it in an inconspicuous place.

All of the corners in this bedroom went floor-to-ceiling, and the eye would really notice a 10′ mis-match. So I put the kill point at the top of this corner, about 2′ of mismatch. Then I wrapped the rest of the paper around the corner as I normally do, ending up at the right edge of the door molding. This way, I was able to keep the pattern matching perfectly for the lower 8′ of the corner. Where the lower paper meets the strip above the bar of the rolling door, the thick bar hides the 3″ overlap and mis-matched design .

The pattern motif below the bar does not line up vertically with the motif over the bar, but who the heck is going to notice that? And even the 2′ of mis-matched design at the top of the corner is hardly noticeable, due to the busy pattern.

Beautiful Over Scaled Damask in a Bedroom

December 31, 2016
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Here is an example of a current trend in wallpaper designs – a traditional motif like this damask, but blown up to be very large, and in unexpected colors. This taupe-on-taupe goes amazingly well with the builder’s choice of color on the woodwork. A damask is a traditional design, but in this over scale size, it has a bit of sass, and works nicely with the room’s “modern rustic industrial” features, like the rolling wooden barn door.

The room was meant to be a home office, but this young family is using it for “Grandma’s room.” Grandma visits weekly, and the homeowner wanted her room to be inviting and spa-like. Accent colors will be a murky turquoise, with bits of lighter turquoise, which are superb spa colors.

The paper was bought from Walls Republic, and is a non-woven material and was installed with the paste-the-wall method. The house is in the far eastern edge of the Houston Heights.

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.

Perfectly Balanced Dining Room Wall

May 31, 2016
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Most homeowners don’t notice things like this, but when the interior designer for this dining room in the Houston Heights walked into the room, the first thing she said was, “I love the way the pattern falls perfectly in the middle between the two windows. And I love how it hits at the ceiling line and just above the tops of the windows.” Yeaay – she gets it!

I was flattered when the designer noticed the placement of the pattern on this wall, because I had put a lot of time and engineering into it. Using math and pencil and rulers and a laser level, I also balanced the pattern vertically, between the crown molding and the wainscoting.

Because much of the wall space in this room was above the doors and windows, it was important that these short areas be equally well planned, so the pattern motif would appear uniform over every opening.

About the most flattering thing the designer said was, “I’m glad I found you.” 🙂

I hope I will work with her again soon. Her name is Stacie Cokinos.

Murky Green Damask on Display Shelves

November 26, 2015
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The red diamond pattern on the backs of these bookshelves was pretty, but the new owners of the home didn’t love it. There was wallpaper left over from when the adjoining dining room was papered, and so we used those scraps to paper the bookshelves in the living room.

It looked like there was a lot of paper to work with, but when you start talking about a 28.5″ wide bookshelf and 27″ wide wallpaper, syncing the pattern with that in the dining room, centering the pattern, matching the pattern, a 25″ pattern repeat, wrapping the sides, wrapping the top, and when you unroll the left over bolts and find that much of the material is not in one long strip but in multiple shorter strips – it becomes a game of math, logistics, plotting, and engineering.

In the end, though, there was enough to get ‘er done. And, I was able to place the dominant motif vertically down the center of the bookshelves, and balance it equally in either corner, as well as place the same motif at the bottom of the bookshelves as was at the top of the wainscoting in the adjoining dining room, so the two rooms were horizontally correlated, and match the pattern of the two header strips in each of the two shelf alcoves to the pattern on the back of the shelves below them.

Anyone looking at the shelves will no doubt focus on the pretty collectibles displayed within them. But I just thought I would give a little backstory on what went into applying the wallpaper that is the backdrop for those pretty white vessels.

I loved working with this paper. There were no labels or brand information, but it was a pulp paper product, which is often sourced from England. It sits flat and tight to the wall, and seams are nearly invisible. Once booked, there is no stretching or shrinking. It is not sealed, though, so you have to protect it from handling and from splashes, and have to take care to not overwork seams or abrade the material during installation.

Last Corner – “Kill Point” – On a Trellis

April 5, 2015

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I apologize for the dark photo, but this is actually pretty cool. The kill point is the last corner in a room, and the wallpaper pattern virtually always ends here in a mis-match. But today, the last corner matched absolutely perfectly. That is VERY rare! It is just a chance of fate that the pattern on the right got cut off at exactly the same point as the pattern on the left, so when they met in the corner, the match was perfect.

But, well, it didn’t exactly happen all that easily.

If you look closely at the wall on the right, you will see that the pattern is a little lower than the pattern on the left. That is because the corners of the room were not plumb, causing the wallpaper to hang crooked, and when that happens, the pattern will travel up or down hill at the ceiling line. I think it’s more important to match the pattern in the corners as precisely as possible, even if it means that the pattern is not straight along the ceiling line. Because this is so common, we try to make the pattern match best at eye level, and hope that people don’t spend too much time looking at the ceiling line.

Anyway, as you move around the room hanging paper, the other walls may be out of plumb, too, causing the subsequent strips of wallpaper to go off-plumb, and then their pattern will also travel up or down hill. That means that, by the time your last strip butts up against your first strip, your horizontal lines may not line up.

And that’s what happened here. But you hardly notice. Why? The wall on the right has a seam about 2″ from the corner – right were the two motifs meet. When I had the pattern perfectly matched across this seam, the silver “ring” at the join point matched perfectly with the one on the previous strip, but the black lines from the trellis on the right did not line up with the black lines on the left.

So what I did was, I carefully removed the narrow 2″ strip of paper and slid it a little higher on the wall, matching it to the black lines on the pattern on the left side of the corner. This threw off the match of the silver rings on the wall on the right. But, hey, it is only slightly off, and it’s 7′ high and over the door, so who’s gonna notice? But if those black lines on the trellis motif mis-matched, people would notice.

This was a small adjustment, but it made a world of difference in how the finished room looks.

I realize that this is the kind of post that only a paperhanger could follow and appreciate. But I was just so excited today, to be able to have a perfectly matched kill point!

Purple Power in a Dining Room

February 25, 2015

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This dining room with grey walls (the color in the photos is off) got a major hit of color and personality from this accent wall with a silvery medallion on a very dark purple background.

The wall had a fairly heavy texture, so I spent most of the day floating, sanding, vacuuming, and priming. Then plotting the layout of the pattern, coloring the seams, etc. When I finally got to put the paper up, that part went pretty fast – probably and hour and a half, for seven full-length strips.

I placed the medallions at the top of the wall, and centered the motif so when the family places a buffet in front of the wall, it will look smartly balanced. It worked out that the medallions were intact (not cut off) and exactly the same width on either side of the wall. (See fourth photo.)

This was a non-woven material, and a paste-the-wall product (instead of the customary paste-the-back-of-the-paper).

Many of these non-woven papers are thick and spongy, and that thickness often makes the seams fairly visible (Do a Search – upper right corner.), especially on such a dark paper printed on a white substrate. So I used a special marker to CAREFULLY color the edges of each strip, from the back to avoid getting ink on the surface. This worked great, so when the seams butted together, no white showed (last photo), nor was there a noticeable ridge or difference in thickness at the seams, which often happens with thick non-woven papers. I am very happy with the way these seams turned out.

I hung this wallpaper in a dining room of a nicely updated 1964 ranch style home of a young family in the Meyerland area of Houston. This wallpaper 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.