Posts Tagged ‘art nouveau’

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

William Morris-Like Design in Woodlands Powder Room

December 5, 2021
Before. Hurricane Ida (October 2021) took their New Orleans home and everything in it, so the homeowner relocated to a north Houston suburb to be closer to family and college friends. The home is brand new, and has grey-tan walls. While the homeowner “grows” into the house, acquires furnishings, and figures out her decorating approach, she wanted at least one room prettied up.
She fell in love with this wallpaper pattern, and decided the powder room was the best place to showcase it.
Pattern centered on the sink / faucet and light fixture. It will look symmetrical and super nice when the mirror is hung.
William Morris innovated designs like this back in the 1860’s, and started the Art Nouveau and Arts & Craft movements, which carried on into the early 1900’s. I’ve hung a lot of patterns by him, and similar, in recent years, indicating an increased interest in this gorgeous, fluid, nature -centric style.
The paper has a velvety feel, and the seams were invisible. It’s non-woven material, which is very strong and designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when you redecorate. It’s fairly water-resistant and somewhat more stain-resistant than more traditional wallpaper substrates.
Apelviken by Midbec is a Scandinavian manufacturer. Yeah…. the instructions on the flip side were a lot of fun to read through!
Interestingly, the labels listed the sequence in which the bolts were printed. Note that not all the bolts were in proper sequence. With a machine-printed product, sequence isn’t all that important because the color will print out very evenly.

The homeowner loved the new look, and said that having this one room decorated with some color and personality helped a lot to make the new house feel like a home. After the trauma she went through in recent months, it was an honor to help her new home become warm and welcoming.

Better Homes & Gardens Features Wallpaper

March 22, 2021

The newest issue of Better Homes & Gardens magazine features a home that is not afraid to use color and pattern!

Laundry room, dining room, entry, and living room all have been cloaked in the warmth and personality of wallpaper.

My favorite is the green paisley. It looks very turn-of-the-last-century Art Nouveau to me.

How about you?

CFA Voysey Design in West U Guest Bathroom

November 24, 2020

Charles Voysey was a designer in the 1910’s and 1920’s, working with watercolor in the Arts & Crafts and the Art Nouveau decorative styles. His work is incredible, and I have his “Bat and Poppy” in my own powder room.

Here is his “Fairyland” in a guest bathroom in the Southside Place / West University neighborhood of Houston.

What a change!

I hung the original “chair” pattern four years ago. The thin paper material was stuck good and tight, and my attempts to strip it off were taking excessive time and also causing damage to the underlying surface. So I opted to prep and seal the paper and hang the new pattern on top of it.

The original pattern was fun. But this new choice suits the room much better, and it looks brighter, too. And the colorway works perfectly with the muddy blue cabinetry and mirror.

This is a non-woven material, a little thicker and stiffer than I like, and a tad prone to creasing. But with careful handling, it went up very nicely. I did the paste-the-wall method. The seams were invisible.

My powder room Bat & Poppy is a paper, and was purchased from Trustworth Studios. It had to be hand trimmed, and was on the higher end of the price scale.

Today’s Fairyland pattern is made by Lord & Twig. L & T is recreating the same Voysey designs as Trustworth, but in a more consumer-friendly material and price.

You can buy this through Finest Wallpaper, a newish outfit in Canada that sells a vast array of brands and patterns (in addition to manufacturing it’s own Lord & Twig line). Their prices are good, turn-around is quick, and customer service is exceptional.

Arts & Crafts Authenticity in a 1908 Heights Home

July 16, 2020


This home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston dates back to the very early 20th Century, back when the Arts & Crafts movement was in full force. The style emphasized nature, earthy colors, blocky features, and stylized designs.

I like this look a lot, so it was really fun to work with the wallpaper and help bring their living room to their vision. They have the period furniture to go with it.

The wallpaper is by Bradbury & Bradbury, a California company that makes wallpaper in vintage and antique designs – Victorian, William Morris, Art Nouveau, Arts & Crafts, Oriental, Atomic Age, ’20’s, and more.

Their paper is a little tricky to work with. First, there is an unprinted selvedge edge that has to be trimmed off with a 6′ straightedge and razor blade (search here for other posts showing that process).

The manufacturer calls for clay-based paste, which I hate, for various reasons. But to comply with their specs, I bought a $50, 50lb, 5-gallon bucket of it – and used only about 1/2 gallon. Clay is a low-moisture paste, which helps with this material.

When wet with paste, the heavy inks on this paper absorb moisture differently from the paper backing, and the result is “waffling” or “quilting” – which is when you get wrinkles inside the unprinted areas (do a search here for more posts on this issue). To prevent this, it helps to lightly dampen the surface of the paper with a sponge and clean water. This helps even out the moisture ratio. I found that this pattern also fared better with a little water sponged lightly onto the back, as well.

To handle the 20′ long horizontal strips, after pasting, I folded the strips accordion-style. I also added blue plastic tape to the bottom edge, to prevent paste from getting onto the painted woodwork, which would eliminate the need to wipe it off during installation. Then all went into a plastic trash bag to “book” for a few minutes.

I set up two ladders, so I could step between them as I unfolded the accordion pleats, and I also used push pins to hold the booked strip up while I got down and moved the ladders.

The paper adhered nicely to the wall without curling at the edges. There were a few wrinkles in the inked areas, but these disappeared as the paper dried.

A wide decorative border like this, especially dating to this era, is called a “frieze.”

What’s really cool is that the homeowner (a former contractor), added the block wood molding because he wanted to unite the heights of the door molding with that of the windows (both just barely visible in the photos). That was way before they thought of adding a wallpaper border. Once they discovered Bradbury and started hunting for a wallpaper, turns out that the height of the space between the two moldings was exactly the height of the wallpaper frieze.

Even more amazing is that the paint colors were chosen before they went searching for wallpaper – but are magically perfectly harmonious with the colors in the frieze.

This wallpaper pattern is called “Birchwood Frieze,” by Bradbury & Bradbury. They have lots more gorgeous stuff on their website.

Wallpaper in Magnolia Journal (JoAnna Gaines)

June 30, 2020


There was a nice multi-page spread in the current issue of Magnolia Journal on wallpaper. It talked about various ways it can be used, and how pattern and color can change a room.

Unfortunately, it mentioned peel & stick products as a viable option – they are NOT. Truly horrible stuff. Read my Page to the right.

The first photo is an unconvetional use of color and pattern. Love it.

Third photo, I have hung this pattern, or similar, a good number of times. It is a mural that can be custom-sized to fit your wall.

Fourth photo, “Daydream” by Hygge & West, is very popular and I have hung it many times. Not my favorite brand, because their ink fights their substrate, and tends to curl at the seams.

Palm and banana leaves are always popular. This photo shows how a really large scale can be used effectively in a small space.

Last photo, a really cool idea, to include wallpaper just in the area between the high wainscoting and the crown molding. Note also the dark colors of the wood and the wallpaper. This must be a custom-sized mural, or a border.

Both the room and the wallpaper are an updated take on the “frieze” borders that were common back in the 1910’s and 1920’s – the Art Nouveau and especially the Arts & Crafts decorating movements. Most often placed above dark paneled moldings in dining rooms and living rooms. Today, Bradbury & Bradbury is the most prominent maker of these authentic looking patterns. Interestingly enough, just this week I got a call from a homeowner wanting to put a B&B frieze in their historic home here in Houston.

Art Deco Wallpaper in Magazine

July 6, 2019


The July 2019 issue of Better Homes & Gardens magazine has this page, highlighting a return to the Art Deco style in decorating. They show four different patterns that reflect this, and list the manufacturers.

A few words of aviso … Just because you see it in a magazine or read it on-line, doesn’t necessarily make it a good thing.

The first paper on the left is by Chasing Paper. This company makes the deceptively-described “removable wallpaper,” a new trend that is unfortunately luring many homeowners down the wish-I-had-never-heard-of-it path.

This “peel and stick” material is extremely difficult to work with. I mean, it’s hard enough to get Contact Paper smoothly onto your kitchen cabinet shelves … Imagine trying to wrestle a strip 2′ wide by 9′ long onto a wall, around a window, behind a toilet, and trim it around a pedestal sink. It is also not “removable.” … Oh, it will come off, all right. But it will take chunks of your paint and maybe drywall along with it.

One of my colleagues recently posted on our private Wallcovering Installers Association Facebook page of his experience with this particular brand, and he was very unhappy. I won’t hang peel & stick, and most of my friends won’t, either.

On to the next pattern above, the blue and white half-circle blocks. This is by Hygge & West. H & W has adorable patterns. But, bless their hearts, they have not put research into substrates, inks, compatibility, etc. My experience with their papers is that the ink swells when it gets wet with paste and then curls back, resulting in a tiny “pouch” in every spot where the ink crosses a seam. Do a search here to see my previous posts on that brand and their seams.

So many companies make lovely paper. I wish that H & W would network with them and find a better paper and ink combination for their products.

The last pattern in the photo is by Tempaper. Another company making peel & stick stuff … Enough said.

Back to the photo … the purple fan design in the middle of the page. Finally a hit! This is made by Bradbury & Bradbury, a company that specializes in vintage designs, especially Victorian and Art Nouveau. They have a wide variety of other styles, too, and are branching out even more in recent years, to include ’20’s, Atomic Age, and other eras.

Bradbury makes lovely paper. It’s a higher-end brand, and it requires some special trimming and pasting techniques. So it may not be DIY friendly – but it sure is beautiful. In fact, I have some hanging in my own master bathroom. 🙂 https://wallpaperlady.wordpress.com/2016/05/03/new-wallpaper-in-the-wallpaper-ladys-bathroom/

Dark Paper Bringing Brightness to a Harvey Hurricane Flooded Home

June 28, 2018


This home in the Bellaire subdivision of Houston was flooded during Hurricane Harvey in August of 2017. Everything below the 4′ high water mark had to be cut out and thrown out. The homeowners loved the Mid-Century Modern vibe of their 1952 home, so, as the structure was put back together, they re-created everything as accurately as they could – baseboards, doors, cabinets, flooring – they even found a funky green refrigerator designed in the style of what I can only describe as an old Studebaker sedan.

When it came to wallpaper, they wanted something to reflect the vintage vibe. After much research, they agreed on two papers from the Bradbury & Bradbury Vintage ’20’s collection. This colorful bird-flowers-and-foliage-on-black pattern went in their sun room, which can also be called the piano room.

The ’20’s Vintage wallpaper collection is pretty new from Bradbury and Bradbury, which is out in California. This company produces historic-styled patterns from eras such as Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Victorian, Asian, and more, right on through into the new offerings based on designs from the “Modern Age.”

Like many higher-end or specialty and / or “boutique” wallpaper brands, this paper came with a selvedge edge that had to be trimmed off by hand (by me!). The manufacturer’s trim guidelines were spot-on, and so the edges were nice and straight, and the pattern design matched from strip to strip perfectly.

This pattern is digitally-printed on a paper substrate with a somewhat shiny surface. I found that it accepted the paste (clay paste is recommended, to mesh with the paper which is printed on a clay-coated substrate) with no protests, and, after appropriate booking time, the paper handled nicely and the seams laid down nice and flat. That slightly shiny surface also allowed me to wipe any stray spots of paste off the surface.

Because the paper was black, I did take the extra step of using a piece of black chalk to color the edges of the strips, to keep the white substrate from peeking out at the seams.

This room holds a grand piano, and is in the back of the house, where it looks out onto the patio and backyard. It gets a lot of sunlight in the daytime, and the colors in the wallpaper will really stand out, and will bring a lot of light into this very deserving home.

I Totally LOVE This Sink!

January 31, 2017

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image


I love the Art Nouveau design of this undermount metal sink – and it would go superbly with the “Bat & Poppy” wallpaper in my powder room (so a Search here).

Oh, right, this is a blog about wallpaper. Well, then, look above the sink to see the paper I hung in this powder room in the West University neighborhood of Houston. It is by Exclusive Wallcoverings, a British company, and is a solid vinyl with a paper backing, and is pre-pasted. It was not pleasant to hang, and I fully expect that it will have a relatively short performance life on the homeowner’s walls.

Did I mention that I hate paper-backed solid vinyl wallcoverings?