Posts Tagged ‘walls’

Vinyl Faux Grasscloth in Guest Bathroom

February 3, 2023
Before. Walls primed and ready for wallpaper .
Vanity area done. This blue , brown , and metallic gold material has the warm look and texture of real grasscloth, but is much more water- and stain-resistant and consistent in color . It also has a pattern that can be matched , so the seams are much less visible than with real grass . Note that some of the lines you’re seeing in the photo are cast by the light fixture .
Going around these arched windows took a while!
Toilet wall without lights off.
With lights on, you see the true colors more accurately. Note the light fixture casting vertical stripes on the wall .
Like many thick, textured vinyl products, the edges curl back just a teeny bit, due to how the material is trimmed at the factory. Believe it or not, run your finger over this seam and you’ll feel that it’s perfectly flat. In fact, this look is typical with real grasscloth, because the edges tend to fray up a bit. From two feet away, you don’t notice any of this.
This material mimics the look and texture of real grasscloth .
Another wall, along the shower . One nice thing about grasscloth is that, since you don’t need to match pattern motifs, you don’t have to paper walls in sequence or order. We were a little tight on material on this job, so I hung my full length walls first, then went back and hung the shorter walls. This helped me plan usage – how many strips needed and how many strips I could get out of each roll / bolt of paper .
Made by York , one of my favorite manufacturers.

1 3/8″ Wallpaper Strip

February 2, 2023
Arrgh. This last strip of wallpaper in a master bathroom ended just shy of the shower tile surround . That’s a 1 3/8″ gap that needs to be covered with wallpaper. I’ve filled in pieces narrower – like, 1/2″ or less. But, still, it’s a PITA, and takes a lot of time.
And it will require a full 9′ strip of paper, just to cut off this 1 3/8″ wide bit from the right side. So a whole lot of unused paper is going in the trash can. As I like to emphasize, always purchase a little extra.
I don’t usually pre-trim strips in this situation, because walls are never straight so it’s hard to get the width perfect. And the fact that wallpaper expands when it gets wet with paste , so your pre-trimmed strip may end up wider than the space. And because trimming the piece while it’s on-site gives a better, tighter fit.
Anyway, this time I did pre-trim. I measured carefully, and found that most of the space was 1 3/8″ wide. But three artichoke motifs up from the floor (about 2 1/2 feet), the width widened to 1 1/2.”
So I used my straightedge and fine ruler and trimmed accordingly. The pasted it and let sit for a few minutes.
Here I’m smoothing the strip into its little narrow gap.
Finished.

Light Bright Trellis Geometric Updates Red Dining Room

January 27, 2023
For more than a decade, the dining room was bold red from head to toe. In this photo, I’m applying drywall joint compound to smooth the textured wall .
Here’s the wall sanded smooth , primed , and ready for wallpaper .
Done. The next question is – what color to paint the bottom 1/3 of the wall ? What do you think?
Using the red beam from my laser level to center the design on the wall, and directly under the decorative corbel which the wood-worker homeowner husband installed as a feature to the crown molding .
Close-up. I also balanced the pattern between the ceiling and chair rail / wainscoting .
The wallpaper design is by Candice Olson , of HGTV fame, and is made by York , a company that I like a lot. It was purchased at a discount through Dorota at the Sherwin-Williams on University in the Rice Village . Call before heading over (713) 529-6515 . The homeowner had originally chosen something else, but it was unavailable. Dorota dug through her large library of selection books and found this, which is very similar, but more open and airy . We all three agree that this is the better option.
It is a non-woven material , and can be hung via the paste-the-wall method , or the paste-the-material method – which is what I usually prefer to do. This NW stuff is durable , stain-resistant , humidity -resistant , and easy to strip off the wall when you decorate down the road.
Cute in his bandana . But not very helpful at all! 🙂
The home is in the Candlelight Plaza / Shephard Park Plaza / Oak Forest / Garden Oaks neighborhood of Houston .

Skim-Floating to Smooth a Textured Wall

January 25, 2023
Wallpaper is to go on the top 2/3 of the walls in this large dining room. But the walls are textured, and that texture will show through the new paper. Which looks pretty bad , IMO , especially since most the design is plain white background. So here I am applying a skim-coat by skim-coating / skim-floating the wall to smooth over the texture.
Close up. A lot of people use a wide broad knife or drywall taping tool . But I prefer the control I have using this trowel . There will be ridges and valleys and imperfections . But tomorrow, when the smoothing compound is dry , I will sand everything smooth . I have to say, I’m pretty darned good at smoothing walls . 🙂
I like to use the Plus 3 Joint Compound by the Sheetrock brand. It’s much easier to sand than the standard joint compound . Do NOT use the ” quick set ” version – coatings such as primer , paint , or wallpaper don’t like to adhere to this stuff . It’s made for small patches , not covering entire walls. BTW, for short, we simply call this ” mud .”
Once the walls have been sanded smooth , all the dust vacuumed up, and residual dust wiped off the walls with a damp sponge , then I will apply my favorite primer, Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime , made specifically for use under wallpaper .

Un-Plumb, Un-Level

January 24, 2023
Shot of the finished breakfast room , for pattern reference.
Close-up view. The vertical lines are not wrinkles , but shadows cast by the macrame light fixture in this breakfast room .
The problem is, when walls aren’t plumb , and ceiling and floor and chair rail are not level , the pattern motifs won’t march across the wall at the same height on every strip . I’ve learned that, in most cases, it’s more important to match the pattern in the corner , and then allow the pattern to go off-track at ceiling or floor if necessary.
In this photo, note that the humming bird is sitting completely above the chair rail.
Here he’s dropped down to where his tail is swallowed up by the chair rail .
By the time we get to the left corner , half of the bird has dropped down and disappeared .
Here’s another bird motif doing the same disappearing act .
Feet and belly gone.
This house in the Eastwood neighborhood of Houston is nearly 85 years, so you can expect some settling and shifting on its foundation . But even brand new homes can have walls that are out of whack .
This beautiful pattern is by Cole & Son and is called Hummingbirds – it’s very popular and has been around more than 100 years … that’s older than the house!

Slight Problems With Katie Kime Wallpaper

January 11, 2023
There were eight double roll bolts of this wallpaper , to cover a large powder room in Houston.
Four were rolled so the pattern came off the top of the roll, and four were rolled the opposite way, with the bottom coming off first. This Katie Kime brand is custom-printed , so you can assume that all these rolls are from the same run , or batch . But maybe not - why are some forward and some backward ? Possibly the company substituted some returned goods, or some old stock they had sitting around the warehouse, for half of this order.
I didn't want to risk putting strips of slightly different shades on the same wall. So I had to carefully plot the room so I used the "forward" rolls on some walls, and the "backward" rolls on the others. This does eat up additional paper , so good thing I always have the homeowner purchase a little extra.
Also note the crease in the roll on the right. There were a few other creases in other rolls.

I have no idea what happened to the font in the section above, nor do I know how to get it back to the original. All I know is that I HATE this “New Editor” that WordPress foisted on us a few years ago. Perfectly HORRIBLE. And their Customer Service doesn’t care. Anyway … moving on …
Note the horizontal smudge next to the top of the capitol. Since this Austin Toile pattern has a 25″ pattern repeat, discarding this piece ate up minimum of 2′ of material (x 24″ width = 4 square feet) and potentially more, to get the correct pattern match.
Usually this brand prints on a nice non-woven / paste the wall substrate. But, like other manufacturers, Katie Kime has had supply issues obtaining raw materials . During the height of the Pandemic , they resorted to printing on some positively awful stuff. Extremely heavy , thick , un- pliable , stretched to the extent that the pattern wouldn’t match properly, and more. One was completely un-hangable and had to be sent back. I can’t find all my posts re those challenges, but here is one:
https://wallpaperlady.wordpress.com/2021/07/21/katie-kime-tough-install-today-draft-messed-up-delete/
But they’ve since gone back to printing on their usual stock, and I’ve not had problems lately. So when I first picked up this box of 8 double roll bolts, I was surprised at the weight of it. Also the paper had a shiny surface and was obviously composed of vinyl . I couldn’t tell if the substrate was non-woven or paper . I feared they had gone back to printing on that bad material , or perhaps were using up what they had in the back of the warehouse .
There were no instructions included, nor any information at all – not even a brand name! Although I could find instructions on-line, you can’t be sure these are current and applicable to the rolls in the box. KK has amazingly good customer service , and you can usually get intelligent answers via phone or on-line chat … but my call to them went to voice mail , and then we got disconnected, so I gave up.
After hanging the first few strips, I figured out that this was a flexible vinyl on a non-woven substrate, so that part was good. However, the thickness of the material interfered with getting good, tight, flat seams , as you can see somewhat in the photo. The seams aren’t horrible, but a better non-woven without the vinyl usually produces almost invisible seams.
The surface was shinier than usual. Shiny tends to show every imperfection in the wall underneath. Here the thickness was a bit of a help, as it helped cushion any slight dips or pimples on the wall.
There was also an odd orange discoloration about 1.5″ long on the edge of one strip. Very faint, but I could see it, and sometimes these things end up catching your eye. I also worry that it might be some substance that will bleed into the paper and cause a larger stain over time. Of course, this popped up after I had hung a very difficult piece in a tight spot, and then hung the subsequent strip. In other words – no way was I taking it off the wall and re-doing. I cut out a design motif and pasted it over the area.
Another thing I was unhappy with has happened a number of times with KK paper. The pattern will match perfectly at the top of the wall, but begin to slide up or down, creating a mis-match , as you move down the wall. I think that a lot of it has to do with the vinyl material, because it’s stretchy. The weight of the paste and the vinyl will cause the bottom section of the strip to sag. This simply doesn’t make sense, though, because, if the paper is going to absorb moisture from the paste and expand (which many papers do), each strip should do so at the same rate, right? But not.
I finally deduced, correctly or not, that the pattern gets distorted as it’s wound into a roll. So my theory is that if you take your 10′ strips from the same position in each roll, the pattern should match. In other words, take a 10′ strip from the top of roll #1. Take your next strip from a brand new roll #2. Third strip from roll #3. Obviously, this leaves a whole lot of unused paper. For shorter areas like over doors, where it’s harder to see, and where you can fudge the pattern a bit, I used the paper from the insides of the rolls, again, roll #1 next to roll #2, etc. But this doesn’t work on every instance, so you’re gonna be stuck with many areas where the pattern doesn’t match perfectly across the seams. The solution is to match the pattern at eye-level , and then allow it to go off as it moves toward the ceiling and floor.
There were other issues with this paper that were disappointing to me. But not overwhelmingly awful. Most homeowners would not notice. But I sure hope that this was a one-time issue, and Katie Kime will go back to its former good-quality, non-woven material.

More Disappointments in York Wallpaper

December 16, 2022

Large creases spanning the width of the bolt were found in several places – luckily just in one bolt / double roll of the wallpaper .
Most non-woven wallpapers are strong and durable . But some versions, such as this one, have a surface that creases easily. You have to be careful while handling it during installation . Here we see that even the manufacturer has problems with it, because these creases were deep inside the roll and caused by the factory.
Also, very common with York – printing defects . Here I have laid two different bolts of paper on top of each other, to compare the printing. Look at the green leaves on the left side. Note that the ones on the far left are closer to the edge of the wallpaper . But the ones to the right are a bit further back from the edge .
Curious, because both bolts are from the same Run (do a Search here to read more about Runs). Obviously, the factory’s trimmers / cutters or the printer mechanism have gone off track and skewed the trimming / printing .
so these two rolls cannot be used next to each other, because the pattern doesn’t match correctly , as you see here. (Also note the creases on the right.)
Actually, with this busy pattern, we could have gotten away with this slight pattern mis-match . (With the homeowner ‘s consent, that is.)
But we were lucky that I had suggested she purchase a little extra paper . So we had three rolls of the version on the left, and two rolls of the one on the right. I was able to plan out the powder room so that I used the three rolls on three walls, and then kept the last long wall for the two bolts of paper on the right.
Note that sending this material back was not a viable option. These issues are pretty common with York products, so we’d likely just be getting the same thing all over again. Disappointing, because, until just a few years ago, York was a very dependable , quality brand .
The pattern is called Wildwood and is by Rifle Paper , which is made by York .

Ceiling is NOwhere NEAR Level

November 29, 2022
We wallpaper hangers / installers like to have a nice straight ceiling line . Meaning, that the same pattern motif will show up at the same height on the wall on every strip . For instance, the top of the sailboat will touch the bottom of the crown molding all the way around the room.
But in old houses, poorly-built houses, or just plain old wonky houses (which are most homes in Houston! ), you can’t count on ceilings and floors being level , nor on walls being perfectly plumb .
When I used my level to check the ceiling in this 1926 home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood , I admit – I laughed out loud!
When a surface is level, the air bubble will be in the middle of the two black lines . It’s common for the bubble to be a little “off.” But this one isn’t even trying to be in the middle. Meaning – the ceiling is nowhere near level. The ceiling line is moving up and / or down as it moves across the room. The discrepancy can be as much as an inch or even more from one end of the room to the other.
Meaning, there is no way that that sailboat is going to be just below the ceiling on every strip.
Luckily, this particular wallpaper pattern was such that you aren’t going to notice much.
The other thing is, most people who live in older homes, or homes with shifting foundations , or even new homes , understand that walls and floors rearrange themselves over time . So they’re understanding if sailboats drift down the ceiling line , or if patterns don’t match absolutely perfectly in the corners.

REALLY Cheerful, Colorful Powder Room

November 3, 2022
Powder room before. Note the blue ceiling . I applied a white pigmented wallpaper primer ( Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime ) to the walls .
Done! So cheery and fun and lively!
These flowers just make you smile when you walk in here!
Toilet corner before.
I’m grateful to the husband for removing the toilet tank, as well as the sink / vanity. This sure saved me a lot of time and squeezing into tight spots.
The red square in the back is wall area that was blocked by the toilet tank, so previous painters were not able to reach that area. It had a heavy sand texture on it, which I took a little extra time to skim-float and then sand smooth. Nobody’s going to see it, but it will help the wallpaper adhere better .
Toilet corner after. The corner you’re looking at was off-plumb by about 1/2″ from top to bottom, so there is a bit of a pattern mis-match as you get closer to the floor. Not a biggie with this wild pattern, plus it’s mostly hidden behind the toilet.
Hard to see, but the focus of the photo is an angled wall under the stairs .
The blue ceiling coordinates perfectly with the colors in the wallpaper .
This is by Rifle Paper , and is called Garden Party .
Every Rifle Paper I’ve hung previously has been on a non-woven substrate , and could be installed by the paste-the-wall method. The label said this was a PTW (see diagram of brush putting paste on the wall) … but it surprised me, because it was NOT! It was on a regular paper stock, and I’m betting it’s the same material that York prints its SureStrip line as well as the Spoonflower brand.
I assumed the directions and diagram were correct, so first I pasted the paper and then took it immediately to the wall, with no booking time. Lo and behold, I got bubbles on the wall.
This happens because the paper is absorbing moisture from the paste and expanding. With no way to escape being trapped between the paper and the wall, the moisture ” off gas es” and pushes away from the wall ,,, resulting in those bubbles.
My solution was to treat the material as a traditional pasted wallpaper. So I pasted the back, folded pasted-side-to-pasted-side (called booking ), and then placed it into a black plastic trash bag for a few minutes. This allows the paper to absorb moisture from the paste, expand, and relax , all before it goes onto the wall.
This is a pretty sure way to prevent the appearance of bubbles or blisters or wrinkles.
The townhome is in the Highland Village / Galleria area of Houston .

Lots of Wallpaper in Nov/Dec Issue of American Farmhouse Style Magazine

November 1, 2022
Including right here on the cover! And a real coup! … A magazine that’s pretty much dedicated to the all-white or all-grey trend in decorating, as well as minimalism … it’s so exciting to see some pattern and color in the ” farmhouse ” themed homes. Let’s take a look …
Textured grasscloth behind bookshelves in a living room .
Two-tone classic toile on one wall as a background to a stairwell . It warms up the space, without hitting you in the face.
Soft , cloud – like feel behind this credenza . Look carefully right above the baskets , and you’ll see an overlapped seam. Some commercial murals are hung like this, as well as the very popular patterns by Spoonflower , which is a budget-friendly and DIY – able , good quality material and brand . (But ONLY their ” prepasted smooth ” option. Do NOT get the ” traditional pebble ” nor their ” peel and stick . “
More of the toile pattern , in the entry , with batten board wainscoting and a chair rail , in a mud room . Also called rear back door entry . : )
Floral pattern in the laundry room . I’m getting lots of queries for wallpaper in laundries … must be trending right now!
Soft two-tone floral in small bathroom .
Textured grasscloth behind desk in home office .
Apologies for the sideways image … WordPress used to be easy to use, and I could correct this. But they “upgraded” their program and made many, many features much more difficult to work with. I tried tutorials on how to fix this, but after reading and watching tons of info and videos, I gave up. It used to be just one click !
Anyway, note the cheery breakfast room. Colorful without being overwhelming .
Closer picture.
Very innovative use of floral pattern with subdued color around the archway / entry to another breakfast nook . Note that the back of the nook also wears a textured wallpaper .
Sorry for the out-of-order picture … another frustration from the “upgraded” WordPress Editor . This gives an idea of what the afore-mentioned breakfast area looked like pre-wallpaper.
The magazine didn’t mention a brand, but this sure looks like one of Serena & Lily ‘s designs . Of course, when one company makes a popular pattern , many other companies make their own versions .
These days, usually you see pattern on the accent wall behind the headboard . So it’s a little unusual to see wallpaper on all four walls of this master bedroom . But it works, because the pattern is simple and the colors are kept to only two , so the overall feel is calming , rather than busy .
Fooled me! I thought this headboard accent wall was done in tile – but it’s wallpaper !
The same paper on a kitchen cabinet .