Posts Tagged ‘sheen’

Shimmery Geometric in a Bellaire Powder Room (Harvey Flooded House)

November 25, 2018

I wallpapered the nurseries for this client in her two previous homes. (Don’t ask me how old the kids are now! 🙂 ) Her current home in Bellaire was flooded during Hurricane Harvey. During the rebuild, this homeowner took the occasion to freshen and update the look of her ’90’s era home.

This shiny, curvy geometric wallpaper pattern fills the bill perfectly. The soft silver color compliments the new distressed grey wood-look floor tiles, and the sheen and design play wonderfully off the new contemporary chandelier (sorry, no picture!).

I usually have a long lead time, but this client was planning to host a party early next month and wanted her paper up, so I figured it was better to stay away from Black Friday shopping and hang wallpaper instead. 🙂 The homeowner was out of town, but she was able to let me in each day via remote-access, and I had the privilege of working in peace and quiet with no distractions or worries about disturbing the family.

That peace and quiet enabled me to do some intricate things… things that make the job look better, but that the average person wouldn’t be able to put a finger on. Like I say … something that is easy to LOOK at, but that was tricky and time consuming for me to PLOT AND EXECUTE.

For instance, you will notice that the wallpaper pattern is balanced / centered perfectly behind the sink / faucet. And that funny little alcove that the toilet is recessed into (what architect thinks these things up, to accentuate the toilet with it’s own little niche?!)… It took a fair amount of engineering to lay everything out so that the pattern would fall evenly above the niche and then down either side. Then the back wall was hung, with care taken that the pattern matched up with the pattern on the header above, as well as the walls on either side.

This meant that the pattern DIDN’T match on either the right or left corners inside the niche, nor the horizontal corner at the top back. But these areas are not very noticeable. I felt it was more important to make the pattern match when it is seen by someone who is standing outside the room and walking in – which is the view you see in the photograph.

This room also had another “hidden corner” (not shown) where I elected to allow the pattern to not match. This gave me the freedom to balance / center the design on the vanity and sink, and, as explained above, in the toilet niche.

Hard to explain, and hard for you readers to follow and envision. But the end result is a room with several perfectly balanced focal points, and a really professional look. I am so happy that I was able to invest the time to pull all this together. The finished room looks amazing.

This wallpaper pattern is by York, in their “Designer Series.” It is a textured vinyl product on a thin, flexible non-woven backing, and was a joy to work with. It was pretty resistant to creases, and it will hold up against water splashes better than other types of paper – a good choice for this powder room. It is designed to strip off the wall easily down the road when it’s time to redecorate. I have hung this twice before, in two different colors.

This wallpaper 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.


Large Silvery Metallic Damask in a Down-Sized Home’s Powder Room

September 22, 2018

Apologies for the bad pictures of a beautiful paper!

This couple lost their home in Kingwood (northeast Houston) to the flooding from Hurricane Harvey. They relocated to a new-but-smaller spec house in Somerset Green near central Houston, and are using interior designer Anthony Stransky of L Design Group to decorate their new home, while giving their traditional taste a tad more modern feel.

Damask wallpaper patterns are quite traditional, but the large scale and metallic sheen of this particular selection bring it into the modern age. And the over-sized pattern fills the walls nicely, in this sizeable powder room with 10′ high ceilings.

The pattern is in the Anna French collection by Thibaut Designs. It is printed on a thickish non-woven material. I usually prefer thin papers, but this was quite nice to work with. It didn’t crease like many N-W papers do, the seams were practically invisible, and, once pasted and softened, it was flexible and stretchable enough to accommodate some pretty un-straight and un-plumb walls.

This non-woven paper could have been hung using the paste-the-wall method. But I prefer the pliability that comes when the material itself is pasted. Plus, pasting the material definitely makes it easier when working around pedestal sinks and behind toilets.

The builder coated the walls of this large powder room with a bland dark tan paint. These homeowners had never used wallpaper before, but, once they went for the interior design team’s suggestion, there was no learning curve – They LOVE the newly papered powder room!

Anthony Stransky and founder Neal Leboeuf of L Design Group serve the entire Houston metropolitan area. They assist homeowners with interior design, new home buyers with all choices such as flooring, faucets, window coverings, fixtures, etc., and – when they get breathing room – they do events planning. Super guys, energetic and fun, with a look that’s modern and fun, with an urban edge. See them in a summer 2018 issue of Houston House & Home magazine – on the cover and in a story inside.

Mid Century Modern Bookshelves Get Grasscloth on Back

May 6, 2018

This 1960 ranch style home in the Westbury neighborhood of Houston is like a time capsule of Mid Century Modern design. The doors, windows, moldings, cabinetry, and even most of the bathrooms are original – and in mint condition. The homeowners love the look, and wanted to honor that, while updating some of the rooms. Grasscloth was all the rage in the ’60’s, so it was the perfect choice for the backs of these bookshelves in the family room.

I have to tell ya, covering this beautiful, original, perfectly maintained 1960 wood paneling with mud and a primer just about killed me. But since the wallcovering choice was grasscloth, the new look would be in keeping with the original feel of the house.

I don’t usually like grasscloth, because of the color variations (and many more reasons – do a Search – upper right corner) – But I was pleased with today’s product. The color was very uniform, and the material was very soft and pliable, as well as thin. It turned corners nicely and hugged the wall tightly.

This particular grasscloth has a bit more of a “nubby” texture than those with straight reeds, and this one had a nice sheen, too.

I wanted to avoid getting paste on that pristine wood, because I was afraid it might not wipe off without leaving residue, and also because I didn’t want to run a damp rag along the grasscloth, for fear of staining or bleeding. So I used my craft store cutting mat and a couple of different straightedges, to pre-trim the pieces to perfect right angels, so they would fit into the bookshelf alcoves, and also butt up against one another precisely.

I also used blue plastic tape (not shown) on the edges of certain pieces, to keep paste off the wood bookcase.

This grasscloth wallpaper is by Phillip Jeffries, a higher-end brand, 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.

Flooded and Updated

April 26, 2018

At first glance, there is nothing wrong with the original striped wallpaper in this dining room of a home in the Champions area of Houston. In fact, it has been performing well for nearly 30 years. The only problem is that it’s outdated.

This home was damaged by the flooding that came with Hurricane Harvey last year. So while the homeowners were replacing floors and drywall and appliances, they decided to replace and update the dining room wallpaper, too.

This damask / trellis pattern has some unusual shading effects. From certain angles, it looks like there is a shadowy stripe running vertically through the design. But from another angle, you see an alternating depth of color (light, dark) running horizontally.

In addition, the printed design of the wallpaper has a metallic sheen to it. This adds life and energy to the room, and also ensures that the dining room feels young and up to date.

The homeowner thoughtfully chose the blue-green color paint at the bottom of the wall, to coordinate with the wallpaper. The darker color at the bottom of the walls helps ground and balance the room.

This wallpaper pattern is by York, and has a “raised ink” texture. It 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.

Shimmery Silver Trees in a Bellaire (Houston) Bedroom

April 1, 2018

Accent walls in bedrooms are popular right now, but I’m also getting calls for papering entire bedrooms. These pictures show that a subtle pattern and muted color pallet can work beautifully on all four walls.

The color has a silvery sheen, and the pattern has a fun, upward movement. The homeowner wants to do something “Bohemian” with the bedding and other furnishings. She promised to send me photos, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what she comes up with.

She also said, “This looks so good, I want to keep papering more and more rooms.”

The paper is by Exclusive Wallcoverings, and is a non-woven material. It can be applied by the paste-the-wall method, or by pasting the paper. I pasted the paper, because it makes it more pliable and because it affords that paper a chance to expand if it wants to.

This wallpaper 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.

A Whale of a Fun Paper

March 8, 2018

This whimsical wallpaper went in the powder room of an updated townhouse in the Midtown / Montrose area of Houston. The paper is a non-woven material and is intended to be hung by the paste-the-wall method. I had great results by pasting the paper instead.

The paper has a pearlized, somewhat metallic sheen, and was a bit delicate – the surface could be damaged by abrading, overworking, or creasing.

The manufacturer is Cole & Son, a British company. The name of the pattern is “Melville.”

Pearlized Chinoiserie Blends Historic With Contemporary

February 11, 2018

Chinoiseries (Oriental-themed patterns) date back hundreds of years. But they can be adapted for modern tastes, too. The muted colors and pearlized shimmer of this design by Thibaut fit right in with this young couple’s furnishings and with the architecture of their Briargrove (Tanglewood) area home in Houston.

The largish powder room originally had a Venetian plaster type finish on the walls, and it was painted a glossy one-color grey. Suffice it to say, the room was downright unattractive.

I smoothed the walls and applied a primer. As the paper started to go up, the homeowner exclaimed, “I didn’t expect the wallpaper to make the room look bigger. But it DOES!” She also loved the pattern, and the oh-so-very-subtle pearly sheen.

Shiny, Orange, Woven Grasscloth in an Entryway

February 9, 2017
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Here is a large art niche in an entry in a newish home in the Rice University / Museum District area of Houston. The homeowner was originally considering wallpaper for her powder room and office, but when I suggested papering this niche, she quickly agreed, seeing how it would bring color and life to the home’s entryway.

This woven grasscloth is a different take on the traditional grass product with horizontal reeds. It is also more uniform in color, with none of the shading and paneling and color variations between strips. And, because the backing appears to be a plastic material, instead of the typical paper, it has an appealing sheen.

The woven pattern hides the seams a little, but, as with all natural products like this, the pattern could not be matched at the seams, so all the seams show. After I did a little trimming and tweaking, the first seam looked pretty good. The second seam, however, looked good at the top of the wall, but started to show unpleasantly as it moved down toward the floor. This is because the grass fibers at the edge of the strip moved away from the edge, so there was a wider-than-the-eye-wants-to-see strip of orange at the edge. It showed up more in person, but you can kind of see it in one of the photos.

This is typical of grasscloth, and not considered a defect. However, since there were only two seams on this wall, the one seam that had wide spaces of orange was very obvious.

I needed three strips of paper for this 10′ high wall, and the two double rolls had already given me three. I had one 10′ strip left, which would be good to keep on hand in case of damage or repairs in the future. But I thought that a better looking seam would be more important than the possibility of replacing a strip years down the road. So I ripped off that third strip, and then I took the remaining paper and cut a new strip.

The reason the seam was visible was because too much orange was showing at the seam. It needed more of the vertical grass fiber. So I took my straightedge and trimmed the new strip of grasscloth to eliminate any orange, and to leave a vertical strip of the tan grass fiber along the entire edge. I worried that this strip of tan grass would be too wide when it butted up against the previous strip already on the wall, with its tan grass at its edge, by creating a double-width of tan grass fiber. But it ended up that the double width of tan grass was far less noticeable than the double width of orange, and the seam turned out nearly invisible. The last two photos show a distant and a close up shot.

All this fussing and futzing was called for because the wall had only three strips of grasscloth and only two seams, and because the first seam looked good, so the second seam had to look equally good. And because we had extra paper to get that extra strip out of.

But had this been a larger room with many seams, and without lots of extra paper to tear off the wall and replace with new, the homeowner would have had to live with very visible seams that showed extra widths of orange, or seams that showed double widths of tan grass fibers. If the whole room looked like this, the look would be uniform, and would not be offensive. It is what’s called, “The inherent beauty of the natural product.”

One other point about this particular product – There was a little bubbling as the paper dried. Since the material has the plasticized backing that gave the appealing sheen, that same plastic backing allows no where for air to dissipate to when the paper dries, so it “off gasses,” leaving bubbles under the paper. I was able to poke tiny holes to let the gas escape. But I prefer grasscloth that is sewn onto a traditional paper backing, because it “breathes” and allows moisture to pass through it, letting the material lie good and tight against the wall.

This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, 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.

Balancing Act on a TV Wall

July 31, 2016
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Here is a fireplace / TV wall in a great room in a newish home in the Galleria area of Houston. (The flat screen TV has been removed, leaving the bracket, which I have wrapped in plastic to protect it from dust and paste.) Yesterday I smoothed the walls; today I am ready to hang the paper, this beautiful silvery metallic damask by Graham & Brown.

This wall presents an interesting challenge, because it is divided into three distinct areas – the recessed center area where the TV hangs, and the two flanking full-height areas. The main damask figure is large and prominent, and I wanted it to be a focal point on the walls. But, depending on where I started, some of it would get cut off, in particular at either side of the full-height walls.

If I centered the pattern in the TV alcove, then by the time it wrapped its way around the alcove walls and onto the two side walls, it would be off-center, and some part of it would be cut in half when it reached the far wall.

But if I centered it on one of the full-height walls, by the time it wound its way into and around the TV alcove, and then around and onto the next full-height wall, the pattern would be all off kilter.

What I wanted to do was to center the pattern on EACH of those three walls. But that would be impossible… Unless – I treated each wall as an independent wall, and not worry about matching the pattern from wall to alcove to wall. I liked this idea, and it was the perfect wall to do it with, because the inner corner of the TV alcove is pretty hidden, and you really wouldn’t notice a pattern mis-match way back in there.

So, I got the go-ahead from the homeowner to mis-match the pattern in those two corners, and then went to work plotting the layout.

Treating each wall separately, I rejected my first idea, which was to center the damask pattern down the middle of each full-height wall, because it would mean cutting the design off at about 1/3 on the far side of each wall. This also would have left me with a narrow strip of paper wrapping around the bull-nosed rounded corner on the outside of the TV alcove, which would be prone to warping and gapping and not adhering well.

Instead, by placing it where I did (see photos), I was able to get four of the motifs horizontally on the wall, with only a negligible amount cut off on the far side. It also gave me a nice-sized strip to wrap around into the inner sides of the TV alcove, which would give a good edge for the next strip to butt up against.

I treated the back wall of the TV alcove as a separate wall, not trying to match the pattern to the design that was on the wrapped walls of the alcove. By centering the motif, I was able to get three full horizontal repeats of the design, with nothing cut off at the right or left side.

From a distance, the overall look is quite pleasing. And you definitely do not notice that the pattern does not match inside those deep corners inside the TV alcove. Once the TV is back in place and the football game is on, no one will ever think twice about any wallpaper pattern mis-match.

The homeowner said she is really in to symmetry and balance, and she did notice how I had plotted all this out, and it pleased her, and she appreciated the time and effort.

This wallpaper is by Graham & Brown, has a metallic sheen, and was a paper rather than the non-woven stock they print on a lot these days. This paper was nice to work with. It was bought on-line.