Posts Tagged ‘trellis’

Geometric Pattern in a Powder Room – Flooded Home

May 20, 2018


This home in the Energy Corridor area of Houston was flooded during Hurricane Harvey last August. A lower section of drywall had been cut out and replaced. The contractor’s wallpaper hanger put up this identical pattern. The homeowner wasn’t pleased with the job. To be honest, the installer did a pretty good job, in a room that was very difficult to hang. There were a few minor things that could have been done differently.

But what bothered the homeowner most was that the walls had not been smoothed properly before the paper went up. With that west-facing window blasting angled sunlight into the room, those irregular surface flaws were quite obvious. See the top two photos. (You may need to enlarge them.)

I stripped off the original paper and skim-floated the walls to make them as perfectly smooth as possible. I followed with a primer. (The previous installer had not primed the walls.) See third photo for walls that are ready to go.

This room was a major bugger bear to hang. For starters, there was a large metal mirror that protruded about 4″ from the wall, that could not be removed. This was directly over a pedestal sink. (The previous installer had the luxury of hanging the room before the sink was in place.) It’s hard to explain, but the logistics of winding wallpaper around these three-dimensional objects, preventing the paper from tearing, having the ridged and unforgiving pattern match on all planes, keeping the edges plumb, and keeping the edges straight so they would butt up with the next strip, all while fighting edges of the wallpaper that wanted to curl backwards, were extremely difficult.

In addition, the corners of the room were out of plumb, which pretty much guaranteed pattern mis-matches in all the corners. On a wild floral pattern, no one would notice. But with a geometric pattern like this trellis, the eye would catch even minor mis-matches.

Compounding all of that was the fact that nothing in the room was centered. The window was not in the center of the wall, nor was the toilet – and they were not aligned with each other, either. The sink was not centered on the mirror, the faucet was not in the center of the sink, and the spout was off-set from the handle. I finally decided to balance the trellis design on the mirror, and it did fall perfectly symmetrically on either side. The kicker is that the room is so narrow that you can’t stand back far enough to appreciate all my efforts. 😦

I probably spent 40 minutes plotting how to tackle the first wall, and then a full two hours hanging the first two strips (the ones around the mirror and sink) (sorry – the room was too small to get good pics). The longer I worked, the more appreciation I had for the previous installer and the job she had done.

In the end, the walls I had prepped were smooth, and there were no objectionable bumps or gouges showing under the paper. I pulled some tricks out of my hat and got the pattern to match in the corners pretty darned well.

That window with it’s danged strong light still was a foe, though. The wallpaper seams butted together just about perfectly. Yet because of the way the edges curled back when they got wet with paste, I fought to keep them down tight to the wall. Once dried, they were nice and flat. I was pretty content. But when the sun moved and light came through that window from a different angle – some of those seams looked positively horrid! The light was casting shadows and making it look like the seams were overlapped. Yet they were perfectly flat. The inclination is to go over and over the seams with various tools and try to “force” them to lie flatter – but this can burnish or otherwise damage the wallpaper or the underlying surface. The good news is that as the sun moved, and as the louvers on the shutters were adjusted, the shadows disappeared and the seams looked good.

Let’s hope that the homeowners see this room only in the most positive light. 🙂

This wallpaper is by York Wall, one of my favorite brands. Interestingly, the paper came with the correct label, but the instruction insert was for another line made by this same company. I’m glad that I was familiar with both products, and had the sense to disregard the info that was not relative.

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Flooded and Updated

April 26, 2018


At first glance, there is nothing wrong with the original striped wallpaper in this dining room of a home in the Champions area of Houston. In fact, it has been performing well for nearly 30 years. The only problem is that it’s outdated.

This home was damaged by the flooding that came with Hurricane Harvey last year. So while the homeowners were replacing floors and drywall and appliances, they decided to replace and update the dining room wallpaper, too.

This damask / trellis pattern has some unusual shading effects. From certain angles, it looks like there is a shadowy stripe running vertically through the design. But from another angle, you see an alternating depth of color (light, dark) running horizontally.

In addition, the printed design of the wallpaper has a metallic sheen to it. This adds life and energy to the room, and also ensures that the dining room feels young and up to date.

The homeowner thoughtfully chose the blue-green color paint at the bottom of the wall, to coordinate with the wallpaper. The darker color at the bottom of the walls helps ground and balance the room.

This wallpaper pattern is by York, and has a “raised ink” texture. 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.

1950’s Bathroom Revisited – and Updated

February 17, 2018


This hall bathroom in a 1955 home in the Briargrove / Tanglewood neighborhood of Houston suffered damaged during Hurricane Harvey. The wallpaper had to be replaced. The homeowner chose the aqua trellis paper, thinking it would compliment the original sea-foam colored tile (which I happen to love, BTW). The contractor let his painter hang the new wallpaper. Both these decisions turned out to be mistakes.

I was called in to remove the trellis paper, prep and prime the walls, and then hang this beautiful and bold paisley pattern. Some of the photos are washed out, but in the good ones you can see the rich hues of this fun pattern. And it coordinates perfectly with the tile.

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.

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.

Workin’ On Ridding A Wrinkle

January 30, 2018


Even though this is a brand-new house, erected by a skilled custom builder, all of the walls, floor, and ceiling were off-plumb / unlevel. That’s not such a big deal when working with a wild abstract pattern or a typical floral. But when a geometric wallpaper pattern like this is applied to out-of-kilter walls, the resulting pattern match is going to be very visible.

In the top photo, the wall to the left is bowed. Trying to get a straight strip of wallpaper to fit into the crooked corner resulted in two very large (24″ high) wrinkles near the floor. That makes it difficult for my next strip of wallpaper to butt into the corner tightly, and to match the pattern, and still maintain its straight edge on the right side. This edge has to stay straight, because subsequent strips of wallpaper will be butted up against it.

My solution was to make some vertical “relief cuts,” following along the design motifs (top photo), from the baseboard up to the point where the wallpaper begins to torque out of shape. Because the wrinkles were so big, I had to make two vertical cuts, instead of just one, to ease the resulting pattern mis-match out over several inches, so it would be less noticeable.

When smoothed back into place, you could not see any pattern mismatch at all. (second photo)

Tight Trellis Forms a Muted Backdrop in a Heights Sitting Room

January 29, 2018


Here is an example of a bold pattern that doesn’t feel heavy at all. Because the design motifs are small, and because the color palette is kept to just two colors, the overall effect is not overwhelming. Instead, it creates the perfect backdrop for the light sconces and other furniture (not pictured) in this sitting room in a new home in the Heights neighborhood of Houston.

This wallpaper pattern is a classic, and is made by Schumacher, who has been manufacturing wallpaper for more than a hundred years. Look closely, and you can see the “raised ink” texture to the paper. The interior designer is Stacie Cokinos, of Cokinos Design. She works primarily on new-builds or whole-house remodels. Her look is fresh and crisp, but with a lot of warmth and living for real life tossed in.

Upward Movement Geometric in a Briarpark Entry Way

January 10, 2018


This beautifully updated 1971 Tudor-style ranch-style home in the Briarpark area of Houston was pretty much white and grey, from outside throughout the inside. The homeowner wanted some warmth and life, and some personality for the interior.

This scratchy black on white pattern does all of that. It is a combination of geometric, trellis, and medallion, and it has a strong vertical influence, too.

Notice how the design motif has been centered on the two walls pictured.

This wallpaper is from A Street Prints, by Brewster. It is a non-woven material and is intended to be a paste-the-wall installation. But I had better results by pasting-the-paper. 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.

Dark Alligator Out – Bright Trellis In

July 30, 2017

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In the powder room of this home in the Woodlands (Houston), this dark brown faux alligator textured vinyl wallcovering probably looked good with the previous homeowner’s mirror and accessories, but it made the room cave-like, and was not at all in sync with the lifestyle of the new homeowners, a young family with pre-school age children.

They chose this classic trellis design in cream on tan and, boy – did it brighten and open up the room!

I usually love this brand, but today there was a bit of shading – color was darker on one side of the strip than it was on the other, which you can see in the second-to-last photo and in the head-on shot of the sink, and also some “gaps and overlaps” at the seams. Both of these issues were relatively minor and not very noticeable.

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.

Modernizing, But Staying True to Colonial Roots

November 10, 2016
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This 1958 ranch-style home overlooking the jogging trail along Braes Bayou in central Houston has a strong Colonial flavor, and that is reiterated by the collection of antique furniture and accessories. In the powder room, the previous sweet tan-on-cream toile wallpaper pattern fit in perfectly.

But, over years of raising kids and careless splashing of water onto the wallpaper, some of the seams were curling (see first photo and my previous post). And, come late 2016, the homeowner was ready to update the home and bring in a more modern feel. But she didn’t want to fight the bones of the house.

She shopped at my favorite store (see below) and found the perfect pattern! A trellis is a classic design, dating back hundreds of years. But this version edges toward a contemporary feel. And the color is perfect with the unique shade of the woodwork.

I engineered the room so that the trellis pattern would be centered on the sink / faucet, and so it would look nicely balanced around the mirror and light sconces (4th photo).

The homeowner was ecstatic. She kept saying that it looked even better than she hoped it would.

This is my third time to paper this powder room, over 15-20 years. I have seen their kids grow up! 🙂

This wallpaper is by Wallquest, in their EcoChic line. I like this brand a lot. This paper was bought at a discounted 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.

Swoopy Trellis of Glass Beads Brightens a Powder Room

October 30, 2016
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This powder room in a new home by Ridgewater Builders in the Houston Heights neighborhood is large, but still it felt a little claustrophobic, not to mention completely personality-less.

This fluid lattice design adds pattern and movement, and the glass beads embedded into the surface are a glittery touch of glamor.

But, if you are seeking glitter and shimmer, these tiny round beads made from real glass are not all they’re cracked up to be. Look at the third photo. Only the glass beads that are hit by light at a certain angle and a certain intensity will shine. The others simply lie dormant and dark.

In addition, the beads detached from the wallpaper in droves, raining down and covering the floor (see photo) to the point where things were sliding along the floor as if on an air hockey table. The beads also impaled themselves onto the back of the wallpaper, creating ugly “pimples” that showed from the front.

The non-woven material that was used as a substrate was very thick and stiff and difficult to work with; it would not fit snugly against moldings or ceilings, it left gaps an overlaps in the corners, it was very difficult to cut through, it ate up my razor blades and destroyed my scissors, and the material resisted being twisted (such as when trying to work a wrinkle out of a strip of wallpaper.)

Glass bead wallpaper is trendy, and it’s also spendy. And – does it really live up to its expectations?

There are plenty of “fake” glass bead wallpapers available in stores and on-line. I would encourage you to look at some of these faux products. Many of them use glitter, which is seductively shimmery from any angle, in any light. There are no beads to fall on the floor or work their way through the storm drains and then down into Galveston Bay. And the papers are thinner and conform to the corners and angles and moldings of the room much better.

The interior designer for this project is Rachel Goetz. The wallpaper is in the A-Street Prints line, by Brewster.