Posts Tagged ‘wall’

Calming Faux Grasscloth on a TV / Fireplace Accent Wall

October 16, 2018


If you’ve read this blog for long, or if you’ve read my informative page on grasscloth to the right, you know that I am not a fan of this material. So when clients want texture and an earthy, organic feel, I suggest some alternatives.

One of my favorite alternatives to real grasscloth is this textured vinyl product, called Bankun Raffia, made by Thibaut. It has none of the visible seams, shading, paneling, or color variations of the real stuff. What’s more, it is strong and durable, just about tear- and water-proof, and it is stain resistant.

The homeowner wisely chose this product to use as two panels flanking the fireplace wall (which is also the TV wall). The faux grasscloth adds warmth and texture and subtle color. It will hold up well against daily use, and it will be easy to remove when they are ready to redecorate.

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Beautiful, Funky 1960’s Mural

August 30, 2018


This mural is on the wall of a dining room in a 1960’s home in the Cottage Grove neighborhood of Houston. It is actually larger than it appears in the photos. It’s original to the home, in perfect condition, and the ink colors are as vibrant today as they were the day it was hung.

Basket Weave Wallpaper Pattern on a Bedroom Accent Wall

August 14, 2018

For this accent / feature wall of Grandma’s bedroom in a very contemporary new home in the West U. area of Houston, the homeowner wanted something fun but not too edgy (Grandma’s gonna sleep in there, after all! 🙂 ). Plus she wanted to pull in colors from other rooms, particularly navy blue, as well as coordinate with the tufted headboard (grey) and upholstered bench (navy). And a little Asian flavor wouldn’t hurt.

Here’s a pattern that fills the bill! The hatch design is reminiscent of a woven bamboo mat. The navy background coordinates with the bench, as well as fabrics in other rooms of the house, and the grey and silver accents work perfectly with the tufted headboard. The design is contemporary, but not overwhelmingly so. Its surface is vinyl, but it has a velvet-like feel, and I believe it will help absorb sound, too.

The homeowner took my recommendation and visited Dorota (read below), who helped her track down this perfect fit!

The material is non-woven, and I hung it using the paste-the-wall technique. The backing and edges of this dark paper were white, so I ran a chalk pastel crayon along them to disguise the light color.

This wallpaper pattern is by Designer Wallpapers, 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.

Most of the furniture and accessories are from High Fashion Home near downtown Houston.

Manipulating a Thick, Stiff Paper Around a Curved Wall

July 2, 2018


Curved walls like this pose a problem when wallpapering, because it’s virtually impossible for the framers and drywall guys to get the walls perfectly smooth and straight without bows or dips or humps. You may not see these imperfections when looking at the wall. But they can cause difficulties when hanging wallpaper.

Wallpaper wants to hang straight, and must have a straight edge for the next strip to butt up against. Walls that are not perfect can throw paper off-kilter, and can create wrinkles, bubbles, or an un-straight edge that will show gaps or overlaps when the next strip is butted against it.

Some papers are more pliable and malleable than others, and can be tweaked and twisted into compliance. In contrast, the non-woven material I am working with here is thick and stiff, and unwilling to conform to anything other than flat wall. As you can see in the second photo, by the time three strips were up on this curved wall, some wrinkles had inevitably formed in the last strip.

Non-woven goods have the installation option of pasting the wall. But I preferred to paste the paper, for several reasons, but mostly because that would give the paper a bit more softness and flexibility.

Because the paper had become soft and flexible, I was able to work those wrinkles out. It took time and finessing, but the paper ended up flat and smooth against the wall, and the seams were butted without gaps or overlaps.

This wallpaper pattern has a thick gesso-like texture on a metallic silver background – Quietly glamorous, really. It is by York in their Candice Olson 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.

Someone Hung Wallpaper over Textured Walls

June 19, 2018

The texture on this wall is not heavy, but it can still be seen under the wallpaper. In the second photo, I am stripping off the wallpaper, and you can see the wall texture underneath.

I removed the top vinyl layer of the wallpaper, then removed the paper backing. Then I skim-floated and sanded the wall to smooth it (no picture). Follow up with a primer, and the wall was smooth as a baby’s bottom and ready for the new wallpaper.

Rubbery, Problematic Smoothing Compound

June 15, 2018


I was stripping wallpaper by peeling off the top vinyl layer and then soaking the paper backing to reactivate the paste so the paper could be removed from the wall – and ran into this.

It looks like the previous installer smoothed the wall (which is good), but used a latex spackling compound instead of the more typical joint compound. The latex became wet from the water I was using to soak off the wallpaper, and began to pull away from the wall.

This is all bad, because it leaves a bumpy mess on the wall that will show through the new paper. But worse is that it is an unstable surface for the new paper to try to hold on to. When wallpaper paste dries, the paper shrinks and puts tension on the surface below, particularly the seams. If the surface is not solid, the layers can actually come apart (delaminate) resulting in curled or gapping seams.

This is not “loose paper,” and cannot simply be glued back down. The different layers inside the wall are actually coming apart, and will require a lot of work to make the wall sound again.

Once the paper was off and the wall was good and dry, the layers seemed to adhere to each other better, and the wall felt more solid. The way I treated it was to roll on a coat of Gardz, which is a penetrating sealer that binds things together. It did a good job. Then I skim-floated over that with joint compound, which, when sanded, would leave a nice, smooth surface.

One more coat of Gardz on top of that, and the wall was sound and ready for wallpaper.

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.

Banged Edges – Makes Wallpaper Unusable

January 8, 2018



Shame on the UPS / FedEx guy for hurling this carton of wallpaper from one end of the truck down to the ground. (“allegedly” 🙂 ) However it happened, the ends of three of the five bolts of wallpaper were banged up, dented, and damaged.

Often, with paper, these damaged edges will flatten out on the wall once the paste is dried. But this “Woods” pattern by Cole & Son is printed on a thick, spongy non-woven material. It will not flatten out like a paper will. These dents and dings are likely to show on the wall. That’s a dent and a ding every 6″ or so, all the way down the wall – a full 9 1/2 feet.

In this case, a full 10′ strip from each bolt was unusable. The homeowner could have reordered more paper, but that would have caused a delay in getting the room done, a domino-effect with scheduling other contractors, more labor costs, more paper and shipping costs, etc.

I did a lot of plotting and measuring and calculating. In the end, I had to pull a lot of tricks out of my hat, but I was be able to finish the room without any banged edges in any visible areas.

Curved Walls, Bull Nosed Edges

December 23, 2017


This is a beautiful entry to a new home in Sugarland. But to a wallpaper hanger, it presents many challenges.

First are the bull-nosed, or rounded, corners. When wallpaper ends on one of these corners, it’s very hard to get straight, neat cuts, because, with the paper hanging over the corner, it’s impossible to see where you are cutting. The walls were far from plumb, so I couldn’t use a level or shoot a line with my laser level. I have a tool that helps as a guide, but it slips and is not 100% accurate. And my pencil line on the dark paper was almost impossible to see.

It’s also hard for the wallpaper to grab and hold tight when it has to turn around a round corner. And double so because, while I smoothed the walls, I was unable to smooth them to the exact vertical line along the rounded corners where the wallpaper would end. That means that the wallpaper was left to adhere to 1/8″ or so of fairly heavily textured wall surface. That leaves less area for the paper to stick to, meaning that there may be some visual gaps, and also the worries that the paper may let go and curl back down the road, as well as some bumps showing under the paper.

The rounded walls made for difficulty, too. It’s fairly easy to make flat walls perfectly flat. But even highly skilled drywallers have a hard time making walls perfectly even all the way around. If you paint the walls, it’s no problem, because paint will go anywhere. But wallpaper wants to fall straight, and won’t conform to walls that have bows or bulges or womps or the like. You can end up with wrinkles or areas that won’t lie flat or edges that warp out of shape.

All this was compounded by the height of the walls – 12′. The greater the wall height, the more chance the walls will be bowed or out of plumb or have other issues.

Regular paper can be stretched a little to accommodate these irregularities, but there’s a chance it will pull apart and gap a tad at the seams when it dries. This particular paper was a non-woven material, which is even less pliable. It was supposed to be a paste-the-wall procedure, but I opted to paste the paper, which wet it more and gave it more flexibility. Sill, I did notice a teeny bit of gapping at the seams as it dried. It will take several days to dry completely, so we will have to wait and see how it holds up.

In case of gapping at the seams, to minimize any of the white wall showing, I striped black paint behind where the seams would fall, as you see in the top photo. That’s a good trick, but it is testy, too, because paint is designed to look pretty, and does not have the type of surface that wallpaper is formulated to grab ahold of. So far, though, my paint is sticking to the wall, and the paper is staying down nice and flat.

Another thing with a circular room is – where is the end point? If there are no corners, where do you end the pattern? I was lucky on this one, because I had about 8′ linear of wall that was only 12″ high. And because the paper was dark and the pattern was pretty small and crazy and hard to see. So on that 12″ high area, I just brought the left side of the paper around the room to meet up with the right side, and overlapped the two last strips and spliced them together. The pattern doesn’t match, but there’s no way anyone could ever see – not from 12′ down on the ground.

This wallpaper is by Eijffinger, and is made to order in the Netherlands and takes several weeks to arrive. It was very nice to work with. I hope that next time I encounter this brand, it will be on a nice, flat, predictable wall. 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.

Hidden Trap Doors Covered With Wallpaper

December 2, 2017

Digital Image

Digital Image


The top photo shows where a cut-out was made in the wall, to allow the plumbers to have access to the bathtub pipes inside the wall. The chunk of drywall they cut out has been replaced, and you can see around that the original wallpaper, which is a green grasscloth. Around that, the grasscloth has been painted tan.

The second photo shows another wall with a hinged door that allows access to some attic space behind. Let’s hope that whatever electrician or A/C guy who needs to crawl through there will be thin and trim!

The homeowners had to live with this access door in the middle of their new baby’s nursery wall. The wall was to be wallpapered, and they wanted the door to disappear as much as possible. When I got there, there was about a quarter-inch gap all around the trap door. Instead of trimming the wallpaper to the wall and to the door, which would have left a dark 1/4″ gap showing all around, I trimmed close to the trap door, and left just that little 1/4″ bit of wallpaper “flapping loose.”

You can still see the door, but it’s fairly well camouflaged, and looks much better than before.