Posts Tagged ‘tile’

Another All-White Room Goes Wild With Color

November 7, 2019

Boy, did I have fun with this one! Another all-white room rescued from the igloo-look.

This is the bathroom of a pre-teen gal in the West University neighborhood of Houston. She likes pink and orange, but is too old for flowers or girly stuff. Another focus was to keep in theme with the bold black band of tile around the top of the wainscoting.

This wallpaper is by Marimekko, 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.

This is a non-woven product, and can be hung by the paste-the-wall or the paste-the-paper methods. (I pasted the paper.) This material is dimensionally -stable and should not shrink or put tension on the wall as it dries. It has high fiberglass content, and is designed to pull off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate.

It was nice to work with.

Accessing Walls Over a Bathtub

July 5, 2019


When I have to hang wallpaper in areas over “garden bathtubs” or similar, it can be difficult to reach the walls safely. I don’t want to fall, and I don’t want to scratch or damage the homeowner’s tub.

So I use this piece of plywood to cover the tub. The 2’x4′ size is sufficient to bridge most all tubs. And the 3/8″ thickness is enough to hold my weight (not quite 100lbs) and distribute it across the span of the board / tub. And it’s still light enough that I can carry it easily back and forth to my work truck.

I coated it with KILZ Original primer, so it looks better, and so it won’t leave marks on the homeowner’s tub or tile.

It’s hard to see, but I have placed some blue textured shelf-liner between the board and the tub/tile. This will cushion the weight and prevent scratches to the homeowner’s tub and tile. And it’s non-slip, so it makes the arrangement safe for me to climb up and move around on.

With my ladder on top of the plywood, I can easily and safely reach the walls over the tile.

While working, it is important to be aware of my weight distribution, and to not put my weight, nor the ladder’s legs, over that part of the board that is hanging over the tub.

Industrial Modern in the Power Room

December 8, 2018


This powder room in a 30-year old home in Sugarland got an update. Originally, the homeowner wanted to run the marble-look tile 1/3 up the wall as wainscoting. But the tile guys suggested she do a “waterfall wall” instead (tile floor to ceiling on one wall). I think this is the better option, and the wall looks stunning.

She found this lively and fun block pattern in a color that perfectly coordinates with the tile, as well as with the textured vinyl that I hung in the adjoining hall yesterday.

This paper is a lightly textured vinyl on a non-woven backing, and can be hung by pasting the paper or by pasting the wall. It was pretty nice to work with. The vinyl surface will resist splashes and stains better than other types of wallpaper.

This wallpaper pattern is by York, 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.

Stripping Off Old Wallpaper

February 14, 2018


This hall bathroom in a 1955 ranch-style home in the Briargrove / Tanglewood neighborhood of Houston was damaged by a roof leak during Hurricane Harvey. The contractor’s guys did a good job replacing drywall and painting the woodwork, but they fell short when it came to wallpaper. See first photo.

But this just gave the homeowner a chance to choose something that coordinated better with the decades-old tile that she loves (and that I love, too), and to pick a paper with more color and flair, that is more suited to her taste. See tomorrow’s post for that.

My first task was to remove the existing wallpaper. It turned out that there were two layers of paper, and, in some places, THREE layers.

In the second photo, I have removed most of the top (new) paper, which is the aqua trellis by Thibaut. I took it off by simply tearing it off the wall. Below it, you see the green savoy (small, tight, squiggly) by Waverly. Interestingly enough, I have hung this a bunch of times – in the ’90’s. 🙂

This paper was attached more tightly to the wall. To remove it, I had to first separate the top inked layer from it’s paper backing. You can see this in the second photo. Once the top layer, with it’s water-resistant acrylic surface was removed, it left behind a white paper backing. I used a sponge and bucket of hot water to soak the backing. It didn’t take long before the underlying paste reactivated, and then it was ready to let go of the wallpaper. You can see clean wall revealed in the photo, where the layers of wallpaper have come away.

In one area of the room, I got a surprise. There was a third layer of paper under the others. The top vinyl layer had been stripped of eons ago, but the tan, gritty paper backing was left on the wall. You can see this in the third photo dry (light tan) and soaked with water (dark tan). Once that tan paper backing got soaked enough with several spongings with hot water, the paste reactivated and the paper was happy to come away from the wall.

I was uncommonly lucky today, because whoever hung the original wallpaper had taken the time to prep the walls correctly. First, he skim-coated the textured walls to yield a smooth surface for the paper to adhere to. Second, he applied good quality penetrating sealer. This sealer might have been Gardz, a product that I use now, or another similar sealer, perhaps even a solvent-based (as opposed to water-based) sealer. His sealer provided a hard surface for the new paper to stick to, and also gave a surface that was resistant to all the water I was using to strip off the old wallpaper.

Check out the fourth picture to see the huge pile of wallpaper I pulled off this one small hall bathroom.

Once all the paper was off, the walls were in very good condition. There were no delaminated areas, no lifted areas, nothing that needed patching – just an amazingly intact surface.

I did a few little touch-ups to a few little areas (I wanted to clean up 60 years of grime collected along the top of the tile), and then rolled on my favorite wallpaper primer, by Roman’s, their Pro 977 / Ultra Prime. It’s a white pigmented primer, and is a wonderful surface to hang wallpaper on.

Modern Industrial Wallpaper with Graffiti

December 16, 2017

Well, here’s something different and fun. The Montrose area (Houston) home has a very earthy, eclectic feel, and this wallpaper pattern is the perfect compliment. The colors and texture are perfect with the bathroom tile and iron sconces, and the small scrawls of writing and numbers add just a touch of edginess.

This paper is by Carl Robinson, a British company that is distributed by Seabrook here in the U.S. It is a non-woven material and is intended to paste the wall for installation, but I chose to paste the paper, for various reasons, most of which had to do with the two light sconces that could not be removed from the wall. Made the job a little tricky.

The paper 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.

Painters! Have Some Respect for the Homeowner’s Property

December 10, 2017


These homeowners’ home was damaged by flood waters in Hurricane Harvey. The wallpaper, drywall, and flooring in their Bunker Hill area townhome had to be ripped out and replaced.

After repairs, that means that everything in the room is new. Drywall, paint, sink, toilet, floor tiles, etc. It would be nice if people could KEEP everything looking new.

The homeowner asked me not to use the sink, because she already had to clean up messes left by the painters.

She might not have even seen these paint splatters on the floor. In the second photo, you see where the painters let their roller bang into the woodwork. These
dings” are small, but they are visible.

And they are sooo easy to prevent. All you need is a drop cloth. In addition, I like to tack an 18″ width of absorbant dropcloth fabric along the top of the baseboard, to prevent any spills or splatters from hitting the woodwork or the flooring.

It takes very little to protect a homeowner’s moldings, floor, and countertops.

Metallic Cork Married With Earthy Cork Breathes New Life Into A ’70’s Living Room

October 13, 2017

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This 1967 home in a unique neighborhood in Pasadena (Houston) is like a time capsule. It’s a little larger and nicer than the typical ranch-style houses of that era. And just about everything in it was original when my clients bought it … terrazzo floors, dental crown molding, upholstered wall panels in the dining room, diamond paned windows, French Provincial painted iron stairway railing, heavy pleated drapes, and much more.

The homeowners love the look and want to preserve as much as possible. But they also want the home to live a little more modern, and they want it to work with the lifestyle of their young – and very busy – family. They’ve already done a fabulous redo of the kitchen that still respects the era and feel of the home’s bones.

Now it’s time to update the living room. Enter – wallpaper! They used the same grey-brown, wood-look floor tile that they put in the kitchen. They kept the chair rail molding that runs around the room. A sliding barn-style door was custom made to divide the living room from the dining room, and it immediately became the focal point of the room.

Wallpaper was the next element … The couple wanted something earthy, yet elegant, and it had to meld with the vintage theme of the house.

They fell in love with a dark brown cork wallcovering enhanced with metallic accents called Enchanted Woods, by Phillip Jeffries. Whoops! – that brand is crazy expensive! My source (below) found them something nearly identical, but at a much more reasonable price. This dark brown material was used on the bottom 1/3 of the walls, below the chair rail. I was able to railroad this product (run it horizontally, instead of vertically), which eliminated seams. (Sorry, I did not get any photos of this.)

For the upper 2/3 of the wall space, they went with a silver metallic cork wallpaper embellished with a classic damask pattern in white. This is a classy, traditional look jazzed up by a luscious shimmery sheen.

The husband was worried that the dark cork at the bottom of the walls would visually occlude the barn door. At first, I tended to agree with him. But once the cork went up, it was clear that the door still stood out as a dominant feature in the room. Furthermore, it was apparent that the dark band of brown cork was needed all around the room, to balance the visual heft of that massive sliding barn door and to bring continuity to the remaining three walls.

As for the upper 2/3 of the walls, there is no question that the barn door stands out against the silver and white damask cork wallpaper. In addition, the natural texture of the cork coordinates nicely with the stained wood of the door.

Cork wallpaper, especially the metallic colors, is pretty popular right now, and I’ve hung a fair amount of it. But this room was the most challenging. Cork is thick and stiff, and does not want to turn corners (In fact, the instructions say you should not attempt to turn outside corners, but should, instead, cover the corners with wooden molding.), nor is it easy to fit around intricate moldings, and it will give a lot of argument when you try to bend it into a small, tight spot. This room had many of those features!

There was one wall that had two trim-less windows that had reveals (and outside corners) to be covered with the cork material, plus four points of wainscoting trim to cut around, as well as two sections of drapery valances to manipulate the stiff material up and under and into. This wall alone took me 4 1/2 hours to paper!

The rest of the room was easier, but still had its challenges. The cork material is thick and stiff and won’t push tightly against moldings or into corners, which means you have to work extra hard and make several cuts before it will sit snugly against the molding or corner. When trimming around intricate moldings (like the edges of the chair rail), you can’t see or feel where the cuts should be made, so you have to inch your way along, taking a bit here and a sliver there. I estimate that each of the six chair rail edges took me at least 15 minutes – each.

The metallic sheen made it difficult to see the pattern, so it took longer than usual to plot and cut strips.

Cork wallcovering is pretty thick, and you have to expect that the seams will show, just as they do with other natural materials, such as grasscloth. Depending on where you stand in the room, the seams on this product are either invisible, or fairly noticeable. I think the seams could have been better – I have a feeling that the manufacturer’s trimming blade was set at a bit of an angle, making a beveled cut. A perfectly straight cut, or even a slightly reversed-bevel, would perhaps have been less noticeable. Still, this is part of the look of the natural material, and not considered a defect. To be honest, unless you’re looking at a particular seam from just a certain angle, you won’t even see a thing – except the beautiful pattern, color, and shimmer.

The dark brown cork is by Monarque, and the upper cork in the silvery damask pattern is by Thibaut. Both papers were 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.

Over the last few years, I have papered three other rooms for this family. Now that the wallpaper in the living room is up, they are on to other things – furniture, drapes – and then on to update / decorate other rooms. As I left tonight, the mom assured me that I would be back at some point, to paper another room.

The Kids Are Out Of College Now – Think It’s Time For New Wallpaper?!

July 28, 2017

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O.K. – when the daughter is working in the White House, and the son is taking the bar exam – it’s time to update the wallpaper! 🙂

When I first saw this wallpaper pattern, I thought it was too wild and crazy for the room. But after it started covering the walls, I admitted that those two kids have a wonderful eye. The large scale, the two-tone color scheme, and the singular motif theme all work together with the room’s white tile, black trim accents on the tile, new black granite countertops, and choppy wall space.

This paper is by Designer Wallpapers, and is similar to a very popular, but very expensive, black & white over-scaled floral on a black background by another manufacturer. I like my client’s choice better, because it covers the wall space better. (The pricey version has lots of black space and then lots of big blobs of white flowers, and to me, looks very “blob here, blob there.”)

I hung this in a Jack & Jill bathroom in West University Place (Houston). The wallpaper pattern is by Designer Wallpaper, pattern #AV 50000, and was lovely to work with. 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.

Blue Goes With Grey – But Not Always

July 2, 2017

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In 2002, I hung this small blue floral print in the kitchen / breakfast area of a 1950 home in Riverside (Houston). The homeowner inherited the house from her grandmother, and she loves the vintage style and has kept her decorating pretty much true to the theme – including the floral wallpaper.

But a water leak changed all that. Damage was extensive enough that it made sense to remodel the entire kitchen. So new tile and granite came in. As much as the homeowner loved the blue flowery wallpaper, it didn’t go with the new grey-hued surfaces. So new wallpaper was called for.

As you can see in the third photo, the new pattern coordinates much better.

The homeowner has bought paint and wallpaper from Dorota at Southwestern Paint (see below) for many years, and she knew she could trust her to find the right paper. Sure enough – She told Dorota about the kitchen remodel and sent pics of the granite and tile, then made an appointment to visit in person. When she got to the store, Dorota walked over to her library of wallpaper books, chose one, opened it up, and pointed to this pattern. “This is what you need,” she said. And she was absolutely spot-on. The selection is perfect with the granite, the tile, the updated room, and even works beautifully with the older home.

This wallpaper pattern is by Wallquest, in their Ecochic collection, a series that I like a lot, and 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.

Camouflaging a Young Boy’s Room

January 8, 2017
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This 9 year old boy is all into camouflage. He has camouflage-colored tile in his bathroom, and just had to have this fun and quirky camouflage tree wallpaper for an accent wall in his bedroom.

That’s fine for him, but I had my work cut out for me … Turns out this paper has a multiple drop pattern match. Hard to explain, but it relates to how the design motifs repeat themselves across the wall overall. And it is a h3ll of a bugger to figure out how to cut the strips and place them on the wall. Matching the pattern can eat up a lot of paper, too.

Nevertheless, I got ‘er done, and the homeowner’s son loves it.

The paper is by Marimekko, and is a non-woven material and was installed by the paste-the-wall method. It is designed to strip off the wall easily when it’s time to redecorate.

I hung it in a newly built, contemporary style home in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston.