Posts Tagged ‘wallcoverings’

Dark, Sparkly, Faux Cork in Spring Branch Powder Room

April 1, 2020


No good pictures of this, folks – you had to see it in person to get the full effect.

But the textured vinyl wallpaper had the appearance of a charcoal-colored cork material – with a few silvery sparkles tossed in here and there.

The homeowner wanted a snug, dark powder room. But not cave-like. This paper did the trick beautifully. It is dark, but with the large mirror and the light grey vanity and cararra marble countertop, there were plenty of light colored accents to offset the dark.

This was a new, open floor plan, contemporary styled home in the Spring Branch neighborhood of Houston. The vinyl material will be resistant to water and stains. The non-woven substrate had a lot of fiberglass content – I could see the strands! – so it will be easy to strip off the wall when it’s time to redecorate. In addition, the material does not expand when wet with paste, needs no booking time, and can be hung with the paste-the-wall method. I preferred to paste the paper.

This wallpaper pattern is by Exclusive Wallcoverings, 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.

A Whimsical Frolic Through The Woods

December 5, 2019

The homeowner wanted her powder room to be dark. The original paint was darker than the first photo shows (My two 100 watt light bulbs are washing the dark color out.). But stark, dark walls and ceiling can be claustrophobic, so she knew a little pattern would help create the effect she was going for.

This house in far-west Houston was redone after flooding from Hurricane Harvey. The contractor’s worker attempted to hang the wallpaper, but wasn’t making things look great.

The homeowner ordered new paper. This time around, her original color choice was discontinued, so she opted for the one you see in the photos. I say it was fortuitous. 🙂

I was called in to hang the new paper. After smoothing the very lightly textured walls and then priming, the paper went up nicely.

It was nice that York Wallcoverings printed this dark design on a dark substrate, instead of the typical white (see photo). That helps prevent white showing at the seams, if the paper should shrink a tad as it dries.

I really like the pattern. It’s fresh and has a bit of whimsy – sort of like a dance in the forest.

And the pattern gives the room a whole lot more character, and it’s definitely not boxy or claustrophobic anymore.

Shading in Grasscloth – Girl’s Bedroom in Aqua

August 14, 2018


Homeowners are loving textured wallcoverings these days, and grasscloth is all the rage.

However, I am almost always disappointed in this natural product, due to the visible seams and the lack of uniformity in color. The effect you see in the photo is called “shading” or “paneling.” Note the darker color of the second strip from the left.

Click the link on the right to read more on my page about grasscloth.

Wallpaper and YouTube Don’t Mix

December 31, 2017


This West University mother of young children went to YouTube for some primers on how to hang wallpaper, and then, along with hubby, spent a 3-day weekend tackling the powder room redo project. They didn’t do a horrible job (first three photos), but there were some things that must not have been covered on YouTube.

First, and probably most important, the walls should have been primed with a product designed for wallpaper.

Second, seams should be butted, not overlapped.

Third, wallpaper should not be wrapped around the door moldings, but trimmed at the base.

Fourth, I’m not sure what’s going on with the cuts at the baseboard. I think the room had seen a number of redecorating efforts, and that the baseboards took a bit of a beating in the process, leaving a surface that wasn’t smooth and wasn’t willing to hold on to wallpaper.

I stripped off their wallpaper, patched bad spots, sanded the walls, then primed with Gardz, a penetrating sealing primer that bonds together porous surfaces and that is also a good base to hold wallpaper.

The rest of the photos are of the room after I hung the new paper.

This product is a pre-pasted, paper-backed, solid vinyl material. It happens to be one of my least favorite kinds of wallpaper. The homeowner chose it because she has young children and the vinyl is reputed to be more water-resistant and durable than other types of wallpaper. If she had consulted with me before she bought her paper, I would have steered her in another direction.

It’s true that the vinyl surface is resistant to water, and it’s more resistant to stains than a paper-wallpaper. But that doesn’t make the product wonderful.

The main problem is the paper backing. This stuff is not horrible, but it does have a reputation for curling a tad at the seams (do a search on my blog for previous posts). Humidity (such as in a bathroom with showering) can cause increased curling at the seams. Any water that falls on a cut edge of the paper (along backsplashes, seams under hand towels, etc.) can wick into the paper backing and cause it to expand, which will cause the seams to curl.

To reduce the potential for seam curling, I used a special pasting process (rather than following the manufacturer’s instructions). And I ran a bead of caulk along the top of the backsplash (see 4th photo – the caulk will be clear when it’s dry) to prevent splashed water from wicking up under the wallpaper.

My trim cuts along the baseboard looked better than the homeowners’, but I still felt the baseboard was compromised somehow and that wallpaper did not have a good surface to grip ahold of. So I ran a bead of caulk along the top of the baseboards, too.

This wallpaper is by Exclusive Wallcoverings, a British manufacturer. It is a faux grasscloth, and, unlike true grasscloths, it is pretty water- and stain-resistant, and it has a pattern that can be matched. In fact, the close-up photo above shows a seam – and I’ll bet that you can’t find it! The pattern number is FD44143

Next time around, when a mom has concerns about her kids touching or splashing the wallpaper, I would suggest she consider one of the newish non-woven products. Or, better yet, a scrim-backed (woven fabric-backed) solid vinyl product, such as something from the Thibaut brand Texture Resource line, particularly Volume 4. Everything in that book is beautifully textured and realistic, and virtually indestructible. Do a search here to see my previous posts.

“Scrim” Backing on Solid Vinyl Wallpaper

March 22, 2017

Digital Image

Digital Image


This thick vinyl wallpaper has a deeply-embossed surface. To support that, the material has been fused to a “scrim” backing – a loosely-woven fabric that is sort of like fine, strong cheesecloth.

While I don’t like solid vinyl wallpapers with a paper backing (because the seams tend to curl up in humid environments), those made with this woven scrim backing are a whole ‘nother ball game … They are tough and durable, resistant to water, resistant to humidity, can be washed, can be banged into, etc., all without worries of damage.

The manufacturer is York Wallcoverings, and the paper was bought through Dorota 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.

Wallpaper in Chiffon & Champagne

March 22, 2017

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image


The homeowners of this brand-new home in the Memorial City area of Houston envisioned a textured surface for their powder room. With this paper, they got both texture and movement!

I admit, I wasn’t crazy about this wallpaper when I started. But as it began to work its way around the room, and as light began to hit the folds of the textured “waves,” it all began to look very elegant. Young and vibrant, yet still elegant.

The pattern is called “Chiffon,” and the color is like champagne. It is by York Wallcoverings, 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.

I Totally LOVE This Sink!

January 31, 2017
Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image


I love the Art Nouveau design of this undermount metal sink – and it would go superbly with the “Bat & Poppy” wallpaper in my powder room (so a Search here).

Oh, right, this is a blog about wallpaper. Well, then, look above the sink to see the paper I hung in this powder room in the West University neighborhood of Houston. It is by Exclusive Wallcoverings, a British company, and is a solid vinyl with a paper backing, and is pre-pasted. It was not pleasant to hang, and I fully expect that it will have a relatively short performance life on the homeowner’s walls.

Did I mention that I hate paper-backed solid vinyl wallcoverings?

Sleek, Upscale, French, Elegance, Shimmer – All This In One Tiny Room!

February 9, 2016
Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Please pardon the crummy pictures, due to poor lighting, a cheap camera, and why the heck did I move after I clicked the button?! Anyway, you get the idea.

This young family lives in a home in Bellaire (Houston) that is large and open and somewhat contemporary, yet has formal elements, like intricate moldings – plus a whole lot of WHITE. They wanted something to warm up the space, while being sleek and French-chic. This pattern is not by Candice Olson, but it could be – it has sass, glamor, glimmer, movement, and style, plus it coordinates nicely with the marble countertop in this under-the-stairs powder room. It added just the touch the homeowners were looking for.

This is a thick vinyl in a dark color on a white paper backing. I colored the edges of the paper with grey pastel chalk, but the third photo shows that you can still “kind of” see the seams. This is typical, and not a defect. Depending on where you’re standing and where the light is coming from, most of the seams are invisible. When the paper is good and dry, the seams will be even less noticeable.  And, really, it’s the kind of thing that I see, but homeowners don’t even know what I’m talking about.  🙂  The dark lines in the top photo are shadows from the lighting.

A wallpaper facelift is addictive … When I left, the homeowners were saying, “We’ll have you back soon, to do something with the living room!”

This swirly wallpaper pattern is by York Wallcoverings, and was bought at a discounted price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. Tell her what you are yearning for, and she knows exactly where to find it. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

Custom-Made Wallpaper in Blocks

February 4, 2016
Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image


Photos: Before, During, Done, and a Close-Up.

This is in a home office in a 1957 house in River Oaks (Houston). The home has traditional elegant features, and also very contemporary features and accessories, making for an interesting mix. The homeowner was looking for something different for his office (formerly everything (walls, moldings, ceiling) was painted brown). He had a few ideas that we discussed, and then I suggested this pieced paper by Stoney Brook Wallcoverings http://www.stoneybrookpaper.com/. He loved the concept immediately.

This paper is custom-made to suit the homeowner’s color choices, and also to fit the dimensions of the wall space. I had to measure meticulously, and then calculate how many blocks of which dimensions would be needed to cover the walls, while keeping a homogeneous look around all the walls with varying dimensions. A die was custom-made to dimensions that would give the best use of material, and then 300 sheets of paper, each being 14″ x 26″ were stamped out.

My job is then to trim each sheet to an appropriate height, so that all blocks tiered on the walls are equal in size. I also plotted the layout so that the blocks on each wall are centered in the middle of the wall. Then, of course, the blocks are pasted and applied to the wall, in a staggered, brick-like pattern. Unlike many of the Stoney Brook products, this one is not overlapped, but butted at the seams.

There is a lot of math involved, and careful measuring and potting before cutting. All that is taking a lot of time. Actually putting the paper on the wall is going fairly quickly.

I am very pleased with this product. Unlike many non-woven wallpaper substrates which are stiff and thick and contrary, this one is thin and malleable, making it easy to maneuver into place, and it hugs the wall nicely.

Stoney Brook is a pieced wallcovering (torn or blocks) similar to the more trendy product made by Vahallan, but much lower in price, more easily accessible, and much more customer-friendly. IMO

Nice Faux Texture Collection by Phillip Jeffries

August 9, 2013

Grasscloth and other textured wallcoverings are really hot right now. Phillip Jeffries is a big-name designer who offers many fine wallpapers.

But with all the problems lately with grasscloth staining, shading, paneling, and blotching, (do a Search on my blog) I have been steering many customers toward the fake products.

Today, at Southwestern Paint / Benjamin Moore on Bissonnet near Kirby, Dorota, the wallpaper mogul, showed me the line of Phillip Jeffries faux textures.

My, oh my, they sure were nice! VERY realistic, both in color and texture. And there was a lot more than just fake grasscloth – he shows faux leather, gravel, linen, cork, and much more.

Because these are manufactured products, instead of natural, there is much more consistency in color and texture, the problems mentioned above are virtually eliminated. In addition, the seams will be less visible, too, than on a natural fiber.

If you’re someone who would be put off by uneven coloring in a grasscloth or other similar wallcovering, I highly recommend that you take a look at this line of faux.

The line is called “Natural Illusions,” and is a vinyl product. Take a look:
https://phillipjeffries.com/books.php?book=PJBINDER-NIV