Posts Tagged ‘bradbury & Bradbury’

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!

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.

Victorian Style Wallpaper in Henry Shaw House / Missouri Botanical Garden

July 28, 2022
Re my previous post, here is a more Victorian decorating style, particularly the intricate work on the ceiling. My camera didn’t capture much of the ceiling , but there are decorative borders and other fancy elements.
I believe this wallpaper is made by Bradbury & Bradbury , who specializes in reproductions of past eras .
The home is also called the Tower Grove House , and was built in 1849 .

Stretching Paper to Save a Seam

July 1, 2018


In this room, I was working from left to right. The last strip I hung ended under the air register, as you see in the top photo. By measuring and engineering, I knew that the way the next strip would fall would leave two seams in between the two doors on the right of the photo. (See last photo) But the width between those two doors was just a tad less than the width of two strips of paper, which would mean only one seam, so I really wanted to get away with that one seam, instead of two.

But if I hung just two strips between the doors, it would leave a 5″ gap over the left-hand door, between the strip on the left and the strip on the right. See top photo.

Never fear – I figured a way to bridge that gap – without screwing up the pattern match or horizontal repeat.

I found a piece of scrap paper with an appropriate design. I trimmed it so it would butt up against the strip on the left, and then overlap onto the strip on the right, with a bit of tree branch and flowers to disguise the area. VoilĂ ! No gap! (See third photo)

This would not have worked on a full-height wall, and maybe not even on a 1′ high area over a door. But since we are talking about only 4″ or so of height, the eye never notices that the pattern is not exactly what it should be. And the rhythm of the design as it moves across the ceiling line is undisrupted – Your eye never notices that it is 5″ off.

This beautiful wallpaper is by Bradbury & Bradbury, in their new ’20’s Vintage line. I hung it in the master bedroom of a home in Bellaire (Houston), that was flooded during Hurricane Harvey.

By the way, the homeowners were talking about painting that air register a softer color to match the woodwork and blend with the wallpaper. The register had been stuck to the wall with caulk and paint, and was not removable. That blue tape is on there with a note to tell the painters to NOT put any tape on the wallpaper. Painter’s tape will pull the inked layer right off that beautiful new wallpaper. Actually, after I explained that to the homeowners, and also told them how the register would have to be deglossed with chemicals or by sanding, and then painted with paint specially formulated for metal and to withstand the condensation that happens around those air ducts, they decided to forgo painting it, and were happy to live with the color as it is. Whew!

Mixing Powdered Paste

May 29, 2016

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Certain papers call for special adhesives. “Back in the day,” all wallpaper was hung with powdered paste. Today, some papers still do better with these types of paste. Some of the options are wheat, cellulose, or potato starch based. They are less tacky, more slippery, and less likely to stain delicate materials.

“Back in the day,” paperhangers used a wire whisk and a lot of elbow grease to mix these pastes with water into a smooth consistency. My modern day trick is to use an immersion blender. It’s much faster and really gets rid of the lumps!

After mixing, the paste must be allowed to sit for a period of time, to completely absorb the water, and then be stirred again, with more water or powder added as needed.

Eco-Fix is a potato starch based paste that can be bought from Bradbury & Bradbury (http://bradbury.com/). Wheat and cellulose powdered pastes can be purchased from Bob Kelly at paperhangings.com. I always try to keep some on hand, for the rare occasion when a job calls for this type of special paste.

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.

Murky Background With Random Gold Metallic Stars on Oak Forest Dining Room Ceiling

June 12, 2015

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This homeowner had a good grasp of what she wanted for wallpaper in her new home. When she showed me photos of the antique furniture and Old-World artwork in her existing home, I suggested she look at the wallpapers made by a few specialty companies. I was thrilled when she took my suggestions – and she was, too. Because she found some truly fantastic and unique patterns to put in her home. (See yesterday’s post.)

This beautiful deep teal wallpaper with a random pattern of metallic stars is made by the Bradbury & Bradbury company in California, who specializes in reproducing or recreating authentic patterns from the Vicrorian, Arts & Crafts, and Moderninistic eras.

The paper is harder than most, because it comes with a selvedge edge that has to be trimmed off (painstakingly and time-consumeadly) by hand, and it calls for special paste. And putting wallpaper on a ceiling is trickier than it sounds.

Still, this job went well, and the client was very pleased.

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