Posts Tagged ‘vanity’

Sassy, Shimmery Update On A Classic Damask

June 14, 2018


Here’s a fun twist on a classic pattern for an under-the-stairs powder room in the Rice Military / Camp Logan neighborhood of Houston. A damask is a well-loved, traditional design. But this navy blue color, along with the very shiny silver Mylar material, bring it into the Modern Age.

This was a non-woven material, and the instructions said you could install it using either the paste-the-paper or paste-the-wall method. I chose to paste the paper, because it makes the material more pliable. It was also nice that the sink / vanity was not in the room yet, so it was much easier to cover that wall, and eliminated the chance of creasing or scratching the delicate Mylar surface.

The material did expand in width a bit (1/4″), which is unusual for a non-woven. One of the selling points of these newish substrates is that they are supposed to be dimensionally stable and are not supposed to absorb moisture from the paste. Pasting the material gave it a chance to expand before I got it to the wall, which is good. If I had instead pasted the wall and hung the dry paper onto the pasted wall, it might have expanded and caused pouched or overlapped seams.

This wallpaper pattern is by Exclusive Wallcoverings, a British company, 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.

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Stacks of Blocks in a Bellaire Powder Room

May 25, 2018



This 30-year old home was flooded last August during Hurricane Harvey, and today is just a couple of weeks from being finished with the rebuild. This gold-on-black stacked-block pattern was chosen to help bring a more contemporary look to the home, as well as pump up the drama factor – a stunning gold-on-black console-style vanity and a huge, jaw-dropping crystal chandelier will be installed next week. I hope they send me photos!

Keeping this very rigid pattern plumb and level was a bit of a challenge, especially since all the walls were out of plumb. At the top of the second photo you see my horizontal line marking where I wanted the top gold line to fall. This line helped me keep the pattern perfectly aligned all the way around the room.

This paper is by York Wall, in their Sure Strip line. It is a non-woven material, but is thin and soft and pliable, and was a delight to work with. You could paste the wall to install, but I chose to paste the paper, because it makes the material more flexible and easier to work with and easier to keep clean. I wouldn’t mind hanging this product every day!

The wallpaper 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.

The interior designer for this home is Wes Satterwhite, of Silver Oak Consulting, here in Houston. He’s been overseeing much of the selections of finishes, paint colors, hardware, cabinets, flooring, drapes, etc., from the very beginning.

Wallpaper – Lots of Wallpaper – In Flea Market Décor Magazine

May 22, 2018

I know that the current interior design craze is HGTV’s Joanna Gaines / Fixer Upper look, with vast open rooms, white and grey on every surface, and uncluttered spaces. But there are plenty of people out there – me emphatically included – who like the feel of walls around us, love color, love all things vintage, love to collect, and love to look at our collections. At Christmas, my brother gifted me with a subscription to Flea Market Décor magazine, and, boy, was this a perfect fit! If you like old stuff, retro stuff, imperfect stuff, beat-up stuff, quirky, fun, colorful, funky, junque, thrift stores, and flea markets – go check out this magazine!

Anyway, I am always thrilled to see wallpaper in magazines, and the spring 2018 issue of Flea Market Décor had lots of it.

Note the use on all walls of a living room, and one accent wall of two different bedrooms. Bold patterns and receding patterns. Some paper was used to highlight panels in a door, the butterflies were captured in a large frame over a bathroom vanity, and a bright pink pattern accents a desk area.

You will notice vintage and retro furniture. Many of the rooms use recurring color, pulled from the wallpaper and used again throughout the room. Even though there is a lot of “stuff” in the rooms, the repetitive use of the same color keeps the look cohesive.

Some of the rooms are funky, and some are sophisticated and even elegant (the peacock feathers). All of them feel warm and inviting, and they definitely express the homeowner’s personality and individuality.

Fun Color and Lively Pattern for a Rice U. Area Powder Room

April 19, 2018

Wallpaper - Thibaut Wild Floral, Soffit


This powder room in a 1939 home near Rice University (Houston) also serves as the laundry. The previous owners had painted the room a grey semi-gloss. Serviceable, but lifeless. The new owners have a just-learning-to-walk little girl, and a more vibrant lifestyle. This wild and colorful floral pattern is just what was needed to wake up the room.

This pattern is reminiscent of the chintz designs that were popular in the 1990’s. But it’s updated by it’s overscale size, and the bright, edgy colors that are used.

I particularly like the way it works with the green vanity. In fact, parts of the room behind the appliances could not be papered (could not move the washer & dryer out of the way, one wall had too much weirdness going on – really bad surface, hoses and wires running through it, very large gaps) so the homeowners will paint that wall with a semi-gloss paint, which will be resistant to splashes from laundry day. They were thinking of white, but I suggested using the same green as on the vanity. It’s a lot more fun than plain old white, and it will tie the room together.

This room was difficult to paper, because of the wonky walls, unfortuitous placement of windows, doors, bump-outs, etc., none of which synced with the width of the wallpaper, hoses and pipes I had to trim around (sorry, no photo 😦 ), and lots more. Take a look at the soffit – easy to look at, but difficult to get paper on – luckily the pattern is wild enough that unavoidable mismatches are not noticeable.

This “Portofino” wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, and was very nice 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.

Brilliantly Bold

March 16, 2018


Dark powder rooms are a good look. But dark paint by itself can feel uninteresting and even closed-in.

A bit of glowing aqua and green palm leaves on this black background really punch up the drama in this Montrose (Houston) area powder room! The stacked leaves add a distinct upward movement (and fun!) to this tall, narrow space.

The homeowner searched for a long time to find a pattern she liked, in a colorway that would compliment the ice-aqua color of the glass sink. (Sorry, my poor photo doesn’t do justice to the beautiful color of this unique sink.) (The wall to the right of the wallpaper and above the sink is covered with tiny squares of tile, and the lighted mirror.)

The original blue paint just blended in with the medium-toned brown bamboo free-standing console vanity sink base. But against the black wallpaper, the stained bamboo really stood out.

This tropical wallpaper pattern is called Kalani, and is in the “Fine Décor Collection” by Brewster. It is a non-woven material (which means it should strip off the wall easily when it’s time to redecorate), and is designed for a paste-the-wall installation (but I opted to paste the paper, instead.).

The material was thin, which I like, but I wasn’t fond of the plastic-y feel to the surface, plus it creased really easily. Because the paper was black and was printed on a white substrate, I used chalk to color the edges of the paper, which prevented white from showing at the seams. Once this was done, the seams were practically invisible.

Messy Countertops Make Wallpaper Installation Difficult

December 3, 2017

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A week before I start a job, I send the homeowners information about the installation process and what things I will be needing. One thing I ask is that they clear toiletries, jewelry, paperwork, etc., out of the work area. Well, here are a few households that didn’t get the message. 😦

All this mess is hard for me to work around. And since I often need to sand, even if I cover these items with plastic, they are likely to get a little dusty. And they’ll need to be protected from splatters from the wallpaper primer.

Sometimes I’ll move things out of the way, and then you never know where they will end up – under the vanity, on the bedroom floor, on the dining room table, in the bathtub – anywhere I can find a surface to set them on. That gets them out of my way and keeps them clean, but it puts the homeowners on a search mission later, and they’ll have to try to put everything back the way they had it in the beginning.

Best for the homeowner to take these things out of the room herself, and stash them where she can find them when the wallpaper job is finished.

Homeowner Tackled the Wallpaper Install – So, How’s That Working Out for You?

August 9, 2017

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The homeowner tried tackling this wallpaper installation herself, without even consulting so much as a YouTube video. She didn’t do an all-out bad job, and the paper is still stuck to the wall after three years. But there are a number of things that were done incorrectly.

1. Walls were not primed with a wallpaper primer

2. Caulk should have been run around the top of the backsplash

3. Paper was wrapped around the edge of door moldings and not trimmed.

4. Seams were overlapped

5. Overlapped areas were not secured with a “vinyl-over-vinyl” adhesive.

6. Pattern was not matched.

7. And, last but very important – a poor choice of wallpapers.

I am not a fan of paper-backed, solid-vinyl wallpapers, especially the pre-pasted, lower-end products. Do a Search here on various terms, and you will learn a lot about the material and its poor performance. IMO

In the meantime, when I take on this job, I will remove all the old paper, scrub the walls to remove paste residue, fix any dings in the walls, prime with an appropriate primer, hang the paper properly, by matching the pattern, butting the seams, and trimming correctly along baseboards and door moldings, etc., and, when finished, I will run clear caulk along the top of the vanity and other key areas, then give the family my “lecture” about leaving the door open and using the exhaust fan and avoiding long steamy showers.

Using 20-Minute “Mud” to Repair Sheetrock Damage

March 31, 2017

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When the homeowners had their powder room vanity top replaced, the shorter new backsplash left a 1″ area of torn drywall around the top of the new backsplash. There was a height difference between the drywall and the wall (which was covered with at least two layers of old wallpaper). This needed to be evened out before the new wallpaper could go up.

Because torn drywall will bubble when it gets wet, I used a penetrating sealer called Gardz to prevent this by sealing the raw area. Once that was dry, I used 20-minute joint compound to “float” over the damaged areas.

The bag says “5” (see photo), but that is misleading. What they mean is that you have five minutes to mix the powdered material with water, stir smooth, and then work with the stuff, before it gets stiff and hard. The actual drying time is more like 10-20 minutes, and sometimes longer.

Once it’s dry, it can be sanded smooth. Wipe off the dust with damp sponge, let dry again. Then it can be sealed with a primer, and I like the penetrating sealer Gardz, once again, to seal this porous joint compound material.

Wallpaper, Vanity, Counter Top – All Beautifully Coordinated

March 12, 2017


“Softly homogeneous” is a perfect description.

This is in a powder room in a new home in Bellaire (Houston).

Adorable Pattern; Difficult Install

January 27, 2017
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Many people love this pattern, but few have the chutzpah to put it on their walls. The owner of a new home in Spring Branch (Houston) took the leap and had me put it in her powder room – and it looks fantastic.

So the finished room looks great – getting the paper up on the walls was another story.

The problem was the extremely stiff non-woven material the wallpaper is printed on. The manufacturer, Cole & Son, uses a softer, more flexible non-woven material for others of their patterns, such as “Woods,” and it’s pretty nice to work with. This stuff I hung today is the opposite.

If you are only hanging wallpaper on an accent wall, this stuff would have been OK. But in real life, you will be working around angled ceilings, light fixtures, door and window moldings, toilets, water supply lines, vanities, and the most trying of all – pedestal sinks. Trying to maneuver and manipulate the stiff and unyielding wallpaper into position without getting any creases or overlaps or gaps or cuts or abraded areas was a huge challenge.

The installation took twice as long as it should have, and there are some aspects I am not happy with. (Don’t worry – the homeowners love it.) I would be happy if I never saw it again.

Oh, did I mention that I am hanging the same paper next week? Well, at least I have been warmed up and know what I’m in for.

This wallpaper pattern is by Cole & Son, a British company, and is called Acquario.