Posts Tagged ‘British’

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.

Farrow & Ball Difficult Paper – Taming the Beast

September 13, 2020


Farrow & Ball is not among my favorite wallpaper manufacturers. For starters, they coat their wallpaper with their paint, instead of ink like every other manufacturer in the world uses.

Paint is not a good substitute for ink. It flakes, it doesn’t apply evenly so if you are standing at the right angle, you can see unevenness in the ground (background color). Plus, it burnishes with even the lightest brush stroke across it. Do a Search here to read my previous posts about this.

Look at the first photo, and you will see what we call gaps and overlaps. This happens when the trimmer blades at the factory are wobbly and / or dull, resulting in edges that are not cut straight. Thus, when two strips are butted together, you end up with some areas gapping and some areas overlapping.

Also, the seams like to give argument to staying down tight against the wall. Again, so a Search for previous posts about this.

This “Lotus” install was a little less problematic than my experiences with other patterns. The gaps and overlaps due to poor factory cutting were still present.

But the burnishing was less of an issue, because this pattern has so much printed area that there was not a lot of ground exposed to my smoothing brush.

I also found a way to get the seams to lie down better. For starters, I used a bit more paste (their special brand of powdered cellulose paste), than usual, and that wetted the paper out better, which made it want to hug the wall better.

Next, I found that if, before hanging each strip, I rolled a thin layer of paste onto the wall under where the seams would fall, the edges of each strip would grab the wall and lie down more tightly and uniformly.

In the second photo, you can see my laser level marking the vertical line where I will run my roller of paste.

Most British manufacturers are printing on the newish non-woven substrates, which offer many positive features. Farrow & Ball, however, continues to use the traditional British pulp. When coated with their paint (instead of ink), this stuff tends to be pretty thick and stiff. The thickness adds a bit to the visible seams as seen in the top photo.

Also, once the paper becomes wet with the company’s cellulose paste, it becomes quite flexible and delicate. Meaning that it can be difficult to cut, as it often drags along even a brand new razor blade, leaving jagged edges. It tears easily. And, while unbooking, it sure felt like some of the strips were so weak that they wanted to break in two.

All in all, this install went well. But I sure would prefer if F&B would get with the rest of the wallpaper world and print on a better substrate, as well as ditch the paint in favor of good, reliable ink. And outfit their factory with some straight and sharp trimming blades.

Cole & Son Fornasetti Chiavi Segrete in a Houston Powder Room

July 17, 2020


I’ve worked for these clients many times over three homes and nearly 30 years. This is their final but “not-quite-retired” home.

The homeowner fell in love with this pattern by Cole & Son, in their Fornasetti line, called Chiavi Segrete. But she got pulled in other directions by various design trends, and then got side-tracked by more pressing things.

Finally, at least a year after moving into the new home, she realized she really wanted her first choice, so went back to the green leafy pattern with the gold keys.

I have to admit – it is a best ever fit for this room. It matches the paint color perfectly. The scale is right for the size of the room and walls. And it will look even more super once the mirror is put up.

Like most of the British papers these days, this material is a non-woven, and can be hung via the paste-the-wall method, or, as I chose to do today, pasting the paper. The surface is vinyl, and can be cleaned (somewhat) easily.

This wallpaper pattern is by Cole & Son, and 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. This homeowner has worked with Dorota for most of her projects, over these many years. (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.

Bringing Indonesia to Houston

July 3, 2020


“Sumatra” by the House of Hackney (a British company) includes images of historic or important buildings and monuments in Indonesia, as well as native flora and animals. Note the monkeys and tigers.

This product comes as a 4-panel set, much like a mural. Essentially, the design is a multiple-drop pattern repeat. Which are really mind-boggling to work with. But since the manufacturer set this up as a 4-panel mural, they took the confusion and math and head-scratching out of the equation.

The powder room required 13 panels, so four 4-panel sets were required. Only one panel of the fourth set was needed to finish the room (Panel 13).

BUT – I was glad we had the additional paper. … I used two of the “extra” panels from that fourth set to achieve perfect pattern matches in the two corners. (Too complicated to explain here – but the point is, always buy a little extra paper.)

The material is a non-woven, same as yesterday (same home). But today, instead of the paste-the-wall method of installation, I opted to paste the paper. This works better in more complicated rooms, and rooms with difficult access areas, such as behind the toilet.

The home is a new, contemporary build in the Montrose neighborhood of central Houston.

This wallpaper pattern is by House of Hackney, and 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.

Springy and Gay Accent Wall in Guest Bedroom

April 26, 2020


What a cheery look, for an accent wall in a light-filled guest bedroom of a beautifully renovated bungalow in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston!

I hung this same pattern a month ago just a few blocks away, but that room had wainscoting so there was only about 4′ of the pattern visible. In this room, the wallpaper goes from ceiling to floor, so you see how the full design plays out.

The design name is “Clementine” and it is by Sanderson, a British company. It is on a tough non-woven substrate, and I hung this using the paste-the-wall method.

The interior designer is Stacie Cokinos of Cokinos Design.

Single Rolls vs. Double Rolls – Check With Me Before Ordering

April 7, 2020


These homeowners needed eight single rolls of wallpaper to do their powder room. Since most wallpapers come packaged in double roll bolts, that means they needed four double roll bolts of paper.

The only thing is, they selected a British wallpaper (Cole & Son), and British papers use different terminology. What I call a double roll, the Brits call a single roll. The rolls are the same width and length and contain the same amount of paper; they’re simply referred to with different terms.

Unfortunately, there was a disconnect, and “8 rolls of paper” were ordered. As you can see, they ended receiving 16 rolls. Cole & Son is a higher-end wallpaper, so there was a lot of money spent that didn’t go up on the wall. 😦

This is one reason why I encourage my clients to run their wallpaper selections by me before they place an order.

Powerful Storm Clouds – Cole & Son Nuvolette

March 14, 2020


“Nuvolette” by the British manufacturer Cole & Son is a very popular pattern – but not every room can handle such a strong design. This bedroom in a new townhome on the far west side of Houston is large enough to contain the storm clouds – which will cover all four walls. Talk about drama!

The dark floor and dark woodwork help ground the pattern. The homeowner has a background in interior design, and I can’t wait to see what furniture, bedding, window coverings, and accessories she outfits the room with.

The pattern match is very tricky, and you have to plot everything carefully and confidently before you cut anything. The product comes packaged as an A-B 2-bolt set. On the label it’s noted that one pattern match is straight across, while the next strip is a drop match.

So, essentially, this has a multiple-drop pattern match , played out across four strips of paper – but with even more complicating factors tossed in. It’s a real brain-banger to plot out! I’ve hung it twice, and both times was lucky enough to have a large open area where I could spread out the A and B bolts, and then plenty of time and a distraction-free environment to get my head around the pattern match.

In the picture, you just see a nicely fit-together set of panels. But getting them to that point did take a good bit of engineering! (Especially since “someone” opened the shipping box and removed several of the bolts from their original packaging, so there was no way to tell the A bolts from the B bolts.)

Like most of Cole & Son’s wallpaper, this was a non-woven material. This stuff has a high-fiberglass content, and thus does not expand when it gets wet with paste. This allows you to get accurate measurements that won’t change when the paper is pasted. It also allows you to paste a strip and hang it immediately (no booking time), and takes the pressure off of having a booked strip over-expanding while you fiddle with hanging a difficult strip.

It went up pretty nicely. Tomorrow I will hang the remaining two walls.

The pattern is in the Fornasetti line by Cole & Son, and 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.

Recent Magazines With Wallpaper

December 18, 2019


December 2019 issues of:

Victoria –

First two photos, bold color and classic jardiniere in a very traditional dining room setting.

Southern Living –

3rd photo. Mural on dining room walls. I believe this is the Etched Arcadia pattern that I have hung (and loved) several times. (Do a Search here to see previous posts with this pattern.)

4th photo. A “man cave” done with dark wall treatment and a lighter, tight textured pattern on the ceiling.

5th photo. Large honeycomb wooden lattice on ceiling, small print on walls. The wallpaper is by Iksel, a high-end British company, and one that I visited when the Wallcovering Installers Association took a Tech Trip to England in 2017 (do a Search here). This paper is expensive and the design is well-suited to the room. Yet the pattern is, well, nothing really special about it. If someone were looking to recreate this look on a budget, it would be very possible to find something similar at a more pocketbook-friendly price.

6th photo. Boy’s room, showing interesting use of color between walls and wood.

7th photo. More adventurous use of color, on ceiling and walls. The paper is by Quadrille, which is notorious for being difficult to hang. (Do a Search here to read my experiences and comments.) Again – for every cool pattern by a high-fallutin’ designer brand that hasn’t researched how to make compatible inks and substrates and good quality paper, there are other main-stream companies making similar designs, that will perform better and hit your wallet more easily.