Posts Tagged ‘plumb’

Keeping Wallpaper Lined Up Around a Window

August 28, 2018


Coming around a window can be tricky, because wallpaper likes to twist out of shape, windows can be off-plumb and / or not square, and other reasons, so it’s possible that the pattern can match above but not under the window, or the edges above and below the windows might not line up. Or everything can start going off-plumb.

In the first photo, you can (barely) see the vertical line of my laser level, which is helping me keep the left edges of the wallpaper strip lined up as the paper hangs over and then under the window. Next I hung the shorter strips above and under the window. I kept them “open” (did not trim the tops and bottoms), so I could “tweak” them if necessary.

In the second photo, I have positioned the next strip, again using my laser level to create a straight, plumb line on the left edge. This will ensure that subsequent strips will also hang plumb. I let this new strip hang a bit below the pattern match of the previous strip, so I could accommodate any rise or fall in the pattern; the section under the window was longer, so this is the area I wanted the best pattern match. By leaving the paper loose, I was able to match the pattern at the under the window, then pull the paper up to meet the strip over the window.

Sure enough, the pattern match was off a bit above the window. In addition, the strip on the top reached about 1/2″ further to the left than the strip under the window. This meant I was going to have a pattern mis-match, as well as an overlapped seam. But because I had not yet trimmed the top or bottom of that strip above the window, I was able to manipulate this strip to avoid these issues.

I took this strip and cut it vertically along a flower stem. The right half I aligned with the pattern match on the right. The left half was moved down to match the pattern on the full-length strip on the left, while also butting it up against this strip. This meant that I had a slight pattern mis-match in the middle of the cut strip, as well as an overlap.

All this was OK with me. The busy pattern easily disguised the slight pattern mis-match, as well as that 1/2″ overlap. In addition, it was way up high, over the window.

Standing back, you cannot notice any pattern mismatch or overlap. But what you do see is that the pattern runs perfectly across the top of the wall, and the subsequent strips are all and plumb and nicely butted together.

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Narrow Strip Coming Out of a Corner

August 28, 2018


See that narrow 3/8″ wide strip of wallpaper sitting on my table? That is to be my first piece coming out of this corner.

When you hang wallpaper around an inside corner, you don’t wrap it around the turn, but, rather, split the piece vertically so it wraps 1/16″ around the corner. Then the strip that you cut off is hung on the next wall, butted up into the corner. This avoids twists and wrinkles and bubbled areas caused by walls and corners that are not perfectly straight or plumb.

But when the piece that is to be the first strip on the new wall is this narrow, it presents problems, because it’s very likely to not hang straight, and you can’t hang the next strip of wallpaper against a crooked edge because you will get gaps and overlaps.

Adding to the dilemma is that this narrow strip had already been pasted. I had finished for the day, and intended to hang the window wall to the left the next day. The strip was already pasted, but I couldn’t hang it because of the aforementioned issues, plus, you are supposed to hang a whole wall at a time, because all of the strips have to “meld” together – you can’t hang a wet piece against a dry piece.

My solution was to wash the paste off this narrow strip, and hang it up to dry overnight. I just had to hope that the water would not cause it to expand too much, or warp, or other.

The next day, I pasted this narrow 3/8″ wide strip, along with the strip that would be placed next to it. Then I hung them together, as if they were all one piece of wallpaper. That way, I could work them into the corner snugly, and keep the seam between them nice and tight.

When coming out of corners, it’s common for the wallpaper to go off-plumb, because the corner might be out of wack. So you can (barely) see the red line of my laser level on the left edge of the strip of wallpaper, ensuring that the new strip falls plumb.

MC Escher-ish Wallpaper Pattern in a Mid Century Modern Home

July 7, 2018


This couple scored a cool, mint-condition authentic Mid-Century Modern home in the Reliant Stadium / Medical Center area of Houston. They have some wonderful authentic period furnishings, and wanted to add a little “pop” as an accent, but not so much as to overwhelm the home. Well, you’ve gotta admit – this pattern really delivers!

This design is in the feel of the artist MC Escher, who bent minds back in in the Art Deco and Modern periods (’20’s-’50’s) with his “never ending stairways” type drawings. It’s by York, and is a non-woven material, and can be installed by either paste-the-wall or paste-the-paper (I prefer the paste-the-paper method). It is dimensionally-stable (doesn’t expand when it gets wet with paste), and is designed to strip off the wall easily when it’s time to redecorate.

It 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.

The ceiling in this entryway was way off-level, so I knew that the motif I placed at the top of the wall would start going off-track as it moved across the wall. So I started in the middle of the wall, so that any pattern distortion would be visually lessened by being split across the width of the wall evenly from the center. In the second photo, I’m using my laser level to get a plumb starting point for my first strip.

The blue you see at the top of the second photo is plastic tape I use to keep paste off the ceiling.  It can be used around woodwork and other surfaces, too.   You can also see how the bottom section of the strip of paper is “booked” (folded back on itself).  This shortens the strip of paper, thus making it easier to handle, and also keeps the pasted side from bumping against the wall, which could cause paste stains and also make the paper stick to the wall where I don’t want it to.

And, most important, with standard papers that need to absorb moisture from the paste, then expand and relax before hanging, booking helps keep the paper from drying out.  Note:  This is a non-woven material, so no waiting period is required, but I still booked the paper to make it easier to handle.)

Finishing Touches to the Stacks of Blocks (Previous Post)

May 25, 2018


Because walls are never plumb, and because ceiling lines are never perfectly level, and because wallpaper can twist and distort once it gets wet with paste, with a pattern like in the previous post, it’s not advisable to place a key element, such as the gold horizontal line, at the top of the wall. It will begin to run crooked – either up into the ceiling, or fall down below it. So for this install, I raised the pattern so that the horizontal gold line would be cut off. This made that top block about 3/4″ shorter than the blocks below it. Not a biggie – at 10′ up, no one is going to notice this small discrepancy.

I did want to make the blocks look more homogenous, though. I thought that having a gold frame around all sides of the top blocks would make them blend in better with the other blocks all around the room.

So I used my straightedge to trim some narrow strips of the gold double-stripe out of left over wallpaper scrapes. Then I appliquéd them on top of the paper, just at the ceiling line.

Stacks of Blocks in a Bellaire Powder Room

May 25, 2018



This 30-year old home was flooded last August during Hurricane Harvey, and today is just a couple of weeks from being finished with the rebuild. This gold-on-black stacked-block pattern was chosen to help bring a more contemporary look to the home, as well as pump up the drama factor – a stunning gold-on-black console-style vanity and a huge, jaw-dropping crystal chandelier will be installed next week. I hope they send me photos!

Keeping this very rigid pattern plumb and level was a bit of a challenge, especially since all the walls were out of plumb. At the top of the second photo you see my horizontal line marking where I wanted the top gold line to fall. This line helped me keep the pattern perfectly aligned all the way around the room.

This paper is by York Wall, in their Sure Strip line. It is a non-woven material, but is thin and soft and pliable, and was a delight to work with. You could paste the wall to install, but I chose to paste the paper, because it makes the material more flexible and easier to work with and easier to keep clean. I wouldn’t mind hanging this product every day!

The wallpaper 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.

The interior designer for this home is Wes Satterwhite, of Silver Oak Consulting, here in Houston. He’s been overseeing much of the selections of finishes, paint colors, hardware, cabinets, flooring, drapes, etc., from the very beginning.

Centering and Plumbing Grasscloth Seam

May 15, 2018


Re my previous posts, here I am using my laser level to help get the seam aligned with the light sconce, as well as ensure that it hangs level. The laser level is the small dark object in the lower center of the photo.

Wonky Walls = Mis-Matched Corners

April 29, 2018


When wallpaper turns an inside corner, you split the strip vertically and place the first half of the strip so that just a teeny tad wraps around the corner, and then you overlap the remaining strip into the corner, using a level to plumb this strip. This keeps all your subsequent strips nice and plumb, and running straight at the ceiling and floor lines (assuming that these lines are truly level).

But when walls and corners aren’t plumb, wallpaper patterns will get distorted. The rule of thumb is to match the pattern at eye level, and then let it fall as it will above and below that point.

This pattern is busy enough that the mis-match is not all that noticeable.

Narrowing a Strip of Paper Over a Door

April 1, 2018


Here I am working my way along the wall from right to left, and am hanging short wallpaper strips over the door. The strip above the door is 1/4″ wider than the door, so it would continue down the left side of the door – but only about a 1/4″ width of it. It would me a major pain to deal with a strip this narrow – try to keep it straight, try to keep it plumb – not to mention using a full 9′ length of paper just to get this 1/4″ strip….most of it would end up in the trash, a real waste of paper.

In addition, the ceiling is not-level, so the wallpaper design is starting to track off-kilter (a particular motif in the design is not staying at the top of the wall, but is moving downwards).

I wanted to avoid having a skinny 1/4″ strip down the left side of the door, and I wanted to pull the design back up to the top of the wall. My plan was to position a new strip of paper along the left edge of the door molding, placing the design motif at the top of the wall. You can see how this is causing the short piece over the door to buckle, because of the 1/2″ excess paper.

The pattern is matched from this new strip to the short strip over the door. But, because of the un-level ceiling and the design tracking downward, the pattern on the short piece over the door does not match perfectly with the piece to the right of it.

I had a couple of options, but the solution I chose was to cut along one of the tree trunks vertically, slicing the short strip over the door in two. I then slid the right portion of this cut strip down, so the pattern matched the strip to its right. Then I smoothed both cut portions to the wall, overlapping that 1/4″ of excess.

Even though the paper is shimmery, the slight overlap is not noticeable, because it’s high overhead, and also because it follows the line of the tree trunk, which disguises it. See final photo.

Narrow Strip Coming Out of a Corner – Keeping It Straight & Plumb

March 31, 2018


OK, this is a little difficult to explain, but hopefully you can follow along. I have hung paper above this door from the right and am heading toward the left, and ended in the corner. The next strip will be 9′ high, and will be narrow, having only 3″ on the wall to the left of the corner, plus 4″ wrapping around to the right of the corner and ending up against the door molding.

The problem is, a narrow strip of paper like this, coming out of an inside corner, and especially in homes with un-plumb and un-straight walls (like this one), the left edge of that narrow strip of paper is likely to not fall straight. This will be a problem when trying to get the next strip of paper to butt up against it. I didn’t want any gaps or overlaps or white wall peeking through the seam.

So I pasted up both the narrow first strip, and also the full width second strip that was to go to the left. I positioned the narrow strip, but didn’t press it firmly against the wall. (This is called keeping it open.) Then I positioned the second strip next to it, matching up the pattern, but also not affixing it to the wall.

I used my laser level to shoot a vertical line along the left edge of that second strip of paper (the red line slightly visible in the photo). This ensured me that both strips were hanging plumb. I had to reposition the second strip a bit, to be sure it aligned with the laser’s plumb line. Then I took my smoothing brush and pressed it against the wall.

Then I went back to that still-open narrow strip to the right, and maneuvered it around until the pattern matched and the two edges butted together nicely. I smoothed the 3 inches into place on the wall to the left of the corner, and then did the same with the 4 inches that fell to the right of the corner and met up with the door molding.

Beautiful!

It was actually a little more intricate than that, because of having to keep the pattern matched to the piece already in place above the door, and due to stretching of the paper as it was pulled away from the wall several times, and the shiny surface being prone to blemishes if it got creased or overworked.

It was worth the trouble, though, because keeping the edges straight meant that the seam butted together perfectly, with no gaps and no overlaps. And keeping the paper plumb meant that the whale motif at the top of the wall stayed where I wanted it. (If paper goes off-plumb, a design motif will start moving up or down the ceiling line.)

This fun swimmy pattern is called Melville and is a non-woven, paste-the-wall product, made by Cole & Son.

The Corner’s Crooked, The Pattern’s Gone Wonky – But There Is A Fix

November 21, 2017

Digital Image

Digital Image


Walls aren’t always plumb, horizontal surfaces (ceilings, floors, countertops) aren’t always level, and wet wallpaper can twist out of shape. Look down the center of the top photo, and you’ll see how poorly the pattern matches in a corner that is off-plumb by more than half an inch from top to bottom. Notice the double-images in the upper part of the picture.

When hanging the strip to the right of the corner, I could have manipulated the paper so that the pattern matched perfectly. But that would have meant hanging the strip off-plumb – and that would have meant that every subsequent strip would be off-plumb. And that would have meant that the design motifs would begin tracking down the wall.

Meaning that, the red leaves I plotted to sit at the top of the wall would begin walking their way down, further and further from the ceiling line. The whole wall would have a lopsided and off-kilter look.

I chose to keep the red leaves in their assigned position at the top of the wall. The trade-off was the mis-matched pattern you see in the corner in the top photo.

But I have a few tricks up my sleeve. Let’s just say that some craft paint, a tiny artist’s brush, a sharp scissors and a few appliqués, time, patience, and a good pair of strong reading glasses did their magic.