Posts Tagged ‘west university’

Bathroom Goes from Young Girl to Teen

April 22, 2021

The original classic trellis pattern by Thibaut was pumped up by the hot pink color. I hung it about six years ago for a young girl’s bathroom. It held up beautifully, even without stains from toiletries that you might expect in a child’s bath.

But now the gal is a teen, and she wanted something calmer. Enter “Priano” by Serena & Lily, one of my favorite patterns and also one of my favorite wallpaper manufacturers.

It’s a soft, easy-to-live-with pattern with fluid movement.

The home is in the West University neighborhood of Houston.

Repairing Damage from Remodeling

March 5, 2021

I hung this paper in a little boy’s bedroom about two years ago. Now a new baby is coming, so Son #1 is moving from the nursery to his “Big Boy’s Room” next door. In the process of the shuffle, the parents had the connecting Hollywood bathroom updated, and this involved moving a door – which meant messing up the wallpaper.

As you can see in the top photo, instead of taking the time and effort to remove the wallpaper, the workmen put their patching compound right on top of it. I don’t like hanging paper on top of paper, for many reasons. There are adhesion issues. And also, for one thing, it’s not good to have seams fall on top of seams. For another, because the new paper is somewhat thick, you would have a visible ridge from top to bottom along the edge of the new strip.

So I took a razor knife and cut roughly around the workmens’ patch. Then I stripped off the paper around it, up to the edge of the adjoining strip. I did this on both sides of the corner.

This wallpaper is of a non-woven material, and is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate. I was pretty disappointed that that turned out to not be the case.

On the other hand, I was happy that it didn’t. Stripping paper that way puts a lot of stress on the wall surface, and you can end up with delamination (coming apart) of various layers under the paper (primer, skim-float, paint, drywall).

So I used a more labor-intensive, but lower-impact method. Click my page to the right for more info on the process. I first stripped off the top, inked layer of paper. That left the white backing still adhering to the wall. I used a sponge to apply plenty of water to this backing. The idea is to reactivate the paste that is holding it to the wall. Once that paste was wet enough, the backing pulled off the all cleanly and easily.

I was really pleased that my primer from the original install held up perfectly under all this soaking and tugging. I had worried that it might “rewet” and pull away from the wall, which had been my experience with it before. I had used Gardz, a penetrating product designed to seal torn drywall. It’s also good at sealing new skim-coated walls. And wallpaper sticks to it nicely, so all the better!

One photo shows you the stripped off area next to the edge of the remaining strip. You can see the thickness of this existing strip. The new wallpaper will butt up against this, and there will be no ridge because the thicknesses of both strips are the same.

Another photo shows my stripped-off area next to the contractor’s patched area. There is a difference in height between the newly revealed wall and the patched area – and that will show as a ridge or bump under the new wallpaper.

To eliminate that difference in height, I skim-floated over the area. In one photo, you can see the wet (grey) smoothing compound. I set up a strong floor fan to assist in drying. My heat gun also came in handy.

Once it was dry, I sanded it smooth. Now you don’t see any transition between the newly exposed wall and slightly higher patched area. I applied Gardz to the all the newly patched areas. Set up the fan again. And once it was dry, I put up the replacement paper.

It’s a good thing the family had paper left over from the original install. If they had had to purchase new paper, it could have come from a new Run (slight difference in color shade), and that would have meant stripping off and replacing three walls.

We had barely enough paper. The corner was out of plumb by as much as 1/2″ from floor to wainscoting, on each side of the corner. That adds up to an inch out of whack. That one inch meant we needed a whole new strip of wallpaper, to get the paper on the wall to the left to match up with that on the wall to the right.

Long story short, the whole thing turned out great. There is a bit of a mis-match in that corner, but it’s not very noticeable at all.

The wallpaper is by the Scandinavian company Boras Tapeter.

The home is in the West University neighborhood of Houston.

Dramatic Update for College Age Girl’s Room

December 24, 2020

The furniture, bedding, artwork, wall paint, in this bedroom of a college-aged girl are all pretty neutral. The mother wanted bolden things up with a dramatic accent wall behind the headboard. This would be a surprise when the gal came home from school for the holiday.

One wallpaper choice was the Phillip Jeffries “Wish” wallpaper. Well, anything with that designer’s name is going to be really expensive. Plus the cost of smoothing the wall and hanging the paper.

Dorota Hartwig of DMH Designs (dmhdesigns44@gmail.com) found this – very similar pattern, but much more affordable price. It is by Wallquest, one of my favorite brands, and is called Dandellions.

In one photo, you see the paper rolled out so I can see the full-size pattern and determine how I want it placed on the wall, behind where the headboard will go.

In the last photo, you see a scrap of dark chalk which I used to color the white edges of the wallpaper, to prevent them from peeking through at the seams.

The home is in the West University neighborhood of Houston.

A Really Nice Faux Finish Job

December 3, 2020


Faux finish wall treatments like this were all the rage in the ’90’s. This one was exceptionally well done, partly because it is subtle.

I think it still works wonderfully today. In fact, if I visualize this dining room as it is now, with its visual movement and depth, and how it might look with just plain dark red paint, I would vote for the current version – hands down!

Nonetheless, the homeowner is ready for an update, so I will be covering up this beauty with wallpaper starting tomorrow.

This is a dining room in the West University neighborhood of Houston.

I Love Stripping Off My Own Work!

November 30, 2020

Digital Image
I hung this mattress-ticking striped wallpaper in the tub / toity room of a Hollywood bathroom in West University 8-10 years ago. (Still in perfect condition, too, I might add. 🙂 ) The boy and girl who share the bath are older now, and the homeowner wants to update the décor.

The paper clung to the walls during all that time, yet, when I started stripping it this morning, it came off fairly easily, by simply soaking with water to reactivate the paste, and then gently scraping. What’s best is that my primer (KILZ Original) protected the walls, and the surface is perfectly intact, with no damaged areas and patching needed.

In addition, I am not going to reprime the walls, because the original primer is dependable enough to work under the new paper, which I will hang tomorrow.

CFA Voysey Design in West U Guest Bathroom

November 24, 2020

Charles Voysey was a designer in the 1910’s and 1920’s, working with watercolor in the Arts & Crafts and the Art Nouveau decorative styles. His work is incredible, and I have his “Bat and Poppy” in my own powder room.

Here is his “Fairyland” in a guest bathroom in the Southside Place / West University neighborhood of Houston.

What a change!

I hung the original “chair” pattern four years ago. The thin paper material was stuck good and tight, and my attempts to strip it off were taking excessive time and also causing damage to the underlying surface. So I opted to prep and seal the paper and hang the new pattern on top of it.

The original pattern was fun. But this new choice suits the room much better, and it looks brighter, too. And the colorway works perfectly with the muddy blue cabinetry and mirror.

This is a non-woven material, a little thicker and stiffer than I like, and a tad prone to creasing. But with careful handling, it went up very nicely. I did the paste-the-wall method. The seams were invisible.

My powder room Bat & Poppy is a paper, and was purchased from Trustworth Studios. It had to be hand trimmed, and was on the higher end of the price scale.

Today’s Fairyland pattern is made by Lord & Twig. L & T is recreating the same Voysey designs as Trustworth, but in a more consumer-friendly material and price.

You can buy this through Finest Wallpaper, a newish outfit in Canada that sells a vast array of brands and patterns (in addition to manufacturing it’s own Lord & Twig line). Their prices are good, turn-around is quick, and customer service is exceptional.

Nobody Else Has This! – Jack Rabbit Floating Wall

November 20, 2020

This wall between the kitchen and home office is what we call a floating wall. It directly faces the TV / family room. I can guarantee you – NO ONE else has such a bold and eye-popping wall treatment!

This “Jack Rabbit” mural comes as six panels, some with rabbits and some with just foliage, that can be placed next to each other in any combination.

The homeowner was originally considering this for her guest bathroom.

But the project was going to take a good number of panels. And, at $375 per panel, the price was getting out of reason.

This floating wall in the main living area was a much better option.

For one thing, only one panel was needed.

For another, because this is the area everyone passes through when leaving or entering the house, or looks toward while sitting on the sofa, the rabbits are front and center for maximum viewing.

Each 40″ wide Jack Rabbit mural panel is on a non-woven substrate with a thin vinyl coating, and is a paste-the-wall material. The quirky design is by Edmond Petit and was purchased through Finest Wallpaper, a newish company out of Canada, with a vast product selection, great customer service, low prices, and quick turn-around.

The home is in the West University / Southside Place area of Houston.

Have a Seat – Revisiting Previous Job

November 19, 2020

I hung this wallpaper about five years ago in a guest bathroom in the Southside Place / West University neighborhood of Houston.

Except for a little wear and tear from the kids throwing around toothpaste and shampoo, the paper itself is tight to the wall and in perfect condition.

But the homeowner has grown tired of it. Check back tomorrow to see the new pattern and update.

Sweet, Classic, Floral Bedroom in West U

October 10, 2020


Look at how this fluid floral pattern in a warm colorway snugs up this spare bedroom. The wallpaper was applied to just the top portion of the wall, with a chair rail and wainscoting below it.

At my suggestion, below the chair rail, the homeowner will add either beaded-board paneling OR embossed (textured) faux beaded board wallpaper. I’m voting for the wallpaper! To be honest, it’s the better option. It’s cheaper, installation will be less expensive, and, most important, it’s thinner, so that it will not cover up the narrow profile of the baseboard.

The paneling will then be painted. I suggested pulling a color out of the wallpaper, such as a soft “buff” found in some of the flowers. That will add more visual weight to the bottom portion of the room, as well as warm up the whole look.

If the homeowners want to kick it up a notch, they could add a glaze, using a color found in some of the flowers. There are blues and greens, but I much prefer the red/orange tones.

The walls were originally textured, so I spent a day and a half skim-floating them and then sanding smooth, and followed that with a primer formulated for wallpaper.

The wallpaper is by York, in their SureStrip line, which is one of my favorite manufacturers and products. SureStrip is pre-pasted and easy to hang, does not shrink significantly, and is designed to be easy to strip off the wall when it’s time to redecorate.

The home is in the West University / Southside Place area of Houston.

Lotsa Color, and a Nice Faux Silk

April 16, 2020


I have worked for this couple in their charming 1929 bungalow in West University (Houston) several times since the 1990’s. They definitely are not people to go with the all-white or all-grey or minimalist trends that are popular today. These folks like COLOR!

The dining room walls were originally upholstered in a botanical print on blue (which the homeowner did himself, and did a mighty find job of, too). So the room never was bland white. 🙂 But now, 20 years later, they were ready for an update.

Their contractor removed the fabric and then skim-floated the walls smooth. Usually I have to go back and re-smooth the walls … but this guy did a really good job, and I was able to simply prime, and then hang the paper.

This is a vinyl product named “Wild Silk,” and is by Thibaut. It’s much more stain-resistant and durable than real fabric. Unlike real silk and other natural materials like grasscloth, this product has a pattern match. This means that you are not going to see each separate panel or visible seams, like you do with real silk. So the walls have a much more homogeneous and pleasing look.

The challenge lay with the old house and its un-plumb walls and un-level ceiling and window/door moldings. Since the ceiling was not level, if I hung the wallpaper true to plumb, then it would start “tracking” off-kilter at the ceiling line, and appear to be running either uphill or downhill. This effect was further complicated by the way the pattern ran along the window and door frames.

I decided to keep the pattern parallel to the ceiling molding line. This meant letting it go crooked along the door and window frames, if that’s how it turned out. The ceiling line was more visible and more important.

Since the pattern was tracking off-kilter, I used a razor blade and a straightedge to trim off a wedge-shaped chunk from one side of the wallpaper. This forced the pattern to move up (or down). After a few strips, I had tweaked it enough that the design was moving straight across under the crown molding.

Even though the strips were not hanging plumb, it looked wonderful along the ceiling line. This “silk” pattern was very accommodating of that. If it had been a design with a prominent motif that the eye wanted to see marching straight across the ceiling AND straight down along a door frame, it would have been much more difficult to pull off – maybe impossible.

Going around the window (no pic) was even more complicated. Because I was tweaking the three strips above the window to follow the crown molding, and also the three strips below the window – and you can’t guarantee that these will all adjust at the same rate. So getting the strip to the left of the window (no pic) to match up with the strips above AND below the window would be pretty impossible.

So I was extremely pleased when the pattern on all these strips did match up, within about 1/16″.

This is a vinyl material and was somewhat difficult to push tightly into edges and corners, and to cut through. I was glad that I didn’t have intricate decorative moldings to cut around. I used orange chalk to color the edges of the material, to keep the white substrate from showing at the seams.

I love the way the salmon color coordinates with the painted trim. Who paints door moldings orange??! THESE people do – and I highly applaud it! No boring all-white rooms in this house!

The look is bold, but surprisingly warm. The orange moldings against white walls would have been jolting. But with the salmon colored wallpaper, the whole effect is unified, inviting, and invigorating!