Posts Tagged ‘historic’

Period-Correct Arts & Crafts Frieze in Dining Room

December 21, 2022

Before. Walls painted with a deep, murky teal blue. I’ve measured the width of the border and then applied my wallpaper primer 1/4″ narrower than the border. That’s the white you see around the top of the room.
I love the way the teal / blue walls coordinate with the green in the border (a tall , vintage border like this is called a frieze ). Painting the walls the same color as the border would have been too much, IMO. Plus, you can never get the color exactly perfectly the same – so it looks like what I call a “near-miss.” Better to opt for complimentary colors , as this homeowner did. The color in some of the leaf detail also coordinates with the avocado green in the adjoining living room – you can see a snatch of this color at the far left of this photo.
The camera is making this color brighter and greener than it actually is, but you get an idea of the design . Once the Victorian era faded away, the Arts & Crafts movement came to be in the very early 1900’s , with less fru-fru and more nature , clean lines , whimsy , and stylized designs .
The home also has furniture and decor that hark back to this time period .
The pattern is called Apple Tree Frieze , and comes in several colorways .
The manufacturer is Bradbury & Bradbury , in California. They are the go-to company for 19th & 20th century historic patterns . Delicious stuff on their website!
Bradbury can be tricky to install, so not for novices . Different colorways can call for different adhesives / pastes , so be sure to read the instructions before starting .
The bungalow home in the Houston Heights dates to 1920 (possibly earlier) which is just smack in the middle of the Arts & Crafts decorating style .
I hung another period-correct border in this room for this family 10 years ago. Now they’ve done some updating with new colors and, of course – a new wallpaper border frieze . It was a pleasure to be back and help bring new life to the place!

Wallpaper Inks Easily Marred

December 21, 2022

The rich colors and clay coating give this wallpaper a truly luscious , velvety look. But they’re also fragile and can be damaged easily . Here you see damage caused at the factory simply by folding back the last 2″ or so of paper, before rolling it up. The company does provide and extra foot or two to accommodate this.
You have to be extremely careful handling this stuff. Even a fingernail or your wallpaper tools can cause scratches or marring . Per the manufacturer’s suggestion, I covered my smoothing brush and plastic smoother with microfiber towels , to minimize chances of scratching the paper .
In fact, the manufacturer suggested that, during installation , that you wipe the entire surface uniformly with a damp microfiber rag , to even out any imperfections that might have resulted .
Now, just between you and me – if you know you have a product that’s likely to end up with blemished areas, why not just switch to a better , tried-and-true ink ? SMH Luckily project this is a border that will be butted up under the ceiling , so no one’s going to zero in on a few shiny areas in the matt ink. But , think of all the homes that will have this same material as a wall paper , that will be viewed close-up .
Not all colorways from Bradbury do this. I’ve hung plenty of it and not had a problem with most. In fact, the “fishnet” area you see at the bottom of this picture is not delicate at all. It’s the very matt finish green and brown colors in the center of the border that are so delicate .
The inks and clay coating the manufacturer uses on this particular colorway are very fragile and mar easily , so I’ve used ankle socks to cover the edges of my straightedge, and also a weight I’m using to prevent the paper from rolling around on my table. And that scissors is just there as demonstration for the photo … you can bet that tool was not touching the surface of the border at any other time.
This material has a selvedge edge that has to be trimmed off by hand , with a straightedge and razor blade . Normally I set my straightedge on top of the wallpaper , because it’s easier to see where I need to make my cut , and also because the weight of the straightedge helps hold the wallpaper down.
But even with cushioning socks on either edge of the 6′ long tool , and with padding on the underside, I was afraid that it might harm the inks .
So I placed it on the outside edge of the wallpaper. This left very little for the tool to grab on to, so I made sure to press it tightly against my work table , so the wallpaper strip wouldn’t slip around while I was trimming .
The manufacturer is Bradbury & Bradbury . They specialize in historic and period-correct patterns from the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Classic Chinoiserie in Heights Powder Room

February 10, 2022
Before. The previous installer did a beautiful job with this earthy grasscloth. But it didn’t suit the homeowner’s taste, nor did it fit with the feel of this 1939 cottage in the historic Norhill section of the Houston heights.
Done! The dark towel and mirror really set off the pattern and colors.
Wall behind the toilet. This Asian-influenced design, with its pagodas and minstrels, is referred to as a Chinoiserie . These designs have been popular for centuries.
Close-up. The green and blue tones coordinate beautifully with adjoining rooms in the house.
I rolled the wallpaper out on the floor, so I could see the full-size design. This one has a 46″ pattern repeat, which is awfully long, and means there can be a lot of waste. This design had a straight pattern match, and came packaged in a 24″ x 33′ bolt, like traditional wallpaper. It did not come as an A-B set, as many M&K products do.
I couldn’t find a full-size room-set photo on-line, so I availed myself of the Milton & King ‘s ” chat ” feature … I was connected with a live and knowledgeable representative in mere seconds, and he very quickly sent me a link to a picture of this pattern in a room.
In the photo, I’m using my yardstick to determine a centerline of the design motifs.
As are most of Milton & King ‘s wallpapers, this one was on a non-woven substrate. Rather than paste the wall, I chose to paste the paper, which works best in a bathroom with things to cut around and tuck paper behind. mi
The pattern is called Mulberry . Milton & King’s bolts come packed individually in protective boxes – no worries about banged edges with this outfit!

Clipper Ships / Battle Ships Mural

June 19, 2021
Nursery wall smoothed, primed, and ready for wallpaper
Battling ships fill the wall space with dramatic action
The action continues to the left of the door
More battle action on the opposite wall
Close up
Detail
Manufacturer is Rebel Walls, from Sweden. I like their products.

A baby boy is due in a few months. For his nursery, Mom wanted an action-packed, historic nautical look. She found this mural on RebelWalls.com

Usually you see a mural on one accent wall. But here we have two companion murals on opposing walls in this nursery. I think it works swimmingly! 🙂

The mural was custom-sized to fit each wall. The website also allows the option to choose which portions of the design you want. So Mom chose to put the largest battleship on the main wall that you see when you walk into the room. A smaller ship and quieter scene was plotted to go on the opposite wall.

I will note that, on both murals, the company did include some motifs that were not on the customer’s order sheet. That changed the dimensions and placement of the ships on the wall. It all worked out O.K., though, with the stormy vessels positioned perfectly on each wall.

Custom-sized to fit each wall, the murals came in 8 panels, plus one panel that was just 4″ wide. It was a non-woven material, which is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate. It can be hung via the paste-the-wall method, which is what I did today. It can also be hung the traditional way, which is to paste the paper. The seams are virtually invisible.

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

William Morris “Fruit” in Historic 1885 Home

December 20, 2020

Moving from the entry to the adjoining dining room of the historic home in Houston mentioned in my two previous posts. This pattern by William Morris is called “Fruit,” and is true to the period in which the home was built.

I love the way the colors work with the wainscoting and also the picture rail around the top.

This pattern is less repetitive and the color is softer than the option used in the entry (see yesterday’s post), making it an easy-to-live-with choice for this large dining room.

The material is a traditional British pulp which you don’t see much these days, as most European manufacturers have moved to the newer non-woven substrates. I do like the pulps for their matt finish and tight adhesion to the wall. Although, they are brittle and tend to drag and tear when being cut, so they require some special handling.

This one also has a raised ink feature, which adds just a tad of texture. Look closely at the close-up shot.

This was purchased from FinestWallpaper.com, who has a large selection of Morris and also Voysey (another designer from that Arts & Crafts period) patterns. The home is in the Old Sixth Ward neighborhood in central inner-loop Houston.

Historic William Morris Wallpaper Pattern for a Historic Home

December 19, 2020

William Morris was an innovative designer who was instrumental in the Arts & Crafts movement from about 1880’s-1920’s.

This historic 1883 home (see previous post) has been kept very authentic to its origins. The current homeowners continue the authentic feel by decorating two front rooms with wallpaper patterns that are true to the era.

” Seasons by May ” in the navy blue colorway is nothing short of a stunning transformation in the home’s entry.

Or maybe we should say that the home has refound its way – back to its roots.

Many sources are selling William Morris patterns. This one was purchased from Finest Wallpaper, a very reputable on-line outfit in Canada.

Working in a 19th Century Historic Home

December 18, 2020

I don’t normally show pictures of my clients’ personal spaces, but this is a documented historic home, and already well-known to the public. The homeowners were eager to share with me the history of the home as well as its inhabitants.

I am proud to be working in this well-preserved structure. It was built in 1883 and is still mostly authentic, retaining original woodwork, flooring, hardware (door knobs, hinges, transom mechanisms, doorbell), and many other elements.

The home is located in the Old Sixth Ward of central Houston. The whole neighborhood is designated a Historic District. This means that there are protections ensuring the preservation of buildings there, as well as preventing out-of-sync new construction.

I highly approve!

Shimmering Trees in Heights Entry, Historic Home

October 22, 2020

Built in 1895, this 4-square home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston recently underwent a renovation, so the rear area contains many modern aesthetics. The front areas, though, including this entry, are original to the home.

This wallpaper was chosen as a way to unite the classic spaces with the newer areas.

But also, the homeowners thought the all-white walls felt cold and impersonal, as well as blended in too much with the white fireplace.

This “Shimmering Foliage” pattern of gold and shadows on a white background met all the criteria!

The tree design leans traditional, but the metallic gold color and abstract print are what I call “sassed up” – just enough modern feel to blend with the newer areas in the rear of the house.

I particularly like the way the gold trees accentuate the gold filigree on the fireplace. The homeowners may use a light touch with metallic gold craft paint to highlight some of the carved wood even more.

Just the wall behind the fireplace was papered. Putting this bright, shiny paper on all four walls would have felt overwhelming.

The wallpaper is by York, one of my preferred brands, in their line by designer Antonina Vella. It’s a non-woven material, and can be hung by the paste-the-wall method. But I got better adhesion as well as flexibility by pasting the paper.

The interior designer is Stacie Cokinos of Cokinos Design.

Classic Look in Historic Home in the Woodland Heights

April 23, 2020


This large 2-story home was built way back in 1985 – a whole 12 years before the Woodland Heights (Houston) neighborhood in which it sits was platted and developed. It just underwent a major renovation, but retains most of its original details, such as floor plan, windows, moldings, flooring, pocket doors, and much more. There are several large, regal live oak trees on the property.

The homeowner chose this classic damask pattern with a weathered look for all four walls of the dining room. It perfectly suits the room.

It took me about two hours of measuring, plotting, engineering, hanging, removing, re-hanging, yada, to get the design to perfectly flank either side of the window. All that work was worth it, to have the design fall symmetrically. But the real show-stopper is the view of those oak trees through the window!

This wallpaper is by Designer Wallpapers, and is lovely to work with. The interior designer for the job is Stacie Cokinos of Cokinos Design. She is the go-to designer in the Heights for whole-house remodels and new builds.

I threw in a photo of my work table, just for fun.

Tune in tomorrow, to see the finished room!

More William Morris – Woodland Heights Master Bath and Closet

September 2, 2019


Here is a wonderfully renovated and updated 1925 home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston. It pretty much has the all-white decorating scheme going on. The homeowner wanted to inject a little warmth into the master suite, and chose this beautiful historic pattern in muted colors, by William Morris.

I put it on two opposing walls in the master closet, and on one wall in the master bathroom, directly across from the sink and mirrors. It is a fantastic compliment to the grey-veined marble counter top, and the darker grey paint on the vanity. (Sorry, no photo) And it adds the warmth and character the homeowner was seeking.

William Morris was a popular designer during the Arts & Crafts movement around the turn of the last century. His patterns are very stylized and rhythmic.

This is a British-made paper, and is printed on the pulp stock (rather than the new non-woven material that most British companies are moving to). You have to know a few tricks to working with it, but it goes up beautifully and will hold up for a good long time. It does not have any coating, however, so will be susceptible to splashes and stains.

The interior design firm for this project is Four Square Design (Laura and Sarah worked on this home). They work primarily with older or historic structures, and have saved many a beautiful home from being torn down.