Posts Tagged ‘west university’

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.

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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.

Have a Seat! – Cute Chairs in a Small Bathroom

May 5, 2016
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Whimsical, beachy, colorful, and fun! This hall bathroom in the West University area was originally painted a very, very dark blue. What a difference this light-hearted chair pattern in peaches and aquas on a shimmery off-white background made!

The wallpaper was nice to work with. It is a paper product and laid flat and tight to the wall. is by Designer Wallpapers, and was bought at a discounted price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

Another Faux Bead Board Paintable Wallpaper

September 18, 2015
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I love this Thibaut hummingbird pattern so much, it hurt to strip it off. But the home owner wanted something more subdued for this powder room in a townhome in the West University / Medical Center area of Houston. The beaded board pattern she chose is made of expanded vinyl and is intended to be painted (although it’s OK to leave it as-is, too). It is on a non-woven backing, and is supposed to strip off the wall later easily and cleanly and in one piece.

It is by Allen & Roth, made by Graham & Brown, who manufacturers a lot of these puffy papers.

Speaking of puffy papers – the surface is very delicate, and can be damaged by even a fingernail. In the last photo, you see horizontal lines in the material. I never creased the paper, yet these lines developed during “booking” (folding the paper pasted-side-to-pasted-side and letting it rest before hanging).

I threw one full-length strip away due to lines like this, but these two strips would be behind the mirror, and we had a limited amount of paper, so I let them stay on the wall. Subsequent strips were booked, but folded only once, to minimize the chance of these creases developing, and then handled very carefully during installation. Still, the homeowner will have to be careful over the life of the paper, to not press any hard objects against the walls, as this could create impressions that will last forever. I hope that painting the paper will increase its durability.

The paper has a vinyl surface, which does not “breathe,” and will take a while to dry completely. Because of this moisture, it’s important to have a good primer underneath, to prevent damage from moisture getting to the Sheetrock. I suggested waiting a week before painting, to be sure it’s good and dry.

The homeowner mentioned painting the walls a sage green. This will be pretty, and will coordinate with other rooms in the house. This type of textured wallpaper also looks good with a glaze coat of a different color, to add shading. Then again, the room looks so darned good with the white wallpaper, it’s possible she may leave it as it is!

Daring To Go Black!

August 9, 2015
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Before: Take a look this unimaginative dining room, painted a safe, neutral tan. The young parents of a pre-school daughter wanted something more exciting in their West University dining room.

Second photo: The wallpaper is going on the top 2/3 of the walls, and the bottom 1/3, below the chair rail, was recently painted in a semi-gloss black paint. Well, the walls are textured, and to get them smooth, I will “skim float” them with joint compound, and then sand smooth – and that means lots of fine white dust.

So, in addition to covering furniture and doorways, I draped plastic sheeting over the bottom portion of the walls, to keep the dust away from the new black paint.

Third photo: The first wall now covered with wallpaper – SO MUCH more interesting and suited to the lifestyle of this young family. Their dining table is a medium-toned, lightly distressed wood, and their chairs are covered in an off-white / grey linen. Contrasted against the black and silver wallpaper, the look is fantastic.

Other photos: The most prominent wall in the room was between two windows, so I chose to start there, centering the pattern, so it will look good on its own, or if they put a mirror or piece of art there. I was also able to center the design on another wall (see photo), so if they put a buffet or other piece of furniture there, it will be nicely balanced.

And I included a shot of the black paint below the chair rail, to give you and idea of what the finished room will look like.

Not many people would choose black wallpaper, and especially not black wallpaper above black paint. But this couple had the vision, and the daring, to go black – and the end result is nothing short of stunning.

This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, and is printed on an uncharacteristic pulp substrate. (Pulps are traditionally British material.) While dark papers printed on light colored substrates can often mean you will see white at the seams, this paper behaved well, and, unless you looked closely, you could not notice the seams.

The wallpaper was bought at a discounted price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.