Posts Tagged ‘seam’

More William Morris Strawberry Thief in Houston Heights Hall Bathroom

June 24, 2022
Because I feared unstable walls in this 1920’s bungalow in this neighborhood (do a Search for previous posts), before hanging the decorative wallpaper, first I hung a non-woven liner paper on all the walls. That’s the white material you see in the photo.
The liner was hung horizontally so its seams can’t line up with the decorative paper. The idea is to disperse tension from drying wallpaper and changes due to humidity and etc., so as to deflect tension away from sketchy wall surfaces, and thus prevent delamination of multiple unstable layers deep inside the wall. Again, do a Search here to learn more.
Finished vanity area, with pattern centered on the light fixture.
Corner shot.
This colorful and symmetrical pattern is quite popular; I’ve hung it a number of times just this year.
Englishman William Morris designed wallpaper and fabrics during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.
The styles then were Art Nouveau and Arts & Crafts. This design reflects a bit of each.
Wallpaper expands when it gets wet with paste, and then can shrink just a tad as it dries. The liner helps prevent that, but you can still end up with teeny gaps at some seams.
To prevent the white backing from showing through, I run a stripe of dark paint under where each seam will fall.
I use matt finish craft paint from the hobby store, diluted with a little water (in the orange bottle cap) and smeared on the wall with a scrap of sponge. Use a ruler or level and a pencil to mark where you want to stripe the dark paint.
Remember to allow for that expansion as the paper absorbs moisture from the paste. Meaning, if the paper is 20.5″ wide, and expands 1/2″, you’ll want to run your line at about 21.” And make sure that your painted swath is about an inch wide.
I also run a bit of dark chalk along the edges of each strip, to prevent the white substrate from showing at the seams (no photo).
Morris & Co. makes this iconic Strawberry Thief.
Interestingly enough, most times when I’ve hung a Morris paper, it’s been a non-woven paste-the-wall material.
Today’s option was a surprise – a traditional British pulp . This is a pretty basic and somewhat old-fashioned type of substrate . Sort of like construction paper, or the pages of an old family Bible .
The paper is very fragile , and can tear easily. You have to keep using new razor / trimming blades, because the material dulls blades quickly, and when dull they will drag and tear the paper.
Pulp papers also require a soaking / booking time after pasting , to allow time for the material to absorb the paste , soften a bit, and expand . The edges of the strips like to dry out , so I’ve learned to dip about 1/4″ of the booked ends ( booked means the pasted side of the wallpaper strip is folded onto itself, bottom edge folded up and top edge folded down to meet in the middle), into a bucket of clean water.
Then it goes into a black plastic trash bag to soak and relax for a few minutes before hanging. I use this opportunity to paste the next strip.
Non-woven wallpapers have advantages, because they do not expand when wet, and therefor you can get accurate measurements. They also can be pasted and hung immediately, with no waiting time. Alternately, you can paste the wall .

Grasscloth on Several Bookshelves Today

May 12, 2022
Home office work station niche primed and ready for wallpaper.
Done. Grasscloth comes 36″ wide, and this niche was about 39″ wide, so it required two strips, both trimmed down to 19.5″ wide. Generally, design-wise, you try not to put a seam down the center. But in this case there was no other viable option. This seam was practically invisible.
In the photo, the seam is a little to the right of center. You always see the seams in grasscloth, and this is about as perfect as it gets.
The homeowner, who is an interior designer, did a superb job of finding a grasscloth that’s murky blue hue coordinates perfectly with the color of the cabinetry.
Unfortunately, I don’t know the manufacturer of this material.
Close-up showing the texture.
Twin bookshelves flanking the fireplace wall in the family room, primed and ready for wallpaper.
Grasscloth has been installed. It’s nice to not have the shelves in place – so much easier to get that paper up!
Bookshelf niche on the right.
Bookshelf niche on the left. Note the slight shading and color variations . These are typical of natural products like grasscloth, and are not considered a defect. As the manufacturers say, these variations are ” part of the inherent beauty of these natural materials .”
Shelves will go in these niches and decorative items will obscure these slight imperfections.
TV room bookshelf niche. Yes, t’was I who swiped the smiley face and the horse head into the primer. 🙂
Done. This niche is a tad less than 36″ wide, so only one strip was needed, hence, no seams. Any color variations you see are due to shadows.

Close-up.
Closer-up. Scissors for perspective. These days, people are loving the subtle texture and warmth of grasscloth , paperweaves and other natural materials .
The manufacturer of the grasscloth in both the family room and TV room is Schumacher . The home is in the far west area of Katy , a suburb west of Houston.

Manufacturer Prints Dark Paper on Dark Substrate

March 15, 2022
One potential problem with wallpaper is that it can shrink as the paste dries, and that can open up very slight gaps at the seams. If this happens with a dark paper, you can sometimes see the white substrate / backing peeping out from the seam.
Here the manufacturer has gone the extra mile and provided a darker substrate. It’s not as dark as the surface of the wallpaper, but it will sure soften the look if the seams should open a tad.
In the photo, the white paper towel is there to show comparison with the grey backing of the wallpaper.
For more information on this topic and how to deal with it, do a Search of my previous posts using key words.

Bright and Fun Retro Look in Powder Room

March 12, 2022
No boring beige or all-white walls in this home of a growing and active family in the Cypress / Jersey Village area of Houston.
Throughout the home, the mom has added touches of blue, green, yellow, and pink, along with a heavy dose of mid-century modern furnishings and accessories.
Time to pull the powder room into the mix!
Originally, this room was wallpapered in a typical ’80’s pattern, complete with a border running below the ceiling. Did I say ’80’s ?!
That wallpaper had been removed, and the walls were painted a dark tan. The room was very boring and boxy and uninspiring.
But … add a little wallpaper and – nothing boring here!
And the look definitely invokes the ’50’s, ’60’s, and ’70’s – can you say Flower Power ?
Spoonflower sells several types of wallpaper. Definitely do NOT get their peel & stick (see my page to the right), and I’m not fond of their vinyl material. I do like their pre-pasted smooth , which is what my client chose.
Spoonflower doesn’t come in standard dimension rolls. It comes in 24″ wide ” rolls ” of 1′, 3′, 9′, or 12′ lengths. So measuring and calculating is a little more complicated than for traditional wallpapers.
(The mermaid kitchen towel on the right is also by Spoonflower – and they have wallpaper to match!)
Strips of this material are designed to be overlapped at the seams. This is good, because it prevents gapping at the seams as the paste dries, and it also eliminates stress on the wall that could cause underlying surfaces to delaminate and come apart. Do a Search here to learn more.
The downside is that this overlapped area does leave a ridge running the length of the seam. Most people don’t mind the look, especially with a busy pattern like this one.
Pattern # 4330883 is called Party Posies.
This material is custom-printed. The homeowner ordered 11 rolls, and here you can see how the manufacturer has numbered each of the rolls in sequence (5th roll of 11 total).

Trick to Make Getting Around Pedestal Sink Easier

February 20, 2022
Hanging wallpaper in powder rooms often means working around a pedestal sink. It’s sooo much easier if the sink is not in the room. But that means the homeowner has to pay a plumber to come remove the sink, and then come back and replace it after the paper is up. This risks damaging the new paper, causes damage to the wall that I will have to repair. And costs several hundreds of dollars. So I usually get the paper up with the sink in place.
That means you have to wrestle a 9′ strip of paper over the sink, then down the narrow space on either side (on the right in this photo), and then underneath it. This opens the possibility of creasing the paper, tearing it, or other damage.
I’ve developed a trick to make it easier.
I’ll cut the paper horizontally a few inches below the top of the sink.
When possible, I cut along design elements, to help disguise the cut.
Here I’ve hung the paper above the sink and down the right side. Now I have to get the paper on the lower wall portion.
But it’s a lot easier because the sink is out of the way. Here I am getting ready to position this bottom section.
All in place. Next I will do the same with the area to the left of the sink. Things don’t always meet up perfectly at the seam, so you may end up with a gap or overlap or a pattern mis-match. But it will be behind the stand / base of the sink, so not noticeable.
This pattern is by Milton & King. It’s a non-wove material, which is a lot stronger and tear-resistant than a paper wallpaper.

From 20 Years of Red to Sweet Light Floral

February 5, 2022
Red is a classic dining room color, and painted walls served well since the late ’90’s. This homeowner has classic taste – note the elegant moldings below the chair rail and around the windows.
The update is lighter and brighter and opens up the room, making it feel larger.
Note the wallpaper around the corner on the right.
This is the paper in the adjoining hallway, which has been in place for decades. The new pattern coordinates beautifully in theme and color!
Close-up. Roses and script.
Norwall is a very economical brand (something like $25 per double roll on sale). Not my favorite quality, because the gritty paper backing can absorb humidity and separate from the thick vinyl surface, plus the seams tend to “pouch” a bit and don’t look great. But I’ve discovered that rolling a bit of wallpaper paste onto the wall under the seam areas will help to “suck down” the edges, creating better seams. I also do believe that the manufacturer has improved the substrate.
I was pleased with the way the seams looked on this install. You’re looking at a very close-up picture. Once the paper is dried and from two feet away, these seams will be invisible. In fact, the homeowner kept walking around the room remarking how she couldn’t even find a seam. Note the slightly textured surface.

The home is in the far west area of Houston.

Calm Forest Frolic

January 27, 2022
Before shot of sink room in hall bathroom in a home in the Energy Corridor / Briar Forest area of west Houston.
Symmetrical flora and frolicking fauna are a popular design concept in wallpaper. Just about everything in this home is white or cream or tan, so the homeowner’s choice of this muted color palette fits in perfectly and lends a serene feel to the space.
Close up. The seam at far right is still wet, and will be less obvious once it dries.
The pattern is called Design Woodland and is by Crown Wallcoverings, a British company. True to its roots, the material is what we call a pulp, which is basically wood pulp and ink … thick, stiff, turns mushy when wet with paste, tears easily, and no protective coating on the surface so my client will have to be careful to avoid splashing toiletries or cleaning agents onto the wallpaper. Even water will stain it over time.

Pepping Up Plain Old Vanilla

January 23, 2022
Everything else in this newish townhome in the far northwest area of Houston is generic beige.
But the homeowner envisioned something much more bold and fun for the large powder room.
The slope at the top left is the area under the stairs.
Close-up. At the far right you can see a seam … the paper was slightly shaded darker on the left edge and lighter on the right edge, resulting in this. It looks like the seam is curled up, but actually it’s perfectly flat.
The pattern is called Marigold and it’s sold by Anthropologie. The manufacturer is York, and it’s in their SureStrip line, which is one of my favorites. This is a pre-pasted material, and you activate the paste by wetting the back. The instructions suggest using a squirt bottle – ouch! Can you say wrist pain?! I sprinkle water on with a sponge and then roll it around with a paint roller. I also add a little extra wallpaper paste to the mix.

Printing Defects with Schumacher – Again

November 2, 2021

Have I mentioned that I dislike the brand Schumacher? Well, yes I have! – plenty of times. This ‘high-end’ brand seems to have a problem with their quality control, especially when it comes to printing defects.

So – here we go again. I lost a day of work, and another homeowner didn’t get her room decorated.

Two things are going on here. First, along the seam running down the center of the photo, you can see that the pattern matches in some areas but not in others. Obviously, the material was either mis-printed, or mis-trimmed at the factory.

It’s kinda a busy pattern, and you might not notice this at a distance. But – at Schumacher’s prices, why accept flaws like this?

The next is probably an even more noticeable defect … Hard to see in the photo, but this would show up very jarringly on the wall. Look closely and you will notice a slight color difference between the two strips. The strip on the right is darker than the strip on the left.

On the wall, this would present as sort of vertical strips every 27″ apart.

I was lucky to notice these issues before cutting any of the paper. I told the homeowner to send it back.

I don’t believe that a different run will solve these issues, because the problem is inherent to the printing press or trimmer. The homeowner will have to select a whole new wallpaper pattern (and hopefully a different, better, manufacturer).

Shading Issues With Hourglass Wallpaper

October 30, 2021
There is a vertical seam down the center of this picture. Look closely, and you will see that the strip of wallpaper on the right is darker than the strip on the left. The manufacturer didn’t keep the color of the ink consistent across the width of the paper. This is called shading or paneling. Even though the pattern of the horizontal hash-type lines matches across the seam, I thought the difference in color would be jarring to the eye.
In the grand scheme of things, I believe that uniform color would be more important than a perfectly matched really tiny pattern. So I used a trick called reverse-hanging to bring an even color to the seam areas. That’s when you hang one strip right side up, and then hang the next strip upside down. What this accomplishes is to place the same side of the strip next to itself. That way, a darker area, for example, is next to a darker area, and your eye doesn’t notice any abrupt color difference. It’s a simple concept, but difficult to explain. This technique is usually used on solid textures or materials like grasscloth. I was able to get away with it on this patterned paper because the design was symmetrical whether it was right-side-up or up-side-down. From a short foot away from the wall, you can’t notice that the horizontal lines don’t line up perfectly.