Archive for November, 2012

Cutting a Border from Striped Wallpaper

November 7, 2012

Borders aren’t as popular as they were some years back, but there are still many rooms where a border works well to complete the look. I, personally, don’t care for borders around the ceiling, but I do find that they work well at the 3′ height, in place of a wooden chair rail.

Usually the bottom is papered or painted a darker color, which works well because the darker color is “heavier” and works best on the bottom by “weighting” it.

That’s what I did today.  The top of the laundry room was papered in a cheerful yellow Thibaut paper with playful drawings of clothing.   The bottom 1/3 had been painted a dark green. Something had to go between the wallpaper and the paint.

Since this pattern did not have a coordinating border, the homeowner got the idea to find a striped paper in colors that went with the wallpaper, and cut a border from the striped paper.

So that’s what I did, and that’s what you see at above. Cutting the border from the roll of paper is a matter of having a sharp blade, a straight edge that won’t slip, a keen eye, and a fair amoung of patience.

Prelude to a Kiss and Wallpaper

November 7, 2012

Speaking of movies, I also recently watched Prelude to a Kiss, with Meg Ryan and Alec Baldwin.

As usual, my eye roamed to the wallpaper in the background. The movie was set in current time as it was made, in 1992. But the couple lived in an old New York City apartment, probably dating back to the 1940’s or even much earlier.

What’s cool is that the wallpaper seemed to span the decades marking the life of the apartment. The paper in some rooms looked like it dated to the ’40’s, while other rooms looked like they had been papered in the ’70’s or ’80’s.

This is exactly how homes evolve! Usually people will update one area, as budget or interest allows, and then wait a while before tackling another room. Especially if it’s a rental, where the tenants may not care what the decor is, or may mot want to spend the money to fix up a place they don’t own, and where the landlord is not likely to invest any more money than he has to.

I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen wallpaper in a movie setting that spanned a period of years and styles like it did in this movie. They must have had a very clever set designer to have thought this through to such detail. Either that, or they shot the film in an actual apartment building, with all it’s years’ worth of decorating and updating.

Tea & Sympathy and Wallpaper on Bookshelves

November 6, 2012

Tea & Sympathy is a movie made in 1956, about an awkward college kid and a faculty member who befriends him. As I watched the movie, naturally, I was grooving on the cool wallpapers they used in those days, particularly on the stairway in the hall.

But what caught my eye most was the use of color on the backs of bookshelves. This is quite popular today, not just a contrasting or eye-popping paint color, but also textured wallpaper, mostly grasscloth, in either a neutral or a bold color.

I thought this was a trend of the new millenium. But, after watching Tea & Sympathy and looking at those bookshelves, I realize that it’s not so much a “trend” as it is a style or preference, and something that has been pleasing to people for decades.

Garden Oaks Wine Walk

November 4, 2012

On October 20, the Garden Oaks Civic Club held it’s 4th annual Wine Walk. Held in the lush backyard of a neighborhood couple, guests sample wine and “delectables” donated by sponsors, while strolling through the gardens and visiting with neighbors and local businesses.

I was very flattered that Susan Kostelesky, master craftsman for all things sewn for the home (drapes, pillows, slip covers, etc.), listed me in the “Susan’s Sources” booklet she handed out to Wine Walkers.

So far, Susan and I have only talked on-line, but it’s been a fortuitous relationship all around – She has send me wallpaper customers, and I am very happy to be able to recommend her to my clients who need custom sewing services. Those who have used her have been VERY pleased (see drapes in the dining room photo on my website ).

Find Susan of SK Designs here:
and here:

How Did “20.5, 27, & 10” Work Out?

November 2, 2012

The wall came out GREAT! We had JUST enough wallpaper – meaning, there was only a scant 5″ left on the tail end of the roll. Whew!

20.5, 27, & 10

November 1, 2012

Aviso:  Somewhat technical.  But it will give you a feel for what mental gymnastics we paperhangers go through every day.

There are two standard widths for wallpaper – 20.5″ and 27.” The 20.5″ wide bolts are 33′ long, and the 27″ wide ones are 27′ long; they both contain the same number of square feet, which is 56 (but you allow for only 44, due to waste in matching the pattern, trimming at the ceiling and floor, banged up ends, etc.).

Sometimes, the amount of paper you need to buy has less to do with square footage and more to do with the number of drops you can get out of a double roll (bolt).

On a job I’m doing this week, one narrow accent wall at the top of a stair landing, it’s a relatively small square footage – about 50. Since there are about 44 USEABLE square feet on each double roll, normally I would tell the homeowner to buy two double rolls.

But, trying to save the homeowner some money, as well as avoid unnecessary waste, I counted how many strips would be needed.  The wall is 45″ wide by 10’1″ high, and the wallpaper pattern she was looking at is packaged 27″ wide and 27′ long.  Two 27″ strips would be plenty wide enough to cover the width of the wall, and I could easily get those two 10′ 5″ strips (allowing 2″ for trimming at top and at bottom) out of the 27′ long double roll, with 6 feet left for matching the pattern, placing the main element of the pattern at a nice point on the wall, etc.  So, all she needed to buy was one double roll.

BUT…. When I got to work yesterday, it turns out that the paper that was ordered was not 27″ wide, but instead it was 20.5″ wide.  Now, this could pose a problem.  Two 20.5″ wide pieces side by side only equal 41″, and I had 45″ of wall to cover.  However, since the paper is narrower, each bolt is also longer, in this case, 33′.  Sounds good, right?  I should be able to get my three 10’5″ strips out of that 33′ long bolt, right?

WRONG!  Now we’re trying to get 31.5 feet out of a 33 foot long bolt of paper.  It sounds plausible.  But remember – we have to match the pattern, and not just on two strips, as with the 27″ wide goods, but now we have to match three strips, which takes up considerably more paper than matching just two.  And what about the banged edges, or ends of the roll that have tape plastered on them, that cause me to routinely cut off and throw away several inches or more?

In addition, I like to have the flexibility to be able to put a particular figure from the pattern at the top of the wall.  In other words, if the pattern has a monkey on it, you don’t want to have to cut off the monkey’s head!  Keeping the monkey’s head attached to his torso could eat up quite a bit of paper – and we have precious little paper in this case.

Luckily, this particular pattern is pretty much a bunch of swirls.  While I would like to put a whole swirl at the top of the wall, I quickly decided that it was more important to get ANY part of the pattern on the wall, rather than worry about a half swirl 10′ up.  It’s also not important to center any particular swirl on the wall, so that frees up a little paper, too.

This particular pattern spans the entire width of the paper.  If, instead, it were smaller and there were two or more of the pattern side by side on the strip, I would have the option of  splitting the strip vertically, being careful to keep an absolutely straight edge, and then splicing the pieces together, to make a full-length strip, which is what I did two weeks ago with some grey paper that had defects in the printing (see previous post).  Unfortunately, that is not an option in this case.

Depending on the length of the pattern repeat, I MIGHT be able to get the three strips I need.  With it so close, the only way to tell was to unroll the paper, measure out each strip, figure the repeat for all three strips and both matched seams – and keep my fingers crossed!

After carefully unrolling the entire double roll, measuring, marking, plotting, my consensus is that there WILL be enough paper to get my three strips.  There will be a lot of waste – 16.5″ wide by 10’5″ long, because the third strip will be only 4″ wide, but that’s how it goes.  Left on the roll, after I take those three strips, if I figured and measured correctly, we will have about four whole inches left!

Tomorrow I hang the paper, so tomorrow will tell!

Here is the pattern, by Graham and Brown: