Posts Tagged ‘Thibaut’

Subtle Pattern, Shimmer Brighten a Dining Rooom

June 17, 2018


This dining room in the Oak Forest neighborhood of Houston was originally painted grey, and the walls pretty much blended in with the paneling and window moldings. Boring. The wife wanted something a little more dramatic – but the husband wasn’t going for it. So they found this wonderful compromise.

The pattern is so subtle that it can’t be seen in the two distant shots. But you can see how the lighter color is brightening up the room, and how the contrast between the walls and trim show off the pretty moldings in the room.

It’s a pearlized silver ink on a white ground in a triangular geometric pattern. This pattern is meant to be a background, rather than stand on its own. There will be some large artwork, or perhaps a showy mirror hung on the walls, which will become the main focus.

This wallpaper pattern is 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.

Interestingly, this house is an exact clone of a home a few blocks away, where I hung wallpaper last year – yes, in the dining room!

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Difficult Hang Today – Lots of Work to Get Good Seams

June 17, 2018



I don’t recall ever having seen a wallpaper product labeled “heavyweight paper” before. I wasn’t thrilled with this stuff. It was thick, and that made it difficult to work with. I prefer thin papers because they form to the walls better. This paper didn’t have any coating on it, so it is not any more durable than a thinner paper, so I don’t see the reason for the “heavyweight” treatment.

And any time you apply paste and the edges of the paper curl backward (Photo 1), you know you are in for a tough install.

The room was already prepped, and it was just 9 single rolls on an easy top of a dining room – no tricky moldings to trim around, no toilets to reach beind, no awkward spaces to situate the ladder in… It should have taken 5-6 hours. Instead I toiled for 12 hours.

I hung three strips, and wasn’t happy with the two seams between them. They pouched just a little and would not lie down flat. (Photo 2) With strong light coming in from the windows, the seams looked bad. There was no way of knowing how the seams would look once the paper was good and dry. But for now, I couldn’t stand the look, and I didn’t want to leave the homeowners with these pouchy seams.

I removed two of those strips, refreshed the paste, and kept them “open” by placing them in a plastic trash bag so they would remain useable (we didn’t have a lot of paper to spare). I ran to the truck and got supplies so I could double cut new seams (splice on the wall). I needed a special trim guide, and a special polystyrene padding strip to protect the wall so that the razor blade wouldn’t score into it (which could compromise the surface and lead to delamination of layers … too complicated to get into here, but you can do a Search and read previous posts on this subject).

From then on, instead of using the factory edges for seams, I double cut. Double cutting involves padding the wall behind where the seam will be, overlapping the new strip onto the old strip while carefully matching the pattern, and then using the handled straightedge and a sharp new razor blade to cut through both layers of paper. Then you peel back the paper at the newly cut seam and remove the two thin strips of excess paper that were just cut off. Then you remove the plastic padding strip.

Now you can put the edges of the freshly cut new seam back together. Because they were cut into each other, they will fit together perfectly. But because the padding strip has some thickness, the two newly cut edges are now a teeny tad wider than needed, so you’ll have to do some finessing to get the seam to butt together, instead of pouching up just a bit.

Because one strip of pasted paper overlapped onto another, once the excess paper strips are removed, there will be paste residue left on a 1″-2″ edge of one of the wallpaper drops. This has to be washed off with a damp microfiber rag, and you will have to rinse the rag and wash the wall several times to get all the residue off.

And all of this has to be done on a time frame, because while you’re working on one seam, the edges of the next are rapidly drying out, which is a whole new can of worms.

My finished double cut seams were perfect. (Photo 3)

But after I had worked my way around the room a bit, I looked back at the first wall, and saw that, as the paper dried, it shrank just a little. This left a visible gap between the two strips. (Photo 4) This gap isn’t visible from a distance, and it’s not visible if you look at the walls at an angle. But if you are standing three feet away and looking head-on, you will see the gap. I think it’s too much.

Oh, and, one more thing … the paper was easily marred if it was touched by any bit of metal. (Photo 5) Scissors, straight edge, trim guide, even the metal eraser housing on the end of my pencil would leave a grey mark if it happened to rub against the wallpaper. Most of these marks would wipe off, but not all of them. And wiping the paper leads to abrasion, so you want to avoid overdoing it. I worry about how the wallpaper might be marked up when the homeowners innocently go about hanging their art and mirror.

Considering what the homeowners paid for the wallpaper and installation, I think they should have a better outcome than this. This paper is manufactured by Thibaut. Thibaut makes many types of wallpaper, and most of them are lovely to work with, and they perform well. It makes you wonder why they would use this “heavyweight” stock, which produces a less-than-desireable outcome.

Gentle Texture, Soft Color on a Home Office Ceiliing

June 10, 2018


Here is the home office of interior designer Layne Torsch, of Layne Torsch Interiors, in the Highland Village neighborhood of Houston. Her look is serene and simple, but livable for today’s busy families.

The walls and furnishings in this room are plain and clean, but the addition of light texture and color on the ceiling warms things up. The material is called “Bankun Raffia,” and is by Thibaut Designs. It is a scrim (woven fabric) backed solid vinyl product that is embossed with a texture that resembles woven grasscloth. It has a two-toned color.

Read my “Grasscloth Info Pack” to the right, and you will learn that I am not fond of real grasscloth, because of the color variations. But this is one of my favorite faux grasscloth products, because of the uniformity of color and because of the water-resistance and durability of the material.

White Damask on Silver Cork as a Backdrop to Family Photos and 3-D Art

May 21, 2018


Here’s a follow-up photo to a space I did a few weeks ago. It’s always nice to see the finished room.

This family is all about its kids, a school-aged boy and girl, hence the block of family photos. They are also keen on their ethnic heritage, hence the African mask.

The wall the mask is hanging on is curved (see previous post), so it would not lend itself to traditional artwork. But because the mask is narrow, it sits nicely on the curved wall. The white color works perfectly with the printed white damask pattern, and the height of the piece makes it a dramatic statement in this large family room.

The wallpaper is a silver cork material by Thibaut, and the home is in Pasadena, in southeast Houston.

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.

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.

Same Color, But Grasscloth Brings a Little Texture and Warmth for a West U. Living Room

May 11, 2018



This home in the West University neighborhood of Houston has fairly traditional and formal décor. After 20 years, the homeowner wanted to warm things up with some texture. The new wallpaper is about the same color as the original wall paint (pale aqua blue), but the addition of gold grass fibers (grasscloth) brings warmth, personality, and a good dose of glamor, too.

Sorry, the color has not shown up well in these photos, but the close-up shot shows the lovely texture and natural fibers in this product.

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.

Fun Color and Lively Pattern for a Rice U. Area Powder Room

April 19, 2018

Wallpaper - Thibaut Wild Floral, Soffit


This powder room in a 1939 home near Rice University (Houston) also serves as the laundry. The previous owners had painted the room a grey semi-gloss. Serviceable, but lifeless. The new owners have a just-learning-to-walk little girl, and a more vibrant lifestyle. This wild and colorful floral pattern is just what was needed to wake up the room.

This pattern is reminiscent of the chintz designs that were popular in the 1990’s. But it’s updated by it’s overscale size, and the bright, edgy colors that are used.

I particularly like the way it works with the green vanity. In fact, parts of the room behind the appliances could not be papered (could not move the washer & dryer out of the way, one wall had too much weirdness going on – really bad surface, hoses and wires running through it, very large gaps) so the homeowners will paint that wall with a semi-gloss paint, which will be resistant to splashes from laundry day. They were thinking of white, but I suggested using the same green as on the vanity. It’s a lot more fun than plain old white, and it will tie the room together.

This room was difficult to paper, because of the wonky walls, unfortuitous placement of windows, doors, bump-outs, etc., none of which synced with the width of the wallpaper, hoses and pipes I had to trim around (sorry, no photo 😦 ), and lots more. Take a look at the soffit – easy to look at, but difficult to get paper on – luckily the pattern is wild enough that unavoidable mismatches are not noticeable.

This “Portofino” wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, and was very nice to work with. 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.

Super Alternative to Grasscloth – With Texture, Color, Durability

April 18, 2018


I am not fond of grasscloth, for many reasons – Read my blog page on the right.

So here’s an alternative that I love. It’s made of embossed vinyl, so it has a textured surface and a tri-toned color finish, which people are loving right now. The vinyl composition makes it practically impervious to water, fingerprints, toiletries, and little boys with bad aim. 🙂 Being commercial-grade, it is also durable, so it will hold up to dings and bangs. And it has a woven fabric backing, so it will strip off the wall easily when its time to redecorate.

This wallpaper pattern is called Bankun Raffia, and comes in 30+ colors. It’s made 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.

Humming Birds After Harvey

April 15, 2018


This home in a southwest neighborhood of Houston was damaged by Hurricane Harvey. Eight months later, repairs have progressed enough that decorative touches can now go in. This is the powder room.

This pattern is one of my all-time favorites, for its beauty, for its history, for its ease of installation, and for its performance over time.

This wallpaper pattern is called “Augustine,” by Thibaut Designs. It is a gravure print process with raised ink, and comes pre-pasted. This is a very old pattern – over 100 years old! The paper is 2.5″ narrower than most papers, and I’m told that is because it is printed on the very same cylinders that were used in the 1800’s.

The wallpaper 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.