Posts Tagged ‘panels’

Really Cool Ombre Mural in Montrose Powder Room

October 17, 2020

The furnishings in this home are traditional, so I was surprised when the homeowners chose this ombre (shaded, graduated, faded) pattern for their powder room. I have to say, it turned out fantastic!

This innovative look is a mural, packed as two 36″ wide panels per “roll.” It took seven panels (four rolls) to do this very small powder room.

Each panel is 8′ high. Like most newer homes, this townhouse has 9′ high ceilings. So, to shorten the wall height, the homeowners decided to add a very short wainscoting at the bottom of the wall, topping it off with a strip of decorative chair rail molding. The deep navy color works perfectly with the tones in the mural, as well as the graduated saturation effect. I like it better than having the design come all the way to the floor.

The homeowners said it was near Divorce Court, with both of them squeezing into this 3′ x 6′ space (and toss in a toilet), trying to measure and hammer and paint and agree on install steps.

They were wise enough to not tackle hanging the wallpaper themselves. 🙂

Back to the wallpaper. This is by Brewster, in their A Street Prints line. It is a non-woven material, and can be hung via the paste-the-wall method …. but I chose to paste the material, for more flexibility and for getting around obstacles like the vanity and toilet.

This wallpaper should strip off the wall easily when it’s time to redecorate. The mural was purchased from Southwestern Paint / Benjamin Moore near the Rice Village, but can also be bought on-line from various vendors, including Brewster’s own website.

Ahoy Matey! Fun Mural in Home Office

October 2, 2020


You’d think this mural went on the wall of a child’s room. But, no – it’s a focal wall in a home office. All the more fun because, due to COVID, the homeowners are working from home and spending a lot of time in here.

The product is by Murals Wallpaper. In the second photo, you see their instruction sheet. In the third photo, I have cut apart and rolled out all the panels on the floor, to check the pattern match to be sure of their proper placement, and to get accurate measurements.

It’s important that murals are ordered 4″ wider and taller than the wall’s exact dimensions, to accommodate for wonky walls and ceilings, and for trimming at the ceiling and baseboard and at the sides.

The next photo shows I have rolled the strips backwards and lined them up in the order they will be hung. This is a non-woven material, and I am installing via the paste-the-wall method. Rolling the strips backward ensures that the surface of the panel will not hit against the pasted wall.

This went up very nicely, and Murals Wallpaper is a good company to purchase murals. The murals can be custom-sized to your wall. (Remember to add those 4″!)

The other three walls are painted a complimentary medium-hued blue. This wall lightens the room – and adds some whimsey, too!

The home is in the Heights neighborhood of Houston.

1-Year Old Finally Gets Her Room Decorated

August 23, 2020

This family has been wrapped up in building a new home, moving in, and other hectic family tasks for many months. In the midst of that, the youngest member arrived – but there was never a chance to get her room all dolled up. Today that changed!

This is a 4-panel mural by Walmur. In one photo, you see how I have laid the panels out on the floor, to check the pattern match, sequence, measurements, and, because the mural is a foot+ too high for the wall, to determine which areas to cut off. Because there wasn’t much going on at the top other than plain sky, but a lot more interesting elements along the bottom, I took about 12″ off the top, and only about 1.5″ off the bottom. To preserve the dragonfly on the right edge, I placed the mural so that the excess 5″ width was trimmed off the left side.

The panels were 39″ wide, which was a bit difficult for short stuff me to handle. It was a non-woven material, and I hung it using the paste-the-wall method. I was not real crazy about the quality of this product (see tomorrow’s post). But once it was up on the wall, it looks great.

The room is all ready for the little girl to move into.

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.

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.

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.

Balancing Grasscloth Panels

January 18, 2020


Because grasscloth does not have a pattern that can be matched, the seams are always visible. And, due to the characteristics of natural materials, the strips will have color variations within themselves. This means that you will distinctly see each individual panel on the wall.

Because each panel is noticeable, walls usually look better if each panel is the same width. In other words, on a wall 14′ wide, it looks better to have five strips that are each 33.5″ wide, rather than four strips that are 3′ wide and one that is 2.’

In addition, grasscloth invariably comes with edges that have been abraded during shipping. On top of that, it’s common to have color issues at the edges – either a light band, or a dark band, or irregular bands of shading along the edges.

For that reason, many paperhangers trim the edges off both sides of each strip of grasscloth. This allows the installer to trim the width to fit the wall’s dimensions, it gets rid of most of the damage caused by shipping and handling, and it reduces the shading that the manufacturer’s dye process may have left along the edges.

If you study the photo closely, you will see that all these panels are the same width.

And, while some jagged color variations do appear along some of the edges, it is not pronounced, as the darkest areas have been trimmed off.

There is still a color difference between the three strips on the right and the four strips on the left – but that is just the nature of grasscloth and its manufacturing process

As you can imagine, all this measuring and plotting and trimming takes extra time. If you’re like me and like math and geometry and logistics, hanging grasscloth can be a whole lot of fun!

Peek-a-Boo Bear for New Baby Girl’s Nursery

December 3, 2019

This design is called “Surprise.” Once I got it up on the wall, I realized why – there are only two of the cute bears, and they pop out unexpectedly from behind random fan motifs. This is the wall where the crib will be placed, and the bears will cradle it nicely, while peeping down once in a while to keep an eye on the little one.

This is a good example of why you should see your pattern choices in a room-set photo, before ordering. The mother-to-be had seen a portion of the design on the company’s website, and they also sent her a 6″ x 8″ sample. Both of these led her to believe that the bears were more predominant in the design.

Another thing to note … The 6″ x 8″ sample had a much smaller scale of “fans” and bear faces than what the homeowner received. This is because the mural is custom digitally printed to order to fit the dimensions of the specific wall / room where it will hang. So stretching the pattern to fill a full wall enlarged both the fans and the faces.

Another opportunity for me to get on my soapbox … Always have the paperhanger measure and figure what size to have the mural printed, BEFORE you order. And remember to add 2″ to EACH side of the mural, to accommodate trimming and un-level ceilings / un-plumb walls.

This company normally does add a little “bleed” area. But only about one inch – to be divided between two sides. This one-half inch at the top would not have been adequate to accommodate the un-level ceiling line in this room. Good thing I advised the homeowner to add 2″ to each side.

Even so, I had to deal with the mural the way it was printed. If this had been regular wallpaper, I would have pulled the design up to where the top of the fans met with the crown molding. But the manufacturer did not place the pattern on the panels to where I could do that, so I had to drop it a little below the crown molding.

This probably worked out for the best, because the ceiling line was not level. If I had placed the fans at the top of an unlevel ceiling, they would have worked their way off-track and you would see a sloping motif line at the top of the wall.

Since the tops of the fans had to be dropped down a little, now you see a vertical column instead of a fan top. You don’t notice a small fluctuation in the height of the column, as you would if the fan tops didn’t hit the crown molding at the same spot all across the wall.

On to more simple concepts …

This product came rolled up as one long piece, which I cut into eight individual panels, each having been printed to fit the dimensions of the wall. I spread those out on the floor of the empty room, to be sure each panel matched correctly to the next one, and to get a grasp on how the pattern would span out across the wall.

After measuring the wall and the panels, I plotted where I would place my first strip. MuralsWallpaper prints on a non-woven substrate, which can be hung using the paste-the-wall method. For one accent wall with no fancy turns or cuts, this is an ideal installation method.

To keep the surface of the paper from bopping into the pasted wall, I roll each strip backwards, with the top coming off the roll first, and secure with a Dollar Store hairband. See photo.

After the wall has been pasted (taking care to use a brush to cut paste in to the edges and corners), when I am up on the ladder, I remove the hairband and let the paper unfurl. You have to take care while positioning the strip to not allow the edges to come in contact with the paste on the wall, as this could cause dark edges or staining.

This mural by MuralsWallpaper.com went up very nicely. The finished wall looked super. It is ready to welcome the newest member of the family!

I stay pretty booked up with work, and originally wasn’t able to get this room done before the baby came. But I had a schedule change, and was able to move this job up, so the young family could get their nursery decorated in plenty of time for the baby.

I’ll bet they spend tomorrow assembling the crib and arranging other accessories for the room!

“Etched” Foresty Look in a Baby’s Nursery

September 22, 2019


This “Bellwood” mural by Rebel Walls is very similar to the “Etched Arcadia” mural by Anthropologie (do a Search here to see my previous installations). Either way, this is a wonderful idea for a nursery, and a cool alternative to the usual pink flowers or dinosaurs that many parents choose.

This mom-to-be was originally uncertain about papering the 3-walled alcove (which will house the changing table) (see third and fourth photos), because someone planted the idea that it would get soiled quickly. I’m glad I convinced her to take the plunge – the room really does look better with both the accent (crib) wall papered, and the changing table nook.

This product is a mural, and came in panels that had to be hung sequentially (as opposed to regular wallpaper with a repeating pattern). No photos of the plotting involved, but you have to roll the panels out on the floor to ensure the correct sequence. I made sure to center the low part of the pattern around the changing table, so the high part of the trees cradled it on either side of the niche. I really like the way this turned out.

Additional plotting was required to plan the area over the door and then the 1 1/2″ wide space to the left of it (not shown). All this measuring and plotting has to be done before the homeowner orders a custom-sized mural like this. Another reason to have the paperhanger see the room BEFORE you order your paper.

This paper is a non-woven material, and has a high fiberglass content. That makes it easy to remove when it’s time to redecorate, but it also makes it easy to clean in the case of accidents.

So this mom should go on to change diapers with confidence, all the while enjoying the unique look of her baby’s nursery.

This home is in the Garden Oaks neighborhood of Houston.

The textured walls were smoothed by the painting company, CertaPro. Usually I insist on doing my own prep, but it worked for the homeowner to have the paint crew get the messy smoothing part out of the way. AND … I know the CertaPro guys, and I knew I could trust them to do a good job. And they did. All I had to do was apply a wallpaper primer, and then hang the paper.

Jungle Paneled Installation, Italian Product, for a Nursery

June 22, 2019


The top photo shows a sample panel of the wallpaper taped to the wall of the nursery. You can see the sharply sloping ceiling line to the right.

The mother-to-be fell in love with the jungle theme and the colors of this paper. She bought it on-line from an Italian company. Unlike most wallpapers that come in rolls, this product came in sets of panels, each of which was 27″ wide x 39″ long. In the second photo, you see the first three tiered along the left, and the next two strips positioned to the right. Other panels will be filled in above and below, and to the right.

Precious little information was available on how to install this product … and what there was came in Italienglish, which was little help. There was a brief on-line video, plus you could read the experiences of previous DIY clients in the customer reviews section. In such cases, you have to use the scant available information, along with your own experience, to decern an install method.

Turns out, this is similar to the old-school paper murals that come in panels and call for powdered paste. Except this company did not include paste (as most do), nor were the panels meant to be overlapped.

Luckily, I have sources for wheat, cellulose, potato starch, and other powdered wallpaper adhesives. These are mixed up on-site, are less aggressive as far as stickiness goes, and are more wet than the pre-mixed pastes used for most installations today.

More wetness, along with the particular type of paper these murals are printed on, means that the paper will absorb more moisture and can expand substantially. This is why most of these types of murals are designed to be overlapped at the seams. The seams of this product, however, were meant to be butted … which means that when that paper dries, it could shrink, and that could result in gaps at the seams.

Because the mural came in panels instead of continuous strips, the edges of the strips could not be lined up exactly perfectly, neither vertically nor horizontally. And this was exacerbated because each panel absorbed paste and expanded differently from the others, so there could be a difference in width or height between panels of as much as 1/8″.

This meant that there were some pattern mis-matches between strips. It also resulted in some seams overlapping. I left before the paper was completely dry, but I imagine there are areas where the some seams gap, too.

But I tend to overthink things, and fret about minute details that most people never see. The bottom line is, the accent wall looks fantastic, and will set a theme for the new baby’s room.

Note that this paper gets really wet when it’s pasted, and so you see a bit of blotchiness in the photos. This will disappear and the paper will be much lighter and brighter when it’s all good and dry.

The product is also not really technically a “mural.” But it comes in panels like many murals do, so I’m using that term for simplicity’s sake.

Besides the special paste, because this product was printed on a rather flimsy paper, I used a softer brush to apply the paste (as opposed to a roller), and I used a soft, long-bristled smoothing brush.
The video showed the guy using his hands to attempt to smooth the paper into place. If you looked closely, his finished wall had a lot of bubbles and wrinkles. My long soft smoothing brush was much more appropriate.