Posts Tagged ‘shimmer’

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.

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Metallic Cork Married With Earthy Cork Breathes New Life Into A ’70’s Living Room

October 13, 2017

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This 1967 home in a unique neighborhood in Pasadena (Houston) is like a time capsule. It’s a little larger and nicer than the typical ranch-style houses of that era. And just about everything in it was original when my clients bought it … terrazzo floors, dental crown molding, upholstered wall panels in the dining room, diamond paned windows, French Provincial painted iron stairway railing, heavy pleated drapes, and much more.

The homeowners love the look and want to preserve as much as possible. But they also want the home to live a little more modern, and they want it to work with the lifestyle of their young – and very busy – family. They’ve already done a fabulous redo of the kitchen that still respects the era and feel of the home’s bones.

Now it’s time to update the living room. Enter – wallpaper! They used the same grey-brown, wood-look floor tile that they put in the kitchen. They kept the chair rail molding that runs around the room. A sliding barn-style door was custom made to divide the living room from the dining room, and it immediately became the focal point of the room.

Wallpaper was the next element … The couple wanted something earthy, yet elegant, and it had to meld with the vintage theme of the house.

They fell in love with a dark brown cork wallcovering enhanced with metallic accents called Enchanted Woods, by Phillip Jeffries. Whoops! – that brand is crazy expensive! My source (below) found them something nearly identical, but at a much more reasonable price. This dark brown material was used on the bottom 1/3 of the walls, below the chair rail. I was able to railroad this product (run it horizontally, instead of vertically), which eliminated seams. (Sorry, I did not get any photos of this.)

For the upper 2/3 of the wall space, they went with a silver metallic cork wallpaper embellished with a classic damask pattern in white. This is a classy, traditional look jazzed up by a luscious shimmery sheen.

The husband was worried that the dark cork at the bottom of the walls would visually occlude the barn door. At first, I tended to agree with him. But once the cork went up, it was clear that the door still stood out as a dominant feature in the room. Furthermore, it was apparent that the dark band of brown cork was needed all around the room, to balance the visual heft of that massive sliding barn door and to bring continuity to the remaining three walls.

As for the upper 2/3 of the walls, there is no question that the barn door stands out against the silver and white damask cork wallpaper. In addition, the natural texture of the cork coordinates nicely with the stained wood of the door.

Cork wallpaper, especially the metallic colors, is pretty popular right now, and I’ve hung a fair amount of it. But this room was the most challenging. Cork is thick and stiff, and does not want to turn corners (In fact, the instructions say you should not attempt to turn outside corners, but should, instead, cover the corners with wooden molding.), nor is it easy to fit around intricate moldings, and it will give a lot of argument when you try to bend it into a small, tight spot. This room had many of those features!

There was one wall that had two trim-less windows that had reveals (and outside corners) to be covered with the cork material, plus four points of wainscoting trim to cut around, as well as two sections of drapery valances to manipulate the stiff material up and under and into. This wall alone took me 4 1/2 hours to paper!

The rest of the room was easier, but still had its challenges. The cork material is thick and stiff and won’t push tightly against moldings or into corners, which means you have to work extra hard and make several cuts before it will sit snugly against the molding or corner. When trimming around intricate moldings (like the edges of the chair rail), you can’t see or feel where the cuts should be made, so you have to inch your way along, taking a bit here and a sliver there. I estimate that each of the six chair rail edges took me at least 15 minutes – each.

The metallic sheen made it difficult to see the pattern, so it took longer than usual to plot and cut strips.

Cork wallcovering is pretty thick, and you have to expect that the seams will show, just as they do with other natural materials, such as grasscloth. Depending on where you stand in the room, the seams on this product are either invisible, or fairly noticeable. I think the seams could have been better – I have a feeling that the manufacturer’s trimming blade was set at a bit of an angle, making a beveled cut. A perfectly straight cut, or even a slightly reversed-bevel, would perhaps have been less noticeable. Still, this is part of the look of the natural material, and not considered a defect. To be honest, unless you’re looking at a particular seam from just a certain angle, you won’t even see a thing – except the beautiful pattern, color, and shimmer.

The dark brown cork is by Monarque, and the upper cork in the silvery damask pattern is by Thibaut. Both papers were 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.

Over the last few years, I have papered three other rooms for this family. Now that the wallpaper in the living room is up, they are on to other things – furniture, drapes – and then on to update / decorate other rooms. As I left tonight, the mom assured me that I would be back at some point, to paper another room.

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 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.

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.

A Dose of Light Dazzle for a Glam Bedroom

April 8, 2017

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This homeowner’s style is all about shimmer and lux and high glamour. But the bedroom felt cold, and she thought an accent wall would perk things up. We explored a number of wallpaper designs, mostly pretty dramatic. She ended up choosing this much more subtle pattern – really more of a texture than a pattern – and I think it is the perfect choice.

It has just enough design to bring life to the room, and the light flocked texture warms things up. But it is a background sort of pattern, and doesn’t overwhelm the room. This is good, because it means that the chrome-and-black headboard, the chrome end tables, and the large mirrors that hang above them (not pictured) will be the focal points of the room.

The homeowner loved the look so much that she is considering taking the paper all the way around the room, onto the three remaining walls. The pattern is soft enough, and the color light enough, and the room large enough, that I think this will work wonderfully.

This home is a new townhome with custom features, in Braes Heights, Houston.

The wallpaper pattern is by Designer Wallpapers, and 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.

Swoopy Trellis of Glass Beads Brightens a Powder Room

October 30, 2016
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This powder room in a new home by Ridgewater Builders in the Houston Heights neighborhood is large, but still it felt a little claustrophobic, not to mention completely personality-less.

This fluid lattice design adds pattern and movement, and the glass beads embedded into the surface are a glittery touch of glamor.

But, if you are seeking glitter and shimmer, these tiny round beads made from real glass are not all they’re cracked up to be. Look at the third photo. Only the glass beads that are hit by light at a certain angle and a certain intensity will shine. The others simply lie dormant and dark.

In addition, the beads detached from the wallpaper in droves, raining down and covering the floor (see photo) to the point where things were sliding along the floor as if on an air hockey table. The beads also impaled themselves onto the back of the wallpaper, creating ugly “pimples” that showed from the front.

The non-woven material that was used as a substrate was very thick and stiff and difficult to work with; it would not fit snugly against moldings or ceilings, it left gaps an overlaps in the corners, it was very difficult to cut through, it ate up my razor blades and destroyed my scissors, and the material resisted being twisted (such as when trying to work a wrinkle out of a strip of wallpaper.)

Glass bead wallpaper is trendy, and it’s also spendy. And – does it really live up to its expectations?

There are plenty of “fake” glass bead wallpapers available in stores and on-line. I would encourage you to look at some of these faux products. Many of them use glitter, which is seductively shimmery from any angle, in any light. There are no beads to fall on the floor or work their way through the storm drains and then down into Galveston Bay. And the papers are thinner and conform to the corners and angles and moldings of the room much better.

The interior designer for this project is Rachel Goetz. The wallpaper is in the A-Street Prints line, by Brewster.

Subtle Damask in a Rice Village Powder Room

September 3, 2016

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A damask is a timeless design, and will never go out of style – even when it’s been jazzed up with a pearly shimmer.

I hung this in the powder room of a newish home that straddles the Houston neighborhoods of the Rice Village, Montrose, and the Museum District. The interior designer is Pamela O’Brien of Pamela Hope Designs. The wallpaper is by Designer Wallpapers, and was nice to work with.

The room itself presented some challenges, particularly the obtuse angles to the right of the sink, not to mention the un-plumb corners, wavy corners, and bowed walls.

I’m glad I had the designer order a little extra wallpaper, because I used three full strips and a whole lot of waste, to go around those two angled corners you see in the third photo. I needed the extra paper to make the pattern match in the corners as true as possible. We were lucky that this paper had a somewhat “scratchy” look, so a little mismatch would hardly be noticeable.

The pearlized finish also made it very difficult to see the design, or to be sure I had lined up the pattern match correctly.

Of course, that’s just what I fret about. Which other people never see. The homeowner loves the new powder room, and will spend the holiday weekend getting the mirror and artwork back up on the walls.

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.

Glass Bead Glamor in a Girl’s Bedroom Get Away

June 22, 2016
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The pattern is subtle and the color is subdued, and makes a great backdrop for this pre-teen girl’s bedroom accent wall.

But look again in the right light, and you’ll see a lot of glitter and glimmer and shimmer in this wallpaper. Parts of the design are imbedded with glass beads, and they catch and reflect light, making the whole wall look rather exotic. Perfect for a gal this age!

I hung this wallpaper in a new home in the Rice University area of Houston. The pattern is by Carl Robinson for Seabrook, and was purchased from Dorota Hartwig, (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.

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.