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Dennis Delpome, an experienced installer of Phillip Jeffries wallcoverings, shares his tips to create stunning, luxurious spaces.
If it weren’t for air conditioning, Dennis Delpome might never have become a paperhanger or been introduced to Phillip Jeffries wallcoverings.
As a teen, he often helped his father, a painting contractor and paperhanger, on jobs during the summer months. “I’d be outside slopping paint and my father would be in the nice air conditioned model hanging paper,” he laughs.
Delpome picked up priceless, on-the-job-experience during those summers spent with his father. Paint and wallpaper were in his blood. After high school, when Delpome studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, he continued learning and refining his craft by working at a paint store. A chance meeting with a painter who worked for the biggest painting contractor in the city led to his first job as a paperhanger for them. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Today, Delpome not only installs wallcoverings, but he’s the guy Phillip Jeffries relies on to help other installers navigate the intricacies of hanging high end hues. “There’s always more than one way to do something,” he says. “Instructions can be very general. You have to use your experience.”
SIMPLE AND EASY WALLCOVERING INSTALLER TIPS FROM A PRO
Here, Delpome shares some of the insight he’s gained playing with paste over the years.
What’s the number one rule when hanging wallcoverings?
"For installers, it’s all about the seams. You want to make them disappear so that the room looks like one big piece of material. The challenge is figuring out how you’re going to do that. No room is completely straight so you also have to be flexible and able to adjust on your feet. Everyone always says, ‘It’s so precise what you do,’ but it’s anything but. The more flexibility I give myself in any project I’m doing, the better the job looks."
Phillip Jeffries Juicy Jute collection (shown above) is handcrafted from the finest quality jute. A natural material that panels beautifully, our artisans use a special technique that ensures our grasscloth wallcoverings have saturated coloring and subtle texture. The seams (or paneling) are simply stunning when installed correctly.
What is your BEST insider tips for perfectly hung wallcovering?
"Prep work! You want to create stickiness and tackiness so that you don’t have overwork the seam. I always put paste on the wall where I’m trying to bend material so that it’s sticky there. Also when working with a specialty wallcovering like Rivets ® with a unique design, it's important to get the cuts right. When you get to a corner or a door, you want to engineer it so that you cut through the ground, not the rivet. So you have to predetermine where the pieces will go and vary the size so that IF you miss a raised rivet, no one will know the difference. Also, corners are tricky! I always say the most valuable tool in my bag is my heat gun. A lot of materials, particularly vinyls, can be stiff, but if you melt it a little, it’ll go around corners easily."
Shown below, Vinyl Great Wall is inspired by the grids of weathered walls. Phillip Jeffries merges luxe design with the durability and technology offered by today's performance wallcoverings.
Can you tell us about an Aha! moment you had on a job?
"One time, Phillip Jeffries wanted me to test out their wood veneers by trying different pastes, etc. It was hard to get them to lay flat, and I thought maybe if I just moistened both sides a little bit with a sponge, it’ll loosen up. And it worked! Their wood veneer wallcovering lay perfectly flat and it was just like hanging any other wallcovering."
What is your best installer tip for hanging a Phillip Jeffries wood veneer wallcovering?
"Moisten the back. In most cases that will be sufficient to relax the material prior to installing. In some cases, I will also moisten the front LIGHTLY. I do this two times. Roll it up and put aside 10-15 minutes. Material will be perfectly flat. I suggest trying on a scrap piece to get familiar and to make sure this will work in your particular environment. This helps avoid any bubbling after the wood veneer wallcovering dries."
Shown below, Yacht Club, an authentic wood veneer wallcovering, is cut and hand placed in an interlocking pattern atop a metallic wallcovering ground.
Phillip Jeffries recently released their Summer 2022 collection. What are your favorite new wallcoverings?
"They have a horsehair ground with gold leaf. It almost looks like a vertical vine with leaves coming off of it (Gilded Garden, below left). And the digitals are amazing. They’re just so precise and in perfect alignment (Prosper, below middle). I also really like PJ’s vinyls. They’re just so workable. I could literally wrap a ball with it. I should pay them to hang it." (Vinyl Grass Roots, below right)
What’s the most exciting project you’ve ever worked on?
"There have been so many, but, when I first started out, I worked on a client’s study that we did with suede, but the twist was that it was four different shades of brown and it all got hung sideways, and the door frame and built ins were covered, too. It was a very intense cool project. That was back in the 1970s and the room was featured in Better Homes & Gardens, which was a big deal back then."
Today, Phillip Jeffries offers a luxuriously updated faux suede wallcovering in a variety of earth tones. Discover our Suede Lounge collection with a subtle nap and soft charm that makes it perfect for dens, offices and living spaces. Our faux suede wallcovering collection looks and feels like the real deal and is expertly laminated for ease of installation.
What’s the best part of your job?
"I go into every job thinking of it as a challenge and my job is to defeat whatever obstacle is there. And when it’s done, it’s very satisfying. Also, I’m continuing what my father did. He died at a young age and I’ve heard the stories of how good he was at what he did. When I started hanging paper, I had to do things perfectly, too, and I put a standard out there that I always wanted to do better. It’s served me well."
What questions should interior designers and clients ask their installers before purchasing wallcovering?
"Before ordering a wallcovering, it's important to think about how the product will look installed. Understanding this element will help ensure a client's satisfaction in the design. Installers like to have happy clients, too! Often times clients will see a product installed and if they are not happy with the way it looks, it may be too late to correct."
The Paperhanger's Tool Kit
When installing a Phillip Jeffries wallcovering, we always recommend using a professional installer for the best results. We offer detailed hanging instructions with each wallcovering order and our Customer Experience team is always available for questions. Installers are welcome to call and we encourage them to do so before hanging our wallcoverings for the best results.
Delpome recently updated a few hallways in the Phillip Jeffries headquarter offices as shown above. While on site, he shared his must-have wallpaper tool kit with us! This includes a sturdy ladder, a seam roller, a 12-inch wallpaper smoother brush, and a smoothing tool. The right tools help get the job done well! Find more of Delpome's wallcovering installation tips on his aptly named Instagram account The Art of Paperhanging by following @created_dimensions_dennis.
With a professional installer, proper instructions, and our wallcoverings, you are on your way to beautiful walls!
Now in its fourth decade, Phillip Jeffries has emerged as the industry leader in natural, textured and specialty wallcoverings. A manufacturer and importer of unique and fine quality textured wallcoverings, the company was founded in 1976 with just 10 grasscloths. From the humble beginnings of the family garage, Phillip Jeffries now stocks more than 1,000 ready-to-ship wallcoverings in their 60,000+ square foot headquarters. Working hand-in-hand with skilled artisans, Phillip Jeffries creates the design world's most beautiful and sought-after wallcoverings. For more information, visitPHILLIPJEFFRIES.com