Posts Tagged ‘museum district’

Overscaled Flocked Damask Wallpaper Pattern in a Living Room

April 1, 2017

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Originally, this living room accent wall in a home in the Museum District of Houston was painted a deep gold/brown, and was covered with a large number of framed art pieces. The first photo shows the wall after I have skim-floated it to smooth away the texture.

The wife wanted something updated and fun. She chose this taupe-on-silver extra large damask pattern with a flocked (raised velvet-like) surface. To top it all off, there are flecks of silver in the flocked material.

The new wallpaper really jazzed up the room. The family is very into the arts, and the wife was eager to put her paintings and photographs back up on the wall. But once the paper went up and sent waves of impact throughout the room, she hesitated.

I, personally, would rather see something large, like a huge mirror, framed in an almost-ridiculously carved and filigreed gold frame.

The paper is by Graham & Brown, and was a durable non-woven material, and entailed a paste-the-wall process; it was nice enough to work with. Seen from head-on, the wallpaper was dazzling. However, if you stood at an angle to the wall, you could see color differences between every strip.

I don’t think these are actually color differences, but rather differences in the nap of the flocked material. The look didn’t seem to bother the homeowners at all. They love the pattern, the texture, and the sassiness of the whole look.

Me, I am busy cleaning up little specks of silver dust from all my tools, drop cloths, work table – everything is permeated with them.

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Jungle View With Vaulted Ceilings

February 11, 2017
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The ceiling of this home office on the third floor of a newish home in the Rice University / Museum District of Houston has some interesting angles and spaces. But there is no window in the room. The homeowner thought the space was stark and claustrophobic. So she came up with the idea to open up the space with a verdant foliage pattern.

The palm leaf paper went on the two large angled spaces over where the desk / computer will sit. Then a companion paper was chosen for the two smaller angled areas flanking the desk area.

I love using two coordinating papers in one space. And the green leaves really do open up the space, and bring a bit of the outdoors in.

Angled spaces like this eat up a lot of paper, so plan for a lot of waste.

Both these wallpaper patterns are by Designer Wallpapers, and were 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.

Silvery Pearlized Faux Bois in a Very Complicated Powder Room

February 10, 2017
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This under-the-stairs powder room has a LOT of challenges: angles, nooks, turns, and a pedestal sink, not to mention those odd “columns” running through the ceiling. The homeowner wanted all surfaces covered, so I suggested a non-directional pattern. This faux bois fills the bill, because it looks virtually the same right side up or upside down. She also likes the “faux bois” (fake wood) look, and really loves the shimmery, silvery, pearly sheen of the silver-on-white colors.

So the pattern suits the room, and the homeowner loves the color; unfortunately, the paper itself was a true test.

This wallpaper is one of the newer non-woven materials, and it is intended that the installer paste the wall, rather than paste the wallpaper. However, this paper is thick, stiff, unmalleable, and creases easily. All this works fine on a flat accent wall. But problems arise when you try to paste a thick, stiff, unmalleable, easily-creased paper onto the walls of a very complicated room.

What makes a room complicated? Corners, angles, steep angles, ceilings, light fixtures that cannot be removed, and weird “beams” that appear to serve no purpose other than to madden the paperhanger. Oh, and let’s not forget that pedestal sink. This 12 single roll powder room (6 bolts) took me 12 hours to hang.

This was a paste-the-wall material, but I found that pasting the paper instead made it more pliable and workable. Most strips required multiple relief cuts, so I could work the paper against fixtures and into corners without creasing it.

The first strip I attempted to hang was around the pedestal sink, and then moving into the corner to the right. The paper simply would not allow me to manipulate it into position, and the ensuing struggle resulted in creases, cuts, blemishes, gaps at the seams, and all sorts of unacceptable results.

So I ripped that strip off and started over.

To get around the sink with minimal relief cuts or stress on the paper, I trimmed the strips vertically, to cut them into two narrower, more manageable sections. All other handling was done slowly and carefully, to put as little stress on the paper as possible, and to minimize the potential of creasing. It was still difficult to fold the paper into corners and trim.

Matching the pattern was difficult, because the silvery sheen of the ink combined with sun coming in through the windows and harsh lighting in the powder room made it virtually impossible to see any part of the pattern, much less match one jagged bit of tree bark on the wall to it’s counterpart going onto the ceiling.

The “beams” built into the ceiling, and the recessed areas behind them, were very difficult, too. The stiff paper didn’t want to bend around or stick to the slightly un-straight edges. Wrapping certain areas with wallpaper meant that other adjoining areas could not be covered with the same strip, so they had to be patched in – difficult to explain, but trust me, it was tedious, time-consuming, and took a lot of plotting and planning before any approach could be begun. Oh, and wrestling with cantankerous bull-nosed edges around the door.

In the end, the room looks great. The few mismatched areas and other imperfections just blend in with the wild pattern and shiny ink, so you don’t even notice them.

Next time, though, I will encourage the homeowner to get not only non-directional pattern, but a paper that is thin and pliable.

I hung this in the powder room of a newish home in the Museum District / Rice University area of Houston. This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, in the Anna French line, is called “Surrey Woods,” and 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.

Shiny, Orange, Woven Grasscloth in an Entryway

February 9, 2017
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Here is a large art niche in an entry in a newish home in the Rice University / Museum District area of Houston. The homeowner was originally considering wallpaper for her powder room and office, but when I suggested papering this niche, she quickly agreed, seeing how it would bring color and life to the home’s entryway.

This woven grasscloth is a different take on the traditional grass product with horizontal reeds. It is also more uniform in color, with none of the shading and paneling and color variations between strips. And, because the backing appears to be a plastic material, instead of the typical paper, it has an appealing sheen.

The woven pattern hides the seams a little, but, as with all natural products like this, the pattern could not be matched at the seams, so all the seams show. After I did a little trimming and tweaking, the first seam looked pretty good. The second seam, however, looked good at the top of the wall, but started to show unpleasantly as it moved down toward the floor. This is because the grass fibers at the edge of the strip moved away from the edge, so there was a wider-than-the-eye-wants-to-see strip of orange at the edge. It showed up more in person, but you can kind of see it in one of the photos.

This is typical of grasscloth, and not considered a defect. However, since there were only two seams on this wall, the one seam that had wide spaces of orange was very obvious.

I needed three strips of paper for this 10′ high wall, and the two double rolls had already given me three. I had one 10′ strip left, which would be good to keep on hand in case of damage or repairs in the future. But I thought that a better looking seam would be more important than the possibility of replacing a strip years down the road. So I ripped off that third strip, and then I took the remaining paper and cut a new strip.

The reason the seam was visible was because too much orange was showing at the seam. It needed more of the vertical grass fiber. So I took my straightedge and trimmed the new strip of grasscloth to eliminate any orange, and to leave a vertical strip of the tan grass fiber along the entire edge. I worried that this strip of tan grass would be too wide when it butted up against the previous strip already on the wall, with its tan grass at its edge, by creating a double-width of tan grass fiber. But it ended up that the double width of tan grass was far less noticeable than the double width of orange, and the seam turned out nearly invisible. The last two photos show a distant and a close up shot.

All this fussing and futzing was called for because the wall had only three strips of grasscloth and only two seams, and because the first seam looked good, so the second seam had to look equally good. And because we had extra paper to get that extra strip out of.

But had this been a larger room with many seams, and without lots of extra paper to tear off the wall and replace with new, the homeowner would have had to live with very visible seams that showed extra widths of orange, or seams that showed double widths of tan grass fibers. If the whole room looked like this, the look would be uniform, and would not be offensive. It is what’s called, “The inherent beauty of the natural product.”

One other point about this particular product – There was a little bubbling as the paper dried. Since the material has the plasticized backing that gave the appealing sheen, that same plastic backing allows no where for air to dissipate to when the paper dries, so it “off gasses,” leaving bubbles under the paper. I was able to poke tiny holes to let the gas escape. But I prefer grasscloth that is sewn onto a traditional paper backing, because it “breathes” and allows moisture to pass through it, letting the material lie good and tight against the wall.

This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, and 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.

Subtle Damask in a Rice Village Powder Room

September 3, 2016

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A damask is a timeless design, and will never go out of style – even when it’s been jazzed up with a pearly shimmer.

I hung this in the powder room of a newish home that straddles the Houston neighborhoods of the Rice Village, Montrose, and the Museum District. The interior designer is Pamela O’Brien of Pamela Hope Designs. The wallpaper is by Designer Wallpapers, and was nice to work with.

The room itself presented some challenges, particularly the obtuse angles to the right of the sink, not to mention the un-plumb corners, wavy corners, and bowed walls.

I’m glad I had the designer order a little extra wallpaper, because I used three full strips and a whole lot of waste, to go around those two angled corners you see in the third photo. I needed the extra paper to make the pattern match in the corners as true as possible. We were lucky that this paper had a somewhat “scratchy” look, so a little mismatch would hardly be noticeable.

The pearlized finish also made it very difficult to see the design, or to be sure I had lined up the pattern match correctly.

Of course, that’s just what I fret about. Which other people never see. The homeowner loves the new powder room, and will spend the holiday weekend getting the mirror and artwork back up on the walls.

Which Do You Prefer … ??

October 28, 2015
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Which do you prefer – paint on the ceiling, or wallpaper on the ceiling?

Me, I’m not a fan of wallpaper on ceilings, especially when it’s dark, or busy, or in an enclosed space. I think it makes the ceiling feel low and closed-in. Yet, all those adjectives apply to this powder room, and once the paper went up, I have to admit, it looks pretty darned good!

This particular room has a sloped ceiling, due to its location under the stairs in this new home in the Museum District of Houston. With sloped ceilings, it’s 50-50 … Do you paper the slope or not? Is the slope part of the wall, or part of the ceiling? It’s a judgment call.

This wallpaper pattern is called “Shantung Silhouette,” by Schumacher, 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.

Difficult Day at Work Today

October 27, 2015
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Today, I papered the walls and ceiling of an under-the-stairs powder room in a new home in the Museum District of Houston. Shantung Silhouette is a beautifully pattern. It is printed on a non-woven substrate, which many wallpaper companies are moving toward. Unfortunately, Schumacher, the manufacturer, chose what has to be the worst possible option for it’s non-woven substrate.

It was extremely thick and stiff, and was a painn to work with, and which made it difficult to press against the ceiling or woodwork which made it hard to get a tight cut. It is unmalleable and could not be maneuvered into position. It dried out too fast, which left insufficient paste at the seams to hold the paper to the wall. It expanded (stretched horizontally on the wall), which non-wovens are not supposed to do, which caused pattern distortion in corners. And all the seams wired at points (“pouched,” or puckered – simply did not lie down flat).

Oh, and let’s not forget the typical problems with Schumacher, which are printing defects. Today, I had smudges on many of the monkeys (see photo). There were also hairs’ breadth areas on the edges of the paper that did not have ink. With a white paper, this would not be all that big of a deal, but with charcoal grey paper, you do definitely notice the areas void of dark ink.

Schumacher used to be a name that meant high-end and high quality. No more.

Daydreaming in a Baby’s Nursery Bathroom

October 23, 2015
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What a cheery bathroom, for a coming-tomorrow baby girl! This pattern is called “Daydream,” and is by Hygge & West, and can be bought on line.

The home is in the Museum District near downtown Houston.

Paint Not Adhering to Wall

October 22, 2015
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I am working this week in an expensive new home in the Museum District of Houston. The whole house was built with Green Board, which is supposed to be more resistant to water and moisture than the traditional grey drywall. It was then painted with one, or maybe two, coats of builder’s flat – which is an industry code word for pretty cheap paint, not to mention that no primer was used.

The homeowner used blue painter’s tape to post wallpaper samples. Well, when the samples and tape were removed, look at how the paint came right away with it! The problem for me is that I fear the surface may be unstable, and once the wallpaper is up, as the paper dries, it shrinks and puts tension (“torque”) on the surface below, and if the surface is unstable, it could cause the paint to lift away from the walls at the point of torque, which means all along the seams.

To try to prevent this by stabilizing the surface, instead of my usual wallpaper primer, I am priming the walls with two coats of Gardz, made by Zinsser. Gardz is cool stuff. It is thin and watery and takes some getting used to while applying it, because it wants to run and drip and slop all over the place. But that thinness is what is so good about it – it is designed to soak into porous surfaces, and then it dries quite hard and actually binds things together, and also is pretty impenetrable to water.

What I am hoping is that it will soak through the flat paint and bind it to the Green Board below, while at the same time creating a hard, intact surface for the wallpaper to adhere to. Because water can’t pass through it, I shouldn’t have to worry about moisture from the paste causing any swelling or reactivating of the paint or Green Board. Another benefit of Gardz is that it does all this while still being water-based, so it’s easy to clean up once you’re finished.

Beautiful Chinoiserie Compliments Tile and Marble Sink

May 24, 2015
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When I first consulted with this homeowner to measure the powder room, she had samples of two wallpapers she was considering, including this one but in a different color. She mentioned that she was concerned about the wallpaper colors coordinating with the marble vessel sink, the tile, and the vanity. Well, I didn’t think that either of her original choices looked good in her room.

So we thumbed through the book and found this Chinoiserie (Oriental themed pattern) which was one of her first choices, but in a different color. This version with soft aqua, tan, gold, and orange has just the right tones to accent the marble sink, as well as the reddish vanity and the tan tile. To make it better, in the adjoining room, she has a rusty orange sofa sitting in front of a pale aqua wall, so this wallpaper in the powder room helps pull both rooms together.

This wallpaper is by Thibaut Designs, one of my favorite manufacturers, Pattern #T-8604, “Ting Yuan,” and was bought at the Sherwin-Williams store on University in the Rice Village.  I hung it in the powder room of a newish home in the Museum District of Houston.