Posts Tagged ‘shading’

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.

Balancing Grasscloth Panels

January 18, 2020


Because grasscloth does not have a pattern that can be matched, the seams are always visible. And, due to the characteristics of natural materials, the strips will have color variations within themselves. This means that you will distinctly see each individual panel on the wall.

Because each panel is noticeable, walls usually look better if each panel is the same width. In other words, on a wall 14′ wide, it looks better to have five strips that are each 33.5″ wide, rather than four strips that are 3′ wide and one that is 2.’

In addition, grasscloth invariably comes with edges that have been abraded during shipping. On top of that, it’s common to have color issues at the edges – either a light band, or a dark band, or irregular bands of shading along the edges.

For that reason, many paperhangers trim the edges off both sides of each strip of grasscloth. This allows the installer to trim the width to fit the wall’s dimensions, it gets rid of most of the damage caused by shipping and handling, and it reduces the shading that the manufacturer’s dye process may have left along the edges.

If you study the photo closely, you will see that all these panels are the same width.

And, while some jagged color variations do appear along some of the edges, it is not pronounced, as the darkest areas have been trimmed off.

There is still a color difference between the three strips on the right and the four strips on the left – but that is just the nature of grasscloth and its manufacturing process

As you can imagine, all this measuring and plotting and trimming takes extra time. If you’re like me and like math and geometry and logistics, hanging grasscloth can be a whole lot of fun!

Grasscloth in Heights Master Bedroom

January 17, 2020


This is the 1st floor master bedroom of a nicely-remodeled-but-still-retains-many-original-details-and-all-its-original-charm 1920 bungalow in the Heights neighborhood of Houston.

The textured walls started out dark green. I skim-floated and sanded them smooth. The new wallpaper is a brown grasscloth with a faint greenish tinge, and it has a nubby texture with a lot of knots (more pics tomorrow!)

The homeowner ordered her paper before I measured the room, and I told her to get two additional double roll bolts. In the 4th photo, I am checking labels to be sure we have all the same run / dye batch; we lucked out and the new bolts were the same run as the original lot.

In the 5th photo, I have cut strips for a wall, and have them lined up and ready to paste and trim. In the background, you can see how I place bolts against each wall, as a way of keeping track of how many strips I need and which bolts I will take them from.

Because there are shading / paneling issues with grasscloth (do a Search here on those terms), it’s important to not mix strips from different bolts. That way, if there are slight color differences between bolts (as there usually are) these differences will be minimized. Still, as you see in the third photo, the three strips on the right came from one bolt, and the strips on the left came from another bolt – and there is a noticeable difference in shade. This is not a defect – it’s simply the nature of grasscloth – a product made from natural materials.

This one long wall used seven strips from three bolts, so a color difference could be expected. On the other, narrower, walls, all the strips came from the same bolt, so the color differences were minimized. When I had to use different bolts on the same wall, I was able to place the “break” over a door or window, with only 1′ of color difference. That’s a lot less noticeable than the 8′ you see on the long wall in the photo.

This wallpaper was bought through Sherwin Williams. There is no brand name on the label.

More photos tomorrow!

3-D “Rivet” Squares on Grasscloth in a Home Office

October 25, 2019


Phillip Jeffries’s “Rivets” pattern is popular and trendy. The wallpaper I hung today is Thibaut’s response to it.

Thibaut’s version offers the same texture and appeal of real natural fiber grasscloth, as well as three-dimensional squares that unite to form larger squares.

Thibaut’s version Union Square is better because:

1.) Less expensive

2.) Better color consistency (fewer paneling and shading issues)

3.) Squares form a more muted secondary pattern, so it’s much easier to live with (the pattern doesn’t hit you in the eye every time you look at a wall)

4.) Squares are positioned on the strips so the installer can easily manipulate the pattern to accommodate un-plumb walls and un-level ceilings.

5.) For similar reasons, the installer can “tweak” the design a bit to ensure favorable placement of the squares (to eliminate having to cut through any of the squares, or bend them around a corner). Read below.

6.) When it’s unavoidable to have to cut through the squares, the Thibaut 3-D material is much easier to get through with a blade or scissors than the PJ or the Schumacher products.

7.) The bolts are marked in the order they came off the printing press (see photo), so you can hang strips sequentially, to minimize shading and paneling (do a search here on those terms).

8.) Thibaut provides clear tips on how to work with natural materials and what to expect with the finished outcome.

9.) Thibaut offers to replace material lost to working around defects, and they will also reimburse an installer for (part) of his labor, if a product is defective.

10.) Other points which are escaping me right now. But suffice it to say, despite its grand reputation, Phillip Jeffries products are often extremely difficult to install, and disappointing in appearance, and customer service is basically, “We never had this problem before – it must be the installer’s fault.”

Thibaut, on the other hand, researches what it takes to make a good product, does test hangs, and, if there is a problem, Thibaut actually listens to feedback from us installers.

In the window photo, I did some tweaking to get the rivets to line up exactly over the middle of the window. It took some further tweaking to position the squares so they would march down either side of the window at the same distance from the edge.

How did I accomplish that? After much measuring and plotting and a few practice strips, I widened the distance between two sets of squares over the center of the window – by a full inch. 4.5″ instead of 3.5″ is a big difference, yet it is barely noticeable. What is more important is that the squares going down either side of the window are all 3/4″ from the edge.

This home is in the Briar Park neighborhood of Houston – interestingly enough, right next door to another home I papered a year or so ago, and a block away from another home I where I hung paper in the powder room and have more bathrooms to paper coming up … In fact, I have put wallpaper in a whole lot of homes in this one tiny neighborhood. Near Beltway 8 / Sam Houston Tollway and Briar Forest.

The interior designer is Layne Ogden of Layne Torsch Interiors.

Textured Woven Grasscloth in Home Bar Area

October 23, 2019


This new home in the Briarpark neighborhood of west Houston is spacious and light, with floor-to-ceiling windows, white walls and neutral-colored floors and furnishings.

Like many young families, the homeowners were looking for texture, rather than pattern, to warm up their home bar area. Layne Ogden, of Layne Torsch Interiors, found them this 2-tone, basket-weave sort of grasscloth pattern by Thibaut.

Seams are a little less noticeable on this woven grasscloth, but buyers should still be aware that ANY “natural” product presents the possibility of mis-matched seams, shading and paneling, as well as being easily stained, or even targeted by cats or dogs who want something to dig into.

To help reduce the instances of paneling, Thibaut has labeled their bolts in the order they came off the manufacturing line. The idea is that if you place strips that were dyed at the same time next to one another, it will minimize any possible color differences as you move through the printing batch numbers.

The only weird thing for today’s project is … how did it happen that there are TWO bolts numbered #12? ?? AND … what’s up with that one bolt that has no label or wrapper of its own?

The two bolts of #12 I can deal with. But the unwrapped bolt I am afraid to work with. It is undoubtedly a return from gawd-knows-whom-or-when, and it’s impossible to know what run or batch it’s in.

So I’m ahopin’ that I will be able to pull enough tricks out of my hat to paper the room without having to use this bolt.