Posts Tagged ‘matched’

Shading, Irregular Strings, Bubbles – Disappointments in Walquest Faux Grasscloth

April 18, 2021
Look dead-center – the strip on the right is slightly darker than the strip on the left (Effect shows up better in person than in photos). We call this shading, or paneling. Even though the pattern can be matched from strip to strip, which eliminates the eye-jarring break in the design at every seam which you get with real grasscloth, I am disappointed that Walquest allows this color difference. I’ve noticed it on each of their colorways. It is less noticeable on this light version, but is readily apparent in their darker colorways.
At the right edge of a strip of faux grasscloth wallpaper (center in the photo), a string either didn’t get put in place, or was pushed too far to the side. Either way, when this strip on the left is butted up against the next strip to the right , this “missing string” creates a very obvious void area, which runs vertically for about 4.’

I have long loved this Walquest alternative to grasscloth, because it has the texture that clients are seeking these days. But it sidesteps many of the problems with real grasscloth. Because it has a pattern that can be matched from seam-to-seam, so you don’t get the visible breaks in the reeds at every seam as with real grasscloth. And because it’s man-made, so the color is more uniform, reducing the color differences between strips that is prevalent with real grasscloth. (Do a Search here (upper right corner) to learn more.)

Unfortunately, I am becoming disenchanted with this product. The last several times I’ve worked with it, there have been color differences (shading / paneling) between strips. And a couple of times, I’ve had issues with strings not being uniformly placed across the strips.

From Drab to Spa-Like

April 17, 2021
Before: Semi-gloss paint on bad texture job.
Virtually the same color, but texture and pattern add a warm and calm feel.
Before: Khaki paint
After: Serene, even Zen-like.
Close-up shows pattern that can be matched so seams are disguised, as well as string fibers that add texture and dimension.

Nearly a full 100 years old, this cottage in the Norhill neighborhood of the Houston Heights has seen many updates and treatments. The master bath suffered from various dubious renovation attempts, as well as the aftermath of acts of nature, such as shifting foundation, leaky windows, humidity. The whole room just had a sort of “last chance” look about it.

Most of the room’s ails could be solved by ripping everything out down to the studs and then starting anew. But on most budgets – that ain’t agonna happen!

So I skim-floated the walls and sanded smooth. Just having smooth walls free of the drab khaki paint color helped left the pervasive glum feeling.

The homeowner chose this faux grasscloth, which is a stringcloth product made by Walquest, in their EcoChic line. I like this because, being a man-made material, the pattern can be matched from strip to strip, so you do not notice the seams like you do with a natural fiber material like real grasscloth. Also, the vertical strings on the wallpaper give texture and dimension, which is a look that many homeowners are craving these days.

The label insert tells you straight off that this material is not washable (they say you can gently vacuum it occasionally). Yet it is still more resistant to stains than true grasscloth.

This wallpaper was purchased from Ted at the Shade & Drape Shop on Kirby at Richmond. (They have another location on Voss near San Felipe.)

Fudging To Get The Height Right

December 27, 2020

Because of various reasons too complicated to get into here, in order to keep the pattern matched in the corner to the right (not shown), the wallpaper strips moving to the left torqued off-plumb. And thus the pattern started tracking upward at the ceiling line, which meant that the navy blue flower I positioned just under the crown molding started moving upward and was getting cut off at its top by the molding.

I needed to pull the pattern down. I took advantage of the short space over this doorway to make adjustments. I cut the strip in two vertically, trimming along motifs in the design.

Then I pulled the section on the left down to where the flower hit the crown molding just where I wanted it to. By pulling this strip a little to the right to where it overlapped the previous strip just a bit, I was able to cover any gaps caused by the trimming.

I used my laser level on the left edge to ensure the strip was plumb. This would keep the pattern straight along the crown molding as I continued to hang strips moving to the left and around the room.

Because this is up so high over the door, and because I trimmed along the design motifs, no one will notice the slight ridge caused by the overlap, nor any small mis-match in the pattern.

Fabulous Fake / Faux Grasscloth Wallpaper

April 10, 2020

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These young homeowners of a new townhome in the Houston Heights were originally considering natural grasscloth for this 35′ long wall in their kitchen / dining / living room. I told them of my disappointment with grasscloth’s visible seams, shading, paneling, and color variations (do a Search here). I was happy when they took my suggestion of this faux grasscloth alternative.

This is a printed horizontal grasscloth pattern on a paper substrate, with a vertical stringcloth material on top. The strings give the paper the texture that people are loving these days. But unlike real grasscloth, this product is more stain-resistant and durable. And it has a pattern that can be matched from strip to strip, so, unlike the real stuff, you don’t see the seams. (See photo) And there is virtually no shading, paneling, or color variations (do a Search here on those terms).

The end result is a beautiful, textured, homogeneous, warm and cozy living space.

The bull-nosed (rounded) corners on the windows gave me some argument and took a lot of time, but turned out great.

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

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.

Faux Grasscloth – A Nice Alternative to Natural Fiber Grasscloth

October 4, 2019


I’m not a fan of real grasscloth (read the page to the right) because of the visible seams and the many color variations. So I’m always happy when a homeowner chooses a faux product.

Usually, these wallpapers have a pattern that can be matched, so there will be no sharply visible seams. And the color is much more consistent, eliminating paneling and shading (do a search here to read previous blog posts about that).

This pattern is a paper-backed vinyl material with an embossed (textured) surface. It is by Thibaut.

After saying all those good things, I have to admit that I was disappointed with this particular product. Some of the bolts had very obvious color differences. There were also extreme issues with a faulty pattern match. I will discuss this in a future post. The good news is that Thibaut has other similar designs that perform better.

I hung this in a newly-renovated master suite in a 2-story 1939 home near Rice University (Houston), for a family with young children.

This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, and 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.

No Bungle In The Jungle – Hiding The Kill Point

December 26, 2018

When you hang wallpaper around a room, and your last strip meets up with where you started with your first strip (usually in a corner), the pattern will almost always end in a mis-match. When this can be hidden behind a door or other inconspicuous place, it’s no big deal.

But this powder room didn’t have an obscured corner – all four corners were 9′ high and very visible to anyone standing in the room. I didn’t want to kill (finish) the install in one of the corners – you would have 9’+ of chopped-in-half lions, monkeys, tucans, trees, and etc.

So I killed the pattern over the door. This way, you would have only 15″ of mis-matched design – and not many people are going to be looking up above the door, anyway.

In the top photo, you see the 11″ wide space I need to fill between the first strip on the left, and the last strip on the right. I could have just taken the next strip and cut it off vertically at the 11″ width. But if I had done that, you would see an abrupt break in the pattern.

Instead, I did a “weave.” This is where you use a scissors to cut along elements of the design, so they appear to logically mesh with the design motifs on the other strip.

If you study the area over the door, you notice that there are a few too many trees. But too many intact trees look a whole lot better than a few trees sliced in half at that final junction point.

This minor pattern discrepancy over the door allows for all four of the 9′ high corners to have their patterns match perfectly.

Faux Grasscloth / Textured Stringcloth on the Backs of Bookshelves

September 9, 2018


The homeowner wanted to use texture and color to warm up her very large kitchen / breakfast area. This faux grasscloth on the back of a pair of bookshelves that flank the fireplace was the perfect solution.

The shelves are high, and they are deeper than most, which made accessing the top areas difficult – and a little dangerous. So I borrowed the painters’ 3′ ladder, and was able to reach where I needed to.

I am not a fan of real grasscloth (click the link to the informative article on the right of this page). So I try to steer clients toward alternatives. This product is about my absolute favorite! It has a realistic grass pattern, and it can be matched from strip to strip, so you never see the seams. The color is consistent, so you don’t have the paneling effect that comes with the real stuff. And it is covered with a vertical stringcloth material, which provides the texture that homeowners are seeking these days. And it’s reasonably-priced.

Wallquest is the manufacturer, and it’s in their EcoChic line. 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.

The home is in the Fall Creek area of northeast Houston, off Beltway 8 and Hwy 59.

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.

“Iconic” Martinique Banana Leaf Wallpaper

August 20, 2016

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This “Martinique” (French island in the Caribbean), wallpaper pattern is the exact same as was used in the ’40’s in the Beverly Hills Hotel – and on TV shows like Friends and the Golden Girls, and in celebrities’ homes, and on a Mariah Carey album cover, to name a few. I have hung it several times – it is retro, it is timeless, and people love it.

It is also expensive. And thus there are knock-offs. Most of the knock-offs are easier to hang. This one was not.

While most wallpapers these days come pre-trimmed by the factory, this paper came with a selvedge edge, which I had to trim off by hand with a 6′ straight edge and plenty of sharp razor blades. I spent maybe an hour and a half just trimming the edges off six strips of wallpaper. And the trim mark arrows printed by the manufacturer were not distinct, so it was hard to tell exactly where to cut, which means it was easy to get an edge that was not perfectly straight. That means you can get perfectly butted seams, but also what we call “gaps and overlaps.” In addition, the pattern was not perfectly matched by the manufacturer, so there were some slight mis-matches once on the wall. Luckily, the pattern is busy enough that these are pretty disguised.

The paper had a thick vinyl coating that was difficult to cut. The thick manila paper backing sucked up paste, leaving little to hold the paper to the wall. The paper backing opposed the vinyl surface, causing curling at the seams. I added extra paste, I added more moisture, I striped the wall behind seams with paste, but I still had seams that wanted to curl up a little. Usually, once the paper is good and dry, the seams give up their moisture and that causes them to shrink, and then they pull tight to the wall. By the time I left, most of the seams were tight and flat.

In the end, the finished wall looks fantastic, and the homeowner loves it.

I put this bright and bold “Martinique” wallpaper pattern on an accent (headboard) wall in a guest bedroom in a new home in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston.