Posts Tagged ‘tromp l’oeil’

Crooked House With An Unforgiving Geometric Pattern

September 10, 2016
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Geometric patterns are all the rage these days, and that’s fine, if all you are wallpapering is one short accent wall in a house where all the walls and floors are perfectly plumb and level.

But that is not what most home are like, and it’s not what I encountered today when I went to hang this swoopy trellis pattern by Farrow & Ball (a British company).

I chose to make the pattern look straight against the most visible element in the room – the door molding. But this meant that the pattern would start to slide up or down the wall at both the ceiling and the chair rail. The chair rail is not at eye-level, but it is very visible, so the discrepancy was very noticeable. For this post, I’ll skip the details about how I made the ceiling appear to be level, and focus on that chair rail.

Because I opted to hang the pattern parallel to the door frame, and because the door frame was off-plumb, and because the chair rail was plumb, when the pattern hit the chair rail, it was not perpendicular. With wild flowers, you would never notice it. But with this small-repeat geometric design, your eye would catch an element (like the “crowns”) moving up or down the wall by even a half an inch.

To disguise this discrepancy, as well as to put a nice focal point at the chair rail, I pulled a tromp l’oeil.” – fool the eye.

I cut a motif out of the wallpaper design – let’s call it a “crown” – and pasted it on top of the paper just above the chair rail. This gave a uniform appearance along the chair rail, and made the eye believe that the wallpaper was straight and level and plumb.

Cutting and appliquéing these crowns took a lot of patience and time, and I missed an event I was planning to attend that evening. But this one detail makes the room look so much better and finished, I knew I had to take the extra time and effort to do it.