Posts Tagged ‘farrow & Ball’

Bold Teal Color Wakes Up a Music Niche

May 20, 2020


This is a small niche that holds a stereo system and other music items. The homeowner wanted to bring some color to this corner of her living room, and fell in love with this “Helleborus” pattern by Farrow & Ball.

The bold teal color and large scaled pattern really demand your attention!

I have no idea why the two close-up shots are washed out. But you can see the detail of the design.

I papered over the box in the wall which had held a cable connection; look and you can see it’s ghost on the right side of the third photo.

The homeowner originally wanted to remove the electric outlet and paper over that, too. But electrical codes would not allow that. So I papered the plate cover, and that helps it blend into the wall. I hope she will take a dab of paint and disguise that white screw!

The wall originally had a heavy stipple texture, so I spent most of the day smoothing that – skim-floating over the texture, and then set my three fans to blast air – augmented by my great persuader / heat gun, to get it to dry. Sanded, primed, and then finally hung the three strips of paper.

Farrow & Ball is a British company that makes home goods. Instead of traditional inks, they use their paint on their wallpaper. I am not fond of this method (do a Search here to read previous experiences), but today’s install went nicely.

The home is in the Oak Forest / Garden Oaks neighborhood of Houston.

Finishing Touch to an Exercise Room Remodel

April 3, 2020


This is a detached room with separate entrance adjoining a home in the Rice Village neighborhood of Houston. It could be use as a home office, but the lady of the house has claimed it as her private space, complete with exercise equipment and large TV. 🙂

She was originally looking at a Farrow & Ball pattern, but after I explained my disappointments with the quality of that brand (do a Search here), I was pleased that she changed to this design by a more reliable company.

This pattern is called “Bananas,” and is by Graham & Brown. They are one of the first companies to start using a non-woven substrate, which they put their vinyl top layer onto. They’ve created a really nice product.

The substrate has a lot of fiberglass, rendering it dimensionally-stable, meaning that it won’t expand when wet with paste nor shrink when it dries. It will also strip off the wall easily when it’s time to redecorate.

In this case, I used the paste-the-wall method, which you can do with the non-wovens, and which saved me lugging in my huge work table.

In the third photo, I have cut my strips and placed them along the wall in the odd-even order in which they will be hung. Before I start, I will re-roll the strips backwards, so the backing is facing out. This helps reduce the “curl” or “memory” of the paper that wants to retain it’s rolled-up shape. And it helps keep the surface of the paper from bopping into the pasted wall. I secured the rolled-up strips with elastic hairbands from the dollar store.

Pasting the wall is a very clean way to work, because no paste gets onto the moldings or ceiling, and no paste sticks to the excess paper that is trimmed off at the ceiling and floor – less mess to clean up.

In the fourth photo, I have positioned my first strip with the design centered in the middle of the wall, using my red light laser level as a guide to keep the strip plumb.

Farrow & Ball – Disappointing Quality

October 10, 2019


First three photos – Burnish marks from smoothing paint-coated paper to wall. Read below.

Last two photos – Fat seams caused by poor trimming and thick paper and paint. You man need to enlarge the photo to see clearly. Read below.

I’m disappointed in the quality of the Farrow & Ball paper I hung recently. (See my post from September 1st.) For a high-end brand, their quality-control is definitely lacking.

The seams are thick and dark, and many areas had to be repasted because they didn’t hold to the wall. As one of my highly-skilled, decades-long installer buddies put it: “This is a common problem caused by …… incompetence of factory trimming and poor choice of substrate. This substrate is thick and the trimming from F&B often gives us a “rounded” edge, for want of a better word.” Another installer described the seam edges as “scalloped.” You can never get a good, tight seam with thick paper and paint, and improper factory trimming.

Another disappointment was a sheen on the paper. F&B is proud of their paint, and, instead of using ink (like other successful manufacturers do), they coat their wallpaper with their paint. To get wallpaper stuck to the wall, to eliminate bubbles, and to set seams, you need to use tools, notably a smoothing brush (“sweep”) and/or a plastic smoothing tool.

No matter how gently I swiped with the brush, the paint burnished (left a sheen). Using the plastic smoother to try to coax the cantankerous seams to stay down left worse sheen along the length of each seam. I tried covering the smoother with soft T-shirt cloth, but that didn’t help. This sheen is caused by sensitivity of the paints. I hung three different F&B patterns, and had the same problem with each.
I worked as cleanly as possible, because trying to wipe even a small speck of paste off the surface left another shiny spot. The sheen was more noticeable when the paper was viewed from the side, with light hitting it at an angle.

If other manufacturers use inks that are designed to bond to paper, and that will withstand the light brushing and occasional wiping during the installation process, why does Farrow & Ball persist in using paint on their wallpaper??! Matt-finish paint is designed to be looked at, not rubbed or wiped or washed. And why use a thick, poor-performing substrate, when so many other companies have found wonderful papers to print on??

One solution for the sheen might be to coat the paper with a matt-finish varnish or other product that will even hide the shininess. As for the fat, noticeable seams, there is no solution. For now, we’re leaving everything as it is, because the client doesn’t see what I see, and she is delighted with her new wallpaper.

Farrow & Ball, Damaged Paper

October 10, 2019


While I’m griping about F&B, I’m including a photo of an 18″ long portion of one bolt that was severely damaged by the factory (another bolt had similar damage). This particular pattern was a sort of mural, with no repeating pattern that I could cut off and replace with more of the same pattern. In other words, I needed that 18″!

I ended up plotting the layout of the room so that this damaged left edge of the strip would end up cut off by the right side of a door frame.

Wrong Info – Farrow & Ball

October 10, 2019


In the instruction sheet, the manufacturer addressed a number of things that can go amiss when hanging wallpaper. One of these is the potential for the white substrate to peek out from the seams, especially as the wallpaper dries and shrinks a tiny tad.

One common solution is to color the edges of the paper. This is exactly what the manufacturer is suggesting on the instruction sheet.

The only problem is, they specifically tell you to use oil pastel crayons.

THIS IS VERY BAD. There are a number of substances that will stain wallpaper – and oil is one of them. Lipstick, cooking oil, hair cream, candle wax, a potato chip, and even the oils in one’s hands will all cause a blotch on wallpaper.

So it’s very bad to use oil pastels. Yes, they may do a good job of covering over the white edge of the substrate. But, sooner or later, the oils in the pastels will leach their way into the wallpaper, creating a stain that cannot be washed off or removed.

(For the record, permanent markers (Magic Marker, Sharpie) cannot be used either, because they will also bleed into wallpaper. There are a whole lot of other substances that cause stains … but that is a topic for another blog post … )

The correct alternative is to use artists’ chalk pastels. Some friends of mine use water-based paint, and some use colored pencils.

Test Strips

October 10, 2019


Yesterday, I hung Farrow & Ball wallpaper in another room in this home, and was not pleased with its quality and performance.

The seams were very obvious, due to the thick and stiff nature of the substrate, and to faulty trimming at the factory that left rounded and scalloped edges on the paper. In addition, the paper – which is coated with paint instead of the traditional ink – developed a sheen wherever my brush, smoother, or damp cloth rubbed against it.

So before I started in the powder room today, I did a “test run” by hanging a few short strips cut from scrap paper.

This way I could gauge what I could expect in the way of seams and sheen on this new pattern.

The consensus was that:
~ the seams were again wider / thicker than desirable
~ the seams again did not want to adhere to the wall properly in all areas
~ the ground (background color) developed shiny streaks where my smoothing brush or damp cloth came in contact with it. This was not as obvious as on yesterday’s “Feather Grass” pattern, because the textured raised ink on this “Hornbeam” pattern helped disguise it.

These test strips helped me plan what techniques to employ for today’s installation.

Farrow & Ball Feather Grass

September 1, 2019


Farrow & Ball is a long-established British company. Here is their very unique design “Feather Grass” which I hung in a master bedroom in the country. I love the look of this pattern as you gaze out the windows to the pastureland beyond.

Farrow & Ball includes their own powdered paste, which you mix up with water. To get a smooth mix, I prefer a hand-held blender to the old-fashioned stirrer stick. Not shown is the 1-gallon bucket of cellulose pasted all ready to go.

The company sends a mock-up of what their design will look like. (The image above is from a different pattern I hung in this same home.)

Because their paper is coated with their paint, rather than ink, there can be variations in color as the printer moves through the batch of paint. So the company labels each bolt in the sequence that it came off the printer, and you are instructed to use the bolts and strips in sequence, to minimize any color variations.

This pattern is something like a mural, and comes in panels with one design per panel, rather than strips with multiple repeats of the pattern. In the photo above, I am rolling the paper out on the floor, to get an understanding of how it is laid out and how it is packaged.

Each bolt contained three panels, all rolled up together. The panels are made to fit a wall as high as 12′, so I had to cut each panel from the bolt, then trim it down to fit the 7 1/2′ high walls.

Yes, there is a lot of waste with Feather Grass. In fact, it takes a full strip to go above and below the windows and doors, even though you are throwing away the entire middle part. So, again, incredible amount of waste – I carted home a whole lot of unusable paper to toss into the recycling bin!

Before shot.

The “grass” pattern is meant to appear at about 4 1/2′ from the floor. Since you start hanging wallpaper from the ceiling, I needed to know where to place the tops of the sheaves of grass. So I drew a horizontal line around the room at the 4 1/2′ height. (enlarge photo to see the faint pencil line) This way, from up on the ladder at the ceiling, I was able to see where the tops of the grass stalks were landing on the wall. It took a few trips up and down the ladder on each strip, but I was able to get all the stalks lined up perfectly.

Finished photos. It’s a subtle colorway, so you may need to enlarge the photo to see it well.

Isn’t the overall effect lovely, with the soft misty color of the grass showing against the view of nature outside the window?!

I hung this in the country home (Chappell Hill) of a family for whom I have worked previously in their River Oaks area home in Houston.

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.

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.

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.