Posts Tagged ‘smooth’

Abstract Desert Mural for Baby Boy

April 4, 2021

Original textured wall skim-floated smooth, primed, and ready to hang.
Ready for the crib!
Close-up showing watercolor-like effect.
Rolling panels out on the floor, to check sequence, pattern match, measurements, layout, etc.

No teddy bears or rubber duckies for this baby-boy-to-be. His parents wanted a more earthy theme and color scheme, as well as a pattern that would grow with him.

This mural went on an accent wall. The crib will sit in front of it. The remaining three walls will be painted a light, earthy grey, which will make the whole room feel unified and snug.

It’s uncommon to have a door on an accent wall, and note that that 3′ wide door ate up a good chunk of the 12 1/2′ wide mural. I debated putting paper on that 1 3/4″ wide strip to the right of the door. But I’m glad I did, because it sets the door off and, most important, it provides visual continuity of the sand dunes and mesas moving across the wall.

That narrow piece took about 45 minutes. It felt really good that that was one of the first things the homeowners commented on when they came in to view the finished wall.

Anewall is the manufacturer. I really like most of their products. I had the homeowners avoid the vinyl version, in favor of this thin, pre-pasted option. You simply need to use water to activate the paste on the back, let book a few minutes, and it’s ready to hang. I always augment with a little extra paste, which this time I rolled onto the wall, especially under the seams. This will help prevent shrinking and gapping at the seams as the wallpaper dries.

The thin paper will hug the wall more tightly and be more resistant to humidity (curling seams) than the vinyl option. It’s not particularly soil-resistant, though, so the parents will have to make sure that little hands stay far away from the wall.

Although not printed on the label, I believe the actual manufacturer of this is York Wallcoverings, in their SureStrip line. I like just about everything this company makes.

The townhome is in the Rice Military area of close-in Houston.

Cole & Son Acquario – Super Cool in a Powder Room

January 31, 2021

This is a powder room off a TV / game / great room in the home of a family with school-aged kids. They had just done updates to the room (built in shelving and TV niche, carpet, pool table, huge snuggly sofa), to make it a family hang-out spot. The small adjoining powder room got an update with tile on the sink wall.

What a dramatic and shockingly fun wallpaper design! – This is called Acquario, and is in the Fornasetti collection by Cole & Son. I just call it “the Puffer Fish.”

Wallpaper shrinks as its paste dries, and so you can expect to see teeny gaps at the seams. This is normal. But since this wallpaper is dark, the white edges of the substrate, as well as even a minute bit of the wall under the seams, might be more prominent as the dark paper dries and shrinks.

In the top “before” photo, you see where I have used diluted craft paint to run a dark stripe along the wall where the wallpaper seam will fall. This, along with having colored the edges of the wallpaper strips with near-black chalk, pretty much eliminated any visible gaps at the seams.

This small powder room took me nearly 12 hours – to smooth the textured walls, prime, and hang the 6 single rolls (3 double roll bolts) of wallpaper.

The home is in the Pasadena area of south Houston.

Over Prepared??

January 16, 2021

I need to smooth the textured walls in this home’s powder room. I told the homeowner that sanding the smoothing compound would involve some dust.

The powder room is down the hall and, of course, I would keep the door closed, vacuum up all the dust, and wipe the walls and floors free of dust.

The night before my arrival, the homeowner – who has had bad experiences with dust during remodels in previous houses – did this.

In two short hours, she plastic ‘ed over nearly every surface on the first and second floors.

She said she had to use up her pent-up nervous energy due to watching the unfolding of the Capitol siege on January 6th.

And, no – my wall smoothing did not begin to get any dust out into the public areas of the home.

But – it never hurts to be prepared. 🙂

’90’s Era Tissue Paper Wall Treatment

November 14, 2020

Here is an innovative wall treatment that was (sorta) popular a few years (decades) back. It involves taking tissue paper (such as wrapping paper), wetting it with diluted adhesive, wadding it up, and spreading it out on the wall. The ridges and folds create a unique textured effect.

The artist was quite talented, and actually laid these ridges of tissue texture in a pattern of oblong rings as you see in the photo above, spread out in horizontal bands around the room. I’m sorry I didn’t take a shot of the walls from a distance.

In order to hang wallpaper, I need to get the walls smooth. Unfortunately, this stuff does NOT want to come off the wall. So I am skim-floating over the mess, hoping to build up enough smoothing compound to bury these ridges (some of which are up to 1/4″ or more thick).

The challenge now is to get that thick layer of smoothing compound to dry overnight – in a small, enclosed powder room with poor air circulation.

Many of the globs of tissue paper swelled when they got wet with the smoothing compound, and created bubbles. In other situations – usually – when the compound is sanded smooth, these bubbles disappear. I hope that is the case tomorrow.

Stay tuned …

Smoothing Suburban Heavily Textured Walls

November 1, 2020


In the tract homes in new subdivision developments all around Houston, it’s very common that the builder will use a heavy wall texture like this. You can’t hang wallpaper on this, because the bumps and dips will look horrible under the paper, and also they will impede good adhesion.

So the walls will need to be smoothed. This is accomplished by “skim-floating” or “skim-coating” the walls with joint compound. I do my own prep. And, as I like to say, I’m better at it than any “guy” you can hire. 🙂

The third photo shows the wall with half in original condition, and half with the smoothing compound applied over it.

Some people use a wide taping knife to spread the “mud,” as we call it. But I prefer the trowel shown in the fourth photo, because I am closer to it and can see everything that I am doing, and also I feel the position of the handle gives me better manual control.

Sometimes, using fans and playing with the A/C or heat systems, the compound will dry in a couple of hours. But with texture this heavy, the material must be left to dry overnight.

Tomorrow morning, I will sand the walls smooth, vacuum up the dust, wipe residual dust off the wall with a damp sponge, and then roll on a primer. Once that dries (again, call in the fans!), the wallpaper can go up. The second-to-last photo shows it finished and ready for wallpaper.

The last photo shows the brand I prefer, USG’s Sheetrock brand “Plus 3,” which you can find at most big box stores and most paint stores. It sands a lot more easily than the standard joint compound in the red, white, and green box.

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.