Posts Tagged ‘grasscloth’

Faded, Stained Grasscloth

May 13, 2017

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I hung the woven grasscloth on the large wall in 1992, in a sunroom in the Medical Center / Rice Village area of Houston. Over time, it has faded.

The short piece to the right was replaced a few years ago, because it had been damaged. It had been rolled up and stored away from light, so it is the original color. Notice the difference!

Then more recently, there was a water leak from the bathroom above, which ran down and stained the grasscloth.

By this time, the homeowners were ready to redo the entire room, so both the stained piece and the faded panels were removed, and the whole room was repapered with new grasscloth of a slightly different texture and color.

Prepping for a Repair Job Today

May 10, 2017

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This 1930 home just south of Houston’s Medical Center was being rewired, and the electricians drilled pilot holes into the wall in the room behind this room – and straight through the wall into this bathroom. Two smallish holes, but they totally ruined the wallpaper in this area. Top photo.

Luckily, this strip was next to a corner, so only this one strip had to be replaced. Which is a lot less complicated than dealing with multiple strips.

Also lucky is that the homeowners had saved the left over paper from when I hung it several years ago.

When I started stripping the wallpaper from the wall, it took chunks of the primer along with it. This surprised me, because that type of paper usually strips off relatively easily, and the primer I used usually holds nice and tight to the wall I think this is due to whatever paint or other treatment the contractors put on the wall before I got there. At any rate, the wall was left with jagged and uneven areas. Second photo.

Because the paper was heavily textured, it would probably have been possible to seal the damaged wall and hang the replacement paper over it with none of the uneven areas telegraphing through.

But I just couldn’t let myself do that.  I wanted the surface to be smooth and sound.  So I did a very light skim-float over the wall to smooth it. This added a lot more time, because I had to wait for the compound to dry, and then for the penetrating sealer / primer (Gardz) I applied to dry, also. But I felt better about the surface once these steps were done.

The last photo shows the finished wall – along with a few of my measurements and figures. Note that they are carefully written in pencil, because it’s about the only writing material that will not bleed through wallpaper.

Sorry, but I forgot to take a picture of the finished wall. But it turned out great.

This wallpaper is a textured vinyl product that is a wonderful alternative to real grasscloth, because it has none of the shading, paneling, color variations or staining problems of the real stuff.  This product is by Warner, but it is the exact same product as one I have done many times, called Bankin Raffia, by Thibaut.  This one did appear to have a slightly different backing than the Thibaut product, however.  I prefer the Thibaut.  You can Search here to see other jobs I have done with this very fine product.

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.

Grasscloth Wallpaper in an Entry in West Houston

April 28, 2017

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This nubby-textured grasscloth really warmed up the space in this entry in an early ’60’s home in the Briar Park neighborhood of west Houston. The floor was Saltillo tile (rustic Mexican look), and furniture in adjoining rooms was in the “weathered chic” style. The natural color and rough texture of this grasscloth on the upper portion of the entry walls really pulls the look together.

The first photo shows a close-up of the texture and color. The next photo shows two strips and a seam slightly to the right of the middle of the photo (crummy dark picture, as usual 😦 ). I was very pleased that this paper did not have much of the shading and paneling (color variations) that are inherent to most grasscloth products.

HOWEVER – There really were many color variations in this product. But I had had the homeowners buy enough paper to do the room, plus one extra double roll bolt. This extra bolt provided enough paper that I could cut around the worst of the color variances, so that the paper that went up on the walls was fairly uniform in color.

The third photo shows some of these color variations. Those are not wrinkles in the paper – what you are seeing are three different colors, or shades of colors, running across the paper in wide stripes. Had I hung strips like this, it would have resulted in noticeable (and, to me, eye-jarring) horizontal stripes of different colors in the paper.

In addition to these color differences, some of the strips had areas that were riddled with dark threads and knots. A few of these here and there are O.K. But when one strips has very few dark knots, and the one next to it has 30 of them, it is disturbing to the eye.

Luckily, we had enough paper that I could cut around and discard much of the discolored paper.

The finished room looked better and more homogeneous in color than I had expected it to.

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.

Grasscloth Wallpaper in a TV Room / Sunroom

April 22, 2017

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I hung a woven grasscloth in this TV room / sunroom in an older home in the Rice Village area of Houston when the homeowners first bought the house – back in 1992 ! The wallpaper was still in great condition – except for where shower pan in the upstairs bathroom had leaked, causing damage to the wallpaper below. The paper had suffered fading from the abundant sunlight in the room, too. Time for a change.

The homeowners considered other types of paper and patterns, but came back to the natural, earthy, textured look of grasscloth. Their new choice is more relaxed than the previous woven one, and has more color – although it’s all in the neutral / brown / tan scope.

I was pleased that there was minimal shading / paneling (color variations between strips) (see 3rd photo). The material has a lovely texture (last photo), and was reasonably easy to trim and position.

There was no brand name on the product label, 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.

Grasscloth Wallpaper Fading Over Time

April 21, 2017

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I hung the woven grasscloth on the left about 20 (maybe more) years ago. About two years ago, the home had some water damage, and I used left over grasscloth to repaper the section around the air duct.

This is a sun room, and receives a lot of light. You can see how the color has changed over time, by comparing the paper that has been exposed to bright sunlight to the paper that was in storage for 20 years. Grasscloth is a natural product, and so has little resistance to fading.

Stripping Grasscloth Wallpaper

April 17, 2017

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This powder room in a newish townhome in the Galleria area of Houston was originally papered with a deep red, nubby-textured grasscloth wallpaper. It didn’t suit the taste of the new homeowners, so they had me strip it off and replace it with something lighter.

Often, grasscloth can be really hard to get off, because the grass fibers and the netting used to sew them to the backing separate from the backing and come off in tiny handfuls of fiberous messiness.

I was luckier today, because the top layer with the grass fibers and red ink came off the wall fairly easily, and in almost-intact 9′ strips. The paper backing was left on the wall (see 2nd photo). In some areas (see 3rd photo), bits of the red inked layer remained.

The next step was to remove the paper backing. All that’s needed is to use a sponge to soak the backing with warm water. Soak one section, move on and soak the next, then go back and resoak the first section, etc.

Water has a harder time penetrating the patches where the red inked layer was not removed. Soak it a little more, or use a putty knife to get under that layer and pull off the inked material.

Eventually, the moisture from the warm water will reactivate the paste. If you are lucky, you will be able to simply pull the paper backing away from the wall. But if not, all it takes is a little elbow grease and a stiff 3″ putty knife, to gently scrape the paper from the wall.

I was doubly lucky today, because whoever hung the original grasscloth did a good job, including the use of a good primer to seal the walls before he hung any wallpaper. His primer protected the walls, and all my water and tension as I soaked and pulled paper off the walls caused no damage to the subsurface.

All I had to do to prepare the walls for new wallpaper was to wash off old paste residue, and apply a primer, in this case Gardz by Zinsser.

A Good Reason Not to Double-Cut

April 10, 2017

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A double-cut is a paperhanger’s term for splicing two strips of wallpaper together. The edges of the strips are overlapped about 1″ on the wall, and then, bracing against a straightedge, a sharp razor blade and plenty of pressure are used to cut through both layers of wallpaper. Remove excess paper from both layers, and you have a perfectly butted seam.

The only problem is that it’s virtually impossible to do this without scoring into the wall, slicing through the top layer (or more). This cut makes the surface unstable, and when the new wallpaper dries, it shrinks and puts tension (torque) on the wall’s surface. This shrinking and tension can cause the wall to split and curl back, leaving a gap or a gaping wallpaper seam.

This is what you see in the photo.

To remedy this, I wanted to bridge the gap with something that would move with any shifting in the drywall, and that would not cause ridges under the new paper.

The new wallpaper was a thick, textured material, so I was not overly worried about ridges from the patch telegraphing through it.

I used strips from the paper backing of the old wallpaper / grasscloth I had just stripped off the wall to cover the cut wall areas. I tore the patches, rather than cutting, because the “feathered” edges of the torn paper would be less noticeable under the new paper than a sharp, straight edge would be.

The strips were wet from having been stripped off the wall with water, and the wall’s surface had damp paste residue remaining on it, so the patching strips adhered nicely to the wall surface.

But, to be sure, I brushed on Gardz, a penetrating sealer and “problem wall solver.” It soaked in, bound the surfaces together, dried, and made a taught, strong surface for the new wallpaper to go over.

Still, I made sure that my seams did not fall in the same exact spots as these compromised areas of wall. That greatly reduces the possibility of seams in the new wallpaper from curling back or pulling away from the wall.

As it turns out, because of the way I engineered the wall and various other factors, I did end up doing a double cut splice over this door. But I made sure it was not in the same place as the compromised wall surface. In addition, I protected the wall by putting a thin polystyrene (plastic) strip under the wallpaper before I cut, so that when I pressed my razor blade hard to cut through the two layers of cork, it did not damage the wall. Sorry, no pics, but there are other photos of that process on my blog, if you want to do a Search.

Silver Cork Wallpaper in a Galleria Area Powder Room

April 6, 2017

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Nubby red grasscloth originally covered the walls of this powder room in a newish townhome in the Galleria area of Houston. It had water stains around the top of the sink. Plus, the homeowners just didn’t like it. They were considering another, lighter-colored grasscloth. On our initial consultation, first I told them reasons why I am not a fan of grasscloth (do a Search here). Then I showed them a sample of a silver metallic cork wallpaper that I have hung in several homes – and they went nuts over it.

Here is the transformation, from nubby and dark and stained to crisp and bright and much more water-resistant.

The material is thick and stiff, and is just fine if you are only putting it on one wall, such as behind a headboard in a master bedroom. Working it around a whole room, with corners, was tough enough. But then maneuvering it around a pedestal sink, and then moving on to the (unstraight and uneven) curved wall to the left of the sink….Boy, oh boy!

All you are doing is looking at photos of a nice, beautiful finished room. But I can tell you that I was doing a whole lot of work to get the room, and that wall in particular, to look that good…. I won’t go into details, but that sink and that wonky curved wall were quite the challenge. I spent about an hour and a half on just that one strip.

In the end, it looks great, and the homeowners are thrilled. The room is bright now, and the new shiny chrome towel bars and light fixture will add more to the contemporary feel.

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.

Wallpaper In Better Homes & Gardens Once Again

April 4, 2017

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I am always tickled to see wallpaper featured in national magazines. It draws a lot of attention to the many faces of wallcoverings, and entices more people to use them. These photos are from the April 2017 issue of Better Homes & Gardens.

Sigourney by Quadrille, in a powder room. Interestingly enough, I have this same pattern coming up, but in a softer tan color, in a dining room, in a few weeks.

Daydream by Hygge & West. This a well-loved pattern, and I have hung it several times, in many colors. Interestingly enough, I have it coming up, also, in a few weeks, for a baby’s nursery accent wall.

A yellow ikat trellis by Thibaut. Interestingly enough, I hung this same pattern, but in aqua, with a complimentary leopard print companion paper, in a powder room a few months ago.

Navy blue grasscloth in a dining room, above the white wainscoting. The strips in this photo are narrow, and do not show the visible seams and possible color variations (shading, paneling) that are common with many grasscloths.

An over-sized floral of cabbage roses on a smoky black background. I have not hung this one yet, but many of my colleagues across the country have. It’s a popular look. The overscaled size of this pattern, and the dramatic color contrasts, make it a daring choice for a small room like this powder room.

A wildly and brightly colored geometric pattern for a children’s play room. This is a little similar to what is in the background of the twins’ room on the TV show Blackish.

A pattern reminiscent of tropical thatched roofs. This is reminiscent of a similar pattern I put in a “tree house” home office a few months ago. (Search on my blog to see pics of the full project.)

A mural of misty mountain fog. I totally love this mural. Murals have taken on a whole new look these days, leaving behind the old scenes of palm trees leaning over tropical white sand beaches, and bringing us to much more modern and innovative vignettes.

More murals, including an impressionistic floral in bright colors (I have done two in the similar theme – do a Search on my blog), and an updated beach scene. (Note the current trend among manufacturers / vendors to not go to the trouble to hang the paper on the wall, but to instead run a clothes line across the wall and use clothes pins to “artfully” string up the rolls of wallpaper, letting them drop loosely to the floor. This method is easy / inexpensive for the vendor to do, and it looks oh-so-cool- but it prevents the shopper from seeing what the product would look like attached firmly to a smooth surface.)

The final mural is a tropical forest scene. This has been a popular mural scene / theme for decades. But this version is printed on better quality paper, and the photo image has much more detail, depth of color, texture, etc.

Many of these murals can be custom-made, to fit the dimensions of your wall / room. Measuring is tricky, so be sure to contact your wallcovering installer BEFORE you order the mural or wallpaper.