Posts Tagged ‘pattern’

Me In Action

October 22, 2017


A client just sent me this photos from 2014, of me stripping outdated “ribbon” pattern wallpaper, and replacing it with a calm, finely textured grasscloth.

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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.

Medicine Cabinet? WHAT Medicine Cabinet?

October 6, 2017

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The homeowner of this new contemporary townhome in the Midtown neighborhood of Houston didn’t want the plywood medicine cabinet standing out like a big white blob against her beautiful new wallpaper. She thought that covering it with wallpaper would help it fade into the design, and be less obvious.

She was right – the cabinet is much less noticeable now.

The cabinet is simple, but it still took about an hour to cover it with wallpaper. The wood had already been primed with KILZ, a stain blocker that will prevent any wood sap from bleeding through the wallpaper. Then I applied a wallpaper primer.

There is a seam down the middle of the door, so there is a total of four pieces of wallpaper (two on the frame and two on the door itself).

The cabinet is seen more from the left side than from the front, so I lined the pattern up so it is continuous when seen from the left side. Wrapping the design around the 3/4″ thickness of the edge of the cabinet frame caused it to not line up with the pattern on the surrounding wall.

No biggie in this case … The pattern is squiggly and irregular enough that a small mis-match of the design is not noticeable.

When I got to covering the actual door of the cabinet, I aligned the pieces so that the pattern would line up with the design on the frame, so that when you look at it straight-on (as from the toilet or shower), the pattern is visually intact. Again, even though the design does not line up perfectly with the design on the wall behind it, the slight mis-match is very minor.

The pattern match is perfect from where it’s viewed from the left side, and it is perfect where it’s viewed from straight ahead. Win-Win!

This wallpaper pattern is by York, in the Sure Strip line, 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.

Small Print in a Quiet Color Warms a Reading Nook

October 1, 2017

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The homeowner of this newish house in the Houston Heights wanted to make this reading nook in the living room special, as well as differentiate it from the rest of the room.

She chose this Linden tiny leaf wallpaper pattern by Serena & Lily  in a Fog grey color.  It added just a touch of pattern and enough warmth to make the area cozy.

Serena & Lily has some lovely and young feeling patterns, and the material is wonderful to work with and will hold up for years.  It is an on-line company.

Hiding the Tail Ends

September 3, 2017

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When deciding where to position this wallpaper pattern on the wall, I had two options.  One was to place the medallion at the top of the wall.  This meant that a little slice of the medallion above it would show beneath the crown molding.

The other option was to place a half a medallion at the top of the wall, which keep all the other medallions intact.

But I just couldn’t like the idea of having half-medallions at the top of the wall.  So, as you can see, I chose the first option.  But I also didn’t like the idea of fragments of medallions peeking out from below the crown molding.

My solution was to take little scraps of paper and cut half-moon slices that I then appliquéd over the offending bottom-ends.  From the floor, the appliqués are not visible, and the finished view looks a whole lot better.

Fireworks or Dandelion Heads ??

August 17, 2017

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No matter if you see fireworks or flowers, this light colored pattern full of bursts of movement really transformed this powder room. Originally, the room was papered a dark brick red color. It was so dark that I could not even get a photo, plus the paper had no pattern, so you have to wonder why they didn’t paint instead.

The homeowner searched hard to find a wallpaper that would coordinate with both her new grey granite countertop and the existing Saltillo tile floor, while brightening up a room that had been cave-like for decades.

I would say that she was successful, because this paper fills the bill in every way.

This home is in the Fondren Southwest neighborhood of Houston. The wallpaper is by York, in their Candice Olson line. The label said it was unpasted, but it turned out to be pre-pasted. I pasted the paper anyway, and was very happy with the quality of the paper, and how nice it was to work with, and how tight the seams were, as well as the overall finished job.

Innovative Kill Point – Between Moldings

August 4, 2017

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The kill point is where the last strip you hang meets up with the first strip you hung. This virtually always ends up in a mis-match of the pattern’s design. This is usually in a corner, and the paperhanger will try to place it in an inconspicuous location (such as behind a door).

But not all corners are hidden behind a door. In such cases, and depending on the design, the pattern mis-match will be noticeable, even eye-jarring.

Sometimes it’s possible to get creative and hide that kill point where it will be less visible. That’s what I was able to do today.

The first photo shows you the Chinoiserie pattern, so you get an idea of what it looks like. In this room, because all four corners were very visible, I wanted to keep the pattern intact in the corners. So I needed somewhere else to hide the kill point.

The room had a spot where the molding around the door came very close (6″) to the wall-hung linen cabinet. This was a good option to place the kill point, because it would be only 6″ wide, vs. my other option, which was a corner that was 5′ high. I’ll take a 6″ mis-match over a 5′ mis-match any day!

By manipulating the wallpaper pattern a little, it was easy to disguise the kill point and the mis-matched pattern. It’s there, in the second photo – but I’ll bet you will have a hard time spotting it.

Once Again, Wallpaper in Better Homes & Gardens Magazine

August 2, 2017

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Here are several rooms featuring wallpaper in the August 2017 issue of Better Homes & Gardens magazine. There are at least two other rooms with paper that I didn’t photograph, including a cool mural of some bright watercolory flowers clustered around the upper right corner and center top of the wall – a very effective look.

As usual, please forgive my crummy photos.

The navy blue sailing ships are by Walnut Wallpaper.

The second photo shows large stars on the ceiling of a baby’s nursery.

Photos 3 & 4 are actually fabric, but they look and function as backdrops like wallpaper.

Photos 5 & 6 are a classic and popular humming bird pattern by Cole & Son. I just hung this in the Houston Heights on April 9, 2017, and did it prior to that on March 24, 2016, among other times. You can look up my blog posts for those days. I have the same pattern and same color coming up in a bedroom in Riverside. Note the matching fabric on the chairs.

In the seventh photo the wallpaper is barely visible over the kitchen window.

Photo 8 is an overscaled dramatic white on black floral that is quite popular right now. I find it a little overwhelming on the ceiling, but if you want drama, that’s a good way to get it. And you’ll have good view of it while lying in bed.

Photos 9 & 10 are a fun and colorful pattern for a kids’ room.

The last photo is not wallpaper, but tile, but it still shows pattern on the wall, so I’m including it here to show how it enlivens the room. There is a hexagonal geometric pattern by Jonathan Adler that is quite similar, and very popular.

Water Color-y Pink Floral for Little Girl’s Room

June 29, 2017

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Here is a sweet pattern that really charmed up a little girl’s room in the Briar Meadows neighborhood of Houston. I hung it on one accent wall behind the bed’s headboard. In the first three photos (before, during, & after), the vertical shadows on the wall are from the dangling crystals on the chandelier. There is also a little splotchiness because the paper is still wet – the spots will disappear when it dries.

This pre-pasted wallpaper is by Jolie, and was bought on-line. It is a mural, meaning that the paper comes in panels, instead of rolls, and the pattern does not repeat itself nearly as frequently as a regular wallpaper pattern does. It is popular with moms who have little girls, and I have hung it several times. (Do a Search here.)

Just like the other times, I was disappointed in the quality of this paper. (Do a Search here.) Actually, the quality of the paper itself is fine. It is the manufacturer’s inattention to detail that is the stumbling block.

Photo #4 shows a mis-match in the pattern. These were relatively few and relatively minor, though, and really weren’t a big deal.

Other issues, however, were more noticeable and less satisfactory. Photos #5 & #6 show where the trimming blades at the factory got off-kilter, and created curved cuts. This is the exact same shape of bad cuts I have had with my other installs of this product. (Do a Search here.)

When the edges of wallpaper are not cut straight, it’s impossible to butt them together perfectly. So with this material, you are left with “gaps and overlaps,” which you can see see in Photo #7…I know the photo is crummy, but if you enlarge it and look closely, you see three distinct and rather wide gaps, all within about a 6″ length of seam.

Besides gaps, badly cut seams will result in overlaps. Photo #8 shows an overlap of about 1/8″. I hate overlaps more than gaps. I’ll take a gap over an overlap any day. But I’d rather not have either, because both look bad, in my opinion – and a conscientious manufacturer will ensure that his product is not cut like this.

Most people would not have even noticed the gaps or overlaps. But they were bugging me, and I thought I could give these homeowners a little better.

So, on some of the worst overlaps, I took a straightedge and a brand new, very sharp razor blade, and trimmed off the excess, which amounted to 1/8″ of an inch in some areas, and down to about 1/32″ in others. When dealing with these minuscule widths, this procedure is tedious and exacting, and it doesn’t always result in perfect results. Before cutting, you have to pad the wall to protect it, and then work carefully so your razor blade cuts only the two layers of paper, but not into the wall. (Scoring the wall can cause delaminating (the wall coming apart and the wallpaper seams curling) down the road.) There are a lot more factors that complicate the trimming process. But the end result, although imperfect, looked much better and was worth the time and effort.

And, from a distance, and with the furniture back in place and the shade down and my 100 watt light bulb out of the room, the wall looks fantastically feminine is perfectly suited to this young daughter.

Shiny Geometric Print Fills a Wall and Brightens the Space

June 20, 2017

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The walls in this newish home in the Rice Military neighborhood of Houston are painted a light brown, and someone had painted this wall in the dining area a darker brown. This made it an “accent wall” – but it wasn’t very interesting.

The homeowner knew that some pattern and shimmer would bring life to the room. She chose this interlocking geometric design in a shiny brassy finish on a lightly textured bronze colored background that coordinates very nicely with the painted walls.

Wow, did this change things! The fluid design interjects personality and a modern feel into the dining and living area, while the glossy lines give a jolt of excitement. You see this wall as soon as you enter the main area of the house, and it really sets a bright, lively, sophisticated feel for the home.

This wallpaper is in the Antonia Vella line by York. It is a somewhat heavy solid vinyl embossed with texture, on a non-woven backing. It was important to not let any paste touch the front of the paper, because the textured surface would grab and hold the paste, which would show and look bad for – well, for as long as the paper is up on the wall. Other than that, the paper was surprisingly lovely to work with.

Those windows with the rounded edges, however, were not so accommodating. It took me four hours to hang this wall, and most of that time was spent on the windows. Too complicated to explain the tedious and exacting process, but it was well worth it, because the finished accent wall looks fabulous.

This wallpaper pattern is by York Wall, 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.