Posts Tagged ‘woodland’

Arts & Crafts Authenticity in a 1908 Heights Home

July 16, 2020


This home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston dates back to the very early 20th Century, back when the Arts & Crafts movement was in full force. The style emphasized nature, earthy colors, blocky features, and stylized designs.

I like this look a lot, so it was really fun to work with the wallpaper and help bring their living room to their vision. They have the period furniture to go with it.

The wallpaper is by Bradbury & Bradbury, a California company that makes wallpaper in vintage and antique designs – Victorian, William Morris, Art Nouveau, Arts & Crafts, Oriental, Atomic Age, ’20’s, and more.

Their paper is a little tricky to work with. First, there is an unprinted selvedge edge that has to be trimmed off with a 6′ straightedge and razor blade (search here for other posts showing that process).

The manufacturer calls for clay-based paste, which I hate, for various reasons. But to comply with their specs, I bought a $50, 50lb, 5-gallon bucket of it – and used only about 1/2 gallon. Clay is a low-moisture paste, which helps with this material.

When wet with paste, the heavy inks on this paper absorb moisture differently from the paper backing, and the result is “waffling” or “quilting” – which is when you get wrinkles inside the unprinted areas (do a search here for more posts on this issue). To prevent this, it helps to lightly dampen the surface of the paper with a sponge and clean water. This helps even out the moisture ratio. I found that this pattern also fared better with a little water sponged lightly onto the back, as well.

To handle the 20′ long horizontal strips, after pasting, I folded the strips accordion-style. I also added blue plastic tape to the bottom edge, to prevent paste from getting onto the painted woodwork, which would eliminate the need to wipe it off during installation. Then all went into a plastic trash bag to “book” for a few minutes.

I set up two ladders, so I could step between them as I unfolded the accordion pleats, and I also used push pins to hold the booked strip up while I got down and moved the ladders.

The paper adhered nicely to the wall without curling at the edges. There were a few wrinkles in the inked areas, but these disappeared as the paper dried.

A wide decorative border like this, especially dating to this era, is called a “frieze.”

What’s really cool is that the homeowner (a former contractor), added the block wood molding because he wanted to unite the heights of the door molding with that of the windows (both just barely visible in the photos). That was way before they thought of adding a wallpaper border. Once they discovered Bradbury and started hunting for a wallpaper, turns out that the height of the space between the two moldings was exactly the height of the wallpaper frieze.

Even more amazing is that the paint colors were chosen before they went searching for wallpaper – but are magically perfectly harmonious with the colors in the frieze.

This wallpaper pattern is called “Birchwood Frieze,” by Bradbury & Bradbury. They have lots more gorgeous stuff on their website.

Mirror Tar Bleeds Through Wallpaper – Prevention

June 18, 2020



The owner of this newish home in the Woodland Heights (Houston) had her handyman remove the powder room mirror and its surrounding built-in wooden frame. Mirrors are often adhered to the wall with mastic, a tar-like substance. When the mirror comes off, some of the tar residue invariably remains.

In the top photo, you can see where removing the mirror took the blobs of mastic along with it, as well as round sections of the drywall. But there are small smudges of tar still remaining on the wall.

The problem is that tar (among a lot of other substances) will bleed through wallpaper (as well as paint, and a lot of other materials).

There are stain blockers like my beloved KILZ Original Oil Based, BIN shellac based, or others, that are designed to block these stains. But I don’t trust them. For water, rust, blood, wood sap, etc., yes. But for oil-based substances like tar, I want more assurance. The best way to prevent bleed-through is not to cover the stain, but to remove it.

So I take a Stanley knife and cut into the drywall and then peel up the top layer of drywall, taking along the offending tar residue.

So now the dangerous tar is gone. But you’re left with torn drywall. This is bad for several reasons. For one thing, you have an uneven surface that will look bad under the new wallpaper (or paint). And since the top, protective layer of drywall is gone, any moisture (such as from wallpaper paste or from latex paint) will penetrate into the torn paper layer – which will swell and cause bubbling.

All of which looks pretty bad under wallpaper or paint.

So I used the product Gardz to seal the torn drywall. It is formulated to soak into the paper; then it dries hard and acts as a sealer and moisture-blocker. It won’t block stains, but it will prevent moisture from penetrating the paper and causing bubbling.

Once that was dry, I skim-floated over the entire area with joint compound. It looks rough in the photo, but once it’s dry, I’ll sand it smooth. Then I’ll give it another coat of the penetrating sealer Gardz. See last photo. Once that is dry, I’ll cover it with a coat of Roman’s Ultra Prime Pro 977 wallpaper primer, when I prime the other walls in this powder room.

All of these various products do take a while to dry, especially the joint compound as thick as I applied it. So I went to this job site a few days before the install date, to do the initial prep, so it would have plenty of time to dry before I come back for the final prep and wallpaper hang.

Cheerful, Colorful, Fun Finish to a Little Girls’ Bedroom

May 27, 2020


Maybe two months ago, I papered one accent wall (top photo) in this bedroom shared by two little girls. The mother kept thinking the room would look sweeter and more complete if all the walls were papered. I agree!

The wallpaper is by Caitlin Wilson, and is a pre-pasted material, and was quite nice to work with. The 2-story 1920 home is in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston, and has been nicely renovated and updated. The interior designer is Stacie Cokinos of Cokinos Design.

Railroading a Trellis, Heights Powder Room

May 14, 2020


Railroading means the wallpaper strips were run horizontally, instead of veritcally. See top photo.

That treatment gave the room a little more visual height. AND it coordinates with the paneled glass windows in the front of the house – which dates back to 1895.

This pattern is by Candice Olsen, for York wallcoverings. The interior designer is Stacie Cokinos, of Cokinos Designs.

The home is in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston.

Cloud Mural in Baby Girl’s Nursery

May 8, 2020


Want a room that will suit a child of either gender, and also grow with him/her into the teen years? This “Nuage” cloud mural by Anewall (A New Wall) checks off all the boxes!

This mural was not custom-sized, but came in pre-set dimensions. The product came in six strips, and the overall size was a bit taller and wider than the wall. In the third photo, I am laying out all the strips on the floor. This is very important, because you want to be sure you are grabbing strips in the correct order before you paste them to the wall.

Also, laying out the mural on the floor enabled me to see the whole design, so I could decide how much of the excess to cut off at the top and bottom. And I could also determine where the center was (break in the clouds), so I could position it where the parents would be placing the baby’s crib against the wall.

The material was pre-pasted, so I didn’t need to lug in my big table and pasting equipment. The paste is already on the back of the paper, and is activated by water. Some people spray the back with a squirt bottle. But I find this messy and sporadic. I prefer the old-fashioned water tray method. It’s quick, easy, and gives the most uniform water coverage.

In the fourth photo, you see my plastic dropcloth protecting the floor, two towels on top of that to absorb water splashes, and then my green water tray. Each rolled-up strip will be placed in the tray, and then unrolled and pulled out on top of the towels. This exposes the paste to water, which activates it. Then each strip is folded pasted-side-to-pasted-side (booked), and set aside to absorb the water/activate the paste/expand/relax.

In the next shot, I have aimed the red line of my laser level along the center of the wall. I am hanging my first strip, butted up against the red line. On we go, until the wall is covered with clouds!

In the close-up, you see that the design has a sort of tufted “quilty” look to it.

HOWEVER, I did experience some excessive vertical expansion / stretching between some of the strips. This means that some strips became wet with water and expanded more than others. And that means that the pattern on some strips did not match up perfectly with the previous strip. The protocol is that you match the pattern at eye-level, and then as the paper moves up and down the wall, the pattern will fall out of match.

The good thing is that this pattern is so scratchy and “quilty” that the eye will never notice a 1/8″ or even 1/4″ mis-match, especially not from a distance. With a more precise and visible pattern, this would be an issue.

This home is relatively new, and is in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston.

Candice Olson Goes Earthy In The Heights

May 1, 2020

Usually, you expect Candice Olson wallpaper designs to be full of glitz and shimmer and glamour. In both theme and sheen, this one is much more earthy.

This is the main living area of a beautifully and respectfully renovated 1895 home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston. Like most contemporary re-dos, the walls in this home are mostly white. The original-to-the-house fireplace was getting lost in that sea of white.

To the rescue comes this chocolate-brown wallpaper pattern with 3-D raised-ink impressions of Queen Ann’s Lace flowers. To keep with Candice Olson’s “glam” vibe, the stems are printed in gold ink. The dimensional quality of the ink syncs with today’s trend toward textured materials.

The dark hue really makes the fireplace stand out, yet the white flowers keep the look from being foreboding, and tie into the white used in the rest of the room.

I love the way the nature design and earthy color add an organic element to the room.

This wallpaper is made from a very sturdy non-woven material, which has a high fiberglass content. In fact, you could readily see the fibers, especially when the material was torn. Which was quite hard to do, because one selling point of the non-woven materials is their strength and durability.

These papers are made to stay intact and strip off the wall easily and in one piece, when it’s time to redecorate. They also do not expand when wet with paste, which means there is no booking time or delay between pasting and hanging. And your measurements will be accurate.

Non-wovens also offer the option to paste the wall instead of the paper. Although, in most circumstances, I prefer to paste the paper, for many reasons. Although this material is thick and stiff, it was not difficult to wrap it around the corner to the right in the photo.

The interior designer for this job is Stacie Cokinos, of Cokinos Design, and her jobs are mostly in the Heights area.

The wallpaper manufacturer is York.

Clever and CUTE Homage to Historic Wallpaper

April 29, 2020


This adorable swatch of children’s wallpaper was uncovered during a whole-house remodel of a 1930 bungalow in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston.

I love the way these old wallpapers retain their intensity of color, even after all these years. There is also some of the “cheesecloth” adhering to the back ….

Back in the days before drywall, when walls were made of ship-lapped boards, the paperhangers would tack thin fabric over the walls, and then hang the wallpaper on top of that. This provided a smooth surface (instead of the seams between the boards showing through), and allowed for the paper to “float” over the walls, preventing cracks or tears in case of the house shifting on its foundation.

The homeowner salvaged some of the wallpaper and preserved chunks in frames, which hang in front areas of the home.

I was particularly thrilled to see this, because, well, I just LOVE old wallpaper, especially from that era.

Springy and Gay Accent Wall in Guest Bedroom

April 26, 2020


What a cheery look, for an accent wall in a light-filled guest bedroom of a beautifully renovated bungalow in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston!

I hung this same pattern a month ago just a few blocks away, but that room had wainscoting so there was only about 4′ of the pattern visible. In this room, the wallpaper goes from ceiling to floor, so you see how the full design plays out.

The design name is “Clementine” and it is by Sanderson, a British company. It is on a tough non-woven substrate, and I hung this using the paste-the-wall method.

The interior designer is Stacie Cokinos of Cokinos Design.

William Morris Design in Home Office

April 25, 2020


Here is a home office in an 1895 home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston. The walls and woodwork have been painted a near-navy blue.

This rhythmical, stylized, organic design by William Morris is true to the era, when W.M. was a fore-runner of the Arts & Crafts movement.

The blue color in this room, along with the hues in the wallpaper, beautifully tie in with the colors of the dining room across the hall (see previous two posts).

This wallpaper is by Morris & Co., and is printed on a traditional (read: old fashioned) “pulp” substrate. It’s somewhat delicate, but I do like the material.

The interior designer is Stacie Cokinos of Cokinos Design.

Classic Look in Historic Home in the Woodland Heights

April 23, 2020


This large 2-story home was built way back in 1985 – a whole 12 years before the Woodland Heights (Houston) neighborhood in which it sits was platted and developed. It just underwent a major renovation, but retains most of its original details, such as floor plan, windows, moldings, flooring, pocket doors, and much more. There are several large, regal live oak trees on the property.

The homeowner chose this classic damask pattern with a weathered look for all four walls of the dining room. It perfectly suits the room.

It took me about two hours of measuring, plotting, engineering, hanging, removing, re-hanging, yada, to get the design to perfectly flank either side of the window. All that work was worth it, to have the design fall symmetrically. But the real show-stopper is the view of those oak trees through the window!

This wallpaper is by Designer Wallpapers, and is lovely to work with. The interior designer for the job is Stacie Cokinos of Cokinos Design. She is the go-to designer in the Heights for whole-house remodels and new builds.

I threw in a photo of my work table, just for fun.

Tune in tomorrow, to see the finished room!