Posts Tagged ‘faux’

Pulling Areas Together in a Large Room

May 5, 2017

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The first photo shows a long (35′!) wall in the living / dining / kitchen area of a new townhome in the north end of the Houston Heights. The wall had four windows like this. At the opposite end of the room was another, much shorter wall, recessed into an alcove at the base of the stairs, also with a window.

The homeowners, a young family, were considering grasscloth for the long wall. I saw the recessed wall and suggested they put the same wallpaper there, to pull the two areas of the large room together, and help make the cavernous space feel snugger.

They liked that idea! The first photo shows the long wall with a faux grasscloth on it. The second photo shows the inset wall, which has yet to receive its wallpaper.

The wallpaper is a wonderful fake grasscloth product by Wallquest, in their EcoChic line. It’s a grass-look pattern with strings (stringcloth) running vertically over the top, giving it the texture that people love. But, because it is man-made, so it has virtually none of the color variations inherent to the natural grasscloth products. Even better, there is a pattern match, so the seams are virtually invisible.

This wallpaper pattern is by Wallquest, in their Grass Effects book, and 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.

Wallpaper on Bookshelves Brightens a Dark Room

March 11, 2017

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This living room in a home in the Bunker Hill Village area has lots of windows, yet gets little natural light, and has skimpy interior lighting. In addition, the dark wood of the built-in bookcases seems to suck up what little light there is.

Interior designer Layne Ogden used this light tan faux grasscloth to both add textural interest to the back of the bookshelves, as well as lighten them up. Just this little touch brings a lot of lightness into the room.

The wallpaper is a vinyl product by Thibaut, with a textured surface that look like real woven grasscloth. Because it’s man-made, there is none of the visible seams or color variations between strips, nor the staining problems that are inherent to real grasscloth, plus it’s washable. It’s a little thick and tricky to trim or turn corners, but I like this product a whole lot and try to steer people toward it when they are considering grasscloth. It is called Bankun Raffia.

Wonderful Zen-Like Faux Grasscloth

January 14, 2017
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This powder room had been wallpapered with a floral pattern, probably back in the early ’90’s. Then someone painted over the wallpaper with a faux finish pattern on the top 2/3 of the wall, left the bottom 1/3 a coordinating solid color, and rounded it out with a border around the middle. It all looked pretty good, but it was outdated, and the new homeowner wanted something fresher.

Originally, she was considering grasscloth. I quickly discouraged her from using that material, because of the very visible seams and the horrible color variations that can appear between strips, and even within strips. I was happy when she chose this instead.

The new paper is from one of my favorite books, Grass Effects, in the EcoChic line by WallQuest. Because it’s a stringcloth, it has the texture that people are loving right now. But because it is a man-made product, rather than a natural material, it does not have the shading and paneling and color variations and visible seams that make real grasscloth so disappointing.

To the far left of the second photo, there is a seam, but you cannot detect it. The third photo shows the same seam from a different angle, and it is more visible, but that’s the camera talking – in real life, this seam was barely visible. The close-up shots show the texture of the material. This company makes other versions that have a more horizontal pattern, and that look even more like real grasscloth.

I really like this paper, and I hope more people will choose it, instead of real grasscloth. It is more water and stain resistant, too.

The location of this job was Sugarland, in far southwest Houston. This wallpaper 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.

Faux Grasscloth With Hospitable Pineapples in a Powder Room – Compliments Yesterday’s Paper

December 16, 2016

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Pineapples are the universal sign of hospitality, and what gracious Southerner wouldn’t want that in her home? For this small powder room in the rear of a beautifully remodeled Meyerland (Houston) home, this homeowner was originally looking at a pattern that had pineapples plopped rhythmically across a strongly contrasting background color. I gave my honest opinion and told her I thought it looked too polka-dotty.

She listened, and took my suggestion to search a little further. What she found was this easier-on-the-eyes design, which has a much more interesting motif, that still incorporates the pineapple theme, and is also imposed on a warm background that mimics textural grasscloth.

What’s even cooler is that this couple had chosen a faux grasscloth for the entry of their home, which was just a few yards away from the powder room (see previous post). Even though both wallpapers were made by different companies, they look very similar, and that helps to unify the look and feel of the whole downstairs.

This wallpaper pattern is by Designer Wallpaper, in the Kenneth James line, pattern # PS 40700, 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.

Wonderful, Realistic Faux Grasscloth – NO Visible Seams!

December 14, 2016

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I love it when clients listen to my advice. This family has a home in Meyerland that was flooded in last year’s severe spring storms. While repairing the damage, they also updated the entire first floor, and they did a fabulous job with the layout and design and execution.

They were originally considering grasscloth for this front entry. I told them how much I dislike grasscloth, because of the unmatched pattern, visible seams, color variations, shading, paneling, staining, bleeding, and shredding by pets. These people took my suggestion, and looked at alternatives. I love what they ended up choosing. Meaning, I positively LOVE their choice, and I hope other homeowners will use this instead of grasscloth.

This product is a photograph of grasscloth in a paper substrate, so it looks like the real thing. It has string fibers (stringcloth) applied to the surface, which provides the texture that people love so much these days. Both the paper and the string have a coating, so the material is much more durable, and resistant to stains than real grasscloth would be.

Best of all, the pattern has a match, so there are no visible seams. I mean, just TRY to find a seam in the photos above – you can’t! With real grasscloth, you would have a mis-matched pattern and a visible seam every 36″ across the wall.

But wait- There’s more! Because this is a factory-made product, the color is consistent throughout, so that every strip, from floor to ceiling, is uniform. With real grasscloth, you can have noticeable differences in color from strip to strip (paneling), and even within the same strip (shading).  Note:  There are some darker areas in the photos above, but those are shadows, not color variations.

This product is much more satisfying, and highly recommended. This wallpaper pattern is by Wallquest, in their EcoChic line, and I think the book it’s in is called Grass Effects. The pattern number is JC21020. It 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 wallpaper! Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

Contrast, Texture, Tailored

November 4, 2016
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Here is a new-construction home in the Timber Grove neighborhood, just west of the Heights, in Houston. The home has a decidedly Craftsman feel (a design theme popular in the early 1900’s).

The TV room has dark stained wainscoting and paneling battons, which is period-correct. But all this dark is not suited to modern 21st Century living. The homeowner chose to cover the space inside the battons with a lighter-colored, textured wallcovering.

Instead of grasscloth, which can stain, be shredded by pets, or display eye-jarring color variations, the homeowner chose this faux grasscloth product – and I am all in favor!

Bunkan Raffia by Thibaut Designs is a wonderful alternative to natural grasscloth. It has the texture and motley color that people love these days, and when properly installed (reverse-hung), there are no color variations between strips. It is a strong, durable vinyl product that will hold up to splashes and dings. And it does not have the gritty manila paper backing, so no worries about curling seams under humid conditions.

The finished room, with its dark woodwork contrasting against the lighter, textured wallcovering, is crisp, tailored, and manly, yet warm and inviting. You can almost see Sherlock and Watson reclining on the tufted leather sofa, stoking their pipes and sipping sherry.

The homeowner commented on how the wallpaper brightened up the once too-dark room, while still allowing the Craftsman feel and colors to show through.

This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, 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

Swoopy Trellis of Glass Beads Brightens a Powder Room

October 30, 2016
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This powder room in a new home by Ridgewater Builders in the Houston Heights neighborhood is large, but still it felt a little claustrophobic, not to mention completely personality-less.

This fluid lattice design adds pattern and movement, and the glass beads embedded into the surface are a glittery touch of glamor.

But, if you are seeking glitter and shimmer, these tiny round beads made from real glass are not all they’re cracked up to be. Look at the third photo. Only the glass beads that are hit by light at a certain angle and a certain intensity will shine. The others simply lie dormant and dark.

In addition, the beads detached from the wallpaper in droves, raining down and covering the floor (see photo) to the point where things were sliding along the floor as if on an air hockey table. The beads also impaled themselves onto the back of the wallpaper, creating ugly “pimples” that showed from the front.

The non-woven material that was used as a substrate was very thick and stiff and difficult to work with; it would not fit snugly against moldings or ceilings, it left gaps an overlaps in the corners, it was very difficult to cut through, it ate up my razor blades and destroyed my scissors, and the material resisted being twisted (such as when trying to work a wrinkle out of a strip of wallpaper.)

Glass bead wallpaper is trendy, and it’s also spendy. And – does it really live up to its expectations?

There are plenty of “fake” glass bead wallpapers available in stores and on-line. I would encourage you to look at some of these faux products. Many of them use glitter, which is seductively shimmery from any angle, in any light. There are no beads to fall on the floor or work their way through the storm drains and then down into Galveston Bay. And the papers are thinner and conform to the corners and angles and moldings of the room much better.

The interior designer for this project is Rachel Goetz. The wallpaper is in the A-Street Prints line, by Brewster.

Faux Brick Wallpaper Revisited

October 23, 2016

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I hung this faux brick wallpaper about a year ago, and was back to do another job, so was able to grab a shot of the finished room.

This is a boy’s bedroom and the home is in the Cypress suburb of Houston, and the interior designer is Pamela Hope Designs.

Difficult Grasscloth Install Today

October 23, 2016
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Boy, oh boy, today’s installation was a bear! To begin with, I had a 12′ high accent wall that required using my 8′ ladder, which is unwieldy and can push you away from where you want to work. The wall had a thick texture (typical in new homes in the Houston suburbs – this was near Cypress), that took hours to smooth, dry, sand, and prime.

When it was time to hang the paper, I pasted and booked (folded pasted side to pasted side) and prepared to trim a bit off each edge, which is pretty standard procedure for grass, plus I had planned to trim all the strips to 34.5″, which would make all the strips the same width, which is nice with grass since all the seams are quite visible. I got one seam that looked great. But there was some warping in the material, but I was able to smooth it out.

But when I tried to trim the next strip, the folded edges did not line up, no matter how many times I rebooked it. If the edges don’t line up perfectly, you will not get a straight cut. I dicked around with it for a while, but eventually had to get the strip on the wall, or it would become unusable – and we did not have even one extra strip.

I decided to use the factory edge and leave the strip it’s full width, which was going to screw up my balanced widths of 34.5″. I soon learned that unequal widths of strips was one of the least of my woes that day…

The paper backing had absorbed moisture from the paste, and the whole strip had warped out of shape. No way would the edge butt up perfectly against the previous strip. In the end, I got most of the strip butted and smoothed, but the bottom 1′ or so insisted on overlapping onto the previous strip, so I took a straightedge and very sharp razor blade and cut away the overlap.

This turned out to set the mood for the rest of the job. All the subsequent strips warped significantly, not matter how long or short I booked them. No way would the seams butt up. So I ended up overlapping all the seams and double cutting – the industry term for splicing.

This is not as simple as it sounds, though. For one thing, the newly smoothed wall was soft, and you don’t want to cut into it, or when the paper dries and shrinks a little, the torque it creates can actually pull the wall surface apart, resulting in a curled seam that cannot be pasted back.

So I ran out to my truck and got some special polystyrene strips that are 2″ wide and are placed behind the seam, to protect the wall from the cut. I also grabbed a really nice straightedge that is made just for this purpose, with a handle and a non-slip surface. And some blue plastic tape, because I had to protect the bottom layer of grasscloth from the paste on the strip that was to be overlapped on top of it during the double cut. This is important, because any paste that gets on the surface will stain grasscloth – you have to work absolutely clean.

All three of these special items, by the way, were invented by fellow paperhangers, and fellow members of the Wallpaper Installers Association.

Positioning all these materials took a lot of time. Making the cut itself was intricate, because I could get a good position on it for only a foot or so, then would have to climb down and move the ladder over a little, so I could get right in front of the next couple of feet as I worked my way down the 12′ high strip. Also, two layers of grasscloth are quite thick, and it takes a lot of pressure to do so – while trying not to push myself away from the wall and onto the floor. And you only get one chance to cut, because multiple swipes result in a jagged and ugly seam.

Once the cut was finished, I had to go back and remove the two excess pieces, and the polystyrene strip, and the blue plastic tape, all the while making sure that no paste got onto the surface of the paper. Finally I could take my tool and smooth the two edges together. Double cutting does make a beautiful and perfectly butted seam. But, boy, it sure does take a lot of time, effort, and you need the right equipment.

Including prep and installation, this one accent wall with just six single rolls of grasscloth took me a full 12 hours.

So the seams were nicely butted. But, as you see in the photo, the grasscloth displayed the typical color variations that I find so displeasing. We call it shading and paneling. In the top photo, you can clearly see a difference in color between the two strips, even though they are from the same batch. The second photo shows a little more of this. The third photo is dark, but if you look closely, you can see three strips (two seams), and the slightly darker area along one edge, which is quite noticeable because it butts up against the next strip which is lighter in color.

All reasons why I dislike real grasscloth. The faux products are much more uniform, and seams can be invisible.

In addition, this is a pretty finely textured grass, and on a large, tall wall like this in a large room, I really don’t think the texture shows up very much, unless you are standing right at the wall.

The grasscloth product is by Brewster, and the interior designer on this job is Pamela O’Brien of Pamela Hope Designs.

Another Serene and Pleasing Faux Grass

September 11, 2016
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Originally, the walls were textured and painted a bold gold (top photo). This homeowner was considering grasscloth for their master bathroom. I told her that grasscloth has problems with color variations – called paneling and shading – and that, because the pattern cannot be matched, all the seams would show, and that it stains when splashed with water or toiletries. I was pleased when she took my suggestion to contact my favorite wallpaper source (see below) and chose a faux grass product.

This manufacturer offers several imitation grasscloth options. I’ve hung many of their Bankun Raffia woven version, but this is the first time I’ve hung this more grass-like offering. This design has a pattern match (reeeallly hard to see, but I got it figured out and got ‘er done!), and that used up a little more paper, but it meant that there was no disruption of the pattern at the seams, which made the seams pretty invisible.

The material is embossed with a textured finish, so it looks and feels like real grasscloth. But because the wallcovering is vinyl, it is very water- and stain-resistant, and because it has a scrim (woven fabric) backing, it is very durable, and it will also be (relatively) easy to remove when they are ready to redecorate.

The homeowner loved the finished room. Originally, she had wanted something that was very plain, and I suggested that a very finely woven product would look like, well, like nothing, once it was up on the wall, and she would be just as well off painting the room. So, again, she took my suggestion and selected this, which has a little more texture. Well, in the time between selecting and finally getting the paper up on the wall, she got to worrying that the pattern might be too strong or overwhelming.

Happily, once the wallpaper started going up, it was very clear that the pattern was quite tranquil and serene, with just enough pattern to engage the senses, but still sit calmly in the background.

This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, 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.