Posts Tagged ‘wainscoting’

Really Cool Ombre Mural in Montrose Powder Room

October 17, 2020

The furnishings in this home are traditional, so I was surprised when the homeowners chose this ombre (shaded, graduated, faded) pattern for their powder room. I have to say, it turned out fantastic!

This innovative look is a mural, packed as two 36″ wide panels per “roll.” It took seven panels (four rolls) to do this very small powder room.

Each panel is 8′ high. Like most newer homes, this townhouse has 9′ high ceilings. So, to shorten the wall height, the homeowners decided to add a very short wainscoting at the bottom of the wall, topping it off with a strip of decorative chair rail molding. The deep navy color works perfectly with the tones in the mural, as well as the graduated saturation effect. I like it better than having the design come all the way to the floor.

The homeowners said it was near Divorce Court, with both of them squeezing into this 3′ x 6′ space (and toss in a toilet), trying to measure and hammer and paint and agree on install steps.

They were wise enough to not tackle hanging the wallpaper themselves. 🙂

Back to the wallpaper. This is by Brewster, in their A Street Prints line. It is a non-woven material, and can be hung via the paste-the-wall method …. but I chose to paste the material, for more flexibility and for getting around obstacles like the vanity and toilet.

This wallpaper should strip off the wall easily when it’s time to redecorate. The mural was purchased from Southwestern Paint / Benjamin Moore near the Rice Village, but can also be bought on-line from various vendors, including Brewster’s own website.

Sweet, Classic, Floral Bedroom in West U

October 10, 2020


Look at how this fluid floral pattern in a warm colorway snugs up this spare bedroom. The wallpaper was applied to just the top portion of the wall, with a chair rail and wainscoting below it.

At my suggestion, below the chair rail, the homeowner will add either beaded-board paneling OR embossed (textured) faux beaded board wallpaper. I’m voting for the wallpaper! To be honest, it’s the better option. It’s cheaper, installation will be less expensive, and, most important, it’s thinner, so that it will not cover up the narrow profile of the baseboard.

The paneling will then be painted. I suggested pulling a color out of the wallpaper, such as a soft “buff” found in some of the flowers. That will add more visual weight to the bottom portion of the room, as well as warm up the whole look.

If the homeowners want to kick it up a notch, they could add a glaze, using a color found in some of the flowers. There are blues and greens, but I much prefer the red/orange tones.

The walls were originally textured, so I spent a day and a half skim-floating them and then sanding smooth, and followed that with a primer formulated for wallpaper.

The wallpaper is by York, in their SureStrip line, which is one of my favorite manufacturers and products. SureStrip is pre-pasted and easy to hang, does not shrink significantly, and is designed to be easy to strip off the wall when it’s time to redecorate.

The home is in the West University / Southside Place area of Houston.

Bringing Fresh Life to a Heights Dining Room

September 20, 2020


This is the same house as in yesterday’s post, and I love the way the papers in the two near-by rooms coordinate in theme and color.

Note how the light blue color is just enough to make the beautiful millwork / moldings in this room stand out.

A geometric pattern in this dining room was more than a bit of a challenge. The wainscoting ran to slightly different heights as it went around the room. The ceiling in most sections was pretty level – but on the right side of the east wall, the crown molding ran up, and then back down again.

All of this means that the design motifs were not going to line up perfectly all the way around the room.

Even though the eye sees the pattern at the level of the chair rail most prominently, I chose to position the motifs so they hit the top of the wall with their tops intact. This meant that the bottom of the motifs were cut off when they reached the chair rail.

This ended up being a good decision, because, as already mentioned, the varying heights of the chair rail meant that the motifs would land on it at different points, anyway. Also, since so much of the room was comprised of the 5″ high areas over the doors and windows, I felt it more important to keep the motifs intact at the ceiling line.

That worked fine most of the way around the room. Except for that east wall, where the crown molding rose and dipped. The wainscoting also got off-level here. That is the second photo above.

I ended up with motifs that tracked up and down from the two moldings. That meant that the motifs became taller or shorter, or had more or less space between them and the moldings than the rest of the room. This would have been acceptable, because the homeowner was well aware of the home’s framing issues.

But I pulled a few tricks out of my hat to camouflage this. I took scrap wallpaper and cut out around the design motifs, to make them the correct shape and height to match others around the room, and appliquéd them on top of the skewed motifs.

No photos of this process, sorry. But you can see in the second photo that the motifs look whole and uniform all the way across the wall.

This wallpaper is by Baker Lifestyle. It is a sturdy non-woven material. It can be hung by paste-the-wall, but I prefer to paste the paper. The home is in the Heights neighborhood of Houston.

Warming Heights Living Room With Faux Grasscloth

August 7, 2020


Top photo – you’re looking at a living room in a beautifully renovated 1910 home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston. The bottom 3/4 of the walls are clad in beautiful white board-and-batten paneling. I skim-floated (smoothed) the upper 2′ of wall space a few months ago – and, due to construction delays, the poor family has been living with these uninspiring grey walls ever since.

Today I was able to finally get their paper up on the wall. This is an embossed vinyl faux grasscloth product by York. It is good quality, and the close-up shot shows that it does a good job of mimicking real grasscloth in texture and design. Unlike real grasscloth, because this material is vinyl, it will be resistant to stains. And because it’s man-made, there won’t be the sharp color variations from strip to strip.

However, like real grasscloth, this particular product does not have a pattern match (some by other manufactures, like Thibaut, do have a pattern match). No pattern match means that you will see a visible pattern break at every seam, every 27″ apart.

The homeowner knew immediately that she would not be happy with that. So she suggested running the material horizontally instead of vertically (called “railroading”). The width of the wallpaper accommodated the height of the wall space wonderfully, and we had just enough yardage to cover each of the four wall areas without having to splice any paper.

Another benefit is that, with the “grass” in the design directed vertically, it correlated nicely with the vertical paneling below.

And … the room has special tiny LED lights running along the top of the wainscoting. When turned on, they light up the wallpaper in a beautiful way. If the texture had been running horizontally, those lights would cast some really disconcerting shadows. (Remember when you were a kid and held a flashlight under your chin?!)

The true colors don’t show up well in the photos. This material mixes strands of murky blue, navy, mossy green, and gold. These colors coordinate sooo nicely with the deep blue ceiling, the navy paint in the adjoining dining room, and the tiles in the era-accurate fireplace.

The wallpaper manufacturer is York. The interior designer is Stacie Cokinos of Cokinos Design. She works mainly in the Heights area, and mostly on new builds or whole-house renovations.

Wallpaper in Magnolia Journal (JoAnna Gaines)

June 30, 2020


There was a nice multi-page spread in the current issue of Magnolia Journal on wallpaper. It talked about various ways it can be used, and how pattern and color can change a room.

Unfortunately, it mentioned peel & stick products as a viable option – they are NOT. Truly horrible stuff. Read my Page to the right.

The first photo is an unconvetional use of color and pattern. Love it.

Third photo, I have hung this pattern, or similar, a good number of times. It is a mural that can be custom-sized to fit your wall.

Fourth photo, “Daydream” by Hygge & West, is very popular and I have hung it many times. Not my favorite brand, because their ink fights their substrate, and tends to curl at the seams.

Palm and banana leaves are always popular. This photo shows how a really large scale can be used effectively in a small space.

Last photo, a really cool idea, to include wallpaper just in the area between the high wainscoting and the crown molding. Note also the dark colors of the wood and the wallpaper. This must be a custom-sized mural, or a border.

Both the room and the wallpaper are an updated take on the “frieze” borders that were common back in the 1910’s and 1920’s – the Art Nouveau and especially the Arts & Crafts decorating movements. Most often placed above dark paneled moldings in dining rooms and living rooms. Today, Bradbury & Bradbury is the most prominent maker of these authentic looking patterns. Interestingly enough, just this week I got a call from a homeowner wanting to put a B&B frieze in their historic home here in Houston.

Springy and Gay Accent Wall in Guest Bedroom

April 26, 2020


What a cheery look, for an accent wall in a light-filled guest bedroom of a beautifully renovated bungalow in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston!

I hung this same pattern a month ago just a few blocks away, but that room had wainscoting so there was only about 4′ of the pattern visible. In this room, the wallpaper goes from ceiling to floor, so you see how the full design plays out.

The design name is “Clementine” and it is by Sanderson, a British company. It is on a tough non-woven substrate, and I hung this using the paste-the-wall method.

The interior designer is Stacie Cokinos of Cokinos Design.

Another All-White Room Goes Wild With Color

November 7, 2019

Boy, did I have fun with this one! Another all-white room rescued from the igloo-look.

This is the bathroom of a pre-teen gal in the West University neighborhood of Houston. She likes pink and orange, but is too old for flowers or girly stuff. Another focus was to keep in theme with the bold black band of tile around the top of the wainscoting.

This wallpaper is by Marimekko, 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.

This is a non-woven product, and can be hung by the paste-the-wall or the paste-the-paper methods. (I pasted the paper.) This material is dimensionally -stable and should not shrink or put tension on the wall as it dries. It has high fiberglass content, and is designed to pull off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate.

It was nice to work with.

Two Pretty Blues Today

April 25, 2019


Another “all white” house gets a little personality and definition from a light dose of color and pattern. What a pleasant change!

The first three photos are Scalamandre’s “Balinese Peacock.” It came with a selvedge edge that had to be hand-trimmed off with a razor blade and a 6′ straight edge.

The last two photos are a fun elongated triangle floral stripe by Schumacher. My “after” sink photo didn’t come through, unfortunately, but the other pictures will give you an idea of the pattern.

Even though these papers are by two different manufacturers, the blue color is identical. It’s a lot brighter and prettier than my crummy camera depicts. The blue picks up hints of blue that the homeowner has in her living room (throw pillows) and in the dining room (navy blue paint above the wainscoting).

The peacock went in a small bar area off the living room, and the foliage stripe went in the under-the-stairs powder room that is right off the bar. The home is in the West University neighborhood of Houston.

After 30 Years, It’s Time for an Update

December 19, 2018


These homeowners were updating their 30-year old home in Sugarland. To the dining room and hallway, they added crown molding at the top and wainscoting with block-and-panel molding at the bottom. Fine moldings add a real touch of elegance.

But the wife has a bit of a renegade spirit, and really likes the new “industrial modern” decorating style. So it was time for the ’90’s era faux-finish wallpaper to go – along with the border which you can just see a tidbit of it peeking out from under the new crown molding.

The new wallcovering choice is a small “flame” textured vinyl in a steely grey/taupe/gold color. It perfectly pulls together the industrial modern light fixture and the classic paneling.

The cut edges of the textured vinyl, along with the sheen of the material, really reflect light and bounce it around the room.

Like most solid-colored wallcoverings with no pattern, with or without a texture, this selection was subject to some color differences between strips. The dining area with 5′ high walls went up with a very homogenous look. Ditto one wall of the 8′ high hallway to the right. But another wall in that same hallway showed some differences between strips.

To minimize these differences, I tried various things.

First, I made sure to hang each strip sequentially, as they came off the bolt. That would reduce color variations, if the ink had gotten lighter or darker as the printing process went on at the factory.

I colored the edges of the vinyl with chalk of a matching hue, so that if a “high” area of the textured vinyl butted up against a “low” area of the next strip, the white edges would be covered with a matching color.

Next I tried reversing every other strip. This means you hang one strip right-side-up, and the next one upside-down. This ensures that one edge of the paper is being hung against itself, so, if there is a color difference, it is gradual instead of abrupt. Difficult to explain, but it makes sense if your mind’s eye can follow it through.

Interestingly enough, reversing every other strip worked quite nicely on the dining room walls, as you see in the photo. But in the full-height walls to the right, reversing the strips resulted in paneling. So there I hung all the strips right-side-up – and it looked great.

But on the far wall, no matter if I hung right-side-up or reversed, you could see differences between the strips (last photo). I replaced one strip once, and another I replaced twice – but never really loved the way it turned out. On some of the other seams, even though I had colored the edges with chalk, the white vinyl still showed. At some point, you just have to say, “This is how the product is.”

This is also why you discuss this with the homeowner before starting the project – and hopefully before she makes her decision to purchase this product. In this case, the homeowner was originally looking at grasscloth – and that product would most likely have had much more noticeable color differences.

Lighting has a lot to do with it, too. Strong light, filtered light, incandescent or LED, light straight-on or light from an angle, all put their thumbprint on how the wallpaper looks.

This wallpaper pattern is by York (one of the homeowners is originally from York, Pensylvania!), 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.

Blue Birds Brighten a Bathroom – But Not A Good Quality Paper

June 27, 2018


The original wallpaper had fallen victim to curled seams. This happens most often with lower-end pre-pasted, paper-backed, solid vinyl wallcoverings, particularly in humid rooms, like this bathroom. Adding to the list of no-no’s were an improperly smoothed wall and the lack of a primer.

The seams on these papers are never great to begin with. When there is humidity, it will find its way into the seams and onto the paper backing of the wallpaper. When this backing gets wet by humidity, it expands. When it expands, it has nowhere to go but out – pushing away from the wall. This results in a curled seam. This is not “loose” wallpaper, and the seams cannot be glued back down. In many cases, the paper backing layer of the wallpaper actually delaminates (separates from) the top vinyl layer.

The homeowner loved the pattern, particularly the blue birds, and bought the same exact paper to replace the other. I stripped off the old paper, took various steps to stabilize the unsound wall surface, then skim-coated the wall to smooth it, primed, and hung the new paper.

The look is cheery and bright, and looks fabulous with the pale yellow bead-board wainscoting. The seams looked good when I left, and will pull down tighter as the paper dries.

Still, these economical pre-pasted, paper-backed, solid vinyl wallpapers are not my choice for use in any room. And this particular brand (Norwall) just about tops my list for brands to NOT purchase.