Posts Tagged ‘shading’

Sunroom With a Wonderful Faux Grasscloth –

May 18, 2018



This den in a 1948 ranch style home in the Oak Forest neighborhood of Houston has two full walls of glass that look out onto a beautiful, green yard. The room was originally papered in really dark green vinyl faux grasscloth – I think the idea was to coordinate the room color with the verdant foliage outside. It wasn’t working. “We’ve lived with this for 20 years,” said the husband, “and have been trying all that time to figure out what would make it look better.” Indeed, I first looked at this room in 2015. Well, three years later, the homeowners finally found something way better.

The new wallpaper is also a faux grasscloth in a textured vinyl material. I like this product much better than real grasscloth, because it is free of the visible seams, shading, paneling, and color variations that are such a disappointment with the real stuff (do a Search here for more posts / info). It is one of the few wallcoverings that are actually water-resistant and stain-resistant, and it will stand up to being banged into now and then – it’s the same commercial-grade material used in hotels and hospitals.

In addition, the scrim (woven fabric) backing, along with the vinyl surface, will provide some “give” – which is good, because this room had stress cracks in the drywall over doors and windows, and showed signs of the house shifting on its foundation, thanks to our contrary Houston gumbo soil.

The mottled color of the paper, along with the woven texture, give the feel of real grasscloth. The tan is a natural color, and it goes nicely with the view outside the window, but doesn’t compete with the scenery like the dark green paper did. The dark furniture in the room is no longer swallowed up by the dark wallpaper, and all of a sudden, the whole space is much brighter.

After 20 years, it’s a big change for the homeowners, but already, they are loving it!

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

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A Beautiful, Natural Grasscloth

May 16, 2018


I was really pleased with the grasscloth I hung today. The fibers were thin enough that the material was pliable and turned corners well. The texture was a pleasing middle ground between rough and refined, and the color was gorgeous – natural, with bits of brown, gold, grey, and olive all mixed together homogenously.

But best of all, the material had virtually no shading or paneling or color variation issues. Do a Search here (upper right) on these terms to see what most grasscloth looks like, and why I am not a fan of it. But this stuff today – I liked it!

Because there is no pattern to be matched, you will see all the seams. But because the color and the texture were quite uniform, the seams and panels pretty well blended together. The two shots showing the seams are good examples of what grasscloth is supposed to look like.

The room immediately felt warmer and more inviting, with a bit of color and texture from the natural material on the walls.

I don’t know what the brand is, because the label simply said “Wallcovering.” But 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.

I hung this in a bathroom in a newish home inside the Loop in Houston. Yes, grasscloth will stain if it gets splashed with water, so it’s not recommended in wet areas. But the homeowner is a single gal, and she promised to use the room gently. 🙂

She also promised to keep the door closed, so the cats will not get their claws into the new textured wallpaper.

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.

If You Buy Grasscloth, Expect To See The Seams

November 12, 2017

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Grasscloth is popular right now, but buyers must be aware that, because there is no pattern that can be matched, all the seams will be visible. In addition, color variations are to be expected.

The top photo shows a slight color difference between two strips. This is called shading or paneling. This is not a defect. It is considered “part of the inherent beauty of the natural material.”

The second photo shows a lighter colored line that often appears at the far edges of the grasscloth strips, due to irregularities in the dying process. This can often be minimized by trimming off the edges of the material. But sometimes the lighter area extends beyond the area that can be trimmed off. And if you trim off too much, you will have narrower strips, and may well run out of paper before you finish the room.

The bottom photo shows a seam where the lighter colored edges were successfully trimmed off, and a nice butted seam resulted.

Dark Alligator Out – Bright Trellis In

July 30, 2017

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In the powder room of this home in the Woodlands (Houston), this dark brown faux alligator textured vinyl wallcovering probably looked good with the previous homeowner’s mirror and accessories, but it made the room cave-like, and was not at all in sync with the lifestyle of the new homeowners, a young family with pre-school age children.

They chose this classic trellis design in cream on tan and, boy – did it brighten and open up the room!

I usually love this brand, but today there was a bit of shading – color was darker on one side of the strip than it was on the other, which you can see in the second-to-last photo and in the head-on shot of the sink, and also some “gaps and overlaps” at the seams. Both of these issues were relatively minor and not very noticeable.

This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, and 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.

Major Transformation – From Cave-Like to Bright, Warm and Tranquil

July 15, 2017

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Wow, what a change! This home office / TV room in Southside Place / West University neighborhood of Houston, was papered in a dark-navy-on-navy stripe. In my opinion, it looked great in the room, especially above the white paneled wainscoting. But it was time for a change … in fact, the husband said, “We should have gotten rid of this when we bought the house 25 years ago.”

The navy wallpaper was hung properly, but it would not come off the wall without a LOT of time and mess (and $ ). So I prepped and sealed the walls and hung over it (see other posts). I love the 2nd photo, because it shows the new, light wallpaper juxtaposed against the original dark paper.

This material is a light tan stringcloth superimposed with a barely-there white Moroccan lantern motif. I love this as an alternative to grasscloth. It is uniform in color, has a wonderful tactile texture, and has none of the shading, paneling, color variations, visible seams, or propensity to staining and bleeding that make grasscloth so disappointing.

In addition, it is a non-woven, paste-the-wall product, and was nice to work with. The design was even perfectly centered on the 27″ wide material, and could be reverse-hung (hung upside down and still match up perfectly with the previous strip).

The new, light colored wallpaper looked super against the wainscoting, and had just enough color to stand out against the white woodwork. The sofa was a tan linen fabric, and synced with the new wallpaper in color and texture. The armoire that holds the TV is a medium wood tone, and contrasts against the light walls “just enough.” The whole overall look is relaxing.

This wallpaper pattern is by Designer Wallpaper, in their EcoChic line, in a book or line called Wallpaper Effects, and 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.

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).

Faux Grasscloth on an Accent Wall in a Dining Room

June 30, 2017

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This retired couple near the Montrose neighborhood of Houston wanted to update their 15-year old house by adding a textured wallpaper to one wall in their dining room. Originally, they were considering grasscloth.

Luckily, they listened to my “lecture” about grasscloth – the disappointing visible seams, color variations, shading, paneling – and attractiveness to cats who like to scratch. Instead of grasscloth, they chose this alternative.

This product is surfaced with stringcloth (real vertical string fibers), so it has a tangible texture. But because it has a printed grass-like design, the pattern can be matched from strip to strip, so you never see the seams. In addition, the color is uniform so you don’t have the shading and paneling problems so prevalent with real grasscloth.

And, to top it off, the paper is lovely to work with, and will hold up for many years to come.

This wallpaper pattern is by Wallquest, in their “Grass Effects” book, and 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.

Woven Grasscloth Gives a Tailored Look

June 10, 2017

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This handsome grasscloth wallpaper has a tightly-woven surface, and reminds me of a man’s herringbone suit. I hung this in two entry vestibules to the master bedroom in my previous post. This paper is a wonderful compliment to the grasscloth in the adjoining room, as you see in the 4th photo.

The paper was thick and stiff, but became nicely pliable once it was pasted and booked (allowed to sit a few minutes). The woven pattern helped disguise the seams better than with regular grasscloth. See 3rd photo. Shading / paneling (color variations between strips) was not much of an issue, but still, it was best to place strips from the same roll next to each other on the wall, reverse-hung, and to use them in the sequence they came off the roll. It was also important to trim a little off each edge of every strip, because if I didn’t, a dark band showed down the length of the seams.

This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, and 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.

“I Thought I Wanted an All-White House – But It Was Bland and Lifeless”

June 9, 2017

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I love it when homeowner say this! Because I have been crusading against all-white houses for years. While the all-white concept looks good in magazines, in real life, with real families in real homes, the look can be coldly stark and anonymous. See Photo 1. This client realized she craved more warmth and personality. Her choice was grasscloth.

In Photo 2, see how just a light, neutral color defines the room, and makes the beautiful woodwork stand out. (In the ‘before’ photo, you could not even see the woodwork.) Further, the nubby texture of the grasscloth adds warmth, while it ‘snugs up’ this large master bedroom. See a close-up of the texture in Photo 3.

Photo 3 also shows a seam. It’s important to understand that grasscloth has no pattern to be matched, and that all the seams will show as a ‘mismatch.’ There can also be color differences between strips. Happily, this product had very little of the shading and paneling and color variations that can occur with grasscloth.

Because all the seams will show, the room looks better when the walls are ‘balanced.’ This means trimming all the strips so they are equally wide for each wall they will sit on. See an example of this in Photo 4. This is called ‘engineering,’ and it takes a lot of time, math, calculating, measuring, and trimming. But the balanced, more sophisticated finished look is worth it. This homeowner noticed the even widths of the panels right away, and was appreciative of the effort I had taken.

This grasscloth product is by Thibaut Designs, pattern #5060. The Run # is 92 – which is pretty high, and it tells you that a whole lot of people have loved this particular color and material.

This wallpaper pattern 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.