Posts Tagged ‘rice military’

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 She is great at helping you find just the perfect paper! Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.


Grasscloth in Tiny Bookshelf Cubicles

February 3, 2018

This neutral-hued grasscloth sure warms up the look of these display shelves, adding both soft color and texture. The homeowner’s books and decorative items stand out much better.

None of the shelves was removable, so I had to cut and install TWENTY FIVE separate pieces of grasscloth wallpaper for the backs of these bookshelves.

To minimize trimming inside those small, tight cubicles, I took careful measurements and then pre-cut my pieces. I used a straight edge, razor blade, and one of those “self-healing” cutting mats that are used for sewing and crafts. The mat was marked both vertically and horizontally in inches (and graduations) and had easy to see right angles.

I cut all my pieces a mere 1/2″ larger than the dimensions of each cubicle. I used the craft mat and straight edge to cut a right angle in the upper left corner of each piece of grasscloth. I could position this in the upper left corner of each cubicle, which also butted it up perfectly against the top and left sides of the cubicle.

Then all I had to do was use my razor knife to trim the grasscloth on the right and bottom sides, to fit into the cubicle.

I spent a full four hours priming, then measuring and labeling each cubicle, and then cutting and pre-trimming each of the 25 pieces of grasscloth. Look at the photo of my measurements!

All this effort paid off, because every single piece of material went into its cubbyhole perfectly, and required trimming on just two sides (instead of four). The install still took a full eight hours. But it was fun and challenging, and a different work-out for the brain from hanging paper on tall, flat walls.

This grasscloth wallpaper is by Thibaut. I forgot to take a photo of the label, but it was a really nice paper, and, even though I had only one seam (in the TV niche), for once there was no issue with shading or color differences – in fact, that one seam is all but invisible. I hung this in a living room in a townhouse in the Rice Military / Camp Logan neighborhood of Houston.

Shiny Geometric Print Fills a Wall and Brightens the Space

June 20, 2017

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The walls in this newish home in the Rice Military neighborhood of Houston are painted a light brown, and someone had painted this wall in the dining area a darker brown. This made it an “accent wall” – but it wasn’t very interesting.

The homeowner knew that some pattern and shimmer would bring life to the room. She chose this interlocking geometric design in a shiny brassy finish on a lightly textured bronze colored background that coordinates very nicely with the painted walls.

Wow, did this change things! The fluid design interjects personality and a modern feel into the dining and living area, while the glossy lines give a jolt of excitement. You see this wall as soon as you enter the main area of the house, and it really sets a bright, lively, sophisticated feel for the home.

This wallpaper is in the Antonia Vella line by York. It is a somewhat heavy solid vinyl embossed with texture, on a non-woven backing. It was important to not let any paste touch the front of the paper, because the textured surface would grab and hold the paste, which would show and look bad for – well, for as long as the paper is up on the wall. Other than that, the paper was surprisingly lovely to work with.

Those windows with the rounded edges, however, were not so accommodating. It took me four hours to hang this wall, and most of that time was spent on the windows. Too complicated to explain the tedious and exacting process, but it was well worth it, because the finished accent wall looks fabulous.

This wallpaper pattern is by York Wall, and was bought at below retail price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or She is great at helping you find just the perfect paper! Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

Got Agate?

June 17, 2017

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It takes chutzpah to choose a wallpaper pattern like this! But, boy, did it bring this powder room from blah and brown to bold and energizing and full of color!

The pattern looks like agate stone, and at 27″ wide by 24″ long, is large scale. I thought that the pattern, color, and size would overwhelm this small, under-the-stairs powder room. But the homeowner went ahead and bought her first love – and, I have to admit, it turned out GREAT.

The room is a lot brighter now, and the squiggly curves of the design add a lot of life to the room. When they talk about their powder rooms, a lot of people use the term “jewel box.” This room would definitely qualify!

You can get away with a lot of drama in a powder room, because you don’t spend a lot of time in there. And if you don’t want to look at it 24/7, you can always simply close the door.

I hung this in a fairly new home in the Rice Military neighborhood of Houston. The paper is good quality, but not expensive, and was very nice to work with. This wallpaper pattern is by York, and was bought at below retail price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or She is great at helping you find just the perfect paper! Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

Glass Bead Wallpaper in a Powder Room

May 21, 2017

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So, O.K., it’s a hard room to photograph. All I can show you is the papered wall behind the beautiful light fixture and the really cool mirror.

This wallpaper is embedded with tiny glass beads, which give it dimension, texture and sparkle. In the 2nd photo, you can see how the beads shimmer when the light hits them.

This wallpaper is by Antonia Vella, for York Wallcoverings. It is a non-woven material and is a paste-the-wall product. It is very thick and stiff, and difficult to manipulate, and very hard to cut through, especially the beads. Used lots of razor blades today.

I hung it in a powder room in the Rice Military neighborhood of Houston. The interior designer is Pamela O’Brien of Pamela Hope designs.

Wallpapering an Art Niche

May 18, 2017

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I went to this home to measure a powder room. But as I walked out of the powder room, I saw this art niche. Art niches are just made for wallpaper. So I suggested the idea to the homeowner – and she loved it.

She chose the same paper for the art niche as was used in the powder room, which helps give the home a cohesive look.

This is a textured, glass bead wallpaper in a muted color scheme. It serves as a backdrop, not a focal point, so the statue really stands out. Note that there is a tall base for the statue, that will raise it up so it fills the art niche more effectively.

The wallpaper is by Antonia Vella for York Wallcoverings. The home is a townhome in the Rice Military area of Houston. The interior designer for the job is Pamela O’Brien of Pamela Hope designs.

Mirror “Tar” Will Bleed Through Wallpaper – Prevention

May 17, 2017

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Originally, this powder room in a newish townhome in the Rice Military neighborhood of Houston had a mirror that was glued to the wall. Removing it left globs of mastic (tar-like adhesive) stuck to the wall. See Photo 1.

Mastic is petroleum-based, and it, like other similar substances such as grease, oil, and crayon, as well as other compounds like blood, rust, water, tobacco tar, and others, will work their way from behind the wallpaper up through it and then onto the surface, causing an unsightly stain.

KILZ Original oil-based primer and stain blocker is a superb product for sealing these substances. However, I feel more confident if the suspect material is removed entirely.

The best way to do this is to take a Stanley knife (utility knife / box cutter) and cut around the stain and into the wall. Then you can use a stiff 3″ putty knife to peel up the top layer of drywall, taking the staining material with it.

This leaves a patch of Sheetrock without its protective top layer. See Photo 3. These layers of torn Sheetrock will absorb moisture from anything you put on top (paint, primer, joint compound, etc.), and will swell, creating ugly bubbles that will mar the finished job.

So I brushed on Gardz, a penetrating sealer / primer by Zinsser. This is cool stuff, because it soaks into the surface and then dries hard, binding everything together.

In Photo 4, I have skim-floated over the areas where I have cut out the mastic. To skim-float, I trowel on a smoothing material called joint compound. Once that is dry, I will go back and sand it smooth, creating a perfectly smooth surface ready to accept the new wallpaper.

Wallpaper Fit For A – Man

May 20, 2016
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My lady clients are usually thrilled at the idea of wallpapering their rooms. Their male companions, on the other hand, are often reluctant, mostly because they think wallpaper is all flowers and chintz and gooey froofroo.

Not anymore – today, there are plenty of gender-neutral selections. Some options are geometric patterns, textured goods, and neutral colors. This paper is a good example of a geometric pattern on a textured medium (grasscloth), in a neutral color.

This finely textured grasscloth is by Phillip Jeffries (pattern #8356), a higher-end brand. There is a bit of a shimmer to the background, and a fuzzy diamond motif imposed on top. In the close-up shot, you can see some of the color variation between strips, that is common with these natural products.

There is also a small bit of fraying at the seams, because when the strips are cut at the factory, the strings are also cut, and, well, there is nothing to hold them down tightly to the paper right at the edges. This is not very noticeable at all from a few feet away.

I hung this in a powder room with 12′ high ceilings in the Rice Military neighborhood of Houston.

Putting Paris On The Map

February 27, 2016
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This install worked out beautifully for both my client and myself. He had his wallpaper in-hand and was ready to have it put up, and I had had some schedule changes and had an open day. I was happy to be able to give him a three-day turn-around.

The mural is by The homeowners travel to Paris a lot, and one of them loves to cook, and the bright colors and map of the city called to him. The mural in the breakfast nook will inspire him while he cooks in the adjoining kitchen.

The home is in Rice Military (central Houston), and the couple is outfitting the home step-by-step, over time, with their own ideas (sans interior decorator). They are doing a fine job. The colors of this Paris map mural coordinate perfectly with the fabrics and artwork in the adjoining living room. And they are purchasing a banquette for the eating area that will be covered with a velour fabric in a dark teal that will perfectly compliment the greens and blues in the mural.

The PhotoWall company displayed the Paris map design on their website, but then was able to custom-adjust it to fit the homeowners’ wall. When doing this, it is important to add 2″ or so to each side of the mural, meaning, a total of 4″ additional height and width, beyond the actual dimensions of the wall.

Needless to say, it’s best to have the paperhanger figure the dimensions and the bleed area of the pattern to be printed, before ordering the mural. In this case, the width was good, allowing an additional 3″ of “ease” (1 1/2″ on either side of the wall). But the height allowed only 1″ of extra paper to be distributed between both top and bottom (a mere 1/2″ at top and 1/2″ at bottom) – which became much more tenuous because the south half of the ceiling line was off-level by 1/4″ over 6′ – which meant that some of Paris could be chopped off, or that some of the tan unprinted area would be left exposed on the wall.

I know, it sounds complicated. Ordering to allow a few extra inches on each side of the mural would have eliminated all this.

But the story has a happy ending, because I was able to plot the layout and position the paper so that none of the pattern was lost at the top or added to at the bottom of the wall.

This is a paste-the-wall product, which is why you see my paste brush and roller hanging on my ladder – so I can grab them easily while applying paste to the wall.

The mural fills the wall with an explosion of color that pulls in colors from adjacent rooms, the Paris theme has significance to both of the homeowners, the price tag was reasonable, and they have a kitchen and dining area that are personalized and meaningful.

My New Toy – the $100 Magnesium Straight Edge

November 9, 2013

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Many metals, like aluminum, will scratch or mar wallpaper; magnesium will not. The width of this tool prevents warping, the weight prevents it from slipping while you’re cutting, and the thickness provides a sturdy brace for your razor blade. This straight edge is used as a guide when trimming the selvedge edge off certain wallpapers – usually the higher end papers.

An interior designer’s client thought her price for wallpaper and my labor were too high, so he’s going to find them on his own. Hmmm. I wonder if the guy he digs out of the Greensheet has invested in a $100 straight edge, or has a van loaded with other specialty tools and pastes, used specifically to hang wallpaper with precision.