Posts Tagged ‘color differences’

A Really Nice Vinyl Faux Grasscloth

February 8, 2020


Originally, this downstairs bathroom in a newish home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston was painted a mocha brown. It looked OK, but lacked luster and life. The homeowner envisioned more texture and color, plus a tiny bit of dazzle. She was considering grasscloth.

During our initial Sunday afternoon consultation, luckily she heeded my warnings about the problems with grasscloth – visible seams, color shading differences between strips, staining from water splashes or little ones’ hands, etc.

She chose this textured vinyl faux grass pattern by York instead. What a winner this turned out to be! Because there is no pattern that can be matched, you still see the seams. But, because the color is so homogeneous, there are no jarring shade differences. In the sink photo, note that you are seeing a shadow, not a shading of color.

The color variations within the grass-like design are more pronounced than in other brands (for instance, the Thibaut versions), and so it looks more like real grasscloth, and you can see the various colors even from a distance.

There is a pleasing texture that can be seen and felt. And, because the material is a heavy vinyl, it’s quite durable and water- and stain-resistant. What’s more, because there was no pattern to match (that’s called a random match), there was very little waste – in a room with a tad less than 9′ ceilings, I got three strips out of a 27′ long double roll bolt (usually you only get two strips).

I did follow typical grasscloth-installation techniques for this product.

Because the lack of a pattern match meant that the seams were visible, I took precise measurements and “balanced” the width of the strips in the various areas in which they were hung.

Because there was still a bit of a color difference between the right side and the left side of each strip, I also reversed the top and bottom of every other strip – a little trick that minimizes visible color differences by placing the right side, for instance, of each bolt of paper next to itself on subsequent strips. That sounds confusing, but it’s valuable trick of the trade.

The navy blue brings a welcome shot of color into the room. The gold metallic touches add sparkle, and coordinate smartly with the light fixture (not shown). The homeowner will soon trade the chrome faucet for one of brushed gold.

All the Same Run, Please

February 7, 2020


This homeowner measured her walls and ordered paper before I came by for a consultation. As often happens, she ordered too little paper.

When the additional bolts arrived, unfortunately, they were a different run.

Run number refers to all the bolts that were printed from the same batch or dye lot of ink. The next time the manufacturer prints a run of this wallpaper pattern, the inks will be ever so sightly a different shade.

You cannot place strips of wallpaper from different runs next to one another on the same wall, because you will see the color differences for the entire length of each strip.

You can, however, use different runs on different walls, because your eye won’t notice if the run is “broken” in a corner. This method does require the use of additional paper, though, in order to match the pattern.

In this case, we had enough extra paper. I was able to keep one run on the west and south walls, and then use the other run on the north and east walls.

Grasscloth in Heights Master Bedroom

January 17, 2020


This is the 1st floor master bedroom of a nicely-remodeled-but-still-retains-many-original-details-and-all-its-original-charm 1920 bungalow in the Heights neighborhood of Houston.

The textured walls started out dark green. I skim-floated and sanded them smooth. The new wallpaper is a brown grasscloth with a faint greenish tinge, and it has a nubby texture with a lot of knots (more pics tomorrow!)

The homeowner ordered her paper before I measured the room, and I told her to get two additional double roll bolts. In the 4th photo, I am checking labels to be sure we have all the same run / dye batch; we lucked out and the new bolts were the same run as the original lot.

In the 5th photo, I have cut strips for a wall, and have them lined up and ready to paste and trim. In the background, you can see how I place bolts against each wall, as a way of keeping track of how many strips I need and which bolts I will take them from.

Because there are shading / paneling issues with grasscloth (do a Search here on those terms), it’s important to not mix strips from different bolts. That way, if there are slight color differences between bolts (as there usually are) these differences will be minimized. Still, as you see in the third photo, the three strips on the right came from one bolt, and the strips on the left came from another bolt – and there is a noticeable difference in shade. This is not a defect – it’s simply the nature of grasscloth – a product made from natural materials.

This one long wall used seven strips from three bolts, so a color difference could be expected. On the other, narrower, walls, all the strips came from the same bolt, so the color differences were minimized. When I had to use different bolts on the same wall, I was able to place the “break” over a door or window, with only 1′ of color difference. That’s a lot less noticeable than the 8′ you see on the long wall in the photo.

This wallpaper was bought through Sherwin Williams. There is no brand name on the label.

More photos tomorrow!

Color In Grasscloth Changes Abruptly

June 13, 2017

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Grasscloth is very popular right now, because homeowners love the texture and natural feel of the material. However, ‘natural’ equates with ‘irregular,’ and can lead to very noticeable color differences and variations in the product. Up on the wall, these can look pretty bad.

The photo shows how the color of grasscloth can change from the top of the strip to the bottom. It also shows how darker strands of fibers can be interwoven into the material, resulting in eye-jarring irregularities.

I had this homeowner buy an extra double roll bolt of wallpaper. This gave us enough extra that I could discard this strip with its ugly dark horizontal bands, and replace it with another that was more homogenous. The 2nd photo shows a wall with three strips that are pleasingly similar in color and texture.

Note that in most grasscloth installations, ‘you get what you get.’ Which is to say, if the paper comes off the roll with dark bands or defects or shading or color variations, you just have to accept it as “the inherent beauty of the natural product.”

For more info, do a Search (upper right corner) on these terms.

“I Thought I Wanted an All-White House – But It Was Bland and Lifeless”

June 9, 2017

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I love it when homeowner say this! Because I have been crusading against all-white houses for years. While the all-white concept looks good in magazines, in real life, with real families in real homes, the look can be coldly stark and anonymous. See Photo 1. This client realized she craved more warmth and personality. Her choice was grasscloth.

In Photo 2, see how just a light, neutral color defines the room, and makes the beautiful woodwork stand out. (In the ‘before’ photo, you could not even see the woodwork.) Further, the nubby texture of the grasscloth adds warmth, while it ‘snugs up’ this large master bedroom. See a close-up of the texture in Photo 3.

Photo 3 also shows a seam. It’s important to understand that grasscloth has no pattern to be matched, and that all the seams will show as a ‘mismatch.’ There can also be color differences between strips. Happily, this product had very little of the shading and paneling and color variations that can occur with grasscloth.

Because all the seams will show, the room looks better when the walls are ‘balanced.’ This means trimming all the strips so they are equally wide for each wall they will sit on. See an example of this in Photo 4. This is called ‘engineering,’ and it takes a lot of time, math, calculating, measuring, and trimming. But the balanced, more sophisticated finished look is worth it. This homeowner noticed the even widths of the panels right away, and was appreciative of the effort I had taken.

This grasscloth product is by Thibaut Designs, pattern #5060. The Run # is 92 – which is pretty high, and it tells you that a whole lot of people have loved this particular color and material.

This wallpaper pattern was bought at below retail price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. She is great at helping you find just the perfect paper! Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

Overscaled Flocked Damask Wallpaper Pattern in a Living Room

April 1, 2017

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Originally, this living room accent wall in a home in the Museum District of Houston was painted a deep gold/brown, and was covered with a large number of framed art pieces. The first photo shows the wall after I have skim-floated it to smooth away the texture.

The wife wanted something updated and fun. She chose this taupe-on-silver extra large damask pattern with a flocked (raised velvet-like) surface. To top it all off, there are flecks of silver in the flocked material.

The new wallpaper really jazzed up the room. The family is very into the arts, and the wife was eager to put her paintings and photographs back up on the wall. But once the paper went up and sent waves of impact throughout the room, she hesitated.

I, personally, would rather see something large, like a huge mirror, framed in an almost-ridiculously carved and filigreed gold frame.

The paper is by Graham & Brown, and was a durable non-woven material, and entailed a paste-the-wall process; it was nice enough to work with. Seen from head-on, the wallpaper was dazzling. However, if you stood at an angle to the wall, you could see color differences between every strip.

I don’t think these are actually color differences, but rather differences in the nap of the flocked material. The look didn’t seem to bother the homeowners at all. They love the pattern, the texture, and the sassiness of the whole look.

Me, I am busy cleaning up little specks of silver dust from all my tools, drop cloths, work table – everything is permeated with them.

Trellis Pattern on Grasscloth

December 17, 2016
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This homeowner loves the texture of grasscloth, and I have already done several rooms for her in their 1930 home in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston. For this downstairs entry and upstairs hallway, she was originally looking at grasscloth by Phillip Jeffries. But that toney designer’s paper got mighty pricey mighty quickly. She visited my recommended source for wallpaper (read below) and found this very similar pattern by Wallquest at a much more reasonable price.

The pattern was made to be identical right side up or upside down. This was great, because with grasscloth, it’s good to reverse every other strip, so you are hanging one edge of each strip against itself, which minimizes color differences between strips, which are inherent to grasscloth. All of the full-height seams looked very nice.

Still, there were some unavoidable color differences (paneling) on some short pieces over the doors. I was able to lessen this by using a pencil to add some very light color to the halves of the lanterns that were at the seam. You can get an idea of what I’m talking about in the photo of the left edge of a door frame.

Another photo shows me using the laser level to get a perfect placement of a strip in a narrow area.

Oh, and it’s hard to explain why, but that tallest strip along the stairway’s curved wall took me over an hour, just to position and trim. It turned out great, and I was pleased that the grasscloth conformed and stuck to the curved wall very nicely.

This wallpaper is by Wallquest and was bought at a below retail price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. She is great at helping you find just the perfect paper! Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

Fantastic Faux Grasscloth

June 29, 2016
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If you’ve spent any time on my blog, you know that I am not a fan of grasscloth. I don’t like that you can see all the seams, there are too may issues with color differences between strips (paneling) and even within the same strip (shading), plus it stains easily, and dogs and cats love to tear it up. There are faux grass products out there, and you can read about some of my favorites by doing a Search on this blog.

However, today I hung a new product, and it was fantastic! I think the surface is vinyl (at least it smelled like vinyl), and has a realistic print that mimics grasscloth. Then the manufacturer attached string to the material, as would be used to attach grass reeds onto real grasscloth wallpaper. This creates the texture that has such appeal to people, and bolsters the realistic look.

Even better, this product has a pattern repeat, so, unlike real grasscloth, the strands of “grass” can be matched from strip to strip, so you will never see a seam.

After this paper was purchased to cover one accent wall in a TV room, the homeowner decided to add a couple of walls (three, to be exact), so I had to pull out my “paper stretcher” and make one wall’s worth of paper cover four. I spent about an hour measuring and plotting and remeasuring, but managed to squeak by – with only one piece left, that was only 28″ long. !!

If I had matched the pattern, it would have used up a lot more paper, and we would have run short. So I hung the paper as if it were real grasscloth, where the seams do not match. Because the product is so uniform in color and pattern, the unmatched seams look far better than real grasscloth.

On the final wall, which needed only two strips, I was able to match the pattern, and this is what you see in the last photo. Meaning, you absolutely cannot see the seam.

The paper was very nice to work with, too. It trimmed easily and didn’t gobble up my razor blades or damage my scissors like coarse grasscloth will do. There were no strings hanging in mid-air, and the material was nice and malleable and allowed me to position it as I wanted.

Because it appears to be vinyl, and because I think the strings are treated with a sealer, I believe this product is somewhat stain resistant and washable – which real grasscloth definitely is not.

I am really happy to have discovered the paper, and I hope to recommend it to clients who are interested in grasscloth. It is in a book called “Grass Effects,” and comes in many colors and different textures, and even has some options that feature a Moroccan trellis on top of the textured paper.

This wallpaper pattern is by Wallquest, in their EcoChic line, and was bought at a discounted price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. She is great at helping you find just the perfect paper! Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.