Posts Tagged ‘scalamandre’

Tall Trees in a Tall Dining Room

February 13, 2020


The ceilings in this dining room in the West University neighborhood of Houston are more than 11′ high – and this vertical tree pattern visually swoops them even higher!

I love the hand-painted look of this paper. Actually, it’s machine-printed on a non-woven material, and can be hung via the paste-the-wall method – but I find the paste-the-paper process to be more effective.

The wallpaper is called “Raphael” and is by Sandberg, which is affiliated with Scalamandre.

Scalamandre Textured Stripe

September 23, 2019

This is one of those jobs that you have to see in person to fully appreciated, because the photos show only a fraction of the coolness of this material.

The homeowner of this brand-new home in the Garden Oaks neighborhood of Houston loves to entertain, and he has a large personality. He turned his living room into a bar / lounge / reception sort of area. It’s the first thing you see as you enter the house.

This room has a lot more luxe and drama and cool furnishings that I am not showing, out of respect for my client’s privacy. But suffice it to say, the overall effect will really WOW everyone who walks into the home.

Scalamandré makes this product, which is called “Pacific Stripe.” It has a high plastic content, which allows for the heavily textured surface, as well as a lot of Mylar, which accounts for the metallic-like sheen.

One photo shows this material rolled out on the floor, to see how the pattern plays out across the width. Turns out the dark striped ridges come nine to a set. The edges on either side of the goods have more than nine ridges … This means that when strips are placed next to one another, you will end up with many more than nine ridges at each seam. So some has to be trimmed off of either side of the wallpaper, to ensure that each band of stripes has only nine ridges.

Lots of higher-end papers need to have their selvedge edge trimmed off. But this is the first time I’ve encountered a thick, textured paper that had to be hand-trimmed. Note the photo showing this process.

My goal was to leave four ridges on the right side of the paper, and then five ridges plus a flat line on the opposite side of the paper, to maintain the correct rhythm of ridge-to-flat spacing. The paper was dark, and the lighting was poor, so it was difficult to see where to trim.

Also, the thickness of the ridges held my 6′ metal straightedge off the material, so it was very important to hold my razor blade absolutely straight, to avoid a beveled or wavering cut.

It helped that the contractor had painted the wall black (per my specs), so, after I deglosssed and then applied my clear primer Gardz, there were no worries about background color peeking out at the seams. As extra assurance, I colored the edges of the paper (which was bonded to a white substrate) with dark chalk.

Scalamandré provided no instructions or information of any sort, so I followed my gut as for paste, booking time, and other installation techniques.

The product was very thick and stiff. It was difficult to trim through and took many swipes of my razor knife. A simple accent wall like this is one thing … but this material would have been a real pain to hang in a room that had intricate decorative moldings, or in a complicated room like a bathroom – I would probably have had the homeowner remove the sink and toilet and then replace them after the wallpaper was up. ($$ to pay the plumber!)

As it was, this single accent wall behind a well-loved entertaining area was the perfect spot for it.

The homeowner is overjoyed with the finished bar. In fact, he can’t wait to host his first party!

Two Pretty Blues Today

April 25, 2019


Another “all white” house gets a little personality and definition from a light dose of color and pattern. What a pleasant change!

The first three photos are Scalamandre’s “Balinese Peacock.” It came with a selvedge edge that had to be hand-trimmed off with a razor blade and a 6′ straight edge.

The last two photos are a fun elongated triangle floral stripe by Schumacher. My “after” sink photo didn’t come through, unfortunately, but the other pictures will give you an idea of the pattern.

Even though these papers are by two different manufacturers, the blue color is identical. It’s a lot brighter and prettier than my crummy camera depicts. The blue picks up hints of blue that the homeowner has in her living room (throw pillows) and in the dining room (navy blue paint above the wainscoting).

The peacock went in a small bar area off the living room, and the foliage stripe went in the under-the-stairs powder room that is right off the bar. The home is in the West University neighborhood of Houston.

What’s Eating This Paper?

February 20, 2017

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I hung this 10-15 years ago, and was back for another reason. This is a powder room. Spots like this are along the edges of much of the woodwork.

I think the brand is Scalamandre, a higher-end wallpaper, and it was a hand-trimmed paper with ink that smells like mothballs.

It really doesn’t look like something the maid could have done, even if she got chemicals on the paper. I told the homeowner I think it’s bugs eating the ink or paper, but she says she’s never seen bugs in her house. Well, she did admit that she has seen silverfish.

Just for fun, Google “silverfish wallpaper paste.” Ah-HA!

My suggestion was to get some bottles of 99c craft paint and a small brush and color in the areas.

Zebras Charging Through the Bath

November 16, 2014

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This zebra-and-arrow pattern is very old, and very loved. Scalamandre has been making it for a long time, in many colorways. Most of those colors are VERY difficult to work with. You see, the inks, combined with the paper substrate they are printed on, cause the seams to curl backwards (because the paper absorbs moisture and expands more than the ink does). My paperhanger buddies across the country who have hung the red and the gold and the green colorways have had real struggles to get the seams to lie down and to look good.

To be honest, after listening to the horror stories from them, I would not have touched it, if it were a printed paper. Except my client had chosen a silver grasscloth overprinted with the zebras. Grasscloth presents its own challenges, but at least you don’t have to worry about curling seams. So I took it on!

Still, it took a LONG time, probably 11 hours to hang (prep was already done) 8 rolls in a hall bath. Like many high-end goods, this paper came with a selvedge edge, which had to be precisely measured and trimmed off by hand. And it takes a LOT more effort to cut through grasscloth than paper.

Flat walls went OK. But the material was stiff and difficult to work with when it came to trimming around decorative moldings. AND… the beautifully remodeled bathroom included a console sink with chrome legs with non-removable support brackets, plus the plumber caulked the escutcheons to the wall so they had to be trimmed around neatly. (Usually you rough-cut around pipes, and the escutcheons cover it up.) It’s a good thing I’m short, because I must have spent an hour cross-legged under that sink, trimming around the brackets and pipes. 🙂

In the distant shot, you see two strips side-by-side. Note that the color difference between them is normal, and considered part of the “inherent natural beauty” of the product. All of the bolts were from the same run (printed at the same time), and still a color difference is to be expected. In fact, this paper was pretty much made to order, and the client had to wait a good couple of months for it to be printed and shipped.

The homeowner said to me, “I know you don’t like grasscloth’s visible seams, and the color difference between panels. But I don’t mind at all. I love LOVE it!”

The manufacturer is Scalamandre, and I hung this in a bathroom in a darling, nicely-remodeled-but-sensitive-to-its-roots bungalow in the Museum District. The work was done by Greymark Construction, whose work I really like, and whom I have worked with for more than a decade. In fact, I did a job last week in River Oaks where they had totally overhauled the entire housee. Leslie King is the owner. Yes, a woman! 😉 http://www.greymarkconstruction.com/

Flaw of the Day – Tape Tears Paper

December 4, 2013

Digital ImageThe manufacturer secured the rolls of paper with green “frog tape.” Removing the tape also removed some of the backing of the wallpaper. And yes, that can show when the paper is on the wall.

Blue painter’s tape would remove easily and cleanly. And some brands, like Thibaut, use bands of paper secured with removeable adhesive, like on Post A Notes, so no adhesive ever touches the wallpaper.

This paper is by Scalamandre.

Hand-Trimming a High-End Paper

June 7, 2013

Digital ImageSome wallpapers, particularly the higher-end brands, come with the selvedge still on the edge, and this had to be hand-trimmed off.

You can do this two ways. One is to hang the strips of paper on the wall, and then double-cut (splice) them together. This gives an absolutely perfect seam, but you run the risk of cutting too deep and scoring the wall. (I put a strip of special plastic behind the seam while cutting, to prevent this.) Also, it’s pretty common for some of the manufacturer’s trim lines to end up showing.

The other method is to dry-trim the paper on the work table, using a straight edge and razor knife. That’s what I’m doing in this photo. The manufacturer puts “Trim” marks on the paper to act as guides. Or, what I did today way, find the match on the pattern, and then cut along an element of the design, making sure that the cut edges will match the pattern on the next strip.

This wallpaper is by Scalamandre.

How Yesterday’s Wall Turned Out

June 7, 2013

Digital ImageDigital ImageThe first photo shows how nice the wall looked, once I was finished smoothing and priming. The slight texture is from the roller used while priming, and did not show under the paper.

The second shot is the finished room. The client, who wasn’t home while I was working, called me tonight to tell me how much she loves it. Makes me feel good!

The wallpaper is by Scalamandre, “Willowy Fields” #81232, a very classic pattern.

Trimming Scalamandre

March 6, 2012

Most wallpapers come pre-trimmed by the factory.  But many of the high-end wallpapers come untrimmed,  meaning that the selvedge edge is in place,  much as with fabric.  This has to be trimmed off by the installer.

When I handle a hand-trimmed paper, usually I use the “double-cut” method – applying both strips to the wall side-by-side and overlapping the selvedge edges, then cutting through both layers with a very sharp razor blade, then removing the unneeded edges, creating a spliced seam.

This creates an absolutely perfectly butted seam, but there are potential problems, too.  One is the possiblity of scoring the wall, which can cause problems down the road if the paper shrinks or curls and manages to pull the wall surface with it – this will result in a lifting seam.  Another problem is that it almost always resutls in one of the “trim” lines printed by the manufacturer showing.

So this time, because the strips to be hung were short, I used the dry-trimming technique.  For this, I cut the 5′ strips before pasting, laying them on my 7′ table and using a 6′ straight edge and a very sharp razor blade.

Once the paper was hung, the resulting seam was OK.  But not as good as the seams that were double-cut on the wall.  There was some very minor gapping.  I noticed that the seams looked better and tighter as the paper dried.

The main problem with dry-trimming is that you can only get a perfectly straight cut for the length of your straight edge.  Once you move the straight edge to cut the next section of paper, you don’t have a perfectly straight edge.

I guess that’s not so awful, though.  The wallpaper manufacturers themselves can’t cut their own paper straight, even with fancy factory equipment.

So I guess you can say that a little imperfection is to be expected.

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Flaw of the Day – Scalamandre

February 23, 2012

Scalamandre WP88213-2 “Daphne” http://visualaccess.scalamandre.com/wwiz.asp?wwizmstr=OE.PATTERN&TEMPID=SCALA*16111*40786&PGNO=2&pattern=01!WP88213

Scalamandre is a very high-end paper, and I was somewhat surprised to find them making this type of paper….falling into the eco-friendly craze, I guess … spongy feeling, “paste the wall” idiocy, and “no need to cut, hang directly from the roll” – what is THAT all about?!

Anyway, back to defects… The paper was carefully wrapped in a box and protected with bubble wrap, but still had banged edges.

In addition, because of the thickness of the eco-friendly material, when rolled up and wrapped in plastic, the horizontal end of the strip was pressed into the roll, leaving a very noticeable line across the width of the paper, going into the roll several wraps deep. This meant I had to cut off and throw away at least one full repeat, which, in this case, is two feet. That’s on each double roll.

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