Posts Tagged ‘grasscloth’

Sunroom With a Wonderful Faux Grasscloth –

May 18, 2018



This den in a 1948 ranch style home in the Oak Forest neighborhood of Houston has two full walls of glass that look out onto a beautiful, green yard. The room was originally papered in really dark green vinyl faux grasscloth – I think the idea was to coordinate the room color with the verdant foliage outside. It wasn’t working. “We’ve lived with this for 20 years,” said the husband, “and have been trying all that time to figure out what would make it look better.” Indeed, I first looked at this room in 2015. Well, three years later, the homeowners finally found something way better.

The new wallpaper is also a faux grasscloth in a textured vinyl material. I like this product much better than real grasscloth, because it is free of the visible seams, shading, paneling, and color variations that are such a disappointment with the real stuff (do a Search here for more posts / info). It is one of the few wallcoverings that are actually water-resistant and stain-resistant, and it will stand up to being banged into now and then – it’s the same commercial-grade material used in hotels and hospitals.

In addition, the scrim (woven fabric) backing, along with the vinyl surface, will provide some “give” – which is good, because this room had stress cracks in the drywall over doors and windows, and showed signs of the house shifting on its foundation, thanks to our contrary Houston gumbo soil.

The mottled color of the paper, along with the woven texture, give the feel of real grasscloth. The tan is a natural color, and it goes nicely with the view outside the window, but doesn’t compete with the scenery like the dark green paper did. The dark furniture in the room is no longer swallowed up by the dark wallpaper, and all of a sudden, the whole space is much brighter.

After 20 years, it’s a big change for the homeowners, but already, they are loving it!

This wallpaper pattern is called Bankun Raffia, and is by Thibaut Designs. It 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.

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A Beautiful, Natural Grasscloth

May 16, 2018


I was really pleased with the grasscloth I hung today. The fibers were thin enough that the material was pliable and turned corners well. The texture was a pleasing middle ground between rough and refined, and the color was gorgeous – natural, with bits of brown, gold, grey, and olive all mixed together homogenously.

But best of all, the material had virtually no shading or paneling or color variation issues. Do a Search here (upper right) on these terms to see what most grasscloth looks like, and why I am not a fan of it. But this stuff today – I liked it!

Because there is no pattern to be matched, you will see all the seams. But because the color and the texture were quite uniform, the seams and panels pretty well blended together. The two shots showing the seams are good examples of what grasscloth is supposed to look like.

The room immediately felt warmer and more inviting, with a bit of color and texture from the natural material on the walls.

I don’t know what the brand is, because the label simply said “Wallcovering.” But it 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.

I hung this in a bathroom in a newish home inside the Loop in Houston. Yes, grasscloth will stain if it gets splashed with water, so it’s not recommended in wet areas. But the homeowner is a single gal, and she promised to use the room gently. 🙂

She also promised to keep the door closed, so the cats will not get their claws into the new textured wallpaper.

Centering and Plumbing Grasscloth Seam

May 15, 2018


Re my previous posts, here I am using my laser level to help get the seam aligned with the light sconce, as well as ensure that it hangs level. The laser level is the small dark object in the lower center of the photo.

Grasscloth Seam Placement on Off-Kilter Wall

May 15, 2018


Because of the textured nature and natural fibers of the material, all the seams on grasscloth are quite visible. So I try to place the seams in a “balanced” or evenly placed pattern on the wall. On this narrow wall that requires just one seam, I would normally put that seam in the center of the wall. However, the electrician was unable to get the light sconce in the center of the wall, so the sconce was placed a few inches to the right of center.

Dilema… Do I place the seam in the middle of the wall, or so that it falls centered on the light sconce?

After deliberating with the homeowner, we decided it would look best to have the seam align with the light fixture. Seeing it finished, I agree that this was the best choice.

Paneling / Color Variations Between Strips in Grasscloth

May 15, 2018


Because grasscloth is a natural product, you can expect color variations between strips, even when they come off the same bolt. See previous post about how the manufacturer worked to minimize this. However, color variations will still occur.

Notice the darker color of the panel on the left, compared to the one on the right. These rolls all had the same run number, which means they were printed at the same time with the same batch of ink. Even so, there will be color variations. This color difference is pretty minor, compared to what you see sometimes. This is not considered a defect, and is considered “part of the inherent beauty of this natural product.”

In this room, most of the panels were pretty uniform in color. When possible, I changed bolts in less noticeable areas, such as you see here, over a door.

Minimalizing Color Variations by Hanging in Sequence

May 13, 2018


Because grasscloth is a natural fiber product, it is known for certain inherent features, namely a pattern that cannot be matched, visible seams, and color variations such as paneling (one strip is a slightly different color from the one next to it), shading (different colors within the same strip), and edges that are lighter in color than the center of the strip. Just do a Search here to see pictures and read stories.

This manufacturer (Thibaut) has taken steps to minimize one of these issues. First, you want to be sure that all your bolts were printed at the same time, from the same run or dye lot (see label). Next, when a whole lot of wallpaper is printed at one time, the ink color can change ever so slightly from the beginning of a run to the end.

So Thibaut lists not only the run number, but the sequence in which the bolts were printed. On the label, this is referred to as “Shade.” The instructions are very specific about cutting and hanging strips of paper in the order they come off the roll, and using consecutive rolls in their proper order.

However, for this 11 bolt living room, I got 8 bolts of Shade series 4 (#’s 1-8), and 3 of Shade series 5 (#’s 7-9 … and what happened to the first six?!). These obviously were not printed in consecutive order! And they were all mixed together in the boxes. Good thing I checked the labels and noted the Shade numbers, before I cut anything up.

Luckily the layout of the room worked so that I was able to keep Shade 4 and Shade 5 on separate walls, so any slight color difference would not be noticeable.

Same Color, But Grasscloth Brings a Little Texture and Warmth for a West U. Living Room

May 11, 2018



This home in the West University neighborhood of Houston has fairly traditional and formal décor. After 20 years, the homeowner wanted to warm things up with some texture. The new wallpaper is about the same color as the original wall paint (pale aqua blue), but the addition of gold grass fibers (grasscloth) brings warmth, personality, and a good dose of glamor, too.

Sorry, the color has not shown up well in these photos, but the close-up shot shows the lovely texture and natural fibers in this product.

This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, 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.

Mid Century Modern Bookshelves Get Grasscloth on Back

May 6, 2018


This 1960 ranch style home in the Westbury neighborhood of Houston is like a time capsule of Mid Century Modern design. The doors, windows, moldings, cabinetry, and even most of the bathrooms are original – and in mint condition. The homeowners love the look, and wanted to honor that, while updating some of the rooms. Grasscloth was all the rage in the ’60’s, so it was the perfect choice for the backs of these bookshelves in the family room.

I have to tell ya, covering this beautiful, original, perfectly maintained 1960 wood paneling with mud and a primer just about killed me. But since the wallcovering choice was grasscloth, the new look would be in keeping with the original feel of the house.

I don’t usually like grasscloth, because of the color variations (and many more reasons – do a Search – upper right corner) – But I was pleased with today’s product. The color was very uniform, and the material was very soft and pliable, as well as thin. It turned corners nicely and hugged the wall tightly.

This particular grasscloth has a bit more of a “nubby” texture than those with straight reeds, and this one had a nice sheen, too.

I wanted to avoid getting paste on that pristine wood, because I was afraid it might not wipe off without leaving residue, and also because I didn’t want to run a damp rag along the grasscloth, for fear of staining or bleeding. So I used my craft store cutting mat and a couple of different straightedges, to pre-trim the pieces to perfect right angels, so they would fit into the bookshelf alcoves, and also butt up against one another precisely.

I also used blue plastic tape (not shown) on the edges of certain pieces, to keep paste off the wood bookcase.

This grasscloth wallpaper is by Phillip Jeffries, a higher-end brand, 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.

You Can’t Just Slap Wallpaper on Top of Paneling

May 5, 2018

Today I am hanging grasscloth on wood paneling. You can’t just slap wallpaper on top of wooden paneling. Even old wood has resins, and these can bleed through wallpaper. So the paneling had to be treated with a stain blocker. I used KILZ Original (their water-based version is not as dependable), a wonderful oil-based primer that seals off a multitude of problems – wood sap, water stains, tobacco, rust, blood, grease, ink, etc.

In addition, the grooves in the paneling had to be filled in, to prevent the wallpaper from drying, pulling taught, and sucking down into the grooves, revealing a visible vertical line. So once the KILZ was dry, I skim floated the paneling, both to bridge the grooves, and to fill in the light wood grain, and, to add a second buffer layer to seal off any wood resins. This was sanded smooth and followed by a coat of a penetrating primer called Gardz.

Super Alternative to Grasscloth – With Texture, Color, Durability

April 18, 2018


I am not fond of grasscloth, for many reasons – Read my blog page on the right.

So here’s an alternative that I love. It’s made of embossed vinyl, so it has a textured surface and a tri-toned color finish, which people are loving right now. The vinyl composition makes it practically impervious to water, fingerprints, toiletries, and little boys with bad aim. 🙂 Being commercial-grade, it is also durable, so it will hold up to dings and bangs. And it has a woven fabric backing, so it will strip off the wall easily when its time to redecorate.

This wallpaper pattern is called Bankun Raffia, and comes in 30+ colors. It’s made by Thibaut Designs, 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.