Posts Tagged ‘pattern’

Crooked Walls – Mismatch in the Corners, or at the Ceiling?

November 2, 2019

When turning an inside corner with wallpaper, you cut the strip in two vertically, so that just 1/8″ or so wraps around the corner, and then you overlap the remaining part of the strip onto that little bit. This eliminates wrinkles caused by crooked walls. And it allows you to plumb up the new strip.

The walls and corners in this powder room were off-plumb. This is pretty typical, but since the room had 10′ high ceilings, by the time you moved 10′ down the wall, a little discrepancy turned into a big discrepancy.

This means that, when turning a corner, I had the options of mis-matching the pattern in the corner, in order to keep the new strip properly plumb. OR matching the pattern precisely and then allowing the new strip to hang off-plumb – which would cause the design to track off-kilter along the ceiling and floor.

This pattern afforded me the chance to fiddle a bit, to get the best of both worlds. I was able to match the pattern perfectly in the corner, as well as keep the motifs in their proper positions at the ceiling line.

I matched the pattern exactly in the corner. That caused the new strip to hang off-plumb. So I cut the strip in two vertically, by slicing along the wavy edge of the tree trunk. See top photo.

The right half of the strip of wallpaper was left stuck to the wall, off-plumb and all. The left half I pulled away, and replaced onto the wall an inch or so lower, so the design elements hit the ceiling where I wanted them to. I then lined its left edge up against a plumb line, allowing the right edge to overlap the left edge of the strip that was still stuck to the wall.

There was a small overlap at the top, but the overlap grew wider as I moved toward the floor, due to one strip being plumb and one being off-plumb.

But since I had cut vertically along the tree trunk, your eye only sees that the tree is intact, and doesn’t notice a little bit of pattern being covered by that tree trunk. The overlap leaves a bit of a ridge under the paper, but the design of the tree trunk obscures that nicely.

As the overlap got wider as I moved down the wall, there were some motifs that got covered up enough that they were noticeable. I simply took some scrap paper and cut leaves or butterflies or other elements and pasted them in appropriate spots, to fill in missing parts.

OK, actually, it was a little more involved than that, and it took at least a half an hour. But as you can see in the second photo, no one would notice that the pattern has been tweaked.

And best of all, this trick kept the pattern intact in the corners, and placed it where it was supposed to be at the ceiling line, as well as kept it evenly spaced as it moved along the woodwork of the door frame to the left (not shown).

Textured Woven Grasscloth in Home Bar Area

October 23, 2019


This new home in the Briarpark neighborhood of west Houston is spacious and light, with floor-to-ceiling windows, white walls and neutral-colored floors and furnishings.

Like many young families, the homeowners were looking for texture, rather than pattern, to warm up their home bar area. Layne Ogden, of Layne Torsch Interiors, found them this 2-tone, basket-weave sort of grasscloth pattern by Thibaut.

Seams are a little less noticeable on this woven grasscloth, but buyers should still be aware that ANY “natural” product presents the possibility of mis-matched seams, shading and paneling, as well as being easily stained, or even targeted by cats or dogs who want something to dig into.

To help reduce the instances of paneling, Thibaut has labeled their bolts in the order they came off the manufacturing line. The idea is that if you place strips that were dyed at the same time next to one another, it will minimize any possible color differences as you move through the printing batch numbers.

The only weird thing for today’s project is … how did it happen that there are TWO bolts numbered #12? ?? AND … what’s up with that one bolt that has no label or wrapper of its own?

The two bolts of #12 I can deal with. But the unwrapped bolt I am afraid to work with. It is undoubtedly a return from gawd-knows-whom-or-when, and it’s impossible to know what run or batch it’s in.

So I’m ahopin’ that I will be able to pull enough tricks out of my hat to paper the room without having to use this bolt.

Old Houses = Crooked Walls

October 6, 2019


This wall is off-plumb by more than a full inch – a lot, considering that it’s falling just 7 1/2 feet from the ceiling to the floor.

The grasscloth-like pattern of the wallpaper is good at disguising the walls’ irregularities. What it’s not good at is making a wonky ceiling line look level. You might be able to notice the pattern tracking downward in the second photo.

Farrow & Ball Feather Grass

September 1, 2019


Farrow & Ball is a long-established British company. Here is their very unique design “Feather Grass” which I hung in a master bedroom in the country. I love the look of this pattern as you gaze out the windows to the pastureland beyond.

Farrow & Ball includes their own powdered paste, which you mix up with water. To get a smooth mix, I prefer a hand-held blender to the old-fashioned stirrer stick. Not shown is the 1-gallon bucket of cellulose pasted all ready to go.

The company sends a mock-up of what their design will look like. (The image above is from a different pattern I hung in this same home.)

Because their paper is coated with their paint, rather than ink, there can be variations in color as the printer moves through the batch of paint. So the company labels each bolt in the sequence that it came off the printer, and you are instructed to use the bolts and strips in sequence, to minimize any color variations.

This pattern is something like a mural, and comes in panels with one design per panel, rather than strips with multiple repeats of the pattern. In the photo above, I am rolling the paper out on the floor, to get an understanding of how it is laid out and how it is packaged.

Each bolt contained three panels, all rolled up together. The panels are made to fit a wall as high as 12′, so I had to cut each panel from the bolt, then trim it down to fit the 7 1/2′ high walls.

Yes, there is a lot of waste with Feather Grass. In fact, it takes a full strip to go above and below the windows and doors, even though you are throwing away the entire middle part. So, again, incredible amount of waste – I carted home a whole lot of unusable paper to toss into the recycling bin!

Before shot.

The “grass” pattern is meant to appear at about 4 1/2′ from the floor. Since you start hanging wallpaper from the ceiling, I needed to know where to place the tops of the sheaves of grass. So I drew a horizontal line around the room at the 4 1/2′ height. (enlarge photo to see the faint pencil line) This way, from up on the ladder at the ceiling, I was able to see where the tops of the grass stalks were landing on the wall. It took a few trips up and down the ladder on each strip, but I was able to get all the stalks lined up perfectly.

Finished photos. It’s a subtle colorway, so you may need to enlarge the photo to see it well.

Isn’t the overall effect lovely, with the soft misty color of the grass showing against the view of nature outside the window?!

I hung this in the country home (Chappell Hill) of a family for whom I have worked previously in their River Oaks area home in Houston.

Serena & Lily “Priano” in Spring Branch Powder Room

August 17, 2019


All-white is always boring, so the powder room in this brand-new home in the Spring Branch neighborhood of Houston needed some personality and warmth. The homeowner chose this popular “Priano” wallpaper pattern by Serena & Lily.

The pattern has movement, but it’s gentle because there are just two soft colors tightly entwined in a loosely repetitive pattern.

In addition to being pretty, it’s a lovely paper to work with, and it will hold up well in their powder room.

This home is a new-build, and the walls are covered in a fairly heavy texture. Since the homeowner knew she wanted the powder room wallpapered, she wisely made sure the builder did not texture that room. Because I did not have to smooth the walls, this saved her a day of labor charges.

Guys don’t usually get too excited about decorating, but this husband really loved the new look. They’re even thinking about doing another room! 🙂

Palm Leaf Wallpaper Behind Bookshelves – Too Busy, IMO

July 30, 2019


It’s become popular to put wallpaper on the backs of bookshelves. But usually, people choose a texture, or at least a very small, tight pattern. That way, the wallpaper serves as a backdrop, and the items that are placed on the shelves will stand out.

I spotted this photo in Better Homes & Gardens magazine. I can’t say I love the look. I think the palm leaf pattern is too busy, and detracts from the artful objects that have been placed on the shelves.

In my opinion, that tropical pattern would work better on the walls outside the bookshelves. Or, since it’s such a strong pattern, just on one accent wall.

William Morris Pattern in Bellaire Powder Room

July 27, 2019


The owner of this powder room in the Bellaire neighborhood of Houston lived for several years in England, and fell in love with the British aesthetic for the Arts & Crafts period of the early 1900’s. William Morris was a popular designer of that era – and still loved today.

Most of the patterns are intricate, while rhythmic and repetitive, with nature being a popular theme.

The wall sconces, mirror, and sink faucet were all off-center from one another. Figuring that the mirror was the most noticeable feature on that wall, I decided to center the pattern on the mirror, rather than the sconces or faucet. (Sorry, no pic of the mirror.)

This particular pattern had enough swoopy flowery foliage that the background trellis design was pretty obscured. In addition, I plotted the layout so that the dark green trellis would not fall close to the faucet (where it would be obvious that it was off-center). And the large flower to the right of the faucet helps obscure the off-center trellis, too.

Once the mirror went up, it became the eye-catcher. The room is a true beauty.

This wallpaper is by William Morris, a British manufacturer, and this paper was the traditional pulp material, rather than the newer non-woven substrate.

Faking Perfection

July 20, 2019


Even though I carefully centered this trellis pattern on the dining room wall, due to the pattern being a teensy bit off-center on the strip, by the time it reached the right and left corners, the pattern was a tad off. Meaning that the dark vertical elements in this trellis design were about 3/8″ wide on the left side of the wall. But on the right side, the mirror-image elements were no more than 1/8″ wide, and tapered off to nothing at the top of the wall, due to a bow in the wall.

In the top photo, if you look at the bottom right corner, next to my ladder, you can see the difference in width of the vertical lines compared to those at the top of the wall, and at the left side of the room.

If the design had hit the corners in the curved parts of the trellis, no one would have noticed any slight difference in width. But since the pattern landed on a vertical motif that the eye expected to be 3/8″ wide, the right wall with it’s narrower or non-existent vertical motif was kinda noticeable. At least to me.

So I used my straightedge and a razor blade to cut some 3/8″ wide vertical strips. I then pasted these onto the appropriate place in the design. This made the Moroccan “lanterns” look a little narrower than they were supposed to be. But that is not nearly as noticeable as maintaining the width of those vertical strips at the left edge of the wall. See last photo.

I have done this with paper many times. But I was a little nervous trying this trick with a 3-D stringcloth material, because I feared the thickness of the overlay would be eye-catching. I also worried that the adhesive would not adhere to the strings.

But everything worked out nicely. The appliqués stuck without argument, and you really couldn’t notice the thickness of those tiny patches.

All this tweaking took about an extra 45 minutes. I think it was well worth it.

Better Homes & Gardens Magazine Features Wallpaper, June 2019

June 6, 2019


This popular pattern is called “Queen of Spain” and is by Schumacher. In addition to the horizontal stripe formed by the droplet motifs, it has a vertical stripe pattern – but you need a larger wall to see that design play out.


You can get away with a really bold pattern in a small powder room. If they could have gotten a better shot inside this small room, you could see the full effect of this fun design.


Look closely – the wallpaper is on the ceiling. I believe this is “Channels” by Kelly Wearstler, another popular pattern.


Can’t say I love wallpaper on a ceiling, especially such a bold pattern and wild color – I think this cramps down the ceiling and closes in the room. Your thoughts?


This small background pattern behind the headboard is by Quadrille.

All of these papers pictured are higher-end brands. If you like the look but are on a budget, there is always something similar at a lower price. See my “Where to Buy Wallpaper” page to the right.

Ethnic-Looking Pattern in River Oaks Master Bedroom

May 19, 2019


First picture: Boring white walls

Second picture: Using the laser level to get the first strip nice and plumb, and with the pattern centered in the middle of the wall.

Third picture: Finished accent wall.

Fourth picture: Close up of the pattern. To me, it has a strong ethnic feel.

Fifth picture: This paper is by Cole & Son, a British company. It has a pearlized sheen to the surface. The backing is a non-woven material, so it can be hung by pasting the wall or pasting the material. (I prefer pasting the material.) It is designed to strip off the wall easily and with minimal damage to the wall when it’s time to redecorate.

This wallpaper pattern was bought from my favorite source for good quality, product knowledge, expert service, and competitive price – 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.