Posts Tagged ‘British’

Leopards Walk the Room Right

August 19, 2018


I’ll be the first to admit – I love a darkly decorated room. But this all-black powder room in the home of a young couple in the Heights neighborhood of Houston was not making the grade. With shiny black paint on all four walls, there was nothing to define the room. You literally could not even see where one wall ended and another began. And the work had been done poorly, with zillions of bumps and bits of stuff stuck in the paint.

My first task was to use Liquid Sandpaper to degloss the shiny paint. Then I skim-floated the walls to smooth over the irregularities. Sanded smooth, wiped off the dust with a damp sponge, then primed with the penetrating sealer Gardz. Sorry, no pic of the prepped walls.

The new homeowner was fine with the dark idea, but she wanted something fun and a little sassy, that would wake you up when you walk into the room. These marching rows of leopards do just that!

The new wallpaper is still dark. But not quite as dark. And because it has pattern and some variations in color, you can easily see the corners, and each individual wall. The room is no longer stark and oppressive, but warm and fun.

This wallpaper design is called Leopard Walk, and is by Cole & Son, a British company. It is a thin and flexible non-woven material with a vinyl surface that will resist splashes and stains better than most papers.

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Birds for the Bold of Heart

August 18, 2018


A lot of clients tell me they love birds, and are seeking wallpaper patterns with foliage and birds. (Do a Search here (upper right corner) on the word “birds.”) Most of those are what you would call sweet patterns. This design, on the other hand, can only be called BOLD.

The homeowner, also in the Houston Heights, is the sister to the guy mentioned in yesterday’s post. As you can see, they share an adventurous taste in decorating!

Although the pattern has a lot going on, it doesn’t feel busy, even in a powder room, partly because of the fairly homogenous color scheme, and also because of the all-over placement of the design elements. Besides, who can resist those intense faces? My favorite is the owl-like bird staring you dead in the eye.

The walls in this new home were heavily textured, so I had to smooth them first (see top photos) and then prime with a penetrating sealer called Gardz.

This wallpaper pattern is by Clarke & Clarke, a British company. As are many British products, it is printed on a non-woven substrate and is quite durable. It can be dry-hung using the paste-the-wall method – but I prefer to paste the paper. It was a little easier to work with than yesterday’s paper, being thinner and softer and less prone to creasing.

This was bought from my favorite source for good quality, product knowledge, expert service, and competitive price – Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. She is great at helping you find just the perfect paper! Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

Humidity from Shower & Bathtub Loosening Paper

July 5, 2018

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The homeowner said I put this paper up about 20 years ago. It is what we call a British pulp paper – paper, not vinyl and not vinyl coated. In a few areas near the ceiling, the paper has started to pull away from the wall. It was only over the shower and tub areas. What does that tell you? Yes, humidity is the great enemy of wallpaper. Especially when you have teenagers taking steamy, hour-long showers.

This was pretty easily fixed, by repasting the wall behind the loose areas, and then smoothing the paper back into place.

Farrow & Ball Branding, Sequence

March 13, 2018



Farrow & Ball (who manufacturers the “Lotus” wallpaper design in my previous posts), is a British company, and they do things properly and meticulously. I liked their labels and the trademark design on the box their paper comes in. The box is corrugated cardboard and cushioned to prevent damage to the edges of the wallpaper rolls.

Each roll is individually wrapped, too, with it’s own sticker. Going further, note that each of those bolts is numbered, indicating the sequence in which it was printed. The idea is that each strip of paper should be hung sequentially. This will minimize any color differences related to ink as it works its way through the press.

A Possible Good Quality Pre-Pasted, Paper-Backed, Solid Vinyl Wallpaper

March 8, 2018


In previous posts, including one day ago, I have railed against the lower-price-point, pre-pasted, paper-backed, solid vinyl wallpapers. Do a Search here to find out why.

But today, at the end of a 9-day job in Bellaire, where each of the four bathrooms was using the same brand of wallpaper, this final pattern (in a powder room) actually went up beautifully.

The seams laid down nice and flat, there was no bubbling, no curling, no fighting with it. Even I could not find the seams!

I noticed three differences. First, the vinyl on the surface was smooth, instead of the lightly textured faux “satin” look on the other two patterns. Second, the paper backing seemed smoother, as contrasted to the somewhat gritty, porous paper backing on the other patterns. Third, the pre-paste applied by the manufacturer to the back of the paper was smoother and more gel-like, instead of the dry, globby, cantankerous paste on the other papers.

It’s too early to tell how this paper will hold up under humid conditions. But I have much more hope that it will not absorb humidity from the air, and will stay nice and flat to the wall.

The manufacturer is “Exclusive Wallcoverings” and is a British company. I’m not saying I love this paper, but it appears to be better than most of the pre-pasted, paper-backed, solid vinyl offerings out there.

Hick’s Hexagon in a Houston Heights Powder Room

January 28, 2018


This large powder room (it has a shower!) in a new home in the Houston Heights originally had all-white walls (like the rest of the house). Interior designer Stacie Cokinos suggested wallpaper to warm the room and add personality. The homeowner had never used wallpaper before and was skeptical, but she tentatively agreed.

What a wonderful choice this turned out to be! The wallpaper defines the space and transforms it from timid to bold. But, because the color palette is limited, the feeling is not chaotic. The color coordinates beautifully with the dark brass wall sconces. Previously, the white woodwork blended in with the white walls. But now the dark color of the wallpaper makes the beautiful door moldings stand out.

This is a popular pattern, and I’ve hung it, or variations of it, a number of times. The design is by David Hicks and is made by Cole & Son, a British company. It’s a non-woven material, and is meant to be applied by the paste-the-wall method, but I had better results with pasting the paper.

The interior designer is Stacie Cokinos, of Cokinos Design. She works primarily on new builds, and mostly in the Heights neighborhoods. Her look is spacious, clean, and crisp, with a little fun tossed into the mix.

Noah’s Ark for a Baby Girl’s Nursery

December 24, 2017


Rooms for baby girls don’t have to be all about pink. Here’s a neutral-toned, animal-rich, Noah’s Ark-themed pattern that will grow with the child. This is just one accent wall, a very effective use of pattern, and economical, too.

The mother-to-be commented that the pattern was soft enough that it could go on all four walls of the room. I agreed. But I think it would look better, perhaps, if wainscoting were added at the bottom 1/3 of the wall, or a wooden chair rail and a slightly darker shade of paint at the bottom, and then have the paper on just the top 2/3 of the wall.

This wallpaper is by Andrew Martin, a British company, and was printed on a pulp stock substrate. It has no protective coating, so mom will have to be sure the little one keeps her hands off the paper. The home is in the Rice Village area of Houston.

Cole & Son Woods / Stars for a Baby Boy’s Nursery

December 15, 2017


See that top photo? This newborn baby was doomed to a boring, blaagh, unstimulating nursery. But Mom wanted more for her first-born son. Pastels and teddy bears wouldn’t do it. Mom found this innovative design in an un-baby-like color – and, boy, does it look great!

In the top photo, I am in the process of applying smoothing compound to a textured wall. Once dry, it will be sanded smooth and then primed, making it ready for wallpaper.

I hung this in a new home in the Bridgelands area of Cypress / Katy (Houston). The manufacturer is Cole & Son, a British company. It is a thick, fairly stiff non-woven material. It is intended to be installed with the paste-the-wall method, and it works nicely for single accent-wall projects like this.

But that thickness and stiffness means that it would be less suitable if it had to turn corners or meld into cuts around intricate moldings. That means it would be difficult to get to look great in rooms that have a lot of angles, edges to wrap, or detailed cuts. (bathrooms, kitchens, rooms with decorative moldings, etc.)

I don’t have a finished-room shot of this baby’s room, but, as you can see, the crib accent wall looks fantastic.

I like this matt-finish charcoal blue color much better than the more common black-on-white designs I have seen. And the gold stars really amp up the appeal.

Wallpaper – From Pastoral Toile to Jailhouse Brick

April 2, 2017

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This powder room started out with a classic French toile in yellow-on-red, on all four walls. It was a popular look – for the mid-Century. The homeowner wanted something both updated and rustic, with a little texture tossed into the mix.

I love the shot of the two patterns next to each other, with the new brick slowly eating up the tired, outdated French toile.

This paper came as a sort of a mural, with three 9’10” panels per bolt. It was intended to not be repetitive, so it had a long pattern repeat and a multiple-drop pattern match. (MDPMs are way too complicated to discuss here.) The look is attractive, because it minimizes the repetitiveness of a design popping up in the same place on every strip. On the other hand, MDPMs are the Devil to figure out, and they eat up a lot of paper, too.

Some of the photos show off the realistic pattern and feelable texture. To be honest, I really liked the product. Well, at least while I was working with the first bolt. It stuck nicely to the wall, turned corners tightly, and the seams were all but invisible. The rustic b5rick pattern looks super behind the dark oil-rubbed-bronze light fixture and faucets.

Then I needed to open a new bolt of paper for my next strips. The packages were not marked as to run or batch numbers. Interestingly enough, there was a slight color difference between “Bolt A” and “Bolt B.” Surprisingly, the color difference was not easy to spot, once the paper was on the wall.

Even with careful packaging, there had been damage to some of the edges of the wallpaper. Besides the banged edges, and paper backing showing white at the edges so I had to take an oil pastel artist’s material to color the edges of each strp. In addition, there was a tad bit of curl in the vinyl at the edges of the bolts of wallpaper. What this translates to is, many of the seams in the room did not lie down as tight and flat to the wall as I would have liked. See photos. I would have been happier with tighter seam joins, but the homeowners thought it all looked lovely.

This wallpaper pattern is by Debbie McKeegan for Digetix, a British company, and was bought on-line directly from England.

Fun Geometric Wallpaper in a High School Teen’s Bedroom

March 3, 2017
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What 15 year old girl would not love this wallpaper pattern?! And when she leaves for college and her room gets turned over to guests, the paper will still be perfect!

One photo shows the use of my laser level, to be sure the first strip hangs perfectly plumb. I measured and centered the pattern on the wall horizontally, so it would fall perfectly behind the arched headboard, and the laser level was also useful to mark the spot for that fist strip to land.

This wallpaper pattern went on one accent wall, and the black ceiling really sets the room off! It is called “Riviera” and is by Cole & Son, a British company. It is on a thickish non-woven stock, and was a paste-the-wall install process.  Don’t tell anyone, but I think it looks a little like grasshopper heads.  🙂

The interior designers for this job are Neal LeBouef and Anthony Stransky, of L Design Group. Wonderful guys, and I love their crisp, clean, sophisticated style. The home is in West University Place (Houston).