Posts Tagged ‘off-kilter’

Tricky Twisting To Make Wonky Walls Look Straight

May 30, 2019


The townhouse where I worked today (Timber Grove area of Houston) had walls that were more like trapezoids than rectangles. Trapezoidal walls make wallpaper run off-kilter. With this rigid geometric print, that meant that the pattern would either mis-match badly in the corners, or start tracking (going downhill) badly along the ceiling line.

So I did this little trick, to keep the pattern straight and nicely matched in the corners. You’re looking at the strips laid out on my table; sorry, no shots of the paper up on the wall. But the pics will give an idea of the process. And it turned out perfect.

I split the strip of wallpaper in two vertically, using a straightedge and a fresh razor blade to follow along the pattern. When applying the paper to the wall, I was able to slightly overlap the left side of the second strip on top of the previous strip, with less overlap at the top and more at the bottom. This enabled me to keep the same design element in the corner to the right (not shown), all the way from the ceiling to the floor. When the next strip went up, the design matched perfectly.

Since the width of the overlap wasn’t more than 3/8″, the black lines of the design disguised any ridges that might be created by the overlap.

Overlapping like this caused some of the vertical lines to be closer to each other than they were supposed to be. See second photo. But the eye notices this much less than if the pattern were very broken up in the corners, which would effect both the horizontal and vertical elements.

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Helping Crooked Walls Look Straight. Geometric Pattern

March 27, 2019

Geometric patterns are very popular right now. But one of the things I hate about them is that your eye expects to see the pattern motif march straight across the ceiling and walls … But ceilings are never perfectly level and walls are never perfectly plumb. And wallpaper itself will expand when it gets wet with paste, and can stretch out of shape, causing it to go off-kilter.

In the top photo, the wallpaper was hung butted straight up against the most visible corner, the left edge (not shown). But since that corner was not absolutely perpendicular to the corner to the right of it, this tight geometric pattern started to track off-kilter. As you see in the photo, the black line at the far right is wider at the bottom of the wall, and tapers off to nothing by the time it gets to the top of the wall.

With a geometric design, your eye wants to see that black line reproduced rhythmically all the way along the wall.

With a thin paper, I might have been able to cut vertically along the design and pull the paper into alignment with the wall on the right, overlapping the excess paper as it moved to the top of the wall. But such an overlap would have been very noticeable on this thick non-woven wallpaper material.

So I did something else. I took some scrap paper and cut appliqués of the black line design that were the same dimensions of the lines at the bottom of the wall. I then pasted them onto the corresponding spot on the right edge of the wall.

As I mentioned, this as a thick non-woven material, and an appliqué would be pretty noticeable. So I fiddled with the paper a bit, and pulled the thick backing away from the inked layer of the front. In the second photo, you see the white backing discarded on the left side of the photo.

Once the appliqués were measured, cut, pasted, and applied to the proper spot on the wall, you don’t notice that anything is not plumb. All you see is a consistent row of black lines marching vertically along the right edge of the wall.

Note that by doing this, I have moved the black line closer than it’s supposed to be to it’s parallel partner to the left of it. But the eye notices this much less than it would a fading away line on the right edge of the wall.

I’m glad that I spent the extra 45 minutes to do this to both vanity walls in this master bathroom in a nicely renovated Mid-Century Modern home in the Piney Point (the Villages) neighborhood of Houston.

Faux Brick, Faux Mortar, Faux Level Ceiling

February 8, 2016
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Virtually no room or home has perfectly plumb walls, nor perfectly level ceilings and floors. Even if the wallpaper is hung perfectly plumb, if the walls or ceiling are out of kilter, it will look like the wallpaper is askew, with the design being closer to the ceiling at one end of the wall, and dropping farther away from the ceiling at the other end. So, to disguise this, I will often put an element at the top of the wall that you will not notice if it’s growing shorter or taller – for instance, a partial brick, and your eye won’t notice if it’s 3 1/2″ high at one end of the wall and 4 1/8″ high at the other.

But in this room, I wanted to have a line of mortar at the top of the wall, so it would look like a real brick wall. The ceiling line was straight along the right half of the wall, as you see in the photo, but got off-level on the left half. That meant that the bricks started falling down the wall, and the bottoms of bricks from the row above them started showing at the ceiling line.

To disguise this, I took scraps of unused wallpaper and cut thin strips of the mortar design. Then I appliquéd these over the bottoms of the bricks that I didn’t want to show at the ceiling line. Regular wallpaper paste won’t stick to this textured vinyl product, so I had to use an adhesive specially formulated to adhere to vinyl.

The finished result looked great. No dark bottoms of bricks showed along the top of the wall, and you really couldn’t notice that the mortar along the ceiling on the left half of the room was wider than the mortar on the right half.

This wallpaper is by Sunworthy, and I hung it on an accent wall in a bedroom of a teenaged boy.