Posts Tagged ‘stairs’

Pepping Up Plain Old Vanilla

January 23, 2022
Everything else in this newish townhome in the far northwest area of Houston is generic beige.
But the homeowner envisioned something much more bold and fun for the large powder room.
The slope at the top left is the area under the stairs.
Close-up. At the far right you can see a seam … the paper was slightly shaded darker on the left edge and lighter on the right edge, resulting in this. It looks like the seam is curled up, but actually it’s perfectly flat.
The pattern is called Marigold and it’s sold by Anthropologie. The manufacturer is York, and it’s in their SureStrip line, which is one of my favorites. This is a pre-pasted material, and you activate the paste by wetting the back. The instructions suggest using a squirt bottle – ouch! Can you say wrist pain?! I sprinkle water on with a sponge and then roll it around with a paint roller. I also add a little extra wallpaper paste to the mix.

Shimmering Foliage in Heights Powder Room

January 13, 2022
Primed and ready for wallpaper.
Vanity wall done. I placed the trees so they would frame the mirror and light fixture evenly.
The slope is the underside of the stairs. At first the homeowners said not to paper this sloped area, as it is considered part of the ceiling.
After the first wall was papered, we decided that the slope would blend in better if it were covered with paper.
I’ve hung this Shimmering Foliage pattern before, but this is the first time in this gorgeous colorway. It really sets off the pretty moldings and white vanity in the room.
In this close up, you see the embossed (raised) texture in the vinyl surface. The gold is not metallic, but it sure shines!
Made by York, in the Candice Olson line. Just about everything she touches is glittery and elegant.
This is a non-woven material, and can be hung using the paste-the-wall method, although I pasted the paper instead, which makes it more pliable and also ensures that paste will get to all areas, including around intricate moldings and behind the toilet.
Non-woven papers will strip off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate.
Houston wallpaper installer.

Something’s Bugging Me …

January 7, 2022
Powder room before.
Powder room after the introduction of various bugs, insects, critters and creepy crawlers.
The homeowner loves bugs. She likes this view so much that she said she might not cover it with a mirror. Who needs a mirror in a powder room, anyway?
This powder room is under the stairs, hence the sloped ceiling. The wallpaper has the look of botanical identification prints, in a dreamy shade of blue.
Mind the Gap is the manufacturer, and the pattern is called Entomology. The material comes as a 3- roll / strip set. It’s a non-woven product, so you can hang it by pasting the wall. Although I usually choose to paste the paper. Interestingly, this paper was lot thinner and crisper than the black Aquafleur by the same brand I hung a couple of weeks ago. In fact, it was quite translucent. I had to not make pencil marks on the walls nor on the back of the paper, for fear they would show through the front.
This stuff is also very curly – meaning that it wants to stay tightly rolled up. Two days before the install, I asked the homeowner to roll the material backward and secure with an elastic hairband, to relax the curl. This worked wonderfully, and I had nice flat sheets to work with.
The pattern is essentially a mural, spread across three strips that connect to the next set of three strips. The pattern does not repeat. That means that it takes one full ” roll” for each strip. Since the rolls are 10′ long and the walls in this bathroom were less than 8′, there was more than 2′ of paper cut off and thrown away, for each of 15 strips around the room.
The two 8″ high strips over the door would also have each used up a full 10′ roll. But I did a little measuring and plotting and trimming and used scraps for this area. This also enabled me to put bugs that had not been seen on any of the other strips up over the door. Because this space was only 8″ high, I had to find insects that were small – didn’t want anyone to get his legs or antenna cut off! Sorry, I forgot to get a photo of that area.
This room had some tricky spaces. Besides the sloped ceiling, which presented challenges of its own too complicated to delve into here, the 2″ gap you see next to the vanity in the top photo … the wide strip on the wall with the hand towel ring, plus the 2″ wide strip between the vanity and that wall probably took me a full 40 minutes to get in place.
The townhome is in the Galleria / Highland Village neighborhood of Houston.

Bold David Hicks Geometric in Garden Oaks Powder Room

December 18, 2021
This young family wanted some WOW! Factor for their new home’s plain-Jane powder room. It’s a 2-room set up, with the sink in one area and the toity around the corner in a more private area.
Looking through one room into the next – yes, really a WOW! Factor!
Looks fantastic with the burnished gold faucets, light sconces, and hand towel ring.
Opposite wall. I centered the pattern on the wall opposite the mirror, so that the design would work around the room evenly and the pattern would fall equally on these two walls. In other words, the pattern hits the tile wall on the left at exactly the same point as it does on the tile wall to the right. The sconces also land on the same element in the wallpaper. This gives a very symmetrical look as you face the mirror. One of those things no one can put his finger on, but it makes the whole room feel balanced and in sync.
Back wall connecting to right wall with door that leads to the entry hall.
The commode room is under the stairway, so has a strongly sloped ceiling – and tight working quarters. You can also see that the wall is bowed in the corner, resulting in a good pattern match at top and bottom, but some mis-alignment in the center. Pretty typical. No walls are perfectly plumb, no ceiling is perfectly level, and corners are just about always a bit wonky. Geometric designs like this are particularly difficult to make look perfect.
On close-up, you can see a slight raised ink texture. This surface printed wallpaper was not a crisp look – nothing wrong with that … it’s part of the hand-crafted look. The non-woven material is thick and stiff, and the seams were a bit more noticeable than on many other non-wovens. I also noted that where the gold ink hit the edges of the paper, there were ever-so-slight curls and overlaps. My guess is the gold ink reacted to the wet paste and expanded differently from the black and the background color. Never mind. From two feet away, you can’t notice it at all.
The David Hicks Collection by GP & J Baker contains several variations of this type of bold geometric pattern. Some of the vendors are calling this a “new” release … but I first hung one of these designs maybe 10 years ago.
Unfortunately, they haven’t gotten any better with the quality. Surprising, because GP&J Baker’s papers are usually very nice – I did one just a few months ago and loved it. Conversely, this one is quite stiff, and trying to work it into tight spots such as corners or behind a toilet or around a vanity or light fixture can result in creases. And the ink flakes off very easily. Here, just pressing the wallpaper against the baseboard so it could be trimmed caused the ink to chip off, and you can see little bits of it collected on top of the baseboard on the left. Luckily, this was at the floor and not very noticeable. I used some black chalk to cover the white areas. But at eye-level, this would have necessitated removing the whole strip and replacing with a new one.

Wallpaper installer Houston

Little Giant – Cool Ladder

September 6, 2021

This accent wall in a Houston dining room is a little taller than I can safely reach with my 6′ ladder. Rather than run home and dig out my 8′ number, the homeowner set me up with their Little Giant.

I was glad for this experience, because I have heard my colleagues talk about these handy, adjustable ladders. It worked out pretty darned nicely!

It’s as high as my 8 footer, but the leg spread is much less, so it fits into tighter places and does not carry you so far away from the wall you want to work on. It also folds into different configurations, and can even be used on stairs.

One unexpected benefit is that you can straddle the top, which gives you a unique work position and access. It’s also amazingly stable … you can really toss your weight around, and over-reach (don’t tell OSHA!), and it won’t shift or jiggle.

The only disadvantage for lil’ ol’ me is that it’s fairly heavy. While I was able to move it around as needed in this small space, I doubt that I could carry the thing any distance, or set it up, by myself.

Thibaut Aster – Affordable Alternative to Schumacher Feather Bloom

October 7, 2020


One-of-a-kind would describe this powder room in the West University neighborhood of Houston. You walk down two stairs to get into the room, marble tile covers the bottom portion of the walls, the ceiling is low, the ceiling slopes, and there is a curved wall on the left, as well as a 5″ high space under the sink – what I call a torture chamber for wallpaper hangers.

The homeowner contemplated grasscloth (not a good choice in a “wet” room, and especially for a family with young children – read my Grasscloth page on the right). She really liked Schumacher’s “Feather Bloom” pattern on grass. But when I made my initial consultation visit, I advised that the 36″ high and 36″ wide scale of the pattern was too large for her small, chopped up powder room. And grasscloth is prone to color variations between panels. On top of that, the Schumacher is insanely expensive.

Thibaut to the rescue! Their “Aster” design is an obvious riff on “Feather Bloom.” But it’s a smaller scale, so suits this room much better. It’s on stringcloth, a man-made material, so no worries about shading or color discrepancies. There is a light protective coating, so a bit more resistant to stains. And the string gives the product the textured look and feel that people are loving these days (see close up photo). Best of all, the Thibaut version is way more affordable!

The homeowner has a small, round, gold mirror with a fluted edge that will look fabulous placed in the “bull’s eye” of the aster flower over the sink.

The once bland all-grey room now has color, texture, movement, and a whole lot of drama!

Crazy Install – Underside of Stairs

February 28, 2020


You are looking upward at the undersides of five stairs that make up most of the ceiling in this West U powder room. You’ve gotta wonder why the builder didn’t just have the Sheetrockers drywall over it.

Well, either way, the workmanship in rocking in all these surfaces was incredible.

Equally incredible was ME getting wallpaper onto them! 🙂

It’s a lot more complicated than it seems, looking at it from the comfort of your cell phone screen. I won’t go into all the many factors, but each of the five stairs took me about an hour.

Silvery Pearlized Faux Bois in a Very Complicated Powder Room

February 10, 2017

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This under-the-stairs powder room has a LOT of challenges: angles, nooks, turns, and a pedestal sink, not to mention those odd “columns” running through the ceiling. The homeowner wanted all surfaces covered, so I suggested a non-directional pattern. This faux bois fills the bill, because it looks virtually the same right side up or upside down. She also likes the “faux bois” (fake wood) look, and really loves the shimmery, silvery, pearly sheen of the silver-on-white colors.

So the pattern suits the room, and the homeowner loves the color; unfortunately, the paper itself was a true test.

This wallpaper is one of the newer non-woven materials, and it is intended that the installer paste the wall, rather than paste the wallpaper. However, this paper is thick, stiff, unmalleable, and creases easily. All this works fine on a flat accent wall. But problems arise when you try to paste a thick, stiff, unmalleable, easily-creased paper onto the walls of a very complicated room.

What makes a room complicated? Corners, angles, steep angles, ceilings, light fixtures that cannot be removed, and weird “beams” that appear to serve no purpose other than to madden the paperhanger. Oh, and let’s not forget that pedestal sink. This 12 single roll powder room (6 bolts) took me 12 hours to hang.

This was a paste-the-wall material, but I found that pasting the paper instead made it more pliable and workable. Most strips required multiple relief cuts, so I could work the paper against fixtures and into corners without creasing it.

The first strip I attempted to hang was around the pedestal sink, and then moving into the corner to the right. The paper simply would not allow me to manipulate it into position, and the ensuing struggle resulted in creases, cuts, blemishes, gaps at the seams, and all sorts of unacceptable results.

So I ripped that strip off and started over.

To get around the sink with minimal relief cuts or stress on the paper, I trimmed the strips vertically, to cut them into two narrower, more manageable sections. All other handling was done slowly and carefully, to put as little stress on the paper as possible, and to minimize the potential of creasing. It was still difficult to fold the paper into corners and trim.

Matching the pattern was difficult, because the silvery sheen of the ink combined with sun coming in through the windows and harsh lighting in the powder room made it virtually impossible to see any part of the pattern, much less match one jagged bit of tree bark on the wall to it’s counterpart going onto the ceiling.

The “beams” built into the ceiling, and the recessed areas behind them, were very difficult, too. The stiff paper didn’t want to bend around or stick to the slightly un-straight edges. Wrapping certain areas with wallpaper meant that other adjoining areas could not be covered with the same strip, so they had to be patched in – difficult to explain, but trust me, it was tedious, time-consuming, and took a lot of plotting and planning before any approach could be begun. Oh, and wrestling with cantankerous bull-nosed edges around the door.

In the end, the room looks great. The few mismatched areas and other imperfections just blend in with the wild pattern and shiny ink, so you don’t even notice them.

Next time, though, I will encourage the homeowner to get not only non-directional pattern, but a paper that is thin and pliable.

I hung this in the powder room of a newish home in the Museum District / Rice University area of Houston. This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, in the Anna French line, is called “Surrey Woods,” 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.

Crazy-Making Undersides of Staircase

August 12, 2015

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Thank goodness the designer agreed with me to NOT paper each of these four boxes, on the ceiling of an under-the-stairs powder room. Usually, the undersides of the staircase is finished off with a sloped ceiling.

Wallpapering a sloped ceiling is relatively easy. But if I had had to put wallpaper on each of these 3-strip wide, 2-sided, curving boxes built around the individual stairs, it would have taken a good couple of hours, not including the prep.

The interior designer instead had a painter put gold paint on the boxes, which will look fabulous with the wallpaper – more pics tomorrow!

Doing the Step Dance

May 26, 2015

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Dang these “modern” style homes, with their sunken living rooms and half-stories! I set my table up in the living room, and had to climb up five stairs to get to the powder room. Then back down five stairs to my pasting table. That is five steps up and five steps down – plus climbing up my ladder – for every strip of wallpaper in this 10-single roll powder room. Whew!