Posts Tagged ‘run’

Need a Little Reading Material in the Bathroom? ??

November 2, 2018


What fun wallpaper! This is very similar to grasscloth. But, instead of using natural grasses and reeds, this material is made of strips cut from magazine pages, rolled and folded into long narrow strips, and then sewed onto a paper backing. In some of the columns, you can actually read the words!

There is a similar product made from old newspapers – appropriately named “Yesterday’s News.”

I hung this in a powder room in a new, contemporary home in the Rice Military neighborhood of Houston. The homeowner, Cristin Wells, is an interior designer http://www.wellsdesignedhome.com/ who recently moved here from Chicago (not far from my hometown of St. Louis!), and brings her sophisticated playfulness here to the Bayou City.

This product is similar to grasscloth in that the seams are very visible. So I engineered the room to have seams fall evenly spaced on each wall, which we call balancing, and which gives a pleasing effect.

In addition, the material can be shaded, or paneled, which means there can be a noticeable color difference between strips, even if they come off the same bolt. In the third photo, you see how I have rolled the paper out on the floor, to check for shading / paneling, so the homeowner will be aware of this issue, and so I can plot how and where to use the various strips.

Indeed, before consulting with me, the homeowner initially purchased two bolts of paper; when I measured the space I told her that she needed five more. The additional bolts arrived in a different run. Run and batch and dye lot numbers are important – all bolts from the same run or batch were printed at the same time with the same batch of ink, and will generally be pretty much the same shade. Papers from a different run will be a slightly different shade, and will be very noticeable if placed next to one another on the same wall. This is true even with this recycled magazine page material – see the third photo – although instead of printing with ink, the ladies who manufacture this stuff (usually in China or somewhere in Asia) are grabbing handfuls of magazine pages. As you can see, color variations are still quite possible / probable.

In addition to the 10′ high ceilings, the room had a few features that made the install tricky. One was a deeper than usual vanity, which was difficult and somewhat dangerous to reach over to access the wall. This was also a “floating” vanity, which hung suspended on the wall with a short space underneath it that wanted to be covered with wallpaper. Contorting myself under a 30″ deep vanity into a 5″ high space to stick a couple of strips of paper to a rear wall that no one would ever see questioned my sense of reason – but I could not imagine leaving the wall unpapered, so I “got ‘er done!” Sorry, no photo.

Being a contemporary styled home, the window was recessed with a 1/2″ return,. This meant that I had to bring the paper to the edge of the window, and then wrap a mere 1/2″ around an outside corner. The paper was thick and didn’t want to make this turn, and, when it did, it didn’t want to stay stuck – it kept trying to lift up. Wetting the paper helped soften it so it was more agreeable to making these turns, and in some areas I also used a razor blade to make light horizontal slits in the material, right on the edge of the corner, to reduce tension and allow it to turn more easily. Sorry, no photo.

Speaking of making cuts … This stuff was thick and hard to cut, so it took a lot of pressure and several swipes to make many of the cuts, even with a brand new razor blade. When I trimmed the material horizontally at the ceiling and floor, the strings that held the folded magazine pages to the backing were cut also, and they came loose. That meant that there was nothing holding the folded magazine pages to the paper.

It turns out that each of those horizontal strips of folded magazine pages contained about 6 layers of paper, each folded accordion-style. Threads were sewn on to hold them to the backing. But once the threads were cut, the accordion-folded papers unfurled, spread apart, and pushed away from the backing. So when you looked at the ceiling or floor lines, you saw a puffy ridge running the width of the strip.

What I ended up doing was to go up to the ceiling and then down to the floor edges, gently pry apart the fanned layers, and use wallpaper paste to adhere them to one another. I had to get sufficient paste behind each of the six layers, for the entire 3′ width of each strip, press them back together, hold them until the adhesive tacked up – all without getting any paste on the paper or on the ceiling.

All of the above added a lot of time to this job, and I didn’t leave until 9:30 p.m. But the room looked great when I was finished. From its initial uninspired dull grey paint job to the colorful and quite unexpected recycled magazine pages covering the walls, this powder room has experienced a major transformation.

The wallpaper is by Seabrook, which has been purchased by York. Both are wonderful brands.

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Same Run – But Color Difference

June 8, 2018


One of the first things the installer does before starting a wallpaper job is to check the run numbers, to be sure it is the same for all the bolts of paper. This means they were all printed at the same time with the same batch of ink, so they will all be uniform in color.

Both these bolts are from the same run. But look closely, and you will see that the blue lines on the strip to the right are darker and thicker than those on the left. If these two strips of paper were placed next to each other on the wall, the difference would be very visible.

I am glad I noticed this before I started cutting any strips. I set aside the errant bolt, and hopefully won’t have to use it (I always have my clients buy a little extra, for repairs later and in case of instances like this). If I do need to cut into this bolt, the bathroom has a lot of choppy areas that are on separate walls where the color difference won’t be noticeable.

Minimalizing Color Variations by Hanging in Sequence

May 13, 2018


Because grasscloth is a natural fiber product, it is known for certain inherent features, namely a pattern that cannot be matched, visible seams, and color variations such as paneling (one strip is a slightly different color from the one next to it), shading (different colors within the same strip), and edges that are lighter in color than the center of the strip. Just do a Search here to see pictures and read stories.

This manufacturer (Thibaut) has taken steps to minimize one of these issues. First, you want to be sure that all your bolts were printed at the same time, from the same run or dye lot (see label). Next, when a whole lot of wallpaper is printed at one time, the ink color can change ever so slightly from the beginning of a run to the end.

So Thibaut lists not only the run number, but the sequence in which the bolts were printed. On the label, this is referred to as “Shade.” The instructions are very specific about cutting and hanging strips of paper in the order they come off the roll, and using consecutive rolls in their proper order.

However, for this 11 bolt living room, I got 8 bolts of Shade series 4 (#’s 1-8), and 3 of Shade series 5 (#’s 7-9 … and what happened to the first six?!). These obviously were not printed in consecutive order! And they were all mixed together in the boxes. Good thing I checked the labels and noted the Shade numbers, before I cut anything up.

Luckily the layout of the room worked so that I was able to keep Shade 4 and Shade 5 on separate walls, so any slight color difference would not be noticeable.

Two Runs? Three Runs? Either One Is A Bad Deal

January 1, 2018


The client bought her paper on-line, before I saw the job and measured the space. Like most homeowners, she ordered too little paper. I told her to get another double roll.

The new roll was a different run number. In the photo, you see one is Batch 15, and one is Batch 16. And the label on the third double roll has been removed and discarded, so we have no way of knowing what batch that one is.

The problem is that each batch of wallpaper that gets printed will be ever so slightly a different color from every other batch. Not a problem if you can keep the different runs (batches) on separate walls. But if you have to put strips from different runs next to each other on the same wall, which is 95% of the time, you are likely to see a slight difference in color. This will make your wall look like it’s striped. Not good.

Buying wallpaper on-line can be cheaper and fast, but since people at the company are order-takers and are not wallpaper-savvy, there is noone checking things like run numbers. This is why I encourage clients to buy locally.

In my “Where To Buy Wallpaper” link on the right side of this page, I name several places where people really understand wallpaper, and so you can shop without having to worry about issues like run numbers.

Similar Theme; Different Feel

July 14, 2017

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The original wallpaper in this large powder room in Hunter’s Creek Village was red and had “broken twigs” as its design. The homeowner wanted a subtle change, so went with something fairly similar, but more modern. The paper is a grasscloth, and is dark blue, with gold “broken lines” covering the surface.

The paper had a selvedge edge that had to be trimmed off by hand, using a straightedge and a razor blade. This is a bit more difficult to do with grasscloth, which is thick and stiff, than with regular paper. In addition, the manufacturer’s trim guideline marks were off, which resulted in edges that were not straight. It took some time to figure out how to bypass that, and how to salvage the strip that got the crookedly cut edge.

There were a lot of other challenges to this room, including crooked walls, bowed walls, 12′ high ceiling, paper that twisted when it got wet with paste, a console vanity with exposed plumbing and a lower shelf, and less paper than I asked for – I needed 11 1/2 strips, and I had 12 strips….which meant that there was no extra paper to fix an error. Every strip had to be cut and hung perfectly.

I trimmed, pasted, and hung one strip at a time. This was tedious and slow, but it allowed me to gauge what was going on with each strip and how it interacted with the other strips (previous and succeeding), crooked corners, and the conformation of the room, as I worked my way around the walls, plus it gave me time to work around more difficult areas, such as the light fixtures, the “low boy” toilet, and the console sink.

The finished room looks great, and the homeowner loves it.

Because it’s grasscloth, the family will have to be careful to not splash water onto it, because it will eventually stain the material, or cause the dyes to run.

This paper is by Kravat, and I was very pleased with the quality of the material. (But, let me say here, I was NOT pleased with the mis-marked trim guidelines.) Back to the grasscloth – the color was very uniform, and there were virtually no shading or paneling or color variations, which are problems with most other grasscloth products I have hung. Do a Search here on those terms, to learn more.

You get what you pay for. This Kravat grasscloth cost about $350 per single roll (about 22 useable square feet).

Run Away From Two Different Runs

March 7, 2017
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Look at the number right next to my pencil, and then look at the corresponding number below it. These two bolts of wallpaper have two different run / batch / dye lot numbers, meaning, they were printed at two different times, from two different batches of ink.

This means that they can be slightly, or even VERY slightly different in color. But even a slight difference in color can be eye-jarring on the wall, when you have two 9′ strips of wallpaper next to one another.

 

Two Runs Are Not Fun

July 19, 2016
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When I first consulted with this client, she had already bought some wallpaper – but she did not have enough to cover her wall. (Note to homeowners – always have the space measured by a professional before you order your paper.) So she ordered more – but the new paper that arrived was from a run different from what she already had.

“Run” or “batch” numbers refer to when a batch of wallpaper was printed. Wallpaper printed at different times, and of different runs, will be slightly different in color.

This slight color difference is what you see in the second photo, the thin strip at the left of the pic. Even if the difference is minute, full length strips side-by-side on the same wall can be quite noticeable.

So, if you find yourself stuck with having to use different runs of wallpaper, you can disguise the color difference by “breaking” the runs in a corner…Because light hits the walls differently from one wall to the next, you won’t notice a slight color difference when the two different runs are on two different walls. However, it takes a bit more paper to do this. So, if you are dealing with two different runs, be sure to order one or two extra double-rolls of paper.

Runny Ink

March 29, 2016
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Look under the dark leaf. See the smears of green ink running downward?

The manufacturer possibly is using an “eco-friendly” water- or vegetable-based ink, and it is not stable when it gets wet. Since this is a pre-pasted wallpaper and is designed to be run through a water tray to activate the paste, it is impossible to not get it really wet. While positioning the paper on the wall and wiping off paste residue, even lightly wiping the surface with a damp rag would cause the ink to run. (Wiping in the opposite direction would push the ink back to where it was supposed to be.)

There are alternate ways to paste this type of paper, but since I had started with the manufacturer’s recommended method, I pretty much had to continue, since switching to another method might alter various aspects of the paper’s performance.

So I adjusted my usual techniques, and avoided wiping the paper with a damp rag, and instead used dry paper towels – lots of them.

Beautiful British Birds & Foliage in a Powder Room

March 24, 2016
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I have hung this pattern a couple of times before, and I have to say, it is one of my all-time favorites. The idea of this pattern dates back to the 1800’s, so it is very historic and classic. It is by a British manufacturer, and one of the homeowners is from England, where they pretty well “wallpaper everything” – and generally in flowery prints – so this bird-and-foliage pattern felt like home to her.

She got a good deal on it, too. Bought new, this paper is about $150 a double roll. Well, she stumbled upon an unopened bolt at an art store for a steal, and snatched it up. Once I got to the house and measured, though, it was clear that she would need more paper. Once again, she got lucky, by finding two more bolts on ebay for a price way below retail.

Unfortunately, the run number of the original paper did not match the run number of the new ebay paper, so we had the potential for color variations between strips. Also, the room really should have had four bolts, not the three we had.

But I measured the walls carefully, counted how many strips would be needed, figured where I would be able to fudge on the pattern, and then rolled out the paper to see how we would do. It turned out that this homeowner was, once again, lucky, because the baseboard and crown molding in the room reduced the wall height from 8′ to 7′ – and that was just enough to allow me to get four strips of paper from each bolt, instead of the usual three.

There was just enough paper to do the room, and I was able to keep the different runs on separate walls, so there were no eye-jarring color variations between strips. We ended up with, literally, about 2′ of paper left over. Whew!

This wallpaper is by Cole & Son, a British company, and is printed on a traditional pulp substrate, different from the non-woven material that they are using these days for much of their paper. Pulp papers do not have a protective coatings so they will look wet if they get splashed by water. They also will not stand up to stains or spills of any kind, and you have to be careful not to touch the paper when reaching for a light switch, or the paper may discolor from oils in your hands.

That said, I love the pulps, because the colors and inks and matt finish are unique and beautiful. They lie flat on your wall and don’t have issues with curling at the seams or delaminating like vinyl papers sometimes do.

I hung this in the powder room of a 1930’s home in Riverside (near downtown Houston).  Most everything in the home (floors, tile, sinks, faucets, windows, doors, doorknobs, stairway’s iron railing, telephone nook, stained glass windows, Art Deco features, on and on) are original to the home, and are in perfect condition.  The home even has plaster walls!   These elements are reveared and will be preserved by the homeowners.    It was a real honor to work there.

If You Choose Grasscloth, Expect to See Paneling

January 16, 2015

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There is nothing wrong here – this is what grasscloth is supposed to look like. It is, according to the manufacturers, “part of the inherent natural beauty of the natural material.”

All of the strips in the photos above are from the same “run,” meaning, they were all made a the same time. In the second photo, all three strips came off the same bolt of material. As you can see, there are light and dark areas, and abrupt changes in color even in the middle of a strip.

Indeed, it’s pretty hard to avoid this look when using undyed fibers, because the ladies who make grasscloth by sewing the material onto the backing are just grabbing handfuls of grass and reeds from the pile, and the pile is made up of whatever they cut from the fields and marshes. Even when they dye the fibers, there can be very noticeable differences in color from strip to strip, and even within each strip (for instance, darker color on the outer edges of the strip). Most grasscloth is made in China and Japan, with better quality control coming from Japanese factories IMO.

People love textured wallcoverings, and grasscloth is very popular right now. I, personally, greatly dislike this look, and try to steer my clients toward the faux products, which are much more predictable in appearance. Many people say they understand and that they won’t mind the paneled effect. But once it’s on the wall, I think many of them are surprised at how extreme the color difference can be.

On the other hand, many people don’t even see it. When the room above was finished, this client, for example, said to me, “Julles, I know you said you don’t like grasscloth. What about it don’t you like? Because I think this looks fabulous!”