Archive for June, 2014

No Pattern Repeat. Oh, Really??! A Primer on Pattern Repeat and Pattern Match

June 14, 2014

Digital ImageThe instructions on this wallpaper by Brewster say that there is a “0cm” pattern repeat. That’s not possible. Except for a true stripe, EVERY pattern has a repeat.

A “pattern repeat” is runs vertically, and it means when, for example, the same grey circle repeats itself somewhere further down the roll of wallpaper. Because wallpaper is printed on huge rollers, once the roller makes a full turn, the pattern HAS to repeat.

What this wallpaper pattern does NOT have is a “match.” A pattern match runs horizontally, and refers to how one pattern element lines up with the same element on the next strip.

Eliminating Dark Lines

June 13, 2014

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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

Finally, Some Well-Packed Wallpaper, and NO Banged Edges!

June 12, 2014

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Digital ImageThis is the most protective packing I’ve ever seen, even better than the cardboard caps put on the ends of some grass and cork wallpapers. The edges have not been damaged in shipping, and are nice and flat – no bangs or tears or dents to mar the job.

The design is by Candice Olson, and is a textured glass bead trellis design on a chocolate brown non-woven backing, by York Wallcoverings.

I hung this in a study / home office in a contemporary home in Montrose. The paper was bought at a discounted price through Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. Make an appointment before heading over. (713) 520-6262 or

How the Vintage Paper in My Entry Turned Out

June 11, 2014

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I hung some Hannah’s Treasures authentic 1930’s paper in my entry a week ago. Finally got the Deco curio cabinet in place, and hung the Deco mirror. There is a black panther figurine in the cabinet, and two panther and impala lamps on the floor on either side of the cabinet. Not shown, on the right, is a cooool ’20’s-’40’s little rack with a small mirror, hook for hanging keys, and a trough for one’s gloves or cigarettes or wallet.

Classic Design in Blue

June 6, 2014

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Digital ImageWallpaper designs don’t get more classic nor elegant than this. I put it in a two-room bathroom in a home in Missouri City (near Sugarland). I have hung this before in white, a couple of times, but this was my first time to hang the blue.

Previously, the room had been painted a soft green. Pretty, but lacking personality. This wallpaper really enlivened the room. The pattern is by Thibaut Designs.

Another Baby’s Room – Third in a Row!

June 5, 2014

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Digital ImageI have done three accent walls in a row for couples having their first child. I’m honored to help them get things ready for the new little one. I think it’s fun to see what patterns parents are choosing these days – not all of them are “babyish” at all.

The one I did yesterday is a fairly formal damask in gold tones (sorry, no pics), and this one is a sophisticated horizontal neutral tones wide stripe. Last Saturday, I did a cute aqua-on-white dot.

This mother-to-be saw this idea on Houzz or Pintrest. Instead of the usual one accent wall, she wanted two walls opposite one another wallpapered. The stripe was made to be hung vertically, so, to get the horizontal effect, I “railroaded” it – hung it the long way.

In the second photo, you see the first strip is up, and the second is in progress. I am using a push-pin to hold the pasted paper in place while I move the ladder so I can position the next section. I did this along the wall until all the paper was supporting itself, then went back and butted the seams and smoothed the paper into place.

After the first two strips were up, it was easier, because I didn’t have to stand on the ladder, with limited reach. Once the wallpaper dries, the blotchiness will disappear, and the color will become a little lighter.

This is a pre-pasted paper (not vinyl) by Sanitas.

Another Contortionist Job

June 4, 2014

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Digital Image The top of the cabinet is over 7′ up, and it goes back 3′, with only 18″ of head space. Imagine squeezing yourself (meaning me) into this space, on my belly, trying to keep a toe on the ladder for balance, to smooth, sand, wipe, and prime the walls, and to manipulate wallpaper into place. In addition, I swear, it was about 15* hotter up in that niche, than at floor level.

But I got ‘er done. It’s the second job this month that’s had me lying on my stomach, twisting and contorting, trying to move my arms while also supporting my weight, and also hoping the ladder would not skid out from under me.

This wallpaper is a classic lattice pattern, by Tyler Hall, and went in a laundry room in the Rice University part of Houston.

Faux Grasscloth Adds Texture, Lasts a Lifetime

June 1, 2014

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Digital Image Here are two faux grasscloth wallpapers, working together in texture and color, in a bar area in a home in el Campo, about 90 miles southwest of Houston. Both patterns are by Thibaut, and I think both are from the Texture Resource book.

I love it when clients listen to my suggestions. Real grasscloth can have paneling and shading issues (do a Search on my blog, upper right corner of this page), plus they stain easily and can be damaged by kids or cats’ claws. This homeowner had three young children, so I steered her away from the real thing and toward this product, which is much more durable and resistant to water (and to little boys with poor aim! 🙂 )

You can see in the close-up shots that the heavy vinyl allows texture, plus the color is much more uniform and the seams match better than the real thing. There is seam behind the faucet in the first photo, but you can barely see it. With real grass, the seam and the difference between the right and left strip would be very obvious.

Aqua Leopard Spots in a Baby’s Nursery – Accent Wall

June 1, 2014

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Digital ImageThe baby is a month away, and the parents are getting everything ready. I had a schedule change, so was able to get their wallpaper job moved up and done sooner, which gives them a little more time to prepare for the little one.

The brand is Thibaut, one of my favorites, and it went in a newish home in northwest Houston.