Posts Tagged ‘powder room’

Cole & Son “Summer Lily” in Heights Powder Room

April 15, 2021
Flower nicely centered over the sink and light fixture.
Close-up shows “etched” effect.

I have long wanted to hang this classic “Summer Lily” design by Cole & Son. C&S may be a British company, but to me, this pattern evokes deep in the Louisiana bayou.

The pattern has a strong vertical lift, and a lot of visual “movement.” In this powder room with 10′ ceilings, it makes a dramatic impact!

It’s printed on a non-woven substrate, and can be hung with the paste-the-wall method. But I opted to paste the paper, because that makes the material more malleable. And, also, in rooms like a bathroom – how can you “paste the wall” when there is a toilet in front of it? ! 🙂 🙂

The home is in the Heights neighborhood of Houston. It’s a busy young family with three school-aged kids and a number of furry pets. And – yes – the three girls helped pick out this paper!

Whimsey and Color for Heights Downstairs Bathroom

April 10, 2021
“Before pic.” The grey paint does warm the room up a bit, and it definitely shows off the decorative moldings. Yet the room feels flat.
Here we are “After,” with the room energized by color and with all sorts of clever images to look at.
Under-the-stairs angles complicate hanging paper in and around the shower.
Super close-up shows an almost hand-painted look.

This family in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston is all about their two young daughters. The wallpaper pattern they chose for their powder room could be called “fantasy personified” – perfect for kids! And adults using the room will be wowed by the visual impact of the bold black background and bright pops of color.

It may look like “just a bathroom” to you – but this took me more than nine hours to hang (I had done the prep yesterday). Intricate moldings to trim around, small spaces, tight angles, dimensions that didn’t mesh, high ceilings that made reaching areas such as over the sink difficult (i.e. risky), and more.

The wallpaper is by Borastapeter, a Scandinavian company. It’s a non-woven material, which has a lot of advantages over traditional paper or vinyl. Although one could use the paste-the-wall installation method, in this chopped up bathroom with intricate detailed areas, I chose to paste the paper. This helped ensure adhesion in even the tightest spaces, and also made the material more flexible and easier to manipulate.

The interior designer is Stacie Cokinos of Cokinos Design.

Don’t you just love the pig wearing a sweater?!

From Textured to Smooth Wall Surface

March 30, 2021

Many homes in Houston have textured walls. In new homes in the suburbs, the texture is often really heavy – the so-called “Tuscan” look.

The texture will look bad under the new paper, plus it interferes with good adhesion. So it needs to be smoothed out before the paper can go up.

I use the process called “skim-floating” or adding a “skim-coat.” You can Search here (upper right corner) to find posts explaining this process.

And don’t pay your painter or handyman to do it – they don’t understand what’s needed for wallpaper. I’m many times better! 🙂

Here are before and after pics of a powder room I smoothed and prepped in the Bellaire neighborhood.

That second photo is enlarged many times – the wall is actually much smoother than the picture makes it look.

Serena & Lily “Summerside” Finally Goes Up

March 20, 2021

See my post on March 6, 2021for the original problems with printing defects on this material.

The company sent replacement paper, from a new Run, as we requested. The replacement paper also had the same printing problems, although not as bad.

The homeowners decided to go ahead and have the second batch of paper hung in their powder room. It turned out to be a good choice – yes, there are some slight pattern mis-matches (see 4th photo), but they’re not very noticeable, and are much lesser than what we had on March 6th.

This springy and bright floral pattern with an upward movement is called Summerside and is by Serena & Lily. S&L makes very lovely paper, and I enjoy hanging it. And you can expect it to perform well and hold tightly to the wall for many years to come.

The home is in the Bellaire neighborhood of Houston.

Printing Defects – Serena & Lily Wallpaper

March 6, 2021

Obviously, the factory’s printer or its trimming rollers got off-kilter, creating this pattern mis-match at the seams.

It might have been possible to use a straightedge and razor blade to trim off 1/16″ from one edge. But since the mis-match ran off at a diagonal and was inconsistent throughout the bolt, that would have been extremely difficult and time consuming.

We sent the paper back, and requested new paper from a different run. When the paper arrives, I will visit the clients’ home before the install date to check the paper to be sure the pattern matches correctly.

What a disappointment! The walls are all prepped, the homeowners have dismantled the powder room, and were anticipating a beautiful, fresh new look by the weekend. 😦

S&L is one of my favorite companies, so this is doesn’t make me happy. But it appears that the company is quick to rectify problems with minimal hassle. New paper, from a different run, is already on its way!

ADENDUM: The new paper – from a different run – did arrive. I checked it, and it also had the same printing defects, although not as severe. Very disappointing. Interestingly enough, I have another client using this same pattern but in a different color just yesterday (March 17th). Her paper had NONE of these defects. It’s hard to understand what the colorway has to do with printing problems… But I guess that is a factory issue. See my post of March 20, 2021 to see how this finally turned out.

Going For More Of The Same

February 9, 2021

I hung the original wallpaper in 2014, when the house was first built. The PEX water lines used in the home (flexible hoses instead of PVC pipes) were new at the time. Tragically, after a few years, the lines used in this home failed and caused leaks all over the house. Replacing all the water lines required cutting holes in MANY places throughout the home.

You can see in the photos where the plumbers cut out drywall and then patched it back in. This company actually did a good job of removing the wallpaper in the areas of their repairs.

Unfortunately, with the amount of wallpaper that was left over from 2014, I was not able to do repairs. The entire room had to be repapered.

The homeowner loved the pattern and wanted to keep it. It was still available, so she bought enough to repaper the room.

For various reasons, the original wallpaper was much more difficult to get off the wall than I expected. I could have gotten it off – but it would have taken about two full days.

So I opted to hang over it. It’s important to skim-float over the seam areas. First, because the seams will leave a little ridge that will telegraph through and show under the new paper. But also, because as wallpaper dries, it shrinks and puts tension on the seams. There is always the potential that this tension will cause the the surface below to pull away from the wall, and especially so if there is a weak area such as a seam. So you always want to avoid putting a seam on top of a seam.

So I skim-floated (do a Search here to learn more) over the seams, as well as over the patched areas left by the plumbers. See photos. Then I sealed the walls with Gardz, a product that penetrates and seals porous materials – like drywall joint compound and like this traditional British pulp wallpaper. Because it soaks in and dries hard, it helps to prevent moisture from paint or wallpaper paste from soaking through, and thus prevents bubbling of the underlying surface. That’s why this product is primarily used for sealing torn layers of drywall.

Although a bit glossy for my liking, Gardz is also a good primer to hang wallpaper on.

Interestingly, the expansion rate of the new wallpaper was a bit less than the original, and so the seams fell about 1/4″ to the right of the original seams. This reduced the worry of seams falling on top of seams and causing lifting.

It was a complicated room, and the paper was thick and stiff and difficult to work with. Prep took one day, and it took me two additional days to hang the paper (16 single rolls – 8 double roll bolts).

The wallpaper is in the line of Nina Campbell, by Osborne & Little, a British company. While most British papers these days are printed on an agreeable non-woven substrate, this one is a traditional, old-school British pulp … thick, stiff, difficult to fit into turns and angles, easy to tear, easily stained, non-malleable, plus the factory’s trimming roller blades must have been dull or wobbly, because the edges were not cut perfectly straight, which meant the seams had some “gaps and overlaps.”

Still, the finished room did look pretty darned good – even if it looks exactly the same as it did in 2014.

But that’s exactly what the homeowner wanted. So all is good and mission accomplished!

Crazy Corners & Angles

February 9, 2021

No wonder it took me two days to hang this powder room!

Mess Stripping Wallpaper

February 6, 2021

Over the years, this powder room ended up with at least four layers of wallpaper. Some had been stripped down to the backing layer before the next layer went up, sometimes a primer was used, and in other cases, the installer simply plopped the new paper on top of the old.

The homeowners attempted to remove the multiple layers of paper. This mess would have been difficult to begin with, but, to complicate things, unfortunately, they pulled some bad information off the Internet. You can see how the use of a “paper tiger” scoring tool caused damage to the wallpaper as well as to the surface underneath – and didn’t help at all to loosen the old wallpaper.

My solution was to peel off the top layer of vinyl paper – the brownish striped faux finished pattern in the upper left of the photo. Then I used a sponge and lots of water to soak the tan backing until the paste reactivated and the paper could be scraped off the wall.

I would have preferred to also take off the layers of paper that remained underneath. But time was a consideration, and also the likelihood of damage to the wall surface. And I wasn’t sure if there was drywall or plaster under there.

So I used the product Gardz to seal off the revealed wallpaper. (Do a Search here on the word ‘Gardz” to learn more about this ingenious product.) Once that was dry, I skim-floated over the entire surface, to create a new, plaster-like layer. That was allowed to dry overnight.

The next day, I sanded this skim-float layer smooth. Because the smoothing compound had to be applied thickly, this resulted in a massive amount of dust. Luckily, it was all contained in the powder room, and was easily vacuumed up.

Then I used a damp sponge to wipe residual dust off the wall. This was followed by another coat of Gardz – a product that soaks in, dries hard, and effectively seals the surface. It’s a good sealer for new skim-coat, and it also works nicely as a primer under wallpaper.

With fans blowing on it, it dries quickly, and I was able to start hanging paper in an hour or so.

Ivory Coast by Copper Corners

February 5, 2021

Slightly African in feel, “Ivory Coast” makes a bold statement in this under-the-stairs powder room in a home in the Heights (Houston). Yet, due to the subdued colorway, the look is not overwhelming.

The wallpaper is by Copper Corners, and is a pre-pasted product that comes in strips of various set sizes, rather than rolls. It was nice enough to work with, although I did have a few printing defect issues.

I suspect this wallpaper is (secretly) made by York (yorkwall.com) as it sure looks and acts like their SureStrip line. One of my favorite brands.

The interior designer is Katie Hilburn Interiors.

Cole & Son Acquario – Super Cool in a Powder Room

January 31, 2021

This is a powder room off a TV / game / great room in the home of a family with school-aged kids. They had just done updates to the room (built in shelving and TV niche, carpet, pool table, huge snuggly sofa), to make it a family hang-out spot. The small adjoining powder room got an update with tile on the sink wall.

What a dramatic and shockingly fun wallpaper design! – This is called Acquario, and is in the Fornasetti collection by Cole & Son. I just call it “the Puffer Fish.”

Wallpaper shrinks as its paste dries, and so you can expect to see teeny gaps at the seams. This is normal. But since this wallpaper is dark, the white edges of the substrate, as well as even a minute bit of the wall under the seams, might be more prominent as the dark paper dries and shrinks.

In the top “before” photo, you see where I have used diluted craft paint to run a dark stripe along the wall where the wallpaper seam will fall. This, along with having colored the edges of the wallpaper strips with near-black chalk, pretty much eliminated any visible gaps at the seams.

This small powder room took me nearly 12 hours – to smooth the textured walls, prime, and hang the 6 single rolls (3 double roll bolts) of wallpaper.

The home is in the Pasadena area of south Houston.