Posts Tagged ‘pasadena’

White Damask on Silver Cork as a Backdrop to Family Photos and 3-D Art

May 21, 2018


Here’s a follow-up photo to a space I did a few weeks ago. It’s always nice to see the finished room.

This family is all about its kids, a school-aged boy and girl, hence the block of family photos. They are also keen on their ethnic heritage, hence the African mask.

The wall the mask is hanging on is curved (see previous post), so it would not lend itself to traditional artwork. But because the mask is narrow, it sits nicely on the curved wall. The white color works perfectly with the printed white damask pattern, and the height of the piece makes it a dramatic statement in this large family room.

The wallpaper is a silver cork material by Thibaut, and the home is in Pasadena, in southeast Houston.

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Metallic Cork Married With Earthy Cork Breathes New Life Into A ’70’s Living Room

October 13, 2017

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This 1967 home in a unique neighborhood in Pasadena (Houston) is like a time capsule. It’s a little larger and nicer than the typical ranch-style houses of that era. And just about everything in it was original when my clients bought it … terrazzo floors, dental crown molding, upholstered wall panels in the dining room, diamond paned windows, French Provincial painted iron stairway railing, heavy pleated drapes, and much more.

The homeowners love the look and want to preserve as much as possible. But they also want the home to live a little more modern, and they want it to work with the lifestyle of their young – and very busy – family. They’ve already done a fabulous redo of the kitchen that still respects the era and feel of the home’s bones.

Now it’s time to update the living room. Enter – wallpaper! They used the same grey-brown, wood-look floor tile that they put in the kitchen. They kept the chair rail molding that runs around the room. A sliding barn-style door was custom made to divide the living room from the dining room, and it immediately became the focal point of the room.

Wallpaper was the next element … The couple wanted something earthy, yet elegant, and it had to meld with the vintage theme of the house.

They fell in love with a dark brown cork wallcovering enhanced with metallic accents called Enchanted Woods, by Phillip Jeffries. Whoops! – that brand is crazy expensive! My source (below) found them something nearly identical, but at a much more reasonable price. This dark brown material was used on the bottom 1/3 of the walls, below the chair rail. I was able to railroad this product (run it horizontally, instead of vertically), which eliminated seams. (Sorry, I did not get any photos of this.)

For the upper 2/3 of the wall space, they went with a silver metallic cork wallpaper embellished with a classic damask pattern in white. This is a classy, traditional look jazzed up by a luscious shimmery sheen.

The husband was worried that the dark cork at the bottom of the walls would visually occlude the barn door. At first, I tended to agree with him. But once the cork went up, it was clear that the door still stood out as a dominant feature in the room. Furthermore, it was apparent that the dark band of brown cork was needed all around the room, to balance the visual heft of that massive sliding barn door and to bring continuity to the remaining three walls.

As for the upper 2/3 of the walls, there is no question that the barn door stands out against the silver and white damask cork wallpaper. In addition, the natural texture of the cork coordinates nicely with the stained wood of the door.

Cork wallpaper, especially the metallic colors, is pretty popular right now, and I’ve hung a fair amount of it. But this room was the most challenging. Cork is thick and stiff, and does not want to turn corners (In fact, the instructions say you should not attempt to turn outside corners, but should, instead, cover the corners with wooden molding.), nor is it easy to fit around intricate moldings, and it will give a lot of argument when you try to bend it into a small, tight spot. This room had many of those features!

There was one wall that had two trim-less windows that had reveals (and outside corners) to be covered with the cork material, plus four points of wainscoting trim to cut around, as well as two sections of drapery valances to manipulate the stiff material up and under and into. This wall alone took me 4 1/2 hours to paper!

The rest of the room was easier, but still had its challenges. The cork material is thick and stiff and won’t push tightly against moldings or into corners, which means you have to work extra hard and make several cuts before it will sit snugly against the molding or corner. When trimming around intricate moldings (like the edges of the chair rail), you can’t see or feel where the cuts should be made, so you have to inch your way along, taking a bit here and a sliver there. I estimate that each of the six chair rail edges took me at least 15 minutes – each.

The metallic sheen made it difficult to see the pattern, so it took longer than usual to plot and cut strips.

Cork wallcovering is pretty thick, and you have to expect that the seams will show, just as they do with other natural materials, such as grasscloth. Depending on where you stand in the room, the seams on this product are either invisible, or fairly noticeable. I think the seams could have been better – I have a feeling that the manufacturer’s trimming blade was set at a bit of an angle, making a beveled cut. A perfectly straight cut, or even a slightly reversed-bevel, would perhaps have been less noticeable. Still, this is part of the look of the natural material, and not considered a defect. To be honest, unless you’re looking at a particular seam from just a certain angle, you won’t even see a thing – except the beautiful pattern, color, and shimmer.

The dark brown cork is by Monarque, and the upper cork in the silvery damask pattern is by Thibaut. Both papers 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.

Over the last few years, I have papered three other rooms for this family. Now that the wallpaper in the living room is up, they are on to other things – furniture, drapes – and then on to update / decorate other rooms. As I left tonight, the mom assured me that I would be back at some point, to paper another room.

Lights Out, And I’ve Got To Work…Big Larry To The Rescue!

October 12, 2017

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This week I’m hanging wallpaper in a large living room near Pasadena (Houston). There is no overhead light in the room, nor any air vent or other fixture that I can hang an extension cord and work light from.

I’ve been able to get by with three light bulb sockets I’ve plugged into the wall outlets, along with the sun light coming through two large windows. But as the sun went down this evening, I didn’t have enough light over my table to see what I was pasting.

Big Larry to the rescue! This is a compact yet very bright LED flashlight that will stand on end. It provided just enough light for me to paste the strips of wallpaper.

In addition, Big Larry has a high beam and a low beam, plus a flashing red light. He has a magnet on the base and fits easily in my toolbox. He is about $20 at Southwestern Paint in Houston. He even has a little brother, Little Larry, for about half the price, and half the light.

And, psssst… either one makes a nice gift. 🙂

Updating a 1960’s Bathroom

December 14, 2014

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This week, I am working in a home in Pasadena, built about 1965. You can see the original charming baby blue tile in the bathroom. The first photo shows the original wallpaper, possibly dating back to when the house was built (although I saw evidence of at least two different colors of paint on the wall prior to the wallpaper…the murky green that was so popular for decades, on every surface in every room, and then a neutral off-white). The wallpaper had a light texture to it, and hinted at a “modern” theme, which was in style at that time. The lighter colored area is where the mirror had hung for decades. Interestingly, the paper was a little harder to remove, in just this area.

The second photo shows the wall stripped of paper, washed, skim-floated to smooth the slightly textured wall the original installer had hung paper over, sanded, and then primed with a clear sealer, Gardz.

The next shots show the finished room. I think they did a wonderful job of working with the old blue tile, instead of trying to fight it or act like it was not there. This bathroom went from worn, dated, and depressing, to cheery and bright and fun.

Beautiful Classic Toile in a Breakfast Room

December 11, 2014

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Here are “before” and “in-progress” shots of a breakfast room in a ’60’s ranch house in Pasadena (Houston). Originally, there was dark brown paneling with thick grooves between panels. The homeowner “always wanted a wonderful kitchen,” and, after living there nearly three decades, had the kitchen redone – and it’s really nice, with good choices and great workmanship.

Then I came in and hung this beautiful classic and cheery blue-on-yellow toile pattern in the adjoining breakfast area. Someone told me that a true toile will always have some people playing, and some people working. In the last photo, I’d say that counts as “play.” 🙂

I was originally going to prep the paneling for wallpaper, but the homeowner had the contractor tear out the paneling and install new Sheetrock (first two photos), which was more expensive, but a much better option. An interesting side note is that the money she saved because I did not have to prep the paneling, was re-directed to repapering the master bathroom – which still had the original wallpaper from the 1960’s.

This wallpaper is by Thibaut Designs, and was a pre-pasted pattern. It was bought through Sherwin-Williams, and shipped directly to their home. The homeowners chose to paint the bottom 1/3 of the wall below the chair rail with a solid yellow, in a tone slightly darker than the wallpaper. I like this, because, since it’s on the bottom of the wall, the darker color adds visual weight, and helps balance the wall / room.