Posts Tagged ‘phillip jeffries’

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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Metallic Cork Married With Earthy Cork Breathes New Life Into A ’70’s Living Room

October 13, 2017

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This 1967 home in a unique neighborhood in Pasadena (Houston) is like a time capsule. It’s a little larger and nicer than the typical ranch-style houses of that era. And just about everything in it was original when my clients bought it … terrazzo floors, dental crown molding, upholstered wall panels in the dining room, diamond paned windows, French Provincial painted iron stairway railing, heavy pleated drapes, and much more.

The homeowners love the look and want to preserve as much as possible. But they also want the home to live a little more modern, and they want it to work with the lifestyle of their young – and very busy – family. They’ve already done a fabulous redo of the kitchen that still respects the era and feel of the home’s bones.

Now it’s time to update the living room. Enter – wallpaper! They used the same grey-brown, wood-look floor tile that they put in the kitchen. They kept the chair rail molding that runs around the room. A sliding barn-style door was custom made to divide the living room from the dining room, and it immediately became the focal point of the room.

Wallpaper was the next element … The couple wanted something earthy, yet elegant, and it had to meld with the vintage theme of the house.

They fell in love with a dark brown cork wallcovering enhanced with metallic accents called Enchanted Woods, by Phillip Jeffries. Whoops! – that brand is crazy expensive! My source (below) found them something nearly identical, but at a much more reasonable price. This dark brown material was used on the bottom 1/3 of the walls, below the chair rail. I was able to railroad this product (run it horizontally, instead of vertically), which eliminated seams. (Sorry, I did not get any photos of this.)

For the upper 2/3 of the wall space, they went with a silver metallic cork wallpaper embellished with a classic damask pattern in white. This is a classy, traditional look jazzed up by a luscious shimmery sheen.

The husband was worried that the dark cork at the bottom of the walls would visually occlude the barn door. At first, I tended to agree with him. But once the cork went up, it was clear that the door still stood out as a dominant feature in the room. Furthermore, it was apparent that the dark band of brown cork was needed all around the room, to balance the visual heft of that massive sliding barn door and to bring continuity to the remaining three walls.

As for the upper 2/3 of the walls, there is no question that the barn door stands out against the silver and white damask cork wallpaper. In addition, the natural texture of the cork coordinates nicely with the stained wood of the door.

Cork wallpaper, especially the metallic colors, is pretty popular right now, and I’ve hung a fair amount of it. But this room was the most challenging. Cork is thick and stiff, and does not want to turn corners (In fact, the instructions say you should not attempt to turn outside corners, but should, instead, cover the corners with wooden molding.), nor is it easy to fit around intricate moldings, and it will give a lot of argument when you try to bend it into a small, tight spot. This room had many of those features!

There was one wall that had two trim-less windows that had reveals (and outside corners) to be covered with the cork material, plus four points of wainscoting trim to cut around, as well as two sections of drapery valances to manipulate the stiff material up and under and into. This wall alone took me 4 1/2 hours to paper!

The rest of the room was easier, but still had its challenges. The cork material is thick and stiff and won’t push tightly against moldings or into corners, which means you have to work extra hard and make several cuts before it will sit snugly against the molding or corner. When trimming around intricate moldings (like the edges of the chair rail), you can’t see or feel where the cuts should be made, so you have to inch your way along, taking a bit here and a sliver there. I estimate that each of the six chair rail edges took me at least 15 minutes – each.

The metallic sheen made it difficult to see the pattern, so it took longer than usual to plot and cut strips.

Cork wallcovering is pretty thick, and you have to expect that the seams will show, just as they do with other natural materials, such as grasscloth. Depending on where you stand in the room, the seams on this product are either invisible, or fairly noticeable. I think the seams could have been better – I have a feeling that the manufacturer’s trimming blade was set at a bit of an angle, making a beveled cut. A perfectly straight cut, or even a slightly reversed-bevel, would perhaps have been less noticeable. Still, this is part of the look of the natural material, and not considered a defect. To be honest, unless you’re looking at a particular seam from just a certain angle, you won’t even see a thing – except the beautiful pattern, color, and shimmer.

The dark brown cork is by Monarque, and the upper cork in the silvery damask pattern is by Thibaut. Both papers were 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.

Over the last few years, I have papered three other rooms for this family. Now that the wallpaper in the living room is up, they are on to other things – furniture, drapes – and then on to update / decorate other rooms. As I left tonight, the mom assured me that I would be back at some point, to paper another room.

Trellis Pattern on Grasscloth

December 17, 2016
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This homeowner loves the texture of grasscloth, and I have already done several rooms for her in their 1930 home in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston. For this downstairs entry and upstairs hallway, she was originally looking at grasscloth by Phillip Jeffries. But that toney designer’s paper got mighty pricey mighty quickly. She visited my recommended source for wallpaper (read below) and found this very similar pattern by Wallquest at a much more reasonable price.

The pattern was made to be identical right side up or upside down. This was great, because with grasscloth, it’s good to reverse every other strip, so you are hanging one edge of each strip against itself, which minimizes color differences between strips, which are inherent to grasscloth. All of the full-height seams looked very nice.

Still, there were some unavoidable color differences (paneling) on some short pieces over the doors. I was able to lessen this by using a pencil to add some very light color to the halves of the lanterns that were at the seam. You can get an idea of what I’m talking about in the photo of the left edge of a door frame.

Another photo shows me using the laser level to get a perfect placement of a strip in a narrow area.

Oh, and it’s hard to explain why, but that tallest strip along the stairway’s curved wall took me over an hour, just to position and trim. It turned out great, and I was pleased that the grasscloth conformed and stuck to the curved wall very nicely.

This wallpaper is by Wallquest and was bought at a 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.

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!”

Avoiding White Seams With Dark Paper

June 7, 2016
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A dark wallpaper + white primer sometimes = teeny strips of white peeping out from between the seems. This is because the edges may not be cut perfectly straight by the manufacturer, or the natural variations in a textured product like grasscloth can result in uneven seams, or because wallpaper expands when it absorbs moisture from the paste, then shrinks just a tad as it dries.

One way to avoid that white gap is to stripe the wall with a similar color of paint.

You only have to do this where the seams will fall. In the top photo, I have measured the paper and plotted where the seams will lie, and am using my laser level to shoot a red line that I can follow while I swipe on a stripe of dark brown paint along the seam line.

In the second photo, you see the edge of the paper as it falls along the painted wall. The next photo shows a seam – but you don’t see any white. Mission accomplished!

This glittery grasscloth by Phillip Jeffries is pretty cool, so I’ve included a close up shot of it in the last photo.

Wallpaper for a Guy – and for a Skyline

May 27, 2016
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The homeowner bought this townhouse just east of downtown because of the incredible view of the Houston skyline. He especially likes the way the buildings sparkle at night.

He chose this dark brown grasscloth with lots of glitter because it accentuates the view out his bedroom window.

The grasscloth is by Phillip Jeffries, and has a masculine, tailored look. I hung it on one accent wall – the wall behind the headboard. It was nice to work with, and will hold up nicely in this bedroom. (Grasscloth is not a good choice in rooms that have water or see a lot of traffic.)

Wallpaper Fit For A – Man

May 20, 2016
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My lady clients are usually thrilled at the idea of wallpapering their rooms. Their male companions, on the other hand, are often reluctant, mostly because they think wallpaper is all flowers and chintz and gooey froofroo.

Not anymore – today, there are plenty of gender-neutral selections. Some options are geometric patterns, textured goods, and neutral colors. This paper is a good example of a geometric pattern on a textured medium (grasscloth), in a neutral color.

This finely textured grasscloth is by Phillip Jeffries (pattern #8356), a higher-end brand. There is a bit of a shimmer to the background, and a fuzzy diamond motif imposed on top. In the close-up shot, you can see some of the color variation between strips, that is common with these natural products.

There is also a small bit of fraying at the seams, because when the strips are cut at the factory, the strings are also cut, and, well, there is nothing to hold them down tightly to the paper right at the edges. This is not very noticeable at all from a few feet away.

I hung this in a powder room with 12′ high ceilings in the Rice Military neighborhood of Houston.

Black Grasscloth on a Fireplace Wall

March 2, 2016
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Here is a medium-textured grasscloth in a predominately black color, that I put on an accent wall around a fireplace in a new home in the Medical Center District of Houston. In the last photo, you can really see the texture on this material. I was pleased that it did not have much of the paneling or shading issues (slight difference in color between or within strips) of other grasscloth brands.

This grasscloth is by Phillip Jeffries, which is a somewhat higher-end brand. In fact, the homeowners said they looked hard for a paper they liked, but kept coming back to this one, because it had a more refined look than less expensive brands.

So it looks good, but it wasn’t easy to hang, because it had a lot of “give” in the paper backing, which means that the backing expanded in an irregular manner, and fought the grass on the front, which resulted in wrinkles and warps and twists. I had to pull quite a few tricks out of my hat, to get the wall to be smooth and homogenous and have no overlaps or wrinkles. In the end, though, it turned out great.

This Phillip Jeffries grasscloth wallpaper was bought at a discounted price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

Wallet-Friendly Rivets

February 2, 2016
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These homeowners loved the look of the “Rivets” by Phillip Jeffries. (Google it) But that product is way pricy. The interior designer found this similar pattern in a good quality paper, at a much more pocket-friendly price.

I hung this on an accent wall in the bedroom of a pre-teen boy, in a new home in Cypress (NW Houston). The furniture in the room is what you’d call “industrial contemporary” – all brushed / distressed metal, clean lines, with an urban edge. The wallpaper is the perfect backdrop!

The interior designer is Pamela O’Brien of Pamela Hope Designs, and the wallpaper manufacturer is Thibaut, one of my favorite brands.

Phillip Jeffries Grasscloth in a Close-In Entry Way

October 3, 2015

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This finely textured, silvery grasscoth pattern is by Phillip Jeffries.

The walls were originally painted a semi-gloss white – and, boy, was it boring 5.00. This slightly darker color, along with its texture and feeling of warmth, have turned the entry from stark and unexceptional to warm and welcoming.