Posts Tagged ‘fornasetti’

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.

Acquario Fish Swimming Through a West Houston Powder Room

October 5, 2018

I hung this paper for this client in her previous home in Spring Branch (Houston). Two years later, the family is moving to a new construction home in the Briar Park neighborhood, and she wants the same pattern in her new, larger, powder room.

In a house where practically everything else is all white, it’s an unexpected jolt of fun when you open the door to the powder room and are hit with – not just bold color, but these cheeky fish swimming in both directions across the walls.

This pattern is called “Acquario,” and is by the British company Cole & Son, in their Fornasetti line. I’ve hung it several times, in a couple of different colors. It is printed on a non-woven backing, and is intended to be hung using the paste-the-wall method. I find the paste-the-paper method to be superior.

For one thing, the paper expands when it gets wet with the paste. (Non-wovens are not supposed to do this.) It’s best to let the paper absorb moisture and expand while on your work table (instead of on the wall), as this will help prevent “pouched” seams on the wall.

Also, pasting the paper makes it more soft and pliable, which makes it easier to manipulate into position of the walls.

Wallpaper Gets Exposure in Magazines

October 1, 2018


Thank you again, Better Homes & Gardens, for featuring wallpaper in your magazine.

The first photo is a powder room done in “Nuvolette,” a rolling cloud pattern in the Fornasetti line by the British company Cole & Son.

Next is a hand-painted scenic mural, and think the brand was Gracie, although there are a few other companies that make similar. These are very high-end products, and this homeowner saved mega bucks by having just a few panels made, and then framing them and hanging as artwork (as opposed to papering the entire room with the mural).

Third photo is a popular foresty pattern by Hygge & West. They have delightful designs, but I am not crazy about their papers, because the seams tend to “pouch” just a little. Do a Search here to read more (upper right corner).

In the last photo, you see just a little wallpaper in the background.

Fudging the Match / Fooling the Eye

June 19, 2015
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Wallpaper patterns are designed to match, when one strip is hung next to another. Usually, there is no wiggle room, and each strip has to be hung in sequential order. But this particular pattern (called Chaiva Segrete, by Cole & Son, in their Fornasetti line), is free-form enough that it can be tweaked, when need be. I used this to my advantage in three corners of this guest bathroom.

You never wrap wallpaper around an inside corner. Instead, you wrap a fraction of an inch around the corner, then cut the paper vertically, and then overlap the “new” strip on top of the existing strip, in the corner. But if that “new” strip chances to be very narrow, there is a large possibility that it will hang crooked, causing problems like gapping and overlapping with each subsequent strip that has to hang next to it on that wall. But if you don’t butt the next strip up to this narrow, crooked strip, the pattern match will be off.

In another scenario, I wanted to avoid cutting against the shower’s tile grout, which can cause an irregular, un-straight cut (in addition to devouring my razor blades), so I wanted to hang a fresh strip butted against the tile and then work back to the previously-hung corner.

What to do?!

My solution was to create a new piece that looked like it matched, even if it didn’t. I found a place in the pattern that had only leaves, making sure that no motifs (the keys) would be cut up. I carefully cut around the leaf motifs, creating an irregular edge to the strip of wallpaper. (Photo 2) Then I hung the strip of wallpaper, allowing the irregular edge to wrap around the corner, overlapping the previous strip of wallpaper. Once it was smoothed into place, you would not see that this was not the intended pattern match. (Photo 3)

In another area (no photo), I used the same technique to bring a narrow 6″ strip along the side of a closet door up to meet (but not perfectly match) the wallpaper over the door.

With the right pattern, this trick works well. It saves paper, saves time, and eliminates gaps and overlaps.

In fact, in the last photo, in an entirely different corner, floor to ceiling, I have employed the same technique – and I’ll bet you cannot spot the area that is not the factory match!

Leaves & Keys in a Memorial-Area Guest Bathroom

June 14, 2015
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This guest bathroom looked good with it’s mint green paint and standard-issue fixtures. (In the top photo, it is covered with a coat of my thin white wallpaper primer.)  But when the homeowners updated the bath to include tumbled marble tile on the floor and in the shower, and a white-and-grey marble on the vanity, it was clear that the blah green paint had to go.

The tone-on-tone tan colors in this wallpaper blend with the new tile perfectly, and the simple scattered leaf pattern compliments the foggy look of the tile, while adding a calming, Zen-like feel to the bathroom.

This wallpaper pattern is by Cole & Son, a British company, a part of their Fornasetti line, pattern #97/4013, and is called Chaivi Segrete (sounds Italian to me – Google the translation!). I hung this in a guest bathroom of a busy family in the near-Memorial area of Houston.

Their job was set for way off in September (my next available date). But I had a schedule change, and, knowing that they had an unfinished, torn-up bathroom, I asked if they wanted to get done much sooner. Of course, they said Yes!