Posts Tagged ‘pulp’

Burnished Copper Colors in Home Bar Area

May 6, 2021

tThe homeowner loved the coppery-hued colors in this “Carousel Stripe” pattern by Cole & Son. The colors mesh beautifully with the wood tones, and also the brass faucet, in this home bar area.

What’s interesting is that I think the colors (especially the red) are more intense now, than in the samples she got from the vendor. In fact, one complaint of hers was that the vendor sent just one small snip of the paper, and didn’t show the full color spectrum of all 10 stripes that make up the pattern.

No matter. The finished effect really sets off the bar backsplash, and will be a fabulous backdrop once the bottles and glasses are back in place.

This wallpaper is a non-woven material, which is made of synthetic fibers rather than wood or cotton pulp. Instead of the paste-the-wall installation method, I chose to paste-the-paper. This made the material more flexible and manageable, which helped a lot, because when it was dry, it really wanted to crease and flake.

TFor instance, the racks sitting on the counter in the first photo could not be removed. Manipulating, fitting and trimming the wallpaper around the sharp bends and angles without marring the wallpaper was very difficult.

The non-woven, synthetic-origin material (think fiberglass) was also really hard to cut. Even with a brand-new razor blade, I had trouble getting perfect cuts around moldings, and also in a whole lot of other simpler areas.

These two rooms were hard enough, with minimal angles and corners and intricate moldings. If this had been a bathroom, or another room with a lot of turns and fancy cuts, it would have been really difficult to prevent creases and other damage to the wallpaper.

As it was, I spent about nine hours hanging these four single rolls of paper.

This is a wonderfully restored 1939 home in the Rice University area of central Houston.

Going For More Of The Same

February 9, 2021

I hung the original wallpaper in 2014, when the house was first built. The PEX water lines used in the home (flexible hoses instead of PVC pipes) were new at the time. Tragically, after a few years, the lines used in this home failed and caused leaks all over the house. Replacing all the water lines required cutting holes in MANY places throughout the home.

You can see in the photos where the plumbers cut out drywall and then patched it back in. This company actually did a good job of removing the wallpaper in the areas of their repairs.

Unfortunately, with the amount of wallpaper that was left over from 2014, I was not able to do repairs. The entire room had to be repapered.

The homeowner loved the pattern and wanted to keep it. It was still available, so she bought enough to repaper the room.

For various reasons, the original wallpaper was much more difficult to get off the wall than I expected. I could have gotten it off – but it would have taken about two full days.

So I opted to hang over it. It’s important to skim-float over the seam areas. First, because the seams will leave a little ridge that will telegraph through and show under the new paper. But also, because as wallpaper dries, it shrinks and puts tension on the seams. There is always the potential that this tension will cause the the surface below to pull away from the wall, and especially so if there is a weak area such as a seam. So you always want to avoid putting a seam on top of a seam.

So I skim-floated (do a Search here to learn more) over the seams, as well as over the patched areas left by the plumbers. See photos. Then I sealed the walls with Gardz, a product that penetrates and seals porous materials – like drywall joint compound and like this traditional British pulp wallpaper. Because it soaks in and dries hard, it helps to prevent moisture from paint or wallpaper paste from soaking through, and thus prevents bubbling of the underlying surface. That’s why this product is primarily used for sealing torn layers of drywall.

Although a bit glossy for my liking, Gardz is also a good primer to hang wallpaper on.

Interestingly, the expansion rate of the new wallpaper was a bit less than the original, and so the seams fell about 1/4″ to the right of the original seams. This reduced the worry of seams falling on top of seams and causing lifting.

It was a complicated room, and the paper was thick and stiff and difficult to work with. Prep took one day, and it took me two additional days to hang the paper (16 single rolls – 8 double roll bolts).

The wallpaper is in the line of Nina Campbell, by Osborne & Little, a British company. While most British papers these days are printed on an agreeable non-woven substrate, this one is a traditional, old-school British pulp … thick, stiff, difficult to fit into turns and angles, easy to tear, easily stained, non-malleable, plus the factory’s trimming roller blades must have been dull or wobbly, because the edges were not cut perfectly straight, which meant the seams had some “gaps and overlaps.”

Still, the finished room did look pretty darned good – even if it looks exactly the same as it did in 2014.

But that’s exactly what the homeowner wanted. So all is good and mission accomplished!

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.

’70’s Retro Flower Power

December 9, 2020

Here is a home where people are not scared of color, nor of pattern …. What a fun switch from drab to dramatic – with a little groovy tossed in!

The wallpaper is by Sanderson, a British company. Unlike most modern British papers which are of non-woven material, this was printed on a pulp substrate, and the surface felt like vinyl. Once wet with paste, it was fairly flimsy and prone to tear while being trimmed with a razor blade. Once dry, it will be a bit more durable.

This was a small, cramped powder room. It was super appreciated that the homeowners had removed the sink before I started work, so it was much easier to hang paper on that wall.

The home is in the Montrose area of inner loop Houston.

Fixing Weird Things That Happen To Wallpaper

December 6, 2020

The top photo shows a stain on the wallpaper that is probably related to a rain or hurricane event a few years ago.

Water stains (and also other substances, like rust, blood, ink, oil, tobacco, tar, cosmetics, and more) will bleed through wallpaper. So, before patching the area, it is imperative to use a stain blocker to seal the problem. My favorite is KILZ Original oil-based.

KILZ will seal off the stain all right. But wallpaper won’t stick to it. So, in the third photo, you see where I have primed over the KILZ with a wallpaper primer (tinted light blue, for visibility). It’s not necessary to prime the entire wall area to be patched, because this type of wallpaper will stick to itself with just plain old adhesive.

The striped pattern made for an easy repair. I took a straightedge and sharp razor blade and trimmed along the striped design, creating a long skinny patch. See fourth photo. You can also see the strip pasted and booked (folded pasted-side-to-pasted-side).

Once that sat and relaxed for a few minutes, I took it to the wall and appliqu├ęd it over the damaged area, going the full height.

There was a very slight color difference between the paper that had been on the wall for 20 years and the paper that had been in a dark closet. Had I placed the white area of the patch next to the white area on the existing paper on the wall, the color difference would have been noticeable. But trimming along the blue stripe gave the eye a logical stopping point, and so the color difference is not detectable.

In the finished photo, you would never guess there had been anything amiss with this wall.

I used this same technique to patch over the bug-bite holes in yesterday’s post.

And another good reminder that it’s always best to order a little extra wallpaper, in case of the need for repairs later. Store the paper in a climate-controlled space … not the garage or attic.

The wallpaper is by Schumacher, and appeared to be an old-school pulp paper material.

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.

William Morris Design in Home Office

April 25, 2020


Here is a home office in an 1895 home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston. The walls and woodwork have been painted a near-navy blue.

This rhythmical, stylized, organic design by William Morris is true to the era, when W.M. was a fore-runner of the Arts & Crafts movement.

The blue color in this room, along with the hues in the wallpaper, beautifully tie in with the colors of the dining room across the hall (see previous two posts).

This wallpaper is by Morris & Co., and is printed on a traditional (read: old fashioned) “pulp” substrate. It’s somewhat delicate, but I do like the material.

The interior designer is Stacie Cokinos of Cokinos Design.

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.

William Morris Pattern in Bellaire Powder Room

July 27, 2019


The owner of this powder room in the Bellaire neighborhood of Houston lived for several years in England, and fell in love with the British aesthetic for the Arts & Crafts period of the early 1900’s. William Morris was a popular designer of that era – and still loved today.

Most of the patterns are intricate, while rhythmic and repetitive, with nature being a popular theme.

The wall sconces, mirror, and sink faucet were all off-center from one another. Figuring that the mirror was the most noticeable feature on that wall, I decided to center the pattern on the mirror, rather than the sconces or faucet. (Sorry, no pic of the mirror.)

This particular pattern had enough swoopy flowery foliage that the background trellis design was pretty obscured. In addition, I plotted the layout so that the dark green trellis would not fall close to the faucet (where it would be obvious that it was off-center). And the large flower to the right of the faucet helps obscure the off-center trellis, too.

Once the mirror went up, it became the eye-catcher. The room is a true beauty.

This wallpaper is by William Morris, a British manufacturer, and this paper was the traditional pulp material, rather than the newer non-woven substrate.