Friday, June 24, 2016


One week after I did a small job in a dining room for this customer, she called back and said she had some paper for her master bedroom.

This kind of repetition happens quite frequently. The homeowner discovers the impact of a small amount of wallpaper, and the relative economy of having it installed, and they choose to have more of it. I thoroughly enjoy watching the excitement it brings to the customer's face as a room is transformed. On the other hand, I showed this photo to someone and they said it looked like 'chicken wire'. Well, you can't please all the people all the time.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Room With a View

The Abby in Mission owns a lot of land, most of it used for some sort of agriculture or other. A new subdivision has been built on the edge of one their hayfields and the house we were working in today has this view. There are no neighbours in sight as long as you look straight east. When we arrived, there were two deer wandering through the small back yard.

It is a serene and beautiful view that will probably not change for many years to come.

Back on the other side of the Fraser River, there is this view that is nothing short of spectacular, looking east all the way to the Cheam range east of Chilliwack.

I would love to wake to this view every morning. The lighting is dramatic as the weather rolls back and forth across Matsqui prairie. I certainly enjoyed working here and had a difficult time keeping my eyes on my work.  

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The World in Two Hours

One of my earliest and best customers recently moved from her farm into town. She bought this older but newly renovated home in a very nice area of town. The dining room needed something and she found the perfect solution. She is a world traveller so what would be better than a world map wall mural.

After searching many websites, she found this replica of an old world map, illustrated with Latin titles and names, and by the look of the details in geography, quite old. It was a wonderful product to work with and went up like a charm.

It is most interesting to see the world through the eyes of the early explorers, who had not even discovered or mapped a good portion of North America, as I noticed when I looked for my own location. It was completely missing as you can see in the photo below.

When I called her in from the garden to say that's I was done, I told her it was great except something was missing. Showing no concern whatsoever, she told me that she knew what I was talking about. On the website from where she had ordered the mural, there was a magnification tool and she knew ahead of time that western Canada was nowhere to be found on this map. It will forever be a conversation piece for her dinner guests.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

A Peaceful Setting

As a city develops and grows, properties with a peaceful, green, and isolated setting become more and more difficult to find. This wonderful home in Mission is a gem in that regard. There is a ravine behind the house and the property extends to the other side of it. It will always be green, peaceful, and isolated. We have worked for this customer numerous times over the years. She is continually upgrading her home and property.

As we re-decorated her living room, we had this wonderful scenery to gaze upon through the many windows in the large room.

The formal gardens and statuettes gave the impression we were in a different country. What a ideal property for a garden party. We may be back here in the Autumn as she pointed out some areas in her home that she thought needed attention.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Lights Out

We had to paint the kitchen ceiling as well as the entire suite, so we dropped the light fixtures. We have done this hundreds of times without incident. Until now. I must admit it is not the first time I have broken something on the job. But this one was not my fault. The wiring is attached to a small transformer under the metal housing against the ceiling. The transformer is attached to the housing with double backed sticky tape, something I had never seen before. When the lights were dangling, the customer flicked the switch for light. No problem, except the heat from the extremely hot halogen bulbs melted the adhesive and one of the fixtures crashed into a sink of cold water.

The shade broke onto three pieces and the hot halogen light was siting under three inches of water. It was glowing. The bulb did not shatter. The wiring did not short out. I still have not figured that one out. I did burn two of my fingers retrieving the fixture out of the water.
I offered to replace the fixture but there was not one to be had like it and there were two. No parts to be had either. The customer bought two new ones and when I offered to pay for them, they insisted that they were going to buy new ones anyway. If I wanted to help all I had to do was install the two new fixtures. All done and everyone is happy. The new lights are LED, very nice looking and the light is better.  

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Cherubs No More

I have been known to say, when asked what I do, that I am a stripper, but on paper only. Every so often we get to strip wallpaper and then revert to new paper or a fresh coat of paint. We actually hung this paper about 10 years ago. It was the easiest and fastest stripping job we ever did, bar none. The reason became apparent once we got started. I had coated the walls with a wallpaper primer called Wallgrip by Benjamin Moore. It allowed for easy hanging and even easier removal. Even the adhesive did not need scrubbing off the wall as it all came off with the paper liner once we soaked it.

The cherubs had to go. We stripped the paper, did some filling on the walls, painted all the trim two coats of a hybrid paint (water cleanup alkyd) and then coated the wall with the best paint on the market, Benjamin Moore Aura Eggshell Latex. What a transformation! The room was bigger, brighter, and cleaner. What was once a job I was dreading, became a very pleasant experience.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Jobs Under 2 Hours

This was a pretty basement reno where there was once only studs and bit of gyproc. There was a roll of wallpaper left over so a few weeks later we were asked to come back because the customer found a wall small enough to fit the amount of paper and they did not want to throw it out.

A small alcove at the end of the basement hall was a perfect place for it. We have a minimum charge equivalent to 2 hours of work and this one came in quite a bit under the 2 hours.

With the furniture back in place, it looked like it had always been there.

On to another very small job, hanging paintable wallpaper. This was very inexpensive material and was only slightly better than wet newspaper, being very delicate and fragile. It is most difficult cutting the paper against the ceiling and baseboards when it nothing but wet pulp. It is only meant to be a bit of texture under paint. The customer told us he would call us to paint it when his daughter had chosen a colour. 10 days now and no call. Who knows?

And then 2 small walls in a bathroom, looking very much dressed up when we were done. The impact of wallpaper is what is so appealing to people. The trend for more wallpaper continues. The last run was in the 80'-90's and lasted about 8 years. We are three years into this latest trend now.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Fast Service

These look like black and white photos but they are not.
I got a call from a young mom who was home on maternity leave and wanted to spruce up the new home they had just moved into the week before. She said she had several areas to wallpaper, she had the materials, and could I come to look and give her a price. We had a short day on Tuesday so we went just before lunch. I liked what I saw, gave her a price, and asked if we could start right away, as in right NOW. She was thrilled and gave us the 'go ahead'. By noon the next day we had a nook, a main bathroom, an ensuite, and a feature wall in the guest room papered.

I only took photos of two of the areas. This guest room had the barn board effect. Her accessories went well together. I particularly liked the canvas wrapped horse photo.

This geometric design looked really sharp in the bathroom. Coincidentally, I hung the exact same paper on Friday, but this time in a dining area of a new home just north of this location.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Weeping Willows and Chickadees

We did our first job for this construction company a few months ago. They build high end custom homes. After doing the powder room a few weeks ago, we were called back to do this feature wall in the spare bedroom.

At first we were not quite sure which was right side up on this pattern but after we hung the first piece we noticed the pair of Chickadees sitting in the Willow branches. That gave it away because these little birds do not normally sit upside-down.