Posts Tagged ‘strip’

Dark, Sparkly, Faux Cork in Spring Branch Powder Room

April 1, 2020


No good pictures of this, folks – you had to see it in person to get the full effect.

But the textured vinyl wallpaper had the appearance of a charcoal-colored cork material – with a few silvery sparkles tossed in here and there.

The homeowner wanted a snug, dark powder room. But not cave-like. This paper did the trick beautifully. It is dark, but with the large mirror and the light grey vanity and cararra marble countertop, there were plenty of light colored accents to offset the dark.

This was a new, open floor plan, contemporary styled home in the Spring Branch neighborhood of Houston. The vinyl material will be resistant to water and stains. The non-woven substrate had a lot of fiberglass content – I could see the strands! – so it will be easy to strip off the wall when it’s time to redecorate. In addition, the material does not expand when wet with paste, needs no booking time, and can be hung with the paste-the-wall method. I preferred to paste the paper.

This wallpaper pattern is by Exclusive Wallcoverings, 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.

All the Same Run, Please

February 7, 2020


This homeowner measured her walls and ordered paper before I came by for a consultation. As often happens, she ordered too little paper.

When the additional bolts arrived, unfortunately, they were a different run.

Run number refers to all the bolts that were printed from the same batch or dye lot of ink. The next time the manufacturer prints a run of this wallpaper pattern, the inks will be ever so sightly a different shade.

You cannot place strips of wallpaper from different runs next to one another on the same wall, because you will see the color differences for the entire length of each strip.

You can, however, use different runs on different walls, because your eye won’t notice if the run is “broken” in a corner. This method does require the use of additional paper, though, in order to match the pattern.

In this case, we had enough extra paper. I was able to keep one run on the west and south walls, and then use the other run on the north and east walls.

Nubby Grasscloth / Not-So-Nubby Grasscloth

January 21, 2020


Grasscloth is made from natural fibers, and you never know quite exactly what you will get from bolt to bolt, and even from strip to strip.

In the first photo, you see a lot of “nubs” or knots – where the individual grass fibers have been tied together. You also see a seam, and see how uniform this particular material is. Quite often, the seams are a lot more visible. (see previous posts)

Back to nubs … In the second photo, a strip taken from the same bolt, there are far fewer knots.

Nothing right or wrong with either scenario – just showing how the material can change in appearance, even within the same bolt.

Personally, me, I prefer the more nubby texture.

Just an aside – most of this stuff is made in China. It is made by hand. And there really are workers who harvest tall reeds of grass, lay them in the sun to dry, and then come the little ladies who sit all day and grab handsfull of the grass and knot the reeds together, so these can then be sewn onto the paper backing and turned into wallcovering.

Farrow & Ball, Damaged Paper

October 10, 2019


While I’m griping about F&B, I’m including a photo of an 18″ long portion of one bolt that was severely damaged by the factory (another bolt had similar damage). This particular pattern was a sort of mural, with no repeating pattern that I could cut off and replace with more of the same pattern. In other words, I needed that 18″!

I ended up plotting the layout of the room so that this damaged left edge of the strip would end up cut off by the right side of a door frame.

Textured Wallpaper for Headboard Accent Wall in the Heights

August 20, 2019


A distant shot to show you the warmth, and a couple of close-ups to show the texture.

This wallpaper went on all walls of a small vestibule leading into a master bedroom, and then on the headboard wall of the bedroom itself. The remaining walls were painted a coordinating grey color.

This is a thick textured vinyl material on a woven fabric (scrim) backing. Unlike most wallpapers, this is quite durable and stain-resistant – it’s the same type of stuff they use in hotels and hospitals, where it’s going to get banged into by carts and washed every now and then.

It is also extremely heavy. I’m betting that each double-roll bolt weighed at least 15 pounds. I could barely carry three at a time. A pasted strip 9′ long took about all my strength to lift higher than my head and position on the wall (while balancing on a ladder!).

Because it is so thick, it was hard to press tightly against the wall/ceiling junctions, so it took a little work to get a nice, tight cut. It was also difficult to cut through, so I had to press really hard, and went through a lot of razor blades, and still had to use my scissors to finalize some of the cuts, particularly to cut through some of the string backing.

My shoulders and arms are sore!

This embossed, textured pattern made a lovely, soft backdrop to the bed, and added a warmth that the paint alone could not.

The manufacturer is Thibaut. The older home has been beautifully enlarged and updated, and is in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston. The interior designer is Stacie Cokinos, of Cokinos Design.

Clever Wine Crate Pattern for Outside a Wine Room

July 24, 2019


In the top picture, out of sight to the right is a walk-in wine room. The homeowner has loved this pattern for years, and finally found a place to put it – right adjacent to the wine room!

The wine case pattern is by Brunschwig and Fils. Unlike the other papers by B&F that I have hung, this one is a vinyl, with a slightly embossed surface (the lines between the boxes are slightly indented). It has a selvedge edge that had to be trimmed off by hand. Unlike most hand-trimmed papers, this one had no trim guide marks, so I had to wing it on where to place my straightedge.

The paper backing soaked up paste quickly, and each strip was nearly dried out by the end of the booking time, so I ended up rolling a little paste on the wall where the seams would fall, to augment. Once it was on the wall, the paper adhered nicely.

The floor was unlevel, and so the paper ran crooked along top of it, making it look like the bottom row of boxes was running downhill. To level out this bottom line, I used my straightedge and a razor blade to cut off the bottom “boards” along the black line. I trimmed the strip to 1/2″ high. See 4th photo. I used a piece of artist’s chalk to color the cut edge, so white would not show along the top.

Then I appliquéd the strip over the bottom of the paper on the wall, butting it up against the baseboard. Wallpaper paste won’t stick to vinyl (it’s too slick), so I used special adhesive on the area of the overlap.

In the bottom photo, you can see how nice and even the bottom line looks.

The interior designer for this job is Stacie Cokinos, of Cokinos Design. The home is in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston.

Another Fun Challenge, Disguising a Kill Point

March 16, 2019


If you start hanging wallpaper in a corner, for example, by the time you get around the room and come back to that first corner, the last strip will need to be cut vertically to fit that last space, and pattern will not match up with the pattern on the first wall. This is called the kill point. Usually you try to place it in an inconspicuous place, such as behind a door.

This powder room did not have any hidden corners. I didn’t want to end up with an 8′ high corner of mis-matched pattern, so I decided to put the kill point in a 15″ high area – over the door. A mis-match in the middle of a wall (such as over a door) catches the eye more quickly than a mis-match in a corner. But I knew this pattern would help me minimize that.

What I didn’t expect was that, miraculously, the pattern almost matched itself up perfectly, with only about a 2″ of excess paper. Plus a little tracking due to the crookedness of the walls and ceiling. See second photo.

I did a splice. I matched the strip of paper to the pattern on the right, and then matched it up to the pattern on the left. This left the pouch of excess paper that you see in the second photo. I cut this paper in two vertically, as you see in the second photo.

To prepare for the splice, I took a strip of clear flexible plastic (polystyrene) strip and placed it under the area to be spliced. This would protect the wall from being cut. (Scoring the wall can leave weak areas that could pull loose and delaminate, as the wallpaper dries and pulls taught and puts tension on the wall…. which could cause the seams to curl up.) You can barely see this clear plastic strip at the bottom center of the third photo.

Then I overlapped the strips, took a new, sharp razor blade, and cut through both layers of paper, tracing along the curved elements of the design, such as the tree trunk. A straight cut would have sliced leaves and trees abruptly, but a curved cut helps disguise a pattern mis-match. Also, following along the trunk of the trees maintained the design of the pattern and gave the eye something that it expected to see by maintaining the rhythmic repeat of the design.

Once the cut was made, I pulled away the excess paper from both the top and bottom layers, and removed the lexan strip (which can be washed and reused). I smoothed the two sides of wallpaper together and wiped off residual paste.

In the last photo’s finished view, you can hardly notice any mis-matched pattern.

A More Grown-Up Room – But Still Way Fun

October 25, 2018


I put this paper up back in the ’90’s. It’ still in perfect shape!

The two girls who shared this bathroom have grown up and moved away. Mom thought it was time to get rid of the girlhood décor and move to something more suited for a guest bathroom.

The original paper was a pre-pasted solid vinyl. The vinyl layer stripped off easily, and left the paper backing clinging to the wall. A good soak with plain water softened and reactivated the paste, and the backing came away from the wall easily and with minimal scraping (the putty knife is there more to show perspective). The primer I used back then, oil based KILZ Original, helped protect the walls, and prevented moisture from the removal process from soaking through. KILZ was a superb primer, and I wish I could still use it. But the EPA required changes to many products, to be more environment-friendly, and wallpaper paste will not stick to the new formulas. 😦

Back to the wallpaper … This pattern is from Anthropologie. It is made by York, and is in their SureStrip line – one of my favorite papers to work with. It is pre-pasted and water-activated. The non-woven substrate is thin and pliable (unlike most other brands), conforms nicely to the walls, and exhibits no shrinkage / gaps at the seams when it dries.

The material is designed to strip off the walls easily and in one piece, when it’s time to redecorate. (Although I pretty much doubt that claim – and I would prefer that it not … There is much less chance of damage to the wall if the top layer of wallpaper strips off, leaving the backing on the wall, and then the backing is soaked with a wet sponge, the paste reactivated, and then the backing will come off easily, with minimal or no damage to the walls.)

The home is in the West University neighborhood of Houston.

Badly Curling Edges on Quadrille’s “Sigourney” Wallpaper

July 18, 2018

Digital Image

Digital Image


This “high end, designer wallpaper” by Quadrille (called Sigourney) has heavy inks that smell like moth balls. As is common with these papers, when wet with paste, the ink absorbs moisture and expands more than the paper backing, which is what causes the curing of the edges and the wrinkles (called “waffling”) which you see in the first photo.

Once the paper is on the wall, those edges can continue to curl backwards, resulting in gapped or open seams, or seams that are tight but just don’t look good. And the interior of the strip will continue to hold a few wrinkles and bubbles.

This paper had a selvedge edge that had to be trimmed off by hand with a long straight edge and a razor blade, before the strips of paper could be pasted and hung on the wall. I found that my carefully hand-trimmed edges did not butt together nicely, not did they adhere tightly to the wall, and they left little gaps and curled seams.

My solution was to overlap the subsequent strips of wallpaper and splice them together. This gives pretty much perfect seams.

However, it is time-intensive and somewhat complicated, involving many steps and some special equipment. No photos, but in a nutshell, you trim the selvedge edges of the wallpaper in a way that allows you to match the pattern on one side, and then leaves a little more than that on the opposite side. You first pad the wall under where one seam will go with a thin strip of heavy plastic that is 3″ wide (we WIA members call it a Boggess strip, after the WIA member who invented it), to protect the wall. Then you hang one strip, allowing one edge of it to land on top of that plastic strip.

The next strip is pasted and hung, positioned so that it overlaps the previous strip along the outer edge, while making sure that the pattern matches. Next you take a straightedge (I use a wonderful one (not pictured), invented and manufactured by a WIA member, and a sharp, new razor blade, and cut through the two layers of wallpaper, paying heed to press hard enough to cut through the two layers of paper, but not so hard as to damage the plastics strip, and definitely not hard enough to score the wall. A cut into the wall could result in delamination of the layers of the wall, and irreparable curling at the seams.

Once the cutting has been done, the excess layers of wallpaper need to be pealed away, then the Boggess strip removed, and then the two sides of the wallpaper strips should be eased together and smoothed down tight, with the edges of the strips wiped clean of any residual paste.

Next, the rest of the strip of wallpaper should brushed into place on the wall. This Quadrille paper may look wrinkled and waffled on the wall, but any little wrinkles or bubbles that may remain on the wall will dry and flatten out in very little time – just a few hours.

The whole plot, cut, trim, paste, book, position, place Boggess strip, trim paper at crown molding, trim at chair rail, trim at overlapped seam, smooth seam shut, wipe seam clean of paste residue, scenario resulted in very nice seams, but took a whole lot of time and materials and focus. I probably spent 40 minutes on installation alone (not including measuring or trimming) for each strip.

While this wallpaper’s challenges could be met, and the finished room looked fantastic, I would much prefer to hang a good quality mid-price-range wallpaper, with seams trimmed at the factory, and made with regular ink printed on traditional stock, that performs nicely and with minimal time spent.

Extra Paper Makes for Extra Nice Corners

June 7, 2018


When you go around a corner, you (usually) never wrap the full wallpaper strip around a corner. Instead, you split your strip horizontally so it will wrap around the corner a teeny bit (1/16” – 1/8” ). See top photo.

The next piece overlaps that by a hair. This means that you naturally lose a smidgeon of the pattern.

In this room, the walls were not plumb (which is true in virtually every house in Houston). So at the top of the wall, the amount of overlap was a negligible 1/16”. But by the time you got to eye level, the overlap was more like 3/8”. That’s enough to throw the pattern match off significantly. See second photo. And this was in a very noticeable corner, next to the vanity.

If I have an extra bolt of paper, I will have a few extra strips. Then I can cut a brand new strip, split it vertically, and make the pattern match pretty close to perfectly. (Sorry, no pic of the finished corner, which, BTW, did look perfect. 🙂 )