Posts Tagged ‘zebras’

Zebras Charging Through the Bath

November 16, 2014

Digital Image

Digital Image
This zebra-and-arrow pattern is very old, and very loved. Scalamandre has been making it for a long time, in many colorways. Most of those colors are VERY difficult to work with. You see, the inks, combined with the paper substrate they are printed on, cause the seams to curl backwards (because the paper absorbs moisture and expands more than the ink does). My paperhanger buddies across the country who have hung the red and the gold and the green colorways have had real struggles to get the seams to lie down and to look good.

To be honest, after listening to the horror stories from them, I would not have touched it, if it were a printed paper. Except my client had chosen a silver grasscloth overprinted with the zebras. Grasscloth presents its own challenges, but at least you don’t have to worry about curling seams. So I took it on!

Still, it took a LONG time, probably 11 hours to hang (prep was already done) 8 rolls in a hall bath. Like many high-end goods, this paper came with a selvedge edge, which had to be precisely measured and trimmed off by hand. And it takes a LOT more effort to cut through grasscloth than paper.

Flat walls went OK. But the material was stiff and difficult to work with when it came to trimming around decorative moldings. AND… the beautifully remodeled bathroom included a console sink with chrome legs with non-removable support brackets, plus the plumber caulked the escutcheons to the wall so they had to be trimmed around neatly. (Usually you rough-cut around pipes, and the escutcheons cover it up.) It’s a good thing I’m short, because I must have spent an hour cross-legged under that sink, trimming around the brackets and pipes. 🙂

In the distant shot, you see two strips side-by-side. Note that the color difference between them is normal, and considered part of the “inherent natural beauty” of the product. All of the bolts were from the same run (printed at the same time), and still a color difference is to be expected. In fact, this paper was pretty much made to order, and the client had to wait a good couple of months for it to be printed and shipped.

The homeowner said to me, “I know you don’t like grasscloth’s visible seams, and the color difference between panels. But I don’t mind at all. I love LOVE it!”

The manufacturer is Scalamandre, and I hung this in a bathroom in a darling, nicely-remodeled-but-sensitive-to-its-roots bungalow in the Museum District. The work was done by Greymark Construction, whose work I really like, and whom I have worked with for more than a decade. In fact, I did a job last week in River Oaks where they had totally overhauled the entire housee. Leslie King is the owner. Yes, a woman! 😉