Posts Tagged ‘balance’

Whimsical Arabian Nights Dance in Powder Room

January 13, 2023
You’ve got to look at this close-up, to notice the antelope and flames / foliage .
You gotta make a decision … The light sconces (they are currently removed, but you can see the electrical boxes where they will be placed) were centered on the vanity top, but the faucet was off-center by about an inch. So I chose to center / balance the pattern on the sconces and countertop. The mirror will be hung between the two light fixtures, so we’ll end up with a pleasing, balanced look. The faucet isn’t exactly in the middle of the design motif, but no biggie – there’s going to be a mirror there, anyway.

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Corner going around shower. Note the window looking into the shower.
Although the website specs said this is a pre-trimmed non-woven material , that was incorrect. Turns out it had an unprinted selvedge edge that had to be trimmed off by hand . Here I’m using my straightedge and razor blade to remove this selvedge. This takes precision and a LOT of time .
The manufacturer usually provides trim guides to help you know where to cut. But it’s usually better to trim to the pattern – determine an element in the design motif that will meet up with the corresponding motif on the opposite side of the strip when the strips are hung on the wall, and use that as your guide . Be sure to trim off the trim guide marks, or they will show on the wall.
The pattern is called Arabian Nights and is by Relativity Textiles . I’ve never worked with this brand before. I was not pleased . In addition to the incorrect information about the pre-trimmed paper , the mfgr’s specs said this was printed on a non-woven substrate . It was not. It wasn’t even printed on standard wallpaper stock . Instead, it was a pulp material – This is a sort of old-fashioned wallpaper , and is very brittle and prone to tearing and dragging (your trimming knife or razor blade will get snagged and you’ll end up with a ” chewed ” jagged cut, instead of a crisp cut . It also tears easily. It also has no coating, so it’s not stain-resistant … Not good in a busy household with a 3-year old toddler , or anyone splashing water or soap or air freshener .
It was also difficult to hang . Applying wet paste to the backing causes the substrate to absorb moisture and expand at a different rate from the ink on the surface. So you end up with wrinkles , waffling , and quilting .
Sponging a light bit of water on the front before pasting helps even out the moisture differential and ease installation . I’ve never before encountered a pulp that had this type of ink on the surface. One clue for this bad stuff is when you open the package and it smells like moth balls . Once I figured out how to work with it, , it went OK – although tedious . The seams did look very nice.
BUT … all this effort would have been unnecessary and the finished room would be more durable if the mfgr had printed on a non-woven substrate (as their on-line specs stated) and had used standard inks instead of this weird , smelly , high-end stuff. In fact, the material would have cost the homeowners a whole lot less $ if it had been normal ink on a non-woven backing .
The home is in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston .
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Textured Faux Grasscloth on Master Bedroom Accent Wall

December 9, 2022

Before. I’ve skim-floated the textured wall , sanded it smooth , wiped off the residual dust , and then primed with Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime wallpaper primer . Now we’re ready for wallpaper !
Done! Just a bit of texture , and a little neutral color to add some warmth to this large , mostly-grey , master bedroom . Oh – and some subtle sparkle . See following photos .
It looks like real grasscloth . But it’s a faux! To help these homeowners avoid the disappointing color variations and low durability of real grasscloth , I encouraged them to consider textured vinyl products that recreate the look and texture of the real stuff , but without the drawbacks. Please click and read my link to info about grasscloth on the right of this page.
Real grasscloth , and the fauxes , as well, have visible seams (very minimal issue with the fauxes). So it’s important to balance the strips , so you have equal widths of panels as you traverse the wall. In other words, you don’t want five 36″ wide strips and then one 20″ wide strip.
And you’ll want to center those strips on the wall. Position them so you have an equal number of equally-sized strips on both the right and left sides of the wall.
Another design concept is to not have a seam fall down the center of a wall. Rather, it just feels better aesthetically to have the strip straddle the center line .
Here I’m hanging my first strip, having already calculated where the center of the wall is, the center of the wallpaper panel is, measured over to where the seam should fall, and then placed the red line of my laser level so it will guide where I should butt the edge of the wallpaper against.
That’s my Bosch laser level gizmo sitting on the top of the headboard, shooting its red light beam onto the wall.
Another shot. I’m using the vertical light beam ; the horizontal beam is not relevant in this install .
This textured vinyl material does a pretty darned good job of recreating the look and feel of real grasscloth . This photo is from about 6′ away.
A closer look. Note the bit of silver shimmer in the background , that adds a luxe look to the overall effect .
The wallcovering is by York , one of my preferred brands . It’s on a non-woven backing , which has many advantages over traditional paper-papers. It’s breathable , stain-resistant , will strip off the wall easily and in one piece with minimal / no damage to the wall when it’s time to redecorate .
It can be hung by the paste-the-wall method (which is what I did today) or the paste the paper technique (which I use most of the time).
I felt that the seams laid down better and had less ” rebound ” edge curl from factory trimming than many of the heavier vinyl faux non-woven backed materials I’ve worked with. In other words, I liked this product pretty much!
this particular material was also thin and flexible , so it was easy to work with and manipulate if needed.
The home is in the Spring Branch area of Houston.

More Pictures from Yesterday’s Rifle Paper Installation : Centering the Pattern

November 19, 2022
You don’t see it right away when you’re close, but when you stand back and view a larger expanse of paper on the wall , OR pull the pattern up on your phone, it’s evident that this pattern has a strong central image (the red roses in a circle ) , as well as a secondary image , which is the heart-shaped blue green leaves .
Here I’ve centered the ring of roses in between the two medicine cabinets , as well as between the light sconces.
This makes for a pleasing look of symmetry in this master bathroom .
Something that most people would not even notice concretely . But there would still be a feeling of equality and balance as you spend time in this bathroom .

I tweaked things a bit, to make this scheme work. Then I got the design centered on the wall seen to the left in this photo . The pattern also landed pretty near centered over the door .
Additionally, I love the way it looks, peering from one room into the other , all nicely lined up .
But ” balancing the pattern ” is much more than futzing with the vertical elements. For instance, there are also horizontal motifs to consider.
With this “Wildwood” wallpaper pattern , I wanted to place the red flower “circles / hayloes ” where they would be evenly distributed ” ) .
So, as you can see, I have “balanced” those red circles (three of them) evenly between the ceiling and the wainscoting.
In addition, the homeowner worked hard to find a fun and fresh wallpaper pattern that included colors that worked well with the glossy murky blue tile and chairrail .
This design is called Wildwood and is from York (the company who makes Rifle Paper material ).

Two Color Rhythmic Print for Heights Breakfast Nook

September 7, 2022
Before. Grey and boring .
The built-in banquette seating has been removed.
Finished.
Closer look.
Showing the pattern centered on the wall, and with the shutters. The dimensions of the paper not corresponding well with the width of the window, along with logistics of pattern placement at the ceiling line but starting my first strip under the window all created some plotting and engineering challenges. Fun, but time consuming. But it turned out great!
The original idea was to just paper the nook area, ending at the vertical door molding. But it would have looked odd to stop the wallpaper above this doorway. So the homeowner and I decided to run the paper along the top of the doorway, and then down the left side (not shown), which dead-ends into some cabinets and the granite countertop. It looked good and was the right call.
It tickles me that this is quite obviously a riff on the very popular Strawberry Thief wallpaper pattern by William Morris , which is quite popular right now (do a Search here to see my installations of it). When a company comes up with a hit, you can be assured that a competitor will soon be making its own version of it.
The original has a lot more color, but this version is limited to just two colors. Even though there is a lot of contrast between the black and the white , the pattern doesn’t feel busy, because the design is so close and tight .
There is a lot of symmetry , repetitiveness , and balance in Wm Morris and similar styles .
I love the raised ink texture to this material .
Whoops! A slight pattern mis-match . The overall design is busy enough that small imperfections like this (as well as some color variations / shading ) are not really noticeable .
It’s odd to me that the printing defects are different in different strips / rolls of the wallpaper . You’d think that if the print roller was out of whack, it would create the same image every time it strikes the wallpaper surface. Or maybe it’s the trimmers that are off. If they had cut 1/16″ more off that left edge, we might have a perfect pattern match .
The manufacturer is York , one of my favorites , in their Sure Strip line, also one of my favorites.
It’s in the Magnolia Home collection , by, yes, Joanna Gaines , of HGTV fame with the show Fixer Upper .
SureStrip is a pre-pasted , thin , flexible , non-woven material that is easy to hang . It’s also easy to remove when you’re ready to redecorate , because it’s designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece with no damage to your walls .
installer houston birds

Palm Leaf Accent Wall

July 16, 2022
Finished living room accent wall. This was a looong wall – 24′ wide. It took 14 strips of wallpaper!
Before. I’m getting ready to skim-float the textured wall to smooth it, then apply a wallpaper primer .
Ready to hang, with my “A” and “B” strips lined up in the order they will be hung.
This is a paste-the-wall product, and I like to roll them backwards so the surface doesn’t bop into the paste as I position the strips on the wall. I secure with elastic head bands from the dollar store.
First strip starts in the center of the wall, both to balance the pattern. But also because the ceiling line is way not level and the pattern will go off-track at the ceiling, this will minimize the tracking by spreading it outward 12′ each way from the center. If I start at one corner, the tracking would be a lot more noticeable by the time it crossed the whole 24′ of wall.
Close up.
This is simply called Palm Leaves and is by Cole & Son , a good brand. It’s a non-woven material and is designed to strip off the wall easily and with minimal damage when you redecorate. It’s also a little more durable and stain-resistant than paper wallpapers. It was very nice to work with.
The home is in the Westbury area of Houston.
The couple has mid-century modern furnishings, and this wall looks fantastic as a backdrop !

Balancing Strips of Grasscloth to Fit Wall

November 23, 2020

With grasscloth or other products that mimic it, where the seams and individual panels will be visible and obvious, I like to “balance” the width of strips and the placement of seams, so they fit onto the wall in a uniform and pleasing way.

Often this means I have to trim the strips of wallpaper vertically, so they will all be the same width.

In this photo, you see a bit of that process.

Textured Faux Crocodile in Montrose Powder Room

October 1, 2020


From flat and white to textured and black, this powder room took a trip to the wild and exotic. The embossed vinyl wallpaper mimics the look of crocodile hide.

I centered the design on the sink wall, so the pattern would frame the mirror evenly. Then, since the toilet wall is the first thing you see when you enter the room, I thought it would look nice to have the pattern centered on that wall, too. Usually, you can only balance the pattern on one wall, and after that, the design has to fall sequentially as it works its way around the room. But I did some engineering, and figured a way to place the pattern in the center of the toilet wall, too.

The material is an unusually thin and flexible embossed vinyl on a thin non-woven substrate. It’s my second time in this year to hang this, and I like it a lot – much better than most non-wovens, which can be thick and stiff and can bruise easily.

Non-wovens have some fiberglass in their content and do not expand when they are wet with paste, nor do they shrink as they dry. They can be hung immediately after pasting – or you can use the paste-the-wall method. Non-wovens are designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate.

This is in the SuperFresco line by Graham & Brown, one of my preferred manufacturers. You don’t need a retailer, because this can be bought directly from the G&B website.

The home is new build, contemporary in style, in the Montrose area of central Houston.
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Feathery Stripe in Memorial Area Entry Hall

February 1, 2020


I admit … When the homeowner first emailed her selection to me, I wasn’t crazy about the design. But once it started covering the first walls of the home’s entry – boy did I start to see her vision. It is stunning. And it’s one of those patterns that looks even better in person.

It’s a sort of a wide, scratchy stripe. The homeowner says it reminds her of feathers.

I spent a lot of time with math and engineering, and in the end was able to balance / center this pattern not just on the first wall with the front door (2nd photo), but on two other walls with doors, as well as this widest wall (1st photo). And I eliminated a noticeable kill point (no photo).

This wallpaper pattern “Plume” is by Cole & Son, and is on a non-woven backing. This means that it does not expand when wet with paste, plus there is no booking time, so you can paste it and hang right away – or you can paste the wall. I’m glad I pasted the material, because walls in this room were pretty wonky, and softening the paper by pasting it made it easier to manipulate it to match up with the crooked walls.

Non-wovens are also designed to strip off the wall easily, cleanly and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate.

I did encounter a few minor printing defects. But we had enough extra paper to work around them.

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.