Posts Tagged ‘higher end’

CFA Voysey Design in West U Guest Bathroom

November 24, 2020

Charles Voysey was a designer in the 1910’s and 1920’s, working with watercolor in the Arts & Crafts and the Art Nouveau decorative styles. His work is incredible, and I have his “Bat and Poppy” in my own powder room.

Here is his “Fairyland” in a guest bathroom in the Southside Place / West University neighborhood of Houston.

What a change!

I hung the original “chair” pattern four years ago. The thin paper material was stuck good and tight, and my attempts to strip it off were taking excessive time and also causing damage to the underlying surface. So I opted to prep and seal the paper and hang the new pattern on top of it.

The original pattern was fun. But this new choice suits the room much better, and it looks brighter, too. And the colorway works perfectly with the muddy blue cabinetry and mirror.

This is a non-woven material, a little thicker and stiffer than I like, and a tad prone to creasing. But with careful handling, it went up very nicely. I did the paste-the-wall method. The seams were invisible.

My powder room Bat & Poppy is a paper, and was purchased from Trustworth Studios. It had to be hand trimmed, and was on the higher end of the price scale.

Today’s Fairyland pattern is made by Lord & Twig. L & T is recreating the same Voysey designs as Trustworth, but in a more consumer-friendly material and price.

You can buy this through Finest Wallpaper, a newish outfit in Canada that sells a vast array of brands and patterns (in addition to manufacturing it’s own Lord & Twig line). Their prices are good, turn-around is quick, and customer service is exceptional.

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.

Brunschwig & Fils’s Bibliotheque in a Heights Library

July 14, 2019


Another installer hung the paper in the first photo. For some unknown reason, two half-walls were left unpapered. I was called in to finish those two areas.

Brunschwig & Fils is a French manufacturer, with a long history. Like many higher-end brands, this product came with a selvedge edge that I had to trim off by hand (see last photo), using a razor blade and a 6′ long straight edge (not shown).

And, like many higher-end brand papers that are printed with ink that smells like mothballs, once paste is applied to the back of the paper, the inked surface absorbs moisture from the paste differently from the back side. When the top inked layer expands at a different rate from the substrate, you get waffling, or quilting. Sorry, no photo, but you can do a Search here to see previous blogs on this topic. Essentially, it’s a wrinkly mess.

One way to deal with this is to even out the moisture differential by lightly sponging water onto the face (inked side) of the wallpaper. The front can then absorb moisture from the sponging at the same time that the substrate is absorbing moisture from the paste.

As I worked with the paper, I discovered that it wanted to dry out quickly. So it helped a lot to also use a sponge to get a little moisture onto the back side of the wallpaper strip, before pasting.

Other tricks to slow drying out are to 1.) Book the paper (fold pasted side to pasted side and then roll up loosely like a newspaper) and then dunk the ends into a bucket of clean water. 2.) Place the booked strip into a black trash bag, which will prevent evaporation during the time the paper books. 3.) When the wait time is up, gently unbook the paper and lightly spritz the back with clean water from a spray bottle. Alternately, you could sponge the surface once again. The idea is to introduce a little more moisture, to loosen up the paste and to make the paper more malleable.

I had been told that this paper was difficult to work with, and that the seams wanted to curl. I had the opposite experience – I thought it was lovely to work with. The seams laid nice and flat, and the paper was easy to manipulate, and it clung tightly to the wall. Applying moisture to the surface and back got rid of the waffling, and any that did remain (there were small puckers in the white horizontal “shelf board” areas) disappeared as the wallpaper dried.

This home is in the Houston Heights neighborhood, and the interior designer is Stacie Cokinos, of Cokinos Design.

Hand Trimming A Patterned Grasscloth

June 7, 2018

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Most wallpapers come with their edges pre-trimmed by the manufacturer. But some – usually the higher-end products – come with the selvedge edge intact, which means the installer has to hand-trim the material to remove this unprinted edge.

This is done with a straightedge (not shown in the photo), a single-edge razor blade (lots of them!), an appropriate surface to cut into, and a steady hand.

The manufacturer will print marks (trim guides) on the wallpaper, so you know where to trim. But these are not always accurate, so often you have to go by an element in the design (1/4″ away from the tip of the red dog’s nose).

You also have to use a tape measure to make certain that the width of the strip is the same along it’s entire length. If it’s not, you will end up with a trapezoid, or a strip with one or both edges that are shaped like a boomerang – and no strip of wallpaper will butt up against a boomerang!

Hand-trimming is tedious and time-consuming and precise. It’s important to have the right equipment, to pay attention, to take your time, and to have a steady hand.

Farrow & Ball Paint on Wallpaper – Smudges, Splatters

March 13, 2018


Farrow & Ball is a British wallpaper and paint manufacturing company. They are unique in that, instead of using ink to print their wallpapers, they use their paints. It is a hand-screened process.

Any type of hand-done work means that there can be human error. (Well, you can have errors with machine-produced goods, too, but here we’re focusing on higher-end, artisan-inspired, hand-crafted goods.)

Anyway, here you can see a few smudges, and a few platters of paint on the wallpaper. All of these are considered typical and normal for a product like this.

While you are looking closely, I encourage you to notice the three-dimensional quality of the ink on the paper. It’s almost as thick as gesso. This gives the paper a subtle dimension, and ensures that every screen will be a tad different from the others.

Wallpaper in Better Homes & Gardens Magazine – Again!

January 28, 2017

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Better Homes & Gardens magazine has frequently included wallpaper as a backdrop in its decorating stories. The January 2017 issue has a story with wallpaper in just about every photo. 🙂 Makes me happy that wallpaper is getting such great exposure.

Featured are a variety of patterns, from bold to subdued, from focal point to background pattern, plus grasscloth and murals, too. (I am doing a lot of murals lately – must be a trend.)

Check with a professional before you buy – Some of the brands are higher-end, some are average price, some are custom made to fit your wall, some are of, uh … curious quality, and the peel-and-stick stuff I wish they would take off the market.

Hand-Trimming Wallpaper

October 4, 2016

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Two wallpapers I hung this week came untrimmed, with the unprinted selvedge edge still intact. This means that the paperhanger has to take a razor blade and a straightedge and trim off the selvedge, following trim marks from the manufacturer, or an element of the design.

It’s tedious and time-consuming, and you have to be mindful of what you are doing at all times, or risk getting a crooked cut, or a seam that won’t butt together properly.

Usually, it’s the higher-end papers that come untrimmed. Hmmm… you pay more for the paper, but the manufacturer puts in less work on his end. Hmmm.