Posts Tagged ‘visible seams’

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.

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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.

Visible Seams on Metallic Mylar Wallpaper

March 15, 2018


Today was disappointing. Yesterday I had done all the prep, so today I was supposed to hang wallpaper in the dining room of a cute bungalow in the Houston Heights. But my first seam looked bad – it was way more visible than it should have been. (The seams are more visible in real life than in the photos.)

The paper is by A-Street Prints (by Brewster), and is a thin non-woven with metallic dots forming a Moroccan trellis. I think the dots are actually Mylar, a shiny plastic that was popular in the ’60’s & ’70’s. This material appears to be sandwiched between the non-woven backing and the taupe top layer of the paper.

The problem is that that inner sandwich layer shows at the seams. If you study the photos, you can see the shimmer of the plastic, as well as the gold color of the dots, at the seams.

With wallpaper, you’re always going to have seams. Some seams are more visible than others. But I felt these were to obvious. I didn’t want the homeowners to have these shiny vertical stripes every 20.5″ across their dining room walls.

I called the client and she came home from work, took a look, and agreed. It’s a disappointment, and it will mean hassling with returning the paper, reselecting something new, and then rescheduling for the install.

But, with the money and time invested, they deserve to have a room that looks as close to perfect as possible. I’m eager to see what new pattern they pick out!

(Luckily, these folks purchased from Dorota (see “Where to Buy Wallpaper” page to the right), and she will take care of the return and dealing with the vendor.)

Added April 5:  Dorota has been working with the manufacturer to  1.) alert them to this defect in their product, and  2.) get a refund for the homeowner.   Today I got this information from her:  “The Brewster sales rep came by yesterday to look at the complaint and it looks like they will pull this paper from the inventory so no more would be sold till they fix the problem.”

I am very pleased that they are taking this issue seriously, and are taking steps to fix it.   All too often, manufacturers blame problems on the installer, and refuse to acknowledge that there could be anything wrong with their products.

A Beautiful Faux Grasscloth Sets Off a Fireplace Wall

February 9, 2018


This homeowner wanted something to set off the beautiful stone in her fireplace mantel, and to accent colors she has used elsewhere in the home. She was originally thinking of grasscloth, but I told her of the many problems with visible seams, staining, bleeding, and color variations (see the Grasscloth Info Pack link on the right side of this page), and she opted to go with this faux vinyl grass product instead. What a wonderful choice!

This embossed vinyl product has the look and texture of a woven grasscloth product, but it has a uniform color, and the seams are invisible. It is water and stain resistant, and durable to the point of being nearly indestructible.

It looks mighty nice on her fireplace wall, too.

This wallpaper pattern is called Bankun Raffia, and is 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.

Major Transformation – From Cave-Like to Bright, Warm and Tranquil

July 15, 2017

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Wow, what a change! This home office / TV room in Southside Place / West University neighborhood of Houston, was papered in a dark-navy-on-navy stripe. In my opinion, it looked great in the room, especially above the white paneled wainscoting. But it was time for a change … in fact, the husband said, “We should have gotten rid of this when we bought the house 25 years ago.”

The navy wallpaper was hung properly, but it would not come off the wall without a LOT of time and mess (and $ ). So I prepped and sealed the walls and hung over it (see other posts). I love the 2nd photo, because it shows the new, light wallpaper juxtaposed against the original dark paper.

This material is a light tan stringcloth superimposed with a barely-there white Moroccan lantern motif. I love this as an alternative to grasscloth. It is uniform in color, has a wonderful tactile texture, and has none of the shading, paneling, color variations, visible seams, or propensity to staining and bleeding that make grasscloth so disappointing.

In addition, it is a non-woven, paste-the-wall product, and was nice to work with. The design was even perfectly centered on the 27″ wide material, and could be reverse-hung (hung upside down and still match up perfectly with the previous strip).

The new, light colored wallpaper looked super against the wainscoting, and had just enough color to stand out against the white woodwork. The sofa was a tan linen fabric, and synced with the new wallpaper in color and texture. The armoire that holds the TV is a medium wood tone, and contrasts against the light walls “just enough.” The whole overall look is relaxing.

This wallpaper pattern is by Designer Wallpaper, in their EcoChic line, in a book or line called Wallpaper Effects, 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.

Faux Grasscloth on an Accent Wall in a Dining Room

June 30, 2017

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This retired couple near the Montrose neighborhood of Houston wanted to update their 15-year old house by adding a textured wallpaper to one wall in their dining room. Originally, they were considering grasscloth.

Luckily, they listened to my “lecture” about grasscloth – the disappointing visible seams, color variations, shading, paneling – and attractiveness to cats who like to scratch. Instead of grasscloth, they chose this alternative.

This product is surfaced with stringcloth (real vertical string fibers), so it has a tangible texture. But because it has a printed grass-like design, the pattern can be matched from strip to strip, so you never see the seams. In addition, the color is uniform so you don’t have the shading and paneling problems so prevalent with real grasscloth.

And, to top it off, the paper is lovely to work with, and will hold up for many years to come.

This wallpaper pattern is by Wallquest, in their “Grass Effects” book, 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.

Wallpaper In Better Homes & Gardens Once Again

April 4, 2017

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I am always tickled to see wallpaper featured in national magazines. It draws a lot of attention to the many faces of wallcoverings, and entices more people to use them. These photos are from the April 2017 issue of Better Homes & Gardens.

Sigourney by Quadrille, in a powder room. Interestingly enough, I have this same pattern coming up, but in a softer tan color, in a dining room, in a few weeks.

Daydream by Hygge & West. This a well-loved pattern, and I have hung it several times, in many colors. Interestingly enough, I have it coming up, also, in a few weeks, for a baby’s nursery accent wall.

A yellow ikat trellis by Thibaut. Interestingly enough, I hung this same pattern, but in aqua, with a complimentary leopard print companion paper, in a powder room a few months ago.

Navy blue grasscloth in a dining room, above the white wainscoting. The strips in this photo are narrow, and do not show the visible seams and possible color variations (shading, paneling) that are common with many grasscloths.

An over-sized floral of cabbage roses on a smoky black background. I have not hung this one yet, but many of my colleagues across the country have. It’s a popular look. The overscaled size of this pattern, and the dramatic color contrasts, make it a daring choice for a small room like this powder room.

A wildly and brightly colored geometric pattern for a children’s play room. This is a little similar to what is in the background of the twins’ room on the TV show Blackish.

A pattern reminiscent of tropical thatched roofs. This is reminiscent of a similar pattern I put in a “tree house” home office a few months ago. (Search on my blog to see pics of the full project.)

A mural of misty mountain fog. I totally love this mural. Murals have taken on a whole new look these days, leaving behind the old scenes of palm trees leaning over tropical white sand beaches, and bringing us to much more modern and innovative vignettes.

More murals, including an impressionistic floral in bright colors (I have done two in the similar theme – do a Search on my blog), and an updated beach scene. (Note the current trend among manufacturers / vendors to not go to the trouble to hang the paper on the wall, but to instead run a clothes line across the wall and use clothes pins to “artfully” string up the rolls of wallpaper, letting them drop loosely to the floor. This method is easy / inexpensive for the vendor to do, and it looks oh-so-cool- but it prevents the shopper from seeing what the product would look like attached firmly to a smooth surface.)

The final mural is a tropical forest scene. This has been a popular mural scene / theme for decades. But this version is printed on better quality paper, and the photo image has much more detail, depth of color, texture, etc.

Many of these murals can be custom-made, to fit the dimensions of your wall / room. Measuring is tricky, so be sure to contact your wallcovering installer BEFORE you order the mural or wallpaper.

Wallpaper on Bookshelves Brightens a Dark Room

March 11, 2017

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This living room in a home in the Bunker Hill Village area has lots of windows, yet gets little natural light, and has skimpy interior lighting. In addition, the dark wood of the built-in bookcases seems to suck up what little light there is.

Interior designer Layne Ogden used this light tan faux grasscloth to both add textural interest to the back of the bookshelves, as well as lighten them up. Just this little touch brings a lot of lightness into the room.

The wallpaper is a vinyl product by Thibaut, with a textured surface that look like real woven grasscloth. Because it’s man-made, there is none of the visible seams or color variations between strips, nor the staining problems that are inherent to real grasscloth, plus it’s washable. It’s a little thick and tricky to trim or turn corners, but I like this product a whole lot and try to steer people toward it when they are considering grasscloth. It is called Bankun Raffia.

Wonderful, Realistic Faux Grasscloth – NO Visible Seams!

December 14, 2016

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I love it when clients listen to my advice. This family has a home in Meyerland that was flooded in last year’s severe spring storms. While repairing the damage, they also updated the entire first floor, and they did a fabulous job with the layout and design and execution.

They were originally considering grasscloth for this front entry. I told them how much I dislike grasscloth, because of the unmatched pattern, visible seams, color variations, shading, paneling, staining, bleeding, and shredding by pets. These people took my suggestion, and looked at alternatives. I love what they ended up choosing. Meaning, I positively LOVE their choice, and I hope other homeowners will use this instead of grasscloth.

This product is a photograph of grasscloth in a paper substrate, so it looks like the real thing. It has string fibers (stringcloth) applied to the surface, which provides the texture that people love so much these days. Both the paper and the string have a coating, so the material is much more durable, and resistant to stains than real grasscloth would be.

Best of all, the pattern has a match, so there are no visible seams. I mean, just TRY to find a seam in the photos above – you can’t! With real grasscloth, you would have a mis-matched pattern and a visible seam every 36″ across the wall.

But wait- There’s more! Because this is a factory-made product, the color is consistent throughout, so that every strip, from floor to ceiling, is uniform. With real grasscloth, you can have noticeable differences in color from strip to strip (paneling), and even within the same strip (shading).  Note:  There are some darker areas in the photos above, but those are shadows, not color variations.

This product is much more satisfying, and highly recommended. This wallpaper pattern is by Wallquest, in their EcoChic line, and I think the book it’s in is called Grass Effects. The pattern number is JC21020. It was bought at a 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 wallpaper! Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

Another Wonderful Faux Grasscloth

July 20, 2016
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I am always happy when I can talk clients OUT of grasscloth, and into something that is equally textured and natural-looking, but without all the color variations and shading and paneling and visible seams of true grasscloth.

This wallpaper is out of a book called “Grass Effects,” but is actually more of a stringcloth. No matter the terminology, it’s a wonderful product. It has the texture that homeowners love these days, and the seams are invisible. It is more water- and stain-resistant than natural grasscloth, too.

This wallpaper pattern is by WallQuest, in their ecochic line, and was very nice to work with. It was bought at a discounted 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.