Posts Tagged ‘nubby’

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.

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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.

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.

Ditzy Dots Do a Disappearing Act

November 28, 2015
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The new owners of this home in Bunker Hill Village (Houston) inherited this wallpaper in their home office. It’s what I call “ditzy repetitive,” and was popular in the ’90’s – although there are plenty of current wallpaper sample books displaying this type of pattern. I, myself, have never been a fan. Well, neither was the lady of the house.

In the attic, she found scraps of a grasscloth that had been used in an upstairs room. The soft green / grey / brown color and nubby texture coordinated perfectly with colors and themes in the first level of the home, and there was enough to paper the backs of the bookshelves in the home office.

First, I stripped off the patterned wallpaper (3rd photo). To do this, I wet the surface of the paper with a sponge, then used a putty knife and my hands to remove the top inked layer of wallpaper, then used the sponge again to wet the backing, which then came away from the wall easily (because the previous installer had used a primer, like you’re supposed to do). I used the sponge to remove paste residue, then hung the new grasscloth.

The grasscloth is a pleasing update in this home office, and also coordinates nicely with the colors used throughout the home. The last photo shows you the nubby texture and visible seams typical of grasscloth.