Posts Tagged ‘plumb’

The Corner’s Crooked, The Pattern’s Gone Wonky – But There Is A Fix

November 21, 2017

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Walls aren’t always plumb, horizontal surfaces (ceilings, floors, countertops) aren’t always level, and wet wallpaper can twist out of shape. Look down the center of the top photo, and you’ll see how poorly the pattern matches in a corner that is off-plumb by more than half an inch from top to bottom. Notice the double-images in the upper part of the picture.

When hanging the strip to the right of the corner, I could have manipulated the paper so that the pattern matched perfectly. But that would have meant hanging the strip off-plumb – and that would have meant that every subsequent strip would be off-plumb. And that would have meant that the design motifs would begin tracking down the wall.

Meaning that, the red leaves I plotted to sit at the top of the wall would begin walking their way down, further and further from the ceiling line. The whole wall would have a lopsided and off-kilter look.

I chose to keep the red leaves in their assigned position at the top of the wall. The trade-off was the mis-matched pattern you see in the corner in the top photo.

But I have a few tricks up my sleeve. Let’s just say that some craft paint, a tiny artist’s brush, a sharp scissors and a few appliqués, time, patience, and a good pair of strong reading glasses did their magic.

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Bohemian Chic in a Master Bedroom

September 3, 2017

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The walls in this 2nd floor addition to a 1950 ranch style home in west end of the Houston Heights started with a heavy texture and gloss paint.  The project was an 18′ wide accent wall in a master bedroom.

I skim-floated to smooth the wall, and it took a full day of multiple fans blowing at high speed, hitting areas with the heat gun, and alternating between cold air-conditioning and warm forced-air heat to get them to dry.

The third photo shows how they looked after sanding and priming.

The homeowners have a real eclectic taste in decorating, with lots of furnishings and accessories that are vintage, worn, quirky, repurposed, colorful, and the like.  I love this medallion pattern because it goes with the home’s aesthetic… and just look at how it matches the bedspread!

Keeping the medallions straight at the top of the wall took some tweaking, because the walls were not plumb, nor was the crown molding level.  In the end it looks great.

The wallpaper is a non-woven material and a paste-the-wall installation.  The seams were positively invisible.  The paper is by A Street Prints, by Brewster, and came from the U.K.  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.

 

Shiny Geometric Wallpaper Pattern Brings Life to a Dark, Dull Powder Room

July 6, 2017

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This retired couple near the Montrose neighborhood of Houston has a 15-year-old home that is, along with their furnishings, pretty traditional. They wanted to update with wallpaper, but didn’t want the new look to clash with the rest of their house. Going a little wild in the powder room is a great way to do this, because you only see the contemporary look when you are in the powder room – the rest of the time, the door is closed.

But now that the new paper is up, they will surely want to keep the door open!

This powder room was originally painted a deep, murky aqua/teal. Despite the high ceilings and large footprint, the matt finish and dark color made the room look small, and it definitely was lacking in personality.

The first day, I skim-floated the textured walls to smooth them (see first photo). The second day, the paper went up. The new wallpaper sports a fluid, interlocking geometric pattern that is in the same color family as the original paint, but much lighter, and the shiny surface adds a lot of light and dazzle.

Interestingly, I hung this same pattern, but in a darker color, just last week. It is lovely to work with. The walls in this room were pretty off-plumb, and also bowed, which can be Hell with a rigid geometric design. But I used some tricks to make the pattern look like it’s hanging straight and plumb. The homeowners were very happy with the finished room.

This wallpaper pattern is by York, in their Designer Series, 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.

Soring Birds Day Dream in a Baby’s Nursery

May 4, 2017

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What a well-loved pattern for babies’ rooms! This soon-to-be-with-us baby in a Spring Branch (Houston) home has a lovely new nursery. I have hung this many times, but this is the first time in this colorway.

The pattern is called “Day Dream” and is by Hygge & West, an on-line company. It comes in many colors, and fits into many rooms or themes.

The second photo shows me about to hang the first strip, having plotted the layout so the bird will fall down the center of the wall, and using my laser level (the red line on the wall) to keep the paper plumb.

Hygge & West papers can be challenging to hang. The seams curl and the paper waffles. The second-to-last photo shows the slight curling at the seams where ink falls on the seams, which is common to their paper. However, this time, I had much less difficulty with the paper in general….It laid flat without waffling or wrinkling, and there was very little curling at the seams. I hope that this means that the H & W team has listened to us out here in the field, and has started to use a better substrate and ink formula.

Still, they could use some help in packaging their merchandise for shipping – the final photo shows damaged ends of rolls of paper, due to being banged about during shipping. Unfortunately, all of the rolls were banged up, and the damage went deep into each bolt – meaning that I couldn’t cut around and discard the damaged areas. Since this pattern has a lot of open space, there isn’t much pattern to disguise these bashed areas, so they are going to show on the wall.

What’s It Like to Wallpaper Behind a Washing Machine?

April 19, 2017

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Originally, this laundry room had the White Wall Woes – too much of nothing. Once the wallpaper went up, the room took on warmth and a cheery personality. The homeowner, an interior designer, loved the way the pattern made the low ceilings look higher. And the color perfectly melds with the color of the woodwork.

What’s it like to hang wallpaper in a laundry room when the washer & dryer are still in the room? Well, you do a lot of reaching, squeezing, and contorting. Luckily for me, I’m small.

Because my ladder would not fit behind the appliances, I had to stand on the W & D (being careful to distribute my weight to the frame, not the center). This worked out because the ceiling was low enough that I could reach the top of the wall by standing on the W & D.

That took care of the top of the strips of wallpaper. To smooth them into place along the lower portion of the wall, I had to squeeze myself into that narrow space you see in the third photo, and work around all those hoses and wires.

This is a very nicely remodeled bungalow in the Woodland Heights (Houston), with a 2-story addition on the back. This room was in the new section, and it had about the most plumb walls and level floors / ceilings I have worked with – all important when dealing with strong straight lines such as these picture frames.

Nonetheless, I did have to pull a few tricks out of my hat, to keep the pattern looking straight around the whole room and against all the moldings.

This wallpaper is by Sanderson, a British company, and is called “Picture Gallery.” It is on a non-woven substrate and is intended to be a paste-the-wall product, but in this room with complicated cuts and narrow spaces, it was preferable to paste the material.

The interior designer (and home owner) is Stacie Cokinos, of Cokinos Design. All of the jobs I have done for her have been remodels or new builds in the greater Heights area of Houston.

Interestingly enough, I’ve had a number of queries and jobs about wallpaper in laundry rooms. It must be a new trend. I think this newish non-woven material will work well in a humid room, whereas the paper-backed solid vinyls that were popular for decades are a poor choice, due to moisture getting into the seams and causing curling.

And you just have to love the idea of doing mundane housework in a cherry, pretty setting!

A Horrible Place for a Wallpaper Seam

March 29, 2017

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Often you can “fudge” wallpaper patterns, to avoid awkward or unstable placement of seams – but just as often, you cannot.

Here I could not avoid having the seam fall ONE QUARTER OF AN INCH away from the outside corner on this wall.

So why all the consternation?

First, being just 1/4″ from the corner, there is little wall space for the paper to grab onto, which raises the worry about the paper not adhering, and curling away from the wall, or, at minimal, gapping in areas.

This brand is particularly challenging, because it is known for curling at the seams, which further hinders a good, tight, flat seam.

Second, since walls are never straight or plumb, it’s hard to keep the wallpaper design evenly spaced and correctly positioned down this length of wall.

The un-plumb walls also make it near impossible for wallpaper to wrap around the outside corner without warping, which makes it difficult for the subsequent strip, which is straight, to butt up nicely against the un-straight edge.

Un-plumb corners also throw the wrapped wallpaper off-plumb. That can result in the pattern’s design “going off-plumb.” This means that the horizontal pattern won’t line up perfectly along vertical walls (like in corners).

Another thing that will happen is that the pattern motifs can start creeping either up or down from the ceiling line (un-level ceiling lines factor in here, too.)

And, lastly, because wallpaper absorbs moisture from the paste and then expands and / or warps, it’s hard to keep everything straight and plumb as it turns a corner. Which makes it hard for the next strip to butt perfectly up against it.

This wallpaper is by Hygge & West, and can be bought from their on-line website.

Fun Geometric Wallpaper in a High School Teen’s Bedroom

March 3, 2017
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What 15 year old girl would not love this wallpaper pattern?! And when she leaves for college and her room gets turned over to guests, the paper will still be perfect!

One photo shows the use of my laser level, to be sure the first strip hangs perfectly plumb. I measured and centered the pattern on the wall horizontally, so it would fall perfectly behind the arched headboard, and the laser level was also useful to mark the spot for that fist strip to land.

This wallpaper pattern went on one accent wall, and the black ceiling really sets the room off! It is called “Riviera” and is by Cole & Son, a British company. It is on a thickish non-woven stock, and was a paste-the-wall install process.  Don’t tell anyone, but I think it looks a little like grasshopper heads.  🙂

The interior designers for this job are Neal LeBouef and Anthony Stransky, of L Design Group. Wonderful guys, and I love their crisp, clean, sophisticated style. The home is in West University Place (Houston).

Hold On To Your Head! – Wallpaper Pattern Placement

March 1, 2017
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The ceiling height in this room vaulted from 8′ on the north and south walls, to 9′ on the east and west walls. In most rooms, I like to place an important design element at the top of the wall. And I like to keep design motifs intact when I can, meaning, to keep whole flamingo heads at the top of the wall. But with a pattern like this, that moves diagonally up and down the wall, there’s always going to be someone who gets his head chopped off.

I felt it important to keep whole, intact flamingo heads at the top of the main focal wall. But the two adjoin walls were visually important to the room, too, and I didn’t want to have half-heads at the top of either of these two walls. So I took some time and plotted how to keep the most heads of flamingos at the most prominent points of the room for most of the time.

In the top photo, on the right, you see the highest point of the wall in this room. From this high point, I used my laser level to drop a plumb, vertical line from the ceiling to the floor (not shown). To the left of this, you see the wall angling down to meet with the lower-height wall to its left. I took a level and used it to draw a horizontal line from where the lower-height wall / crown molding started on the left, to where this line crossed onto the beamed vertical line shot from my laser level onto adjoining wall to its right.

Then I ran a level from the crown molding you see in the second photo then horizontally all the way across the 21″ width of a strip of the wallpaper, and then also across 21″ of it’s adjoining strip. This showed me where all the flamingo heads would fall on the wall, across two strips of wallpaper.

Along this vertical line, the distance between the ceiling crown molding and the horizontal line from the crown molding on the lower-height wall was 11.5″ (with a little allowance for un-level crown molding). I wanted to avoid chopping off any flamingo heads at the level point of either the 9′ high crown molding, or at level laser point of the horizontal line running 11.5″ below the crown molding.

To determine where the flamingo heads on the wallpaper would translate onto where they would actually fall on the wall, I rolled some of the paper out on my table, and considered options of which ostrich to place at the top of the wall. I played around, slid strips up and down, and eventually found the point where the most flamngos would have their whole heads at the top of the main focal wall, and also at the top of the shorter walls on either side.

The flamingo heads on both the sitting and the standing birds on the sections over the door on adjoining 8′ walls fell a little further down below the crown molding than I would have liked (see 3rd photo), but they still looked great, they kept their heads attached to their bodies, plus they were balanced nicely between the crown molding and the top of the door frame.

All this took much plotting, measuring, calculating, and time, and it’s not something that a homeowner is going to even notice. But I was really happy that I could give this couple (and the little boy whose room this will be) a nicely-placed, well-balanced pattern, with as few cut-off heads as possible.

This wallpaper pattern is called “Flamingo,” and is by Cole & Son, a British manufacturer, 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.

Hanging Paper Plumb

February 14, 2017
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Here is my laser level, shooting a line onto the wall, so I can hang my first strip of wallpaper perfectly straight and plumb in the middle of this accent wall.

Crooked Walls = Wrinkly Paper

December 3, 2016
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Walls in homes are usually never perfectly plumb, just as ceilings and floors are never perfectly level. Not a problem if you’re painting. But if you are hanging wallpaper, that wallpaper wants to hang straight, and so it wants a straight wall to hang on to.

All of which is a long-winded way of saying that if a wall is crooked, bowed, or off-plumb, wallpaper will have difficulty hanging butted up against it.

In this case, I had turned a strip of wallpaper around an outside corner – very tricky for several reasons, and more so because virtually no outside corner is perfectly plumb, which compounds the trickiness. If you wrap wallpaper around a wall / corner that is not plumb / straight, the far edge of the wallpaper will likewise become bowed or un-straight. So when you go to butt the next strip of wallpaper against this one, one straight edge will not be able to find another straight edge to “marry with,” and the strips will want to gap or overlap. Not good.

So what I did was, once I got around the outside corner, I made sure that the far edge of the strip of wallpaper was plumb and straight. I used a 6′ magnesium straightedge and a 4′ level as guides.

But making the far edge of the wallpaper strip comply to plumb caused the body, or central area, of the wallpaper strip to become wrinkled due to excess material. Thankfully, this was a forgiving pattern.

What I did was, I cut along some lines of the wallpaper design motif. This created some relief, so I could ease out the wrinkles and smooth the paper against the wall. Voilà! The wrinkles and stress on the paper are gone; cuts, splices, and overlaps are invisible, and the the far edge of the paper is straight and ready to butt against the next strip of wallpaper.