Posts Tagged ‘wallpaper’

Laying Out A Mural

November 23, 2017


You can’t count on the manufacturer putting the parts of a wallpaper mural into the box in the correct order.

Here I have spread the separate strips of the mural out on the floor, to be sure they are arranged in the right sequence, before I take them to the wall.

This mural was unique, because it does have a repeating pattern (as opposed to a landscape or other scene). And the pattern spread over a width wider than the standard 41″ or 54.” Rather than make the installer struggle with extra-wide strips of paper (and shipping the material in a reaaaaly long tube), the manufacturer cut the mural into easily-managed 17.5″ wide strips.

This Madam Butterfly pattern is by Designers Guild, a British brand, is a non-woven material, and was installed with the paste-the-wall method.

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Don’t Mark The Walls With Ink

November 22, 2017

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The two holes in the wall are from picture hooks. See the little “X” under the holes? That’s from whoever was hanging the hooks. He was measuring and marking the wall, so he would know where to hammer in the nails for the hooks.

The only problem is that he used a ball point ink pen to make his marks. Ink is bad because, diminutive as this “X” is, it will bleed through wallpaper. It will bleed through paint and other materials, too.

Other substances that can bleed through wallpaper include water stains, oil, grease, wax (crayon), tar / tobacco, blood, rust, and more.

There are special stain-blocking sealers that can be used to cover these types of marks. KILZ Original is one that I like, and BIN is another.

Since this was tiny, and since I was skim-floating the wall to smooth it anyway, I just used a putty knife to dig the mark out of the wall. Gone! That way I don’t have to worry if a stain blocker will do its job sufficiently. Then I skimmed over the gouge with joint compound to smooth the surface.

The Corner’s Crooked, The Pattern’s Gone Wonky – But There Is A Fix

November 21, 2017

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Walls aren’t always plumb, horizontal surfaces (ceilings, floors, countertops) aren’t always level, and wet wallpaper can twist out of shape. Look down the center of the top photo, and you’ll see how poorly the pattern matches in a corner that is off-plumb by more than half an inch from top to bottom. Notice the double-images in the upper part of the picture.

When hanging the strip to the right of the corner, I could have manipulated the paper so that the pattern matched perfectly. But that would have meant hanging the strip off-plumb – and that would have meant that every subsequent strip would be off-plumb. And that would have meant that the design motifs would begin tracking down the wall.

Meaning that, the red leaves I plotted to sit at the top of the wall would begin walking their way down, further and further from the ceiling line. The whole wall would have a lopsided and off-kilter look.

I chose to keep the red leaves in their assigned position at the top of the wall. The trade-off was the mis-matched pattern you see in the corner in the top photo.

But I have a few tricks up my sleeve. Let’s just say that some craft paint, a tiny artist’s brush, a sharp scissors and a few appliqués, time, patience, and a good pair of strong reading glasses did their magic.

Smoothing a Textured Wall

November 18, 2017

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A lot of homes in the Houston area have some type of texture on the walls. In the suburbs, the tract home builders are using a fairly heavy texture, intended to lend a ‘rustic” feel to the home.

But when the homeowners want wallpaper, the texture has to be smoothed over, so the bumps won’t show under the new wallpaper, and so the new wallpaper has a flat, sound surface to hold on to.

In the first photo you see the texture of the walls in a new home in Fulshear (far west Houston). In the second photo, I have applied an initial coat of joint compound (smoothing compound). Once it is dry (tomorrow), I will go back and sand it smooth.

The next two photos show how much dust is generated by the sanding process. The plastic did a good job of containing it and keeping it off the homeowners’ floor.

In the last photo, you see how smooth the finished surface was.

Then the walls were wiped with a damp sponge to remove dust. Next came a primer. Once the primer is good and dry, it will be time to hang the new wallpaper.

Grasscloth in a West Houston Study

November 17, 2017

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This couple wanted the textural look of grasscloth for their study, in a newish home near Cross Creek Ranch and Cinco Ranch, a bit southwest of Houston. The pattern they chose is a medium-fine grass in a pretty uniform color. With fine grass, you don’t notice as much the mis-match of the fibers at every seam.

The grass fibers have been sewn onto the front of the wallpaper. But the black backing is less homogenous, and exhibits variations in its color. These are the horizontal differences in color that you see in the pictures.

Some of these color variations spill onto the surface of the material, too. These can be especially evident as swathes of darker colored dye on the outer edges of the wallpaper. (See photo)

Overall, this product looks very good. People who like grasscloth love the texture of the natural material. And they like the “organic look” of visible seams, mis-matched pattern (there is no pattern to match!), and the color variations at the edges and within the strips.

I believe the manufacturer of this grasscloth is York.

Folks – Please Read EVERYTHING, Including the Fine Print

November 14, 2017

When people first contact me, I send them an “info pack” that explains the wallpaper process and how I work. It has a lot of helpful and important information.

One point is my time frame. I am usually booked up 2-3 months, so most likely I will not be able to help homeowners who want to have their wallpaper up quickly.

Another is that I don’t work on construction sites, but prefer to install the wallpaper after all the building is over and the other workmen are done and gone.

There’s a sentence advising people that I work in private residences only – no businesses or commercial settings.

I also don’t work in mid- or high-rise buildings, or many other multi-unit complexes like apartments or condos. Townhome compounds with shared driveways can be difficult, too. It has to do with multiple trips back and forth to the truck, and with hauling 50 pound buckets of paste along with bulky equipment like my 7′ long pasting table, and not blocking the neighbors access to their garages.

If people would read the information I send them, they can often discern early in the game if their situation is one that I am a good match for.

Wallpaper Once Again In Better Homes & Gardens Magazine

November 11, 2017

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Quote from the magazine: “An oversize pattern makes a small room look larger, says designer Erin Hedrick. Though large, the leaf-shape motifs on this wallpaper (Lotus by Galbraith & Paul) don’t overwhelm because they let a lot of the cream background show through.”

It’s a cute pattern that works well in this powder room, and a number of my clients have chosen similar themes. I would have tried to center the leaves, though, so they would frame the mirror equally on either side, and also land smack in the center behind the faucet.

This is the October 2017 issue.

Fireworks Light Up A Baby’s Ceiling

November 10, 2017

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This soon-to-be-new-mom has loved this wallpaper pattern for eons. I worked for the couple in their previous home, and she really wanted to use it, but could not find the right space. Now, in a larger home and with a baby girl on the way, Mom finally found the perfect place to showcase this fun pattern.

The fireworks pattern spreads out sensationally across the ceiling of this nursery. It really pulls your eye up, yet doesn’t compete with the other décor in the room. Mom is going to use some bright pops of blue accents through out the room, as well as one large painting that pulls in the blue color.

This wallpaper is a product that had a selvedge edge that had to be trimmed off by hand, which is tedious and time-consuming. It is made by Donghia, 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.

Getting Wallpaper Onto A Ceiling

November 9, 2017

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I don’t often hang wallpaper on ceilings. But every now and then I’ll take one on.

Because I have neither scaffolding nor a helper, I’ve devised ways to defy gravity and get the paper up on the ceiling with minimal anguish.

After the paper is pasted, I book it in several shorter accordion folds, instead of the traditional 3′ and 6′ split. I place two ladders facing one another. I get on one ladder, position the paper, then use push pins to hold it to the ceiling while I walk from the first ladder to the second.

I smooth that paper into place, then use more push pins to hold it to the ceiling, climb down, move the ladder, climb back up, unbook one or two of the accordion folds of wallpaper, smooth it into place, tack it to the ceiling, climb off the ladder, move it, and repeat.

Two Months After Hurricane Harvey Things Are Not All Right In Houston

November 8, 2017

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Some of the homeowners effected by this massive storm contacted me shortly afterward, seeking help with insurance quotes, repairs, etc. But now that more weeks have passed, I am getting a second wave of calls.

Some are from people whose homes are finally getting put back together. Some are from people who are half-way through initial repairs. Many more are not yet back in their homes, or who are living (“camping out” is a more appropriate term) in what is a shell of what was once their former home (read below). And there are countless families whose homes are just now coming out of the water, or that are still not yet approachable, or that have been underwater for so long that they are unlivable – meaning, totally destroyed, not salvageable, mold-infested, insurance won’t pay to fix it, you can’t sell it because no one will buy it, you can’t fix it yourself because you don’t have time because you have to go to work and you don’t have the money because insurance won’t cover it, and your brother has been very kind to let you stay in his home for two months, but it’s wearing thin because they want their privacy back and you want to be back in your own home … but it’s unlivable.

I visited two clients today who were effected by the flood. These photos are from a homeowner who lives in a neighborhood that was “intentionally flooded” when officials made the decision to open the reservoirs, which would save many thousands of homes and families, but would knowingly flood the homes of thousands more.

The city has been through this neighborhood THREE TIMES already to pick up debris – more keeps piling up. Most of it is white… drywall, doors, tile, door and window trim,,, and much of it is brown … wooden floors, cabinets, furniture. And books, clothing, artwork, television sets, garage stuff, toys, anything the sewage-tainted water could have touched or wicked its way into.

All the homes look like ghost houses – uncovered windows, empty rooms, lawns scraped to bare earth by the mechanical claws that swooped up their soggy Sheetrock and personal belongings. All the drywall is torn out, the bottom 4′ of it. No flooring, just the cement slab. No doors, no trim, no kitchen, no cabinets, counters, appliances, no toilet. My client and her family were living holed up on the 2nd floor. All they had downstairs on the concrete floor was a folding table with plastic chairs around it, and remnants of an easy-to-fix meal – sandwiches.

All this while trying to maintain a “normal” American life – going to work every day, kids going to school, mowing the lawn, walking the dog, church, groceries, laundry – but there is no washing machine, no hot water heater ….

All while trying to coordinate contractors, selecting tile and wallpaper, find the best deal on major appliances, juggle financing ….

Here is the “new normal” for hundreds of thousands of American families along the Gulf Coast.