Posts Tagged ‘townhome’

Welcoming Room for Mother-in-Law

August 24, 2022
This young couple hosts the mother / mother-in-law a few times a year, and are lucky enough to have a private spare bedroom for her. To make it special, they wanted to jazz up the area a little. Enter this fun and whimsical wallpaper pattern .
The room before was a pretty shade of murky teal – but needed personality and warmth.
The wall started out with a light orange peel texture . I skim-floated the wall, and then sanded it smooth .
Along the baseboard at the floor , here’s the dust from sanding , along with the sanding sponge I use – this is a modern take on the idea of wrapping sandpaper around a block of wood .
I tack painter’s plastic across the wall from ceiling to floor to prevent dust from getting into the room or onto the furniture .
Here’s the wall smooth and primed , ready for wallpaper .
Since this is a dark wallpaper and I want to be sure that the white wall does not peek out from behind the seams, I stripe dark paint along the wall under where the seams will fall. Because non-woven papers don’t expand when wet with paste , it’s simple to measure the width of your strips and plot out where each seam will fall. Use the laser level as your guide . Do a Search here (upper right hand corner) to read more about this technique.
I use craft paint from Texas Art Supply (or any hobby store ), diluted with water from a Gatorade bottle cap , and applied with a scrap of sponge .
Further insurance is taking a chalk pastel (never oil pastel – oil bleeds and will stain wallpaper) and running it along the edge of the wallpaper strip – from the backside to avoid staining the surface – to cover the white substrate the wallpaper is printed on. This is to prevent white from peeking out at the seams , which can happen with dark papers.
Centering the first strip in the middle of the wall, and using my laser level to ensure the strip is nice and straight and plumb .
Note: The strip is not centered on the wall. The dominant pattern element is. Notice that the center of the dominant pattern motif – the white circular flower – is 3.5″ to the right of the left edge. This means that I had to position the left edge of the wallpaper 3.5″ to the left of the center of the wall, in order to get the round white flower to fall down the center of the wall.
When you look again at the finished photo, you’ll notice that the white flower falls down the middle of the walls, and that it also appears at equal distance from both the right and left walls.
Most people wouldn’t be able to put their finger on this symmetry , but it is something they subconsciously notice , and it lends a feeling of orderliness to the room.
As orderly as you can be, that is, with pigs dancing around the meadow dandelions !
Finished accent wall . The three other walls painted in blue were a bit of a surprise, because one would think the more dominant color of green would be used. But with so much green in the wallpaper, green on the walls, too, would have been too much, perhaps. I like the cool feeling that the blue creates .
There is plenty of the exact same blue in the wallpaper pattern to tie the walls and wallpaper together.
Close up shows the stamped printing technique .
You’ve gotta love a frolicking pig in a hand-knitted sweater!
This pattern is called Hoppet Folk and is in the Wonderland line by Borastapeter , a Scandinavian company .
It’s a nice, sturdy but flexible non-woven material that can be hung via the paste the wall installation method .
In addition, this product will strip off the wall easily and in one piece , with no damage to your walls, when it’s time to redecorate.
This is a very popular pattern, and I’ve hung it more times than I can count, just in the last two or three years. It does come in other colors – but most people gravitate toward this black version.
The townhome is in the Rice Military area of central Houston .

Dark and Moody Bedroom Accent Wall

August 4, 2022
The wall has been skim-floated and sanded smooth , primed , and is ready for wallpaper .
The homeowner did a great job coordinating the wall and ceiling paint with the colors in the wallpaper.
This is a room that’s made for sleeping!

At first I thought the pattern scale was too small for the large wall. But once I saw it on the wall, I really like the way it fills the space.
To me, this pattern has a sort of calico look.
Close-up shows the light texture on the paper.
This is a non-woven material, so I’m installing via the paste the wall method . Here I’ve cut and arranged all my strips in the order in which they will be hung . This is a drop match pattern , which some folks think of as A and B strips. Meaning, for instance, an orange flower appears at the top of the wall on Strip A . But the next strip, Strip B, has a yellow flower at the top. When you get to the third strip, we are back to an A and an orange flower. Next comes another B strip – and so on.
I’ve rolled the strips backward , with the top of the strip coming off first. This will prevent the printed face of the wallpaper from bumping into the pasted wall during installation .
Wallpaper often shrinks a tad when the paste dries , and this can result in very minute gaps at the seams . With dark wallpapers , it’s pretty important to take steps to prevent white from showing at these gaps. Here I’ve measured out where each seam will fall, and taken diluted black paint to make a dark stripe under each seam . I don’t make the paint full-strength, because wallpaper paste isn’t formulated to adhere to paint. I want the wallpaper adhering to the primer I’ve applied. That’s also the reason why you don’t want to roll paint over the whole wall.
Also, I have only striped some of the seam areas, and will wait until some strips are up on the wall before striping more lines. This is because wallpaper expands when it gets wet with paste, which can make it difficult to plot the exact width of each strip as you move across the wall.

I use acrylic craft paint from the hobby store, applied with a bit of sponge. I keep a small dish of water to dip the sponge into, which dilutes the paint a bit.
You also see a stick of chalk pastel . See next photo.
Besides the wall peeking out from behind the wallpaper seams , it’s also possible / probable that the white edges of the wallpaper backing / substrate will show at the seams. I take a stick of chalk and run it along the edges, making sure to apply from the backside, to avoid getting chalk onto the surface of the wallpaper.
Be sure to use chalk pastels and not oil pastels – oil will bleed and stain wallpaper. Some installers use liquid paint or markers – again, be sure to use water-based or acrylic , and never oil based or permanent markers .
BN Walls is the brand. Altogether, this was a pretty nice product to work with. It was thin and very soft and flexible (many non-wovens are not).
I wasn’t happy with all the seams, though. I believe the paper was cut with dull or wobbly wheels at the factory, because the edges seemed to not be perfectly straight . So I ended up with gaps and overlaps in some areas. Here you can see the wallpaper edges pouching up a bit due to excess paper.
But, as I mentioned, this material was quite flexible, so it was pretty easy to spread these edges apart an use a tool to push them apart and then down to prevent them from pouching up again. Once the paste started to dry, these areas held nice and tight and flat.
This is a townhome in the Rice Military neighborhood of central Houston .

Smoothing Over A Mess

August 3, 2022
This kind homeowner had the sink / vanity in this powder room removed. This makes it a LOT easier and faster for me to to get the wallpaper up, and with less stress on the paper and fewer relief cuts .
Removing a sink that’s attached to the wall often damages the surface. Here you can see how the workman used spackle compound to cover the torn drywall and other damage.

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Close-up. This isn’t a very smooth surface, and the wallpaper will have a hard time grabbing ahold and adhering. It’s also way too porous and crumbly to support wallpaper.
In the top photo, you see where I have applied smoothing compound on the upper portion of the wall. I’m working my way down.
Once it’s dry, I will sand and prime it, and it will be nice and smooth.
Here’s a shot of the fresh smoothing compound, before sanding.
Some people use a drywall taping knife or a broad knife to apply the plaster-like substance. I prefer the trowel you see in the photo, because it gives me more control and precision.
The 2″ flexible putty knife is for getting into smaller areas. The 3″ stiff ” Hyde ” putty knife is for knocking off high points or bumps on the wall before applying the smoothing compound.
This process is called skim-floating or skim-coating .
I like to use the Plus 3 lightweight joint compound made by Sheetrock . We just refer to it as mud . Find it in the drywall aisle.
The Plus 3 spreads on easily enough, sands easily , and the dust falls to the floor where it can be vacuumed up easily – as opposed to getting air-borne and drifting all over the place.
This box, which is approximately one cubic foot , weights 32 pounds . Ugh. Try carrying that across a parking lot and then up to the third floor of a townhome!
I like to transfer the material to a 5-gallon bucket. This is what it looks like in the bottom of the bucket.
Easy to scoop out. When I’m finished, I use a wet hand to smooth down the surface, wipe residue off the sides of the bucket, then place a thick sheet of plastic over the surface to keep air from drying it out. Then, of course, I put the lid onto the bucket.

Wall Prep Ahead of Wall Re-Do

July 20, 2022
This wallpaper in a Houston Heights townhome’s breakfast area was hung by “the contractor’s guy ” and he ran into some problems. First, I suspect the wall had not been adequately coated with a primer designed for use under wallpaper . This may be a large part of why the paper has come loose from the wall in places, and shrunk and gaps at the seams.
The wallpaper is an old-fashioned British pulp material , which is quite different from the non-woven material that this company usually prints on. If the installer was not familiar with hanging a pulp, yes, he can have a tough time of it.
There are other issues that the homeowner is unhappy with, such as tears, slices, patches, and, of course, these un-stuck seams. I’ve posted more pics previously, if you can Search to find them.
My task is to get the paper off and then prep the wall for hanging new material.
Most of the paper pulled off the wall easily. But there were areas where the guy had used a stronger adhesive to try to hold the edges down. Those would not come off the wall without causing damage to the wall. So I pulled off the top, inked layer and left the paper backing on the wall.
This stuff is porous and will bubble when coated with a water-borne primer , and with wallpaper wet with paste.
So I sealed these areas – I sealed the entire wall, in fact – with Gardz (by Zinsser ). This stuff is pretty incredible. It’s a thin, watery primer / sealer that soaks into the surface and binds loose components together, then dries hard and solid .
Latex paints and other water-based products (usually) won’t penetrate it, so won’t cause the underlying material to re-wet, expand , and bubble .
Just a note … due to pandemic and other supply chain related shortages , Gardz has become difficult to find. This can was about 1/4 full and I had it sitting behind my trash can, intending for weeks to toss it out. Now I’m glad that I procrastinated!
Once the Gardz sealer was dry, I skim-floated over it with joint compound , a.k.a. ” mud .” In most areas of the wall, my skim coat was as thin as possible, but I did have to make it much thicker over the areas with the paper backing stuck to the wall.
I set up three fans , and also used my heat gun , to get the smoothing compound to dry. I like the Plus 3 version made by the Sheetrock company. It sands easily and doesn’t make too much air-borne dust.
It took a couple of hours to dry. Then I sanded it smooth , vacuumed up the dust with my Shop Vac , used a damp sponge to get residual dust off the wall , and then let the wall dry once again.
Finally I applied a coat of my favorite wallpaper primer, Pro 977 Ultra Prime by Roman. I used a paint roller to roll it on to the main areas, and an angled trim brush to cut in around the ceiling and moldings.
Here is the wall all smoothed and primed .
Originally I had planned to strip , prep , and hang this half-wall all in one day. But ended up the prep took more time than I anticipated (about 8 hours ) , so we’ll let the primer dry overnight and save the wallpaper installation for another day.
The wallpaper pattern is called Strawberry Thief and is by the famous William Morris designer from the very early 1900’s . I’m sure seeing a surge in interest in his patterns, particularly this one. Do a Search to see other jobs I’ve done with it.

Galleria / Tanglewood Hall Bathroom Updated and Brightened

July 15, 2022
What a beautiful, fresh, floaty view as you come up the stairs of this townhome.
Here’s what was there before. Early ’90’s , solid vinyl that was both outdated and beginning to succumb to humidity ( curl at the seams ).
The previous installers (most likely a DIY homeowner couple) had hung the vinyl over existing wallpaper. I stripped off the vinyl, but, for various reasons, I was unable to remove the bottom, original wallpaper. Here is the room after I patched areas, skim-floated over seams, and primed with 123 by Zinsser.
Same view, cloaked in beautiful shimmery , pearlized floral wallpaper .
Over the shower view.
The homeowner was worried about using a modern wallpaper with her ’70’s tile . Replacing the tile was out of the budget . But the interior designer assured her that since the paper had a bit of yellow in it, that it would work nicely with the tile. Boy, was he right! The colors go together perfectly.
Toilet alcove view. The whole re-do was started by a water leak that caused the plumbers to cut a hole in the wall to the right of the toilet.
I don’t usually recommend covering switchplates and outlet covers , because they get soiled quickly. But the homeowner really liked the look of them covered, and she lives alone so promised to keep fingers off the plates . 🙂
This wallpaper is in the Canidice Olson line by York , one of my favorite companies, and was a delight to work with. It is thin and breathable, and will hold up much better in a humid bathroom than the previous vinyl option.
The paper was purchased from Calico on West Alabama in central Houston .
The client was assisted by Ron Dillon , who is an interior designer as well as has sold wallpaper for more than 20 years. He was an immense help to my client, who was dealing with many stressors and uncertainties during this bathroom re-do.

Andy Warhol Didn’t Sleep Here – But He Would Have Wanted To!

July 1, 2022
Incredibly boring and blah powder room in a newish townhome in the Montrose area of Houston.
Wow! Now THIS makes an IMPACT!!!
This is not an Andy Warhol design, but it’s exactly like what he liked to create.
Shot of mirror over vanity. Pattern is perfectly centered over mirror and coming down both sides.
Lips! Pic is off-hue … The background is really a vibrant yellow.
Rolling out the material. Each ” roll ” contains three strips, , or panels , each of which is 20.5″ wide by 118″ (just under 10′).
The manufacturer is Mind The Gap , and the pattern is called Neon Kiss .
This is a strong, un-tearable, stain-resistant non-woven material. It is easy to hang on flat walls, and you can use the paste the wall installation method. I usually paste the material , though, especially in bathrooms with vanities to cut around and toilets to squeeze behind.
The substrate is soft and supple and easy to trim, and the surface is quite washable.

Dramatic, Colorful, Surprise, WOW! in Heights Powder Room

June 16, 2022
The homeowner has lived in more than a dozen homes, but has never had wallpaper. Previously this new townhome had boring beige walls. The homeowner wanted to liven things up and fell in love with this bold botanic and bird pattern.
I love the slightly mottled background, and the way the colors pop against the black.
There’s some slight shading / paneling ( difference in color ) between the strips, but it’s minimal.
(It shows up more in this photo than in real life.)
Likewise, the seams are much less visible in person.
Close-up showing the lightly textured material. It looks a lot like an oil painting .
This wallpaper is by BN Walls . It’s a non-woven / paste-the-wall material with a textured vinyl surface.
It’s more durable and washable than most traditional papers, and is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate.
houston installer

Popular Rifle Paper Peacock Pattern in Houston Heights Powder Room

June 11, 2022
In this townhome, the powder room is at the top of the stairs. The homeowner wanted something lively and dramatic to catch your eye as you walk from the garage up the stairs.
The bold and bright colors against a very dark green background, and fun flower and peacock design really answer the call!
Simply called Peacock Wallpaper , this very popular design is by Rifle Paper , which is manufactured by York , one of the oldest wallpaper manufacturers in the U.S.
It’s a non-woven , paste-the-wall material, and will hold up and resist stains very nicely for years to come.
N-W ‘s are also designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece , with no damage to the wall , when it’s time to redecorate

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.

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.