Posts Tagged ‘mural’

Bringing Back The Bird

August 6, 2020


Re my previous post, where I explain why to add 2″ to EACH side of EACH dimension (height and width) of the wall when measuring for a mural (for a total of 4″ to both height and width),,, thus when the mural is installed, there will be 2″ or more of excess paper trimmed off and discarded from each side.

Usually, the manufacturer leaves a good bit of space around all sides that has no important pattern or motifs, so you are not losing anything special when this excess paper is trimmed off.

But this mural had a part of a bird flying in from the left edge. And he was going to be completely cut off and thrown into the trash.

I thought it would look better if the mural included this arriving feathered friend.

So I took the strip of wallpaper that had been trimmed off from the left side of the mural, and cut around his figure, pasted the back side, and appliquéd him to the upper left edge of the mural – right where the artists planned to have him be.

Gorgeous Chinoiserie Mural in West Houston “Cocktail Room”

August 5, 2020


Here is a much more economical take on the hand-painted silk Chinoiserie or Oriental murals crafted in China that can cost $1000-$2000 per panel (this accent wall required 10 panels).

This digitally-printed mural is made in Sweden on easy-to-install Non-Woven material, and was sized to fit the wall with no major measuring gymnastics required. No color differences between panels, as with real silk products. Close-up photos show the detail work that mimics silk material and hand-painted fowl and foliage…. Just as nice as the $$$ cousin.

But this entire mural cost only about $600. (plus labor to install)

The finished wall, seen from a distance through the entry and dining room is jaw-dropping.

The family intends to use this as a “cocktail room,” with svelte custom-made tables and sink-into lounging chairs. I sure hope they send me a picture of the finished room!

I skim-floated the wall to smooth it, and the top photo shows my fans working to dry the smoothing compound.

Another photo shows the strips cut from the bolt, collated, and rolled backwards to both reduce “memory” (the inclination of the material to stay curled up) and to prevent the surface from bopping into the paste on the wall.

To hang this wallpaper, I use the paste-the-wall method.

An important thing to note is that, when measuring to order a mural, measure your wall’s height and width accurately, and then ADD TWO INCHES TO EACH SIDE. In other words, add 4″ to the height and 4″ to the width. This will allow for trimming at floor and ceiling and either side, and will help accommodate crooked or unlevel / unplumb walls and ceilings.

The homeowner wanted the serene feel of this muted colorway, but this mural is available in other colors, too. The home is in the Energy Corridor area of West Houston. The manufacturer is Rebel Walls. I have hung their paper a good number of times, and like it a lot.

Dramatic Artemis Black Floral Completely Changes Dining Room

July 26, 2020


Like many newish suburban houses, this Clear Lake (south of Houston) home is all pretty much a homogeneous light tan – every wall, every room. This is the homeowners’ first venture into wallpaper – and, boy, did they make the right move!

This salad plate-scaled, brightly colored floral design on a black background amplifies this dining room accent wall many times! The pattern comes in other colorways, but none of those would have the impact of this black version.

The wall was textured, so I had to skim-float it and sand that smooth, then apply a primer. In the photo, you see where I have striped dark paint under where the seams will fall, to prevent the white primer from peeking through. I also used black chalk (see photo) to color the edges of the paper, to prevent the white substrate from showing.

This wallpaper pattern is a multiple / quarter-drop pattern match, which is very complicated to plot and lay out. The House of Hackney company made it easy, by providing this material in a 4-panel mural format. See photo

In one photo, you see the strips arranged in the order they will be hung on the wall. Before hanging, these will be re-rolled backwards, so the unprinted white backing side is facing outward.

This is a non-woven material, and I hung it using the paste-the-wall method. When I am on the ladder and unroll the strip and working to get it into position, having the paper rolled backward keeps the printed side from coming in contact with the paste on the wall.

Non-woven wallpapers have a high fiberglass content, and do not expand when wet with paste, nor do they shrink when drying, so less chance of gaps appearing at the seams, and also you can get accurate measurements that won’t change. The fiber content also ensures that the wallpaper “should” strip off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate.

A few short hours after I left, the homeowners sent me some “finished” photos. I wish I were more tech savvy and knew how to get photos off of text and into this post, so I could show you the gorgeous room. But for now, you’ll just have to use your mind’s eye.

Bringing Indonesia to Houston

July 3, 2020


“Sumatra” by the House of Hackney (a British company) includes images of historic or important buildings and monuments in Indonesia, as well as native flora and animals. Note the monkeys and tigers.

This product comes as a 4-panel set, much like a mural. Essentially, the design is a multiple-drop pattern repeat. Which are really mind-boggling to work with. But since the manufacturer set this up as a 4-panel mural, they took the confusion and math and head-scratching out of the equation.

The powder room required 13 panels, so four 4-panel sets were required. Only one panel of the fourth set was needed to finish the room (Panel 13).

BUT – I was glad we had the additional paper. … I used two of the “extra” panels from that fourth set to achieve perfect pattern matches in the two corners. (Too complicated to explain here – but the point is, always buy a little extra paper.)

The material is a non-woven, same as yesterday (same home). But today, instead of the paste-the-wall method of installation, I opted to paste the paper. This works better in more complicated rooms, and rooms with difficult access areas, such as behind the toilet.

The home is a new, contemporary build in the Montrose neighborhood of central Houston.

This wallpaper pattern is by House of Hackney, and 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.

Gucci Wallpaper Mural

June 27, 2020


A striking, impactful mural by Gucci. This is placed in the center of an accent wall, and will fit perfectly behind a display / altar in a private home.

The mural comes in a 2-panel set, and two sets were purchased. To fit the space, this installation used three panels (so one panel was not used.) I like the way the tall birds fit perfectly in the center of the scene.

The homeowner will add a wooden frame to the right and left sides of the wallpaper mural, for a more finished look. I’m voting to paint the frame a dusty red.

The mural came sized to fit about a 12′ high wall. This home’s ceiling was less than 8′ high, so much of the top area was cut off and discarded. The manufacturer allowed for this, because the top area contained only sky and a few dragon flies; the important birds were intact at the bottom.

The mural is printed on a standard non-woven material, and was easy to hang using the paste-the-wall method. It was a tad tricky to match and measure, because the pattern started at the floor, instead of the ceiling like most papers do.

Here you are definitely paying for the brand name … each 2-panel set covered a width of 54″, and cost ~ $400 each.

Definitely worth it, because it perfectly fits the homeowner’s space and use.

The home is in the Energy Corridor area of west Houston.

Dramatic Black Floral Wallpaper in Powder Room

June 7, 2020


This powder room in a newly-purchased 1987 home in the West University Place neighborhood of Houston came with the black toilet, black sink, black granite, dark floor, and medium-toned wooden vanity. The homeowner wanted something dramatically dark, but didn’t want to overwhelm the room with too much deepness.

As soon as she saw this “Artemis” pattern by House of Hackney, she was smitten! Turns out it was the perfect choice.

This black backgrounded wallpaper with a swirling red, orange, and blue floral pattern coordinates nicely with the black fixtures, and fills the walls with color and movement – all without feeling closed in at all.

Interestingly enough, I have another couple using this same pattern and colorway, later this month.

The substrate is a non-woven material, and can be hung with the paste-the-wall method. I chose to paste the paper instead, which makes more sense in a chopped-up room like a bathroom.

The pattern is a quarter-drop match. Which is a WHOLE lot more complicated than a typical straight or half drop match. And it can eat up a lot of paper, too, in getting the pattern match correct.

This manufacturer made it much simpler, though, by providing this product as a 4-panel mural. Each 4-panel set makes up one quarter-drop pattern match.

A 4-panel set matches up to a subsequent 4-panel set, so you can place the murals side-by-side and wrap them around a whole room. This powder room took 5 sets. That fifth set was needed just for two and a half 5″ high strips up over the door. In other words, it took three 18″ wide x 10′ long strips (45 square feet) to match the pattern and cover about 20 square inches of wall space.

Disguising a Bowed Wall

June 6, 2020


The right edge of this wallpaper was plotted to butt up against the outside corner of this wall. Only problem is – the wall was curved or bowed or whatever you want to call it – either way, it ended up with a sliver not covered by the wallpaper.

This was a mural, where each panel has its own individual design … so there was no piece of excess paper with a repetitive pattern to match up a patch.

No biggie … It’s a busy enough pattern and a non-prominent location (read: near the floor, behind a piece of furniture), so that a minor patter mis-match would not be noticed.

I took the scrap of paper that I had trimmed off at the baseboard and then used a straightedge and razor blade to cut a wedge-shaped piece that I used to fill in the narrow area.

Voilà!

Not So Turbulent Storm Clouds in a Newborn’s Nursery

May 31, 2020


I’ve hung this pattern before, but in the more typical black-on-white colorway (do a Search here to see pics). This version, with blue ebbing to red, is softer and nicely suited to a baby’s nursery accent wall. The little guy was born just two days before this mural went up!

The design has a sort of scratchy pen & ink look that you only notice when you get close.

This product is not wallpaper with the typical repeating pattern, but a mural. Each bolt contains four strips, which combine to 9′ wide x almost 10′ high.

In the last photo, you see how the manufacturer has provided a mock-up of how the strips look and how they should be placed, as well as a picture of the overall design.

This wall required one 9′ wide 4-panel set, as well as two additional strips from a second 4-panel set.

The wall height was less than 8′, so more than 2′ of the height had to be cut off and discarded. The mother wanted to see both blue and red colors. So the grandmother (Mom was still in the hospital) and I rolled everything out on the floor to accurately compare the height of the wall with the length of the panels, and then determine how much to cut off from the top and from the bottom.

I tweaked the placement a little more, because I wanted to include as much of the clouds on the top far right side as possible, while still keeping a good amount of red at the bottom.

The pattern is called NUVOLE AL TRAMONTO in DUSK/PINK, and is by Cole & Son, a British company. It is printed on a non-woven substrate, which has a high fiberglass content, and is designed to strip off the wall easily when it’s time to redecorate.

N-W’s also don’t expand when they get wet with paste, which allows for accurate measurements. Also, it requires no booking time, so it enables you to use the paste-the-wall method – which is what I did today. No need to drag in my big loppy pasting table. 🙂

This wallpaper 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.

The home is in the West University neighborhood of Houston.

Cloud Mural in Baby Girl’s Nursery

May 8, 2020


Want a room that will suit a child of either gender, and also grow with him/her into the teen years? This “Nuage” cloud mural by Anewall (A New Wall) checks off all the boxes!

This mural was not custom-sized, but came in pre-set dimensions. The product came in six strips, and the overall size was a bit taller and wider than the wall. In the third photo, I am laying out all the strips on the floor. This is very important, because you want to be sure you are grabbing strips in the correct order before you paste them to the wall.

Also, laying out the mural on the floor enabled me to see the whole design, so I could decide how much of the excess to cut off at the top and bottom. And I could also determine where the center was (break in the clouds), so I could position it where the parents would be placing the baby’s crib against the wall.

The material was pre-pasted, so I didn’t need to lug in my big table and pasting equipment. The paste is already on the back of the paper, and is activated by water. Some people spray the back with a squirt bottle. But I find this messy and sporadic. I prefer the old-fashioned water tray method. It’s quick, easy, and gives the most uniform water coverage.

In the fourth photo, you see my plastic dropcloth protecting the floor, two towels on top of that to absorb water splashes, and then my green water tray. Each rolled-up strip will be placed in the tray, and then unrolled and pulled out on top of the towels. This exposes the paste to water, which activates it. Then each strip is folded pasted-side-to-pasted-side (booked), and set aside to absorb the water/activate the paste/expand/relax.

In the next shot, I have aimed the red line of my laser level along the center of the wall. I am hanging my first strip, butted up against the red line. On we go, until the wall is covered with clouds!

In the close-up, you see that the design has a sort of tufted “quilty” look to it.

HOWEVER, I did experience some excessive vertical expansion / stretching between some of the strips. This means that some strips became wet with water and expanded more than others. And that means that the pattern on some strips did not match up perfectly with the previous strip. The protocol is that you match the pattern at eye-level, and then as the paper moves up and down the wall, the pattern will fall out of match.

The good thing is that this pattern is so scratchy and “quilty” that the eye will never notice a 1/8″ or even 1/4″ mis-match, especially not from a distance. With a more precise and visible pattern, this would be an issue.

This home is relatively new, and is in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston.

Faces in Unexpected Places

January 26, 2020

How’s this for something no one else is gonna have?! The homeowner of this Galleria-area home in Houston is a big-personality gal, recently divorced, and she wants her new home to reflect who she is. Everything in the house that could have glitter, shimmer, mirror, or glitz does – including the dog bed and the kitchen backsplash.

This wallpaper in the adjoining powder room (with a huge crystal chandelier!) fits right in with that new life.

This is a sort of mural, composed of rectangular panels about 3′ wide x 2′ high. It was bought on-line, and came with no information or installation instructions.

It was a paper substrate, and was meant to be butted at the seams, as opposed to overlapped, as many mural panels are. After experimenting, I found that a powdered wheat or cellulose paste hydrated the paper best, and that a little of my traditional wallpaper paste added to the mix helped hold the paper tightly to the wall and minimize shrinkage as the panels dried.

The paper curled badly when it was wet with the paste (see third photo), which made it difficult to paste it, book it, and then get it to the wall.

It also expanded a lot when it got wet – almost an inch in each direction. Uneven expansion meant that it developed large wrinkles and warps that were difficult to remove.

In addition, the walls were bowed and uneven in the corners, the walls were not plumb, the ceiling was not level, the crown molding was at different heights on different walls, and we didn’t have a lot of paper to play with.

It took a lot of work to keep the pattern matched as well as possible in the corners, to keep the pattern running at the right point below the crown molding, to eliminate the aforementioned wrinkles, to butt the panels, to minimize white showing at the seams due to the panels drying and shrinking, the paper getting saturated and tearing or dragging when I tried to trim it, and lots more challenges.

All this could have been easier if the manufacturer had chosen a better substrate to print on. But – well, hey, we’ve got a digital printer, so let’s just dig up some paper stock, print cool designs on it, and market it as wallpaper.

Actually, this material worked out pretty well in this small powder room. But I would not want to paper a large, wide wall with it.

Most companies who make murals like this, on this type of thin paper substrate, allow for the edges to be overlapped about 3/8″ at each seam. This allows the installer to make adjustments for wonky walls and ceilings, and it eliminates the gapping at seams as paper dries and shrinks. It does, however, leave a ridge along each seam where the edges are overlapped.

Overall, though, I was not unhappy with this product in this room. And working out all the challenges was mighty fun. I was glad to have a nice, quiet, empty house to do all this in. All in all, this medium-sized powder room that I had prepped the weekend before, took me nine hours to hang.