Posts Tagged ‘sophisticated’

Sweet Floral in Baby’s Nursery

May 6, 2022
Two accent walls and a bump-out ‘column’ are primed and ready for wallpaper.
Finished!
This is a little more sophisticated than many babies’ rooms. But that’s good, because this wallpaper pattern will be suitable through many stages of the little girl’s growth.
The woven rattan light fixture is the perfect complimentary accessory!
The pattern is by Lake August and is called Nasturtium . That printing you see is the selvedge edge and has to be trimmed off by hand. The material was superior quality wallpaper and was really nice to work with.

The Big Easy On The Walls

March 5, 2022
West wall smoothed, primed, and ready for wallpaper.
The homeowner used to live in New Orleans, and she tells me that signs like this are very common in local convenience stores and neighborhood dives. Transplanted to Houston, these signs are very dear to her heart as a reminder of her roots – and the funky lifestyle in the Big Easy.
She wanted the signs recreated somehow to cover the walls in their newly-renovated powder room in the Houston Heights. I suggested she contact rebelwalls.com , who custom made the paper and sized it specifically to fit each wall in the room individually. I measured and made drawings, and a designer named Simon at RebelWalls laid it all out.
North wall before. This is the wall with the toilet and sink.
There were a couple of glitches, the first being that the strips were printed about 10″ longer than I requested. No biggie – I’d rather have too much paper than come up short.
But the main glitch being that I had asked for this “sign” to be centered over the toilet, which meant that the center of the sign (I used the middle fleur-de-lis) would land at 17.5″ from the wall to the left. But somehow it got printed to where the left edge of the pattern was 17.5″ from the wall … That left a whole lot of white space between the wall and the design, and also pushed the words too close to the mirror, which will hang over the sink to the right.
After careful measuring, calculating, and testing, I determined that if I used my straightedge and razor blade to take off a 12″ wide slice from the left side, the “sign” would move to the left such that its center would fall over the mid-point of the toilet.
Voilà! As you see in the photo, now the words are nicely balanced on this section of wall, and will not crowd the mirror which will be hung to the right.
The rest of the wallpaper moving to the right is unprinted, so as to leave a blank slate for the mirror to hang on. Here you see that wall, and also the wall to its right. This east wall has the same sign, but in a smaller scale, sized to fit the narrower wall. It’s also placed at a different height
Graphic designer Simon used my drawings and measurements to get the words nicely centered on this wall. The area above the door to the right (not visible) is left blank.
Here is the west wall (on the right) abutting the south / window wall.
The bull-nosed / rounded edges / corners such as you see around the window are really a pain with wallpaper, especially when they go both around the sides and the top, and can lead to some impossibilities. Too complicated to get into here. But I was pleased with the way this worked out. And the placement of the pleated shades toward the front of the opening helped a lot, too.
One interesting thing to note is that the thickness of this non-woven wallcovering (along with the joint compound I used to smooth the textured wall) is enough that it narrows the space inside the window just a tad,,, and that makes it a bit tight for the shades to fit back in,,, and that opens the potential for abrading the wallpaper as the shade is raised and lowered over time.
Another point … even though the widths of the wall spaces to be covered were different, we requested that the size of the font on the “sign” lettering be the same on the west wall and the north / mirror wall, and ditto for the window wall and the door wall.
I also made sure that the “signs” started at the same distance from the ceiling. This then ensured that each “sign” would land at the same distance from the tile below it.
Synchronizing the size of the fonts as well as the spacing between ceiling and tile helps immensely to lend a feeling of unity and order to this room.
I spent a full 2 1/2 hours plotting, measuring, testing mock-ups, and going back to the drawing board, before I ever cut any paper.
Prior to that, there were two visits to the home to get measurements and kick around options with the homeowner. In addition, she spent countless communications with the manufacturer and with our specific designer.
All this futzing is important, because, with murals, there is no second chance. There’s only one of each panel, and if one gets screwed up, there are no more to pull off the bolt, like you’d have with regular rolled goods.
RebelWalls is the manufacturer. I’ve had lots of great installs with this company.
What was inside our box, including Simon’s dimensions and lay-out.
Basic installation instructions. Ours was a bit – a whole lot – more complicated, because it covered not one but four walls. In our case, it worked best to have each wall be a separate mural, so to speak.
RebelWalls includes free wallpaper paste. I prefer to use my own pre-mixed vinyl adhesive, which is SureStik Dynomite 780. Recently bought by Roman, so the name has changed to just 780.
Certain pastes have been known to ” stain ” non-woven wallpapers (areas look wet but never dry out). I think that a high moisture content in the paste has a lot to do with this. So I’m hesitant to use a powdered paste that needs to be mixed with water.
I’ll squirrel away that RebelWalls powdered paste for another, better suited job. For this home’s install, I’m sticking with my tried and true 780.
A coupla more notes.
One, this project was a study in vision, desire, anticipation, and patience. The homeowner first contacted me in July 2021. It took nearly eight months to come to fruition. Granted, they had a whole kitchen remodel in the middle, which also included an update to this powder room. But just speaking for the wallpaper, there were several site visits, many emails, and then innumerable communications with the design team at RW.
In fact, since I’ve hung lots of RebelWalls and am familiar with their process, I thought I could lay out the design. But this project of separate “sign” motifs for each wall section was taxing my skill set. Finally I laid down my pencil and paper and said, “Stop doing what you yell at your clients for doing, which is trying to do something you don’t have expertise in! RebelWalls has designers who are trained to figure all this out. So let THEM do the math and placement and calculating and layout.” So we turned it over to them, and within a short time they had it all worked out perfectly (except for those few glitches I mentioned). Their customer service was amazing.
All this was crucial to ensuring that mural pieces fit the wall perfectly and that the final product looks stunning.
I also want to mention that the RebelWalls quality is excellent. It’s a non-woven material which has many advantages (too numerous to go into here, but you can Search). The seams melt together like butter and are invisible – even on areas with all that bare white space with no pattern. On a simple accent wall, you can paste-the-wall to hang it. In this (and most) cases, I pasted-the-material, which gives more flexibility and also ensures that paste gets into hard-to-reach areas – like behind a toilet.
In addition, the non-woven material is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when you redecorate.
The company offers scores of patterns, from cute to sophisticated, and, as we did this time around, can make custom creations.
Super customer service, too.

lottery , money order , checks cashed , household supplies

Updating a 1996 Kids ‘ Bathroom

February 1, 2022
I hung this cute wallpaper pattern back in 1996. It was perfect for a young family.
Well, the kids are grown and out of the house, and Mom wanted a more mature update for what will become the guest bathroom.
Companion patterns used in the sink room and tub room.
Much more sophisticated, yet airy and fun. The cabinets were painted dark blue to coordinate and accentuate the wallpaper.
The paper has a very slight raised texture.
Hmm. Somehow the Scott brothers got upside down. You will recognize them from HGTV.
The paper is by A Street Prints, and is a thin vinyl on a non-woven backing. It was a dream to work with. It will hold up well in even a humid room, and is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate.

Girl’s Nursery – Last Job Before CoronaVirus Shut Down

March 25, 2020


Most work in the Houston area shutters at midnight. I was delighted that I was able to squeeze in this one accent wall, for a baby girl who is to arrive soon.

Top pic shows the room in its original all gray state. The walls were textured, so I troweled on a layer of skim-coat to smooth them. In the second picture you see my three fans (plus the ceiling fan and the home’s A/C system cranking away), working to dry the smoothing compound.

I killed a whole Texas Highways magazine while it was drying. Once dry, I sanded the wall smooth, vacuumed up dust, wiped dust off the wall with a damp sponge, and primed.

This wallpaper was a non-woven material, and could be hung via the paste-the-wall method. I usually prefer to past the paper, for many reasons, but in the case of a simple accent wall like this (and because it was easier than lugging my 7′ long work table and trestles up the curved staircase), pasting the wall was a better option.

Once the strips are cut, I roll them up backwards and secure with an elastic hairband. See photo. This helps get rid of the “memory” of the paper, so it does not want to stay tightly curled up. It also keeps the front of the paper away from the paste on the wall, which helps keep everything clean during installation.

The walls in this room (in the whole house, the husband tells me) are pretty darned off-plumb. I used a few tricks and kept the pattern straight along the ceiling line. But, since I started by hanging my strips true to plumb, by the time the paper reached the corners and the adjoining un-plumb walls, there was no way to avoid the pattern being uneven from ceiling to floor. Kinda hard to see in the photo, but there is about 3/4″ difference in width from top to bottom.

Luckily, once you stand back, that crookedness is not all that noticeable.

Although the paper is mildly pink, the muted color and more sophisticated geometric design don’t scream “baby’s room.” This is a look that will grow with the little girl into her teen years.

This wallpaper pattern is by Engblad & Co., a Scandinavian company, and 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.

The home is in the Oak Forest neighborhood of Houston.

Pewter Metallic Cork in TV Niche

May 23, 2018


Here’s a nice for a large TV in a cute, nicely updated older bungalow in the Heights (Houston). Originally it was painted grey. In the top photo, I have smoothed the textured walls and primed.

The wallpaper material is a pewter colored metallic cork, with flecks of gold tossed in. The pictured don’t do it justice – it is sophisticated and gorgeous. In fact, these metallic corks are pretty popular for people who want texture with a bit of glamour and even edginess. It comes in different colors. I have this same pewter color coming up in another home, and have hung it many times in the silver color. Do a search here to see pics.

The manufacturer is York Wall, and the line is – no surprises here – Candice Olsen. All of her designs have a good dose of that glam look.

The interior designer is Neal LeBouef of L Design Group. L Design is going to be featured in a spread in the July issue of Houston House & Home, showcasing another home he did in the Heights – he got to work with it from the ground up, before they even started construction.

Wallpaper – Lots of Wallpaper – In Flea Market Décor Magazine

May 22, 2018

I know that the current interior design craze is HGTV’s Joanna Gaines / Fixer Upper look, with vast open rooms, white and grey on every surface, and uncluttered spaces. But there are plenty of people out there – me emphatically included – who like the feel of walls around us, love color, love all things vintage, love to collect, and love to look at our collections. At Christmas, my brother gifted me with a subscription to Flea Market Décor magazine, and, boy, was this a perfect fit! If you like old stuff, retro stuff, imperfect stuff, beat-up stuff, quirky, fun, colorful, funky, junque, thrift stores, and flea markets – go check out this magazine!

Anyway, I am always thrilled to see wallpaper in magazines, and the spring 2018 issue of Flea Market Décor had lots of it.

Note the use on all walls of a living room, and one accent wall of two different bedrooms. Bold patterns and receding patterns. Some paper was used to highlight panels in a door, the butterflies were captured in a large frame over a bathroom vanity, and a bright pink pattern accents a desk area.

You will notice vintage and retro furniture. Many of the rooms use recurring color, pulled from the wallpaper and used again throughout the room. Even though there is a lot of “stuff” in the rooms, the repetitive use of the same color keeps the look cohesive.

Some of the rooms are funky, and some are sophisticated and even elegant (the peacock feathers). All of them feel warm and inviting, and they definitely express the homeowner’s personality and individuality.

Cute Wallpaper – But It’s Time To GO!

March 24, 2017

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This striped wallpaper design with coordinating topiary border was very cute, yet sophisticated – back in the ’90’s.

The homeowner is a realtor, and is up-to-date on decorating trends. She is ready for something more modern in her kitchen and breakfast room.

I stripped off this wallpaper today, and, most likely, the homeowners will prime and then paint the walls, rather than rewallpaper.

The home is in Tanglewood (Houston).

Geometric Wallpaper Makes for a Stunning Entry

March 4, 2017

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Geometric prints like this are very popular right now. They look great in the room – but they can be a real challenge to the installer. Walls and door / window moldings are never perfectly plumb, nor are baseboards and ceilings perfectly level.

With a wild pattern or a forgiving floral, you would never notice patterns going amiss. But with a rhythmic geometric design, your eye will catch any little element that is off.

Here, in some areas, I chose to hang the pattern off-plumb, so that it would align with the un-plumb vertical lines of the woodwork. Doing it this way made sure that the design motifs were uniform in size as they dropped from ceiling to floor along the door moldings – even though that made the top black triangle drop down a little as it moved across the ceiling line.

I was lucky in this room, because the height of the strips over the doorways was short, and I could fudge things a little and bring the pattern up to where I wanted it to be, with the black triangle hitting the bottom of the crown molding, which put the design motif back exactly where I wanted it to hit the ceiling line. See 3rd photo.

In the corners, I followed the rule, “It’s better to match the pattern in the corners, than to have it run perfectly along the ceiling.” I won’t go into details, but that corner in the 2nd photo took quite a bit of plotting and work. The pattern does not hang plumb, and it does not run straight down the door molding to the right. But, in the end, you don’t notice anything amiss, and the overall look is fantastic.

With all this engineering and plotting and manipulating, the two walls in the second photo took me about three hours to hang. The rest of the room was equally challenging.

In addition, the paper was thick and stiff and difficult to work into tight spaces. It was a “paste the wall” product, but when I tried that, I got puckered seams (due to the “dimensionally stable” paper expanding when it got wet with paste), as well as curled seams (due to the substrate absorbing moisture from the paste at a different rate from that of the inked top layer of the paper.

So I threw caution to the wind and ignored the manufacturer’s admonitions to “Paste the wall. Do NOT paste the paper.” Instead, I pasted the paper, and let it book (sit wet) for a short time, before I hung it. This let the paper absorb moisture from the paste and expand as much as it wanted to BEFORE I got it to the wall. It also made it more pliable and easy to work with.

It also, unfortunately, made the surface less stable, which meant that I had more instances of ink flaking off the paper. In fact, I had to discard one whole 9′ strip, because of one crease-with-chipped-off-ink. It was small, but it happened near a light switch plate, so it was in a very obvious spot, so had to be replaced. Note: Always buy more than you need, so you will have extra in case of the need for repairs down the road..

Fudging the pattern, hanging things off-plumb, and not accepting flaky paper paid off, though. Despite all the little indescrepencies that I fret over, none of them are really noticeable at all, and the the finished room looks fantastic.

This wallpaper is by GP & J Baker, a British company. It’s in their Groundworks line, and is by Ashley Hicks, for her famous father, David Hicks, who is well known for his black, gold, and cream geometric patterns, the most well-known being the hexagon. Google it, or do a Search on my blog.

The interior designers for this job are Neal LeBouef and Anthony Stransky, of L Design Group. Wonderful guys, and I love their crisp, clean, sophisticated style. The home is in West University Place (Houston).

Fun Geometric Wallpaper in a High School Teen’s Bedroom

March 3, 2017

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What 15 year old girl would not love this wallpaper pattern?! And when she leaves for college and her room gets turned over to guests, the paper will still be perfect!

One photo shows the use of my laser level, to be sure the first strip hangs perfectly plumb. I measured and centered the pattern on the wall horizontally, so it would fall perfectly behind the arched headboard, and the laser level was also useful to mark the spot for that fist strip to land.

This wallpaper pattern went on one accent wall, and the black ceiling really sets the room off! It is called “Riviera” and is by Cole & Son, a British company. It is on a thickish non-woven stock, and was a paste-the-wall install process.  Don’t tell anyone, but I think it looks a little like grasshopper heads.  🙂

The interior designers for this job are Neal LeBouef and Anthony Stransky, of L Design Group. Wonderful guys, and I love their crisp, clean, sophisticated style. The home is in West University Place (Houston).