Posts Tagged ‘england’

Farrow & Ball “Hornbeam” in a Country Home Powder Room

August 24, 2019


Farrow & Ball’s “Hornbeam” pattern is reminiscent of hedgerows in rural England.

I hung this in a powder room of a home outside Chappell Hill. I’ve worked for the homeowners previously in their Houston home.

While the pattern is lovely and suits the scale of the room and coordinates perfectly with the color of the marble contertop (and the color scheme of the rest of the house), I am not crazy about the quality of the wallpaper.

I will be posting more on this as I have time. Do a Search on the brand name to read these posts.

Chinese Hand-Painted Silk Mural

June 27, 2019


Here is some delicious stuff! This is silk wallpaper, hand painted in China with these beautiful bird, butterfly, and botanical motifs. Look at the close-up shots to see the gorgeous paint detail.

There are some historic companies who make these murals, like Zuber, Gracie, Fromental, and de Gournay, and they can run $500-$1200 per panel. (This wall took seven panels.) But my client found another manufacturer who was way more reasonable. http://www.worldsilkroad.com/

The mural was custom-sized to the homeowners’ wall. The studio added 2″ to the top and bottom, and a little more to each side, for trimming, and to accommodate walls that are not perfectly plumb and ceilings that are not perfectly level. (Never order a mural to the exact dimensions of the wall, and always best to have the paperhanger measure before ordering.)

There are a lot of things that make an install like this much more complicated than a traditional wallpaper. For starters, the silk can easily be stained by just about anything … wallpaper paste, water, hands. So it’s important to work absolutely clean. You will NOT be able to wipe off any errant bit of paste. The paper also had a half inch “bleed” of excess paper along the edges that had to be trimmed off by hand (no photo).

The material was thicker than expected, wanted to stay curled up as it had been in its shipping tube, and the backing was very absorbent, which meant that it sucked up paste and was almost dry by the time it was finished booking and got to the wall… So it required extra paste on the edges to get them to stick tight, while, once again, taking care to not get any paste on the surface of the paper.

The company provided precious little information. Well, actually there was information, but it came in Chinesnglish, and, bless their hearts, was virtually indecipherable. The company was very responsive, but, unfortunately, was unable to provide adequate information about paste recommendations, booking time, was a liner spec’ed, if the substrate was paper or non-woven, if the silk had a protective coating, and even whether or not the goods had to be hand-trimmed or came pre-trimmed. There was a lot of other mysterious content on their instruction sheet that ended up best being disregarded.

So I used common sense and traditional installation methods, and it turned out great.

In one photo, I am rolling out the panels, to be sure they are in the correct sequence. Even though the manufacturer had told me the panels were pre-trimmed and ready to butt on the wall, while rolling them out, I discovered that if I did that, the pattern match would be off. This is when I discovered that 1/2″ had to be trimmed off one side of every strip.

This also meant that each strip would be 36″ wide, rather than 36.5″, so my measurements and layout calculations had to be revised. This was particularly important because that first area to the left of the window was barely more than 36″ wide – and I didn’t want to end up having to piece in a 3/8″ wide strip of this delicate material.

Two other pictures show some crinkles in the material. I believe these happened at the factory or during shipping, because the same defects appear in two consecutive panels, at the same position. They were both up high, and, once the material got wet with paste, expanded a little, and then applied to the wall, these flaws were not detectable.

The last photo shows what you should expect from hand-painted products. They probably had one guy working on Panel 6, and another working on Panel 7, and each probably had a different size paint brush, and possibly their stencil (or whatever they use) was a bit off. Either way, this mis-match is not considered a defect, and is part of the beauty of a hand-crafted mural. There were really only two areas that matched this poorly, and they were both low toward the floor. In the upper areas where branches crossed the seams, the pattern matched very nicely. Really, it’s quite incredible that their precision can be as good as it is.

I’ve never worked with this brand before, but overall, I was pleased with the quality and the installation. You can find the manufacturer by Googling World Silk Road. It comes from England, but is made in China. (Gee…. why can’t they have one of those British guys translate the installation instructions?!)

This mural went on one accent wall in a master bedroom of a home in Idylwood, a small, idyllic, and very desirable neighborhood of 1930’s and 1940’s homes on Houston’s east side. The homeowners love vintage as much as I do, and are keeping most of their home true to its original state.

Bringing Dull Grey to Life

November 26, 2017


This homeowner in the Galleria / Highland Village area of Houston is from Madrid, and had this wallpaper in her home there. She loved it.

When the family moved to Houston, she brought the paper with her. Well, first there was a detour to London, England, to pick up the paper from where it is made.

The new house is beautiful, but it was dark, with lots of grey and grey-based colors everywhere. The kitchen even had a wall painted in chalkboard paint – an oppressing mass of solid black.

The new wallpaper, called Madam Butterfly (by Designers Guild), adds a happy feel of uplifted cherry buds and blossoms, and a cherry color palate of both light and bold pinks.

The colors work together beautifully. There is just enough pink to compliment the grey cabinets, without being too cartoonish or girly. The design looks like swoops of water color paint – like a Japanese painting. And I love the upward movement of the tree blossoms.

In addition, the adjoining rooms all have accents of the hot pink color, from sofa pillows to artwork to vases to a divine hot pink divan sitting center stage in the family room.

British Love for a Montrose Powder Room

November 11, 2016
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This couple lived in England for a while, and adopted British taste in decorating. I have papered four rooms for them so far (another is coming up!), and (almost) all have been done in imported British wallpaper, with traditional designs.

This pattern is by Colfax & Fowler (called “Dalancey”), and is on what we call a pulp substrate. It is a beautiful, matt finish, lies very flat to the wall, and will resist curling under humid conditions. It has no protective coating, so can be stained by splashing of water or toiletries or even hands, and painter’s tape will lift the inked layer right off the backing. In other words – beautiful to look at, but handle with care. 🙂

This home is brand new, but presented challenges due to unplumb walls, bowed walls, and crooked corners. I had to do a lot of twisting and finagling, and a little patchin’ in, and some fudging with the pattern match, but the end result looked fantastic. The homeowner said, “I can’t believe how much it changes the room!”

And she said, “Every time you come, you leave our home looking a little more beautiful!”

Murky Green Damask on Display Shelves

November 26, 2015
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The red diamond pattern on the backs of these bookshelves was pretty, but the new owners of the home didn’t love it. There was wallpaper left over from when the adjoining dining room was papered, and so we used those scraps to paper the bookshelves in the living room.

It looked like there was a lot of paper to work with, but when you start talking about a 28.5″ wide bookshelf and 27″ wide wallpaper, syncing the pattern with that in the dining room, centering the pattern, matching the pattern, a 25″ pattern repeat, wrapping the sides, wrapping the top, and when you unroll the left over bolts and find that much of the material is not in one long strip but in multiple shorter strips – it becomes a game of math, logistics, plotting, and engineering.

In the end, though, there was enough to get ‘er done. And, I was able to place the dominant motif vertically down the center of the bookshelves, and balance it equally in either corner, as well as place the same motif at the bottom of the bookshelves as was at the top of the wainscoting in the adjoining dining room, so the two rooms were horizontally correlated, and match the pattern of the two header strips in each of the two shelf alcoves to the pattern on the back of the shelves below them.

Anyone looking at the shelves will no doubt focus on the pretty collectibles displayed within them. But I just thought I would give a little backstory on what went into applying the wallpaper that is the backdrop for those pretty white vessels.

I loved working with this paper. There were no labels or brand information, but it was a pulp paper product, which is often sourced from England. It sits flat and tight to the wall, and seams are nearly invisible. Once booked, there is no stretching or shrinking. It is not sealed, though, so you have to protect it from handling and from splashes, and have to take care to not overwork seams or abrade the material during installation.