Posts Tagged ‘rounded corners’

Dark Chocolate Grasscloth on a Fireplace / TV Wall

September 17, 2015
Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image


This couple with two young children in a new home in the Houston Heights wanted to add some color and texture to their nearly-all-white house, tie in to the dark brown wood floor, as well as minimize the impact of the large TV over the fireplace in the great room. This darker-than-chocolate brown grasscloth checked off all those points!

In the first shot, I have plotted where my pieces will lie and where the seams will fall, so the widths of strips will be uniform. I have striped the wall with dark brown paint, to prevent any white primer from peaking out in case the seams on this dark textured material do not butt up perfectly.

Also, because the paper is so dark, and because the primer is white, dark chalk was called for, to color the edges, to keep the white paper backing from peaking out.

I was very pleased with this product, as there was none of the color variation (shading / paneling) that is common with many grasscloth jobs. As the grasscloth progresses across the wall, you can see the seams because the strands of grass do not match, but you don’t see any color differences. This is how grasscloth SHOULD be.

This is a new home, and has the rounded / bull-nosed corners that have been popular for several years now. It is very hard to get a stiff grass product to bend and wrap around these corners. In one photo, you see how I have taken the grasscloth before it was pasted, and worked it in the area where it will hit the corner, to bend / break the grass fibers, hoping to get it to wrap around that rounded turn tightly and neatly. Once it gets wet with paste, it will become more pliable. You also see a pic of a metal plate tool (invented by a paperhanger colleague in Canada), that I used to “encourage” the material to wrap around the corner. I can put a lot of force behind this tool, without worry of burnishing or damaging the wallpaper.

In the end, the grasscloth wrapped nicely around the rounded corners and no white wall showed. And the TV, which previously stood out like a sore thumb against the builder’s white painted wall, is much less conspicuous against the dark wall. The whole room benefited from the warm color and texture of this grasscloth.

This grasscloth is made by Seabrook, and 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.

Rounded Corners and Obtuse Angles

September 8, 2015

Digital Image

Digital Image


Trends in new home construction can be problematic. Specifically and especially those danged rounded corners and bull-nosed arches. But corners turn inward, too (“inside corner”), and can be equally taxing. In the photo, you can barely see on either side of the sink, that the wall has two obtuse angles (more than 90* but less than 180*).

When you hang wallpaper around a corner, particularly an inside corner, you should always cut the paper so it wraps 1/16″ or so around the corner, then you overlay your next piece on top, butting right into the corner. The reason is because corners are never straight nor plumb, and wrapping wallpaper around them is a sure recipe for getting your paper to twist and wrinkle, or to go out of plumb. So, starting with a fresh strip of paper allows you to adjust the pattern match, and to make sure the next series of strips are hanging true-to-plumb.

These obtuse corners lend a different kind of challenge. If you wrap around them, you can pretty well expect your paper to go crooked, and even to get wrinkly. And when the paper dries, it can shrink and pull away from the wall, leaving pockets of air in areas.

But … if you cut the paper in the corner and overlap, like you do in 90* angled corners, you will lose some of your pattern to the overlap, and also have a visible ridge running the full height of the wall, where the new strip of wallpaper overlaps the first strip. This isn’t always all that noticeable, but on some papers, and with some lighting conditions, I can be very noticeable.

My solution in this case was to wrap the paper around the inside, obtuse corner. The amount of wrap on each side was about 1.5″ The question was, would that new edge be straight, plumb, and would it butt up nicely to the subsequent strip? Would it shrink and leave gaps in the seams?

I was lucky, because the edges of the wrapped wallpaper lay fairly straight and plumb. I was also lucky that the wallpaper I was hanging was thin and malleable, and let me work it to the left to butt up against the first strip, or to the right without too much distortion to its opposite edge. I have to say, I was pretty amazed when subsequent strips on either side of the original strip butted up nicely and without too much persuasion.

One minor thing that did happen is, as the paper dried and released moisture from the paste, it shrank a little. This could lead to gapping at the seams. But, because I had put less paste on the edges of the strips than in the center area, the edges dried faster and “locked down” the wallpaper, firmly holding the edges where I had put them.

The other thing that happened as a result of this shrinking, is that a very few sections of the wallpaper exactly in the center of the corner pulled away from the surface below, leaving a sort of air pocket. You don’t want to bump into one, because it could break the surface and leave a hole. These are few, small, and easy to miss, and, to be honest, the chances of poking a hole in one is pretty darned negligible.

Old World Look for a West University Dining Room

July 16, 2015
Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

This new home in West University Place (Houston) has a lot of elegant features, like intricate moldings, oak hardwood floors, and crystal chandeliers. So this somewhat old-world looking wallpaper was the perfect choice for the dining room. (Top two photos)

The house is new, though, and has the rounded / bull-nosed corners and arches that have been popular for the last 10 years or so. These corners may look great, but they are the Devil to trim wallpaper against!

I have a few tricks that help get an accurate cut. One of them is the laser level, which you can see shooting a perfectly vertical line right a the edge of the rounded corner, so I know where to place my straightedge and do my trimming. Of course, you have to choose your corner – the one in the photo is true to plumb. But two other corner edges were off-plumb by a significant amount. The pattern was forgiving, though, and I was able to tweak it here an there, and keep everything looking perfectly straight and plumb.

This wallpaper is by Designer Wallpapers and was perfectly lovely to work with. The homeowners bought it 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.

Outsmarting Bull-Nosed Corners

July 15, 2015
Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Bull-nosed corners and edges have been the standard in new homes for, well, maybe 10 years now. They sure make it hard when the wallpaper is to end at that rounded edge, because it’s hard to cut straight, mostly because you can’t see or feel what you are doing.

The couple buying this new home in West University Place (Houston) worried that the wallpaper would not look good turning around the bull-nosed edges in their windows, so they had the builder add this wooden trim inside the window return. It looks super, and it sure made my job easier, because I only had to wrap about 3/4 of an inch instead of 5 inches. I still had to do some minor piecing at the top corners, where the arched top met the vertical sides. (The bull-nosed edge of the Sheetrock is at the far right, in Photo 1.)

In Photo 2, I am using my laser level as guide for trimming around a doorway with rounded corners. This worked great on the left side of the doorway – but not on the right … because that side was way off-plumb. So I relied on my home-made trimming guide (see other posts) to get a straight cut.

Photo 3 shows the finished doorway.

A Trim Molding Solution for Bull-Nosed Edges

June 3, 2015
Digital Image

Digital Image

For the last 10 years or so, builders have been putting rounded corners on walls, instead of right-angles or decorative trim. These might look good, but they are a nightmare to hang wallpaper on. For one thing, you can’t see or feel where you are trimming, and for another, it leaves a raw edge of wallpaper that will be prone to peeling up if people brush against it.

One solution is to put molding or trim along the edge. That looks OK – or not – depending on what kind of molding you find and what the house looks like and other factors.

Where I worked today, the homeowner found this corner molding at Home Depot. It has a little decorative flourish to it, so it is more classy than the traditional plain corner mold. And it fit easily around the bull-nosed edge, and looked like it came with the house.

Best of all, the wallpaper nestled against it perfectly and trimmed neatly, with no worries that someone will brush against it and peel it up.