Posts Tagged ‘pulp’

Stripping Wallpaper

September 14, 2017

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This is a good example of how wallpaper should come off the wall, when it’s been hung properly.  The original installer primed the walls before hanging his paper, which is a very good thing.  A primer protects the walls, facilitates installation, and makes it easier to remove the paper later, with minimal damage to the wall.

The brown is the original wallpaper.  It is a thin layer of inked paper on what we call a pulp substrate (backing).  On the right side of the photo, I have peeled away this layer.  Left behind is a light tan layer of the pulp backing layer.

The darker tan areas are the pulp backing that I have soaked with water.  Once the water has enough time to penetrate the paper, it will reactivate the paste behind it.  Once that adhesive gets soft, you can either scrape off the paper with a stiff putty knife (see photo), or, if you are lucky, the paper will simply peel away from the wall in large pieces.  That’s what you’re seeing in the upper left of the photo.

It took several hours to strip these 12 single rolls of paper off the walls of this powder room – which is reasonable and expected.  Because the original installer took the extra time and expense to coat the walls with a good primer, there was NO damage to the underlying surface.

So the walls are in excellent shape and ready for new wallpaper tomorrow.

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Stupid, Unresearched, and Misleading News Article About Wallpaper

June 29, 2017

A spot with this information (click link below) aired on the local news Monday, and since then it has popped up on news and information sites on the Internet. Like many such “news” stories, it is all sensation and no honest information.

The article purports that “wallpaper can make you sick.” However, what it really should say is that MOLD in the air can make you sick. The article tosses out this scary claim, but makes no explanation of what kind of wallpaper might be involved, what the conditions of the room are, what connection mold has with wallpaper, how common this situation is. I will give them credit for listing a (scant) few other possible causes of mold in a building.

Here are a few true facts that the reporter should have dug up and included in her story. Wallpaper itself does not support the growth of mold. In fact, acrylic-coated papers, pulp papers, non-woven material, and natural fibers (grasscloth) all allow air to pass through them.

Now, it is true that mold can grow behind some solid vinyl wallpapers that are commercial grade (and unlikely to be used in homes), because they don’t breathe. But conditions would have to be right for this to happen – improperly prepped walls, improperly installed wallpaper, humidity or dampness in the building, moisture inside the wall (leak in a pipe or roof), lack of air conditioning / heating, lack of air circulation or ventilation. And usually the mold just sits there. It’s when the wall surface is disturbed (removing old wallpaper) that the mold might be released into the air.

I sure hope that people don’t read the headline or the skimpy story, and fall for its misleading information, and avoid using wallpaper in their homes or offices. The fact is, a good quality wallpaper that is hung properly in a building that is maintained properly will enhance the setting, and give many years of beauty and “clean living.”

Here is the link. http://www.health24.com/Lifestyle/Healthy-workplace/Health-in-the-workplace/your-wallpaper-might-be-making-you-sick-20170626

British Love for a Montrose Powder Room

November 11, 2016
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This couple lived in England for a while, and adopted British taste in decorating. I have papered four rooms for them so far (another is coming up!), and (almost) all have been done in imported British wallpaper, with traditional designs.

This pattern is by Colfax & Fowler (called “Dalancey”), and is on what we call a pulp substrate. It is a beautiful, matt finish, lies very flat to the wall, and will resist curling under humid conditions. It has no protective coating, so can be stained by splashing of water or toiletries or even hands, and painter’s tape will lift the inked layer right off the backing. In other words – beautiful to look at, but handle with care. 🙂

This home is brand new, but presented challenges due to unplumb walls, bowed walls, and crooked corners. I had to do a lot of twisting and finagling, and a little patchin’ in, and some fudging with the pattern match, but the end result looked fantastic. The homeowner said, “I can’t believe how much it changes the room!”

And she said, “Every time you come, you leave our home looking a little more beautiful!”

Soft and Dreamy

July 30, 2016
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The homeowner loves the traditional Carrera marble in her hall powder room. The marble tile creeps 1/3 of the way up the wall, and the floor has an old-fashioned hexagonal pattern made of grey and darker grey marble tiles. She saw this wallpaper pattern about two years ago and fell in love with it.

Next, she found some antiqued-brass light sconces in a formal design, that she wanted to use in the powder room.

But the previous homeowners had installed a sleek-lined dark wood vanity with a contemporary trough sink with chrome waterfall faucet. She worried that these various disparate elements might not look good in the same bathroom.

Well, here you have proof that mixing periods and metals and feels can totally work.

The grey tones in the wallpaper are beautiful against the marble, and they blend well with the chrome faucet. The straight lines of the sink meld nicely with the squares of marble on the walls.

The wall sconces fit right in, and the black shades add just enough spark to punch up the room.

This wallpaper is by House of Hackney, and was printed on the traditional pulp substrate that many British companies are known for.

Beautiful British Birds & Foliage in a Powder Room

March 24, 2016
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I have hung this pattern a couple of times before, and I have to say, it is one of my all-time favorites. The idea of this pattern dates back to the 1800’s, so it is very historic and classic. It is by a British manufacturer, and one of the homeowners is from England, where they pretty well “wallpaper everything” – and generally in flowery prints – so this bird-and-foliage pattern felt like home to her.

She got a good deal on it, too. Bought new, this paper is about $150 a double roll. Well, she stumbled upon an unopened bolt at an art store for a steal, and snatched it up. Once I got to the house and measured, though, it was clear that she would need more paper. Once again, she got lucky, by finding two more bolts on ebay for a price way below retail.

Unfortunately, the run number of the original paper did not match the run number of the new ebay paper, so we had the potential for color variations between strips. Also, the room really should have had four bolts, not the three we had.

But I measured the walls carefully, counted how many strips would be needed, figured where I would be able to fudge on the pattern, and then rolled out the paper to see how we would do. It turned out that this homeowner was, once again, lucky, because the baseboard and crown molding in the room reduced the wall height from 8′ to 7′ – and that was just enough to allow me to get four strips of paper from each bolt, instead of the usual three.

There was just enough paper to do the room, and I was able to keep the different runs on separate walls, so there were no eye-jarring color variations between strips. We ended up with, literally, about 2′ of paper left over. Whew!

This wallpaper is by Cole & Son, a British company, and is printed on a traditional pulp substrate, different from the non-woven material that they are using these days for much of their paper. Pulp papers do not have a protective coatings so they will look wet if they get splashed by water. They also will not stand up to stains or spills of any kind, and you have to be careful not to touch the paper when reaching for a light switch, or the paper may discolor from oils in your hands.

That said, I love the pulps, because the colors and inks and matt finish are unique and beautiful. They lie flat on your wall and don’t have issues with curling at the seams or delaminating like vinyl papers sometimes do.

I hung this in the powder room of a 1930’s home in Riverside (near downtown Houston).  Most everything in the home (floors, tile, sinks, faucets, windows, doors, doorknobs, stairway’s iron railing, telephone nook, stained glass windows, Art Deco features, on and on) are original to the home, and are in perfect condition.  The home even has plaster walls!   These elements are reveared and will be preserved by the homeowners.    It was a real honor to work there.

Bold Wall of Poppies in a Home Office

March 5, 2016
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Wow, this was a fun install today… Just look at the fabulous pattern and colors!

The young homeowners of this nicely updated bungalow in the Heights have an “industrial modern” décor, and this bold poppy pattern in army mud brown with bright fuchsia accents was the perfect choice to wake up one wall in the wife’s home office.

The homeowners ordered their paper before I measured, and at first I thought they didn’t have enough, because their 10′ high ceilings eat up a lot of paper. But the pattern repeat and drop match worked perfectly with the wall height, so I was able to get an extra strip out of each bolt of paper, leaving plenty of paper to complete the wall.

This pattern is called “Arizona” #W5801 by Osborn & Little, a British company, and was printed on the traditional pulp stock (rather than the non-woven material they are using more and more these days). It was nice to work with, but has no protective coating, so will not hold up to touching, washing – or painter’s tape.

The color of the paper works beautifully with the color of the door, but it was immediately evident that the blue-grey on the other three walls was “off,” so they’ll need to repaint with a complimentary color. I had to give them my lecture about not letting the painters put tape on the wallpaper – because when the tape is removed, it will take the inked layer right off the backing. Solution? Hire CAREFUL painters. 🙂

Out of the ’90’s, and Into the …. ’90’s ….

December 30, 2015
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The owners of this newish home in Garden Oaks were updating their powder room, including a new console style vanity, a point-of-use tankless water heater, and new wallpaper. They wanted it all done before the Super Bowl game…. I am generally booked with work several weeks out, but had an unexpected opening, so was able to squeeze them in today, between Christmas and New Year’s. They were happy to let me come this holiday week!

I have hung a ton of that chintz style floral (top photo) in the ’90’s. It’s a pleasing pattern, but has become dated. Really, the homeowners’ new choice isn’t much different, but it’s an updated version, plus the red color has a lot of impact, and that helps the walls stand out against the white woodwork.

One good thing about a pattern like this is that it won’t really ever go out of style.

The paper was printed on what we call a pulp substrate. I usually like pulps, but this one was thick and stiff and brittle and it abraded easily. I had to color the edges with oil pastel, to keep the white backing from peeking out at the seams. Pasting it was a wrestling match, because it kept wanting to curl back into a roll. It didn’t want to turn corners, it bubbled, and it abraded if it was rubbed too much, especially at the seams. It will stay nice and flat to the wall over time, but has no coating, so cannot be washed, and will stain if water splashes onto it. In other words, don’t buy this brand. 🙂

All that said, the room looked great when I was finished, and the homeowners loved it. The plumber is coming tomorrow, to install the sink, and they will be all ready for Super Bowl Sunday!

This wallpaper was bought from the Sherwin-Williams on N. Shepherd in Garden Oaks. I believe it was made in England, and the brand appears to be English Florals.

Murky Green Damask on Display Shelves

November 26, 2015
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The red diamond pattern on the backs of these bookshelves was pretty, but the new owners of the home didn’t love it. There was wallpaper left over from when the adjoining dining room was papered, and so we used those scraps to paper the bookshelves in the living room.

It looked like there was a lot of paper to work with, but when you start talking about a 28.5″ wide bookshelf and 27″ wide wallpaper, syncing the pattern with that in the dining room, centering the pattern, matching the pattern, a 25″ pattern repeat, wrapping the sides, wrapping the top, and when you unroll the left over bolts and find that much of the material is not in one long strip but in multiple shorter strips – it becomes a game of math, logistics, plotting, and engineering.

In the end, though, there was enough to get ‘er done. And, I was able to place the dominant motif vertically down the center of the bookshelves, and balance it equally in either corner, as well as place the same motif at the bottom of the bookshelves as was at the top of the wainscoting in the adjoining dining room, so the two rooms were horizontally correlated, and match the pattern of the two header strips in each of the two shelf alcoves to the pattern on the back of the shelves below them.

Anyone looking at the shelves will no doubt focus on the pretty collectibles displayed within them. But I just thought I would give a little backstory on what went into applying the wallpaper that is the backdrop for those pretty white vessels.

I loved working with this paper. There were no labels or brand information, but it was a pulp paper product, which is often sourced from England. It sits flat and tight to the wall, and seams are nearly invisible. Once booked, there is no stretching or shrinking. It is not sealed, though, so you have to protect it from handling and from splashes, and have to take care to not overwork seams or abrade the material during installation.

Daring To Go Black!

August 9, 2015
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Before: Take a look this unimaginative dining room, painted a safe, neutral tan. The young parents of a pre-school daughter wanted something more exciting in their West University dining room.

Second photo: The wallpaper is going on the top 2/3 of the walls, and the bottom 1/3, below the chair rail, was recently painted in a semi-gloss black paint. Well, the walls are textured, and to get them smooth, I will “skim float” them with joint compound, and then sand smooth – and that means lots of fine white dust.

So, in addition to covering furniture and doorways, I draped plastic sheeting over the bottom portion of the walls, to keep the dust away from the new black paint.

Third photo: The first wall now covered with wallpaper – SO MUCH more interesting and suited to the lifestyle of this young family. Their dining table is a medium-toned, lightly distressed wood, and their chairs are covered in an off-white / grey linen. Contrasted against the black and silver wallpaper, the look is fantastic.

Other photos: The most prominent wall in the room was between two windows, so I chose to start there, centering the pattern, so it will look good on its own, or if they put a mirror or piece of art there. I was also able to center the design on another wall (see photo), so if they put a buffet or other piece of furniture there, it will be nicely balanced.

And I included a shot of the black paint below the chair rail, to give you and idea of what the finished room will look like.

Not many people would choose black wallpaper, and especially not black wallpaper above black paint. But this couple had the vision, and the daring, to go black – and the end result is nothing short of stunning.

This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, and is printed on an uncharacteristic pulp substrate. (Pulps are traditionally British material.) While dark papers printed on light colored substrates can often mean you will see white at the seams, this paper behaved well, and, unless you looked closely, you could not notice the seams.

The wallpaper was bought at a discounted price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

Hangin’ On Island Time

June 27, 2015
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to minimize and obscure the mismatch .

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Today I was working in a new home in Pirate’s Cove on Galveston Island. Just look at that gorgeous view out the window!

Inside, in the powder room, though, the view was ho-hum (2nd photo). But just look at how a little wallpaper changed the room! There is color and life, a little beach flavor, and a lot of happy cheerful feeling when you walk into this room. Pretty much everything else in the entire house is white (walls, floors, appliances, furniture), so this dash of color is very welcome.

The walls in this room were <em>very</em> crooked and bowed, and I had to pull some tricks out of my hat to keep the pattern looking matched and straight, and to prevent wrinkles in the paper.  And some additional tricks were needed to minimize and obscure the mismatch in the final corner.   No photos, sorry, but it came out great.

The interior designer for this job is Sally Farley – e-mail me if you would like her contact info. The wallpaper is a British pulp paper by Osborn & Little, called “Coralie.”