Thursday, May 27, 2010

Paint Alternatives

What faux finishing was to the design industry a few years ago, removable wall-coverings are now.  Designers and home owners were getting tired of the limited faux finishing readily available.  Don't get me wrong, there are some amazing finishers that do work that stumps even myself!  But there just aren't enough with that level of creativity coupled with scientific know-how.

For a while, a group of finishers in FL were noticing that the faux industry was taking a dive.  We had a meeting, the purpose to wrack our brains to try to figure out what new and amazing services we could offer our clients.  At that point, the answer was bold and graphic!  Modern Design was starting to replace Old World Tuscan, and people were paying attention to what was going on in the Graphic Design industry.  Yes, all design industries play hand in hand.  And if you don't keep up with one, you're going to fail in another.

Some graphic designers with modern interior design sensibility started designing wall decals.  At first the options were pretty limited, awfully pricey, and a pain to install.  But the longer they were around and the more people that were involved in designing them, the options suddenly became limitless!  One of my favorite online companies is Dali Decals, just because of how many options they have.  Decals are a wonderful option for kids rooms and rental units, because they are really easy to take down without having to repair anything and are now a pretty cost effective way of changing your habitat.

Retail stores such as Anthropologie and some modern furnishing companies also offer wall decals on their websites.

The wallpaper & textile industry has also done a major overhaul.  For decades, the only wallpaper offered was either way too gaudy for the average home-owner, or only suited for country and victorian design.  Or it was downright tacky.  But companies like Osborne & Little and Cole & Son now offer some of the most spectacular papers you can have in your home.  Both of them have taken vintage damask and added a modern spin, created designs perfect for the new modern, and have amazing options for the revival of Mid-Century Mod.


 These are the two companies that I prefer to use for two reasons: 1) The patterns are some of the most amazing I've come across in all the years that I've been hanging paper, and 2) everything is printed on non-woven paper and with specialty inks.  They also offer foil backgrounds, and velvet patterns.

 
Non-woven paper can definitely pose some problems for the hanger, but that's what I like about it.  You absolutely can NOT get the front of this paper wet!  If you do, the result is staining of the actual paper, and a great chance that the pattern will run.  So what do you do when you can't hang the paper wet?  Well, you hang it dry, of course!

Not many paper hangers are willing to deal with the hassle of hanging paper dry.  You can't stretch it or bend it to work around windows, doors and trim.  And if you happen to have all three of those in one corner (which is pretty normal in homes from the early 1900's), it's insanely difficult to get one piece to fit correctly the first time.  The ability to make a pattern is a great skill to have, as is the ability to cut away precisely the right areas of the length of paper so you can fit it without making a pattern.  And pasting non-woven paper is a true art, and thankfully one that I have mastered.


Hanging non-woven paper is something that should definitely be left to the professionals.

Now unlike decals, wallpaper (especially non-woven) does take much more of a commitment.  It's much pricier, not only for the purchase of the paper but the hanging of it.  Definitely take the time to find what you really want by searching online and building a relationship with a paper hanger.  The paper hanger should have great relationships with interior designers and design centers, and will be able to get large samples on loan, at no cost to you.  Certain paper companies do offer samples via their website, usually around $5 or $10 per cut. 

Now, if you want to get really funky with things and can't find exactly what you're looking for, there are a few companies that do allow you to send in your own design for them to print.  I can't tell you how happy I am that these companies exist, though I have never had a chance to use one.

Doors...

This was a beautiful kitchen that had a big problem: The big white door.  I fauxed it to match the existing stained cabinets, as well as glazed the antique green island.

Water Damaged Vintage Wooden Box

Contracted piece.  Probably the smallest and greatest piece I've ever worked on.

This was in the clients second home, which had been flooded.  Since it was their second home, they didn't know what had happened, which resulted in the piece sitting in water for weeks.  When I got there, the piece was completely water damaged... white all the way through, legs falling off, and the metal nails coming out.  Unfortunately, I don't have a before picture.  But here is the end result:

Repair on Vintage Wooden Plant Stand

I'm thinking it's time to actually get this blog started, so let's start with some wood repair. 

This is actually a personal piece, and probably the only thing I have ever purchased without the intention of refurbishing. Unfortunately, it was damaged at one point before I purchased it, and the glue that was used was not keen to a no-humidity setting.  The no-humidity setting also played a huge part in other issues with the piece, and it needs constant moisturizing.