Seeing Gray and Grass…

15 Jun

We are slowly making progress on the master bedroom.   Here was the room prior to any changes:

"master bedroom before"

Before...lots of pink!

"master bedroom before"

Another view of the master

Our first step was painting the ceiling, then priming and painting the upper portion of the wall.  We decided to go with Kilz paint in ‘Forlorn’ (mostly because it was on clearance at Walmart, but I also loved the color).  It turned out beautifully!  Kevin also added some white crown molding.  The white really pops against the gray walls.   Here is a look at the room after paint, but before the grasscloth adventure:

Master bedroom, making progress...

Kevin and I had never hung grasscloth.  He had some experience hanging wallpaper years and years ago with his dad, but we were told wallpaper is a bit easier to deal with.  After a few minor issues I think our grass adventure was a success!

The project began at the local paint and wallpaper shop in the next town over.  I remember going to these places as a child and probably complaining as my mom looked thru book after book of samples.  This time I enjoyed perusing the selection and decided on a gray/natural shade of grasscloth.

Our gray-brown cloth

Once I picked out the cloth we wanted, it was time to special order…and apparently time to make out first mistake!   Mistake #1…how much to order.  From what I can recall, the book says something like “one roll is 8 yards (36″ wide), one roll costs $50, sold only in double rolls.”

We were only covering the lower portion of the room which is 31 inches high by 45 feet in length (about 15 yards).   We decided to go against the norm and hang the grasscloth horizontally (to avoid obvious seams and possibly simplify the process).  Who says you can’t crisscross the grasscloth?  So here is my thinking:  the height of the wall is less than the width of the roll, so all we need is 15 yards.  Because I am worried about messing up I decide to order what I think is 32 yards (or two double rolls).  WRONG!  I paid about $200 for just 16 yards of the cloth (eek!  I probably would not have decided to do grasscloth if I had known it would be so expensive, so perhaps it was fate that I didn’t know how to order wallpaper!)  So it turns out that even though the rolls are priced as single rolls and it is stated that one roll is 8 yards, the price is twice the single roll price, but it is not double the length.   Makes no sense to me, but whatever.  It was a learning experience, and next time I plan on asking before I order anything.  Long story endless, we didn’t realize we only had 16 yards until we finished half the room at which point there was no turning back!  Kevin wanted to just do half the room (bad idea), but we managed to piece it together and it looks fabulous.

Hanging the cloth was not as bad as we thought it would be.  Here is the amateur step by step guide:

1.  First we prepped the wall by cleaning it, then priming it with wallpaper primer.

2.  Next we measured and made our initial cuts.  Since we were hanging the cloth horizontally we measured the wall width and cut the paper exactly.

Cutting width of paper with sharp scissors

We decided to trim a little off of the height of the cloth to make trimming edges easier once dry.

Measure, measure, measure

3.  Next we brushed on clear wallpaper adhesive directly to the wall (glasscloth does not have an adhesive already on it).

Kevin putting on paste with brush

At first I was worried about putting too much glue on the wall for fear of the glue saturating the cloth and permanently discoloring it, but I soon found out I was not putting enough glue on.  We found that we had to apply a decent even layer over the entire surface, or it would not stick and bubbles would form.

4.  Once the adhesive was in place we carefully placed the cloth on the wall, being cautious not to get any adhesive on the front surface of the cloth, and attempted to smooth out any and all bubbles.

Smoothing the paper with a...um...smoother?

The portions of the walls that were rectangular were pretty easy to deal with, but the odd-shaped areas near the windows took some finagling.   The one problem with grasscloth is it is a natural fiber and it will shred if the scissors or blade you are using are not sharp enough.  To cut the original pieces Kevin and I used a brand new pair of scissors for cutting leather; they worked perfectly.

Once the project was completely dry we were ready to go back and trim the excess.  Rookie mistake #2 occurred when we attempted to trim the cloth while the glue was still drying…the cloth tore and we had to go back and patch that area up (thankfully you can’t even tell where that happened).   Mistake #3 happened when we went back to trim the dry cloth with a razor blade that was not sharp enough…all it did was shred the cloth and make it look sad.  We brainstormed on the best way to make these cuts (which were basically against the grain because we hung the paper horizontally around the room).  What ended up being the most successful was just a plain old exacto knife.  Kevin and I were surprised that the $1.99 knife from Wal-Mart worked better than the sharpest blade we could get at Home Depot, but whatever works!

Thankfully all of our hard work paid off, and we are well on our way to a beautiful master bedroom.  What do you think?   I am happy we decided to lay the cloth horizontally; I love that you can not see any seams, and I really think it made it easy to put up.

No more pink!

Next step will be getting out big comfy bed in there…and I can’t wait to go to sleep 😉

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