Posts Tagged ‘trimmed’

Mural’s Too Short – Filling The Gap

January 19, 2022
The homeowner purchased this graffiti mural before consulting with me, and didn’t realize that it was not tall enough to fit the 9′ high walls in her sons’ room. So here you see the 4.5″ gap along the bottom. At first she was just going to leave it, because once the beds got pushed back into place, most of this gap would be hidden.
But I wanted to cover up the gap. The mural was too short for the wall, but it was also too wide. That meant we had a full unused 29″ wide panel to play with. There was a section that had a lot of asphalt area. So I took my straightedge and a razor blade and ruler and trimmed strips that were 5″ high.
Here I am applying the strips over the gap. I’m using clear adhesive latex caulk along the top edge of the strips where they overlap 1/2″ along the bottom of the mural … The surface of the mural is vinyl, and wallpaper paste doesn’t like to stick to a slippery surface like vinyl. The section that matched the asphalt in the mural best I placed in the center of the wall, where there would be a small space between the two beds. The beds look like race cars, BTW.
Here it is finished. From a distance, you would never think that the bottom was pieced in.

Bold David Hicks Geometric in Garden Oaks Powder Room

December 18, 2021
This young family wanted some WOW! Factor for their new home’s plain-Jane powder room. It’s a 2-room set up, with the sink in one area and the toity around the corner in a more private area.
Looking through one room into the next – yes, really a WOW! Factor!
Looks fantastic with the burnished gold faucets, light sconces, and hand towel ring.
Opposite wall. I centered the pattern on the wall opposite the mirror, so that the design would work around the room evenly and the pattern would fall equally on these two walls. In other words, the pattern hits the tile wall on the left at exactly the same point as it does on the tile wall to the right. The sconces also land on the same element in the wallpaper. This gives a very symmetrical look as you face the mirror. One of those things no one can put his finger on, but it makes the whole room feel balanced and in sync.
Back wall connecting to right wall with door that leads to the entry hall.
The commode room is under the stairway, so has a strongly sloped ceiling – and tight working quarters. You can also see that the wall is bowed in the corner, resulting in a good pattern match at top and bottom, but some mis-alignment in the center. Pretty typical. No walls are perfectly plumb, no ceiling is perfectly level, and corners are just about always a bit wonky. Geometric designs like this are particularly difficult to make look perfect.
On close-up, you can see a slight raised ink texture. This surface printed wallpaper was not a crisp look – nothing wrong with that … it’s part of the hand-crafted look. The non-woven material is thick and stiff, and the seams were a bit more noticeable than on many other non-wovens. I also noted that where the gold ink hit the edges of the paper, there were ever-so-slight curls and overlaps. My guess is the gold ink reacted to the wet paste and expanded differently from the black and the background color. Never mind. From two feet away, you can’t notice it at all.
The David Hicks Collection by GP & J Baker contains several variations of this type of bold geometric pattern. Some of the vendors are calling this a “new” release … but I first hung one of these designs maybe 10 years ago.
Unfortunately, they haven’t gotten any better with the quality. Surprising, because GP&J Baker’s papers are usually very nice – I did one just a few months ago and loved it. Conversely, this one is quite stiff, and trying to work it into tight spots such as corners or behind a toilet or around a vanity or light fixture can result in creases. And the ink flakes off very easily. Here, just pressing the wallpaper against the baseboard so it could be trimmed caused the ink to chip off, and you can see little bits of it collected on top of the baseboard on the left. Luckily, this was at the floor and not very noticeable. I used some black chalk to cover the white areas. But at eye-level, this would have necessitated removing the whole strip and replacing with a new one.

Wallpaper installer Houston

Hallway Wallpaper Repair – Thibaut Honshu

December 11, 2021
This couple in the West University neighborhood of Houston loves color and avant garde – unexpected and fun! I hung this Honshu wallpaper by Thibaut in their small hallway at the beginning of the pandemic – April 2020. Since then, they decided to change the faucets and showerhead in the bathroom on the other side of this wall. To access the pipes, the plumber had to cut a hole in the drywall. The ‘guy’ that this couple uses did a fantastic job of cutting the drywall, preserving the wallpaper, and then patching the hole. You can even see that his cuts are perfectly level and plumb!
Slapping wallpaper patches over the two holes would have probably sufficed. But I wanted to make it better, so I stripped off and replaced the old wallpaper. This meant patching the guy’s drywall repairs. I didn’t get a photo, but I used drywall tape and joint compound to even out the areas. A heavy duty floor fan plus a heat gun helped get the smoothing compound to dry in a few hours. I sanded smooth and applied wallpaper primer, and ended up with what you see in the photo.
To conserve paper, instead of replacing the entire two strips from ceiling to floor, which could have caused some problems with matching the pattern on the left side, I patched in about one foot down from the ceiling line. To disguise the appliqued area, I used a scissors and trimmed around the wallpaper design, as you see here. This is less visible than a straight horizontal cut.
In this photo, the two strips have been put into place. You could never tell there was a hole (or two) !

Hand Trimming Wallpaper

March 28, 2021

A lot of high-end wallpapers come with an unprinted selvedge edge that has to be trimmed off by hand before the paper can go up on the wall.

Hmmm … they charge you more because it’s a “designer brand.” But they give you less, because it takes a lot of time, precision, and razor blades to trim this off, when the company could have simply done it at their factory.

O.K., moving past that … To trim off the selvedge, I used my 6′ brass-bound straight edge and lots of new, sharp, single-edge razor blades. The “Trim” mark guides printed on the material by the manufacturer were pretty much on-target.

Thus the pattern on the trimmed strips matched up very nicely once pasted and hung on the wall.

’70’s Retro Flower Power

December 9, 2020

Here is a home where people are not scared of color, nor of pattern …. What a fun switch from drab to dramatic – with a little groovy tossed in!

The wallpaper is by Sanderson, a British company. Unlike most modern British papers which are of non-woven material, this was printed on a pulp substrate, and the surface felt like vinyl. Once wet with paste, it was fairly flimsy and prone to tear while being trimmed with a razor blade. Once dry, it will be a bit more durable.

This was a small, cramped powder room. It was super appreciated that the homeowners had removed the sink before I started work, so it was much easier to hang paper on that wall.

The home is in the Montrose area of inner loop Houston.

Classic Chinoiserie Toile in Powder Room

October 30, 2020

The homeowner chose the rough marble tile backsplash wall in hopes that it would enliven the room. But with the other walls painted a bland taupe, the effect fell flat. She chose this classic 2-tone “Pillement Toile” by Scalamandre to add softness to the room and to bring out the tile wall. Mission accomplished!

This was not the easiest wallpaper to hang. For starters, like many higher-end papers, it comes with a selvage edge that had to be trimmed off by hand. (5th photo)

Also, as with many hand-screened prints that are made with “stinky inks” – the ink smells like mothballs – the ink, substrate, and moisture from the paste all fight each other, resulting in what we call curl. (4th photo) There was also some warping and stretching. It took quite a bit of time and effort to finesse that strip in the fourth photo to lie flat and tight to the wall.

Once the paper started to dry, the seams laid down tighter to the wall.

If you’re curious, that blue plastic tape in the fourth photo is placed on the edge of the wallpaper to prevent paste from getting onto the marble tile wall. Once the wallpaper is trimmed along that edge, the tape is removed. Voilà! No need to wipe paste off the stone!

The home is off Braeswood in Houston.

Bringing Back The Bird

August 6, 2020


Re my previous post, where I explain why to add 2″ to EACH side of EACH dimension (height and width) of the wall when measuring for a mural (for a total of 4″ to both height and width),,, thus when the mural is installed, there will be 2″ or more of excess paper trimmed off and discarded from each side.

Usually, the manufacturer leaves a good bit of space around all sides that has no important pattern or motifs, so you are not losing anything special when this excess paper is trimmed off.

But this mural had a part of a bird flying in from the left edge. And he was going to be completely cut off and thrown into the trash.

I thought it would look better if the mural included this arriving feathered friend.

So I took the strip of wallpaper that had been trimmed off from the left side of the mural, and cut around his figure, pasted the back side, and appliquéd him to the upper left edge of the mural – right where the artists planned to have him be.

Tall Walls and Awkward Spaces

March 28, 2020


This home office in a new, contemporary home in the Sunset Terrace / West University neighborhood of Houston has walls that were nearly 11′ high. In addition, there were bookcases and desks that I had to lean over in order to reach much of the wallspace.

My solution was to bring my 6′ ladder in addition to my usual 5′ ladder. By placing the shorter ladder on top of the desk counter, I was able get close enough and high enough to do the wall behind the desk.

I’m not quite 100lbs, so my weight and its distribution on the counter was not a worry.

To reach the area over the bookcases to the left, I had to do a combination of balancing on the 5′ ladder, and stepping onto the very top of the 6′ ladder, then leaning precariously, and placing a foot onto the shelves – without putting too much weight, because they were not securely attached.

You can be sure that I had to keep mindful of my center of gravity, how close the ladder was to the edge of that counter, how far I had to reach, how much backward torque that placed on the ladder, how stable the ladder was on its surface, and a whole lot more – all while also concentrating on getting the paper straight, trimmed, and smooth on the wall.

Bibliotheque Install Details, Pt I – Hand Trimming, Overlapping

March 18, 2020

Like many of the higher-end brands, this Brunschwig & Fils wallpaper had to have its selvedge edge trimmed off by hand. Unfortunately, they did not provide trim guide marks. Double unfortunately, I tried using the pattern as a guide, but, for a lot of reasons, this was a big fail – the edges looked like they had been trimmed with a hair curling iron. 😦

How, then, was I going to get good seams?

I was preparing to double cut (splice). But for many reasons, this was not presenting as a good option.

Then I got the idea to overlap. This turned out to be the perfect solution!

The edges of the “bookshelves” were not straight, so, instead of using my straightedge as a trim guide, I grabbed a new razor blade and free-handed my cuts along the design. (see top photo)

Then, after measuring, pasting, and booking my strips, I positioned them on the wall by overlapping one “shelf support” on top of the previous one. The second photo shows one strip being placed thusly.

Overlapping like this does leave a ridge under the wallpaper. But it is not very noticeable, especially since my design motifs were perfectly aligned.

What’s even cooler is that this overlap added a bit of 3-D to the room, which is what you would have if you had real wood and books in there.

Another advantage is that I could tweak the spacing if needed, to plumb up a strip that might have started going crooked.

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!