Posts Tagged ‘vanity’

Soaring Shore Birds

September 5, 2019

Originally, the walls in this second-floor powder room in a large home in the Memorial Villages neighborhood of Houston were completely covered in baseballs! Even the knobs on the vanity were shaped like baseballs. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo of the “before” room. … But maybe that is a good thing … …

Yesterday I stripped the baseballs off, and today I replaced them with flocks of birds soaring to the northeast. I like the new look much better!

This wallpaper pattern is by A Street Prints, and is on a non-woven substrate, and can be hung using the paste-the-wall method or the paste-the-paper method. As usual, I preferred to paste the paper.

The paper 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.

More William Morris – Woodland Heights Master Bath and Closet

September 2, 2019


Here is a wonderfully renovated and updated 1925 home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston. It pretty much has the all-white decorating scheme going on. The homeowner wanted to inject a little warmth into the master suite, and chose this beautiful historic pattern in muted colors, by William Morris.

I put it on two opposing walls in the master closet, and on one wall in the master bathroom, directly across from the sink and mirrors. It is a fantastic compliment to the grey-veined marble counter top, and the darker grey paint on the vanity. (Sorry, no photo) And it adds the warmth and character the homeowner was seeking.

William Morris was a popular designer during the Arts & Crafts movement around the turn of the last century. His patterns are very stylized and rhythmic.

This is a British-made paper, and is printed on the pulp stock (rather than the new non-woven material that most British companies are moving to). You have to know a few tricks to working with it, but it goes up beautifully and will hold up for a good long time. It does not have any coating, however, so will be susceptible to splashes and stains.

The interior design firm for this project is Four Square Design (Laura and Sarah worked on this home). They work primarily with older or historic structures, and have saved many a beautiful home from being torn down.

Getting Smoothing Compound To Dry

June 13, 2019


The walls in this powder room were textured. (see top photo) To ensure that the new wallpaper looks good, and that it has a solid surface to cling to, the walls need to be smoothed. This is called floating, or skim coating, and I do a lot of it here in Houston. To do that, I trowel on a plaster-like substance, let it dry, then sand it, vacuum up the dust, wipe residual dust off the walls with a damp sponge, and then prime.

What takes the most time is waiting for the smoothing compound (drywall joint compound, which we also call “mud”) to dry. If the texture is heavy, often it has to dry overnight. The downside of this is that it adds an extra day of labor and expense. But when the texture is lighter, the drying can be speeded along.

In the second photo, you see some of the ways I get mud to dry more quickly. On the counter* you see two box fans, and on the floor is a much stronger fan. On the counter is also a space heater. Hot air in the room absorbs moisture, sucking it out of the wet smoothing compound. I let the room heat up, and then I have to open the door and let the moist air out – over and over again.

The yellow objet on the floor is a heat gun. A heat gun acts like a hair dryer on steroids, and can get small stubborn areas to dry pretty quickly.

A few other things help speed drying … Walls coated with flat paint will dry more quickly than with glossy paint. And having the air conditioning and / or heat cranking away will help, because, while regulating the temperature, these climate-control systems also pull humidity out of the air. I also like to turn the HVAC system’s fan from “Auto” to “On,” so that air is circulating continuously, which also pulls humidity out of the air and helps the walls to dry.

*I normally keep a dropcloth on the vanity counter. But the vibrating fans can cause the dropcloths to slip, and you don’t want anything crashing down on the homeowner’s countertop. I do have lengths of self-grip shelf liner that help keep the fans from moving around too much.

Wallpaper in Southern Living Magazine

March 30, 2019


These are from the March 2019 issue of Southern Living. The first three designs are by Stroheim. One adds cherry color to an entry, one is a subtle backdrop for a comfy farmhouse-style dining room, and one is an unexpected pop of color in a tiny vanity area.

The wallpaper in the last photo is unnamed, but it’s a beautiful setting for a classy southern lady interior designer.

Helping Crooked Walls Look Straight. Geometric Pattern

March 27, 2019

Geometric patterns are very popular right now. But one of the things I hate about them is that your eye expects to see the pattern motif march straight across the ceiling and walls … But ceilings are never perfectly level and walls are never perfectly plumb. And wallpaper itself will expand when it gets wet with paste, and can stretch out of shape, causing it to go off-kilter.

In the top photo, the wallpaper was hung butted straight up against the most visible corner, the left edge (not shown). But since that corner was not absolutely perpendicular to the corner to the right of it, this tight geometric pattern started to track off-kilter. As you see in the photo, the black line at the far right is wider at the bottom of the wall, and tapers off to nothing by the time it gets to the top of the wall.

With a geometric design, your eye wants to see that black line reproduced rhythmically all the way along the wall.

With a thin paper, I might have been able to cut vertically along the design and pull the paper into alignment with the wall on the right, overlapping the excess paper as it moved to the top of the wall. But such an overlap would have been very noticeable on this thick non-woven wallpaper material.

So I did something else. I took some scrap paper and cut appliqués of the black line design that were the same dimensions of the lines at the bottom of the wall. I then pasted them onto the corresponding spot on the right edge of the wall.

As I mentioned, this as a thick non-woven material, and an appliqué would be pretty noticeable. So I fiddled with the paper a bit, and pulled the thick backing away from the inked layer of the front. In the second photo, you see the white backing discarded on the left side of the photo.

Once the appliqués were measured, cut, pasted, and applied to the proper spot on the wall, you don’t notice that anything is not plumb. All you see is a consistent row of black lines marching vertically along the right edge of the wall.

Note that by doing this, I have moved the black line closer than it’s supposed to be to it’s parallel partner to the left of it. But the eye notices this much less than it would a fading away line on the right edge of the wall.

I’m glad that I spent the extra 45 minutes to do this to both vanity walls in this master bathroom in a nicely renovated Mid-Century Modern home in the Piney Point (the Villages) neighborhood of Houston.

Wallpaper In This 1/2″ Wide Space? – You BET I Can!

December 27, 2018


Well, somebody forgot to tell the contractor to push the vanity all the way against the wall … Resulting in this 1/2″ wide gap between the countertop and the wall.

With some careful folding, unbooking, and the use of a wooden yardstick to both pull the pasted paper away from the wall, and then smooth it against the wall as needed, I was able to get a contiguous strip of paper into this narrow space.

Some Patterns are More Fun to Hang than Others

August 17, 2018


Wow! What a cool pattern, and super fun colors – I couldn’t wait to hang it!

This wild dragon and flora wallpaper on a silver metallic background went in a largish powder room in a new townhome in the north Heights neighborhood of Houston. The single guy homeowner went through a maddening number of choices before finally settling on this one. Boy, is it a great one!

The paper was a little testy to work with, though. It is a thick and stiff and somewhat spongy non-woven material which was difficult to manipulate around features like the light fixture and the vanity top. In addition, the metallic surface was very prone to creasing.

The wall-mounted light fixture could not be removed, and I knew that working the paper around it would result in visible creases. My solution was to split the strip horizontally right where it would land on the light fixture. This made it easier for me to make relief cuts and to ease the wallpaper around the fixture.

I used similar techniques in other areas of the room.

The paper is a lot more vivid and colorful than the photos show. All that teal and chartreuse and silver, and the relentless swirling tails and scales and leaves combine to make one mesmerizing room! A mirror with a wide, dark brown frame set it off.

This wallpaper pattern is by York, in their Dwell Studios line, 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.

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.

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.