Posts Tagged ‘1920’s’

More William Morris Strawberry Thief in Houston Heights Hall Bathroom

June 24, 2022
Because I feared unstable walls in this 1920’s bungalow in this neighborhood (do a Search for previous posts), before hanging the decorative wallpaper, first I hung a non-woven liner paper on all the walls. That’s the white material you see in the photo.
The liner was hung horizontally so its seams can’t line up with the decorative paper. The idea is to disperse tension from drying wallpaper and changes due to humidity and etc., so as to deflect tension away from sketchy wall surfaces, and thus prevent delamination of multiple unstable layers deep inside the wall. Again, do a Search here to learn more.
Finished vanity area, with pattern centered on the light fixture.
Corner shot.
This colorful and symmetrical pattern is quite popular; I’ve hung it a number of times just this year.
Englishman William Morris designed wallpaper and fabrics during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.
The styles then were Art Nouveau and Arts & Crafts. This design reflects a bit of each.
Wallpaper expands when it gets wet with paste, and then can shrink just a tad as it dries. The liner helps prevent that, but you can still end up with teeny gaps at some seams.
To prevent the white backing from showing through, I run a stripe of dark paint under where each seam will fall.
I use matt finish craft paint from the hobby store, diluted with a little water (in the orange bottle cap) and smeared on the wall with a scrap of sponge. Use a ruler or level and a pencil to mark where you want to stripe the dark paint.
Remember to allow for that expansion as the paper absorbs moisture from the paste. Meaning, if the paper is 20.5″ wide, and expands 1/2″, you’ll want to run your line at about 21.” And make sure that your painted swath is about an inch wide.
I also run a bit of dark chalk along the edges of each strip, to prevent the white substrate from showing at the seams (no photo).
Morris & Co. makes this iconic Strawberry Thief.
Interestingly enough, most times when I’ve hung a Morris paper, it’s been a non-woven paste-the-wall material.
Today’s option was a surprise – a traditional British pulp . This is a pretty basic and somewhat old-fashioned type of substrate . Sort of like construction paper, or the pages of an old family Bible .
The paper is very fragile , and can tear easily. You have to keep using new razor / trimming blades, because the material dulls blades quickly, and when dull they will drag and tear the paper.
Pulp papers also require a soaking / booking time after pasting , to allow time for the material to absorb the paste , soften a bit, and expand . The edges of the strips like to dry out , so I’ve learned to dip about 1/4″ of the booked ends ( booked means the pasted side of the wallpaper strip is folded onto itself, bottom edge folded up and top edge folded down to meet in the middle), into a bucket of clean water.
Then it goes into a black plastic trash bag to soak and relax for a few minutes before hanging. I use this opportunity to paste the next strip.
Non-woven wallpapers have advantages, because they do not expand when wet, and therefor you can get accurate measurements. They also can be pasted and hung immediately, with no waiting time. Alternately, you can paste the wall .

William Morris Strawberry Thief in Houston Heights Breakfast Nook

May 5, 2022
Primed and ready for wallpaper.
Finished!
I love the way the light fixture repeats the red color, as well as mimics the curve of the birds’ bodies.
It’s almost like a hummingbird hovering over flowers in an English garden.
Strawberry Thief is a popular pattern, and I have it coming up two more times, in the same neighborhood, also in renovated 1920’s bungalows. Usually you see it in the red or navy colorway.
This is the first time I’ve seen it in this muted, pastel colorway. This color is available only from Morris & Co.
The symmetry and the fluidity of the design are very pleasing.
I’m seeing a lot of interest in William Morris designs lately. Many vendors are offering his originals, and many others are designing similar patterns. Dorota at the Sherwin-Williams in the Rice Village showed me two new wallpaper books with patterns reminiscent of the Arts & Crafts and Art Nouveau eras. See my post from April 17, 2022.
This material is very user-friendly, being a non-woven material that can be hung by pasting the wall or by pasting the paper.

Arts & Crafts / Art Nouveau Wallpaper Books at Sherwin-Williams

April 17, 2022
A lot of my clients are choosing designs that harken back to the turn of the (last) century, particularly by William Morris. A lot of those are made by higher-end companies, and the material can be hard to work with. So I was thrilled when my favorite wallpaper sales person, Dorota, showed me these new books at her Sherwin-Williams store in the Rice Village.
British Heritage is by Wallquest , a brand I like a lot.
Below are room-set photos from those books.
This is the very popular Strawberry Thief by William Morris. I’ve hung it before, and have it coming up again soon in the Heights ( Houston ).
Arts & Crafts designs are very rhythmic and stylized. Some, like this, have a lot of color and impact.
Others, with muted or tone-on-tone color pallets, are more subdued.
Revival is another wallpaper selection book with designs of the same theme. A Street Prints is by Brewster, another great company.
Most A Street Prints are on a non-woven , paste-the-wall substrate, which makes them quite user-friendly and affordable.
CFA Voysey was a designer of the same period. I would say he was far ahead of his time, with some patterns reminiscent of MC Escher, and others bordering on … well, sort of psychedelic. Very progressive for the 1880’s!
He continued to design through the Art Nouveau ( 1920’s ) and Art Deco ( 1930’s ) periods.
I have his Bat & Poppy in my powder room. Search here to see photos.
The fluidity here speaks of the Art Nouveau style. Alphonse Mucha was a European artist known for his elaborate theater and advertising posters in this style.
I was lucky enough to have seen a fabulous exhibit at the Taft Museum when I was in Cincinnati for a Wallcovering Installers Association annual convention.

Not all Sherwin-Williams stores have wallpaper books, so call before you head over. Dorota isat the 2525 University store. This store has more wallpaper books than any other in Houston. Her hours vary, and someone may have checked the books out, so call before you head over. (713) 529-6515

Wallpaper Coming Off – Delaminating Wall

January 14, 2022

An Unfortunate Situation

This Brooklyn Toile wallpaper by Flavor Paper on an accent wall in a nursery went up beautifully. The contractor had added new Sheetrock to one wall, and painted the other, old/original wall. I skim-floated both walls and sanded smooth, primed, and hung the wallpaper. Perfect! (Search here to see my original post.) But within less than a month, the homeowner contacted me and said that the wallpaper was ” coming off the wall .” It was a 1920’s bungalow in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston. And therein lies the brunt of the problem.
The wallpaper itself is not ” coming off the wall .” What’s happening is that the wall surface itself is coming apart – or, delaminating . This is because multiple layers of paint and other substances on the wall may not be compatible. A probably scenario: In 1920 oil-based paint was used. Later someone rolled on a coat of latex paint. Then the homeowners redecorated and used gloss paint. Then some ” flippers ” who had watched too much HGTV slapped on more paint without bothering to de-gloss or prime first. And somewhere in the mix you’ve got cheap paint and dust and other incompatible materials.
Over time, and especially when stress is put on the wall surface, such as when wet wallpaper paste dries and the paper shrinks, this stress can tug at the wall and actually pull these layers apart. There are other contributing factors, too, such as humidity, temperature, and location. I find it interesting that the worst parts of the affected seams were toward the top of the wall. This speaks of heat, humidity, and forced air (either hot or cold) coming out of the air vent just to the right of this wall. This photo is of the area over a door, very close to the air vent.
See how thick that is? It’s not just the wallpaper. There are several layers of wall coming apart. Some layers are clinging to the back of the wallpaper, and some are staying stuck to the wall.
Multiple layers, many years of coatings on this wall.
Easy to see the many layers. The paper itself, my blue primer, my layer of smoothing compound, paint, more paint coming off the wall. Then multiple layers of paint and texture still clinging to the wall. This shot is just below the ceiling.
Same thing happening at the baseboard at the floor.
Layers of paint separating from the wall in chunks. Some pulled off easily, and some I had to chop off with my 3″ putty knife.
Most of the paint and unstable surface material clung to the back of the wallpaper. This pile is just three strips – only half the wall. But it’s thick and stiff and heavy because of the paint stuck to the back of the wallpaper. There was so much and it was so heavy and bulky that I had to carry it out to my van in two trips. When I got home, it totally filled my trash bin.
Here’s the wall once all the other layers came off. Brushing my hand over it revealed a layer of dust. No wonder the paint and other coatings wouldn’t stick. Nothing sticks to dust. It’s like flouring a cake pan… The paint or wallpaper will kinda stick – but won’t really stick. Paint on top may be fine. But add a little stress from drying / shrinking wallpaper, and you may end up with layers that pull apart.
Wiping the walls with a damp sponge removed a lot more dust. But the wall still felt chalky. Whatever type of paint this was, it was not holding together.
I had to stabilize this chalky surface. Enter Gardz, a wonderful product – Gardz is a thin, penetrating sealer that soaks into porous surfaces and binds substances together. It dries hard and creates an intact surface. The darker area in the picture is where I’ve rolled on a test area. Gardz is thin like water, and it runs and drips and splatters. It’s imperative that you cover floors, countertops, and baseboards, and roll carefully, and roll upward rather than downward, to minimize runs and drips. A microfiber roller holds the liquid well, and reduces drips.
Gardz is made by Zinsser.
No photo of the finished wall, but I was very pleased with the stability of the surface. No more chalk or dust. Now, there still could be unstable or incompatible layers deeper inside the wall. (Latex paint over oil without proper prep.) But for now I feel pretty confident that this wall is solid and will hold up to the next process in preparation for getting the new wallpaper up.

Authentic 1920’s Wallpaper!

November 26, 2021

Across the street from where I was working today (in the Houston Heights), this 1925 home was being renovated. I walked myself over to drop off a business card.

I gasped when I saw some vintage wallpaper in a trash pile on the soon-to-be living room floor. I love these old papers, and have a growing collection.

The guys working inside were friendly, and were happy to let me take some scraps. This chunk is from the original kitchen (which, after the home is expanded, will become the living room). It’s probably the most cheerful and animated pattern in my collection.

Back in those days, a loosely-woven fabric (often mistakenly referred to as cheesecloth or muslin) was tacked to the ship-lap walls, and the wallpaper was pasted and hung on top of that. The seams were overlapped.

The ink colors hold up amazingly well over the years. But that cloth backing, and the wallpaper itself, don’t fare as well.

This kitchen wallpaper easily separated from the cloth backing, and the old paper was delicate and brittle. Even with attentive handling, my piece split in two just walking a few yards to my van.

I got it home in one piece (well, really in two pieces). I hope to find a was to affix this to a secure backing, so it can be preserved.

I’m afraid that it won’t hold up to the moisture and stress of pasting, even using with old-fashioned wheat paste. And that spray adhesives might not hold, or may stain the old paper fibers.

I’ll figure something out. In the meantime, I feel very lucky to have this!

Real Cork in a Pewter for a “Disco” Bedroom

July 29, 2018


More cork wallcovering today, on an accent wall in the first floor guest bedroom of the same home in Montrose (Houston) where I worked yesterday. The homeowners were going for a “retro disco” look. In the adjoining bathroom, there’s a disco ball chandelier (trust me – you can find anything on the internet!), and 1920’s speakeasy-era artwork and statuary in the bedroom.

This glamourous, smolderingly moody metallic wallpaper with its sparkles of gold round out the look with a very loud bang!

As you might expect, this wallpaper is in the line by the Queen of Glam – Candice Olson, and is made by York. The interior designer who pulled this room together is Elizabeth Maciel.

It was bought from my favorite source for good quality, product knowledge, expert service, and competitive price – Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. She is great at helping you find just the perfect paper! Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

Perky Trees in a Shared Bathroom

March 23, 2016

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“The decision to go with wallpaper was a hard-sell,” said the husband. His previous knowledge of wallpaper was the flowery sort of stuff that your grandmother had. But the wife wanted some pattern and color for this bathroom that is share by a pre-school girl and an adjoining guest bedroom, in their remodeled 1920’s bungalow in the Houston Heights. She found this fun tree design at Sherwin-Williams.

Once the paper started going up, Hubby was sold!

Originally, the walls were all white, plus white wainscoting on the lower 3′ and white tile on the mirror wall. Clearly, the wallpaper brought personality and fun, and a bit of color to the space.

The couple was originally debating leaving two short walls that flanked the mirror wall painted white. During our initial consultation, I pointed out that that would leave too many disparate elements in the room – paint, tile, paneling, mirror, wallpaper. I suggested they put the wallpaper on all the walls, including bringing it onto those two walls that surrounded the mirror wall. It turned out to be the right choice. (Sorry – no photo.)

I also plotted the pattern placement so that both of those walls mirrored one another, and both had a half inch of blue space between the trees and the tile, and the trees on both walls were at the same height. It’s something you would not consciously notice when looking in the mirror, but your mind’s eye would sense that the area is equal and balanced.

This wallpaper is by Brewster, in their A Street Prints line. It is a non-woven material and a paste-the-wall product. The homeowners bought it from the Sherwin Williams store on University in the Rice Village – the store I deal with the most. It was nice to work with, but, like many non-woven wallpapers, it was stiff and somewhat argumentative when turning corners or doing detailed work like cutting around intricate moldings.