Posts Tagged ‘pedestal sink’

Coordinating Walls to Fixtures

September 21, 2018


This home between West University and the Medical Center was damaged by flooding from Hurricane Harvey a year ago in Houston. The homeowner loved her seafoam green toilet and pedestal sink in her powder room, and made sure to protect them during the renovation. She chose a wallpaper that coordinates nicely with the fixtures.

This faux finish wallpaper pattern is by American Beauty, by Brewster. It is a paper product with a slight texture from the raised-ink white sand-like specs on the surface. The pattern did have a match, and it was mighty hard to spot! Once on the wall, the seams were all but invisible. It will hold nice and tight to the wall for years to come.

This 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.

Incidentally, I hung the original paper in this home back in the ’90’s… all still in good condition. Except for the flood damage, that is. 😦

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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. 😦

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. 🙂

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.

From Dark and Dated to Soft and Welcoming

April 20, 2018


This powder room in the West U neighborhood of Houston was decorated around the unique dark green pedestal sink and toilet. Back when the house was built, in 1992, the black floral wallpaper was a fun and in-vogue choice for this room. But by 2018, the look was dated, and some of the seams were succumbing to humidity and splashed water, which were causing curling. (2nd photo)

So the old black vinyl paper was stripped off. (3rd photo) The new paper still looks good with the plumbing fixtures, but it is bright and airy, and has a softness to it. But it’s not a sleeper – look closely and you’ll see a wonderland of fun characters playing and gallivanting through the forest. (4th photo)

This wallpaper pattern is by the Swedish company Boras Tapeter. While this particular choice is monochromatic and muted, the company has a wide variety of very playful designs with a whole lot of color – all the while reflecting the simple, clean-lined Scandinavian look. Interestingly enough, I have another client family looking at patterns from this same brand.

Additionally, the quality is great, and it was very nice to work with. It’s a non-woven material, and is designed to be a paste-the-wall install process – but I pasted the paper instead, which makes it more pliable and cooperative, especially around complicated areas like the fluted pedestal sink. Another advantage if the non-woven products is that they are engineered to strip off the wall easily and with minimal damage to the walls, when it’s time to redecorate.

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.

Ogee Print in a West U. Powder Room

September 24, 2017

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How can such a small room be so difficult to cover with wallpaper?  Well, factor in low ceilings, cramped quarters, a pedestal sink (always tricky), bowed walls, un-plumb walls, un-level ceiling, an under-stair build-out with some wacky angles – and a geometric print wallpaper, which the eye wants to see marching nice and straight across the walls.

I spent 10 hours hanging this 12-roll bathroom.  (Shoulda taken 6-7 hours.)  In the end, it looks fabulous.  The pattern may not be hanging true-to-plumb, but it looks plumb.  And it matches in all the corners, which is more important than marching straight across the ceiling line.

The design is called an ogee, and is from Waverly, a company that was popular in the ’90’s, disappeared, and was later bought and resurrected by York, one of my favorite wallpaper manufacturers.  It is thin and workable, and was really nice to work with, and will hug the walls nice and tight for many years to come.

The interior designer for this job is Pamela O’Brien of Pamela Hope Designs, assisted by Joni Karnowsky and Danna Smith.  The home is in West University Place, in Houston.

It’s So Much Easier When The Sink & Toilet Are Out Of The Room

July 27, 2017

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The homeowner was nice enough to have both the pedestal sink and toilet pulled out of the powder room. This made it so much easier and faster for me to get wallpaper back there. Plus she got a neater look under the sink, and no cut edge along the top of the sink (which could absorb splashed water and curl).

Oh Joy – The Pedestal Sink is OUT of the Room!

July 26, 2017

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This homeowner had the pedestal sink (as well as the toilet) taken out of the room before I started work. This makes it a WHOLE LOT easier for me to get the paper behind these fixtures, and it means that there will be an intact sheet of paper against the wall, without relief cuts or an open edge along the top of the sink (which could absorb splashed water and curl up).

Also, as you can see, removing the sink can tear up the wall, including any wallpaper, so if you’re going to replace the sink or vanity, as this homeowner is, it’s always best to pull it out before the wallpaper goes up.

The dark brown areas in the photo are where the removal of the sink tore the drywall. This damage should be repaired before paint or wallpaper goes back up.

I stripped off the surrounding wallpaper, then sealed the torn drywall with Gardz, a penetrating sealer made for this type of repair. It soaks in, binds loose edges together, and dries hard and impenetrable to water. This prevents bubbling when something like joint compound, paint, or wallpaper paste are applied over it.

Then I skim-floated the area with “mud” (joint compound), let dry, sanded it smooth, wiped off dust with a damp sponge, and sealed it a second time with Gardz. Gardz is also a good primer for use under wallpaper, so I primed the entire room with this same product.

Silver Cork Wallpaper in a Galleria Area Powder Room

April 6, 2017

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Nubby red grasscloth originally covered the walls of this powder room in a newish townhome in the Galleria area of Houston. It had water stains around the top of the sink. Plus, the homeowners just didn’t like it. They were considering another, lighter-colored grasscloth. On our initial consultation, first I told them reasons why I am not a fan of grasscloth (do a Search here). Then I showed them a sample of a silver metallic cork wallpaper that I have hung in several homes – and they went nuts over it.

Here is the transformation, from nubby and dark and stained to crisp and bright and much more water-resistant.

The material is thick and stiff, and is just fine if you are only putting it on one wall, such as behind a headboard in a master bedroom. Working it around a whole room, with corners, was tough enough. But then maneuvering it around a pedestal sink, and then moving on to the (unstraight and uneven) curved wall to the left of the sink….Boy, oh boy!

All you are doing is looking at photos of a nice, beautiful finished room. But I can tell you that I was doing a whole lot of work to get the room, and that wall in particular, to look that good…. I won’t go into details, but that sink and that wonky curved wall were quite the challenge. I spent about an hour and a half on just that one strip.

In the end, it looks great, and the homeowners are thrilled. The room is bright now, and the new shiny chrome towel bars and light fixture will add more to the contemporary feel.

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.

Silvery Pearlized Faux Bois in a Very Complicated Powder Room

February 10, 2017
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This under-the-stairs powder room has a LOT of challenges: angles, nooks, turns, and a pedestal sink, not to mention those odd “columns” running through the ceiling. The homeowner wanted all surfaces covered, so I suggested a non-directional pattern. This faux bois fills the bill, because it looks virtually the same right side up or upside down. She also likes the “faux bois” (fake wood) look, and really loves the shimmery, silvery, pearly sheen of the silver-on-white colors.

So the pattern suits the room, and the homeowner loves the color; unfortunately, the paper itself was a true test.

This wallpaper is one of the newer non-woven materials, and it is intended that the installer paste the wall, rather than paste the wallpaper. However, this paper is thick, stiff, unmalleable, and creases easily. All this works fine on a flat accent wall. But problems arise when you try to paste a thick, stiff, unmalleable, easily-creased paper onto the walls of a very complicated room.

What makes a room complicated? Corners, angles, steep angles, ceilings, light fixtures that cannot be removed, and weird “beams” that appear to serve no purpose other than to madden the paperhanger. Oh, and let’s not forget that pedestal sink. This 12 single roll powder room (6 bolts) took me 12 hours to hang.

This was a paste-the-wall material, but I found that pasting the paper instead made it more pliable and workable. Most strips required multiple relief cuts, so I could work the paper against fixtures and into corners without creasing it.

The first strip I attempted to hang was around the pedestal sink, and then moving into the corner to the right. The paper simply would not allow me to manipulate it into position, and the ensuing struggle resulted in creases, cuts, blemishes, gaps at the seams, and all sorts of unacceptable results.

So I ripped that strip off and started over.

To get around the sink with minimal relief cuts or stress on the paper, I trimmed the strips vertically, to cut them into two narrower, more manageable sections. All other handling was done slowly and carefully, to put as little stress on the paper as possible, and to minimize the potential of creasing. It was still difficult to fold the paper into corners and trim.

Matching the pattern was difficult, because the silvery sheen of the ink combined with sun coming in through the windows and harsh lighting in the powder room made it virtually impossible to see any part of the pattern, much less match one jagged bit of tree bark on the wall to it’s counterpart going onto the ceiling.

The “beams” built into the ceiling, and the recessed areas behind them, were very difficult, too. The stiff paper didn’t want to bend around or stick to the slightly un-straight edges. Wrapping certain areas with wallpaper meant that other adjoining areas could not be covered with the same strip, so they had to be patched in – difficult to explain, but trust me, it was tedious, time-consuming, and took a lot of plotting and planning before any approach could be begun. Oh, and wrestling with cantankerous bull-nosed edges around the door.

In the end, the room looks great. The few mismatched areas and other imperfections just blend in with the wild pattern and shiny ink, so you don’t even notice them.

Next time, though, I will encourage the homeowner to get not only non-directional pattern, but a paper that is thin and pliable.

I hung this in the powder room of a newish home in the Museum District / Rice University area of Houston. This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, in the Anna French line, is called “Surrey Woods,” 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.

No Sink, No Toilet = Easy Access, Better Results

February 2, 2017

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This homeowner is finishing a major remodel / update of a home in the Woodlands (Houston). She realized that the paper in her powder room would look better, adhere better, have no cut edges for water to wick under and curl up, and be easier for me to install, if the toilet and pedestal sink were not in in the room when I hung the paper.

She was right…Bless her!

You are looking at the rough plumbing for the pedestal sink, with my wallpaper trimmed neatly around it.

Innovative Use of Mural – In a Powder Room!

October 27, 2016

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Usually, murals go on single walls. But this homeowner in the Houston Heights had a vision of what her powder room could look like, with this colorful hand-painted-looking mural on all four walls. It turned out fantastic!

What’s especially cool about murals is that the pattern does not repeat. So you have a 12′ wide stretch of flowers and mushrooms and turnips and beetles spanning two walls, before you see the same flower or mushroom or critter, when the second mural is called upon.

And that brings up an important point – in a setting like this, it is important to be sure that pattern on the right side of the mural will match up with the pattern on the left side of the mural, so that when two murals are placed side-by-side, the design will be uninterrupted.

This mural came in eight panels, had light texture to its surface, and is on non-woven substrate. Paste could be applied to either the back of the panels or directly to the wall. (I chose to paste the paper, which was easier when going around the toilet and pedestal sink.) It was surprisingly flexible and nice to work with. It is made by either a German or French company.