Posts Tagged ‘synthetic’

Keeping the Pattern Straight Going Around a Wide Window

November 17, 2021
Hanging wallpaper around windows is tricky. You’ve got to keep the pattern straight along the top and the bottom, and coming down the far side, and hope that the pattern will match up when those last pieces meet. That’s harder than it sounds, because ceiling lines and window frames and floors are never perfectly level, nor are walls perfectly plumb. And wallpaper expands when it gets wet with paste, and twists out of shape, and does other contortions. The wider the window is, the more likely it is that things will get off kilter. And this window was 8′ wide! For the strips along the top, it was fairly easy to keep the pattern straight across the top of the window, as I used a ruler and made sure that a certain design motif was 3/4″ from the top of the window. Keeping this uniformity looks good to the eye. But just because it was the same height across the top of the window, it doesn’t mean it was level, or keeping equidistant from the design below the window. Like I said, patterns and walls and windows go off track. Still, it’s the best shot we’ve got.

Below the window, instead of using a ruler, I tried another trick. I measured the distance from the window molding that a certain design motif was to hit the wall, and drew a pencil line horizontally right at that measurement. Then I made sure that each strip I hung, the motif synced up with this line. In order to do this, I had to pull the design up or down a bit in some places, which meant some minor pattern mis-matches here and there.

I didn’t get pictures of my final strip coming around the right top side of the window, and how it met up with the pattern below the window. The pattern match was off a little, but not much. I was able to tweak one strip and fudge the pattern a bit. In another area I cut a strip in two vertically, following the contours of the design, and did a bit of overlapping.

All this disguised the minor pattern mis-match, while also keeping the right edge of the wallpaper nice and straight – which is important because the next strip of paper would need to butt up against it.

It did help that this material was a non-woven, which has a content of polyester / synthetic, and so is dimensionally stable – which is a fancy way of saying that it’s not supposed to expand (much) when it gets wet with paste.

IAll that sounds confusing, and it is. But I hope it has helped a bit to explain how this can be done.

Rifle Paper “City Maps” – Fun Stuff

October 1, 2021
Wall smoothed and primed; ready for wallpaper. I used craft paint to color the putty-colored edge along the top of the backsplash.
Finished
Pattern centered nicely on the faucet and on the light fixture above (not shown).
The original heavy texture and lifeless khaki paint in this powder room. At the far top right, you see my smoothing compound over the door. Once this is spread over the entire wall surface, it will be allowed to dry, then sanded smooth, residual dust removed with a damp sponge, and a wallpaper-specific primer applied.
Done! So much brighter and more fun! Note the blue ceiling – a lovely touch!
View from outside the powder room.
Close up.
Rifle Paper is made by York, one of my favorite brands. Previously I’ve worked with their non-woven (synthetic fibers) wallpaper material, so I was surprised to see they also print on traditional stock like this one.

This powder room is in a newish home in the Heights neighborhood of Houston.

Dark – But Not Boring – Paper for Media Room

July 10, 2021
Media room before.
After
It was tricky getting the paper into that 1 1/2″ wide space between the windows, but it really makes the windows stand out.
Close-up. The non-woven material is made of synthetic fibers, rather than cotton or wood pulp.
The manufacturer is Schumacher, and the pattern is called Cymbeline.

When you’re cocooned to watch a movie in your tricked-out media room, you want the room nice and dark. But a dark wallpaper doesn’t have to be plain or simply textured.

The vining tree limbs and leaves of this wallpaper pattern add interest and movement to the walls and keep the mood from falling somber. But don’t distract from what’s going on on the big screen.

Schumacher is not one of my favorite brands. But this paper was not one of their contrary screen prints, but rather a non-woven material. It was stiff and thick, but pasting the back softened it up and made it pliable and cooperative.

The home is in the Montrose neighborhood of central Houston.

Foresty Pattern in Dining Room

July 3, 2021
Textured wall has been smoothed and primed – ready for wallpaper.
I love the way this coordinates with the green moldings.
The pattern is called “Pine.”
Manufacturer is Sandberg, a Scandinavian company. I love that their word for “pattern” translates to “monster.”

Can’t wait to do the remaining three walls tomorrow.

This is a non-woven (synthetic) material, and I hung this first wall with the paste-the-wall method. Due to the complexity and characteristics of the remaining walls, I may opt to paste the paper.

The homeowners had never used wallpaper before, so they were a little uncertain going in. Once they saw this first finished wall, they are thrilled!

The home is in the Tanglewood / Galleria area of Houston.

Going Wild in a Heights Powder Room

May 27, 2021
Notice anything? No – you don’t. That’s because it’s virtually impossible to see ANYTHING in this all-black powder room. The homeowners acknowledged that this “haute design” idea was a mistake.
Two walls and part of the sloped ceiling.
Adorable interpretation of forest animals

Not only did this clever design and light background brighten up the space, the homeowner exclaimed how it also made the room look larger.

This is an under-the-stairs powder room in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston. Originally, everything was black – walls, woodwork, floor, ceiling. The sink / mirror wall was the exception, being covered with white tile.

What a perfect fit is this scene of whimsical animals in a forest setting, in black on white.

The wallpaper is by Marimekko, a Finnish company. It is a non-woven material made of synthetic fibers. It can be hung using the paste-the-wall method, but I prefer to paste-the-material because it makes the paper more pliable.

Run Numbers – Re Previous Post

May 15, 2021
Run numbers are important!

Re my previous post, before I visited, the homeowner had purchased 8 rolls (4 double roll bolts) of paper. This was just exactly enough (12 strips) for the headboard wall, but I told him to order 16 more to do the rest of the room. The new paper came in a different run. So we had Run 16 for the headboard accent wall, and Run 17 for the other walls.

(You can’t mix runs on the same wall, because different runs, printed at different times with different batches of ink, will be slightly different shades. This very slight color difference will show up on the wall as a striped or “paneled” effect.)

The wallpaper is by York. It is a non-woven material, comprised of synthetic fibers rather than wood and cotton. The synthetic material does not expand when wet with paste, which means the wallpaper can be hung via the paste-the-wall method, with no “booking” or “soaking” wait time needed.

Interestingly enough, Run 16 behaved differently from Run 17. I hung the accent wall with Run 16 quite successfully using the paste-the-wall method.

But when I started the next wall using Run 17, bubbles and wrinkles developed. The paper was absorbing moisture from the paste and expanding on the wall, creating the small bubbles. Quite unexpected with a non-woven material.

The solution was to paste the back of the wallpaper, rather than the wall. This allows the material to absorb moisture and expand a tad before you get it to the wall, so it will behave itself once it is on that wall.

Unlike a traditional paper, this non-woven material did not need a lot of time to absorb moisture, but could be pasted and hung immediately. This greatly speeds up the installation process.

Pasting the paper has an additional advantage in that it renders the material more supple and pliable, which makes it much easier to work around corners or manipulate into position in tricky areas.

Burnished Copper Colors in Home Bar Area

May 6, 2021

tThe homeowner loved the coppery-hued colors in this “Carousel Stripe” pattern by Cole & Son. The colors mesh beautifully with the wood tones, and also the brass faucet, in this home bar area.

What’s interesting is that I think the colors (especially the red) are more intense now, than in the samples she got from the vendor. In fact, one complaint of hers was that the vendor sent just one small snip of the paper, and didn’t show the full color spectrum of all 10 stripes that make up the pattern.

No matter. The finished effect really sets off the bar backsplash, and will be a fabulous backdrop once the bottles and glasses are back in place.

This wallpaper is a non-woven material, which is made of synthetic fibers rather than wood or cotton pulp. Instead of the paste-the-wall installation method, I chose to paste-the-paper. This made the material more flexible and manageable, which helped a lot, because when it was dry, it really wanted to crease and flake.

TFor instance, the racks sitting on the counter in the first photo could not be removed. Manipulating, fitting and trimming the wallpaper around the sharp bends and angles without marring the wallpaper was very difficult.

The non-woven, synthetic-origin material (think fiberglass) was also really hard to cut. Even with a brand-new razor blade, I had trouble getting perfect cuts around moldings, and also in a whole lot of other simpler areas.

These two rooms were hard enough, with minimal angles and corners and intricate moldings. If this had been a bathroom, or another room with a lot of turns and fancy cuts, it would have been really difficult to prevent creases and other damage to the wallpaper.

As it was, I spent about nine hours hanging these four single rolls of paper.

This is a wonderfully restored 1939 home in the Rice University area of central Houston.

Challenges With 40″ Wide, Thin Vinyl Mural

March 13, 2021

See other recent post(s) for more info on this material and its install.

When ordering, from the materials offered, the homeowner chose this vinyl option, because she loved the slightly textured, “pebbled” surface. I would have much preferred she went with the more predictable and cooperative non-woven material.

The instructions said to paste the wall. Which is what I did. But I believe this material would have performed better if they had said to paste the product.

Pasting the product would have evened out moisture absorption from the paste, as well as expansion as the substrate wetted-out. That may well have eliminated the wrinkles you see in the photo.

It took a lot of patient work with both the smoothing brush and the plastic squeegee to work these wrinkles and bubbles out of the wallpaper. The resulting flat surface was not necessarily the Holy Grail … because often the far edge of the wallpaper will get distorted and / or warped / bowed.

It’s really difficult to hang a new, subsequent strip next to a strip with a warped edge. It’s hard to butt the seams, and plus additional strips get more and more warped. Eventually, you get to where the resulting wrinkles are so large that you cannot work them out.

This is one reason why you start hanging from the midpoint of the wall. This helps disperse any such wrinkles or other imperfections equally across both the right and the left sides of the wall.

I was lucky that I had only four panels and three seams on this install.

As mentioned above, a non-woven substrate would must surely have eliminated the wrinkle problem. Non-wovens are made of synthetic fibers (including fiberglass), so they do not expand when wetted by paste or water. So you can paste the wall and then apply the wallpaper, without worries about the paper stretching out of shape

A Nice Faux Silk

June 19, 2019


Recently, I’ve had a number of young client families interested in silk wallpaper. For their bath or powder rooms.

Silk is beautiful, and certainly creates a calming mood. But it is also highly stainable. Which makes it a bad choice for rooms where it may be splashed with water, sprayed with toiletries, or touched by peanut butter and jelly-stained hands.

There are faux product that make good alternatives, though. The lower-end paper-backed vinyls are not a good option, due to issues with seams (do a Search here).

Today I at Dorota’s store and she showed me this new product, from Thibaut, in their Texture Resource Volume 6 collection. It’s vinyl, so it’s extremely resistant to water and stains, and the backing is a synthetic non-woven material, which will not absorb moisture and curl at the seams like the lower-end vinyls do.

Dorota works in a Benjamin Moore store near the Rice Village. By appointment: (713) 520-6262.