Posts Tagged ‘shading’

Softening A Heights Dining Room; Wonderful Faux Grasscloth

November 21, 2020

The original dark paint was bold and beautiful. But the homeowners wanted something softer and textured. They listened to my “rant” about color variations in grasscloth (see link at right), and chose this embossed vinyl replica instead.

They couldn’t have chosen better!

We were worried about the usual very visible vertical seams in grasscloth, and how they would juxtapose with the vertical boards in the wainscoting at the bottom portion of the walls. The spacing between the boards did not sync at all with the width of the wallpaper. If the seams in the paper were visible and did not coordinate with the vertical elements below, it would have ended up a very visually confusing room.

Luckily, and very surprisingly, this material turned out to be wonderfully homogeneous, and the seams are virtually invisible.

What you do see is the is the very soft, muted texture and warm color that envelope the room. I like to say that this sort of pattern emulates a finely tailored man’s suit.

That last photo is distorted a bit, so ignore those wavy, swirly lines.

This wallcovering is by Warner, in their Textures VII, Grasscloth Resource book, on page 32, a lightly embossed (textured) vinyl on a scrim (woven fabric) backing, and is a random / reverse pattern match (meaning, there is no pattern to match).

It comes either 26″ wide or 52″/54″ wide. Lil’ ol’ me can’t wrangle that extra-wide stuff, so I asked the homeowners to buy the 26″ option.

This type of vinyl is way more resistant to dings and stains than most traditional wallpapers. The scrim backing also makes it easy to strip off the wall later, and with minimal damage to the wall. The embossing adds just a touch of texture.

Best of all, because it is man-made instead of a natural material, there is none of the displeasing shading and color variations that are so prevalent in real grasscloth.

The home is a relatively new build in the Heights neighborhood of Houston.

November 17, 2020

Printing Defect – Shading Issue

Look at the seam, which runs down the center of the page. It is clear that the right side of these strips of wallpaper is darker than the left side.

Unfortunately, this homeowner’s paper is not going up today. And she will have to wait for the company to use up its current stock, and then make a new production run. (Do a Search here on “run” to learn more.)

And then we have to hope that the new run does not have the same defect. Once the paper arrives, I will run by the store and check it, before the client picks it up.

This has to be a fluke, because York, and their SureStrip line, is one of my favorite brands.

Thibaut Aster – Affordable Alternative to Schumacher Feather Bloom

October 7, 2020


One-of-a-kind would describe this powder room in the West University neighborhood of Houston. You walk down two stairs to get into the room, marble tile covers the bottom portion of the walls, the ceiling is low, the ceiling slopes, and there is a curved wall on the left, as well as a 5″ high space under the sink – what I call a torture chamber for wallpaper hangers.

The homeowner contemplated grasscloth (not a good choice in a “wet” room, and especially for a family with young children – read my Grasscloth page on the right). She really liked Schumacher’s “Feather Bloom” pattern on grass. But when I made my initial consultation visit, I advised that the 36″ high and 36″ wide scale of the pattern was too large for her small, chopped up powder room. And grasscloth is prone to color variations between panels. On top of that, the Schumacher is insanely expensive.

Thibaut to the rescue! Their “Aster” design is an obvious riff on “Feather Bloom.” But it’s a smaller scale, so suits this room much better. It’s on stringcloth, a man-made material, so no worries about shading or color discrepancies. There is a light protective coating, so a bit more resistant to stains. And the string gives the product the textured look and feel that people are loving these days (see close up photo). Best of all, the Thibaut version is way more affordable!

The homeowner has a small, round, gold mirror with a fluted edge that will look fabulous placed in the “bull’s eye” of the aster flower over the sink.

The once bland all-grey room now has color, texture, movement, and a whole lot of drama!

Soft Grasscloth in West U. Powder Room

August 19, 2020


I papered this powder room about 15 years ago when the homeowners first moved into the house. Somewhere along the line, that paper was removed, and the room was painted plain white. The look was fresh – but cold.

Now the homeowner was ready for a change, seeking texture and warmth. This grasscloth by Thibaut fills both bills perfectly.

The photos skew the color – the wallpaper is actually an off-white, leaning toward soft tan. The weave has just enough texture to be visible, but is not overly coarse or rough.

I was pleased that there was no issue with shading, paneling, or color variations, as is often the case with grasscloth.

This wallpaper was bought from Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet. Talk to Sarah, who is in charge of the wallpaper department. (713) 520-6262.

Serena & Lily Silvery Grasscloth on Master Bedroom Accent Wall

June 15, 2020


Every wall of this brand-new home in the Houston ‘burbs is WHITE. The homeowners have opted to warm up their master bedroom – as well as add a little dazzle – with this silver metallic-backed grasscloth by Serena & Lily.

I have striped on the wall with a similar-hued paint, where the seams will fall, so any gaps between strips will not show white wall primer.

Note that with grasscloth, there is no pattern to be matched, so you will always see the seams. The S&L grasscloth I have hung has been pretty homogeneous in color, as you see above, so not much paneling or shading as with other brands and posts I have done.

Still, this was NOT an easy install. See future post(s) for info.

The home is in the brand new Pomona subdivision in Manvel, south of Pearland, both a bit southeast of Houston.

Hanging Wallpaper Strips Sequentially – Stumbling Block

May 6, 2020


You can expect color variations in grasscloth (and other natural material) wallcoverings. These products are made from authentic natural elements, like grass and reeds and hemp and other such materials.

Because each individual blade of grass absorbs dye differently, and because different fields of grass, or even different handfulls grabbed by the worker women, are of differing thicknesses and porosities and thus take the dye differently, there will be differences in the color of these reeds as they are sewn onto their paper backing.

So, you often (usually) end up with an effect we call “paneling” or “shading,” which are differences in color between strips of wallpaper (see third photo), or even within the same strip – such as being darker at the top but becoming lighter at a lower point on the wall.

To minimize this, many manufacturers are labeling their material in the sequence that it came out of the factory. The idea is that, if the strips are hung in the order they came off the dye machine, the strips that are the most similar in color will be next to each other on the walls.

The problem with this particular job is – the vendor didn’t send bolts that came in any sort of correct sequence at all. See second photo.

Luckily, this room is chopped up enough that I can plot the layout so that on most walls, only strips off the same bolt, or closely within the same sequence, will be touching each other.

Unfortunately, even strips within the same sequence can fall prey to paneling. In the last photo, the narrow strip on the far right is from sequence 14-9. The two strips to the left of it are from bolt 14-10. And the two strips to the left of those (next to the door frame) are from bolt 14-11.

As you can see, 14-9 and 14-10 are very close in color / shade. But there is a big difference between the shades in 14-10 and 14-11.

Note that this is not considered a defect or error. These color variations are considered part of the “inherent beauty of these natural materials.”

Fabulous Fake / Faux Grasscloth Wallpaper

April 10, 2020

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These young homeowners of a new townhome in the Houston Heights were originally considering natural grasscloth for this 35′ long wall in their kitchen / dining / living room. I told them of my disappointment with grasscloth’s visible seams, shading, paneling, and color variations (do a Search here). I was happy when they took my suggestion of this faux grasscloth alternative.

This is a printed horizontal grasscloth pattern on a paper substrate, with a vertical stringcloth material on top. The strings give the paper the texture that people are loving these days. But unlike real grasscloth, this product is more stain-resistant and durable. And it has a pattern that can be matched from strip to strip, so, unlike the real stuff, you don’t see the seams. (See photo) And there is virtually no shading, paneling, or color variations (do a Search here on those terms).

The end result is a beautiful, textured, homogeneous, warm and cozy living space.

The bull-nosed (rounded) corners on the windows gave me some argument and took a lot of time, but turned out great.

This wallpaper pattern is by Wallquest, in their EcoChic line, and in their Grass Effects book. It was bought at below retail price from 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.

Grasscloth in Cypress Powder Room

February 18, 2020


The walls and ceiling in this large powder room in a newish home in the Bridgeland Creek neighborhood of Cypress (northwest Houston) were originally a dark gold. I like dark rooms, but this one felt oppressive. It needed to be a little lighter, and to have a bit more interest on the walls.

The walls had a heavy texture, typical of new homes in the suburbs of Houston. I skim-floated the walls, then let dry overnight. The next day, I sanded the walls smooth, wiped off the dust, primed – and then was ready to hang wallpaper.

The pictures don’t adequately show the color of the new grasscloth, but we have natural brown grass color overlaid onto a really deep blue paper backing. The designer had the ceiling painted a dark, sort of murky blue, which coordinates really nicely with the blue in the grasscloth.

Lighting is funny … While I was working in the room, I had two 100 watt light bulbs; one suspended from the ceiling and one attached to where the light fixture belongs. The grasscloth just looked “normal.”

But once the room’s decorative light fixture went back up, it cast light on the textured surface in such a way that the “nubs” and knots really showed up! (see photo) The homeowner loved it!

As a note … With grasscloth, there is no pattern match, and you can also plan on seeing color differences between strips. So it’s important to plot where your seams will fall.

The electrical box, the light fixture, and the faucet were all in different vertical positions on the wall. Because the mirror would take up most of the wall behind the faucet and block the seam, I chose to center the seam on the light fixture, because it would be visible above the mirror. Well – sort of visible … as you can see, light rays from the fixture are so strong that no one can see where the seam is, anyway. 😦

The room had a “floating” sink. One of the photos shows the area under the sink. This area is open to view, and, because there are so many obstacles, it is difficult and time-consuming to wrap the paper underneath and trim around all those pipes and brackets.

The grasscloth wallpaper is by York. I was pretty pleased with the consistency of the material. Although some of the strips did present “paneling” and “shading” – color variances between strips – even strips that came off the same bolt and that were reverse-hung. One strip even had a rather abrupt color change mid-way from top to bottom. (no photo)

But that’s par for the course with grasscloth, and it’s considered to be “the natural beauty of this natural material.”

The interior designer for this project is Neal LeBouef, of L Design Group.

A Really Nice Vinyl Faux Grasscloth

February 8, 2020


Originally, this downstairs bathroom in a newish home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston was painted a mocha brown. It looked OK, but lacked luster and life. The homeowner envisioned more texture and color, plus a tiny bit of dazzle. She was considering grasscloth.

During our initial Sunday afternoon consultation, luckily she heeded my warnings about the problems with grasscloth – visible seams, color shading differences between strips, staining from water splashes or little ones’ hands, etc.

She chose this textured vinyl faux grass pattern by York instead. What a winner this turned out to be! Because there is no pattern that can be matched, you still see the seams. But, because the color is so homogeneous, there are no jarring shade differences. In the sink photo, note that you are seeing a shadow, not a shading of color.

The color variations within the grass-like design are more pronounced than in other brands (for instance, the Thibaut versions), and so it looks more like real grasscloth, and you can see the various colors even from a distance.

There is a pleasing texture that can be seen and felt. And, because the material is a heavy vinyl, it’s quite durable and water- and stain-resistant. What’s more, because there was no pattern to match (that’s called a random match), there was very little waste – in a room with a tad less than 9′ ceilings, I got three strips out of a 27′ long double roll bolt (usually you only get two strips).

I did follow typical grasscloth-installation techniques for this product.

Because the lack of a pattern match meant that the seams were visible, I took precise measurements and “balanced” the width of the strips in the various areas in which they were hung.

Because there was still a bit of a color difference between the right side and the left side of each strip, I also reversed the top and bottom of every other strip – a little trick that minimizes visible color differences by placing the right side, for instance, of each bolt of paper next to itself on subsequent strips. That sounds confusing, but it’s valuable trick of the trade.

The navy blue brings a welcome shot of color into the room. The gold metallic touches add sparkle, and coordinate smartly with the light fixture (not shown). The homeowner will soon trade the chrome faucet for one of brushed gold.

Textured, Woven, Faux Grasscloth in Cypress Master Bedroom

February 2, 2020


Even with high (13′) vaulted ceilings, the original medium-toned purple paint in this master bedroom in a new home in the Town Lake neighborhood of Cypress (northwest Houston) made the room look a little closed-in. And the purple didn’t coordinate with anything the young homeowners own.

So they broke out the extension ladder and painted three walls a creamy white. Then they had me install a textured vinyl wallpaper with a woven grasscloth look on the wall behind the bed.

The job too two days. One day was to apply smoothing compound to the heavyish texture which is typical of new homes in the suburbs. The next day I sanded it smooth, wiped off the dust, primed, and then hung the paper.

Daylight was fading fast, so I had to take the “after” photo when only three strips were up. But you get the idea.

In the top photo, you see I have laid my rolled-up strips against the wall in the order they came off the bolt, and in the order in which they will be hung. This helps minimize color differences

As with most solid color and textured patterns, I used the “reverse hang” procedure to minimize shading – you hang one strip right side up, and the next strip you hang upside down. This way, the same side of each strip is placed next to each other. That way, if, for example, the left side of a bolt of wallpaper is slightly darker than the right side, you won’t notice an abrupt color change between your two strips, because the two darker sides are placed next to each other. I know that sounds complicated, but it’s a common practice when hanging wallpaper, and it does reduce color variations between strips.

One strip did end up a tad darker than the one next to it. They are all from the same run, so who knows what’s going on there. It’s a minor color difference, and not nearly as bad as if they had chosen real grasscloth instead. (Real grasscloth has tons of disappointing color variances between and even within strips.)

The close-up shows the beautiful texture of this embossed vinyl material. I have no idea why it came out grey – the paper is actually navy blue.

The vinyl wallcovering has a woven fabric (scrim) back, and is way more durable and stain-resistant than real grasscloth, or any other wallpaper, for that matter.

This wallpaper pattern is called “Bankun Raffia” by Thibaut Designs, and 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.