Posts Tagged ‘balance’

William Morris – Symmetry and Balance

November 17, 2019


As you see in previous posts, William Morris designs of the Arts and Crafts Period were all about nature and symmetry and balance.

When hanging wallpaper with a strongly symmetrical pattern (like this one), it looks good to balance / center the pattern on a main focal point, such as where the mirror will hang over a sink.

After you place that one strip, the pattern on the subsequent strips will pretty much fall as it comes off the roll.

In this room, after I centered the design on the vanity wall (see previous post), when the pattern worked its way across the walls to these narrow spaces between doors, it landed so that parts of the motifs would be cut off vertically. I thought I could make it look better.

So I tweaked things a bit and moved the floral elements so that the design would fall smack in the middle of the space between the doors.

This threw the pattern match off a bit above the doors.

But I’ll bet you can’t spot it.

And the finished effect is much more pleasing, with the flowers perfectly centered as they march their way down the wall.

William Morris Pattern in Bellaire Powder Room

July 27, 2019


The owner of this powder room in the Bellaire neighborhood of Houston lived for several years in England, and fell in love with the British aesthetic for the Arts & Crafts period of the early 1900’s. William Morris was a popular designer of that era – and still loved today.

Most of the patterns are intricate, while rhythmic and repetitive, with nature being a popular theme.

The wall sconces, mirror, and sink faucet were all off-center from one another. Figuring that the mirror was the most noticeable feature on that wall, I decided to center the pattern on the mirror, rather than the sconces or faucet. (Sorry, no pic of the mirror.)

This particular pattern had enough swoopy flowery foliage that the background trellis design was pretty obscured. In addition, I plotted the layout so that the dark green trellis would not fall close to the faucet (where it would be obvious that it was off-center). And the large flower to the right of the faucet helps obscure the off-center trellis, too.

Once the mirror went up, it became the eye-catcher. The room is a true beauty.

This wallpaper is by William Morris, a British manufacturer, and this paper was the traditional pulp material, rather than the newer non-woven substrate.

Adding Another Space – Yaay! … Another Homeowner Bitten by the Wallpar Bug

November 11, 2018


These homeowners were so thrilled with the two accent walls I did for them in their Montrose (Houston) townhome last week, that they had me come back today and use left overs to paper this art alcove.

Even though the project involved only two 5′ strips, it took me several hours … note the perfect symmetry and balance of the pattern, both side-to-side and top-to-bottom.

It all serves as a beautiful background for the art painting and silver service. And, since it’s the same pattern and color as used in two other areas of the house, it ties the various rooms in the home together.

This classic trellis pattern is by Thibaut Designs is well over a hundred years old.

Getting an Overview

March 11, 2018


Re the install described in my previous post, here I am rolling the wallpaper out on the floor, so I can determine the overall pattern distribution. This helps me see how the pattern will play out across the wall.

This way, I can plot what design motif I want to sit at the top of the wall, and which motif will fall just above the wainscoting – which is important because it is at eye-level. I can also plan to balance the design in the center of the wall.

Balancing Act on a TV Wall

July 31, 2016
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Here is a fireplace / TV wall in a great room in a newish home in the Galleria area of Houston. (The flat screen TV has been removed, leaving the bracket, which I have wrapped in plastic to protect it from dust and paste.) Yesterday I smoothed the walls; today I am ready to hang the paper, this beautiful silvery metallic damask by Graham & Brown.

This wall presents an interesting challenge, because it is divided into three distinct areas – the recessed center area where the TV hangs, and the two flanking full-height areas. The main damask figure is large and prominent, and I wanted it to be a focal point on the walls. But, depending on where I started, some of it would get cut off, in particular at either side of the full-height walls.

If I centered the pattern in the TV alcove, then by the time it wrapped its way around the alcove walls and onto the two side walls, it would be off-center, and some part of it would be cut in half when it reached the far wall.

But if I centered it on one of the full-height walls, by the time it wound its way into and around the TV alcove, and then around and onto the next full-height wall, the pattern would be all off kilter.

What I wanted to do was to center the pattern on EACH of those three walls. But that would be impossible… Unless – I treated each wall as an independent wall, and not worry about matching the pattern from wall to alcove to wall. I liked this idea, and it was the perfect wall to do it with, because the inner corner of the TV alcove is pretty hidden, and you really wouldn’t notice a pattern mis-match way back in there.

So, I got the go-ahead from the homeowner to mis-match the pattern in those two corners, and then went to work plotting the layout.

Treating each wall separately, I rejected my first idea, which was to center the damask pattern down the middle of each full-height wall, because it would mean cutting the design off at about 1/3 on the far side of each wall. This also would have left me with a narrow strip of paper wrapping around the bull-nosed rounded corner on the outside of the TV alcove, which would be prone to warping and gapping and not adhering well.

Instead, by placing it where I did (see photos), I was able to get four of the motifs horizontally on the wall, with only a negligible amount cut off on the far side. It also gave me a nice-sized strip to wrap around into the inner sides of the TV alcove, which would give a good edge for the next strip to butt up against.

I treated the back wall of the TV alcove as a separate wall, not trying to match the pattern to the design that was on the wrapped walls of the alcove. By centering the motif, I was able to get three full horizontal repeats of the design, with nothing cut off at the right or left side.

From a distance, the overall look is quite pleasing. And you definitely do not notice that the pattern does not match inside those deep corners inside the TV alcove. Once the TV is back in place and the football game is on, no one will ever think twice about any wallpaper pattern mis-match.

The homeowner said she is really in to symmetry and balance, and she did notice how I had plotted all this out, and it pleased her, and she appreciated the time and effort.

This wallpaper is by Graham & Brown, has a metallic sheen, and was a paper rather than the non-woven stock they print on a lot these days. This paper was nice to work with. It was bought on-line.

Tricky Grasscloth Job

February 1, 2015

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OK, to you, it’s a beautiful entry cloaked in the warm color and texture of grasscloth. But there is a LOT of work that went into this – 2 1/2 days, in fact, not counting the day and a half to prep the space. Just the wall with the windows took FIVE HOURS.

There are several complicating factors. The bull nosed edges are always tough to trim around, and to get stiff grasscloth to bend and conform to. Bullnosed corners are tricky, too, because paper does not cut squarely like it does with squared corners and turns. The windows that need to have the paper wrapped into the recessed area can be time consuming. (there is a distant photo and a close up photo, but they are not next to one another, sorry). The curved wall presents challenges in keeping the paper straight and free of wrinkles. There was another very tricky strip that is not pictured, details too complicated to explain. Toss in some decorative molding to cut around. And the math and extra cutting required to balance the strips on each wall – centering the strips and trimming them to all be the same width. I included a few pictures of plain walls, so you can see the beautiful color and texture.

This particular grasscloth is uncharacteristically thin and malleable, and, to be honest, I don’t think this job would have turned out nearly as well as it did, if the homeowner had chosed a typical stiff grasscloth. The homeowners love it. And, I admit, I am proud of how it turned out.

This grasscloth was purchased through a decorator, and was hung in the entry way of a new home in Sienna Plantation, between Sugarland and Pearland, near Houston.