Posts Tagged ‘border’

Arts & Crafts Style Frieze in Heights Bungalow

January 21, 2023
Dining room before. This bungalow in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston is very true to the Arts & Crafts / Craftsman period. This style featured straight , clean lines , nature , and muted colors that mimicked those found in nature . The homeowner is a retired woodworker / carpenter and did much of the millwork you see here.
Done. The teal green is actually a little more muted than the photo shows.
From another angle.
Close-up. This wallpaper pattern is called Fir Tree .
A frieze is a wide wallpaper border , usually run around the middle or top of a room . The manufacturer is Bradbury & Bradbury . They specialize in period-inspired patterns from past eras, such as Victorian , Arts & Crafts , Oriental , Modern Age / Mid Century Modern , and more.
Bradbury prints on stock that’s about 28″ wide, and this border is about 13″ wide. So Bradbury prints two borders side-by-side , and then you need to use a straightedge and razor blade to cut them apart .
Although the border came about 13″ wide, the space between the beams was only about 11.5″ . So we were going to lose about 2″ . I consulted with the homeowner. He really wanted to see the copper metallic pine cones. We also felt the trunks of the trees were important design elements . We decided that the pattern could afford to lose more from the top , which would permit more of the tree trunks to show, all the while preserving those pine cones.
Here I am trimming 2″ off the top, so the overall height of the frieze is now 12″ . That will fill the space between the beams, and also allow a little bit to tuck down below the bottom beam (there is a gap between the wall and that beam).
The room was really dark , the wallpaper was dark , and my straightedge was casting a shadow where I needed to trim. So I grabbed my Big Larry flashlight from my toolbox and was able to see where to trim.
Bradbury uses inks that are quite delicate , and can be scratched or marred simply by brushing with my smoother brush , or my plastic trapezoid squeege smoother tool . Metal – like a trim guide or scissors – will also leave marks on it . Here I’ve wrapped tools in microfiber towels and baby socks , to soften contact with the wallpaper .
Bradbury inks and substrates can be finicky, and it’s important to use the paste recommended by the company for the particular colorway that you’re hanging . In this case, I had to use clay – based paste .
The inks and substrate aren’t always compatible , so when you add wet paste to the back , it can cause the substrate to absorb moisture and swell , while the inks on the surface are holding tight. This will result in wrinkles , warps , and bubbles on the surface . We call this quilting or waffling .
One trick is to lightly sponge clean water onto the inked surface. This will allow the surface to absorb moisture and expand hopefully at the same rate as the backing , hopefully eliminating wrinkles and bubbles .
On this install , I still had problems with uneven expansion . And with the paper drying out before I could get an entire strip up on the wall. So, while I was pasting the back, I also sprinkled a little water on the back and mixed it in with the paste . This did seem to even out moisture , and also help the material remain moist and workable during the installation .
In addition, I also had trouble with the edges of the paper drying out before I could get a full strip up on the wall. Part of this was because it’s winter time and the furnace was blowing hot air into the room and drying out the paper. My counter-attack was, again, to sprinkle a little water onto the back, to hydrate the material more. Also, once I had pasted a strip and rolled it up (see below), I dipped the edges into about 1/8″ of clean water. And then wrapped the pasted material in a plastic trash bag and allowed to book for a few minutes before hanging . This is standard procedure with wallpaper. Actually, what worked better was to paste, book, bag, and then just before hanging to dip the ends into water. This seemed to keep everything wet and workable better and longer.
Despite all this, some small bubbles did remain in the paper. As the paper dried, though, they flattened out.
When you book a strip of wallpaper, customarily you fold the top 1/3 down and the bottom 2/3 up. This keeps paste from smearing all over everything, and makes each strip shorter and easier to handle. And allows you to get the top section of the pattern lined up with that on the previous strip , before unfolding the bottom section and working that against the wall.
But it’s a little different handling a narrower border that’s maybe 12′-15′ long. What I do to make this manageable is to book the material in accordion pleats . See photo. Then I can unfold just a small section, work it into place, and then move along the strip, smoothing just a small section at a time against the wall.
Actually, with this install, I positioned my sections against the wall temporarily, to get the whole 15′ strip up there. And then went back and smoothed each section against the wall, working out bubbles and warps , and ensuring that the frieze was pressed tightly against the wall at both top and bottom .
There were four strips around the top of this dining room. On each strip I used a different install method. By the time I was done, I had learned how the material wanted to be treated.
The homeowners are in love with this period-authentic look for their vintage bungalow. The husband said it was like Christmas, because they had waited for so long to have this room completed, and now it’s finally finished and beautiful!

Revisiting Arts & Crafts Install in Heights Bungalow

January 21, 2023
Note: The camera has altered the colors here a bit … the blue is actually a lot more toned-down and murky . I hung this back in 2020. This bungalow in the Houston Heights / Woodland Heights is very Arts & Crafts in style … that’s a decorating theme that was popular back around the turn of the last century .
The manufacturer is Bradbury & Bradbury , who specializes in recreating the feel of by-gone wallcoverings , especially from the periods of Victorian , Arts & Crafts , Oriental , Modern Age , and more.
The color is a little more true here. A wide wallpaper border like this is called a frieze , and was poplar in Craftsman styled homes back about the turn of the last century .

Period-Correct Arts & Crafts Frieze in Dining Room

December 21, 2022

Before. Walls painted with a deep, murky teal blue. I’ve measured the width of the border and then applied my wallpaper primer 1/4″ narrower than the border. That’s the white you see around the top of the room.
I love the way the teal / blue walls coordinate with the green in the border (a tall , vintage border like this is called a frieze ). Painting the walls the same color as the border would have been too much, IMO. Plus, you can never get the color exactly perfectly the same – so it looks like what I call a “near-miss.” Better to opt for complimentary colors , as this homeowner did. The color in some of the leaf detail also coordinates with the avocado green in the adjoining living room – you can see a snatch of this color at the far left of this photo.
The camera is making this color brighter and greener than it actually is, but you get an idea of the design . Once the Victorian era faded away, the Arts & Crafts movement came to be in the very early 1900’s , with less fru-fru and more nature , clean lines , whimsy , and stylized designs .
The home also has furniture and decor that hark back to this time period .
The pattern is called Apple Tree Frieze , and comes in several colorways .
The manufacturer is Bradbury & Bradbury , in California. They are the go-to company for 19th & 20th century historic patterns . Delicious stuff on their website!
Bradbury can be tricky to install, so not for novices . Different colorways can call for different adhesives / pastes , so be sure to read the instructions before starting .
The bungalow home in the Houston Heights dates to 1920 (possibly earlier) which is just smack in the middle of the Arts & Crafts decorating style .
I hung another period-correct border in this room for this family 10 years ago. Now they’ve done some updating with new colors and, of course – a new wallpaper border frieze . It was a pleasure to be back and help bring new life to the place!

Trimming Bradbury Double Border

December 21, 2022

This wallpaper is about 30″ wide , and the border printed on it is 13.5″ wide. So, the manufacturer has printed two borders side-by-side . Saves paper, saves money .
This brand comes with a selvedge edge that has to be trimmed off by hand. Here I am using my scissors to separate the two borders , to get them down to a more manageable width , before trimming off the selvedge .
Using my straightedge and razor blade to trim off the edge. The manufacturer didn’t provide trim guides, so I’m using my eye to cut along the edge of the black line.
The pattern is called Apple Tree Frieze .
The manufacturer is Bradbury & Bradbury in California .
wallpaper installer houston

Wallpaper Inks Easily Marred

December 21, 2022

The rich colors and clay coating give this wallpaper a truly luscious , velvety look. But they’re also fragile and can be damaged easily . Here you see damage caused at the factory simply by folding back the last 2″ or so of paper, before rolling it up. The company does provide and extra foot or two to accommodate this.
You have to be extremely careful handling this stuff. Even a fingernail or your wallpaper tools can cause scratches or marring . Per the manufacturer’s suggestion, I covered my smoothing brush and plastic smoother with microfiber towels , to minimize chances of scratching the paper .
In fact, the manufacturer suggested that, during installation , that you wipe the entire surface uniformly with a damp microfiber rag , to even out any imperfections that might have resulted .
Now, just between you and me – if you know you have a product that’s likely to end up with blemished areas, why not just switch to a better , tried-and-true ink ? SMH Luckily project this is a border that will be butted up under the ceiling , so no one’s going to zero in on a few shiny areas in the matt ink. But , think of all the homes that will have this same material as a wall paper , that will be viewed close-up .
Not all colorways from Bradbury do this. I’ve hung plenty of it and not had a problem with most. In fact, the “fishnet” area you see at the bottom of this picture is not delicate at all. It’s the very matt finish green and brown colors in the center of the border that are so delicate .
The inks and clay coating the manufacturer uses on this particular colorway are very fragile and mar easily , so I’ve used ankle socks to cover the edges of my straightedge, and also a weight I’m using to prevent the paper from rolling around on my table. And that scissors is just there as demonstration for the photo … you can bet that tool was not touching the surface of the border at any other time.
This material has a selvedge edge that has to be trimmed off by hand , with a straightedge and razor blade . Normally I set my straightedge on top of the wallpaper , because it’s easier to see where I need to make my cut , and also because the weight of the straightedge helps hold the wallpaper down.
But even with cushioning socks on either edge of the 6′ long tool , and with padding on the underside, I was afraid that it might harm the inks .
So I placed it on the outside edge of the wallpaper. This left very little for the tool to grab on to, so I made sure to press it tightly against my work table , so the wallpaper strip wouldn’t slip around while I was trimming .
The manufacturer is Bradbury & Bradbury . They specialize in historic and period-correct patterns from the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Renovation Uncovers Vintage Wallpaper

November 22, 2022
I love all things vintage , particularly the early 1900’s – 1940’s . So it was a thrill and an honor to help decorate this 1926 home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston .
The homeowners revere their new abode , too, and carefully maintained the character of the home during the renovation, while still adding updates that facilitate life in a modern world .
They also preserved many of the original features , and created a sort of ” shrine ” near the back door.
This framed wallpaper sample is one of those.
I love these old papers, and have a growing collection of my own.
Back in the day, the ship-lapped walls were covered with cheesecloth – like fabric , which was tacked to the wood . The wallpaper was pasted and then applied over that.
You can see some of that fabric peeking out at at the top of this sample .
Just about every room had a border running around the top, below the ceiling , as seen in this example.
This was stylish through many decades , so it’s difficult to tell what era this particular paper is from. To me, this looks like the 1950’s – but it could be as early as the 1920’s .
Borders were still popular into the 1990’s , but wider. I’ve hung bunches of them!
This ” history wall ” also included keys , mailbox parts , invoices written in fountain pen , hinges , and other cool old memorabilia .

Wallpaper Paste Residue = Crackled Ceiling Paint

July 13, 2022

You’re looking at the junction between a wallpaper border at the top of a wall and the ceiling. You can see crackled and flaking paint on the ceiling.

This was almost surely caused by the previous wallpaper installer getting paste on the ceiling (which is typical and normal) but failing to wipe it off completely.

The paste is clear and difficult to see. Even when you do a diligent job, it’s easy to leave some residue behind.

The problem is that wallpaper paste attacks water-based paint, and will cause it to do what you see above … crackle, flake, chip off. This can happen if the paint was in place before the wallpaper paste got on it, or if there was paste residue and fresh paint was applied on top of it.

In fact, the decorative paint finish called “crackle finish” is accomplished by applying hide glue onto a surface and then coating it with latex paint.

The crackly paint on the ceiling is unattractive, and impedes adhesion. It takes a lot of scraping and sealing and skimming the wall to rectify this.

A way to avoid this is to astutely wipe off all paste residue. Better yet, what I do is to use special plastic tape at the top of my wallpaper strips, so that no paste gets onto the ceiling in the first place. Do a Search here to see previous posts describing that technique.

You can also use a stain blocker like KILZ Original oil-based primer, or BIN shellac-based primer, to seal off the area before painting. There are water-borne primers that claim to seal such problem areas – but I prefer to stick with oil or shellac.

Bright and Fun Retro Look in Powder Room

March 12, 2022
No boring beige or all-white walls in this home of a growing and active family in the Cypress / Jersey Village area of Houston.
Throughout the home, the mom has added touches of blue, green, yellow, and pink, along with a heavy dose of mid-century modern furnishings and accessories.
Time to pull the powder room into the mix!
Originally, this room was wallpapered in a typical ’80’s pattern, complete with a border running below the ceiling. Did I say ’80’s ?!
That wallpaper had been removed, and the walls were painted a dark tan. The room was very boring and boxy and uninspiring.
But … add a little wallpaper and – nothing boring here!
And the look definitely invokes the ’50’s, ’60’s, and ’70’s – can you say Flower Power ?
Spoonflower sells several types of wallpaper. Definitely do NOT get their peel & stick (see my page to the right), and I’m not fond of their vinyl material. I do like their pre-pasted smooth , which is what my client chose.
Spoonflower doesn’t come in standard dimension rolls. It comes in 24″ wide ” rolls ” of 1′, 3′, 9′, or 12′ lengths. So measuring and calculating is a little more complicated than for traditional wallpapers.
(The mermaid kitchen towel on the right is also by Spoonflower – and they have wallpaper to match!)
Strips of this material are designed to be overlapped at the seams. This is good, because it prevents gapping at the seams as the paste dries, and it also eliminates stress on the wall that could cause underlying surfaces to delaminate and come apart. Do a Search here to learn more.
The downside is that this overlapped area does leave a ridge running the length of the seam. Most people don’t mind the look, especially with a busy pattern like this one.
Pattern # 4330883 is called Party Posies.
This material is custom-printed. The homeowner ordered 11 rolls, and here you can see how the manufacturer has numbered each of the rolls in sequence (5th roll of 11 total).

Covering Up an Uneven Edge

October 31, 2021
Someone painted over the wallpaper in this powder room. At this point, removing the paper would be a huge, messy undertaking, so I’m going to leave it in place and prime over it. There was a scroll-edged border at the top of the wall and below the crown molding. Here you can see the edge of that border visible under the paint. This will show under the new wallpaper.
To prevent the edge from ” telegraphing ” through the new wallpaper, I have skim-floated over it with joint compound (” mud “). Once it’s dry (I used my heat gun to speed things up!), I will sand it smooth, wipe off the dust, and then prime the entire wall surface. No no one will be able to detect it under the new paper.

Created Wallpaper “Border” to Separate Bookcases from Wall

June 12, 2021

thought the left edge where the wallpaper meets the molding of the bookcase was too much white-on-white.

To create some definition between the two surfaces, as well as to continue the them of the wallpaper, I took some scrap paper and custom-cut a strip of blue. I cut the right edge straight, Then I used a razor blade to trim along the irregular outline of the design.

I pasted the strip, and then appliqu├ęd it over the wallpaper in the corner.

Now there is a visual break between the two walls. Even though the blocks on the left edge of the wallpaper are less than full width, your eye doesn’t notice it.

The eye is fooled into thinking it’s seeing a complete panel of the wallpaper pattern.

This is called “Feather” and is by Serena & Lily – one of my favorite brands.