Master Bedroom with Grasscloth!

A few months ago I finally got around to hanging grasscloth wallpaper in our master bedroom and THE IMPROVEMENT CANNOT BE OVERSTATED! It just feels incredibly warmer, even though the wall was painted the same shade before. I worked up the courage to drill into the wallpaper to rehang our sconces so, besides future wood flooring installation that we are procrastinating on, the place is pretty darn done. Not every room comes together like you think it will, but this one is everything I ever dreamed it could be: simple, cozy, bold, and weird. Orange and black probably aren’t most people’s neutrals haha, but this room is my literal comfort zone in life!

Prepare your hearts for so many photos. (Sources listed at end.)The plant is a nice idea, but a total lie because nothing can actually live in this dark corner :( FYI still obsessed with our king bed upgrade.(I spray painted this ceiling fan!) I recently saw – and had to have – this vintage weaving from ebay. It makes this little hallway to our bedroom something special.This is our weird but wonderful dressing room.

 

SOURCES

black grasscloth wallpaper
side tables
mobile
ceiling fan (I painted it)
round pillow
blinds
mattress
orange door – Behr Fireglow
everything else – vintage

This is the room when we bought the house!Thanks for reading!!! xoxo

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BLACK GRASSCLOTH ACCENT WALL (and wallpaper primer talk)

Guess what I did this past week??? Master bedroom wallpaper! It was of the few things I was sure I wanted in our house BEFORE WE MOVED IN LIKE 5 YEARS AGO. Sometimes when you wait too long to actually implement the design decisions you’ve made, you don’t love it as much as when you first dreamed it up. But not the case here. The grasscloth has added the richness and texture the room has been missing. I’m learning just how important texture is to a room that leans minimal. It is the dividing line behind cold institutional, which our former black and white room sometimes felt, and warm inviting. Add some surface irregularities, and even broad areas of monotone color immediately reads as substance instead of absence.

(I talk priming for wallpaper and DIY wallpaper supplies at the end of this, so skip down if you are here for that!)This wallpaper is actually from York’s Magnolia Home line. I never thought Joanna Gaines and her shiplap empire would come near me or my house, but this black sisal wallpaper was a steal. Sisal falls in the broad “grasscloth” wallpaper category (sisal is a type of grass), though the fibers are generally smaller than traditional chunky grasscloth resulting in a tighter weave.

This wallpaper looks charcoal and highly “paneled” in some of these blown-out photos, but the color in real life is a beautiful true black and was very consistent throughout rolls. The only other black natural fiber wallpapers I could find were in the hundreds of dollars per roll price. I think I bought this for around $75/roll last spring, when I was hoping to get to this project. Looks like the price has increased during that time, but it’s still substantially cheaper than anything else I could find.

The great price comes with some downsides. It was not as thick or as sturdy as my previous grasscloth hanging experience in the dining room, which I think was a Brewster wallcovering, making this more difficult to work with. Even worse, the black dye rubbed off all over my fingers from just handling the paper dry. Add wet glue to that and it was a mess! The walls, my hands, my clothes, everything it touched was stained. Ugh. Not surprisingly, I got a few areas of blotchy dye bleed along the edges of the paper. It’s so dark that you can’t really see in person and it’s hard to photograph, but you can kind of see what I mean below on the far right seam. If you are a perfectionist, grasscloth in general isn’t for you and definitely not this one! But in my case, the cost savings was worth these imperfections and hassles. Thanks Joanna for nothing and everything, whatever.
WALLPAPER SUPPLIES

My previous post on hanging grasscloth gives a general overview of the process, but I want to mention a few things about primer and other supplies because I’ve gotten a lot of questions about it lately. Wallpaper has been out of fashion for long enough that most salespeople in stores have no idea about hanging wallpaper yourself.

The supplies you need are:

  • your wallpaper
  • wallpaper paste if your wallpaper is not pre-pasted (grasscloths never are because pre-pasted wallpaper is soaked in a tub of water to activate the glue and you can’t soak natural fibers like that)…I use a universal wallpaper adhesive from Roman like this one
  • a smoothing tool
  • many SHARP razor blades (I buy a 100 pack in a dispenser because you literally need a fresh razor for every cut)
  • a tape measure
  • a straight edge, or better yet, a carpenter’s L-square
  • PROPERLY PRIMED WALLS (see below)!

PRIMING WALLS FOR WALLPAPER:

Prepping your walls is half the work of hanging wallpaper. This include patching/filling all holes (tiny ones are OK to cover with grasscloth, other wallpapers are very unforgiving so patch it up) and priming the walls. You need to prime your wall for two reasons: 1. to give your wallpaper a strong surface to adhere to. Your wallpaper isn’t sticking to your wall, it’s sticking to the layer of whatever is directly below it. If that layer is latex paint, which most of our walls are covered in, the wallpaper paste will soften it, turning it into a mushy, weak layer that will likely fail once the weight of wallpaper is hanging on it. Which means your wallpaper might fall down. Whomp whomp. 2. Priming, supposedly – I’ve never had this luxury, makes wallpaper removal actually easy come the day you are ready for a change. If you’ve ever experienced the pain of removing old wallpaper via one million tiny tears (rips) and tears (wet stuff from your eyes), it is highly likely that the wall was not properly primed!

There are a few different one-step primer options for wallpaper. You need this primer to harden over and seal in every other layer below it so that none of them are reactivate by the paste you are about to slop on. You also ideally want it to match the color of your new wallpaper, minimizing any high contrast seam peek-a-boos. If your wallpaper is white/light, you will definitely want white primer underneath because colors and designs will show through! If your wallpaper is dark, you will likely want dark primer (or clear, see below) underneath to hide any peek-a-boo seams! If your wallpaper is red, you are gonna want that wall to be red, and so on.

One option is a regular “universal white pigmented” primer. This stuff is white, so it’s ideal for white/light wallpaper, or it can be tinted to match your wallpaper color. I believe most universal pigmented primers need 24 hours to dry before wallpapering. I’ve had great success with Zinsser’s Bullseye 123 in our dressing room.

The other option is what are referred to as “drywall repair clears”. These are a clear, hard primer meant to seal in messy drywall jobs. Because they are clear, they are an easy option when your wall is already painted the color of your new wallpaper…my situation! I went the DRC (drywall repair clears) route for the first time and used Zinsser Gardz on this wall. It is drippy, thin, and messy, but totally doable with a 3/8″ nap roller. It goes on a milky blue color but dries into a glossy, slightly toothy, clear. I made sure to cover nearby furniture and floors because it sprays off the roller a bit, but coverage was good and drying time quick, only 3 hours. I primed in the morning and was wallpapering by noon.

Photo below shows almost dry Gardz on the left, Gardz being applied in the middle, and unprimed latex paint on the right. The second photo show the primed wall ready for wallpaper:
Back to our room. I’m so into it. I need to re-hang our blinds and sconces, which I’ve been meaning to move outward anyway since upgrading to a king. But working up the courage to put holes in the new wallpaper will take a few days here. Hope your weekend is full of dream-fulfilling projects too :)

Thanks for reading friends! xoxo Jenny

Modern Screen Door

screen tight wood unfinished screen door diyI’ve wanted a screen door on our bedroom/backyard door since we moved in. It’s been one of those little projects that we just never get to. I’m not a screen door fan. They totally scream Southern/country to me and I would usually steer way clear of them. But in this instance it seemed like the best option. Our bedroom is lacking in windows and having the door open, an all day everyday habit, allows natural light, fresh air, backyard views…and bugs in. California bugs aren’t nearly as bad as other areas of the country, but they still bug. So my only requirement out of a screen door was that it kept the bugs out and let the light in while blending with our house in an unobtrusive and minimal way (read: no shabby chic country trash).We always thought we’d have to build one from scratch, the main reason we haven’t gotten to this project sooner, because there aren’t a lot of modern looking wood screen doors out there in our price range. Rejuvenation carries this one, which is decent looking but expensive. Last month, in a semi-desperate search for a cheap, temporary stand in, I saw this Screen Tight wood screen door in-stock at Lowes and decided to give it a try. It is simple, unobtrusive and just might even work as a long term solution. And for $70, way cheaper than anything we could throw together. (FYI Home Depot carries it too for even cheaper, though not in stock for us, and so does Amazon but for quite a lot more – which I almost paid before finding it locally because it’s still cheaper/easier than DIYing. Ours is a 32″ door for reference.) The downsides are what you’d imagine from a cheap, off the shelf screen door: it is sturdy enough, but slightly warped. We had to trim ours because something wasn’t square – totally possibly our house! The actual screen construction is flimsy, barely making it through taking it off/screwing it back on process in order to paint the frame. But now that it’s in we are SO happy with the quality for the price. It feels like it will last us for years and we like that the screen can be easily replaced when the time comes. Do you notice our fun little work around? We had to trim off the top corner of the screen frame to clear a roof beam. We thought it would look WAY worse than it does and be so noticeable that we almost abandoned the project, so we are so happy that it’s only obvious from certain vantage points. screen tight wood unfinished screen door diyThe screen door comes unfinished and painting it the same color as our door seemed like the best way to blend it seamlessly, so I went with Fireglow by Behr again, in their Marquee paint in exterior glossy…it’s NICE paint. Orange paint is notoriously a multi coat color, especially over white primer – which I always end up using because that’s what I have on hand and I’m impulsive. So anyways, this paint is high quality enough (paint and primer in one with excellent coverage) to skip the primer so that’s what I decided to do here. And after doing one thin coat, I stopped because I loved the accidental wood stain look achieved with the grain slightly showing through. It adds some interest in an otherwise flat scene.screen tight wood unfinished screen door diyWe decided to hinge it opposite our door because, as you can see, that configuration was the least awkward for passage. I think what often dumb downs screen doors is ramshackle, country looking screen door pulls. Instead I planned on going with this dummy knob that matches our interior door knobs. Way better right? But I hesitated in order to sit with it for a few days and I’m so glad I did because I actually ended up preferring no hardward for an ultra-clean look. We put a roller latch on the inside so the door easily opens with a light push or pull on the cross bar and, especially since this door doesn’t get a ton of traffic, the no hardware situation is totally doable!behr fireglow exterior paintBefore the screen door (and the chair paint faded) and after:screen tight wood unfinished screen door diyIt’s so lame to call this life changing for us, but it really has improved our day to day so much. We open it the second we open our eyes in the morning and don’t shut it ’til eyes shut at night. We love having a cheerful view to our backyard. Our bedroom used to take on so much heat in the summer and the screen has dramatically changed airflow to where it’s often freezing cold in here by the time we go to bed – the best! And NO MORE FLIES, though oddly the cutest baby lizard did sneak in under the other day. The only downside is that everything is way more dusty than it was before, but that’s a trade I’ll gladly make.

So what do you say to screen doors? Heck yes or hard no?