Posts Tagged ‘townhome’

Folks – Please Read EVERYTHING, Including the Fine Print

November 14, 2017

When people first contact me, I send them an “info pack” that explains the wallpaper process and how I work. It has a lot of helpful and important information.

One point is my time frame. I am usually booked up 2-3 months, so most likely I will not be able to help homeowners who want to have their wallpaper up quickly.

Another is that I don’t work on construction sites, but prefer to install the wallpaper after all the building is over and the other workmen are done and gone.

There’s a sentence advising people that I work in private residences only – no businesses or commercial settings.

I also don’t work in mid- or high-rise buildings, or many other multi-unit complexes like apartments or condos. Townhome compounds with shared driveways can be difficult, too. It has to do with multiple trips back and forth to the truck, and with hauling 50 pound buckets of paste along with bulky equipment like my 7′ long pasting table, and not blocking the neighbors access to their garages.

If people would read the information I send them, they can often discern early in the game if their situation is one that I am a good match for.

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Medicine Cabinet? WHAT Medicine Cabinet?

October 6, 2017

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The homeowner of this new contemporary townhome in the Midtown neighborhood of Houston didn’t want the plywood medicine cabinet standing out like a big white blob against her beautiful new wallpaper. She thought that covering it with wallpaper would help it fade into the design, and be less obvious.

She was right – the cabinet is much less noticeable now.

The cabinet is simple, but it still took about an hour to cover it with wallpaper. The wood had already been primed with KILZ, a stain blocker that will prevent any wood sap from bleeding through the wallpaper. Then I applied a wallpaper primer.

There is a seam down the middle of the door, so there is a total of four pieces of wallpaper (two on the frame and two on the door itself).

The cabinet is seen more from the left side than from the front, so I lined the pattern up so it is continuous when seen from the left side. Wrapping the design around the 3/4″ thickness of the edge of the cabinet frame caused it to not line up with the pattern on the surrounding wall.

No biggie in this case … The pattern is squiggly and irregular enough that a small mis-match of the design is not noticeable.

When I got to covering the actual door of the cabinet, I aligned the pieces so that the pattern would line up with the design on the frame, so that when you look at it straight-on (as from the toilet or shower), the pattern is visually intact. Again, even though the design does not line up perfectly with the design on the wall behind it, the slight mis-match is very minor.

The pattern match is perfect from where it’s viewed from the left side, and it is perfect where it’s viewed from straight ahead. Win-Win!

This wallpaper pattern is by York, in the Sure Strip line, 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.

Stripping Grasscloth Wallpaper

April 17, 2017

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This powder room in a newish townhome in the Galleria area of Houston was originally papered with a deep red, nubby-textured grasscloth wallpaper. It didn’t suit the taste of the new homeowners, so they had me strip it off and replace it with something lighter.

Often, grasscloth can be really hard to get off, because the grass fibers and the netting used to sew them to the backing separate from the backing and come off in tiny handfuls of fiberous messiness.

I was luckier today, because the top layer with the grass fibers and red ink came off the wall fairly easily, and in almost-intact 9′ strips. The paper backing was left on the wall (see 2nd photo). In some areas (see 3rd photo), bits of the red inked layer remained.

The next step was to remove the paper backing. All that’s needed is to use a sponge to soak the backing with warm water. Soak one section, move on and soak the next, then go back and resoak the first section, etc.

Water has a harder time penetrating the patches where the red inked layer was not removed. Soak it a little more, or use a putty knife to get under that layer and pull off the inked material.

Eventually, the moisture from the warm water will reactivate the paste. If you are lucky, you will be able to simply pull the paper backing away from the wall. But if not, all it takes is a little elbow grease and a stiff 3″ putty knife, to gently scrape the paper from the wall.

I was doubly lucky today, because whoever hung the original grasscloth did a good job, including the use of a good primer to seal the walls before he hung any wallpaper. His primer protected the walls, and all my water and tension as I soaked and pulled paper off the walls caused no damage to the subsurface.

All I had to do to prepare the walls for new wallpaper was to wash off old paste residue, and apply a primer, in this case Gardz by Zinsser.

God Bless the Homes with Elevators

April 11, 2017

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Today I was hanging wallpaper in a 4-story townhouse. I was not looking forward to lugging all my bulky and heavy gear (7′ long 30lb table, 40lb buckets of paste, loaded toolbox, and lots of assorted equipment) up and down all those stairs.

Was I happy to see this in-home elevator! It sure made my day much easier.

A Dose of Light Dazzle for a Glam Bedroom

April 8, 2017

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This homeowner’s style is all about shimmer and lux and high glamour. But the bedroom felt cold, and she thought an accent wall would perk things up. We explored a number of wallpaper designs, mostly pretty dramatic. She ended up choosing this much more subtle pattern – really more of a texture than a pattern – and I think it is the perfect choice.

It has just enough design to bring life to the room, and the light flocked texture warms things up. But it is a background sort of pattern, and doesn’t overwhelm the room. This is good, because it means that the chrome-and-black headboard, the chrome end tables, and the large mirrors that hang above them (not pictured) will be the focal points of the room.

The homeowner loved the look so much that she is considering taking the paper all the way around the room, onto the three remaining walls. The pattern is soft enough, and the color light enough, and the room large enough, that I think this will work wonderfully.

This home is a new townhome with custom features, in Braes Heights, Houston.

The wallpaper pattern is by Designer Wallpapers, 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.

Gunmetal Metallic Cork Wallpaper

January 26, 2017
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The room was too dark, and likewise the paper, to get any good photos. But this is a beautiful charcoal / gunmetal grey cork wallpaper with flecks of gold that I hung on one large accent wall of a new townhome in the Bellaire / Meyerland / Renwick neighborhood of Houston. I’ve hung this or similar several times, but in the brighter silver colorway. For a single man, I like this version better.

The homeowner commented that he thought the paper made the room look bigger. I hear this a lot with patterned paper, especially in small rooms like powder rooms. But it’s good to hear that people also find that a textured wallcovering visually enlarges a room, too.

The interior designer for this job is Chris Breining of Christopher Design, Inc. The wallpaper is by York, and is in the Candice Olson line.

Prettying-Up a Bland Bath

August 10, 2016
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The homeowner said she just couldn’t make herself love the powder room in her new townhome near the Galleria (Houston), with its bland, blah, boring walls. She had a vision, but her husband was having a hard time seeing it.

Well, once the wallpaper went up, Hubby got the vision, too – he said it looks fantatic. It’s clear that the wife’s idea for this room was a wonderful choice. No more boring walls, the hue brings life to a home that has little other color, the somewhat scratchy background works well with some distressed furniture in the adjoining rooms, and the ever so slightly Oriental theme echoes the theme of the artwork (elephant in silver frame, not shown).

In fact, I was trying to talk the homeowner out of replacing the small framed pictures, because I thought they would not work with the paper, and would be too small against the medallion design (and because I hate putting holes in my new wallpaper 🙂 ). But I put the picture hangers back in their original spots and rehung the artwork and – man, was it a perfect compliment!

You can see how the silver frame on the mirror compliments the wallpaper, as well as the chrome faucet and soap dispenser. Here is an example of a homeowner with a good eye for what she wanted, went out and found it, and ended up with a fantasticly lovely powder room.

The wallpaper is by Thibaut Designs. It was a paper product with a satiny feel to the ink, and was nice to work with.

Major Transformation – From Dark & Dated to Sleek, Serene & Modern

May 14, 2016
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This under-the-stairs powder room in a townhome in Montrose (Houston) was originally papered in a dark murky blue striped wallpaper – very trendy back in the early ’90’s when this home was built (just like the shiny gold faucet and towel ring 🙂 ).

Neal LeBouef of L Design Group is helping the new homeowners bring their home into the New Millennium, with a sleeker, cleaner, and more contemporary look.

I don’t like grasscloth in bathrooms because it stains and runs when it gets splashed with water, and I really dislike the shading and paneling (color variations between strips) inherent to grasscloth. But I really do like Neal’s choice of this faux grass product! Thibaut Designs’s Bankun Raffia is a faux grasscloth in a woven pattern that has real texture and a subtle shadowing effect. It looks a whole lot like the real thing, but is free of the color defects of real grass, and is much more durable in wet areas.

I have hung this pattern many times, and it always looks crisp and clean and serene and, depending on the color, tailored and handsome. It’s thick, which makes it a little difficult to work around corners, but after many hangs, I’ve got the corners mastered.

In this room, I was unable to get the original wallpaper off the walls. It was coming off in 1″ pieces, and the 1′ square section I did get off took more than an hour, and left the wall a mess. So I opted to smooth over any uneven areas, and then sealed the paper with Gardz, by Zinsser, which soaks into porous materials like this (won’t work on vinyl or anything with a gloss), and then seals it, drying hard. It dries fast, and is suitable for hanging new wallpaper on top of it.

In the second photo, you see one wall in the original dark paper, and the wall to the right covered with the new fake grasscloth. With all the walls covered, the new look is fantastic. The shiny gold faucets will be changed, and a new light fixture and mirror will be added.

Playing It Subtle Keeps Focus on Art and Furniture

April 8, 2016

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This tone-on-tone trellis pattern is a perfect backdrop in this Montrose townhome dining room. It warms the room and adds interest to the walls, but does not overwhelm the artwork or furniture.

Another Faux Bead Board Paintable Wallpaper

September 18, 2015
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I love this Thibaut hummingbird pattern so much, it hurt to strip it off. But the home owner wanted something more subdued for this powder room in a townhome in the West University / Medical Center area of Houston. The beaded board pattern she chose is made of expanded vinyl and is intended to be painted (although it’s OK to leave it as-is, too). It is on a non-woven backing, and is supposed to strip off the wall later easily and cleanly and in one piece.

It is by Allen & Roth, made by Graham & Brown, who manufacturers a lot of these puffy papers.

Speaking of puffy papers – the surface is very delicate, and can be damaged by even a fingernail. In the last photo, you see horizontal lines in the material. I never creased the paper, yet these lines developed during “booking” (folding the paper pasted-side-to-pasted-side and letting it rest before hanging).

I threw one full-length strip away due to lines like this, but these two strips would be behind the mirror, and we had a limited amount of paper, so I let them stay on the wall. Subsequent strips were booked, but folded only once, to minimize the chance of these creases developing, and then handled very carefully during installation. Still, the homeowner will have to be careful over the life of the paper, to not press any hard objects against the walls, as this could create impressions that will last forever. I hope that painting the paper will increase its durability.

The paper has a vinyl surface, which does not “breathe,” and will take a while to dry completely. Because of this moisture, it’s important to have a good primer underneath, to prevent damage from moisture getting to the Sheetrock. I suggested waiting a week before painting, to be sure it’s good and dry.

The homeowner mentioned painting the walls a sage green. This will be pretty, and will coordinate with other rooms in the house. This type of textured wallpaper also looks good with a glaze coat of a different color, to add shading. Then again, the room looks so darned good with the white wallpaper, it’s possible she may leave it as it is!