Posts Tagged ‘visible seams’

Lotsa Color, and a Nice Faux Silk

April 16, 2020


I have worked for this couple in their charming 1929 bungalow in West University (Houston) several times since the 1990’s. They definitely are not people to go with the all-white or all-grey or minimalist trends that are popular today. These folks like COLOR!

The dining room walls were originally upholstered in a botanical print on blue (which the homeowner did himself, and did a mighty find job of, too). So the room never was bland white. 🙂 But now, 20 years later, they were ready for an update.

Their contractor removed the fabric and then skim-floated the walls smooth. Usually I have to go back and re-smooth the walls … but this guy did a really good job, and I was able to simply prime, and then hang the paper.

This is a vinyl product named “Wild Silk,” and is by Thibaut. It’s much more stain-resistant and durable than real fabric. Unlike real silk and other natural materials like grasscloth, this product has a pattern match. This means that you are not going to see each separate panel or visible seams, like you do with real silk. So the walls have a much more homogeneous and pleasing look.

The challenge lay with the old house and its un-plumb walls and un-level ceiling and window/door moldings. Since the ceiling was not level, if I hung the wallpaper true to plumb, then it would start “tracking” off-kilter at the ceiling line, and appear to be running either uphill or downhill. This effect was further complicated by the way the pattern ran along the window and door frames.

I decided to keep the pattern parallel to the ceiling molding line. This meant letting it go crooked along the door and window frames, if that’s how it turned out. The ceiling line was more visible and more important.

Since the pattern was tracking off-kilter, I used a razor blade and a straightedge to trim off a wedge-shaped chunk from one side of the wallpaper. This forced the pattern to move up (or down). After a few strips, I had tweaked it enough that the design was moving straight across under the crown molding.

Even though the strips were not hanging plumb, it looked wonderful along the ceiling line. This “silk” pattern was very accommodating of that. If it had been a design with a prominent motif that the eye wanted to see marching straight across the ceiling AND straight down along a door frame, it would have been much more difficult to pull off – maybe impossible.

Going around the window (no pic) was even more complicated. Because I was tweaking the three strips above the window to follow the crown molding, and also the three strips below the window – and you can’t guarantee that these will all adjust at the same rate. So getting the strip to the left of the window (no pic) to match up with the strips above AND below the window would be pretty impossible.

So I was extremely pleased when the pattern on all these strips did match up, within about 1/16″.

This is a vinyl material and was somewhat difficult to push tightly into edges and corners, and to cut through. I was glad that I didn’t have intricate decorative moldings to cut around. I used orange chalk to color the edges of the material, to keep the white substrate from showing at the seams.

I love the way the salmon color coordinates with the painted trim. Who paints door moldings orange??! THESE people do – and I highly applaud it! No boring all-white rooms in this house!

The look is bold, but surprisingly warm. The orange moldings against white walls would have been jolting. But with the salmon colored wallpaper, the whole effect is unified, inviting, and invigorating!

Fabulous Fake / Faux Grasscloth Wallpaper

April 10, 2020

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image


These young homeowners of a new townhome in the Houston Heights were originally considering natural grasscloth for this 35′ long wall in their kitchen / dining / living room. I told them of my disappointment with grasscloth’s visible seams, shading, paneling, and color variations (do a Search here). I was happy when they took my suggestion of this faux grasscloth alternative.

This is a printed horizontal grasscloth pattern on a paper substrate, with a vertical stringcloth material on top. The strings give the paper the texture that people are loving these days. But unlike real grasscloth, this product is more stain-resistant and durable. And it has a pattern that can be matched from strip to strip, so, unlike the real stuff, you don’t see the seams. (See photo) And there is virtually no shading, paneling, or color variations (do a Search here on those terms).

The end result is a beautiful, textured, homogeneous, warm and cozy living space.

The bull-nosed (rounded) corners on the windows gave me some argument and took a lot of time, but turned out great.

This wallpaper pattern is by Wallquest, in their EcoChic line, and in their Grass Effects book. 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.

Faux Grasscloth – A Nice Alternative to Natural Fiber Grasscloth

October 4, 2019


I’m not a fan of real grasscloth (read the page to the right) because of the visible seams and the many color variations. So I’m always happy when a homeowner chooses a faux product.

Usually, these wallpapers have a pattern that can be matched, so there will be no sharply visible seams. And the color is much more consistent, eliminating paneling and shading (do a search here to read previous blog posts about that).

This pattern is a paper-backed vinyl material with an embossed (textured) surface. It is by Thibaut.

After saying all those good things, I have to admit that I was disappointed with this particular product. Some of the bolts had very obvious color differences. There were also extreme issues with a faulty pattern match. I will discuss this in a future post. The good news is that Thibaut has other similar designs that perform better.

I hung this in a newly-renovated master suite in a 2-story 1939 home near Rice University (Houston), for a family with young children.

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.

Flooded Home is Finally Finished, and a Moroccan Trellis is the Finishing Touch

July 20, 2019


I’ve worked for this family several times over the last 25 years. Unfortunately, their home overlooking Braes Bayou (south central Houston) was flooded during Hurricane Harvey. The original home was torn down (along with my beautiful wallpaper ! 😦 ), and a new, raised home was built. Today I hung wallpaper on an accent wall in the dining room.

Photo 1 – the wall as the contractor left it

Photo 2 – the wall after I have primed it

Photo 3 – finished

I don’t like true grasscloth due to the visible seams and very noticeable color variations between strips, and also it’s propensity to stain easily. (Read my page to the right.)

The product pictured above is a fantastic alternative to real grasscloth. It is paper, superimposed with a vertical string material, so it has the texture and dimension that people are liking these days. The grass design is printed on (not real grass fibers), and this keeps the color uniform, so no abrupt color differences between strips.

The pattern can even be matched from strip to strip, making the seams pretty much invisible. You also have the option of not matching the pattern, to give a look similar to real grasscloth. Even then, the consistence of this design and color make it pretty impossible to tell where the seams are, if you are standing even three feet away.

In addition, the material has been treated, so it is somewhat resistant to stains.

I’ve hung this faux grass a good number of times, but this is the first time to hang it with the trellis design. The homeowner likes to mix modern with traditional, hence the geometric pattern with the antique furniture and chandelier. She also hunted for something that would meld nicely with the color of the paint on the woodwork. I like the look a lot.

This wallpaper pattern is by Wallquest, in their EcoChic line, and I believe in the Grass Effects book. 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.

Faux Grasscloth – Vinyl That Is Good In A Bathroom

December 29, 2018


Originally, this powder room in the Galleria / Tanglewood area of Houston had what I call a “ditzy” print on the walls – tiny little figures that repeated themselves all over the wallpaper like a zillion little dots lined up in rows. It was outdated and discolored, and didn’t fill the wall space well.

The new homeowner wanted something modern and serene, that would be durable in an area that’s exposed to water. This Bankun Raffia in a steely medium grey is perfect.

I am not a fan of real grasscloth (read the page to the right). Nor do I like solid vinyl wallpapers (see the page to the right “Stay Away From ….). But this is one vinyl paper of which I approve.

The vinyl surface is thick and embossed with texture, so it mimics the feel and look of real grasscloth. But it has none of the color variations and shading / paneling issues or visible seams that make the real stuff so disappointing. In fact, you can hardly find a seam.

The vinyl surface is a lot more resistant to water and stains than most any other type of wallcovering. And the woven fabric backing won’t absorb humidity and curl or delaminate like the lower-end paper backed vinyls will. And that fabric backing makes this product quite durable and strong, and resistant to tears (like you see when a home’s foundation shifts and the corners twist out of alignment).

In fact, this stuff is the same iron-tough material that is used in hotels and hospital corridors, and will withstand dings and bangs and can be cleaned easily.

Being thick and stiff, it is a bit difficult to work with, particularly when turning corners. But the benefits are worth it.

This wallpaper pattern is called Bankun Raffia. It is so popular, now it comes in more than 30 colors! It’s 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.

Shading in Grasscloth – Girl’s Bedroom in Aqua

August 14, 2018


Homeowners are loving textured wallcoverings these days, and grasscloth is all the rage.

However, I am almost always disappointed in this natural product, due to the visible seams and the lack of uniformity in color. The effect you see in the photo is called “shading” or “paneling.” Note the darker color of the second strip from the left.

Click the link on the right to read more on my page about grasscloth.

Wonder Faux Grasscloth Finishes off a Flood House Rebuild

July 15, 2018

If this room looks familiar – it should… This week I’m working in a home in the Meyerland area of Houston where I hung paper after the home was repaired following flooding during the Tax Day Flood in April 2015. This home was flooded again during 2017’s Hurricane Harvey. The homeowners wanted everything exactly the way it had been before the flood.

This paper went on one wall in the entry.

I LOVE this product! I HATE real grasscloth (read my page to the right, and do a search here to learn more), so when people even breathe the word, I steer them to this instead. This is a printed paper product, so it has a pattern that that can be matched, so you will not have the abrupt visible seams that come with real grasscloth. The color is uniform, so no worries about the disagreeable shading and paneling (color variations) that are rife with the natural grasscloth products.

And the manufacturer has attached vertical strings, which add a natural element and a textured effect that people are craving these days. It’s reasonably priced, too.

This wallpaper pattern is by Wallquest, in their EcoChic line, 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.

My Favorite Faux Grasscloth Wallpaper

May 29, 2018


This breakfast and kitchen area in a 26-year old townhome in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston was originally papered with a very small print on a darkish brown background. It served its purpose for two decades, but the homeowners were ready for a change.

They originally considered grasscloth, but after hearing my opinion on the real stuff (read “Grasscloth – Info Pack” page on the right), they opted for this fine faux material instead. I love this particular product because it uses vertical strings to create the textured feel that people like, as well as has a printed grass design in the background. Because it’s machine-printed, the pattern can be matched, so there are no visible seams like with real grasscloth. There also is no paneling or shading (variations in color between strips, or even within strips, even when they come off the same bolt) that are common with real grasscloth.

I have another couple using this same material in another month or so, in their entry.

I do have to say that this time, there was one strip that did panel – it was a slightly different shade from the one next to it, even though it came off the same bolt. This was disappointing, because I promote this brand specifically because you do not expect that. Anyway, I always have people order enough that we can cover a situation like that, so there was plenty of paper to remove that strip and replace it with one with better color.

This wallpaper is by Walquest, in their Grass Effects book, in the Ecochic line. 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.

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.