Saturday, September 19, 2015


There is always something new and interesting in the world of wall coverings. This was a product from China, ordered online, and it was unique in terms of hanging characteristics. It was a very thin and flexible metallic. The thin papers have a tendency to stretch a great deal and great care has to be taken to start straight and stay straight.

Andrew was going behind me to check for small bubbles and pattern match, which was almost indiscernible on the seam, and yet when standing back, we could see the pattern shifts and changes quite readily.

A close-up shows the tiny textured tile effect.

Had the wall been a few feet longer, I would have lost the plumb line and wrinkles and creases would have been inevitable. Being highly reflective in nature, those creases and wrinkles would have been a disaster, especially because this customer had eagle eyes and was quite particular.

A couple of random shots of me 'doing my thing'. I always enjoy the challenge, and, of course, the final outcome.  

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

House With a View

We are the only paperhangers working out of the Chilliwack Paint and Decorating store, but this Chilliwack residence came from a contact in Abbotsford. The father/son team who built this house had us do some work in their own home a few years ago, so we have a history.

The assignment was to hang a silver textured paper on an 11' high fireplace feature wall. Starting at the center, this is the first piece up.

But first, we had to step out onto the patio to enjoy the view of the Fraser Valley.

Two hours later, we were done, with fireplace front re-installed.

Seen up close and on an angle, the texture of this paper is more evident.

As seen from the front entry, the room now looks more complete, and we can cross another job off our list.  
PS. This house is for sale if any of you are interested.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Featured in White Rock

I do not normally commute as far as White Rock, but the designer was an acquaintance from years ago, and I have done other work for her in the last year or two, so I consented. Actually, it is only a 50 minute commute, so it is not a hardship. The house was grand, in a distinctive neighbourhood. The beautiful homes were all on 1/4 acre lots and the streets were broad and lined with mature trees. This house was being gutted and renewed, from top to bottom.

We did two feature walls, this one in the daughter's bedroom, and the headboard wall in the master suite. This was a colourful paper in a freshly painted pink room, oozing with little girl charm and playfulness.

Both papers were non-pasted, the kind that we had to apply paste to the back of the paper. With no plumbing in the house, and us needing a lot of water, we resorted to the hose in the back yard for rinsing.

This old style European look pattern had an interesting texture that looked like fabric embossing. It was cantankerous to work with and as long as one stayed at least 4 or 5 feet away, the seams were a bit obvious.

The Oriental customer did a very close inspection, asked a lot of questions, and finally gave approval and payment. I thought she was not happy with the job because of some of her comments, but when she handed over the money, she asked for my business card because she had a good friend who was looking for someone to hang paper in her newly renovated home. I suppose that is an indication that she actually was happy with the job.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

The people who built, owned, and lived in our house, for the first ten years of its life, made an agreement with the neighbours to build a fence. It was right on the property line. Then the neighbor planted a cedar hedge on his side of the fence. A few years after we moved in, the fence was rotted and came down. After the cedar hedge filled in, it made a higher and nicer fence. We planted a boxwood hedge to fill in the open gaps at the bottom of the cedar hedge and it was like that until a few weeks go.
We have new neighbours and they have their own ideas. One day he started hacking down the cedar hedge. After he had done substantial damage, he stopped when he realised the hedge might not be his. He discovered it was and soon the cedars were down and gone. That left a little boxwood hedge for privacy.
About a month later, this fence went up. It is right on the property line and in the process of lining it up, he dug up and moved our boxwoods six inches further onto our property to make room for his fence. He told me I could do what I wanted with my side of the fence.
So, I did. I stained it with some pricey Benjamin Moore stain on Saturday and it looks great. The new richness of the wood is preserved as opposed to letting it weather before it is preserved, which is something he will probably do because he is a young dad who is busy.

The fence is too low for my liking, but it is a solid barrier. Our garden is now surrounded by fence and I suppose the critters will no longer use it as a thoroughfare.

The photos are all the same fence, but the stain shows more red in the shade, and yellow/gold in the sunshine. It feels great to get that done before the wet winter takes over. It then would have waited until spring and the fence would have lost its newness by then.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

My Bump Got Bumped

      In March of this year, I noticed a bulge on my lower abdomen and suspected I had a hernia. It did not surprise me because I had been coughing for three months since I picked up that terrible virus that was going around last Christmas. (Indeed, my doctor told me this was not uncommon.)
     I made an appointment to see my GP and it was about three weeks until he would see me. He confirmed that I indeed had "a good one" and made an appointment for me to see a surgeon.
      Three months later, I finally got to have an interview with the surgeon and because I convinced him I was symptomatic, he put me on a rush list, scheduling me for surgery in Sept. instead of December, which is what I was told it would probably be. Symptomatic meant that I had discomfort walking long distances and my digestion was not right.
      Today was the big day. I had a surgery time, I was on my pre-op fast, and I was ready to get this thing done. At 10:00 am the phone rings and the hospital tells me that there had been an emergency surgery required and all of the good doctor's operating room time had been used up on this emergency plus one other hernia operation.
They would call later in the day if there was a chance I could still get in. So, my fast continued and I drank no liquids, until around 3:30 pm when they called and said I would be re-scheduled for a later date.
      A few calls later and now I am on for Sept 30th. I am disappointed but not upset, and this really surprised the surgeon's secretary who was prepared for a blast, something she almost always gets when this happens.
       Life happens and if I was the one needing emergency surgery, I would have appreciated someone giving up their spot for me. I know one has no choice in the matter, but maybe that is why I am OK with it. It is really out of my control, unless I go to a private clinic. But with only 3 more weeks to go, I think I will wait it out again.   

Chines Paper, Dutch Tiles

After 5 weeks, the online order from China finally arrived and I was able to schedule this job. It was a new house, only lived in for two weeks, the address so new it was not on Google maps.
It went up quickly enough, but the seams were lacking accuracy and I could only do my best. From 10' or more away, it was great, but up close, it was not quite perfect. However, the customer was a perfectionist. She told me she expected that such expensive paper should be better quality. Then she told me how much she paid and I almost laughed. I rarely hear of such cheap paper these days, but I do know that you get what you pay for. I gave her a brief education of types and qualities of paper and assured her that for that price, it was above average.

The end result was a very pretty head board wall for their master suite. Then she asked if I had experience with tile. She showed me their souvenirs from their cruises, laid out a grid pattern, and then just sort of assumed I was going to do it. So, I did it. It actually turned out quite well but I don't think there is a future in doing this type of work, so it was simply a freebie.

Centering and leveling all the tile was a challenge because gravity was working against me until the adhesive would get tacky. Holland America Lines would be proud to see their tiles arrayed in such a nice home and in such a unique way.

Monday, September 7, 2015

A Repeat Pattern

A desperate builder and  panicky interior designer resulted in a 'quickie' last week. Less than 24 hours after a phone text, I was on the job installing this Home Depot special. When I arrived, the designer was sweeping the floor and clearing an area for me to work in. I have worked with this pattern many times before so it went quite well. It was accurate and quick work. I got it installed just before the granite vanity top arrived. Both the builder and the designer are quite pleased with the prompt service and have promised me more work in the future.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

38 Years Later

Shirley called and asked if I could strip some old paper and hang some new paper for her in her main bathroom. I made an agreement on the phone and asked where she lived. When she told me, I had a moment of clarity and realised that I might know this house. I asked how old her house was. 38 years. I asked if there was a problem with power when it was constructed. Yes there was. I had remembered that the paper actually froze onto the wall in the total absence of heat during the new construction as there was a BC Hydro strike and it was in the dead of winter. Then I asked if they had a heat pump. I had remembered, that at that time, it was new technology, and I was impressed when I heard about it. Yes, they had a heat pump.
When I arrived on the job, I found that the paper I had hung 38 years ago was no longer there. They had re-decorated a number of times since. But here I was, in the bathroom, stripping paper that someone else had hung and it was one of the worst jobs I have ever run into.
I stripped the old in a few hours and came back the next morning to hang the new.

It was a dramatic change, very stylish, with a modern retro look. I know, that is a contradiction in terms but it is what is 'in' these days. We were one piece short because of the large pattern repeat and horrendous waste. She ran to the paint store, where they had more in stock, while I put some things back together.

I highly doubt I will be going back 38 years from now to strip this one.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Heads Up!

A while back, we hung this mural on one wall in the dining room of an upscale home in a wonderful neighbourhood. Last week the lady of the house asked me to come back and put up more "Oriental heads" as she called them. There was one stipulation. That area to the left of the patio window had to have three heads, complete, from top to bottom. I informed her that that may or may not be possible. The pattern had to continue around the inside corner and it would either work or it wouldn't. After much explaining, she was not 'getting it', until I started to measure where the heads would come if kept up the sequence of the pattern. She suddenly had a light bulb moment and realised that it was not as simple as she thought it might be.
Both of us must have got out of bed on the right side that morning (not the same bed) because the pattern was only 4 inches off from being in perfect alignment for her wishes. The 4 inches I fudged here and there and this was the final result. She was not home to see the end result, but I know I will hear from her. It is perfect.