Posts Tagged ‘shrinking’

Weird Cracks

March 24, 2020


I have just finished stripping off wallpaper that I hung 12 years ago. The walls beneath are in perfect condition.

Except that, along just about the full height of just about every seam, I discovered these hairline cracks.

What is very odd is that the cracks have not made the wall unstable, and no material has pulled away from the wall (as often happens when you have layers of incompatible materials that will not adhere to each other – do a Search here on “delaminating”).

I believe that my original prep 12 years ago was to skim-float the walls and sand smooth. Then I wiped off the dust with a damp sponge, then followed with my favorite primer at the time, KILZ Original oil-based primer.

My thought is that the KILZ, or possibly the underlying joint compound, has separated due to tension put on it by the wallpaper seams, possibly shrinking and expanding over the years due to minute fluctuations in humidity and temperature.

Why that happened I don’t know.

This past year, I’ve had opportunity to remove wallpaper from several jobs that I hung as far back as 20+ years ago. All were over the very same original prep conditions. But none showed these little hairline cracks.

I always like to understand why something happens. That way, you have the potential to prevent it from happening in the future.

Not that I’m particularly concerned in this case. The tiny cracks have not created any problems, and the wall is not unstable.

I felt perfectly comfortable hanging the new paper right on these walls – however, I made very sure that no seams of the new paper landed exactly on top of those cracks. That would eliminate the chance of any stress put on the cracks by the new seams potentially causing them to weaken and pull away from the wall.

Poppy Dotty Pantry

December 14, 2019


You can get away with a lot of avant garde-ness in small areas. This home in the Kingwood community of northeast Houston is mostly traditional in floor plan and décor. Yet the homeowner has found a few places to inject a little playful personality.

One is the backs of these cabinets in a butler’s pantry (but they are using it as a bar).

The lightly textured, indistinct smeary dots spread in a diamond pattern are nothing short of fun!

What’s especially clever is that the homeowner found a colorway that coordinates with not just the wall paint and furnishings in the home, but also with the weathered chandelier in the adjoining dining room, the nubby rug, and other furniture.

These are the little details that “pull a look together” – and this homeowner did it all on her own, acting as her own interior designer!

This wallpaper pattern is by A Street Prints, which is by Brewster. It is a non-woven material that has a high fiberglass content which prevents expansion and shrinking, and makes removal at a later date easier. I hung it using the paste-the-wall method.

A Homeowner / Designer Embraces COLOR!

October 13, 2019


This is a recently-finished home in a brand new development out Hockley way – far northwest Houston. Like most new construction these days, everything started out white or vanilla.

But the homeowner – who is also an interior designer – likes things to feel both livelier and cozier. She has beautiful stained wooden furniture to warm things up, and she displays a number of treasured items and collectibles to add personality.

For the walls, she’s added color. Not hit-you-in-the-face brights, but comfortable colors like “Peanut Shell” paint on the great room walls, and this deep rust colored wallpaper in a paisley print in the adjoining open kitchen area.

The room looks much better in person than in these photos. And the wallpaper working its way around the white cabinets and pantry door was striking!

The wallpaper pattern is named Driskill and is by Thibaut, one of my favorite brands. Thibaut makes lots of types of paper, but this one has the feel that I call “satiny.” The paper is quite malleable, which was good because this room had wonky walls and rounded corners that can throw things out of plumb and out of square. It also resists shrinking, so even when I needed to twist or stretch it into position, it held tightly to the wall, so no worries about teeny gaps showing white at the seams.

The interior designer for this job is Leona Rossy Interiors.

Birds on Black Wallpaper by Witch and Watchman

March 2, 2019


This very cool wallpaper pattern looks almost photographic. The design has depth, and look at those eyes! – you feel like you are being drawn into the jungle.

The paper was pricy, so, to cut down on the number of rolls needed, the homeowner ran chair rail around the middle of the room, and had the paper applied to the top 5′ only. She painted the bottom an almost-black purple (it’s way darker than the photo shows), and the ceiling got the same paint, too.

The room will be finished with a sort of mosaic, three-dimensional, leaded-glass mirror – that lights up!

Tucked into a large powder room, this is a bold, gutsy look that not every home is ready for. But it’s perfectly suites to this Montrose (Houston) couple!

My second black paper in two days, I again used artist’s chalk pastels to color the edges, so the white substrate would not show at the seams. I tried different install methods, but this non-woven material worked better and had less shrinking when I pasted the wall (rather than the paper).

This is a perfect example of “If you love it, nothing else will do, so find a way to make it happen.” The homeowner saw this pattern and went nuts over it – then went nuts when she learned the price. I suggested that she search for similar patterns by other companies … but nothing grabbed her like this one. After a few months, she came back to her original choice. Eliminating the bottom portion of the room helped bring the price down.

The paper is by Witch & Watchman, and is called “Folia.” It comes in other colorways, but nothing is nearly as dramatic as this “Dark” option. Their patterns are pretty cool. I’ve hung a similar jungle-themed design, but it had cute furry animals on it in addition to the birds – with the same piercing, luring eyes. https://wallpaperlady.wordpress.com/2016/08/21/how-many-birds-in-the-forest/

Another Courageously Bold Pattern

October 26, 2018


Go BOLD or go home – this homeowner is stickin’ with bold.

This home in the Bellaire neighborhood of Houston was flooded during Hurricane Harvey. The homeowner loved the wallpaper in the powder room, and after the renovation, she wanted the same thing.

One disappointment is that the original installer had done a poor job. He was the son of a friend, and reportedly did a “great” job – but his work was not pleasing to the family. So, this time around, they called me. 🙂

The wallpaper pattern is called “Providence,” and is by Thibaut, one of my favorite brands. It was nice to work with, no shrinking at the seams, and the inks are strongly hued and have a rich matt finish.

Murky Green Damask on Display Shelves

November 26, 2015
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The red diamond pattern on the backs of these bookshelves was pretty, but the new owners of the home didn’t love it. There was wallpaper left over from when the adjoining dining room was papered, and so we used those scraps to paper the bookshelves in the living room.

It looked like there was a lot of paper to work with, but when you start talking about a 28.5″ wide bookshelf and 27″ wide wallpaper, syncing the pattern with that in the dining room, centering the pattern, matching the pattern, a 25″ pattern repeat, wrapping the sides, wrapping the top, and when you unroll the left over bolts and find that much of the material is not in one long strip but in multiple shorter strips – it becomes a game of math, logistics, plotting, and engineering.

In the end, though, there was enough to get ‘er done. And, I was able to place the dominant motif vertically down the center of the bookshelves, and balance it equally in either corner, as well as place the same motif at the bottom of the bookshelves as was at the top of the wainscoting in the adjoining dining room, so the two rooms were horizontally correlated, and match the pattern of the two header strips in each of the two shelf alcoves to the pattern on the back of the shelves below them.

Anyone looking at the shelves will no doubt focus on the pretty collectibles displayed within them. But I just thought I would give a little backstory on what went into applying the wallpaper that is the backdrop for those pretty white vessels.

I loved working with this paper. There were no labels or brand information, but it was a pulp paper product, which is often sourced from England. It sits flat and tight to the wall, and seams are nearly invisible. Once booked, there is no stretching or shrinking. It is not sealed, though, so you have to protect it from handling and from splashes, and have to take care to not overwork seams or abrade the material during installation.