Posts Tagged ‘wallpaper’

Wallpaper Mimics Paneling in Better Homes & Gardens Magazine

October 30, 2018


The November / Thanksgiving issue of Better Homes & Gardens Magazine shows a couple of rooms enhanced with faux wood paneling products. Some are three-dimensional wood planks (made of real and faux wood).

But turn the page, and BH&G shows some alternative look-alikes from the world of wallpaper.

These are much more affordable, and much easier to install, options that will give the same illusion of real wood-paneled walls.

The product on the left is by Brewster, a very good brand, and the selection on the right is by York, another of my favorite brands.

Either of these (and many, many other options) can be purchased from Dorota at Southwestern Paint (see the page “Where to Buy Wallpaper” to the left).

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Another Courageously Bold Pattern

October 26, 2018


Go BOLD or go home – this homeowner is stickin’ with bold.

This home in the Bellaire neighborhood of Houston was flooded during Hurricane Harvey. The homeowner loved the wallpaper in the powder room, and after the renovation, she wanted the same thing.

One disappointment is that the original installer had done a poor job. He was the son of a friend, and reportedly did a “great” job – but his work was not pleasing to the family. So, this time around, they called me. 🙂

The wallpaper pattern is called “Providence,” and is by Thibaut, one of my favorite brands. It was nice to work with, no shrinking at the seams, and the inks are strongly hued and have a rich matt finish.

A More Grown-Up Room – But Still Way Fun

October 25, 2018


I put this paper up back in the ’90’s. It’ still in perfect shape!

The two girls who shared this bathroom have grown up and moved away. Mom thought it was time to get rid of the girlhood décor and move to something more suited for a guest bathroom.

The original paper was a pre-pasted solid vinyl. The vinyl layer stripped off easily, and left the paper backing clinging to the wall. A good soak with plain water softened and reactivated the paste, and the backing came away from the wall easily and with minimal scraping (the putty knife is there more to show perspective). The primer I used back then, oil based KILZ Original, helped protect the walls, and prevented moisture from the removal process from soaking through. KILZ was a superb primer, and I wish I could still use it. But the EPA required changes to many products, to be more environment-friendly, and wallpaper paste will not stick to the new formulas. 😦

Back to the wallpaper … This pattern is from Anthropologie. It is made by York, and is in their SureStrip line – one of my favorite papers to work with. It is pre-pasted and water-activated. The non-woven substrate is thin and pliable (unlike most other brands), conforms nicely to the walls, and exhibits no shrinkage / gaps at the seams when it dries.

The material is designed to strip off the walls easily and in one piece, when it’s time to redecorate. (Although I pretty much doubt that claim – and I would prefer that it not … There is much less chance of damage to the wall if the top layer of wallpaper strips off, leaving the backing on the wall, and then the backing is soaked with a wet sponge, the paste reactivated, and then the backing will come off easily, with minimal or no damage to the walls.)

The home is in the West University neighborhood of Houston.

1′ of Kill Point is Better Than 8′

October 21, 2018


When you hang wallpaper around a room, the last corner will result in a pattern mis-match, because the design on your final strip won’t match up with the design on the first strip, when the two meet up in the last corner. So I try to hide this “kill point” in an inconspicuous place, like behind a door.

But this powder room didn’t have any corners that could be hidden by a door – all of the corners were very visible. I didn’t want to end up with eight feet of a mis-matched pattern.

So I chose to kill the pattern over the door, where the mis-match would only be one foot high. But having the last strip meet the first strip with a straight seam would show an abrupt break in the design. Even if it were only one foot high, it would still jar the eye.

I knew that a pattern mis-match that followed the curves of the leafy motifs would be less visible. So I overlapped the last strip onto the first strip, and spliced the pieces together by cutting along the swirly pattern.

In the final picture, it looks like the pattern matches perfectly.

Leafy, Swirly Priano in a West Houston Powder Room

October 20, 2018


This “Priano” pattern by Serena & Lily is very popular – I’ve hung it three times this year, and several times before that. But this is the first time in this soft, icy blue color. It’s beautiful.

Originally the room was all white, with a pretty bad paint job and some really questionable sand-finish texture on the walls. It took a lot of work and time to get the walls smooth and ready for wallpaper (see post a few days ago).

The swirly movement in the pattern, the leafy feel, and the brightness of the hue combine to make this powder room feel larger. It’s gone from a white dungeon to a pleasant showplace.

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.

What A Fun Entry To Come Home To!

October 14, 2018


This entry is open to the living, dining, and kitchen areas of a neatly modernized home in the Briar Park neighborhood of Houston. It was originally white. Needless to say, it wasn’t very interesting.

The homeowner chose this “Larkspur” pattern in navy blue by Serena & Lily. Boy, does this ever change things! It adds a cherry welcome when you walk through the door.

But it also sets a fun tone for the whole rest of the home. All the furnishings in the rooms are pretty subdued, so this slightly wacky pattern really jazzes things up! There is a small amount of blue in the living room rug and in a few accessories, so the navy color of the wallpaper pulls all that together.

S & L is nice paper to work with.

Smoothing Sand-Stippled Walls

October 13, 2018



The texture on these walls in a powder room was an odd combination of “orange peel” and sandy grit – neither of which was suitable for under wallpaper, because the texture would show through under the paper, and because the texture would prevent good adhesion of the paper to the wall.

So I skim-floated the walls to smooth them. Because the texture was so thick, I had to use a space heater, multiple fans, the home’s A/C and house fan systems, and an overnight dry time, to get the smoothing compound to dry. The next morning, I sanded the walls smooth.

In the second photo, you see the finished, smooth wall.

Low End Wallpaper – Not So Bad This Time

October 12, 2018


I’ve said it before – these budget-friendly, pre-pasted, manila paper-baked solid vinyl wallpaper products are generally not good quality, and the Norwall brand is about at the bottom of the list. In fact, I often will decline to hang it. Do a Search here on those terms, or click the Page to the right “Stay Away From … ” for more info.

However, this homeowner, a Meyerland neighborhood (Houston) victim of the Hurricane Harvey flooding, and a client for whom I had worked back in the ’90’s, really loved the pattern, as well as the price-point. And she wanted her entry to look as it had before the flood ravaged her home.

I was pleasantly surprised. The paper went up OK, and the seams looked fine. It’s possible that the company has improved its product. But it’s more likely that my new installation method helped.

Instead of following the manufacturer’s instructions to run the paper through a water tray, which makes the material too wet and promotes bubbling, and instead of pasting the back of the paper, which turns it into a gummy mess, I tried something new. I used a spray bottle to lightly spritz fresh water onto the back; this activated the paste, but was not so much water that it would cause bubbling or seam curling or over-expansion of the material. I booked the paper and put it in a black trash bag to sit a few minutes.

Next I rolled paste onto the wall. I started out using a very faint coat, but found that a tad more worked better. I used a brush to cut the paste into the edges and around the floor and ceiling.

When I took the very slightly dampened paper to the wall and smoothed it against the lightly pasted surface, it adhered very nicely. It was pretty easy to smooth into position, although there was some twisting of some strips, which could have been a problem in a room that required more strips next to one another.

Usually these inexpensive vinyl papers grow bubbles, because, as they dry, there is nowhere for the moisture to go (because it can’t pass through the vinyl surface), so blisters form. But today was very little bubbling.

Best of all, the seams looked good. I didn’t get any of the raised edges that are so unattractive, and that allow moisture / humidity to penetrate and cause the backing to swell and pull away from the wall.

I am not saying that I was happy with this paper. But it was a lot better than I expected. And I hope that it will continue to look good for years to come.

Cracks in Drywall Due to Ground/Foundation Shifting

October 12, 2018


Here are pictures of cracks and wrinkles in the drywall, and also in the wallpaper over the drywall. These are caused by the foundation of the home shifting, which is pretty common in Houston, and particularly in this Meyerland neighborhood.

Rain, and the lack of rain, as well as other factors, cause the ground to swell or shrink, and that causes the home’s foundation to move – and that causes cracks like these to appear. As weather conditions (and the conditions within the ground) change, the cracks can close up again.

I used a Stanley knife to cut out the bulged areas, and then placed mesh drywall tape over the cracks, followed by joint compound, which I sanded smooth and primed, before hanging the wallpaper. The mesh tape is supposed to flex a little, and will hopefully absorb some of the strain the next time the house shifts, so, with a little luck, the cracks will not reappear.