Monday, April 27, 2015

Yellow Submarine Meets Noah's Ark

This is the kind of thing I really enjoy doing. One simply finds the middle of the wall, top to bottom and side to side, draws a plumb line, and away we go. Starting from the middle, and then going both directions, allows for equal expansion on both ends, and if the stretchy soft paper begins to bend, it does have far to go before you reach the end of the mural. One has to be able to work from the left or the right. (ambidextrous)

The mom was more excited than the kid. The kid only wanted to play with new musical potty designed to help him get rid of diapers, which in this case would be a good thing because the child dropped a lot of "stuff" from his diaper running around our work area.

When I mentioned that I enjoyed doing this kind of thing, I meant hanging the mural, not walking in poop. Just to make that clear.

Saturday, April 25, 2015


The address was at the southern most end of 200th St. and I suspected we would be working in a big house. There is a land strata equestrian estate in that area, and sure enough, we were right in the heart of it.

When I saw the paper, and the room it was going in, I sent up a prayer that the 11' high walls would be plumb and level, and that the corners would fall in the middle of a stripe. My prayers were answered. Once you commit on a pattern like this, you have to keep going with what the walls and dimensions give you.

The ceiling was painted in a matte black so it looked like there was nothing but a black hole at the top of the stripes. Quite the effect, although it might appear to some that they are in jail. I love doing something out of the ordinary and this fit the bill.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Birch Forest Laundry

Going back to the French Country house the next day, we tackled the laundry room. We set up in the bedroom next to it and were glad to have plenty of room to work. We had to paste the back of the 27" wide paper. We admired this light fixture and were happy that we did not have to assemble it.

The birch forest pattern and colours in the tree trunks looked spectacular in this work area. The material was great to work with and other than some challenges around a floating shelf, everything went very well.

Working in a home like this usually does not bother me at all, except we were told by some of the other trades that the slightest flaw would be seen by the builder and we would have to correct it. It was verified when he asked us to go back to the dining room and correct a mistake. It took us several minutes to find it because he had seen it in the evening with only the chandelier lighting available. It did not show up in the daylight, but I corrected it nevertheless. It was a trimmed piece of paper the width of a hair that was stuck to the baseboard and was catching the light.

This one was fun to do and it was very rewarding to hear the reaction of the owner when she came by just as we were finishing. She was over the top with delight.
Now we will wait and see if we get paid for all of this work. It was a month ago that we did this and I have not seen a dime.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


Several months ago I contracted to do some wallpaper in this very exclusive house in a gated community on Eagle Mountain. The home is very elegant in the French Country theme and the paper was one of the most expensive I have ever worked with.

However, there was a problem. Andrew opened the first roll and unravelled it to see the pattern match and immediately he was bleeding from a cut. No, it was not a paper cut, which can happen. It was a cut from the glass imbedded in the paper. The textured pattern was a sand and glass combination and it was deadly, not only on the skin, but on the cutting knives.

The material was almost impossible to trim because the second the razor sharp edge of the knife hit the sand, it would be dull. I had to chop at it, perforating the paper and then tear on the dotted line. Every single piece was a very frustrating challenge.

At lunch time we gave ourselves a self-guided tour of the house and found this half-court, state of the art basketball court tucked away in one corner of this massive house. The photo is taken from the mezzanine floor looking down into the court.

What should have been a 5 hour job took us all day. The end result was spectacular and the very picky builder, and his client, were very pleased with the outcome.

I have decided that I will never hang this type of paper again. My hands were raw, my tools were worn out, and my patience was at an end. Andrew had almost all ten fingers bandaged by the end of the day.

Monday, April 20, 2015


My grandson, Chad, turned 14 last week. It was an exciting and eventful week for him, apart from his birthday. He has another school drama under his belt, he performed admirably in an interschool track meet, he turned in an excellent report card, and, we all got to help him eat birthday cake on Sunday.
He loves his mom very much, but he likes to be cool and pretend that this display of affection is not to his liking. Actually it really is.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Make it Like New

When I see a house like this, I have to have a lot of confidence in what we do. The walls in the bathrooms once had wallpaper and the stripping of it caused a huge amount of damage, right up into the ceiling line. The original paint job was very poor and inadequate. There were actually a few doors that were only painted on one side. The original drywall was poorly done and there was damage everywhere. None of the trim and woodwork was caulked. It is what we refer to as a 'dog's breakfast'.

The 'prep' time on a job like this huge. These photos were taken when the prep was already done and the painting was well underway. Slowly, the transformation took place.

This door was not supposed to be painted, but my nephew in his enthusiasm, was almost done when he realised it. The owner was good with it and so we gave it it's second coat and it is now the nicest thing in a room that we were not supposed to work in, even though the colour does not match.

This is how we lose tools, using them in obscure spots and then leaving them out of sight. This is a dusting brush to remove dust and lint from hard to reach places. These customers were great to work for and even though the job turned out to be more than we expected, we came within the budget by $10.00. Wow!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Stripping Paper Not so Easy

The wonderful folks who live in this townhouse are customers that date back to my earliest years as a paper hanger/painter. I did extensive work for them in the lovely large house they lived in during their early years and then again many times after they downsized to this townhouse. They were going to the Island for a week and gave us a key to the door. "Strip the paper and repaint the living/dining and then repaint the upstairs bathroom" were their instructions.

The paper and underlying adhesive were very difficult to remove, but in the end, the job turned out well and my customers were delighted. We recruited my nephew Matt from Sorrento for a week and managed to keep him pretty busy with this and other projects.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Home Grown

Here are a few photos of our home grown tulips on this bright spring morning.

What makes these photos unique is that they were all taken from indoors!

1. I have been limited in my movements due to a bad back.
2. It was very cool and breezy outside and I did not care to bundle up.
3. The flower bed was muddy right here and I did not want to track any mud back into the house.
4. I wanted some close-ups from low down.

So I opened the windows in our basement and took the screens off from the inside and there were the tulips staring me in the face with some great lighting as a bonus.  

And that is how you get outdoor photography from indoors.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Grass Cloth

We have been doing a lot of work in Chilliwack lately. We are the only paperhangers working out of the Chilliwack Paint and Decorating store.

This homeowner was going to attempt to hang this grass cloth on her own but was strongly advised against it. Grass cloth has a weak paper backing and when it is soaked, it tears easily. Also, it expands greatly when wet so the edges are not so easy to keep clean and adhesive does not wipe off the surface at all because it is real grass.

Many years ago, I devised a simple and effective method for hanging grass cloth and for me it is actually fun. I make sure the customer realised that grass cloth gives a panelled look as there is much discrepancy on the seams. It cannot be helped, although after seeing these photos, I realise we could have reversed every second panel. This shading effect was not evident as we were hanging it but on these photos is quite obvious.

We did this for a young couple with a family on the way and she told me that that their winter beach vacations were on hold for a long time and having a beach theme in their master bedroom would have to suffice until they could return to sunnier climates.

Besides the ocean blue walls surrounding the wallpaper, she had other beach accessories in the room. I hope this works for them.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Rosedale Feature Wall

When given an address for a small job, I do not go and look prior to installation, but look it up on Google Maps and 'street view' and find my way there. I also ask a lot of questions so I do not have any surprises when I get to the job. This one, in Rosedale, close to the bridge, was a long drive but was worth the time and effort. It was an elegantly restored farmhouse, very spacious and in a beautiful setting on a dairy farm. The 'paper' was commercial grade fabric backed solid vinyl, overkill for an application such as this when you only want a decorated wall, and not something you can drive a tank into.

The lady of the house was gracious and friendly and even served us a cup of coffee with some awesome strawberry cheesecake. The finished result was exactly what she had been after and we left another very happy customer in our wake.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Townhouse Package

This is the kitchen/dining area of the townhouse project we have been hanging paper for, in Cloverdale. Each unit has the option of a wallpaper feature in the master bedroom and main floor washroom. Apart from the two show suites we have done, this is the 5th unit that has chosen this option.

All fixtures have been previously installed so we have to work  around everything. The mirror is fastened to the wall with adhesive and the vanity is heavily silicone to the wall. Not fun. The seams do not come in good places no matter where we start and finish so these are frustrating units to do, and do well. It is always a cost/plus job so I do not mind the time spent, but it is not easy to do the best work possible.

Going around toilets is not a problem when they are clean and new.

This company pays on time and is happy with our work so we will continue to go back as long they need us.


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Feature Walls

I purchased the paint by colour number only and did not see the actual colour until I opened the can. Wow! This was one of the brightest blues I have ever worked with and the above photo shows it in natural light. The lower two had some incandescent lighting and it softened the colour quite a bit

There was a feature wall in the living room and the whole kitchen done in this colour. The place was being renovated and now that the cabinets are in and some other features are installed, this actually looks really good. This job has been ongoing for at least three months now, and tomorrow, I am going to complete it.

Blocking, whether with a wild paint colour or some exotic wallpaper, is a very popular thing to do these days. I really enjoy using colour and drama in my work.