Posts Tagged ‘west university’

Stitched Damask in a West U. Powder Room

January 5, 2018


The color looks like it’s glowing. A beautiful choice for this 3-room powder room in West University. When you get close, the pattern looks like it is stitched embroidery. It makes a once all-white room now feel snug and friendly.

This wallpaper is by Brewster, in their A-Street prints line. #FD24145 It is a non-woven material, and was meant to be paste-the-wall. But I found that paste-the-paper worked better. (I mean, how ya gonna get paste on the wall behind a toilet?! Pasting the paper also makes it more pliable.)

The paper 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.

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Etched Forest Mural in a Baby Girl’s Room

January 4, 2018

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No pink dollies for this baby girl (still a few months away!). This foresty mural is far more interesting. The “etched” appearance of the design brings to mind an old-world lithograph, and adds depth to the image. The green and gold colors are muted, and coordinate with the mom’s planned color scheme of grey, taupe, and dusty rose.

The first photo shows laying the mural out on the floor, to be sure the panels match, and to be sure they are in the right sequence. This also allows me to check dimensions of the mural against those of the wall, and to plot placement of the design.

This mural is from Europe. It came in 8 panels, and was custom-sized to fit the wall. It was a non-woven material, and was installed via the paste-the-wall method. This particular material was stiff and felt even brittle. I wasn’t thrilled working with it, but once it was up on the wall, it will be fine.

I hung this in a baby girl’s nursery in a home in West University (Houston). The manufacturer is Rebel Walls.

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.

The Fifteen-Hour Foyer Install – Whew!

October 29, 2017

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This was one of the most difficult installations I’ve ever done. Many reasons … The grasscloth came un-trimmed, so I had to trim off the selvedge edge by hand for every strip. This is tedious and time-consuming enough with paper, but with grasscloth it’s harder because you have to press hard to get through the thick material. The room itself presents some time-eating elements, namely the intricate molding above the columns, and it takes time (like 20 minutes each) to cut the paper neatly into the curves. There were six of these curved points, plus four angled blocks in the center of the arches.

I told the homeowner to buy 10 single rolls. But the design studio where she bought it told her 8. So she bought 8 – and we were short. So I had to save every scrap, plot and plan, and spend extra time cutting and piecing slivers of left over paper, so we would have enough to do the areas over the arches. I also had to fudge on the pattern match, in order to have enough paper to do the whole room. This pattern is forgiving, so it’s not noticeable.

But the main difficulty was the extreme thickness of the gesso-like material on the paper. It was virtually IMPOSSIBLE to cut through. I mean, on the side of one doorway, on a 6′ drop, I spent a full 30 minutes, pressing with all my strength, and went through a good couple of razor blades, just to trim off the excess paper. Every other cut was equally difficult. Where the razor blades would not cut it, I used my $50 Japanese high technology scissors – which I am sure needs to be replaced after the workout it got last night.

The paper was also uncooperative when it came to wrapping it around two inside corners. It took a lot of work and heavy pressing on it with a special metal plate tool I have, just to get it to look nice and tight in the corners.

Other inside corners where the material was cut, there were small gaps between the thick layers of gesso. All of these were at the top of the walls, so were not very noticeable.

This room should have taken me about five hours to hang, if it had been a regular wallpaper. This couple was kind enough to let me work late to get the room finished. However, I was stunned when I finished, loaded up my van, and got in the driver’s seat – I had not realized how very late it was at night.

This product is by Schumacher. As usual, their quality control was poor. The homeowner had to send back the entire first batch, due to the gesso being smeared. There was one section in the new batch that was messed up, too.

The finished room does look great, though, and the thick texture adds a unique and warm look to this West University entryway. I plotted the pattern so that it would fall in the center of the archway that’s the first thing you see when you walk in the door.

Adding Some Pizzazz To A Home Bar

October 26, 2017

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This home in Southside Place (near West University Place in Houston) has a number of significant arches. When you stand at the front door looking toward the back of the house, and there are several full-height arches that you look through, each with its own hanging lantern chandelier. Quite impressive. The arch theme is carried out in other areas of the house, and one is the view from the dining room into the adjoining bar (top photo).

Everything in this new home is white, and the homeowner wanted something to make the view through that arch ‘pop.’ She chose this silver cork wallpaper. It’s flashy but understated at the same time. It certainly adds the excitement she was seeking for the bar area, without overwhelming the calm feeling of the home’s white color scheme.

This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, 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.

Dark Bar Goes Bright

September 21, 2017

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The woodwork and cabinets throughout this home in the West University (Houston) area were originally painted a smudgy, moldering, dispiriting grey-green.  Many of the walls were a similar sad color.  The new homeowners hated the gloomy green, and had all the walls and most of the woodwork lightened up.

But the green wood stayed in the bar area.  In addition, the bar was papered with a dark moldery green stripe pattern.  There wasn’t much differentiation between the walls and the trim, and the whole room had a feeling of malaise.

Repainting the woodwork would have been costly.  So the interior designer found this lovely pearlized wallpaper that lightens the mood in the room, and also coordinates nicely with the paint color on the trim.  In addition, the large damask is a classy pattern that fits right in with the home’s lightly-traditional décor.

This wallpaper is by Fabricut.  The interior designer is Pamela O’Brien of Pamela Hope Designs, assisted by Joni Karnowski and Danna Smith.  http://www.pamelahopedesigns.com/

Major Transformation – From Cave-Like to Bright, Warm and Tranquil

July 15, 2017

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Wow, what a change! This home office / TV room in Southside Place / West University neighborhood of Houston, was papered in a dark-navy-on-navy stripe. In my opinion, it looked great in the room, especially above the white paneled wainscoting. But it was time for a change … in fact, the husband said, “We should have gotten rid of this when we bought the house 25 years ago.”

The navy wallpaper was hung properly, but it would not come off the wall without a LOT of time and mess (and $ ). So I prepped and sealed the walls and hung over it (see other posts). I love the 2nd photo, because it shows the new, light wallpaper juxtaposed against the original dark paper.

This material is a light tan stringcloth superimposed with a barely-there white Moroccan lantern motif. I love this as an alternative to grasscloth. It is uniform in color, has a wonderful tactile texture, and has none of the shading, paneling, color variations, visible seams, or propensity to staining and bleeding that make grasscloth so disappointing.

In addition, it is a non-woven, paste-the-wall product, and was nice to work with. The design was even perfectly centered on the 27″ wide material, and could be reverse-hung (hung upside down and still match up perfectly with the previous strip).

The new, light colored wallpaper looked super against the wainscoting, and had just enough color to stand out against the white woodwork. The sofa was a tan linen fabric, and synced with the new wallpaper in color and texture. The armoire that holds the TV is a medium wood tone, and contrasts against the light walls “just enough.” The whole overall look is relaxing.

This wallpaper pattern is by Designer Wallpaper, in their EcoChic line, in a book or line called Wallpaper Effects, 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.

Geometric Charm in a Hollywood Bathroom

June 1, 2017

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Here is a Jack & Jill bathroom in a newish home in the West University neighborhood of Houston. The two outer sink rooms received wallpaper, and the middle tub-and-toilet room remained with its coat dark chocolate-grey paint.

The house is contemporary in style, and the homeowners have outfitted it with clean-lined furnishings in brown tones that are crisp yet still give off a sense of warmth and personality. This popular hexagonal wallpaper design in black-on-white further warms up the room, without feeling cluttery.

You are looking at two different sinks in two different rooms. Plotting the layout so that the design falls exactly centered on both the faucets and the light fixtures takes a lot of time, math, engineering, fiddling, and redoing, but the result is sooo worth the effort, because of the balanced look.

Not all the aspects of this installation went as smoothly, though, mostly due to unplumb walls, unlevel ceiling, and other construction shortfalls, coupled with a rigid and unforgiving wallpaper pattern. I don’t have photos, but with lots of patience, and by pulling a lot of tricks out of my hat, your eye would never notice any of the crooked walls or potential pattern mis-matches.

Another beautiful room!

This wallpaper pattern is by A-Street Prints, a British company. It is printed on a non-woven substrate, and uses the paste-the-wall installation technique. 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.

BAM! POW! Batman on the Wall!

May 20, 2017

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The little boy who has this room is not so little anymore, so it’s time for the blue owl wallpaper to go, and time for the super heroes to fly in!

This Batman mural is made by Flavor Paper, and was custom sized to fit the wall, which includes a closet door (not shown). While most homeowners make mistakes when ordering murals, this father measured correctly and also included adequate extra all around for trimming.

The last photo is a pic of the drawing of the mural, so you can see the full thing. About a third of the mural on the right was lost, due to the closet door. Batman is all there, though!

The house is in the West University area of Houston.

Big Pattern and Wide Movement Work Nicely in a Large Powder Room

December 2, 2016
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This powder room in the West University area of Houston had its large size and a very attractive marble-topped sink console going for it, but not much else, because the boring tan walls were simply – blah. The homeowner loved this classic one-color chintz floral pattern, and, even though she worried that it might “make the room looks smaller,” she took the leap to have it hung in the powder room.

When she saw the finished room, one of the first things she said was, “It makes the room look bigger!” And she is right. Any kind of pattern, but particularly something with movement (swirls) in it like this one, will make the walls appear to recede, and so the room looks larger.

This wallpaper is by Anderson Prints, and is in the EcoChic line. The interior designer is Pamela O’Brien, of Pamela Hope Designs, a Houston based company that has won acclaim for its design style, which is crisp, clean, uncluttered, warm, and livable for modern families. Pamela and her assistant Danna are a joy to work with, too.