Posts Tagged ‘farrow & Ball’

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.

Farrow & Ball Lotus in River Oaks Master Bedroom

September 12, 2020


“Lotus” is a very old and very popular pattern by the British paint and wallpaper company Farrow & Ball.

It comes in several colors, but for all four walls in a large bedroom in the River Oaks neighborhood of Houston, the homeowner wisely chose this muted light tan-on-white.

It coordinates beautifully with the newly lightened and refinished floors, and the woodwork.

The material has an interesting gesso-like texture, which you can see in the last photo. It kind of makes the walls look like an artist’s painting.

First Wall of Farrow & Ball “Lotus” – Five Hours

September 11, 2020


Re previous recent posts, here is the first wall of this large master bedroom, hung with Farrow & Ball’s historic and popular “Lotus” pattern.

I hate to confide this, but, honestly, between setting up my equipment, cutting the strips, and hanging the six long and five shorter strips, this one wall took FIVE HOURS.

It’s one of those things that is easy to look at, but difficult to accomplish.

Hurdles were:
~ centering the pattern over and around the door
~ starting with a short strip over the door and getting it perfectly centered, as well as keeping both outer edges perfectly plumb
~ working with walls, door frame, and crown molding that were not plumb or level

It doesn’t sound all that hard. But for me, it took a lot of time.

I’m glad that I invested the time, though, because the perfectly balanced pattern falling down both sides of the door is the first thing you see when you enter this room.

Farrow & Ball “Lotus” Wallpaper

September 11, 2020


Getting ready to hang some Farrow & Ball brand “Lotus” pattern wallpaper.

This company is a class outfit (albeit not great quality, IMO, for many reasons).

Look at how slickly they’ve wrapped each bolt of paper, as well as protected the ends from being banged up during shipping. And then placed the whole kit and kaboodle in snazzy custom-fit cardboard boxes.

They provide you with instructions, along with different scale pictures of the design.

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.