Posts Tagged ‘tile’

Red Is Right For This Room

January 15, 2021

Who wants to spend laundry day in a bland, boxy room? Here’s how some gutsy color will make wash day a whole lot more fun!

My favorite photo is the 2nd to last, where you see how the very small amounts of tan (instead of glaring white) in the pattern soften the look and coordinate with the off-white woodwork. And especially how the wallpaper plays off the new tiled floor!

Find this by Googling words like: York, Sure Strip, Ashford, toile, Mandarin, red, Chinoiserie

(Mostly) Nice Faux Grasscloth

January 10, 2021

Even though it’s quite popular right now, I am not fond of real grasscloth, for many reasons. See my page to the right. Or click here https://wallpaperlady.wordpress.com/grasscloth-a-general-info-pack/

So I’m always happy when clients take my advice to consider other options. These homeowners chose a faux grasscloth with an embossed texture (that mimics the tactile appeal of the real stuff), a pattern that can be matched (eliminating jarringly visible seams), on a non-woven substrate (easier install / easier removal when it’s time to redecorate), with a surface that is resistant to stains (as opposed to real grass, which can be stained easily by toiletries, cleaning agents, or even plain water), and, because it’s man-made, greater assurance of homogeneous color – effectively eliminating the woes of paneling and shading and other color variations between and even within strips.

I was pleased with most aspects of this product. For some reason, my camera made the texture look zig-zaggy, but in real life, it really did mimic real grasscloth. The close-up photo gives you a good idea.

One thing that surprised me – and disappointed me – is that, even though this is a man-made material controlled by factory standards, there ended up being a slight color difference between the right and left side of each strip. Look at the fifth photo, particularly the top, and you will see what I’m talking about.

Since this is made in a factory using inks that are mixed at the same time, poured into the printer at the same time, and applied to the wallpaper at the same time, I really don’t understand how the material can have this color variation. Especially since virtually all of the products I have hung by Brewster have been very consistent in color.

In this case, the color variation was fairly minor, was less noticeable when I removed my 100 watt work light, and pretty much reflects what real grasscloth looks like, anyway. The homeowners were fine with it.

The wallpaper is by Exclusive Wallcoverings, which is made by Brewster. It is on a non-woven substrate, and can be hung via the paste-the-wall or paste-the-paper methods. The home is in the Memorial / Beltway 8 / Briarpark area of west Houston. I hung this in a guest bathroom.

I would call the home’s style as contemporary / industrial. This faux grasscloth really softened the room. The horizontal lines in the wallpaper complimented the lines in the shower’s tile. The overall look went from cold and commercial to soft, inviting, and almost spa-like.

Classic Chinoiserie Toile in Powder Room

October 30, 2020

The homeowner chose the rough marble tile backsplash wall in hopes that it would enliven the room. But with the other walls painted a bland taupe, the effect fell flat. She chose this classic 2-tone “Pillement Toile” by Scalamandre to add softness to the room and to bring out the tile wall. Mission accomplished!

This was not the easiest wallpaper to hang. For starters, like many higher-end papers, it comes with a selvage edge that had to be trimmed off by hand. (5th photo)

Also, as with many hand-screened prints that are made with “stinky inks” – the ink smells like mothballs – the ink, substrate, and moisture from the paste all fight each other, resulting in what we call curl. (4th photo) There was also some warping and stretching. It took quite a bit of time and effort to finesse that strip in the fourth photo to lie flat and tight to the wall.

Once the paper started to dry, the seams laid down tighter to the wall.

If you’re curious, that blue plastic tape in the fourth photo is placed on the edge of the wallpaper to prevent paste from getting onto the marble tile wall. Once the wallpaper is trimmed along that edge, the tape is removed. Voilà! No need to wipe paste off the stone!

The home is off Braeswood in Houston.

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.