Posts Tagged ‘new orleans’

The Big Easy On The Walls

March 5, 2022
West wall smoothed, primed, and ready for wallpaper.
The homeowner used to live in New Orleans, and she tells me that signs like this are very common in local convenience stores and neighborhood dives. Transplanted to Houston, these signs are very dear to her heart as a reminder of her roots – and the funky lifestyle in the Big Easy.
She wanted the signs recreated somehow to cover the walls in their newly-renovated powder room in the Houston Heights. I suggested she contact rebelwalls.com , who custom made the paper and sized it specifically to fit each wall in the room individually. I measured and made drawings, and a designer named Simon at RebelWalls laid it all out.
North wall before. This is the wall with the toilet and sink.
There were a couple of glitches, the first being that the strips were printed about 10″ longer than I requested. No biggie – I’d rather have too much paper than come up short.
But the main glitch being that I had asked for this “sign” to be centered over the toilet, which meant that the center of the sign (I used the middle fleur-de-lis) would land at 17.5″ from the wall to the left. But somehow it got printed to where the left edge of the pattern was 17.5″ from the wall … That left a whole lot of white space between the wall and the design, and also pushed the words too close to the mirror, which will hang over the sink to the right.
After careful measuring, calculating, and testing, I determined that if I used my straightedge and razor blade to take off a 12″ wide slice from the left side, the “sign” would move to the left such that its center would fall over the mid-point of the toilet.
Voilà! As you see in the photo, now the words are nicely balanced on this section of wall, and will not crowd the mirror which will be hung to the right.
The rest of the wallpaper moving to the right is unprinted, so as to leave a blank slate for the mirror to hang on. Here you see that wall, and also the wall to its right. This east wall has the same sign, but in a smaller scale, sized to fit the narrower wall. It’s also placed at a different height
Graphic designer Simon used my drawings and measurements to get the words nicely centered on this wall. The area above the door to the right (not visible) is left blank.
Here is the west wall (on the right) abutting the south / window wall.
The bull-nosed / rounded edges / corners such as you see around the window are really a pain with wallpaper, especially when they go both around the sides and the top, and can lead to some impossibilities. Too complicated to get into here. But I was pleased with the way this worked out. And the placement of the pleated shades toward the front of the opening helped a lot, too.
One interesting thing to note is that the thickness of this non-woven wallcovering (along with the joint compound I used to smooth the textured wall) is enough that it narrows the space inside the window just a tad,,, and that makes it a bit tight for the shades to fit back in,,, and that opens the potential for abrading the wallpaper as the shade is raised and lowered over time.
Another point … even though the widths of the wall spaces to be covered were different, we requested that the size of the font on the “sign” lettering be the same on the west wall and the north / mirror wall, and ditto for the window wall and the door wall.
I also made sure that the “signs” started at the same distance from the ceiling. This then ensured that each “sign” would land at the same distance from the tile below it.
Synchronizing the size of the fonts as well as the spacing between ceiling and tile helps immensely to lend a feeling of unity and order to this room.
I spent a full 2 1/2 hours plotting, measuring, testing mock-ups, and going back to the drawing board, before I ever cut any paper.
Prior to that, there were two visits to the home to get measurements and kick around options with the homeowner. In addition, she spent countless communications with the manufacturer and with our specific designer.
All this futzing is important, because, with murals, there is no second chance. There’s only one of each panel, and if one gets screwed up, there are no more to pull off the bolt, like you’d have with regular rolled goods.
RebelWalls is the manufacturer. I’ve had lots of great installs with this company.
What was inside our box, including Simon’s dimensions and lay-out.
Basic installation instructions. Ours was a bit – a whole lot – more complicated, because it covered not one but four walls. In our case, it worked best to have each wall be a separate mural, so to speak.
RebelWalls includes free wallpaper paste. I prefer to use my own pre-mixed vinyl adhesive, which is SureStik Dynomite 780. Recently bought by Roman, so the name has changed to just 780.
Certain pastes have been known to ” stain ” non-woven wallpapers (areas look wet but never dry out). I think that a high moisture content in the paste has a lot to do with this. So I’m hesitant to use a powdered paste that needs to be mixed with water.
I’ll squirrel away that RebelWalls powdered paste for another, better suited job. For this home’s install, I’m sticking with my tried and true 780.
A coupla more notes.
One, this project was a study in vision, desire, anticipation, and patience. The homeowner first contacted me in July 2021. It took nearly eight months to come to fruition. Granted, they had a whole kitchen remodel in the middle, which also included an update to this powder room. But just speaking for the wallpaper, there were several site visits, many emails, and then innumerable communications with the design team at RW.
In fact, since I’ve hung lots of RebelWalls and am familiar with their process, I thought I could lay out the design. But this project of separate “sign” motifs for each wall section was taxing my skill set. Finally I laid down my pencil and paper and said, “Stop doing what you yell at your clients for doing, which is trying to do something you don’t have expertise in! RebelWalls has designers who are trained to figure all this out. So let THEM do the math and placement and calculating and layout.” So we turned it over to them, and within a short time they had it all worked out perfectly (except for those few glitches I mentioned). Their customer service was amazing.
All this was crucial to ensuring that mural pieces fit the wall perfectly and that the final product looks stunning.
I also want to mention that the RebelWalls quality is excellent. It’s a non-woven material which has many advantages (too numerous to go into here, but you can Search). The seams melt together like butter and are invisible – even on areas with all that bare white space with no pattern. On a simple accent wall, you can paste-the-wall to hang it. In this (and most) cases, I pasted-the-material, which gives more flexibility and also ensures that paste gets into hard-to-reach areas – like behind a toilet.
In addition, the non-woven material is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when you redecorate.
The company offers scores of patterns, from cute to sophisticated, and, as we did this time around, can make custom creations.
Super customer service, too.

lottery , money order , checks cashed , household supplies

William Morris-Like Design in Woodlands Powder Room

December 5, 2021
Before. Hurricane Ida (October 2021) took their New Orleans home and everything in it, so the homeowner relocated to a north Houston suburb to be closer to family and college friends. The home is brand new, and has grey-tan walls. While the homeowner “grows” into the house, acquires furnishings, and figures out her decorating approach, she wanted at least one room prettied up.
She fell in love with this wallpaper pattern, and decided the powder room was the best place to showcase it.
Pattern centered on the sink / faucet and light fixture. It will look symmetrical and super nice when the mirror is hung.
William Morris innovated designs like this back in the 1860’s, and started the Art Nouveau and Arts & Craft movements, which carried on into the early 1900’s. I’ve hung a lot of patterns by him, and similar, in recent years, indicating an increased interest in this gorgeous, fluid, nature -centric style.
The paper has a velvety feel, and the seams were invisible. It’s non-woven material, which is very strong and designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when you redecorate. It’s fairly water-resistant and somewhat more stain-resistant than more traditional wallpaper substrates.
Apelviken by Midbec is a Scandinavian manufacturer. Yeah…. the instructions on the flip side were a lot of fun to read through!
Interestingly, the labels listed the sequence in which the bolts were printed. Note that not all the bolts were in proper sequence. With a machine-printed product, sequence isn’t all that important because the color will print out very evenly.

The homeowner loved the new look, and said that having this one room decorated with some color and personality helped a lot to make the new house feel like a home. After the trauma she went through in recent months, it was an honor to help her new home become warm and welcoming.

Funky New Orleans Toile in Inner Loop Houston Powder Room

November 13, 2020

 

The wife grew up in New Orleans and these days she and her husband visit family there regularly.  So the city and it’s vibe is ingrained in them.  

Enter “New Orleans Toile” in a bright green on white colorway by Katie Kime wallpaper.   The design features ionic images of life in that city, including the St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square, Mardi Gras revelers, a second line parade, a paddle-wheeler on the Missippi River, live oak trees draped with Spanish moss, and even alligators in the bayou.  

Once the homogeneous sea-foam green paint gave way to this bright wallpaper, the room lightened up and felt festive.  When the homeowners walked in, the first thing they did was study the line-drawing depictions.  I could tell that they related to the scenes.

Katie Kime products are becoming more user-friendly.  As in the past, this particular product came with a selvage edge that I had to trim off by hand.  But their intel says that the company has shifted to pre-trimmed wallpapers.  This makes installation much simpler and faster, and more DIY-friendly.

KK also has shifted to a non-woven substrate for their wallpaper.  While I do like the traditional paper substrate, there are many advantages to the newer non-woven materials.   For this room, I did use the paste-the-wall installation method.  

Watercolor Peony for a Little Girl’s Room

January 4, 2017

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Today, a lucky little girl got her room livened up with an accent wall covered with this cheery and colorful watercolor-look peony wallpaper. Her bed is white, and will look super placed smack in front of this pretty wallpaper. Besides the flowers and leaves, the pattern features little critters – the little girl particularly loves the blue butterflies.

This is a new home in the Westridge Creek section in the far west end of Cinco Ranch, out in Katy, a suburb of Houston. The wallpaper was bought through Anthropologie, a site that many of my clients love.

The paper is made by York, in the Shelley Hesse New Orleans collection, and is in the SureStrip line. I particularly like SureStrip, because it’s a thin paper that hugs the wall nicely, plus it is on a non-woven substrate that is made to strip off the wall easily and cleanly when it’s time to redecorate.

Freebie Gimme Comes in Handy

September 16, 2015

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I am just a few days back from the wallpaperhangers’ convention in New Orleans. (classes, demos, networking, product showcase, etc.) At our closing event, they gave out these little kits. I grabbed a few, intended for holiday stocking stuffers…. But mine has already come in handy… I used the tweezers to remove a splinter from the grasscloth I hung today. 🙂