Posts Tagged ‘art nouveau’

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

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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?

New Wallpaper in the Wallpaper Lady’s Bathroom

May 3, 2016

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Last week, I stripped off a decade-old botanical and bird wallpaper pattern from my master bathroom, and replaced it with this “Raspberry Bramble,” by Bradbury & Bradbury (http://bradbury.com/), a California-based company that specializes in patterns true to the Art Nouveau and Arts & Crafts and Victorian periods, along with some Mid-Century Modern and other designs.

This B&B wallpaper was a little tricky to work with. For starters, it has to be hand-trimmed (see photo) to remove the selvedge edge. My go-to pre-mixed adhesive is not a good choice for this material, so I chose a potato-starch paste available from Bradbury, that comes powdered and is mixed with water on-site.

This particular pattern has a lot of ink (smells like moth balls!) on the surface, and, when paste is applied to the back, the backing absorbs paste and swells at a different rate than the inked surface, resulting in wrinkles and bubbles and twists, plus the curled edges you see in the photo, which can prevent the seams from lying down properly. The moisture differential can cause the paper to continue to swell on the wall, causing wired (overlapped or puckered) seams.

I’ve hung a good amount of Bradbury & Bradbury papers, but had never encountered the degree of bubbling and curling as with this paper.

The solution to all this is to mist or damp-sponge the surface of the paper, which puts moisture on the front, and allows the front and back (wet by the paste) to absorb moisture more evenly. Then the paper is folded loosely (booked), and also rolled up like a newspaper. This helps push the curled edges back down. Then the strip of wallpaper is placed in a plastic trash bag to sit for 10-15 minutes, much longer than the booking time for most papers.

All of this took more time, but it resulted in smooth paper with flat seams.

My plan for this room is to achieve a 1700’s French chateau look, so I am also darkening and stenciling my vanity, which has a new “Noche” travertine countertop, will be hanging some frilly antique wall clocks, period artwork, a beautiful chandelier, and adding other features.

Bat & Poppy Wallpaper Finally Goes Up

November 9, 2015

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I saw this “Bat and Poppy” wallpaper and went positively nuts over it. It is made by Trustworth Studios http://trustworth.com/ and are based on designs by CFA Voysey dating back to the Art Nouveau period (early late 1800’s) and particularly the Arts & Crafts period in England (early 1900’s).

All the patterns are unique and gorgeous, and the paper is a positive dream to work with – pattern matches nicely, malleable, seams invisible. It’s only sold on-line, and the company is wonderfully customer-friendly. The paper is pricy, but if you love it, you will be satisfied with nothing else.

This is the powder room in my own home. The vanity is an antique music cabinet that I cut a hole in the top and removed some of the shelves inside to accommodate the plumbing. The sink is an old china / porcelain serving bowl that I had a hole drilled in by Schlitzberger Stone, and then paid a plumber positively a ton to get the right fittings to connect it to the drain pipe.

Bradbury & Bradbury – Coincidence of the Day

September 5, 2012

I got a call today to look at that Bradbury & Bradbury job I did last Thanksgiving time – the Job From Hell … well, not quite, but I blogged a LOT about that one!

Anyway, shortly after we finally got the paper up and looking great, the house shifted (good old South East Texas Gumbo!) and the wallpaper twisted in the corners. There are other areas that need to be redone, too. So I will be working with this brand again, with its wonderful reproductions of Arts & Crafts, Art Deco, Art Nouveau, and Victorian patterns.

So, what do I get in my e-mail box today? An update from B&B, telling about their newest collection!

http://www.bradbury.com/victorian/talbert.html