Posts Tagged ‘pattern’

Sassy, Shimmery Update On A Classic Damask

June 14, 2018


Here’s a fun twist on a classic pattern for an under-the-stairs powder room in the Rice Military / Camp Logan neighborhood of Houston. A damask is a well-loved, traditional design. But this navy blue color, along with the very shiny silver Mylar material, bring it into the Modern Age.

This was a non-woven material, and the instructions said you could install it using either the paste-the-paper or paste-the-wall method. I chose to paste the paper, because it makes the material more pliable. It was also nice that the sink / vanity was not in the room yet, so it was much easier to cover that wall, and eliminated the chance of creasing or scratching the delicate Mylar surface.

The material did expand in width a bit (1/4″), which is unusual for a non-woven. One of the selling points of these newish substrates is that they are supposed to be dimensionally stable and are not supposed to absorb moisture from the paste. Pasting the material gave it a chance to expand before I got it to the wall, which is good. If I had instead pasted the wall and hung the dry paper onto the pasted wall, it might have expanded and caused pouched or overlapped seams.

This wallpaper pattern is by Exclusive Wallcoverings, a British company, 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.

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Geometric Pattern in a Powder Room – Flooded Home

May 20, 2018


This home in the Energy Corridor area of Houston was flooded during Hurricane Harvey last August. A lower section of drywall had been cut out and replaced. The contractor’s wallpaper hanger put up this identical pattern. The homeowner wasn’t pleased with the job. To be honest, the installer did a pretty good job, in a room that was very difficult to hang. There were a few minor things that could have been done differently.

But what bothered the homeowner most was that the walls had not been smoothed properly before the paper went up. With that west-facing window blasting angled sunlight into the room, those irregular surface flaws were quite obvious. See the top two photos. (You may need to enlarge them.)

I stripped off the original paper and skim-floated the walls to make them as perfectly smooth as possible. I followed with a primer. (The previous installer had not primed the walls.) See third photo for walls that are ready to go.

This room was a major bugger bear to hang. For starters, there was a large metal mirror that protruded about 4″ from the wall, that could not be removed. This was directly over a pedestal sink. (The previous installer had the luxury of hanging the room before the sink was in place.) It’s hard to explain, but the logistics of winding wallpaper around these three-dimensional objects, preventing the paper from tearing, having the ridged and unforgiving pattern match on all planes, keeping the edges plumb, and keeping the edges straight so they would butt up with the next strip, all while fighting edges of the wallpaper that wanted to curl backwards, were extremely difficult.

In addition, the corners of the room were out of plumb, which pretty much guaranteed pattern mis-matches in all the corners. On a wild floral pattern, no one would notice. But with a geometric pattern like this trellis, the eye would catch even minor mis-matches.

Compounding all of that was the fact that nothing in the room was centered. The window was not in the center of the wall, nor was the toilet – and they were not aligned with each other, either. The sink was not centered on the mirror, the faucet was not in the center of the sink, and the spout was off-set from the handle. I finally decided to balance the trellis design on the mirror, and it did fall perfectly symmetrically on either side. The kicker is that the room is so narrow that you can’t stand back far enough to appreciate all my efforts. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

I probably spent 40 minutes plotting how to tackle the first wall, and then a full two hours hanging the first two strips (the ones around the mirror and sink) (sorry – the room was too small to get good pics). The longer I worked, the more appreciation I had for the previous installer and the job she had done.

In the end, the walls I had prepped were smooth, and there were no objectionable bumps or gouges showing under the paper. I pulled some tricks out of my hat and got the pattern to match in the corners pretty darned well.

That window with it’s danged strong light still was a foe, though. The wallpaper seams butted together just about perfectly. Yet because of the way the edges curled back when they got wet with paste, I fought to keep them down tight to the wall. Once dried, they were nice and flat. I was pretty content. But when the sun moved and light came through that window from a different angle – some of those seams looked positively horrid! The light was casting shadows and making it look like the seams were overlapped. Yet they were perfectly flat. The inclination is to go over and over the seams with various tools and try to “force” them to lie flatter – but this can burnish or otherwise damage the wallpaper or the underlying surface. The good news is that as the sun moved, and as the louvers on the shutters were adjusted, the shadows disappeared and the seams looked good.

Let’s hope that the homeowners see this room only in the most positive light. ๐Ÿ™‚

This wallpaper is by York Wall, one of my favorite brands. Interestingly, the paper came with the correct label, but the instruction insert was for another line made by this same company. I’m glad that I was familiar with both products, and had the sense to disregard the info that was not relative.

A Beautiful, Natural Grasscloth

May 16, 2018


I was really pleased with the grasscloth I hung today. The fibers were thin enough that the material was pliable and turned corners well. The texture was a pleasing middle ground between rough and refined, and the color was gorgeous – natural, with bits of brown, gold, grey, and olive all mixed together homogenously.

But best of all, the material had virtually no shading or paneling or color variation issues. Do a Search here (upper right) on these terms to see what most grasscloth looks like, and why I am not a fan of it. But this stuff today – I liked it!

Because there is no pattern to be matched, you will see all the seams. But because the color and the texture were quite uniform, the seams and panels pretty well blended together. The two shots showing the seams are good examples of what grasscloth is supposed to look like.

The room immediately felt warmer and more inviting, with a bit of color and texture from the natural material on the walls.

I don’t know what the brand is, because the label simply said “Wallcovering.” But it 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.

I hung this in a bathroom in a newish home inside the Loop in Houston. Yes, grasscloth will stain if it gets splashed with water, so it’s not recommended in wet areas. But the homeowner is a single gal, and she promised to use the room gently. ๐Ÿ™‚

She also promised to keep the door closed, so the cats will not get their claws into the new textured wallpaper.

Same Color, But Grasscloth Brings a Little Texture and Warmth for a West U. Living Room

May 11, 2018



This home in the West University neighborhood of Houston has fairly traditional and formal dรฉcor. After 20 years, the homeowner wanted to warm things up with some texture. The new wallpaper is about the same color as the original wall paint (pale aqua blue), but the addition of gold grass fibers (grasscloth) brings warmth, personality, and a good dose of glamor, too.

Sorry, the color has not shown up well in these photos, but the close-up shot shows the lovely texture and natural fibers in this product.

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.

Trippy Mid Century Modern in Purple

May 8, 2018


This 1960 ranch style home in the Westbury neighborhood of Houston is like a time capsule of Mid Century Modern design. The doors, windows, moldings, cabinetry, and even most of the bathrooms are original – and in mint condition. The homeowners love the look, and wanted to honor that, while updating some of the rooms.

What fun! This wild pattern fills all those bills!

What’s extra cool is that the homeowners painted the walls and woodwork in the room a mauvy-purple color more than a year ago. I showed them a sample of this paper in the orange color (which I had hung in another client’s home in a nearby neighborhood, also Mid Century Modern), and they loved it. When they went to the wallpaper store (read below), the selection book showed this snazzy purple colorway. The shade of purple is the exact compliment to the paint colors they had chosen so long ago. BINGO!

This wallpaper pattern is by Graham & Brown, in their Super Fresco line, which is reasonably priced and easy to work with, as well as easy to remove when it’s time to redecorate. I hung it with the paste-the-wall method. It 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.

Narrowing a Strip of Paper Over a Door

April 1, 2018


Here I am working my way along the wall from right to left, and am hanging short wallpaper strips over the door. The strip above the door is 1/4″ wider than the door, so it would continue down the left side of the door – but only about a 1/4″ width of it. It would me a major pain to deal with a strip this narrow – try to keep it straight, try to keep it plumb – not to mention using a full 9′ length of paper just to get this 1/4″ strip….most of it would end up in the trash, a real waste of paper.

In addition, the ceiling is not-level, so the wallpaper design is starting to track off-kilter (a particular motif in the design is not staying at the top of the wall, but is moving downwards).

I wanted to avoid having a skinny 1/4″ strip down the left side of the door, and I wanted to pull the design back up to the top of the wall. My plan was to position a new strip of paper along the left edge of the door molding, placing the design motif at the top of the wall. You can see how this is causing the short piece over the door to buckle, because of the 1/2″ excess paper.

The pattern is matched from this new strip to the short strip over the door. But, because of the un-level ceiling and the design tracking downward, the pattern on the short piece over the door does not match perfectly with the piece to the right of it.

I had a couple of options, but the solution I chose was to cut along one of the tree trunks vertically, slicing the short strip over the door in two. I then slid the right portion of this cut strip down, so the pattern matched the strip to its right. Then I smoothed both cut portions to the wall, overlapping that 1/4″ of excess.

Even though the paper is shimmery, the slight overlap is not noticeable, because it’s high overhead, and also because it follows the line of the tree trunk, which disguises it. See final photo.

Swirly, Cheery, Leafy, and Fun!

March 17, 2018


With drab murky blue paint and not much more, this powder room near the backdoor of a ’70’s era ranch style home in Candlelight Plaza (Houston) was serving its purpose. But the homeowner knew it could live much larger.

I skim-floated the moderately textured walls to smooth them, and then primed with a penetrating sealer called Gardz, which is also a good primer for wallpaper (see first photo).

The wallpaper pattern is called “Priano,” and is by Serena & Lily, and can be bought on-line. The design has a fun circular movement, and an organic leafy motif.

Workin’ On Ridding A Wrinkle

January 30, 2018


Even though this is a brand-new house, erected by a skilled custom builder, all of the walls, floor, and ceiling were off-plumb / unlevel. That’s not such a big deal when working with a wild abstract pattern or a typical floral. But when a geometric wallpaper pattern like this is applied to out-of-kilter walls, the resulting pattern match is going to be very visible.

In the top photo, the wall to the left is bowed. Trying to get a straight strip of wallpaper to fit into the crooked corner resulted in two very large (24″ high) wrinkles near the floor. That makes it difficult for my next strip of wallpaper to butt into the corner tightly, and to match the pattern, and still maintain its straight edge on the right side. This edge has to stay straight, because subsequent strips of wallpaper will be butted up against it.

My solution was to make some vertical “relief cuts,” following along the design motifs (top photo), from the baseboard up to the point where the wallpaper begins to torque out of shape. Because the wrinkles were so big, I had to make two vertical cuts, instead of just one, to ease the resulting pattern mis-match out over several inches, so it would be less noticeable.

When smoothed back into place, you could not see any pattern mismatch at all. (second photo)

Shields and Soldiers

December 30, 2017

OK, this is a wallpaper pattern and a use that you are going to either love or hate. It’s in a boy’s bedroom (all four walls), is by Brunschwig & Fils, and is featured in the December 2017 issue of Southern Living magazine.

Modern Industrial Wallpaper with Graffiti

December 16, 2017

Well, here’s something different and fun. The Montrose area (Houston) home has a very earthy, eclectic feel, and this wallpaper pattern is the perfect compliment. The colors and texture are perfect with the bathroom tile and iron sconces, and the small scrawls of writing and numbers add just a touch of edginess.

This paper is by Carl Robinson, a British company that is distributed by Seabrook here in the U.S. It is a non-woven material and is intended to paste the wall for installation, but I chose to paste the paper, for various reasons, most of which had to do with the two light sconces that could not be removed from the wall. Made the job a little tricky.

The paper 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.