Posts Tagged ‘British’

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.

More William Morris – Woodland Heights Master Bath and Closet

September 2, 2019


Here is a wonderfully renovated and updated 1925 home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston. It pretty much has the all-white decorating scheme going on. The homeowner wanted to inject a little warmth into the master suite, and chose this beautiful historic pattern in muted colors, by William Morris.

I put it on two opposing walls in the master closet, and on one wall in the master bathroom, directly across from the sink and mirrors. It is a fantastic compliment to the grey-veined marble counter top, and the darker grey paint on the vanity. (Sorry, no photo) And it adds the warmth and character the homeowner was seeking.

William Morris was a popular designer during the Arts & Crafts movement around the turn of the last century. His patterns are very stylized and rhythmic.

This is a British-made paper, and is printed on the pulp stock (rather than the new non-woven material that most British companies are moving to). You have to know a few tricks to working with it, but it goes up beautifully and will hold up for a good long time. It does not have any coating, however, so will be susceptible to splashes and stains.

The interior design firm for this project is Four Square Design (Laura and Sarah worked on this home). They work primarily with older or historic structures, and have saved many a beautiful home from being torn down.

Soft Pink Envelopes a Little Girl’s Room

August 27, 2019


I hung pink wallpaper in this little girl’s room and bathroom in the family’s Houston home a year or two ago, and they asked me to bring some more pink sweetness to the girl’s room in their country home outside of Chappell Hill, Texas.

This design is called “Yukutori” and is by Farrow & Ball. While a stronger design would work well on a single accent wall, this is a good pattern for putting on all four walls, because it’s soft and receding, and will be a good backdrop without stealing attention from furniture and artwork.

The slight orange-y tinge to the color works well with the red brick fireplace and chimney.

This paper is by Farrow & Ball, a British company.

I am disappointed in the quality of their paper, especially for the price the homeowners paid. I’ll talk more about this in later posts, which will include photos.

For now, enjoy the sweet look of this little girl’s bedroom in the country.

Mapping Out a New Look

July 21, 2019


Here is a small vestibule (the second vestibule I’ve done this week! 🙂 ), that leads from the living room past the powder room and into the kitchen / great room, in a newish “tall skinny” home in the Houston Heights.

It’s the perfect place to add a little personal flavor. This map pattern in muted colors is perfect for this space, because, in the adjoining living room, the homeowner has some framed maps that mirror the style and color of this wallpaper. The wallpaper pulls everything together.

This wallpaper is a non-woven material, and can be hung by the paste-the-wall method, or the paste-the-paper method. With the intricate door moldings requiring complicated cuts in miniscual spaces, it made more sense to paste the paper. It is by Mulberry Home (I gotta say – I think they’re knocking off the Magnolia Home brand made famous by Joanna Gaines on HGTV). It’s a British company.

The interior designer for this job is Stacie Cokinos, of Cokinos Design. She works primarily in the Heights, Garden Oaks, and Oak Forest neighborhoods. Her style is fresh and open, with attention to the homeowner’s personal taste, and a dash of fun tossed in.

Roiling Clouds Wallpaper in a Montrose Bathroom

July 4, 2019


Historic British manufacturer’s Fornasetti Line “Nuvolette” wallpaper pattern… I have long wanted to hang this paper, and finally got my chance today!

The walls in this first-floor bathroom of a newish contemporary styled home in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston were textured and covered with a semi-gloss paint. (top picture) It took me a day and a half to skim-coat the walls with smoothing compound, let dry, sand smooth, vacuum up the dust, wipe dust off the walls, prime, and let the primer dry. (second photo shows the smoothed and primed walls)

You would see this pattern better in a larger, less broken-up room, but here you can tell that it is a powerful depiction of roiling thunder clouds storming powerfully toward the west.

The product is unusual, in that it comes in a 2-pack set of “A” and “B” rolls. Each bolt is the same width and length as many Cole & Son papers. But the pattern is placed on those bolts very atypically, and the pattern match is equally unexpected.

Usually, wallpaper patterns match straight across from strip to strip. (straight across match) This means you see the same design element at the top of the wall on every strip. Or they drop down bit on every other strip, then pop back up to the top of the wall on the third strip. (drop match)

A much less common and much more complicated patter match is when the pattern motif repeats itself at the top of the wall only on every fourth (or more) strip. It can take a lot of mind-bending to figure out how to get the pattern placed correctly, and without wasting more paper than necessary.

Look at the upper left of the label, and it says that when placing the A strip to the right of the B strip, it’s a straight match. But when you position the B strip to the right of the A strip, it’s a drop match. This makes everything even wackier and more complicated!

What helped me here is that this home had plenty of room to roll out the bolts of paper, and plot out how the pattern would fall. (see photo) No one was home, so I had peace and quiet to concentrate and get my head around the intricacies of the pattern.

It turned out that the “straight match” indicated on the label was an error – no strips featured a straight match. Good thing I had all that floor space to roll the bolts out, so I could determine that.

Because the pattern match was so unpredictable, it was not possible to cut all of the “odd” and “even” strips ahead of time. And the very unlevel / unplumb qualities of the room also stepped in to make this impossible.

One thing that helped was that this was a non-woven material, which meant that the wallpaper did not need to be booked (left to sit and absorb paste and expand) before hanging. So as soon as I was able to figure out the pattern match for the upcoming strip, I was able to paste and hang the strip-in-hand.

If I had had to figure, measure, plot, paste, book, and then finally hang each strip individually, it would have taken a lot more than the eight hours it did take me to hang this 8-roll bathroom.

A big help on this pattern is that I belong to the Wallcovering Installers Association, and I check our Facebook page every day. (Sorry – it’s private … you can’t peek!) It was there that I learned about others’ experiences with this Nuvolette design, and how they tackled the pattern repeat and the install.

Sweetening an All-White Bathroom / Treating Trials

July 2, 2019



This homeowner was just trying to update her hall bathroom. She chose a new countertop, new tile, and new wallpaper. Unfortunately, some of the workmen who showed up for the job were less than stellar. I won’t say anything about the tile guys or the painters, but in the top photo, you can see how the “I can hang wallpaper” guy prepped the wall… which he proclaimed as “wallpaper-ready.”

I took down the light fixture, removed the remaining old wallpaper, and skim-floated the surface. Because the ridges in the original guy’s float job were so thick, I went there a few days early to get an initial layer of smoothing compound spread on the wall, so it would have time to dry. Then when I came back, I skim-floated the entire room. Because this second coat was thinner, it dried in a few hours (with fans, a space heater (to pull humidity from the air), and the home’s A/C unit cranking dry air through the room.)

I sanded smooth, vacuumed and wiped off the dust, and applied a coat of Gardz, which is my preferred primer for newly smoothed walls.

Mysterious tan dots worked their way through the smoothing compound and the Gardz. I didn’t know what they came from (mold, oil, tobacco, soft drink or food the workers splashed on the walls?), but I knew they would eventually bleed through the new wallpaper. So I rolled on BIN, a shellac-based stain-blocker made by Rust Oleum, to seal the wall.

This effectively sealed the stain, and the wall was nice and white after that.

A week later, I came back to hang the wallpaper. First I applied a coat of Roman’s Pro 977 Ultra Prime, a primer made specifically for wallpaper. For some reason, this product didn’t stick well to the BIN – which is surprising, because one reason I use this primer is because it sticks to anything, even glossy surfaces (the BIN was not particularly glossy). Look closely or enlarge the third photo, and you will see it sliding and dripping down the wall. Well, no fear. I brushed out the worst of the drips, and as the primer dried, it tightened up and clung flat and tight to the wall.

With the wall finally smooth and appropriately primed, I was ready to get that paper up on the wall. This was an old fashioned pulp paper, which the British companies were making before most of them switched to non-woven materials. I was looking forward to working with an authentic pulp paper, because it’s been a while since I’ve come across one.

But this one didn’t behave as most of them do… It was thicker and stiffer, which made trimming and intricate detail work difficult, and increased the potential for creasing (for instance, while fitting the paper into a corner at a ceiling line). And it sucked up paste and dried out way sooner than I could get a strip to the wall. So I ended up using a spray bottle to add extra moisture to the back of the paper while I was applying the paste. This did help a lot.

Some of the edges had been banged up during shipping, so some of the seams looked a little weathered. And the edges had not been cut perfectly straight at the factory, so we had a bit of what we call “gaps and overlaps.”

Still, the finished room looks great. With its sweet flowers and calming colors, the pattern reminds me of the Laura Ashley era. The blue really pops against the white woodwork and tile in the room, and the red roses are nothing short of romantic.

Such a happy turn-around, for a bathroom that started out full of trials and tribulations.

I’m not sure what the brand name is, but the label says “English Florals.” The homeowner found it on-line (free shipping!), and the cost was low – about $60 for a double roll bolt. The home is on the north side of Houston.

Similar Color, But More Uplifting Pattern

June 29, 2019

The original wallpaper in this rear powder room / pool bathroom of a home in the Memorial Villages neighborhood of Houston was very dark blue with tiny black dots on it – from a distance, it looked like a solid color. It was an interesting pattern, but didn’t have personality of its own, so needed artwork to set it off.

This new pattern is very similar in background color, but the upward-moving foliage, accented by the beautifully painted hummingbirds, add a whole lot of movement and character to the room.

The leaves are a shimmery metallic champagne sort of color, and the hummingbirds have a mesmerizing iridescence; they almost look like photographs.

The stained glass window, which had been a bit of an odd duck – mostly because of the baseball in the center – became an asset when the wallpaper went up, because the colors of the birds miraculously matched the colors in the window.

Because the dark paper was printed on a white substrate, I used chalk to color the edges, so that white would not peek out at the seams.

This paper is by Harlequin, a British company. It is on a non-woven backing, and could be hung by the paste-the-wall method, or, as I did, by pasting the paper. It was nice to work with, but it could be creased easily, which would have made it difficult in a room that required more turns and intricate cuts and objects to trim around.

The wallpaper 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.