Posts Tagged ‘color’

Helping To Hide Seams

January 23, 2021

Like most wallpapers, this Sure Strip by York can be expected to expand a bit when it becomes wet with the paste. Once it’s on the wall, it will dry and give up moisture – and that results in a tad of shrinkage. That usually means you might see just a teeny bit of a gap at the seams.

Not usually a big deal. But when you have a dark or bold color such as this on a light background and also printed on a white backing, if the paper shrinks and gaps, you can end up with a hairline’s breadth of the underlying wall surface and / or of the white wallpaper substrate showing through.

Layman’s terms: You might have a slight white line showing at the seams.

To help ward this off, I did two things. One was that I used red chalk to lightly color the edges of the wallpaper. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture, but you can Search here to see previous jobs where I employed that method.

The other thing was to stripe red paint under where the seams would fall.

This is a bit more complicated than it sounds. Because wallpaper will stretch when it gets wet with paste, making it difficult to guestimate exactly where the seam will fall, and thus where to run your red stripe.

Once you plot that out, you need a level to guide you by creating a plumb line at the appropriate point. And then mix your paint with water and use a brush or small sponge to run along that plumb line, straddling it widely enough to catch the seam wherever the gap might end up actually falling.

Also, the red paint needs to be good and dry before you put wallpaper on top of it. So this means you run the red stripe down the wall, and then get fans or a heat gun, or employ some other method to get the paint to dry quickly.

Oh, and … wallpaper works best when it’s hung on a wallpaper primer. Primers specific to wallpaper are designed to resist the tension created when wet wallpaper dries and shrinks a tad, putting stress on the seam area.

By running paint on the wall along the seam line, now you’ve covered up the wallpaper primer. There is no way to know if that perfectly pigmented craft store paint will hold up over the long run and keep the wallpaper seams tight to the wall.

That’s one reason I used a fairly light mix of the paint. A full-strength concentration of red paint might not allow the wallpaper paste to grip onto it. And definitely do not use a glossy paint. Nothing sticks to gloss.

As you can guess, this process adds a significant amount of time to your install. But it’s worth it, because, in the red room I hung pictured in previous posts, the seams were virtually invisible. I know that if I had not colored the edges of the paper as well as the wall, white would have shown just a teensy bit at the seams.

Disappointing Shading in York Sure Strip Wallpaper

January 13, 2021

You expect shading and paneling (slight difference in color between strips) with natural materials like grasscloth. But when a paper is made from start to finish in a factory, with inks mixed up by computer and applied by machine, you expect the color to be uniform.

Yet, in this product by York, you can see there is difference in color intensity between the right and left sides of the paper. This is not real bad, and this room does not have a lot of long seams, so the color differences aren’t too noticeable.

But if this were, for instance, a 9′ high bedroom accent wall, or a whole dining room, the color variation might be displeasing.

York, and this Sure Strip line of theirs, is one of my favorite brands. But lately, I have had good number of defects – most of them related to printing problems.

William Morris “Fruit” in Historic 1885 Home

December 20, 2020

Moving from the entry to the adjoining dining room of the historic home in Houston mentioned in my two previous posts. This pattern by William Morris is called “Fruit,” and is true to the period in which the home was built.

I love the way the colors work with the wainscoting and also the picture rail around the top.

This pattern is less repetitive and the color is softer than the option used in the entry (see yesterday’s post), making it an easy-to-live-with choice for this large dining room.

The material is a traditional British pulp which you don’t see much these days, as most European manufacturers have moved to the newer non-woven substrates. I do like the pulps for their matt finish and tight adhesion to the wall. Although, they are brittle and tend to drag and tear when being cut, so they require some special handling.

This one also has a raised ink feature, which adds just a tad of texture. Look closely at the close-up shot.

This was purchased from FinestWallpaper.com, who has a large selection of Morris and also Voysey (another designer from that Arts & Crafts period) patterns. The home is in the Old Sixth Ward neighborhood in central inner-loop Houston.

Wild Color & Pattern – Imperial Dragon

December 17, 2020

There’s nothing shy about this sunroom! The boldly-colored pattern with its swirling motifs would have been overwhelming on wide walls of full-height. But here, on just the area above the wainscoting and in between the windows, it’s the perfect punch of color and movement.

I love the way the curled dragon fits perfectly above the windows.

The home is in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston. The wallpaper is “Imperial Dragon” by Thibaut, one of my favorite brands.

Sweet, Classic, Floral Bedroom in West U

October 10, 2020


Look at how this fluid floral pattern in a warm colorway snugs up this spare bedroom. The wallpaper was applied to just the top portion of the wall, with a chair rail and wainscoting below it.

At my suggestion, below the chair rail, the homeowner will add either beaded-board paneling OR embossed (textured) faux beaded board wallpaper. I’m voting for the wallpaper! To be honest, it’s the better option. It’s cheaper, installation will be less expensive, and, most important, it’s thinner, so that it will not cover up the narrow profile of the baseboard.

The paneling will then be painted. I suggested pulling a color out of the wallpaper, such as a soft “buff” found in some of the flowers. That will add more visual weight to the bottom portion of the room, as well as warm up the whole look.

If the homeowners want to kick it up a notch, they could add a glaze, using a color found in some of the flowers. There are blues and greens, but I much prefer the red/orange tones.

The walls were originally textured, so I spent a day and a half skim-floating them and then sanding smooth, and followed that with a primer formulated for wallpaper.

The wallpaper is by York, in their SureStrip line, which is one of my favorite manufacturers and products. SureStrip is pre-pasted and easy to hang, does not shrink significantly, and is designed to be easy to strip off the wall when it’s time to redecorate.

The home is in the West University / Southside Place area of Houston.

Not Afraid To Be Daring and Dashing!

September 25, 2020


Originally, the wall was just a grey-tan. Now look how bold and exciting it is, with some strong color and an adventurous pattern! Baboons! – Who would ever think of putting them across a wall??!

This is one accent wall in a dining room in southwest Houston (Meyerland/Fondren Southwest). The home had flooded during Hurricane Harvey, and the couple had it raised 10′ and then refurbished. This dramatic dining room was the final touch!

The wallpaper pattern is “Savuti” in the Dark colorway, by Cole & Son. It is a sturdy non-woven material, and I used the paste-the-wall installation method.

Wallpaper in Magnolia Journal (JoAnna Gaines)

June 30, 2020


There was a nice multi-page spread in the current issue of Magnolia Journal on wallpaper. It talked about various ways it can be used, and how pattern and color can change a room.

Unfortunately, it mentioned peel & stick products as a viable option – they are NOT. Truly horrible stuff. Read my Page to the right.

The first photo is an unconvetional use of color and pattern. Love it.

Third photo, I have hung this pattern, or similar, a good number of times. It is a mural that can be custom-sized to fit your wall.

Fourth photo, “Daydream” by Hygge & West, is very popular and I have hung it many times. Not my favorite brand, because their ink fights their substrate, and tends to curl at the seams.

Palm and banana leaves are always popular. This photo shows how a really large scale can be used effectively in a small space.

Last photo, a really cool idea, to include wallpaper just in the area between the high wainscoting and the crown molding. Note also the dark colors of the wood and the wallpaper. This must be a custom-sized mural, or a border.

Both the room and the wallpaper are an updated take on the “frieze” borders that were common back in the 1910’s and 1920’s – the Art Nouveau and especially the Arts & Crafts decorating movements. Most often placed above dark paneled moldings in dining rooms and living rooms. Today, Bradbury & Bradbury is the most prominent maker of these authentic looking patterns. Interestingly enough, just this week I got a call from a homeowner wanting to put a B&B frieze in their historic home here in Houston.

Entwined Circles Geometric Fills a Massive Living Room Accent Wall

June 24, 2020


This couple wanted to warm up their living room, inject some color and personality, and visually define the space as separate from other areas of their open-concept main floor.

The wall is 11′ high and nearly 22′ wide. With that massive a space, you need a design that will stand up and fill the wall.

They considered a couple of options, before falling in love with this pattern of interlocking silver circles on a dark blue background with agate / stone swirls.

This is a non-woven product, and I hung it using the paste-the-wall method. The material doesn’t expand when wet with paste, and is designed to strip off the wall easily when it’s time to redecorate. This one was a little stiffer and thicker than I would have liked, but it went up nicely enough.

This wallpaper pattern is by Graham & Brown. I generally like their papers. This was bought from my favorite source for good quality, product knowledge, expert service, and competitive price – 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.

This is a newish townhome in the Rice Village neighborhood of Houston.

Hanging Wallpaper Strips Sequentially – Stumbling Block

May 6, 2020


You can expect color variations in grasscloth (and other natural material) wallcoverings. These products are made from authentic natural elements, like grass and reeds and hemp and other such materials.

Because each individual blade of grass absorbs dye differently, and because different fields of grass, or even different handfulls grabbed by the worker women, are of differing thicknesses and porosities and thus take the dye differently, there will be differences in the color of these reeds as they are sewn onto their paper backing.

So, you often (usually) end up with an effect we call “paneling” or “shading,” which are differences in color between strips of wallpaper (see third photo), or even within the same strip – such as being darker at the top but becoming lighter at a lower point on the wall.

To minimize this, many manufacturers are labeling their material in the sequence that it came out of the factory. The idea is that, if the strips are hung in the order they came off the dye machine, the strips that are the most similar in color will be next to each other on the walls.

The problem with this particular job is – the vendor didn’t send bolts that came in any sort of correct sequence at all. See second photo.

Luckily, this room is chopped up enough that I can plot the layout so that on most walls, only strips off the same bolt, or closely within the same sequence, will be touching each other.

Unfortunately, even strips within the same sequence can fall prey to paneling. In the last photo, the narrow strip on the far right is from sequence 14-9. The two strips to the left of it are from bolt 14-10. And the two strips to the left of those (next to the door frame) are from bolt 14-11.

As you can see, 14-9 and 14-10 are very close in color / shade. But there is a big difference between the shades in 14-10 and 14-11.

Note that this is not considered a defect or error. These color variations are considered part of the “inherent beauty of these natural materials.”

From Bold to Background – Wallpaper in Flea Market Decor Magazine

April 28, 2020


Three rooms in a recent issue of Flea Market D├ęcor, showing varying levels of bold color and pattern, to a simple small print serving as a background to set off other decor features.