Posts Tagged ‘panel’

More Blue Heron Flight Mural

April 22, 2023
This is the kind of a room that you don’t just look at the walls – you have to stand in the room and feel it. Dusk settling into night , swooping birds , stormy clouds .
This looks a little like hand-stitched embroidery .
This textured natural material is a fine sisal , which is similar to grasscloth . The color between panels was pretty uniform , as you see at the seam toward the right of the photo .
These panels came 33″ wide . But for this last strip on the right, I only needed 23″ width. That means I would have 10″ of width , the length of the strip, to cut off and discard . If I had used the left side of the strip, which is logical installation sequence , we would have had birds’ butts sticking out from the side of the window molding . So I decided to trim off that left side and instead use the right side which, as you see, has a more pleasing bird’s face and wing .
The brand is Phillip Jeffries , a high-end company . The material comes as a 6-panel set . You have to purchase six panels, but after that, you can buy individual panels in sequence, so you’ll have enough to do your room , without having to purchase a full 6-panel set. Like I said – this stuff is pricey!
This dining room is in a renovated 1925 home in the Heights neighborhood of Houston .
installer

Phillip Jeffries Flight in Blue Heron in Heights Dining Room

April 21, 2023
Before shot of dining room in a beautifully restored and enlarged 1925 bungalow in the Heights neighborhood of Houston.
Just below dead center of photo, under the stairs – my helper couldn’t be less interested!
Swooping heron , and powerful , roiling, turbulent clouds .
This is a manila hemp product , which is similar to grasscloth , and has a texture d surface . As with most natural materials , the seams are always a bit visible .
The walls in this home were smooth , so no call for skim-floating or sanding … Just a primer was needed . My favorite primer for wallpaper is Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime .
This wallpaper comes in panels , and is custom made to order . All of the panels are rolled up into one long bolt , and you have to separate them, as you see here. AND keep them in the correct order / sequence ,
I was lucky that this house had a lot of open floor space , where I could roll out the panels to verify pattern match, panel sequence , and get accurate measurements.
Note that, like many high-end brands, this wallpaper comes with an unprinted selvedge edge , that has to be trimmed off by hand . Once I get the edges trimmed off , the birds you see in the photo above will match perfectly .
I trim against this Big Blue straightedge , and hold a single edge razor blade in my hand .
Sorry, I don’t know how to flip this photo. WordPress used to be easy to work … but some years back they came up with this ” New Editor ” which is, to be honest, a nightmare, and costs me a lot of time every evening.
End of rant. Here is a mock-up provided by the manufacturer , that shows the mural as a six- panel set , including pattern layout and dimensions of each panel .
Here are my drawings from when I first consult ed with the homeowner and we plotted out how the paper was to be install ed. Phillip Jeffries is expensive stuff!
Normally, with a mural , a full-height panel is required for even the 6″ high areas over the door ways. See photo below. This means that you’re paying for a lot – a LOT – of wallpaper that gets cut off and thrown into the trash.
But, since the panels are about 2′ taller than the walls , we figured that the part cut off the bottom of each strip could be used for the areas over the doorways (see next photo) , as well as above and below the windows (see last photo).
This will take no small amount of math and engineering , and the couple will have to live with some paneling / shading , and color variations between strips . But that’s typical of grasscloth type products , anyway. Accepting a few color differences will save this couple a few – thousand – dollars. Yes, I told you that PJ was expensive stuff!
And I’m up for the challenge !
Here’s the one area I’ve done so far, using scraps discarded from the bottoms to piece in over the top of the entryway . This area is only 6″ high , so color variations won’t be very noticeable . Still, it really turned out well.
Getting a similarly pleasing look on this wall , with heights over and under the windows being much higher than 6″ , will be tomorrow’s challenge. Stay tuned!

World Map Mural – Focus on Africa

February 17, 2023
This couple in a beautifully updated 1939 home (4-plex converted to single family) in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston loves Africa and has traveled there several times. This spare bedroom on the first floor is devoted to Africa. On the walls they have hanging artifacts from their travels.
And now they have a map of the continent , front and center!
accent wall
Close up looks like old paper that has been folded and stashed and aged , then uncovered and now placed on the wall.
The mural is custom-sized to the wall. Remember to add 3″ to both width and height, to accommodate trimming and also wonky walls.
The material comes as one big roll , with six panels all in one long piece. You have to unroll the whole thing and cut the panels apart . Note that five panels are 19″ wide. But that sixth one on the far right is only 16″ wide. I have cut off the 3″ overage. So when you’re plotting your lay-out, don’t go assuming that you will have six panels of the same width. That last panel is going to be whatever it needs to be, to custom-fit the size of the wall.
Here, I’m laying the panels out to compare dimensions of width and length with those of the wall . Also checking to be sure the sequence of panels is correct. Note the diagram provided by the company on the white sheet of paper at the top of the photo.
Here’s a close-up of the diagram / install instruction sheet .
The mural is by Rebel Walls , a part of Gimmersta . I love their hundreds of selections, their material , quality , and excellent customer service.
This particular mural is called World Map . I’m not sure, but it may come in other colors .
Here’s the mock-up the company sent. The homeowner requested that Africa be placed in the center . You see what a good job Rebel Walls did with that. The mural that we received was actually a little smaller, and didn’t contain that much of America on the left, nor the far right sides of the countries on the right.
Interestingly, the mural doesn’t meet up with itself. In other words, you can’t place two murals side-by-side. Look at the left, where America is. There’s only the eastern half of America. But there is no connecting western half of America on the right side of the mural. So you couldn’t order several of these and place them next to each other, to go around a bedroom , for instance. This may be because the mural was designed to fit one wall only , and to focus on Africa . It’s possible that the same mural is available so that it will connect to itself, and so that you could use it all the way around a room.
According to the shipping box, Rebel Walls is also connected with Sandberg , another manufacturer of fine wallpapers . This stuff comes from Sweden . It is a non-woven material and can be hung using the paste the wall method . I often prefer to paste the paper , but on this simple accent wall, I did paste the wall . Saves space, because I don’t have to set up my big table .
Non-woven wallpapers don’t expand when wet with paste like traditional papers do, which is a nice advantage for many reasons. They also are durable and stain-resistant . And are also designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece, and with no damage to your wall when you redecorate .¬† Non-woven is MUCH better than the false-hopes peel & stick material being pushed by some mfgrs today. Click my link to the right.
Rebel Walls also includes special paste for this non-woven paper. This is important, because some other types of paste have been known to stain N-W’s, also called blushing – paper looks wet in areas, but never dries out .
It’s believed that excess moisture is a reason for this staining / blushing . Which is the main reason why I don’t used the paste provided by RW. If the powdered substance has to be mixed with water to turn into paste , it stands to reason that it can be too liquidy and could bleed through the surface of the wallpaper, causing staining.
I prefer a pre-mixed paste made by Roman called 780 . You can also use Roman 838 . These both have lower moisture contents, and have good record of not staining wallpapers . Most Sherwin-Williams stores carry these pastes. But call first!

Dark and Moody Jungle Theme for Powder Room

February 11, 2023




Before. Heavily textured wall has been skim-floated with smoothing / joint compound and then sanded smooth , and then primed with Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime wallpaper primer . I’ve run a narrow line of dark green craft paint along the top of the chair rail / wainscoting , due to uneven edges . More on that in a soon-future post.
Sink wall is done. Pattern is centered nicely on the faucet and in between the electrical boxes for the new sconces – They haven’t arrived yet and will be installed in a few weeks .
The homeowner’s carpenter created this beautiful wainscoting out of 3D block paneling , and then painted it a rich dark hunter’s green . Right now there’s some sanding dust collected on it, plus bad lighting . In person, it’s gorgeous . The same company did a fantastic paneled wall / fireplace surround in the family room (not pictured) .
Back to wallpaper … This shot is pretty color-accurate. I love the way the dark wallpaper coordinates with the green paneling . The pink and orange flowers , as well as the row of purple foliage , really stand out against all the dark .
Close-up looks like an artist’s painting . Besides centering the pattern on the sink wall, the dimensions worked out so that I was able to balance the chameleons between the ceiling and chair rail , one just below the ceiling and the one here just above the chair rail. So no critter got cut in half .
This product comes as a 2-strip (roll) set , with an “A” strip and a “B” strip in each box. Together, the two strips equal just a hair under 6′ wide , and a little over 9′ high . Here I’m rolling out the two strips so I can gauge the pattern , measure width and height , and plot the layout on the wall.
Sobering fact: Each 2-strip set (one “roll”) cost about $500. This room used four of those sets. I always try to keep that in mind when working with people’s purchased wallpaper .
OK, this damned Word Press blog account has AGAIN (2nd time in two nights!) deleted paragraphs that I spent a lot of time typing. I can’t recreate all the info I put into that lost post, but below I will try to include some of the important points.
First and foremost – since the switch to the New Editor back about 2015, I pretty much HATE WORDPRESS .
Anyway, here the company is providing a mock-up of what the “A” and “B” strips look like. The mock-up above shows the two panels next to each other.
Since this is essentially a mural and the pattern doesn’t repeat vertically as more typical wallpapers do, you can plan on getting only one strip out of each panel. These walls are 6′ high , and the panels are 9′ high. So you’re losing 3′ with every strip.
Further, the area over the door needed one panel that’s 2′ high. But an entire 9′ panel was needed for this, to get the 2′ high strip. So 7′ are going into the trash. Add to that, since this product comes as a 2-panel set , the homeowner had to buy a 2-panel set (at $500), even though only part of one panel would be used. This means that 1 + 2/3 9′ long panels were purchased but not used.
Also, because this comes in panels instead of traditional rolled goods, there are no “extra” strips. This means that I can’t make any mistakes.
Nothing like a little pressure while trying to install wallpaper !
No fears … this pattern and material went up nicely, and we had just enough paper to git ‘er done.


Manufacturer is Breeze and the pattern is called Fantasy Tree . It was purchased from one of the show rooms in one of the Design / Decorative Centers in central Houston. It’s printed on the user-friendly / DIY – friendly non-woven material , which can be hung by pasting the paper (which I prefer) or the paste-the-wall method . It’s designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece with no damage to the wall when it’s time to redecorate . Definitely better than peel & stick (click my link on the right to read more about P&S ).
The home is in the Oak Forest / Garden Oaks / Heights neighborhood of Houston .

Fanciful Mural for Baby’s Crib / Accent Wall

December 23, 2022
Typical textured wall in new homes in suburban Houston has been skim-floated , sanded smooth , and primed with Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime wallpaper primer .
All ready for baby Noah! The parents-to-be will spend the weekend bringing in the crib and other furnishings .
This is a 4-panel mural . Here I’ve laid out the panels , to ensure correct placement , and get accurate measurements .
We had some ” issues ” and I wasn’t completely happy with this product / vendor . For starters, they custom-printed custom-sized the material to the exact dimensions I had asked. Problem is, these panels are intended to be overlapped and double-cut ( spliced ). That means losing an inch on every seam . The company should have accommodated for that by providing us with four extra inches. They did not, so I had a real math and juggling match trying to plot how to get enough paper to cover the width of the wall.
The grey colors go nicely with the current trend toward greys and beiges ; the rest of the home follows this color scheme .
i thought this was going to be a pre-trimmed non-woven / paste the wall material. I was caught off guard when I discovered it was a textured vinyl on a paper backing , untrimmed and had to be double cut . See other post and/or do some Searching here for more info on this DC process . I think a better material would have resulted in better seams . But – wallpaper is meant to be viewed from about 5′ away, and from there, the wall is perfect.
Remember the picture of the panels laid out on the floor . The panel on the far right had a cool train near the top. It was a prominent feature in the scene . But, as you see in this photo, that train was cut off by the door. So all you see over the door is blank sky . I really liked that train, and so did the mom . I wanted to put it where she could see it .
So I took the bottom portion of that last panel and found the train. I used a straightedge to cut the bottom edge, and then used a scissors to trim around the top of the train and its trail of smoke .
Vinyl is slick , and wallpaper paste won’t adhere to it. So I applied special paste designed to grab ahold of vinyl. Then I placed it over the door , butting it up against the right where it meets the adjoining wall.
But – dangnabit! I forgot to take a picture of it finished! It looked great. Over the door was no longer all that dead-air blank space. Now there is a streamlined train with wisps of smoke , heading toward the distant castle !
I’m not going to mention where this was purchased from, because it’s one of the sites that I hope people will steer away from – a place that sells batteries , jewelry , fishing tackle , and – oh, yeah – wallpaper, too,,, you’re just better off with one of the established companies that specializes in wallpaper .
nursery installer houston sienna

1/2 Inch Width = A Full Strip

December 15, 2022

I’m fixin’n to hang faux grasscloth on this accent / headboard wall in a master bedroom in the Spring Branch area of Houston. The textured wall has been skim-floated , sanded smooth , primed , and is ready for wallpaper .
The material is 20.75″ (20 and 3/4″) wide . So here I’m measuring off how many strips of wallpaper I’ll need.
I’ve counted out seven strips across the wall, and have come to my last (8th) strip. Look at my pencil mark – it’s at 21.” Remember that the paper is 20 3/4″ wide. This means that, to cover that last, scant 1/4″ width , I’ll have to use a ninth strip. Which will be a whole 9′ high strip that’s 20.75″ wide.
Useing a 1/4″ wide strip off a 9′ long length leaves us with a whole lot of waste – paper / square footage just going into the trash.
This is, again, why you should not purchase wallpaper based on square footage. It’s more a matter of determining how many strips you will need – factoring in the pattern repeat, etc.
Even better , have the wallpaper installer make a site – visit and calculate for you.
Going a step further … Since this is a (faux) grasscloth and has not pattern match , the seams will all be visible . So we try to balance the panels on the wall. Meaning, the wall will look better with panels of equal-widths, instead of, for instance, eight panels at 21″ wide and one at 1/2″.
For the record, it also looks better to not have a seam fall at dead-center on the wall. Better to have that center panel straddle the mid-point.
With this particular install, that’s what I chose to do. I took the first (let’s just call it 21″ wide for ease) … I took the first 21″ wide panel and used my laser level to line it up so 10 1/2″ fell on either side of the center line on the wall. So, this first panel was straddling the center line.
From there, I used full-width (21″) panels one either side.
Until I got to the last panel on the left, and the last one on the right. These two ended up each being about 15″ wide. So I had seven panels that were 21″ wide, and then two flanking on either side that were 15″ wide. This gave the wall a nice, balanced, uniform look.
Yes, I could have hand-trimmed each strip to 19″ wide or whatever the math would have worked out to. But my option was simpler, faster, maintained uniformity between the majority of the panels, as well as uniform width on the two outer panels, eliminated the worry of gaps at the seams due to unevenly trimmed rigid vinyl goods, and the 6″ width difference wasn’t very noticeable. And, also, since this was a faux grasscloth and color variations were minimized, you could hardly see the seams, nor the width of the panels, anyway.
From 5′ away, this wall looked perfectly homogeneous .

Artemis Block – Inverted Twin of Yesterday’s Install Post

October 14, 2022
Half bath sink room primed and read for wallpaper . I have plotted where the seams will fall and striped with dark paint , to prevent the light colored primer from showing in case the seams gap a bit.
Artemis is available as a floor-to-ceiling pattern. So this partial coverage option is an innovative and fun variation on a theme .
This is the same pattern Artemis Climbing Walls as yesterday, but reversed , so the flowers go from bottom upward .
The ceilings are pretty high. The empty 5 gallon bucket is there on the counter (with non-slip cushioning beneath it) as an un-OSHA approved footrest , so I can safely reach the top corners .
Artemis is a very popular wallpaper pattern , especially in this dark / black colorway .
Manufacturer is House of Hackney .
This install was on four walls in a powder room , instead of a single accent wall. Since this comes as a 4-panel mural instead of traditional rolled goods, the layout was a little more tricky . I cut out the little mock-ups from the instruction insert, and marked them as to roughly where each panel was separated .
This is a non-woven material, and can be hung by the paste the wall method, as I did yesterday in the dining room. But today, in the small and chopped up powder room , I opted to paste the paper instead.
You will note that this pattern continues uninterrupted from one mural to the next. If you have a wide space to cover and will need more than one mural , this continuation of the design is imperative. Not all do, so check and be extra sure, before you order.
Speaking of ordering material … remember that for murals, you MUST add 2″ to EACH side – in other words, a total of FOUR INCHES to BOTH WIDTH and HEIGHT . This will accommodate trimming at floor and ceiling , and also will allow for wonky or off-plumb / level surfaces .
Better yet, have your wallpaper installer calculate for you.
Houston

Grasscloth Engineering and Logistics – Technical Details Post

August 21, 2022
Grasscloth is a natural material that cannot be matched from strip to strip, so all the seams will be visible . In addition, there is usually a slight but noticeable color difference between strips / panels (called shading or paneling ) . So it’s important to plot the layout of the strips to give the most visually pleasing overall look. Usually this means balancing the width of strips so they are all equal , at least on the same wall . We call this engineering .
This wall presented particular challenges , due to the widths of the elements. Grasscloth comes 36″ wide . You can use your straightedge and a sharp razor blade and trim it down to any width you want.
The width of both the large wall spaces to the right and left of the bank of windows was 34.” The width of each window was about 35.” The width of the two spaces in between the windows was 7.”
So you’d think I could trim my panels on either side of the windows, and then over the windows, to about 34″-36″ – give or take a few inches (or fractions thereof).
But that would leave me with two 7″ wide strips between these 35″ panels. Although the look would be uniform and mirror-image from the center outward, moving from right to left you’d have: 35,” 35″, 7,” 35,” 7,” 35,” 35,” … those 7″ breaks were just not going to look right.
One option was to determine the width of the wall (189″) and make each strip an equal width. This worked out to six strips, each at 31.5″ Not good, because this would mean a seam down either far side. And since those sides were 34″ wide, that would mean a 31.5″ wide strip and a strip 2.5″ wide. Not attractive at all, and it would use up an extra strip of wallpaper.
This six strips @ 31.5″ wide scenario might also land with a seam smack in the middle of those 7″ wide interludes in between the windows. Not attractive at all.
So I decided to make the two outer strips 35″ wide. That left 119″ of wall space above the windows to be covered with wallpaper. Do some math and you get four panels of 29.75″ wide. This gave a balanced and uniform look to the area over the windows, and also prevented seams from landing between the windows.
Moving right to left, I cut and hung the full length outer strip first. Then I cut and hung the strip over the window on the right. Then I measured to find the centerpoint of the window in the middle. Turns out it was a bit less than 29.75″ away. So I trimmed that next over-window strip accordingly.
Once that was in place, I measured from that center point above the middle window out to where my left full-height panel would fall, 35″ out from the wall. Took the resulting measurement and divided by 2. Lo and behold, each of the next two panels over the window was going to be a bit wider than 30.” No problem. No one (but a paperhanger or maybe an engineer) is going to notice a 1/4″ or even a full 1″ difference in widths between this strips over the windows.
Another thing to point out … it’s important that I took measurements before cutting these strips for this second left-hand section. Because, since grasscloth comes at 36″ (and walls can be wonky), if my strips had been narrower (say, 28″), that last full-height panel on the left might have ended up needing to be 37″ wide – and that wouldn’t work because it only comes 36″ wide – plus you need at least 1/8″ to wrap around the corner.
Luckily I had the flexibility to be able to trim the panels over the windows to any width needed, to accommodate all this.
If you’ve followed all this so far, let me also toss in that we also need to figure how to get paper in between those windows. More on that below.
In this scenario, I’m moving from right to left.
Area beneath the windows needs to be treated in the same way, and preferably with widths that match what’s going on above the windows. In addition, it’s tricky because after you move across 12′ of wall space, the strips above and below the windows are going to twist and torque out of shape, so that last full-length panel on the far left might not butt up perfectly with the last strip under the windows.
The grasscloth is black , and my wallpaper primer is white . It’s common for teeny gaps to appear at the seams . In this case, it’s likely that white wall would peek out from those gaps. So I like to stripe under where the seams will fall with dark (diluted) paint . This takes measuring , plotting , and also a heat gun to get the paint to dry before the wallpaper hits it, to avoid staining. You can do a Search here to read more about this technique .
Now let’s talk about getting wallpaper in between those windows.
As you can see in the photo, if I hang a 30″ wide strip, a whole lot of paper is going to be cut off and thrown away. Also, a whole lot of sticky, pasted paper is going to bump against that window molding and maybe even the window glass. A lot to clean up! And unwieldy, to boot.
My solution was to stop the wallpaper just a little below the tops of the windows. Then I would patch in a 7″ wide strip in between the windows. This is trickier than it sounds, because, if it were a paper wallpaper, I could simply cut along a design motif and overlay the 7″ wide piece. But grasscloth is thick and overlaps don’t look good. Also grass has no design elements , and the reeds of grass don’t necessarily fall perfectly horizontal , and even if you cut everything perfectly true to square , if the window molding is a teeny bit off-plumb , then your edges won’t butt up perfectly.
So that’s a good reason for striping the black paint under where the butt join will occur.
Same thing for the sections under the windows. I measured and positioned the strips so that the top edge (which I had trimmed to be perfectly horizontal) fell between the narrowest part of the windowsill molding, for less visibility.
I admit, instead of butting the two pieces, here I did overlap the 7″ wide strip about 1/4″ onto the piece under the window, right at that narrow junction. It’s only about 3″ wide, and I figured no one is going to be examining it that closely, anyway. This saved me about a half an hour of measuring, trimming, testing, repeat, repeat.
This is my second window interlude, and by this time I had realized that it’s hard to trim stiff grasscloth around intricate moldings precisely . So I used paint to fill in the edges around the window molding, just in case there might be any gaps between the grasscloth and the molding, so you would see black instead of the white molding paint. I did this with a small sponge; if I had used an artist’s brush it would have been a bit neater and tighter to the conforms of the molding. But sometimes you’ve gotta relax and realize that no one’s going to be scrutinizing the insides of moldings below shin-level.
Area over windows finished, with drapes back in place.
Turns out this particular grasscloth is so uniform in color (quite unusual, I will add), that you can’t really see the panels , nor their equal widths , anyway. I’m still glad I took the time to do all this math and trimming.
Area below the windows, done. That last seam on the left bears some explanation, too. Moving across the top of the windows, I measured that that last strip – the full-length strip – would need to be exactly 35″ wide. It butted up nicely to the last strip above the windows.
But, due to twisting , shifting , expansion , unlevel and unplumb walls and ceilings , and other factors, there is a really good chance that that last 35″ wide strip would not butt up perfectly with the last 30″ wide strip under the window . So I planned to splice these last two strips together.
Yeah, the drapes are hanging there, I coulda overlapped the two strips about 1/2″ and the drapes would have covered it. With a thin wallpaper, I probably would have done this. But grasscloth is thick, and an overlap would be visible , and also the adhesive / paste can’t be trusted to adhere as well to grass as it would to paper .
So I plotted for a splice. Instead of trimming my last strip under the window to 30″ (read above), I trimmed it to 32″ wide. That way, when I hung the last full-length strip to the left, which was 35″ wide, it overlapped the piece under the window by a few inches. Then I did a double cut and spliced the two pieces. See below for details about that technique.
Grasscloth is 36″ wide, and this wall area is wider than that. So two strips were needed. This means you’re going to have a seam, and since grasscloth seams are always visible, it looks best to plot to have the seam fall down the center. It uses more wallpaper to do this, but it looks much better than having, for example, a 36″ wide strip next to an 8″ wide strip.
As mentioned above, in case you get thin gaps at the seams, a dark stripe of diluted craft paint under where the seam will fall, will prevent white wall from showing through.
Rounded / bull-nosed edges and corners have been popular in new construction for at least 10 years. I wish they’d go away. They’re very difficult to trim around, and hard for the paper to conform to and adhere to.
It’s very hard to trim around that rounded edge, because the paper is hanging over and blocking your view, because grasscloth is thick and stiff and your fingers can’t feel through it, and because the edges aren’t necessarily true and plumb so a laser level or other level won’t help you much.
I use this little gadget as a trim guide. It’s actually a small section of the same corner bead material that drywallers use when they assemble these walls. Cut to about 1″ long and notched in different places where you might trim along the edge of the wall.
It’s intended that you place your trimming knife in one of the notches and slide the gizmo along the edge and make your cut. I find that awkward and also inaccurate. So I prefer to use the notches as a guide and mark where I plan to trim with a pencil. Since this wallpaper is black, I used this marking pencil from my home sewing kit instead. Chalk might work, but I was afraid it might now wipe off completely.
The pink pencil line was barely visible, but it was enough for me to use a scissors to trim along the grasscloth. I like this better than using a razor blade as I can see better, and also less chance of scoring into the primer or wall. Which raises its own set of issues – do a search here to find previous posts.
Inside view of the trim guide.
Finished arch. Note the four panels of equal width above the arch. And two flanking full-height panels also the same widths.
I was lucky that there was no pattern to match, so I was able to butt my two flanking strips right up to the edge of the bull-nosed corner. No trimming needed! Then I measured the remaining width between these two strips (the area over the arch), divided by four, and cut four strips of equal widths.
I hung the two on the left, and then one on the far right. This left one strip still to be positioned to the right of center. So the pieces are going to meet over the arch, rather than the last strip falling in a corner.
Same as the last strip under the window (discussed above), it’s really difficult to get your last piece to fit in here perfectly. I’ve done it, but it takes a lot of measuring, trimming, testing, retrimming, and often starting all over again.
So I did a double-cut / splice.
A double cut involves cutting each strip an inch or so wider than it should be, and overlapping the two. Then you take a straight edge and sharp razor blade and cut through both layers. This handy tool is a wonderful non-slip guide for this process. It was invented by an installer colleague in the Wallcovering Installers Association ( WIA ) and she has them fabricated in various lengths (along with other cool tools ) and sells them on-line. Contact me if you’re interested.
Anyway, it takes a lot of strength to cut through two layers of grasscloth, so somewhat difficult for lil’ ol’ me.
You also want to be sure to not cut / score into the wall, because the tension of drying wallpaper can tug at the wall and cause it to actually come apart, leaving an open seam that’s difficult to repair.
So you’ve got to put some padding under the wall where the cut will take place. I use special strips of polystyrene (hard but flexible plastic) to pad the wall. Also invented by a colleague in the WIA , who also sells other cool tools and supplies. Contact me if you’re interested.
This black grasscloth was printed on a white substrate. If the seams aren’t absolutely tight, there can be worries about the backing showing through to the front. So sometimes we’ll take a piece of chalk or pastel (never oil pastel or permanent markers because they bleed and stain ) and run it along the edge of the paper – from the back, and taking care to not get chalk on the surface.
I do this frequently with dark papers ( do a search here to see previous posts ) but opted not to do it with this grasscloth. It wasn’t necessary, and might have stained the porous reeds of the grass. It was beneficial, though, to have striped dark paint on the wall under the seams, as mentioned above.
Ugh. Grasscloth comes 36″ wide, and this section of wall is 38″ wide. It’s not visually pleasing, nor is it easy from an installation point of view, to have a 36″ wide strip next to a 2″ wide strip. Or to use scraps and put a 25″ wide strip next to a 13″ wide strip.
So best to plan two strips of equal widths. Two strips, each 19″ wide, with the seam down the middle.
Actually, the strip on the left was 19″ wide, but I trimmed the strip on the right to 21″, because I like the wallpaper to extend 2″ over the top of the door molding. This provides a more stable surface in case of shifting foundation or walls, and less likelihood (knock on wood) of the seam opening up should the house / drywall experience shifting.
Note that design “rules” caution against seams down the middle of spaces. But it would have been more visually distracting (and used up more paper) to have made three strips of each 12.75″ wide. And would have looked even dumber to have used scraps left from other walls and put together two strips of disparate widths.
So the homeowner and I discussed during our initial consultation , and she was happy with the center seam. Once it was all finished, this particular grasscloth was so even in tone that you barely see the seams, anyway. Win-win!
This did use up additional paper, though, as noted in a previous photo above.

Colorful, But In A Subdued Way

April 23, 2022
My clients had purchased and moved into one of those all white new-build homes in the Houston Heights that are popular right now. The blank slate style suits many homeowners – but my family wanted more personality and warmth.
They found this Hollyhocks 4-panel mural by House of Hackney . They love the color and fresh liveliness of the design.
This wallpaper does a whole lot to perk up the breakfast area, but doesn’t overwhelm or feel childish, because the colors are muted.
A snug eating area.
Close-up looks like a chalk or pastel drawing.
The flowers remind me of active people – a lot of people talking and milling about.
This is a non-woven material. It can be hung by the paste-the-wall method, although I prefer to paste the paper.

The Big Easy On The Walls

March 5, 2022
West wall smoothed, primed, and ready for wallpaper.
The homeowner used to live in New Orleans, and she tells me that signs like this are very common in local convenience stores and neighborhood dives. Transplanted to Houston, these signs are very dear to her heart as a reminder of her roots – and the funky lifestyle in the Big Easy.
She wanted the signs recreated somehow to cover the walls in their newly-renovated powder room in the Houston Heights. I suggested she contact rebelwalls.com , who custom made the paper and sized it specifically to fit each wall in the room individually. I measured and made drawings, and a designer named Simon at RebelWalls laid it all out.
North wall before. This is the wall with the toilet and sink.
There were a couple of glitches, the first being that the strips were printed about 10″ longer than I requested. No biggie – I’d rather have too much paper than come up short.
But the main glitch being that I had asked for this “sign” to be centered over the toilet, which meant that the center of the sign (I used the middle fleur-de-lis) would land at 17.5″ from the wall to the left. But somehow it got printed to where the left edge of the pattern was 17.5″ from the wall … That left a whole lot of white space between the wall and the design, and also pushed the words too close to the mirror, which will hang over the sink to the right.
After careful measuring, calculating, and testing, I determined that if I used my straightedge and razor blade to take off a 12″ wide slice from the left side, the “sign” would move to the left such that its center would fall over the mid-point of the toilet.
Voilà! As you see in the photo, now the words are nicely balanced on this section of wall, and will not crowd the mirror which will be hung to the right.
The rest of the wallpaper moving to the right is unprinted, so as to leave a blank slate for the mirror to hang on. Here you see that wall, and also the wall to its right. This east wall has the same sign, but in a smaller scale, sized to fit the narrower wall. It’s also placed at a different height
Graphic designer Simon used my drawings and measurements to get the words nicely centered on this wall. The area above the door to the right (not visible) is left blank.
Here is the west wall (on the right) abutting the south / window wall.
The bull-nosed / rounded edges / corners such as you see around the window are really a pain with wallpaper, especially when they go both around the sides and the top, and can lead to some impossibilities. Too complicated to get into here. But I was pleased with the way this worked out. And the placement of the pleated shades toward the front of the opening helped a lot, too.
One interesting thing to note is that the thickness of this non-woven wallcovering (along with the joint compound I used to smooth the textured wall) is enough that it narrows the space inside the window just a tad,,, and that makes it a bit tight for the shades to fit back in,,, and that opens the potential for abrading the wallpaper as the shade is raised and lowered over time.
Another point … even though the widths of the wall spaces to be covered were different, we requested that the size of the font on the “sign” lettering be the same on the west wall and the north / mirror wall, and ditto for the window wall and the door wall.
I also made sure that the “signs” started at the same distance from the ceiling. This then ensured that each “sign” would land at the same distance from the tile below it.
Synchronizing the size of the fonts as well as the spacing between ceiling and tile helps immensely to lend a feeling of unity and order to this room.
I spent a full 2 1/2 hours plotting, measuring, testing mock-ups, and going back to the drawing board, before I ever cut any paper.
Prior to that, there were two visits to the home to get measurements and kick around options with the homeowner. In addition, she spent countless communications with the manufacturer and with our specific designer.
All this futzing is important, because, with murals, there is no second chance. There’s only one of each panel, and if one gets screwed up, there are no more to pull off the bolt, like you’d have with regular rolled goods.
RebelWalls is the manufacturer. I’ve had lots of great installs with this company.
What was inside our box, including Simon’s dimensions and lay-out.
Basic installation instructions. Ours was a bit – a whole lot – more complicated, because it covered not one but four walls. In our case, it worked best to have each wall be a separate mural, so to speak.
RebelWalls includes free wallpaper paste. I prefer to use my own pre-mixed vinyl adhesive, which is SureStik Dynomite 780. Recently bought by Roman, so the name has changed to just 780.
Certain pastes have been known to ” stain ” non-woven wallpapers (areas look wet but never dry out). I think that a high moisture content in the paste has a lot to do with this. So I’m hesitant to use a powdered paste that needs to be mixed with water.
I’ll squirrel away that RebelWalls powdered paste for another, better suited job. For this home’s install, I’m sticking with my tried and true 780.
A coupla more notes.
One, this project was a study in vision, desire, anticipation, and patience. The homeowner first contacted me in July 2021. It took nearly eight months to come to fruition. Granted, they had a whole kitchen remodel in the middle, which also included an update to this powder room. But just speaking for the wallpaper, there were several site visits, many emails, and then innumerable communications with the design team at RW.
In fact, since I’ve hung lots of RebelWalls and am familiar with their process, I thought I could lay out the design. But this project of separate “sign” motifs for each wall section was taxing my skill set. Finally I laid down my pencil and paper and said, “Stop doing what you yell at your clients for doing, which is trying to do something you don’t have expertise in! RebelWalls has designers who are trained to figure all this out. So let THEM do the math and placement and calculating and layout.” So we turned it over to them, and within a short time they had it all worked out perfectly (except for those few glitches I mentioned). Their customer service was amazing.
All this was crucial to ensuring that mural pieces fit the wall perfectly and that the final product looks stunning.
I also want to mention that the RebelWalls quality is excellent. It’s a non-woven material which has many advantages (too numerous to go into here, but you can Search). The seams melt together like butter and are invisible – even on areas with all that bare white space with no pattern. On a simple accent wall, you can paste-the-wall to hang it. In this (and most) cases, I pasted-the-material, which gives more flexibility and also ensures that paste gets into hard-to-reach areas – like behind a toilet.
In addition, the non-woven material is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when you redecorate.
The company offers scores of patterns, from cute to sophisticated, and, as we did this time around, can make custom creations.
Super customer service, too.

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