Posts Tagged ‘texture’

Smoothing a Textured Wall

November 18, 2017

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A lot of homes in the Houston area have some type of texture on the walls. In the suburbs, the tract home builders are using a fairly heavy texture, intended to lend a ‘rustic” feel to the home.

But when the homeowners want wallpaper, the texture has to be smoothed over, so the bumps won’t show under the new wallpaper, and so the new wallpaper has a flat, sound surface to hold on to.

In the first photo you see the texture of the walls in a new home in Fulshear (far west Houston). In the second photo, I have applied an initial coat of joint compound (smoothing compound). Once it is dry (tomorrow), I will go back and sand it smooth.

The next two photos show how much dust is generated by the sanding process. The plastic did a good job of containing it and keeping it off the homeowners’ floor.

In the last photo, you see how smooth the finished surface was.

Then the walls were wiped with a damp sponge to remove dust. Next came a primer. Once the primer is good and dry, it will be time to hang the new wallpaper.

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Palm Fronds in a Powder Room

November 7, 2017

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Just about everything in this house is expansive white – woodwork, walls, cabinets, appliances, even the floors are a whitewashed light grey. The house was just begging for some color and pattern somewhere …

This palm leaf wallpaper adds a lot of personality to the powder room, yet is understated and easy to live with. With only two colors and a fairly homogeneous pattern, it feels more like a texture than a pattern.

This attractive foliage wallpaper pattern is by Serena & Lily, and is called, simply, palm. The paper was nice to work with, and will stay nice and flat to the walls for decades to come. The house is in West University Place (Houston).

The Fifteen-Hour Foyer Install – Whew!

October 29, 2017

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This was one of the most difficult installations I’ve ever done. Many reasons … The grasscloth came un-trimmed, so I had to trim off the selvedge edge by hand for every strip. This is tedious and time-consuming enough with paper, but with grasscloth it’s harder because you have to press hard to get through the thick material. The room itself presents some time-eating elements, namely the intricate molding above the columns, and it takes time (like 20 minutes each) to cut the paper neatly into the curves. There were six of these curved points, plus four angled blocks in the center of the arches.

I told the homeowner to buy 10 single rolls. But the design studio where she bought it told her 8. So she bought 8 – and we were short. So I had to save every scrap, plot and plan, and spend extra time cutting and piecing slivers of left over paper, so we would have enough to do the areas over the arches. I also had to fudge on the pattern match, in order to have enough paper to do the whole room. This pattern is forgiving, so it’s not noticeable.

But the main difficulty was the extreme thickness of the gesso-like material on the paper. It was virtually IMPOSSIBLE to cut through. I mean, on the side of one doorway, on a 6′ drop, I spent a full 30 minutes, pressing with all my strength, and went through a good couple of razor blades, just to trim off the excess paper. Every other cut was equally difficult. Where the razor blades would not cut it, I used my $50 Japanese high technology scissors – which I am sure needs to be replaced after the workout it got last night.

The paper was also uncooperative when it came to wrapping it around two inside corners. It took a lot of work and heavy pressing on it with a special metal plate tool I have, just to get it to look nice and tight in the corners.

Other inside corners where the material was cut, there were small gaps between the thick layers of gesso. All of these were at the top of the walls, so were not very noticeable.

This room should have taken me about five hours to hang, if it had been a regular wallpaper. This couple was kind enough to let me work late to get the room finished. However, I was stunned when I finished, loaded up my van, and got in the driver’s seat – I had not realized how very late it was at night.

This product is by Schumacher. As usual, their quality control was poor. The homeowner had to send back the entire first batch, due to the gesso being smeared. There was one section in the new batch that was messed up, too.

The finished room does look great, though, and the thick texture adds a unique and warm look to this West University entryway. I plotted the pattern so that it would fall in the center of the archway that’s the first thing you see when you walk in the door.

Major Transformation – From Cave-Like to Bright, Warm and Tranquil

July 15, 2017

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Wow, what a change! This home office / TV room in Southside Place / West University neighborhood of Houston, was papered in a dark-navy-on-navy stripe. In my opinion, it looked great in the room, especially above the white paneled wainscoting. But it was time for a change … in fact, the husband said, “We should have gotten rid of this when we bought the house 25 years ago.”

The navy wallpaper was hung properly, but it would not come off the wall without a LOT of time and mess (and $ ). So I prepped and sealed the walls and hung over it (see other posts). I love the 2nd photo, because it shows the new, light wallpaper juxtaposed against the original dark paper.

This material is a light tan stringcloth superimposed with a barely-there white Moroccan lantern motif. I love this as an alternative to grasscloth. It is uniform in color, has a wonderful tactile texture, and has none of the shading, paneling, color variations, visible seams, or propensity to staining and bleeding that make grasscloth so disappointing.

In addition, it is a non-woven, paste-the-wall product, and was nice to work with. The design was even perfectly centered on the 27″ wide material, and could be reverse-hung (hung upside down and still match up perfectly with the previous strip).

The new, light colored wallpaper looked super against the wainscoting, and had just enough color to stand out against the white woodwork. The sofa was a tan linen fabric, and synced with the new wallpaper in color and texture. The armoire that holds the TV is a medium wood tone, and contrasts against the light walls “just enough.” The whole overall look is relaxing.

This wallpaper pattern is by Designer Wallpaper, in their EcoChic line, in a book or line called Wallpaper Effects, 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.

Spring Time in a Powder Room

July 7, 2017

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I forgot my camera yesterday, the day I stripped off the old paper and prepped the walls, so I cannot show you the 15 year-old wallpaper with its curling seams, due to 1.) being an inexpensive paper-backed solid vinyl wallpaper (my least favorite kind – do a Search here), and 2.) the previous installer did not prime the walls but instead hung the wallpaper directly on the new home’s bare Sheetrock, and 3.) age, heat, and humidity. The pattern, however, was not too dissimilar to this one, being a sort of “impressionistic painting” design in the same blue, pink, yellow, and green color scheme.

Anyway, the new powder room looks fantastic. The colors are similar to what the homeowner had before, but this wallpaper should hold up much better. The material is paper (not vinyl), and will hug the wall tightly. I removed every scrap of old paper and sealed the walls with a penetrating sealer named Gardz, and then primed with a wallpaper-specific primer called Roman’s Ultra Prime Pro 977.

On top of this good foundation, the new wallpaper is a pre-pasted, raised-ink paper by Thibaut, and is one of my favorite products to work with, and I also love it’s dependable performance down the road. The pattern is #6936, and is very similar to their “Augustine” hummingbird design (Do a Search here). I love the barely-discernible texture of these raised-ink papers. A unique printing process results in this effect.

This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, 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.

Color In Grasscloth Changes Abruptly

June 13, 2017

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Grasscloth is very popular right now, because homeowners love the texture and natural feel of the material. However, ‘natural’ equates with ‘irregular,’ and can lead to very noticeable color differences and variations in the product. Up on the wall, these can look pretty bad.

The photo shows how the color of grasscloth can change from the top of the strip to the bottom. It also shows how darker strands of fibers can be interwoven into the material, resulting in eye-jarring irregularities.

I had this homeowner buy an extra double roll bolt of wallpaper. This gave us enough extra that I could discard this strip with its ugly dark horizontal bands, and replace it with another that was more homogenous. The 2nd photo shows a wall with three strips that are pleasingly similar in color and texture.

Note that in most grasscloth installations, ‘you get what you get.’ Which is to say, if the paper comes off the roll with dark bands or defects or shading or color variations, you just have to accept it as “the inherent beauty of the natural product.”

For more info, do a Search (upper right corner) on these terms.

Glass Bead Wallpaper in a Powder Room

May 21, 2017

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So, O.K., it’s a hard room to photograph. All I can show you is the papered wall behind the beautiful light fixture and the really cool mirror.

This wallpaper is embedded with tiny glass beads, which give it dimension, texture and sparkle. In the 2nd photo, you can see how the beads shimmer when the light hits them.

This wallpaper is by Antonia Vella, for York Wallcoverings. It is a non-woven material and is a paste-the-wall product. It is very thick and stiff, and difficult to manipulate, and very hard to cut through, especially the beads. Used lots of razor blades today.

I hung it in a powder room in the Rice Military neighborhood of Houston. The interior designer is Pamela O’Brien of Pamela Hope designs.

Faded, Stained Grasscloth

May 13, 2017

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I hung the woven grasscloth on the large wall in 1992, in a sunroom in the Medical Center / Rice Village area of Houston. Over time, it has faded.

The short piece to the right was replaced a few years ago, because it had been damaged. It had been rolled up and stored away from light, so it is the original color. Notice the difference!

Then more recently, there was a water leak from the bathroom above, which ran down and stained the grasscloth.

By this time, the homeowners were ready to redo the entire room, so both the stained piece and the faded panels were removed, and the whole room was repapered with new grasscloth of a slightly different texture and color.

Grasscloth Wallpaper in an Entry in West Houston

April 28, 2017

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This nubby-textured grasscloth really warmed up the space in this entry in an early ’60’s home in the Briar Park neighborhood of west Houston. The floor was Saltillo tile (rustic Mexican look), and furniture in adjoining rooms was in the “weathered chic” style. The natural color and rough texture of this grasscloth on the upper portion of the entry walls really pulls the look together.

The first photo shows a close-up of the texture and color. The next photo shows two strips and a seam slightly to the right of the middle of the photo (crummy dark picture, as usual 😦 ). I was very pleased that this paper did not have much of the shading and paneling (color variations) that are inherent to most grasscloth products.

HOWEVER – There really were many color variations in this product. But I had had the homeowners buy enough paper to do the room, plus one extra double roll bolt. This extra bolt provided enough paper that I could cut around the worst of the color variances, so that the paper that went up on the walls was fairly uniform in color.

The third photo shows some of these color variations. Those are not wrinkles in the paper – what you are seeing are three different colors, or shades of colors, running across the paper in wide stripes. Had I hung strips like this, it would have resulted in noticeable (and, to me, eye-jarring) horizontal stripes of different colors in the paper.

In addition to these color differences, some of the strips had areas that were riddled with dark threads and knots. A few of these here and there are O.K. But when one strips has very few dark knots, and the one next to it has 30 of them, it is disturbing to the eye.

Luckily, we had enough paper that I could cut around and discard much of the discolored paper.

The finished room looked better and more homogeneous in color than I had expected it to.

This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, 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.

Grasscloth Wallpaper in a TV Room / Sunroom

April 22, 2017

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I hung a woven grasscloth in this TV room / sunroom in an older home in the Rice Village area of Houston when the homeowners first bought the house – back in 1992 ! The wallpaper was still in great condition – except for where shower pan in the upstairs bathroom had leaked, causing damage to the wallpaper below. The paper had suffered fading from the abundant sunlight in the room, too. Time for a change.

The homeowners considered other types of paper and patterns, but came back to the natural, earthy, textured look of grasscloth. Their new choice is more relaxed than the previous woven one, and has more color – although it’s all in the neutral / brown / tan scope.

I was pleased that there was minimal shading / paneling (color variations between strips) (see 3rd photo). The material has a lovely texture (last photo), and was reasonably easy to trim and position.

There was no brand name on the product label, but it 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.