Engineering an Un-Plumb Fur Down

Digital ImageGeometric patterns are all the rage right now. But they are taxing to work with, because walls are never plumb and patterns tend to move up and down the wall. When you have to wrap wallpaper around elements, the chances of things going awry are even greater. I am pleased with the way this one worked out.

When papering a room in a geometric pattern like this, the eye wants to see the pattern move evenly around the room. Yet, with a fur down like in the photo, if you keep the pattern even around the top of the wall, it will mis-match under the fur down. And if you match it under the fur-down, it will mis-match at either corner at the top of the wall, as well as at the ceiling line.

I decided (and the homeowner agreed) that it was more important to keep the pattern intact where it was most visible, which was the long horizontal line under the fur down. So I matched the paper on the underside of the fur down to the paper on the back wall.

However, the fur down was not level or plumb, so when I tried to wrap the paper up the vertical side, it went cattywhompus. That meant that it would not march evenly along the ceiling line.

So instead I used two pieces, one for under the fur down, and one for the vertical façade. I matched the “under” piece to the pattern on the back wall. Then I cut a separate piece for the façade, but straightened it so it hung true to plumb.

I could get away with this because vertical lines are always plumb. You don’t notice that the bottom of the fur down is not level; all you see is that the vertical lines on the back wall, under the fur down, and on the upper façade, are all lined up and plumb.

There were three strips in this run. The first two looked perfect. By the third strip, the unlevel fur down took a larger change in direction, so it was impossible to disguise the mis-match entirely. But the mis-match (not shown) was minimal, in the overall scheme of the room.

Usually, when you wrap a fur down from the bottom up, the pattern becomes distorted at the ceiling. But another happy outcome of this job is that the pattern landed at the ceiling line pretty much at the same distance as the walls without the fur down.

So, even though it mis-matches at the left and right corners (unavoidable), the overall effect looks quite homogenous.

This is the kind of thing that, the homeowner looks at it and says, “Oh, what a pretty room.” I look at it and say, “OMG, what a feat of engineering and plotting and math and measuring and patience and perseverance and …… ”

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