Eliminating Dark Lines

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital ImageIn the first two photos, you can see a vertical line at the right edge of each strip of wallpaper. This is how it came from the factory. I made sure to point this out to the homeowner, and she thought it was just fine.

But I was not happy with it, and I knew that as the three other walls in this home office were covered with wallpaper, the striped effect would be more noticeable and would look worse and worse. Since the geometric pattern was almost the same on both sides of each strip, it was possible to reverse hang (hang every other strip upside down). This means that the dark side on one strip is placed next to the dark side on the next strip. This is done with grasscloth and some textured papers, to minimize shading / paneling.

However, when I tried it with this product, the dark stripe simply became wider and more noticeable – a 2″ wide dark strip instead of a 1″ wide strip. I experimented and discarded two 9.5′ strips of paper, trying to figure out how to get around that defective dark stripe. There was a limited amount of paper, so I finished that wall, using the paper as it came from the factory. I quit for the day after that, and the homeowner was OK with the look.

But I lay in bed that night, knowing that that 1″ dark stripe every 27″ all the way around the room would not look good. I knew that the client 1.) didn’t realize how “compromised” it would look once played out around the entire room, and 2.) was “just being nice” when she said it didn’t bother her. Sometimes, as a paperhanger (or any other craftsman), you have to make decisions for the client, because they’re simply not as versed on the issue as you are, and they are also usually really nice people, and are reticent to say anything negative. Of course, you can only do so much when there is only so much paper, and we were already a double roll short, due to the factory not having enough.

So… I considered cutting off the discolored edge of the paper. Sometimes, like with grasscloth, you just need to cut off an inch or so. With a geometric pattern like this that repeats itself horizontally across each strip, it was possible to remove a half-motif along the length of each strip of wallpaper. But that would also remove about a 5″ width of paper, from every single strip. When you need seven strips to go around the room, that results in a lot of lost paper (two full strips!), and, remember, we were short on paper to begin with.

So today when I arrived at work, I carefully measured how many strips we needed to finish the room, and how wide each strip had to be. With the manufacturer’s 27″ wide defective paper, we needed seven strips to cover the wall space going around the room. I determined that, if I removed that 5″ wide motif from each strip, there was enough – just barely enough – to complete the room. Because each strip would now be 22.25″ wide, that meant that now we needed eight strips to cover all the wall space. We had four unopened double roll bolts, each yielding two full-length strips, so we were good. IF there were no mistakes or miscuts or defective paper.

As you can see in the second two photos, my method worked great. There is still a little difference in color in some areas, if you look really closely, but that is MUCH better than a floor-to-ceiling 1″ wide dark stripe.

All this plotting, measuring, trimming, and finagling added about two hours to my workday, but it was worth it. The clients loved the finished room, and were happily moving furniture and computers back in as soon as I got my gear out. And I can sleep tonight, knowing I gave them the best possible outcome for their room.

This wallpaper is a Candice Olson design, by York Wallcoverings, and is a glass bead lattice pattern on a dark brown non-woven substrate. It was sold by Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint, at a good discount. Make an appointment before heading over to see her. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com

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