Posts Tagged ‘smooth’

Sweet, Classic, Floral Bedroom in West U

October 10, 2020


Look at how this fluid floral pattern in a warm colorway snugs up this spare bedroom. The wallpaper was applied to just the top portion of the wall, with a chair rail and wainscoting below it.

At my suggestion, below the chair rail, the homeowner will add either beaded-board paneling OR embossed (textured) faux beaded board wallpaper. I’m voting for the wallpaper! To be honest, it’s the better option. It’s cheaper, installation will be less expensive, and, most important, it’s thinner, so that it will not cover up the narrow profile of the baseboard.

The paneling will then be painted. I suggested pulling a color out of the wallpaper, such as a soft “buff” found in some of the flowers. That will add more visual weight to the bottom portion of the room, as well as warm up the whole look.

If the homeowners want to kick it up a notch, they could add a glaze, using a color found in some of the flowers. There are blues and greens, but I much prefer the red/orange tones.

The walls were originally textured, so I spent a day and a half skim-floating them and then sanding smooth, and followed that with a primer formulated for wallpaper.

The wallpaper is by York, in their SureStrip line, which is one of my favorite manufacturers and products. SureStrip is pre-pasted and easy to hang, does not shrink significantly, and is designed to be easy to strip off the wall when it’s time to redecorate.

The home is in the West University / Southside Place area of Houston.

Cute As Can Be Pineapples In Clear Lake Powder Room

August 21, 2020


Originally, this powder room in a brand new home in the Clear Lake area south of Houston was painted a taupe-y grey, and the walls were heavily textured. This bright and crisp Pineapple pattern in navy on white really opened up and brightened the room, and made it fitting for a family with two toddlers.

It took a day and a half to smooth the textured walls, and a full day to hang the paper. The extremely un-plumb walls and un-level ceiling and floor and sink, and other features were all obstacles. The homeowner and I decided that it would be better to have the pattern match in the corners, and then let it run crooked along the ceiling and floor lines. Too complicated to get into here. But in the end, the finished room looks great!

I usually love Serena & Lily papers, but this time I encountered several printing defects. There was a slight pattern mis-match at the seams. There was a faint smudge on one motif at the point of every pattern repeat. And one bolt had a line of dark blue ink along the right edge that ran for several feet. AND … this bolt came with no label. I assumed it was a return, and was of a different run, and thus was unusable in this powder room Luckily, I usually have the homeowners order enough paper to accommodate issues like this.

Coincidentally enough, my Wallcovering Installers Association colleagues on our private Facebook page had just been discussing Serena & Lily papers, and a rash of printing defects and other issues that many installers had been experiencing lately.

Other than the printing defects and wonky walls, the paper went up nicely.

Serena & Lily papers (and other home good merchandise) can be bought on-line, or through their paper catalog – which they just mailed out recently.

Dramatic Artemis Black Floral Completely Changes Dining Room

July 26, 2020


Like many newish suburban houses, this Clear Lake (south of Houston) home is all pretty much a homogeneous light tan – every wall, every room. This is the homeowners’ first venture into wallpaper – and, boy, did they make the right move!

This salad plate-scaled, brightly colored floral design on a black background amplifies this dining room accent wall many times! The pattern comes in other colorways, but none of those would have the impact of this black version.

The wall was textured, so I had to skim-float it and sand that smooth, then apply a primer. In the photo, you see where I have striped dark paint under where the seams will fall, to prevent the white primer from peeking through. I also used black chalk (see photo) to color the edges of the paper, to prevent the white substrate from showing.

This wallpaper pattern is a multiple / quarter-drop pattern match, which is very complicated to plot and lay out. The House of Hackney company made it easy, by providing this material in a 4-panel mural format. See photo

In one photo, you see the strips arranged in the order they will be hung on the wall. Before hanging, these will be re-rolled backwards, so the unprinted white backing side is facing outward.

This is a non-woven material, and I hung it using the paste-the-wall method. When I am on the ladder and unroll the strip and working to get it into position, having the paper rolled backward keeps the printed side from coming in contact with the paste on the wall.

Non-woven wallpapers have a high fiberglass content, and do not expand when wet with paste, nor do they shrink when drying, so less chance of gaps appearing at the seams, and also you can get accurate measurements that won’t change. The fiber content also ensures that the wallpaper “should” strip off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate.

A few short hours after I left, the homeowners sent me some “finished” photos. I wish I were more tech savvy and knew how to get photos off of text and into this post, so I could show you the gorgeous room. But for now, you’ll just have to use your mind’s eye.

Please Don’t Patch On Top Of Old Wallpaper!

July 9, 2020


There was a floor-to-ceiling crack in the drywall. I instructed the painter to strip off the wallpaper around where he was going to repair the wall, and to NOT put patching compound on the paper.

He said that he did strip off the paper. Then why, oh why, did he go and extend his patch on top of the wallpaper he did not strip off??!

In the second photo, you see where I cut around his patch, and then stripped the old green paper off the rest of the wall.

Not shown is where I skim-floated over his patch, to cover the ridge from his patched area and the little bit of paper left on the wall.

Sanded smooth and sealed with Gardz, the wall was then ready for the new wallpaper.

Angled Geometric Accent Wall

June 23, 2020


This small first-floor room will serve two purposes … One: The homeowner is a massage therapist, and treats clients in this room. Two: The room will serve as a reception / living room area for guests when the couple entertains.

There will be a kidney bean-shaped, bright orange sofa placed in front of this accent wall, and a dynamic round coffee table with a black & white geometric pattern will sit in front of that.

An invigorating room for sure!

There were a few minor printing defects, as noted in the close-up shots. I had the same thing when I hung this wallpaper pattern before. The homeowners were not bothered by these slight issues – but I have a plan to disguise them (using appliqués) if they wish to do so later.

The townhome is brand new, in a new gated development in the Timbergrove neighborhood of Houston. The walls are textured, and I spent yesterday skim-floating, sanding, and then priming the walls (two different rooms). This morning, the walls were smooth, dry, and ready for wallpaper.

This wallpaper pattern is by York, in their SureStrip line – one of my favorite brands. It is pre-pasted and goes up on the wall easily. It is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece, when it’s time to redecorate.

The paper 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 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.

No, Virginia, These Walls Are NOT Ready For Wallpaper!

June 20, 2020


This powder room in a townhouse in the Galleria / Tanglewood neighborhood of Houston has been remodeled. When the old vanity countertop was removed, the drywall was torn.

When the old vanity, which had spanned from wall-to-wall, was removed, it revealed the original wall behind it, complete with heavily-textured paint.

The contractor made a half-hearted attempt to smooth the torn drywall. But he didn’t even attempt to cover the textured bottom portion.

Seriously? Does anyone think that wallpaper can be applied over walls in this condition?!

Bold Teal Color Wakes Up a Music Niche

May 20, 2020


This is a small niche that holds a stereo system and other music items. The homeowner wanted to bring some color to this corner of her living room, and fell in love with this “Helleborus” pattern by Farrow & Ball.

The bold teal color and large scaled pattern really demand your attention!

I have no idea why the two close-up shots are washed out. But you can see the detail of the design.

I papered over the box in the wall which had held a cable connection; look and you can see it’s ghost on the right side of the third photo.

The homeowner originally wanted to remove the electric outlet and paper over that, too. But electrical codes would not allow that. So I papered the plate cover, and that helps it blend into the wall. I hope she will take a dab of paint and disguise that white screw!

The wall originally had a heavy stipple texture, so I spent most of the day smoothing that – skim-floating over the texture, and then set my three fans to blast air – augmented by my great persuader / heat gun, to get it to dry. Sanded, primed, and then finally hung the three strips of paper.

Farrow & Ball is a British company that makes home goods. Instead of traditional inks, they use their paint on their wallpaper. I am not fond of this method (do a Search here to read previous experiences), but today’s install went nicely.

The home is in the Oak Forest / Garden Oaks neighborhood of Houston.

Lotsa Color, and a Nice Faux Silk

April 16, 2020


I have worked for this couple in their charming 1929 bungalow in West University (Houston) several times since the 1990’s. They definitely are not people to go with the all-white or all-grey or minimalist trends that are popular today. These folks like COLOR!

The dining room walls were originally upholstered in a botanical print on blue (which the homeowner did himself, and did a mighty find job of, too). So the room never was bland white. 🙂 But now, 20 years later, they were ready for an update.

Their contractor removed the fabric and then skim-floated the walls smooth. Usually I have to go back and re-smooth the walls … but this guy did a really good job, and I was able to simply prime, and then hang the paper.

This is a vinyl product named “Wild Silk,” and is by Thibaut. It’s much more stain-resistant and durable than real fabric. Unlike real silk and other natural materials like grasscloth, this product has a pattern match. This means that you are not going to see each separate panel or visible seams, like you do with real silk. So the walls have a much more homogeneous and pleasing look.

The challenge lay with the old house and its un-plumb walls and un-level ceiling and window/door moldings. Since the ceiling was not level, if I hung the wallpaper true to plumb, then it would start “tracking” off-kilter at the ceiling line, and appear to be running either uphill or downhill. This effect was further complicated by the way the pattern ran along the window and door frames.

I decided to keep the pattern parallel to the ceiling molding line. This meant letting it go crooked along the door and window frames, if that’s how it turned out. The ceiling line was more visible and more important.

Since the pattern was tracking off-kilter, I used a razor blade and a straightedge to trim off a wedge-shaped chunk from one side of the wallpaper. This forced the pattern to move up (or down). After a few strips, I had tweaked it enough that the design was moving straight across under the crown molding.

Even though the strips were not hanging plumb, it looked wonderful along the ceiling line. This “silk” pattern was very accommodating of that. If it had been a design with a prominent motif that the eye wanted to see marching straight across the ceiling AND straight down along a door frame, it would have been much more difficult to pull off – maybe impossible.

Going around the window (no pic) was even more complicated. Because I was tweaking the three strips above the window to follow the crown molding, and also the three strips below the window – and you can’t guarantee that these will all adjust at the same rate. So getting the strip to the left of the window (no pic) to match up with the strips above AND below the window would be pretty impossible.

So I was extremely pleased when the pattern on all these strips did match up, within about 1/16″.

This is a vinyl material and was somewhat difficult to push tightly into edges and corners, and to cut through. I was glad that I didn’t have intricate decorative moldings to cut around. I used orange chalk to color the edges of the material, to keep the white substrate from showing at the seams.

I love the way the salmon color coordinates with the painted trim. Who paints door moldings orange??! THESE people do – and I highly applaud it! No boring all-white rooms in this house!

The look is bold, but surprisingly warm. The orange moldings against white walls would have been jolting. But with the salmon colored wallpaper, the whole effect is unified, inviting, and invigorating!

Washing Texture Off of Walls

March 5, 2020


The owners of this new-build home in the Garden Oaks neighborhood of Houston knew that they wanted wallpaper in the dining room and powder room. So they instructed the builder to not texture the walls.

Well, as often happens, the drywall/paint guys didn’t get the message, so while they were spraying texture on the other walls in the home, they also textured the dining and powder rooms (sorry, no picture).

But – they got stopped before they primed or painted. This is good.

The textured surface had to be smoothed before wallpaper could go up. I’m quite good at skim-floating, and I quoted the homeowners a price for me to float and sand the walls smooth.

But the homeowner is also pretty handy. He opted to smooth the walls himself.

Since no primer or paint had been applied, the texture on the walls was raw mud (drywall joint compound). With no coating on it, this stuff is water-soluble. That means that the homeowner could simply wipe the walls with a wet sponge to remove the texture.

Well, it’s actually a bit more than that. You have to wet the walls well, and keep on scrubbing, to the point where the joint compound / texture softens up and can be scraped off the wall with a stiff putty knife, or scrubbed off the wall with a drywall sponge.

And that’s what the homeowner did. He did such a good job that he cleaned the walls all the way down to the bare drywall. That’s what you see in the first two photos. This guy was way more thorough and meticulous than any “professional” I’ve seen out there.

The best primer for bare drywall is Gardz (third photo). It penetrates and seals both the paper face of the drywall, as well as the joint compound “mud” that is troweled over the joints and tape (see white areas in photos).

So my task for today was not to work on smoothing the walls, because the homeonwer had done such a great job of that. OK, well, I did do a little tweaking in a few areas. But primarily, what I did today was roll on (and cut into the corners and edges) a good coat of Gardz.

Besides sealing drywall, Gardz is a good primer for wallpaper. So once the primer was applied and then dried (about an hour), the room was ready for wallpaper.

Grasscloth in Cypress Powder Room

February 18, 2020


The walls and ceiling in this large powder room in a newish home in the Bridgeland Creek neighborhood of Cypress (northwest Houston) were originally a dark gold. I like dark rooms, but this one felt oppressive. It needed to be a little lighter, and to have a bit more interest on the walls.

The walls had a heavy texture, typical of new homes in the suburbs of Houston. I skim-floated the walls, then let dry overnight. The next day, I sanded the walls smooth, wiped off the dust, primed – and then was ready to hang wallpaper.

The pictures don’t adequately show the color of the new grasscloth, but we have natural brown grass color overlaid onto a really deep blue paper backing. The designer had the ceiling painted a dark, sort of murky blue, which coordinates really nicely with the blue in the grasscloth.

Lighting is funny … While I was working in the room, I had two 100 watt light bulbs; one suspended from the ceiling and one attached to where the light fixture belongs. The grasscloth just looked “normal.”

But once the room’s decorative light fixture went back up, it cast light on the textured surface in such a way that the “nubs” and knots really showed up! (see photo) The homeowner loved it!

As a note … With grasscloth, there is no pattern match, and you can also plan on seeing color differences between strips. So it’s important to plot where your seams will fall.

The electrical box, the light fixture, and the faucet were all in different vertical positions on the wall. Because the mirror would take up most of the wall behind the faucet and block the seam, I chose to center the seam on the light fixture, because it would be visible above the mirror. Well – sort of visible … as you can see, light rays from the fixture are so strong that no one can see where the seam is, anyway. 😦

The room had a “floating” sink. One of the photos shows the area under the sink. This area is open to view, and, because there are so many obstacles, it is difficult and time-consuming to wrap the paper underneath and trim around all those pipes and brackets.

The grasscloth wallpaper is by York. I was pretty pleased with the consistency of the material. Although some of the strips did present “paneling” and “shading” – color variances between strips – even strips that came off the same bolt and that were reverse-hung. One strip even had a rather abrupt color change mid-way from top to bottom. (no photo)

But that’s par for the course with grasscloth, and it’s considered to be “the natural beauty of this natural material.”

The interior designer for this project is Neal LeBouef, of L Design Group.