Posts Tagged ‘skim-floated’

Shiny Geometric Wallpaper Pattern Brings Life to a Dark, Dull Powder Room

July 6, 2017

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This retired couple near the Montrose neighborhood of Houston has a 15-year-old home that is, along with their furnishings, pretty traditional. They wanted to update with wallpaper, but didn’t want the new look to clash with the rest of their house. Going a little wild in the powder room is a great way to do this, because you only see the contemporary look when you are in the powder room – the rest of the time, the door is closed.

But now that the new paper is up, they will surely want to keep the door open!

This powder room was originally painted a deep, murky aqua/teal. Despite the high ceilings and large footprint, the matt finish and dark color made the room look small, and it definitely was lacking in personality.

The first day, I skim-floated the textured walls to smooth them (see first photo). The second day, the paper went up. The new wallpaper sports a fluid, interlocking geometric pattern that is in the same color family as the original paint, but much lighter, and the shiny surface adds a lot of light and dazzle.

Interestingly, I hung this same pattern, but in a darker color, just last week. It is lovely to work with. The walls in this room were pretty off-plumb, and also bowed, which can be Hell with a rigid geometric design. But I used some tricks to make the pattern look like it’s hanging straight and plumb. The homeowners were very happy with the finished room.

This wallpaper pattern is by York, in their Designer Series, 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.

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.

Fixing a “Hot Mess”

April 18, 2017

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The homeowners of this house in Fleetwood (west Houston) tried to remove the wallpaper from their powder room on their own. They did a reasonably good job at the start, but soon realized that they were in over their heads.

In the top photo, they have removed the top layer of wallpaper from the wall on the left. The problem came when trying to take off the white backing layer. Their efforts resulted in torn drywall (second photo). Torn drywall is very bad, because it will leave uneven areas under the new wallpaper / paint. Worse, it will bubble when the moisture from the wallpaper paste or latex paint touches it, and that will leave bubbles under the new wallpaper / paint.

These homeowners were smart enough to stop before more damage was done, and called in the pros (me).

I finished stripping off the old wallpaper, using methods that caused less damage to the drywall. There was one patch of original wallpaper, a foil-type that dated back to the build date of 1976, that would not come off without a lot of damage to the wall. I left that section on the wall.

Once all the paper was off that would come off, I sealed the torn drywall and other unstable surface areas with Gardz, a penetrating sealer. Once that was dry, I skim-floated the entire room with “mud,” (joint compound). When that was dry, I sanded the surface smooth. Then I vacuumed up the dust, then wiped any residual dust off the walls with a damp sponge.

Lastly, I rolled on another coat of the penetrating sealer Gardz. It will dry hard and tight, preventing the torn drywall from bubbling, and holding all the loose or unstable areas together. It is also a good primer for wallpaper, so tomorrow the walls will be prepped and ready for their new décor! See last photo.

Overscaled Flocked Damask Wallpaper Pattern in a Living Room

April 1, 2017

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Originally, this living room accent wall in a home in the Museum District of Houston was painted a deep gold/brown, and was covered with a large number of framed art pieces. The first photo shows the wall after I have skim-floated it to smooth away the texture.

The wife wanted something updated and fun. She chose this taupe-on-silver extra large damask pattern with a flocked (raised velvet-like) surface. To top it all off, there are flecks of silver in the flocked material.

The new wallpaper really jazzed up the room. The family is very into the arts, and the wife was eager to put her paintings and photographs back up on the wall. But once the paper went up and sent waves of impact throughout the room, she hesitated.

I, personally, would rather see something large, like a huge mirror, framed in an almost-ridiculously carved and filigreed gold frame.

The paper is by Graham & Brown, and was a durable non-woven material, and entailed a paste-the-wall process; it was nice enough to work with. Seen from head-on, the wallpaper was dazzling. However, if you stood at an angle to the wall, you could see color differences between every strip.

I don’t think these are actually color differences, but rather differences in the nap of the flocked material. The look didn’t seem to bother the homeowners at all. They love the pattern, the texture, and the sassiness of the whole look.

Me, I am busy cleaning up little specks of silver dust from all my tools, drop cloths, work table – everything is permeated with them.

Preventing Stains by Sealing Ink with KILZ

December 8, 2016

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See that red vertical line just to the right of the paint can? The previous wallpaper installer had used a red Magic Marker to color the edges of his vinyl wallpaper. This is a good way to cover the white edges so the seams don’t show, especially with a dark paper. But it’s better to use chalk or colored pencils, because oil or ink can bleed through and will stain the new wallpaper or paint.

In this photo, the previous dark red wallpaper has been stripped off, but the red ink that was used to color the seam’s edges has soaked into the wall. The wall has been skim-floated with a light coat joint compound and then primed with the penetrating sealer Gardz. Yet the red ink has bled through. If wallpaper is hung over this red line, it is quite likely that, over time, the ink will work its way through the various layers and up to the surface.

The best way to prevent that is to use a stain-blocker. KILZ Original oil-based sealer and stain blocker is about the best product on the market for this. Brush it on, it dries quickly, and then you are safe to apply wallpaper, paint, or other materials.

KILZ will also block stains from oil, smoke, rust, water, ink, crayon, tobacco, and more.

Stripping Wallpaper Today

October 28, 2016

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This poor homeowner has been waiting TWO YEARS to get her powder room redone. Every couple of months, some facet of the project gets completed. About two years ago, someone ripped off the red vinyl layer of the existing wallpaper – so they have been living with gritty tan manila paper walls since then. Most recently, the pretty new countertop you see went in. The faucet still needs to be installed. But the room is ready for wallpaper, so here I am …

The red vinyl layer has already been stripped from the wall, so what you are looking at is its tan paper backing that has remained on the wall. This usually comes off pretty easily (depending on the underlying surface) simply by soaking with plain water. The dark tan areas are where I have wet the paper, using the sponge and bucket of warm water in the foreground.

Once that tan paper backing came off, lo and behold – the previous installer hung his red wallpaper over the original floral wallpaper. It’s usually best to remove wallpaper, and not hang over it, but sometimes there are reasons why you can’t, and it looks like this guy did a good job of prepping the surface to accept new wallpaper. The cloudy white you see is his primer, which is a good thing.

I didn’t try to remove that original floral layer, either, knowing that it might well open a whole can of worms that would require a lot of work to repair. It was all adhering tightly to the wall, so I skim-floated over it, sanded smooth, and primed it with the penetrating sealer Gardz, by Zinsser.

By tomorrow, everything will be nice and smooth and sealed, and ready for the new wallpaper. Keep posted!

New Countertops, Patches on Sheetrock = New Wallpaper

October 6, 2016
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Today I had the pleasure of working for personal friends of mine, and also in a powder room that I had papered twice before, over 20 or so years. The existing paper was a stone-wall-with-ivy effect, that the homeowner loved after having taken a trip to Italy and touring its wine country. But it was pretty 90’s looking, and didn’t go well with the new blue-with-sparkles countertop on the vanity. Plus, they had chunks cut out of the wall due to repiping the waterlines in the house (the white patch you see in the first photo), that ruined the wallpaper.

The existing wallpaper stripped off easily, thanks to my wonderful primer oil-based KILZ Original. The walls were left in perfect condition. Except for the lower 1/4 of the walls … Five years or so ago, these poor homeowners had had a toilet leak, with ensuing flood, that resulted in workers having to cut out and replace the bottom foot or so of Sheetrock. Naturally, the workmen put their patches on top of the wallpaper, which made it impossible for me to strip off the paper. So I had to skim-float the area to try to even out the transition from the thicker wall surface at the bottom of the wall, to the level of the wall above that area.

My floated area had to dry, and then had to be sanded smooth, and then sealed – I used Gardz, a penetrating sealer. Then I was able to hang the new wallpaper. The new pattern is a little “quieter,” and it goes from floor to ceiling, so the look is different from the previous 2-pattern look.

The new wallpaper was pre-pasted, and is in the Easy Walls line by Chesapeake, which is made by Brewster. It 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.

From Country Child’s Room to Cozy Guest Room

September 12, 2016
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With it’s bold brown color, contrasting horizontal band, and stenciled pattern, the original treatment of this room had taken a lot of planning and careful execution. To me, it had a country look, but I am told that the room sported a “cars & trucks” theme, and was used by a little boy. See first photo.

The new homeowners plan to use the room as a guest bedroom, though, and wanted something more grown up and more soothing. This neutral-toned Chinoiserie (Oriental-themed) toile (two-color pen-and-ink type drawing of daily life scenics) perfectly transformed the room.

The walls had a fairly heavy texture, which I skim-floated the first day, then sanded smooth and primed the second day. I love the second photo, with the new paper juxtaposed against the freshly-prepped walls.

The second-to-last photo shows my kill point, where the last strip meets up to the first strip, which virtually always ends in a mis-match. I pulled a few tricks out of my hat, and I think I disguised this mis-matched corner nicely.

This wallpaper is on a non-woven substrate, and is by Brewster. It was more pliable than many non-wovens, and was pretty nice to work with. The seams were practically invisible, and even going around corners and windows, the paper performed well. It was bought below retail price from Sherwin-Williams, at the Durham & Washington store, in Houston.

Faux Grass Lends a Sleek, Mid-Century Air to this Dining Room

June 17, 2016
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I love it when my clients listen to me. This couple near the Highland Village (Houston) was considering grasscloth for their dining room. I discouraged that choice, because of the color variations between strips, and even within strips (called paneling or shading) of natural products like grasscloth. Also, because grasscloth stains easily, it’s not a great choice for an active family with young children and a puppy.

I was happy when they went with this textured vinyl product instead. It has the texture and depth of color that people like these days, but none of the color difference problems, plus it is quite washable and stain-resistant. I think this looks something like a man’s tweed suit – in fact, it is called “Flanders.” The look is sleek and crisp and calming, and will look super with the family’s Mid-Century Modern dining table, buffet, and chandelier.

This is a thick, woven-fabric (scrim) backed vinyl product, and was a little difficult to fit tightly against the moldings; my angled steel plate tool (not pictured) helped greatly with this. I hung every other strip upside down, which minimized color variations by placing the same side of each subsequent strip next to itself.

The wall was lightly textured to begin with, so I skim-floated the walls to smooth the surface, to prevent bumps from showing under the paper and to provide a smooth surface for the wallpaper to grab on to. I also smoothed the wall area below the chair rail, which the family is going to coat with a semi-gloss paint, so it will look like wooden paneling. I primed both areas with Gardz, a penetrating sealer.

This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, #T-14164, and was bought at a discounted price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

Brilliantly Colored Spring Green in a Hall Bathroom

April 7, 2016
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The homeowners stripped their old wallpaper off eight years ago. Well, since then, they never quite got around to buying or hanging new wallpaper. (That’s kinda like how things go around here, says the gal who’s had a chandelier sitting on her bedroom floor waiting to be hung since April 2014.) So this hall bathroom has been naked for eight years. Time to get crackin’!

The homeowners’ daughter is an interior designer in Kansas City (Tess Hawes), and when she visited Houston, she got things rolling by choosing wallpaper and paint, and then called me.

Stripping the old paper left gritty, sand-like paste residue on the walls. The first thing I did was to sand the walls to remove as much of this as I could. Then I skim-floated the walls with joint compound. Once this was dry, I sanded it smooth and primed with Gardz, a penetrating sealer. Photo 1 is how it looked when I left last night.

The lighting in the room was poor, so I didn’t get any good full-size “after” shots. But you can see the beautiful, vivid color of this paper, and the bird-and-foliage theme.

The bathroom had one window, that looked out to a magnolia tree, and, beyond that, more greenery. The spring-green color of the wallpaper against the room’s white woodwork, with the trees and foliage outside the window, was stunning. Crisp and cheerful and vibrant.

The designer had the vanity painted a cobalt blue, which looked fantastic against the lime green wallpaper, and played perfectly off the blue accents in the paper.

This wallpaper is by Thibaut Designs.