Posts Tagged ‘neutral’

Three-Dimensional Square “Dots” on Pale Neutral Grasscloth

April 2, 2019


Thibaut’s “Union Square” wallpaper pattern is a response to the popular Phillip Jeffries’s “Rivets.” Thibaut’s looser design and pattern placement make it much easier to align with the walls and woodwork – including rooms that are out of square and out of plumb. Which is just about every house in every neighborhood in every state.

The 3-D squares are made of some kind of plastic stuff, and are virtually impossible to cut through with a razor blade or a scissors (such as when trimming at the ceiling door or window moldings). I was able to engineer the room so that I did not have to cut through any of those rivets! Because the PJ pattern is much tighter, this would have been virtually impossible.

Also, I found that my soft short-bristled smoothing brush worked well enough to press the material against the wall while skimming over the 3/8″ high square bumps (sorry, for some reason, the photo did not turn out). But my beloved plastic trapezoidal squeegee smoother was just about useless, because it would not accommodate the 3-D “rivets.” So I had to adjust my install tactics a bit, and figure how to get along without the plastic smoother.

This wallcovering is made of grasscloth, which provides the subtle texture that homeowners are loving these days. But because grasscloth is made of natural fibers, there can be a lot of variations between bolts, and even between strips off the same bolt.

For that reason, Thibaut not only notes the run number of a bolt of wallpaper, but also the sequence in which the material was produced (see photo). The idea is that if you hang strips sequentially, you will see less shading or paneling (difference in color between two strips of wallcovering). Thibaut’s insert also includes a LOT of jargon about the color differences inherent to natural products, and the admonishment to use the bolts and strips sequentially.

I used three double rolls / bolts of grasscloth for this entry. Two of the bolts (the first two in the sequence) were pretty homogenous in color. The room was small and had low ceilings, and so I was able to keep the three strips needed for the longest wall all from the same bolt (#1).

I cut my other full-length strips from the second bolt (#2). That left the third bolt (#3) for the many short pieces needed to go over the four doorways in the room. As you can see from the last two photos, even though it was the same run number and printed at the same time, this third bolt was noticeably different in color from the previous two. The background color is the same, but there is a lot – a LOT – more dark brown fibrous material that got worked into the woven grass material.

Keeping these darker strips over the doors was a good way to minimize this color difference. The strips were only 9″ high. If these strips had been placed side-by-side on an 8′ high wall, the color difference would have been abruptly noticeable.

Color variations are to be expected with grasscloth, or any natural product. But helpful labeling by the manufacturer, and careful plotting by the installer, can minimize these differences.

This ’60’s-era ranch-style home in the Briargrove neighborhood of Houston is very much a “sea of tranquility,” as the whole house is entwined in off-whites, creams, and tans, with various textures like rough wood, sisal, and this grasscloth, used to pull in depth and warmth.

The interior designer on this project is Layne Ogden, of Layne Torsch Interiors.

Wallpaper on the Azalea Trail Home Tour, 2017, pt I

March 14, 2017

Yesterday, I went on the Azalea Trail Home Tour, which is in the “toney” River Oaks neighborhood of Houston. Not many of the homes had wallpaper, but I was intrigued by those that did.

One home had paper in its powder room. It was a tone-on-tone neutral colored floral in a vertical pattern and a not-too-serious feel. What’s cool is that the pattern continued up and onto the ceiling. But the ceiling was curved, which is not conducive to wallpaper. And furthermore, the floral pattern went up onto the ceiling, but it faded out as it crept up higher onto the surface.

I looked and looked and studied that room for a long time – and finally realized that the wallpaper stopped at the ceiling line. The floral pattern that continued up and onto the ceiling was not wallpaper, but very skillfully painted motifs.

The colors of both the background and the flowers were spot-on, the artist had shaped the petals and stems almost perfectly, and had even recreated the thickness of the paint and the brush strokes used to make the petals.

It was an immensely skillful and artistic job, and was a real pleasure to see.

Ostriches in a Toddler’s Room

January 22, 2017
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Mothers love this cute pattern, and I’ve hung the pink version in little girls’ rooms and bathrooms many times. This more neutral colorway went on all four walls of a toddler boy’s bedroom. I love the way the color coordinates with the rich chocolate brown woodwork and ceiling.

This This wallpaper pattern is by Cole & Son, a British company, and is called “Ostrich.” It’s on a non-woven substrate, and is a paste-the-wall product (rather than paste-the-paper), and is designed to strip off the wall easily when it’s time to redecorate.

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.

Map & Anni-Mal Mural for a Baby’s Room Accent Wall

January 15, 2017
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Here is a neutral-hued, map-and-animal mural for an accent wall in a baby’s nursery in Baytown (a distant suburb of Houston). This is a new home, and the walls had the typical builder’s heavy-ish texture. I spent the first five hours of the day smoothing the wall. The prevents bumps from marring the face of the mural, and provides a smooth surface for the paper to adhere to.

I don’t know the manufacturer of this mural, but I am not keen on their quality control. As with the last time I hung this mural (exactly one month ago), the seams were not cut straight (see photo with pencil pointing to a jagged edge), and that resulted in some “gaps and overlaps.” The seams also did not lie down as nicely as I would have liked. (See photo) The paper did lie tighter and flatter to the wall as it dried, but the slight gap between the seams remained.

In addition, we had discrepancies in the size of the mural compared to the dimensions of the wall. Please read my previous blog post about this. https://wallpaperlady.wordpress.com/2016/12/13/soft-toned-map-mural-for-a-new-babys-room/ For any wallpaper project, and especially for something custom-made, like this mural, always have the wallpaper installer come out and measure BEFORE you order your paper.

In this case, the homeowner measured his wall accurately, but he had not realized that 2″ should be added to EACH SIDE to allow for trimming at the ceiling, floor, and sides, and to accommodate for unplumb walls and unlevel ceilings and floors, and the twisting and warping that happens to paper when it becomes wet from the paste.

The manufacturer added 2 cm to the mural’s dimensions, but this scant amount was not enough to camouflage the sloped ceiling line, so they ended up with a gap between the paper and the ceiling, that grew from 1/16″ to 1/2″ as the mural moved from left to right across the wall. The good thing is, the homeowner is going to install crown molding, which will cover this gap nicely.

This is an adorable pattern that is popular with mothers-to-be. Plus, the mural is printed on a durable canvas-and-vinyl material, that will resist dings, tears, water, and grimy little fingers. 🙂

Van Gogh Slept Here

December 29, 2016
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O.K. – maybe Van Gogh didn’t sleep here, in this brand new home on the eastern edge of the Houston Heights, but it does look like he spent some time painting on the walls. Oh, wait – that’s wallpaper!

This beautiful wallpaper is in the Van Gogh 2015 collection of a company called BN Wallcoverings, in the Netherlands. It was a thinnish, pliable, textured, paste-the-wall material, and was nice to work with.

The homeowner is absolutely in love with this pattern! The builder left the home quite boringly neutral – creams and beiges – and the homeowner wanted to interject some life and color into the master bedroom. Wow – this did the trick! The texture of the material even mimics brush strokes an artist might make working with oil paint on canvas.

This went on just one wall of the master bedroom, behind the headboard. On all four walls, this bold color and fluid pattern might be too much, but on one wall, it is super. For the windows and door leading to the balcony (not shown), drapes are being made that match the brown color of the tree limbs. Neutral-hued Roman shades will “disappear” on the small windows of this accent wall.  A few turquoise accents throughout the room (pillows, vases, artwork) will pull the whole look together.

Grasscloth on Bookshelves – a Popular Concept

September 21, 2016
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Grasscloth adds a warm touch to the backs of bookshelves, texture without a lot of pattern, so it does not upstage the items displayed on the shelves. This is a light, neutral-colored option by Phillip Jeffries.

If I had hung this the normal way, with the reeds running horizontally, I would have had to place a seam smack down the center of the shelves. The homeowner agreed with me, that it would look better to run the reeds vertically, and eliminate that seam.

When she came home, she kept exclaiming, “I can’t believe how that little bit of texture and color really changes the whole room!”

A Light Update, Medieval Feel

March 8, 2016
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This bathroom started out with a rose-colored faux-finish paper. Very nice in its day (it was put up 12 years ago), but the homeowners were ready for an update. The new selection is also on a faux-finish background, but the coppery-brown colors are more neutral, and there is a scratchy, weathered-looking medallion pattern that adds interest, along with a bit of an old-world feel.

The homeowner chose the paper partly because it went with her existing shower curtain (tropical, not shown) and window valance (floral, shown). But once the first strips of the new wallpaper went up, it was evident that the old fabrics were not going to work. (I knew that all along, but just kept mum. 🙂 )

In fact, the homeowner agreed with me that the window looked better with no valance at all, just the shutters. Then she went digging through her linen closet and came up with a textured, cream-colored shower curtain that perfectly matched the color of the woodwork but had no distracting pattern; it looked great next to the brown metallic wallpaper.

The homeowner will keep her original mirror (sorry, no photo, but it is hand-painted and coordinates wonderfully with the wallpaper), and a very loved Medieval-themed painting of angels that looks fantastic hanging on the new wallpaper (sorry, no photo).