Posts Tagged ‘River Oaks’

Smoothing Sandy Textured Wall

September 11, 2018


Walls in the under-the-stairs powder room of this 1945 home in River Oaks (Houston) were covered with a sand-textured paint. The bumps would look awful under the new wallpaper, and would also interfere with good adhesion. So I needed to smooth the walls.

I troweled on drywall joint compound. Because the sand texture was so thick, the smoothing compound needed fans blowing on it overnight to become completely dry.

Once dry, I sanded it smooth. See second photo. Wiped clean of dust and primed, the walls are now ready for wallpaper.

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Soft Seafoam Toile in a River Oaks Powder Room

September 6, 2018


I loves me a vintage home! The sink and black & white tile floor in this under-the-stairs powder room were original to the 1945 home in the River Oaks subdivision of Houston. The homeowner appreciates traditional style, and fell in love with this soft charcoal-on-seafoam toile wallpaper pattern by Stroheim & Roman. I think it’s a perfect choice!

The walls were textured and had to be smoothed before the new paper could go up. (See other posts.) The wallpaper was thicker and stiffer than most, and so the seams showed more than I would have liked. Dim lighting in the room helped with that. 🙂 It also has no protective coating, so the family will have to be careful not to touch the wallpaper (such as when clicking the light switch) and not to splash water on it (such as when reaching for a hand towel).

The homeowner held the wallpaper for a long time before contacting me to “finally” get the room decorated and the paper up. Once the paper was up, both the wife and the husband exclaimed how much they loved the look, and that they needed to find more rooms to wallpaper!

Phillip Jeffries Rivets Grasscloth Wallpaper

June 11, 2017

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The Rivets pattern by Phillip Jeffries is pretty popular in the higher-end market (with lots of knock-offs by less pricy brands). It’s a fairly fine grasscloth with a handsome cross design made of 3D “rivets.” The rivets are made of something like vinyl, and are somewhat difficult to cut with a razor blade or scissors. Thank goodness they are not made of real metal!

I hung this in a small vestibule that leads to a powder room in a home in River Oaks (Houston). When you walk in the front door, this is the first thing you see, and it makes a stellar impression.

This wallpaper 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.

I’m Scared Of This Blue Dot

June 8, 2017

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I am going to hang grasscloth in this large master bedroom in the River Oaks neighborhood of Houston. To smooth the textured walls, I skim-floated the walls with “mud” (joint compound). As I was sanding the compound smooth, I discovered this small blue spot. It might be ink. Or maybe some cleaning solution, or a cosmetic or perfume, or some other agent. SOMEthing was on the wall before I applied the smoothing compound, and bled through.

Whatever it is, it worked its way through the smoothing compound and up onto the wall surface. If a substance works its way through the wall surfaces, you can be sure that it will also work its way through the new wallpaper.

To prevent this, there are a couple of options. One is to cover the area with a stain-blocking sealer. I love oil-based KILZ Original. Another product is BIN by Zinsser, or 123 also by Zinsser.

But in this case, since it is just a tiny dot, I decided to use a Stanley knife to dig out the stain. Gone. Done. No worries about anything bleeding through the wallpaper.

If the new wallpaper had a smooth surface, I would patch over the hole and sand the area smooth, and spot-prime. But since the new wallpaper is a rough-textured grasscloth, this 1/4″ dent in the wall will not be noticeable, so I’m going to leave it as it is. Tomorrow, before hanging paper, I will double check to be sure no additional blue stain has worked its way out from hiding.

Beautiful Custom Mural in River Oaks Dining Room

June 7, 2017

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This beautiful mural was custom-sized to fit the walls in this dining room in River Oaks (Houston). The house was built in 1940, and this is the style of mural that was fashionable at that time, in well-to-do homes in that neighborhood. It still is perfectly suited for today!

My friend Theron Moore, of WallWorks, hung this mural.

Wallpaper on the Azalea Trail Home Tour, 2017, pt II

March 15, 2017

I attended the Azalea Trail Home Tour yesterday, which took me to four homes in the rather exclusive neighborhood of River Oaks (Houston). As always, I was scrutinizing the wallpaper.

One traditional style home had a very classic design of wallpaper (sort of a damask) in the dining room. Ever since I attended a Wallcovering Installers Association convention seminar years ago on “balancing” wallpaper patterns, I have been obsessed with the concept. This means that you position a dominant feature of the pattern so that it is centered on the wall. (Do a Search here to see some of my previous posts.) Normally, you can do this once in a room. Thereafter, the pattern has to fall on subsequent walls as it comes off the roll.

But in this dining room, there were about three walls that had the pattern centered. It looked wonderful, because the design was centered on a main focal wall between two windows, and again on an adjacent wall behind the buffet, an then on another wall that was highly visible.

Now, how can this happen?

I really studied the room. And I realized that all the draperies in the room reached way above the windows to the ceiling. And the drapery fabric and hardware pretty much filled up the entire space over the windows. Meaning that, the drapes would hide anything that was above the windows.

Meaning that, if the paperhanger chose, he could place the pattern as he wanted on the walls, and then mis-match the wallpaper pattern over the windows, knowing that it would be hidden from view. Then he could move on to the next section of wall and place the pattern as he wanted.

This trick worked nicely in this room, because the wallpaper design and color, as well as the draperies and hardware were all amenable.

It also took collaboration from the very planning stages, between the interior designer and the wallpaper installer, and also including input from the drapery lady and the hardware installer.

Wallpaper on the Azalea Trail Home Tour, 2017, pt I

March 14, 2017

Yesterday, I went on the Azalea Trail Home Tour, which is in the “toney” River Oaks neighborhood of Houston. Not many of the homes had wallpaper, but I was intrigued by those that did.

One home had paper in its powder room. It was a tone-on-tone neutral colored floral in a vertical pattern and a not-too-serious feel. What’s cool is that the pattern continued up and onto the ceiling. But the ceiling was curved, which is not conducive to wallpaper. And furthermore, the floral pattern went up onto the ceiling, but it faded out as it crept up higher onto the surface.

I looked and looked and studied that room for a long time – and finally realized that the wallpaper stopped at the ceiling line. The floral pattern that continued up and onto the ceiling was not wallpaper, but very skillfully painted motifs.

The colors of both the background and the flowers were spot-on, the artist had shaped the petals and stems almost perfectly, and had even recreated the thickness of the paint and the brush strokes used to make the petals.

It was an immensely skillful and artistic job, and was a real pleasure to see.

Sweet Fairy Tale for a Baby Girl’s Bathroom

November 26, 2016
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This mother is crazy about her just-learning-to-walk daughter, and wanted to do something special for the little girl’s room, starting with the bathroom.

Originally, the mother was pretty sure she wanted pink and white stripes. On our initial consultation, I assured her that stripes are classic and safe. Then I encouraged her to explore more options – there is a whole world out there of wallpaper patterns suitable for children, from sweet little girls to raucous boys to patterns that will remain appropriate from toddlerhood through the teen years.

I am glad that she took my advice. And she is, too. In fact, she is positively thrilled with the soft color and sweet charm of this storybook wallpaper pattern. Look closely, and you will love it, too!

This wallpaper is in the Jane Churchill line, by Cowtan & Tout, a British company. The design features Winnie the Pooh and friends, and is called “One Hundred Acre Wood.” It comes in several colors, it is positively adorable, and, in fact, I have another client who is planning to use this same paper and colorway in a few weeks.

This wallpaper pattern is printed on what we call a British “pulp paper” stock, and will stay nice and tight to the wall, even under humid conditions. There is no vinyl coating, though, as with many American alternatives, so staining is a possablity. To prevent this, the homeowners must be careful not to touch the paper with their hands or splash water onto the paper while using the sink.

I hung this cute story book toile pattern in pink-on-white in a little girls’ bathroom in a newish home in River Oaks. This wallpaper is by Cowtan & Tout, and was bought at a discounted 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.

A Soft Backdrop Wallpaper

September 29, 2016
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Located in River Oaks (Houston), this 1940 home had been completely gutted and renovated. Now the whole house has a serene, clean, open look. The living room was originally painted a semi-gloss white. It went with the look, but was rather sterile.

Interior decorator Elizabeth Mann helped the homeowner find this wallpaper, in a soft, mossy green, with narrow vertical blocks of irregular shape and shade. It was custom made, and was sold by the yard (instead of by the roll). Like many high-end papers, it had to be hand-trimmed, to remove the selvedge edge, as you see in the last photo.

The gentle color and subtle pattern are just enough to snug up the room, and will be a wonderful backdrop for furniture and artwork.

From Dark and Traditional to Bright and Contemporary

July 28, 2016
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Here is a dramatic change! This master bathroom in a River Oaks (Houston) home was originally papered with the classic Empire Star (I’m betting the manufacturer was Osborn & Little, a higher-end British company). It was beautiful.

But it didn’t suit the new homeowners’ taste.

At first, I thought their new selection was too “mod” for the traditional bones of their home. But once it started going up, boy, was it clear that this was a wonderful choice!

The paper has just a bit of sparkle and shimmer, but is understated and serves well as a backdrop for the couple’s nautical-themed artwork. More important, it is light in color, and it reflects light, so it really brightens up the whole room. The pictures include shots of the outer sink room, and the toilet cubbyhole room.

The wallpaper is by DecorLine, and is a paste-the-wall non-woven product, and was purchased from Sherwin-Williams.