Thursday, May 28, 2015

A Little Bit of London

We were called back to this house, for a third time, in the Equestrian Estates in south Langley. This time it was a mural we were asked to hang. There are varying types and qualities of murals so I was about to do something I may or may not be proud of.

The bedroom to be muralled was on the upper floor past the mezzanine.

And there it was, laying on the floor with no packaging and only a brochure and simple instruction sheet written in German. After 'calling a friend', we got the instructions straightened out and were ready to map it all out. It was to be centered top to bottom, and left to right. But was in the south wall or the east wall? A quick call confirmed it was the south wall. These murals do not come down once they are up, except by way of total destruction.

It takes special care because plumb and level are absolutely critical. The slightest deviation accentuates as subsequent panels are hung, until, when you hang the last one, all your sins find you out and there is a disaster in the making.  We had a problem though. The height of the ceiling to baseboard was one inch higher than the mural was tall. Another quick call and the builder said if the photo did not reach the ceiling or base, he would frame it out. As it turned out, there was a total of one inch expansion from top to bottom, once the panel was glued, so the photo just barely, by a sliver, covered the entire wall, top to bottom.

The first 4 of the 8 panels (about 5' x 3' each) went along the bottom. These are the easy ones as the only concern is to hang them plumb and make sure the pattern matches on the seam. By the time we got to the far right of the wall, we were perfectly matched, but were just lightly off level. I knew we were in trouble, but just how much, I did not know.

The top panels are by far the more difficult. I was holding the rapidly drying panel (we had to roll the paste on the back side and let it sit for 7 minutes to relax and expand) at the top, by the ceiling, and Andrew had to line up the pattern on the bottom of the panel. Level and plumb, level and plumb, was my mantra. After the 4th and 5th panel, I was sweating bullets. So far so good, but there were signs of trouble.

Panel 7 was just barely working. The pattern on the left was good, but the pattern on the bottom was drifting upward, or was the drifting downward of the bottom row coming back to haunt me? Panel 8 separated the men from the boys. We put on extra glue, misted it with a spray bottle, and when it was really soft and pliable, we put it up and stretched it to the max.

It worked, but had there been one more panel, we would have had to tear it down and purchase and install a whole new mural, at our expense.

The finished product! Overall, it was success. The brickwork in the brownstone buildings hid our few flaws and only we know where they are.
The entry door to the room was built and painted like a British street telephone booth, a nice touch.
Our German instruction sheet. Not helpful.


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