Posts Tagged ‘British’

Realistic, Textured Faux Brick Wallpaper Accent Wall

April 8, 2021
Textured wall skim-floated smooth, primed, and ready for wallpaper.
Starting in center to balance off-level ceiling line.
Pretty realistic!
The material has a slight texture, although it’s not visible in this photo.

Originally, the homeowner, a single guy in the Houston Heights, had a sort of Asian theme in his master bedroom. But he was ready for something more guttural and free form. Mission accomplished!

The new look is a little bit Industrial Modern, and a little Back Alley. 🙂

He has a lot of sports memorabilia, and I think that would look great hung on this faux brick wall.

The ceiling line was not level at all, which means that you can expect the bricks to not line up perfectly straight across the wall at the ceiling. Bricks would be taller on one end and cut shorter at the other end.

And so I started hanging in the middle of the wall, butting my strip up against a plumb line from my laser level. Moving across the wall, as the ceiling line starts to track up or down, by starting in the middle, you even out any wobbling of the pattern at the ceiling by spreading half of it on the right side of the wall and half at the left side.

As it turned out, the bricks stayed perfectly straight across the ceiling line.

This is a lightly textured, embossed vinyl product by Akea, a British company. I was really expecting a non-woven paste-the-wall substrate. But this was on a paper backing, which you don’t see often these days, especially with the European manufacturers.

It was thin and flexible, the seams laid down nicely, and no bubbling (bubbles are pretty typical with paper-backed vinyl goods).

Modernizing One More Space

March 16, 2021

Dating to 1946, this small bungalow is not as “vintage” as most homes in its Riverside neighborhood of Houston. The homeowner opened up the public areas and completely renovated the kitchen, bringing the home to a fresh, contemporary feel. Adding stylish wallpaper to the small, boxy entry was the finishing touch.

This modern pattern is by Carl Robinson, a British designer. It is a traditional paper, instead of the non-woven material that many European brands are printing on. It was nice to work with, i thin and hugs the wall tightly, and will adhere well for years to come.

The entry is visible from the living room, so this small room makes an impact on the rest of the house. The homeowner positively squealed with delight when she came home and saw the finished room!

WOW! Color in Home Office

March 14, 2021

You won’t fall asleep at your desk with this wild stuff going on!

Due to the pandemic, this homeowner is now working from home. A downstairs bedroom was converted to her home office. She wanted something to cheer up the slightly dark space, as well as bring some nature into the room.

The wallpaper pattern is “Summer Garden,” by Milton & King, a British company. This comes as a 2-roll set, with an “A” roll and a “B” roll, with each roll starting with a different pattern motif at the top. Really, it’s just a standard drop match, but that’s the way M&K packages it.

TM&K is nice to work with, and will hold up nicely. It is a non-woven material, which contains polyester rather than tree or cotton fiber. It doesn’t expand when wet with paste, so there is no booking or waiting time. And it can be hung via the paste-the-wall method, which is what I did today – easy-peasy on a single accent wall like this.

The first photo shows the primed wall, ready for paper, with the original tan wall color visible on the walls on either side. In the third photo, I am laying out the bolts, getting a handle on how the pattern match and the “A” and “B” thing work. The layouts with M&K tend to differ, depending on the particular pattern.

IThe townhome is in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston.

Going For More Of The Same

February 9, 2021

I hung the original wallpaper in 2014, when the house was first built. The PEX water lines used in the home (flexible hoses instead of PVC pipes) were new at the time. Tragically, after a few years, the lines used in this home failed and caused leaks all over the house. Replacing all the water lines required cutting holes in MANY places throughout the home.

You can see in the photos where the plumbers cut out drywall and then patched it back in. This company actually did a good job of removing the wallpaper in the areas of their repairs.

Unfortunately, with the amount of wallpaper that was left over from 2014, I was not able to do repairs. The entire room had to be repapered.

The homeowner loved the pattern and wanted to keep it. It was still available, so she bought enough to repaper the room.

For various reasons, the original wallpaper was much more difficult to get off the wall than I expected. I could have gotten it off – but it would have taken about two full days.

So I opted to hang over it. It’s important to skim-float over the seam areas. First, because the seams will leave a little ridge that will telegraph through and show under the new paper. But also, because as wallpaper dries, it shrinks and puts tension on the seams. There is always the potential that this tension will cause the the surface below to pull away from the wall, and especially so if there is a weak area such as a seam. So you always want to avoid putting a seam on top of a seam.

So I skim-floated (do a Search here to learn more) over the seams, as well as over the patched areas left by the plumbers. See photos. Then I sealed the walls with Gardz, a product that penetrates and seals porous materials – like drywall joint compound and like this traditional British pulp wallpaper. Because it soaks in and dries hard, it helps to prevent moisture from paint or wallpaper paste from soaking through, and thus prevents bubbling of the underlying surface. That’s why this product is primarily used for sealing torn layers of drywall.

Although a bit glossy for my liking, Gardz is also a good primer to hang wallpaper on.

Interestingly, the expansion rate of the new wallpaper was a bit less than the original, and so the seams fell about 1/4″ to the right of the original seams. This reduced the worry of seams falling on top of seams and causing lifting.

It was a complicated room, and the paper was thick and stiff and difficult to work with. Prep took one day, and it took me two additional days to hang the paper (16 single rolls – 8 double roll bolts).

The wallpaper is in the line of Nina Campbell, by Osborne & Little, a British company. While most British papers these days are printed on an agreeable non-woven substrate, this one is a traditional, old-school British pulp … thick, stiff, difficult to fit into turns and angles, easy to tear, easily stained, non-malleable, plus the factory’s trimming roller blades must have been dull or wobbly, because the edges were not cut perfectly straight, which meant the seams had some “gaps and overlaps.”

Still, the finished room did look pretty darned good – even if it looks exactly the same as it did in 2014.

But that’s exactly what the homeowner wanted. So all is good and mission accomplished!

“Shrinking” the Pattern, to Avoid a Seam

February 2, 2021

If I had hung this paper the way the pattern sequentially worked its way around the powder room, the width of the strip over the door would have forced me to place two strips to the left of the door frame – with a seam down the middle. See where the arrow is pointing.

Sometimes it’s best to avoid seams when you can, for a variety of reasons. Especially at eye-level on a dark paper that is likely to shrink as it dries and thus expose the white edges of the substrate and the white wall beneath it all. Seams in an area that can be splashed by water have the potential to wick in moisture and cause curling. And in this case it would have also meant cutting all of the fish motifs into fragments.

After taking careful measurements, I used my straightedge to cut off the fish on the left (third photo), creating a new vertical edge.

Then I took the next strip of wallpaper and butted it up against the newly-narrow strip over the door. Even though the horizontal pattern repeat meant that we were missing a fish (that green one that got cut off), and that the very faint horizontal waves of shading in the design would not match across the seam – neither of those instances was detectable at all, when looking at the finished wall. See last photo.

The fish motifs also are dispersed in a pleasing way as they move down the wall.

This non-woven, easy-to-remove wallpaper is by the British company Cole & Son, in their Fornasetti line, and is titled Acquario.

William Morris “Fruit” in Historic 1885 Home

December 20, 2020

Moving from the entry to the adjoining dining room of the historic home in Houston mentioned in my two previous posts. This pattern by William Morris is called “Fruit,” and is true to the period in which the home was built.

I love the way the colors work with the wainscoting and also the picture rail around the top.

This pattern is less repetitive and the color is softer than the option used in the entry (see yesterday’s post), making it an easy-to-live-with choice for this large dining room.

The material is a traditional British pulp which you don’t see much these days, as most European manufacturers have moved to the newer non-woven substrates. I do like the pulps for their matt finish and tight adhesion to the wall. Although, they are brittle and tend to drag and tear when being cut, so they require some special handling.

This one also has a raised ink feature, which adds just a tad of texture. Look closely at the close-up shot.

This was purchased from FinestWallpaper.com, who has a large selection of Morris and also Voysey (another designer from that Arts & Crafts period) patterns. The home is in the Old Sixth Ward neighborhood in central inner-loop Houston.

’70’s Retro Flower Power

December 9, 2020

Here is a home where people are not scared of color, nor of pattern …. What a fun switch from drab to dramatic – with a little groovy tossed in!

The wallpaper is by Sanderson, a British company. Unlike most modern British papers which are of non-woven material, this was printed on a pulp substrate, and the surface felt like vinyl. Once wet with paste, it was fairly flimsy and prone to tear while being trimmed with a razor blade. Once dry, it will be a bit more durable.

This was a small, cramped powder room. It was super appreciated that the homeowners had removed the sink before I started work, so it was much easier to hang paper on that wall.

The home is in the Montrose area of inner loop Houston.

Special Coating Supposedly Makes Wallpaper Fire-Resistant

September 17, 2020


I’ve heard of coatings to make wallpaper water-resistant. But this is the first time I’ve seen a company claim to be able to make their wallpaper resistant to fire.

This brand is Farrow & Ball, and the material is a typical British pulp substrate.

Gaps & Overlaps – Farrow & Ball

September 17, 2020


The big British fabric and paper design company Farrow & Ball is not one of my favorite wallpaper manufacturers. For many reasons.

One reason is pictured here … Unevenly cut seams.

This photo shows what we call “gaps and overlaps” – the seams butt together perfectly in some areas, but gap open in others. This originates at the factory – a wobbly or dull blade on the trimming wheel.

You’d think they would fix it. But I’ve had this happen on EVERY F&B that I’ve hung.

Special Powdered Paste for Farrow & Ball Wallpaper

September 16, 2020


This company covers their wallpaper with their special brand of paint, rather than inks like most other manufacturers use. They also print on a traditional “pulp” material, instead of the “non-woven” that most British manufacturers have moved to.

Because of these unique features, and the related pH conditions, they recommend you use their own brand of cellulose paste.

This paste is unique because it is not pre-mixed, but comes as a powder that you mix with water. I like to use a hand-held immersion blender. Once it’s mixed up, you have to let it sit a certain period of time before using.