Friday, August 10, 2012

BWC: Living Room Planning

Scott, ever so detail oriented, reminded me that the walls of Beech Wood Cottage have wallpaper in most of the rooms, and so may be the case in the living/dining room, soon to be living/dining/library.

Now, obviously I'm not talking beautiful grasscloth, or even beautifully patterned wallpapers. These are old school vinyl wall coverings that have been painted over and over and over again. I'd like to rip it all off, down to the studs, and re-drywall the entire space, but those are the sorts of renovations people make to houses that will sell for a lot more than what they paid for them. Honestly, I don't know that we're in that situation here. 

The other choice is to repair, sand, and prime the walls, and apply a heavy, textured wallpaper like grasscloth.

I've been in love with the look and feel of grasscloth for a long time. I love how it fits so well in formal spaces, like this dining room designed by Steve Giannetti, staged by Meredith Baer.

And yet it is just as perfect in this beautiful living room of Brooke and Steve Giannetti's Santa Monica home, now the happy home of proud new owners, I'm sure!

Does anyone remember the house from the televisions series, "Brothers and Sisters"? I miss that show, not only for the beautiful cast and writing, but for the weekly drool fest over Nora Walker's Pasadena estate. Every room on the first floor is covered in grasscloth. White mouldings, natural finishes on the doors ... it's perfection. 

Even the kitchen was papered in grasscloth. Needless to say, it didn't take a lot of convincing to get me hooked on putting it in BWC, and surprisingly, nor did it take Scott long to agree. Grasscloth in Beech Wood Cottage it is. 

The intention is to add a simple but sophisticated wainscot, like pictured in the Benjamin Dhong bathroom above, and use grasscloth in the space between the wainscot and crown moulding, a 9" variety for extra va-va-va-voom!

John Jacob Zwiegelaar, South African designer and personal inspiration, created this gorgeous room using a chocolate brown grasscloth on one wall. That's a little dark for BWC, but that lantern is a must have. I was able to source this one:

It's not cheap, but it's not out of range. With some small silk shades on each of those bulbs, it'll make a wonderful dining room/library fixture. Granted, what I really wanted ...

would have been gorgeous, but it's far too big for that space. So a lantern it is. I think! One difficult thing about that planning for a new house, especially when you are given so many options to choose from, is making a lasting decision. The last thing that I want to do is redecorate this house as often as I changed CDLV.

I wish that it could look as easy as it does when Sarah Richardson does her wonderful, "Sarah's House" series on Canadian HGTV. She seems to have it all worked out, doesn't she? You know she's not all that far away from me, maybe I could write to convince her to come and give me some advice on turning a piece of coal into a sparkling karat! 


  1. Artie I love the look of a light colored grasscloth against white Crown Moldings. Sarah's Living Room is so gorgeous with the layers of texture including the silk and velvet pillows on the sofa!

    Art by Karena
    2012 Artists Series

  2. I love every single image. I am a grasscloth freak, and yet I don't have any. Yet. It will go in my powder room, eventually. I'm looking forward to seeing the new house!!

  3. First of all Artie, I cannot believe anyone would paint over wallpaper. I'm in the midst of stripping it in my home and though it is a BIG job it is well worth the effort.
    Secondly, love love Grass Cloth. I have only hung it once and as you probably know it can be quite time consuming to do so. My advice, plan on hiring an expert to do it to save yourself a lot of grief and be present when its being done to pick up some professional pointers. The trick to hanging it is getting precise seams which can be difficult to accomplish if you don't overlap and cut as one. (Edges are seldom straight to begin with.) Another tip, prior to purchasing check all the rolls to ensure a colour match in dye absorption.
    Looking forward to seeing your beautifully dressed walls. -Brenda-

    P.S: If you are looking for a good Wallpaper Stripper I highly recommend a product called 'Safe and Simple 603 Removal Solution'. Though on their website it states 'contractor grade' you can order it from them. It is a California based company.
    attention: Mike
    Tell him "Brenda from Canada sent you". ºÜº

  4. have you checked into putting a very thin sheetrock over top? It really could be cheaper and easier. I did that in a bathroom..using 1/4" your images!

  5. Sometimes you luck out with layers of old painted wallpaper. If the first layer is old enough, sometimes the glue has broken down enough that it's almost standing up on its own. So once you get behind it, it comes off in really large pieces without even having to reconstitute the glue.

    I hope we'll get to see the new place soon...even just the outside will hold us over. And be sure to take a gazillion photos--every wall from every angle--before you do a thing!

  6. Grass cloth is so beautiful. I would love to use it, but I have typical Florida walls; they have a texture. I cannot wait to see what you do.

  7. Artie,

    Love, Love, Love the grasscloth, but have you seen the RL burlap? We use it all the time...just as fabulous. Also, Love the Visual Comfort lantern....I have purchased a couple of them for the stores..the scale is "Off The Hook" Amazing. Did you know they make RL lamps? I'll bet you did.
    As always, love your taste.


  8. Artie, your Cross Bottle Guy store/blog is gorgeous. :)

  9. I LOVE GRASSCLOTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We had it here in ths house; in the living room (one wall), the dining room and the foyer for over 20 years. Then I decided to take ALL the wallpaper out of the house. Almost every room had been wallpapered and I was tired of it. I know the grasscloth will look GORGEOUS in your new place. Now I want to put it i our new home too, when we move in!!!!! XO, Pinky

  10. these are such beautiful inspirations!