Posts Tagged ‘serena & lily’

Serena & Lily “Meadowsweet” Defines Breakfast Nook

July 12, 2020


Apologies for the dark photos. It’s the best my elementary phone camera can do. But look closely at the second photo, and you can see the pattern wrapping around the windows.

Here’s another home where all the walls were originally white. You can see how a little pattern and color add personality, definition, and warmth.

This swirly wallpaper pattern was chosen in a soft hue, so when you look at the breakfast nook from a distance, it feels snug and warm, but still light enough to fit into the home’s crisp white vernacular.

The space looks small and simple, yet took me at least six hours. There was a lot of intricacy involved in getting around the windows, and keeping the pattern intact.

Serena & Lily is one of my favorite brands. One of their catalogs came in the mail recently, and maybe that is why – I’ve had a rash of clients these days using this brand.

The home is in the Bellaire neighborhood of Houston.

This Worries Me – Mildew??

July 8, 2020


These little specs of brownish red, and also circular patterns of a powdery grey/black substance, were dispersed throughout the backing of the Serena & Lily grasscloth I hung today.

What worries me is that they look like mildew that I have encountered in homes that have moisture problems. And mold and mildew can work their way through wallpaper, causing discoloration, and even interfering with adhesion.

Possibly the factory is not climate-controlled, and mildew was able to get a foothold on some of their product??

Let’s hope that my worries are unfounded. Only time will tell.

Warping Wallpaper – Grasscloth

June 17, 2020

Well, this was a first for me. I can’t say that I remember having a grasscloth that stretched and warped out of shape this badly.

What’s odd is that, after I pasted and booked the wallpaper, it was perfectly lined up and flat. It was only after the paper had sat for the resting period, and then I unfolded it and took it to the wall, that it started warping out of shape.

My first strip laid against the wall nice and flat, but did not line up against my laser level’s red beam, moving to the left the farther down the wall the strip went. The subsequent strip to its right, naturally, would not butt up against the first strip. However, this second strip did line up against the laser plumb line, on both the right and left sides. So I left it on the wall.

But I had to tear off and discard that first strip.

I had problems with many of the strips. As you can see, there was major warping and wrinkling. I was unable to smooth out most of these warps.

Some of my colleagues have suggested that my trimmed edges were not straight. And I admit that I sense that my ($200!) straightedge is not true (perfectly straight). But a 1/8″ discrepancy over a 9′ drop should not result in wrinkles of this magnitude.

I think that the substrate that S&L is using is absorbing moisture from the paste unevenly, and thus creating the warps and twists.

The only way I could make this work was to do a double-cut (spliced seam). I smoothed the grasscloth onto the wall as best I could, even though both the right and left edges still presented wrinkles.

I carefully pulled away from the wall the left edge of the previous strip (having applied extra paste, to keep everything wet and “open”). Between that edge of the strip and the wall, I placed a “Boggess Strip,” (invented by a fellow WIA member) which is a thin strip of 2″ wide polyethelyne plastic, that will protect the wall from my razor blade.

Now hanging the next grasscloth strip, I then covered the underside of the right (wrinkled) edge with blue plastic tape (also invented by the same WIA genius member). This would keep paste off the surface of the strip I was overlapping it onto. Then I smoothed the paper onto the wall, allowing the right side of the strip to overlap on top of the previous strip, by 1.5″.

I worked out wrinkles as best as I could, but some insisted on remaining. I then took my EuniTool straightedge (invented by yet another WIA member), and used it as a guide, along with the red light line from my laser level, and a new, fresh razor blade, to cut a straight, plumb line between the edges of the two strips.

The grasscloth was thick, and I had to press really hard to cut through both layers. The Boggess strip prevented scoring into the wall. This is important, because an un-intact wall can delaminate under the stress of drying / shrinking wallpaper, and this can cause the seams to pop open.

Back to the double-cut. Once the cut was done, I removed the plastic Boggess strip from the wall, and the protective blue plastic tape from the edge of the grasscloth, as well as the two excess strips of paper that I had just cut off. (Do a Search here to see pics and read more about the double cut / splice process.)

I could then smooth the newly-cut edges of the two strips together.

All this takes a lot of time.

I still had more strips to hang – and each required the same procedure. You only have so much “open” time before a piece of wallpaper starts sticking to the wall and cannot be jacked around with anymore.

I had to jump to the left edge of the current strip I was working with, and add a Boggess strip behind it. And then I had to paste and book my next strip, and apply some blue tape to the area that would overlap the previous strip. Wait a few minutes for it to book and absorb the paste.

Then repeat the double cutting procedure used on the first strip.

All this caught me off guard, and it threw off my engineering of the wall and my planned width of the strips. It also took a lot more time … I spent 5 hours hanging just these 5 strips.

Bottom line – I got ‘er done … But I am definitely NOT going to recommend Serena & Lily grasscloth to future clients.

And I am VERY grateful to my WIA colleagues for inventing tools and gadgets that help with these tricky situations, which I’m glad I bought and had stashed in my van, and for sharing their knowledge and experiences so I knew what techniques I might try.

Serena & Lily Silvery Grasscloth on Master Bedroom Accent Wall

June 15, 2020


Every wall of this brand-new home in the Houston ‘burbs is WHITE. The homeowners have opted to warm up their master bedroom – as well as add a little dazzle – with this silver metallic-backed grasscloth by Serena & Lily.

I have striped on the wall with a similar-hued paint, where the seams will fall, so any gaps between strips will not show white wall primer.

Note that with grasscloth, there is no pattern to be matched, so you will always see the seams. The S&L grasscloth I have hung has been pretty homogeneous in color, as you see above, so not much paneling or shading as with other brands and posts I have done.

Still, this was NOT an easy install. See future post(s) for info.

The home is in the brand new Pomona subdivision in Manvel, south of Pearland, both a bit southeast of Houston.

Serena & Lily Feather in Guest Bathroom

June 13, 2020

Serena & Lily’s “Feather” – a very popular design. In fact, besides today’s install, I have three other clients considering using this pattern.

S&L makes nice paper, and I enjoy hanging it.

This home is in a new subdivision called Pomono, in Manvel, which is south of Pearland (southeast Houston).

Perky Serena & Lily Luna Stripe Brightens Energy Corridor Entryway

May 9, 2020


What a lively change this airy pattern brings to the front entry in the home of this busy young family. I suggested they paint the wall space below the chair rail a navy blue – that contrast will really make both the moldings and the wallpaper stand out.

I hope they send me a photo when it’s done!

The wallpaper pattern is called “Luna Stripe” and is by Serena & Lily, one of my favorite brands. The home is on the west side of Houston.

Flaw of the Day – Smudges on Serena & Lily “Feather”

March 23, 2020


I usually love Serena & Lily papers, but was disappointed today to find an entire double-roll bolt with this printing defect. (enlarge the photo if you need to)

At first, I thought it would look OK on the wall. But different areas of the bolt had more visible smudges, so I had to discard the whole thing.

Luckily, because of the pattern match and the height of the wall, I was able to get an extra strip out of the remaining good bolts, so I had enough to finish the project (barely).

Serena & Lily “Feather” In Boy’s Bedroom

March 20, 2020


I like Serena & Lily papers, and their “Feather” is one of their most popular. Here it is in navy in the bedroom of a young boy in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston.

The room presented some challenges, but the pattern was accommodating. It took a whole lot of time, but when I finished, it looked great.

The 4-square house was built about 1920. In the ensuing years, the house has shifted. Which is a nice way of saying that the floors and ceilings are not level, and the walls are not plumb.

I started to center the pattern on a plumb line between the two windows. But a plumb line is plumb, and the window moldings were not, so the wallpaper pattern would have started going crooked along the windows and ceilings. So instead of lining my first strip up against a plumb line, I carefully placed it to straddle an area equidistant between the two windows.

This took a lot of measuring, a lot of repositioning, and a lot of trips up and down the ladder. And, yes, I even had the strip in place, trimmed, and done – and then realized that it was a tad off. So I pulled it off the wall and moved it over by a scant 3/16 of an inch. The effort paid off, because, as you can see in the first photo, the design is perfectly centered between the two windows, from ceiling to floor.

The next full strip hung to the right of the window on the right (no photo). This wall was way off-plumb, and was shaped more like a trapezoid than a rectangle. My job was to keep the pattern looking straight along the window frame on its left, as well as straight along the door frame to its right.

The only way I could do this was to slice the strip apart vertically, cutting along the vertical “stripes” in the design. Then I aligned the pattern to the left and right moldings. In between, I overlapped the “stripes,” distributing the discrepancy in widths between the sections. In this way, I accommodated for more than an inch of difference in width between the top and bottom of the wall. This did create a slight vertical ridge under the stripes, but it was disguised by the stripes themselves. And a little difference in thickness of the wallpaper looks a whole lot better than a crooked pattern.

To the right of that was a wide closet door. I hung the three strips over the door, and the pattern was placed perfectly. Yet when I stepped back and looked at it, the design looked horribly crooked.

I finally figured out that the ceiling and door moldings were not perfectly perpendicular to each other. In fact, there was a full 3/4″ difference in height between the left and right side of the area. This trapezoid shape was causing the strips to look crooked, even if they were not.

Again, my solution was to cut the paper apart vertically along the “stripes,” and overlap as needed, to make my strips look plumb.

I employed this trick as needed in other areas of the room.

The design itself was very helpful. The vertical “stripes” were not straight, so nothing had to be exactly-dactly straight or plumb. And the “V”s at the top of the wall were also irregular, as were the positioning of the diagonal lines, so I had flexibility in how high or low to place my pattern.

Throwing another wrench into the works was the fact that we had two different runs to work with (do a Search here to learn about that), plus one double roll bolt that was defective and could not be used, which meant I had to figure out how to make 10 rolls cover 12 rolls’ worth of wall space.

Another obstacle was placing the wallpaper against the stained shiplap wall – without getting paste onto the rough, un-cleanable wood. And let’s not forget to mention the “industrial” metal pipe that hung 1/2″ from the wall I was papering.

I used two tricks for this. One was using my Boggess blue cut tape to protect the wooden wall. The other again involved using the trim-along-the-stripe-and-overlap-new-strip-as-needed technique. Too intricate to explain, especially without photos. But it was a good trick and the perfect solution to ending the paper at the wooden wall.

Sounds complicated. It WAS! It took me 10 hours (3+ hours per wall) to get these 10 single rolls up.

When all was said and done, though, the room looked fantastic. All ready for the young boy to move in!

Other parts of the room have a heavy “industrial modern” look – exposed pipe, weathered metal light fixtures, unpainted original shiplap wood. The interior designer is Stacie Cokinos of Cokinos Design.

Serena & Lily “Priano” in Spring Branch Powder Room

August 17, 2019


All-white is always boring, so the powder room in this brand-new home in the Spring Branch neighborhood of Houston needed some personality and warmth. The homeowner chose this popular “Priano” wallpaper pattern by Serena & Lily.

The pattern has movement, but it’s gentle because there are just two soft colors tightly entwined in a loosely repetitive pattern.

In addition to being pretty, it’s a lovely paper to work with, and it will hold up well in their powder room.

This home is a new-build, and the walls are covered in a fairly heavy texture. Since the homeowner knew she wanted the powder room wallpapered, she wisely made sure the builder did not texture that room. Because I did not have to smooth the walls, this saved her a day of labor charges.

Guys don’t usually get too excited about decorating, but this husband really loved the new look. They’re even thinking about doing another room! 🙂

Wallpaper Warming Up Rooms in August 2019 Southern Living Magazine

July 19, 2019


The first is called “Indian Flower” by Jasper, and I hung this very pattern a few months ago in a dining room.

The blue & white floral is called “Dianthus Chintz” by Soane Britain.

Third photo – the wallpaper’s on the ceiling! It’s “Santa Barbara Ikat” by Schumacher.

Blue powder room features Meg Braff Designs’ “Little Egypt.” Serena & Lily has one very similar to this. I love their paper, and it’s at a much lower price-point.

The horizontal (railroaded) stripe is a take on the current trend for exposed shiplap wood.

Last photo shows Clay McLaurin Studio’s “Santiago” in a very feminine bathroom.

Note that most of the wallpaper patterns you see in photo shoots like this are going to be higher-end products. Like I like to say, for every expensive company making an enviable design, there is someone else making a knock-off at a more affordable price.

See my page to the right for where to buy wallpaper in Houston.