Posts Tagged ‘motif’

Plumbing Up Coming Out Of A Corner DRAFT

January 29, 2023
Here I’m hanging wallpaper, moving from right to left, preparing to turn this corner . You don’t wrap a strip of wallpaper around an inside corner (see previous post for more information). So I’ve cut a new strip, trimmed off excess on the right so the pattern on the new strip matches that on the existing strip, and am getting ready to proceed to the left.
But corners are never straight or plumb , and chair rail and ceilings are never perfectly level . So if I butt the new strip right up into the corner, if that corner is off-plumb , it will cause the new strip, and all subsequent strips, to be off-plumb. And that means that the design motifs will start tracking up or down hill as we move across the wall.
You want all the motifs to be at the same height along the ceiling and chair rail – within reason, of course, because if those features are not level, the motifs can’t help but move up or down.
Anyway, the best you can do is to hang your new strip perfectly plumb . So here you see I’ve shot my laser level at the wall at the far edge of the new strip. I’m butting my new strip up to that red line. I’m also using my 2′ bubble level as an extra guide.
Note that sometimes this means the new strip will not butt up perfectly in the corner, because it may tilt a bit to the left or right. When that happens, you just trim off the slight overlap. This means you may end up with a slight pattern mis-match in the corner. Usually not too noticeable.

Yes, I’m A Little Obsessed

January 19, 2023
Re previous post … This accent wall is in the butler’s pantry , and ends at the corner that turns into the main kitchen area. Since this corner was visible from the great room / family room , I plotted the lay-out so the full motif would fall at that corner . In other words, I butted the right edge of the wallpaper up against the corner of that wall . This left a vertical gold line running the height of the wall. A good stopping point for the eye. Just perfect!
But … the paper came with a teeny bit of black next to that gold line. So there was about 1/16″ of black showing to the right of that vertical gold line. (Sorry, no pic) I thought it was so minor that it wouldn’t be a big deal. But, once that strip got up on the wall, I thought that black edge caught your eye . It bugged the heck out of me!
So I took straightedge and razor blade and trimmed off that miniscule bit of black.
No we have a crisp gold line against the corner.
As the wallpaper hung from right to left, at the final corner, naturally, the pattern didn’t fall exactly along one of the vertical gold lines. For one thing, walls are always wonky . Also, that last section of black trapezoids were less than their full width. But only by about a half an inch. I had measured ahead of time and knew this, and I felt 1/2″ shorter box wouldn’t bother anybody.
But I did think I could make that left edge look crisper , and also wanted it to match the edge on the right side of the wall.
So I took a bit of scrap wallpaper (like what you see lying on the floor on the left), and again my straightedge and razor blade, and trimmed off one of those gold lines. This is about 1/8″ wide .
Next, I pasted it over that left edge, as seen in the photo.
Here is the left edge finished. Nice and sharp , and more ” finished ” than just a black box ending at the wall. Speaking of black blocks … those on the far left are a bit narrower than the ones on the rest of the strips. But, seriously – who cares, and who notices?? What you do notice is the gold strip neatly trimming off the wall corner .
This geometric pattern is in the Jaclyn Smith line by Trend Fabrics . It’s a nice non-woven , paste the wall material , and is durable and stain-resistant . Also, it will strip off the wall easily and with little / no damage to the wall when it’s time to redecorate .
The install was in a home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston .

Whimsical Arabian Nights Dance in Powder Room

January 13, 2023
You’ve got to look at this close-up, to notice the antelope and flames / foliage .
You gotta make a decision … The light sconces (they are currently removed, but you can see the electrical boxes where they will be placed) were centered on the vanity top, but the faucet was off-center by about an inch. So I chose to center / balance the pattern on the sconces and countertop. The mirror will be hung between the two light fixtures, so we’ll end up with a pleasing, balanced look. The faucet isn’t exactly in the middle of the design motif, but no biggie – there’s going to be a mirror there, anyway.

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Corner going around shower. Note the window looking into the shower.
Although the website specs said this is a pre-trimmed non-woven material , that was incorrect. Turns out it had an unprinted selvedge edge that had to be trimmed off by hand . Here I’m using my straightedge and razor blade to remove this selvedge. This takes precision and a LOT of time .
The manufacturer usually provides trim guides to help you know where to cut. But it’s usually better to trim to the pattern – determine an element in the design motif that will meet up with the corresponding motif on the opposite side of the strip when the strips are hung on the wall, and use that as your guide . Be sure to trim off the trim guide marks, or they will show on the wall.
The pattern is called Arabian Nights and is by Relativity Textiles . I’ve never worked with this brand before. I was not pleased . In addition to the incorrect information about the pre-trimmed paper , the mfgr’s specs said this was printed on a non-woven substrate . It was not. It wasn’t even printed on standard wallpaper stock . Instead, it was a pulp material – This is a sort of old-fashioned wallpaper , and is very brittle and prone to tearing and dragging (your trimming knife or razor blade will get snagged and you’ll end up with a ” chewed ” jagged cut, instead of a crisp cut . It also tears easily. It also has no coating, so it’s not stain-resistant … Not good in a busy household with a 3-year old toddler , or anyone splashing water or soap or air freshener .
It was also difficult to hang . Applying wet paste to the backing causes the substrate to absorb moisture and expand at a different rate from the ink on the surface. So you end up with wrinkles , waffling , and quilting .
Sponging a light bit of water on the front before pasting helps even out the moisture differential and ease installation . I’ve never before encountered a pulp that had this type of ink on the surface. One clue for this bad stuff is when you open the package and it smells like moth balls . Once I figured out how to work with it, , it went OK – although tedious . The seams did look very nice.
BUT … all this effort would have been unnecessary and the finished room would be more durable if the mfgr had printed on a non-woven substrate (as their on-line specs stated) and had used standard inks instead of this weird , smelly , high-end stuff. In fact, the material would have cost the homeowners a whole lot less $ if it had been normal ink on a non-woven backing .
The home is in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston .
installer

From Dark and Dated to Light and Livable

December 17, 2022

Oh, my! – I hung lots of these chintz florals, ” satin ” look (the design of the dark green at the bottom of the wall), and dark colors back in the ’90’s . Sure enough – this home was built and wallpapered in 1994.
IIt’s still a good look, IMO, and the homeowner still likes it. But she’s just gotten tired of it. So – time for an update !
She also decided to eliminate the chair rail , so the new wallpaper will go ceiling to floor . Here you see some damage to the drywall where the chair rail molding was removed .
What a change! Now the room’s look is quiet and fresh .
The buffet , topped with a decorative mirror , will go on this wall . That’s why I centered the pattern in between the windows , so it will fall evenly on either side of the furnishings .
I also plotted so that a full “Moroccan lantern” (that’s what this style of trellis pattern is called), would balance out between the crown molding and the window molding. There were several of these 12.5″ high areas all around the room, so this placement of whole “lantern” motifs gave the room a pleasing look.
It also worked out that the lanterns were evenly placed and kept whole between the crown molding and the baseboard. See the second following photo to see what I’m talking about
As a note – just this one window wall took me about five hours to measure , calculate , and hang . Getting the pattern to go over, around, and under the two windows , and still line up and match correctly , took some time and futzing. The material was thick and stiff , and a bit tricky to fit into corners and trim around the decorative window molding .
In the foreground you see my work table area . The homeowner has let me put protective padding on her dining room table and then set my work table on that. This saves space and allows plenty of room for my ladder and other tools as I work around all four walls.
So that I could center the pattern on this wall , I had to start hanging my first strip in the middle of the wall. I was lucky this time, that the pattern was centered exactly on the edge of the wallpaper roll . Sometimes (as in the one I did yesterday – see previous post ) the center of the design motif is a to the right or left of the edge of the wallpaper . This, naturally, means you’ve got to do more measuring and plotting and double-checking , to be sure the center of the design falls down the center of the wall .
Back to the photo above … that dark block on the right side of my work table is my laser level. It’s shooting a perfectly plumb red line onto the wall. Here I’m lining up my first strip of paper butted against this red line .
Switch topics … Back in 1994, the original installer did a very nice job of hanging the wallpaper. But … he didn’t prime the new drywall first. That lack of primer / protective layer means that the wallpaper will actually bond to the drywall. I tried, but was unable to get the existing wallpaper off . Eventually, you need to factor in time , damage to the wall , paste residue left on the wall, and take a different tac if called for.
So I skim-floated over the seams , so they wouldn’t show under the new paper , and also floated over the damaged drywall where the chair rail had been removed . Sanded smooth , and then primed the patched areas as well as the original wallpaper, with Roman Ultra Prime Pro 977 . This stuff will adhere to the light acrylic (slick) surface of the original wallpaper, as well as protect it from moisture from my paste on the new wallpaper. ( Moisture could cause the underlying original wallpaper to expand , creating bubbles that will look bad, or loose areas that will pull away from the wall, creating a bubble or pocket.)
My primer is also lightly pigmented, so it helps block out the dark color and busy pattern of the original wallpaper . This particular new wallpaper is quite opaque , but not all of them are, so a pigmented primer is important , IMO .

Left corner of the buffet wall. Here you can see how the lantern motifs are placed between ceiling and floor.
The background has a lightly mottled effect, that mimics grasscloth a bit, and also adds more depth and warmth than just a plain solid color .
Been havin’ more than a fair share of defects lately, especially this week. This paper had on both front and back sides, incidences of these black flecks . They seemed to be maybe charcoal , so I wasn’t too worried about their black bleeding through to the surface , like ink or any oil-based substance will do.
Most of them were embedded in the material itself, so could not be wiped off , nor dug out with a razor blade . Some I had to cut around and discard the affected paper. Others were so small as to not be noticeable once the paper was up on the wall and all the furniture and artwork was back in the room.
There was also one 3′ section of wallpaper that had an odd streak or arc running across it. It wasn’t ink . It was more like some kind of compromise to the substrate . I noticed it was I was pasting the back of the paper . I turned it over and, sure enough, you could see it a little on the surface. (see photo in previous post) It’s the kind of thing that was subtle, but would catch your eye when looking at the wall from a distance . It was minor , but I discarded that strip . Good thing I have the homeowners purchase a little extra wallpaper .
The manufacturer is Designer Wallcoverings , which is a good quality brand (aside from the printing defects I described earlier ). It was a non-woven / paste the wall material , which is pretty user-friendly . It will strip off the wall easily and in one piece when you redecorate . Stain-resistant , and ” breathable ” in humid conditions .
The home is in the West University neighborhood of Houston . Dining room installer

Disappointments in York Wallpaper Pt II

December 16, 2022

OK, because this CRAPPY “New Editor” that Word Press FORCED on us a couple of years ago – which is EXTREMELY difficult to use, BTW, and the Big Wigs at Word Press don’t give a flip, despite my many comments to them … Anyway, it decided to eat / delete the post I just spent 30 minutes typing up, so I’m going to have to write it all over again and try to remember all the points I had made. PISSES ME OFF, this DAMNED WORDPRESS NEW EDITOR.
End of rant. But STILL FARKIN’ ANGRY!!!
Anyway, you’re looking at images of the same pattern motif , from the same Run number (do a Search here to learn more about runs ), but two different rolls / bolts . Look at where my pencil is pointing in the top example – at the green leaf to the left of the blue flower . You’ll see the light green color shadowing , or following the dark green .
Now look at the same motif on the example below it. Here both green colors are together . Why? What’s happened is that the printing presses at the factory have gotten out of register .
The machines print each color separately , layering them on top of each other . For example, brown first, then light green, then dark green, then blue, etc. Each turn of the printing rollers has to be perfectly synced with the previous, so that the colors and motifs line up correctly .
Here, obviously, something got out of whack .
Looking at this, the mis-alignment is not a big deal. It’s a loose , cheerful pattern , and it doesn’t really matter if the colors aren’t lined up perfectly. In fact, I think it makes the pattern more fun.
The problem comes when trying to match strips from one roll up to another, because the design won’t match perfectly at the seams . That does matter IMO . See my other post tonight .
The pattern is called Wildwood and is by Rifle Paper , which is made by York .

Ceiling is NOwhere NEAR Level

November 29, 2022
We wallpaper hangers / installers like to have a nice straight ceiling line . Meaning, that the same pattern motif will show up at the same height on the wall on every strip . For instance, the top of the sailboat will touch the bottom of the crown molding all the way around the room.
But in old houses, poorly-built houses, or just plain old wonky houses (which are most homes in Houston! ), you can’t count on ceilings and floors being level , nor on walls being perfectly plumb .
When I used my level to check the ceiling in this 1926 home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood , I admit – I laughed out loud!
When a surface is level, the air bubble will be in the middle of the two black lines . It’s common for the bubble to be a little “off.” But this one isn’t even trying to be in the middle. Meaning – the ceiling is nowhere near level. The ceiling line is moving up and / or down as it moves across the room. The discrepancy can be as much as an inch or even more from one end of the room to the other.
Meaning, there is no way that that sailboat is going to be just below the ceiling on every strip.
Luckily, this particular wallpaper pattern was such that you aren’t going to notice much.
The other thing is, most people who live in older homes, or homes with shifting foundations , or even new homes , understand that walls and floors rearrange themselves over time . So they’re understanding if sailboats drift down the ceiling line , or if patterns don’t match absolutely perfectly in the corners.

Wanderlust? City Maps Wallpaper in Hall Bathroom

November 26, 2022
Original tile in this 1926 home goes beautifully with the colors in this globe-trotting wallpaper . I positioned the pattern to try to get the most names and maps within the area between the tile and ceiling .
The paper turned out to have a complicated multiple drop pattern match . Basically, in a nutshell, most of the time, with a straight match , a particular pattern motif (the word ” Bangkok ” for instance) will appear at the same height , such as the top of the wall , on every strip . Or, with a drop match , it’s at the top of the wall every other strip . These are the two typical pattern match types. But with a multiple drop match , the pattern will fall down and down across the wall further and further , and finally appear back at the top of the wall on the fourth , or, sometimes, more, strip. That’s why in this shot, you see the bottom half of the city names cut off by the tile, instead of the full name.
And the pattern match is different if you’re moving from left to right, or from right to left .
It’s a real head-scratcher to figure out – and you had better notice it before you start cutting strips, or you could end up running short of paper . It also eats up a lot of paper. I always measure to have a little extra , but in this case, we ended up with just barely enough to finish the 2-room bathroom .
City Maps is by Rifle Paper , which is made by York , generally a good company – although starting to have lots of printing defects – which we did experience on this installation. Also, usually, Rifle Paper is an easy non-woven / paste-the-wall material . This time, second time in a month, it was printed on traditional paper. Another surprise that added time to this job , since after pasting , each piece had to be booked and then set in a plastic bag for a few minutes to absorb the paste , expand , and relax . Best to have this occur in the bag, rather than put it immediately on the wall – which would result in wrinkles and bubbles. But it does slow the process down.
This home is in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston .

Different Rolls = Different Pattern Match

November 17, 2022
It’s important that all your wallpaper rolls have the same run number , also called batch or dye lot . This means that they were printed at the same time with the same ink . Paper printed later with another batch of ink may be every so slightly different in color / shade . Looks bad on the wall.
The same thing can happen with trimming at the factory. Different runs can be trimmed differently from each other.
With this paper that I hung in a dining room last week (see previous post), the labels on all the rolls / bolts listed the same run number . But there was one bolt that was wrapped in not one, but two plastic wrappers. This raised an alarm in my head, because this indicates that it may have been a roll sent back to the factory, for whatever reason, and then repackaged. When this happens, you cannot be absolutely sure that the run number is actually that which is printed on the label. Somebody at the factory could have just grabbed a handy label and stuck it inside the wrapper.
I tried not to use this double-wrapped bolt of wallpaper. But on the last section of wall, I got to a point where I just needed to use it, for just two 6′ strips. I was pleased that the color of both the background and the motifs matched perfectly.
But not happy with this pattern mis-match.
It was easy to see that the factory trimmers had been placed about 1/8″ to one side, from where they had been placed when trimming the previous rolls.
It’s a busy pattern, and, from a distance, this undercut wasn’t all that noticeable.
But on the other side, there was repetition of the motif , and this will really catch your eye.
Happily, this only affected one seam, and since it was a very busy pattern, from just a few feet away you couldn’t notice it. Still, it bothered me.
So I pulled this strip on the left off the wall, laid it on my table, and used my straightedge and razor blade to trim off that repetitive leaf tip – about 1/8″ from the right edge of the strip.
The second strip, since it came off the same roll and had been trimmed the same, matched perfectly . This was also my last strip, so no more drama with mis-matched designs at the seams .
What the overall pattern looks like.
The pattern is by Rifle Paper , which has been finding its way into a lot of homes lately. This brand is usually a good quality non-woven material , and can be hung by pasting the paper or by paste the wall . It is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece, and with minimal damage to the wall , when you’re ready to redecorate . Very cute , cheerful patterns , and good price-point .
Note that the run number is printed on the label.
installer houston

Cozy, Slightly Rustic, Textured Paperweave for Houston Heights Breakfast Nook

October 30, 2022
Breakfast nook “before” is bright and airy – but washed out and uninspiring. The vertical tan lines are paint I’ve striped under where the seams will fall, to prevent the light colored primer from peeking through.
“After” has warmth, life, and a cheery feel. With a little color contrast, now you can see the detailed woodwork and window molding. The paper has a bit of a tropical, thatched roof, Ernest Hemmingway, sort of feel.
Note I’ve balanced / centered the pattern so it falls evenly and equally on either side of the window . Note how perfectly the motifs fill the space above the windows, as well as below the windows. It’s a minor thing that you don’t consciously notice, but it gives the room a grounded , balanced feeling .
Another angle . The chandelier is a major feature in the room. I love the way the chunky beads repeat the color and theme of the white pattern in the wallpaper.
Unlike most wallpapers that come in rolls of standard sizes , this material comes in continuous yardage on one huge (and HEAVY ) bolt .
The height of the motifs perfectly fits the space between the window and the crown molding . No flower tops got chopped off in this room !
There are five windows. This is the area between two of them, including an obtuse angle . It took a LONG time to get the paper around all five windows, keeping the pattern intact .
Close-up showing the texture . This is a paperweave , which is similar to a grasscloth , as both are natural fibers and materials . Because this paper weave is woven, instead of having stiff, straight strands of grass crossing the wallpaper , it was a lot more flexible and workable than regular grasscloth .
The space over the door molding was just 4 1/16″ high. The flower motif fit in here perfectly .
You can see along the seam in the center of the photo , that some of the fibers may try to come off the backing , especially at seams and areas where you’ve cut into the material , such as trimming around window moldings and other obstacles . This is pretty minor .
Overall, the seams are virtually invisible .
One other thing I didn’t like about this paper is that, after the wallpaper was made, the color was applied to the front, like paint . This made the color subject to abrading or flaking off under even light rubbing . It would have been better IMO to have dyed the fibers and then sewn / glued them on to the paper backing . Then the color would go all the way through. Not a biggie – you just have to work slowly and carefully and gently.
Oh, and you can’t get paste or water or fingerprints on the surface, either – because they can’t be washed off and can stain .
The pattern is called Papavero and is by Casa Branca .
The material has an unprinted selvedge edge that has to be trimmed off by hand, using a straightedge and razor blade . Takes a lot of extra time , and even more so because you have to press harder to get through the thick fibers than with a traditional wallpaper .
A picture of my straightedge and razor blade . I’m trimming something else here (that will be blogged about later), but you get the idea .
A really bad photo of a really perfect chandelier . It’s chunky , white , and the shape of the ‘beads’ repeat the flower motifs in the wallpaper. The windows will have Roman shades made of a somewhat coarse white linen type fabric , which will coordinate beautifully with the texture of the wallpaper .
The home is in the Heights neighborhood of Houston .

Multiple Drop Pattern Match

October 18, 2022
The label said this was a drop match . But the pattern match turned out to be a multiple drop .
On a straight match , you’ll find the same tulip, for example, at the top of the wall on every strip. On a drop match , that tulip will be at the top of the first strip, then on the second strip it will drop down half the length of the pattern repeat . On the third strip, it will be back at the top of the wall . On the fourth strip, it will drop down again. And so on.
But on a multiple drop pattern match , also called a quarter drop , that tulip drops down bit by bit over a span of four strips , before it appears again at the top of the wall. Actually, some multiple drops, the motif can traverse more strips before it’s back at the top.
These patterns are extremely tricky to figure out , and to calculate rollage for. I’m really glad that I rolled the paper out on the floor of this empty nursery , before cutting anything. If you assume that what you have in your hands is a typical pattern match and go and cut all your strips ahead of time, you will have a whole bunch of strips that won’t match up, and will have ruined all that paper.
by Serena & Lily . This is a non-woven material, also called paste the wall .