Posts Tagged ‘strawberry thief’

Two Color Rhythmic Print for Heights Breakfast Nook

September 7, 2022
Before. Grey and boring .
The built-in banquette seating has been removed.
Finished.
Closer look.
Showing the pattern centered on the wall, and with the shutters. The dimensions of the paper not corresponding well with the width of the window, along with logistics of pattern placement at the ceiling line but starting my first strip under the window all created some plotting and engineering challenges. Fun, but time consuming. But it turned out great!
The original idea was to just paper the nook area, ending at the vertical door molding. But it would have looked odd to stop the wallpaper above this doorway. So the homeowner and I decided to run the paper along the top of the doorway, and then down the left side (not shown), which dead-ends into some cabinets and the granite countertop. It looked good and was the right call.
It tickles me that this is quite obviously a riff on the very popular Strawberry Thief wallpaper pattern by William Morris , which is quite popular right now (do a Search here to see my installations of it). When a company comes up with a hit, you can be assured that a competitor will soon be making its own version of it.
The original has a lot more color, but this version is limited to just two colors. Even though there is a lot of contrast between the black and the white , the pattern doesn’t feel busy, because the design is so close and tight .
There is a lot of symmetry , repetitiveness , and balance in Wm Morris and similar styles .
I love the raised ink texture to this material .
Whoops! A slight pattern mis-match . The overall design is busy enough that small imperfections like this (as well as some color variations / shading ) are not really noticeable .
It’s odd to me that the printing defects are different in different strips / rolls of the wallpaper . You’d think that if the print roller was out of whack, it would create the same image every time it strikes the wallpaper surface. Or maybe it’s the trimmers that are off. If they had cut 1/16″ more off that left edge, we might have a perfect pattern match .
The manufacturer is York , one of my favorites , in their Sure Strip line, also one of my favorites.
It’s in the Magnolia Home collection , by, yes, Joanna Gaines , of HGTV fame with the show Fixer Upper .
SureStrip is a pre-pasted , thin , flexible , non-woven material that is easy to hang . It’s also easy to remove when you’re ready to redecorate , because it’s designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece with no damage to your walls .
installer houston birds

Wall Prep Ahead of Wall Re-Do

July 20, 2022
This wallpaper in a Houston Heights townhome’s breakfast area was hung by “the contractor’s guy ” and he ran into some problems. First, I suspect the wall had not been adequately coated with a primer designed for use under wallpaper . This may be a large part of why the paper has come loose from the wall in places, and shrunk and gaps at the seams.
The wallpaper is an old-fashioned British pulp material , which is quite different from the non-woven material that this company usually prints on. If the installer was not familiar with hanging a pulp, yes, he can have a tough time of it.
There are other issues that the homeowner is unhappy with, such as tears, slices, patches, and, of course, these un-stuck seams. I’ve posted more pics previously, if you can Search to find them.
My task is to get the paper off and then prep the wall for hanging new material.
Most of the paper pulled off the wall easily. But there were areas where the guy had used a stronger adhesive to try to hold the edges down. Those would not come off the wall without causing damage to the wall. So I pulled off the top, inked layer and left the paper backing on the wall.
This stuff is porous and will bubble when coated with a water-borne primer , and with wallpaper wet with paste.
So I sealed these areas – I sealed the entire wall, in fact – with Gardz (by Zinsser ). This stuff is pretty incredible. It’s a thin, watery primer / sealer that soaks into the surface and binds loose components together, then dries hard and solid .
Latex paints and other water-based products (usually) won’t penetrate it, so won’t cause the underlying material to re-wet, expand , and bubble .
Just a note … due to pandemic and other supply chain related shortages , Gardz has become difficult to find. This can was about 1/4 full and I had it sitting behind my trash can, intending for weeks to toss it out. Now I’m glad that I procrastinated!
Once the Gardz sealer was dry, I skim-floated over it with joint compound , a.k.a. ” mud .” In most areas of the wall, my skim coat was as thin as possible, but I did have to make it much thicker over the areas with the paper backing stuck to the wall.
I set up three fans , and also used my heat gun , to get the smoothing compound to dry. I like the Plus 3 version made by the Sheetrock company. It sands easily and doesn’t make too much air-borne dust.
It took a couple of hours to dry. Then I sanded it smooth , vacuumed up the dust with my Shop Vac , used a damp sponge to get residual dust off the wall , and then let the wall dry once again.
Finally I applied a coat of my favorite wallpaper primer, Pro 977 Ultra Prime by Roman. I used a paint roller to roll it on to the main areas, and an angled trim brush to cut in around the ceiling and moldings.
Here is the wall all smoothed and primed .
Originally I had planned to strip , prep , and hang this half-wall all in one day. But ended up the prep took more time than I anticipated (about 8 hours ) , so we’ll let the primer dry overnight and save the wallpaper installation for another day.
The wallpaper pattern is called Strawberry Thief and is by the famous William Morris designer from the very early 1900’s . I’m sure seeing a surge in interest in his patterns, particularly this one. Do a Search to see other jobs I’ve done with it.

More William Morris Strawberry Thief in Houston Heights Hall Bathroom

June 24, 2022
Because I feared unstable walls in this 1920’s bungalow in this neighborhood (do a Search for previous posts), before hanging the decorative wallpaper, first I hung a non-woven liner paper on all the walls. That’s the white material you see in the photo.
The liner was hung horizontally so its seams can’t line up with the decorative paper. The idea is to disperse tension from drying wallpaper and changes due to humidity and etc., so as to deflect tension away from sketchy wall surfaces, and thus prevent delamination of multiple unstable layers deep inside the wall. Again, do a Search here to learn more.
Finished vanity area, with pattern centered on the light fixture.
Corner shot.
This colorful and symmetrical pattern is quite popular; I’ve hung it a number of times just this year.
Englishman William Morris designed wallpaper and fabrics during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.
The styles then were Art Nouveau and Arts & Crafts. This design reflects a bit of each.
Wallpaper expands when it gets wet with paste, and then can shrink just a tad as it dries. The liner helps prevent that, but you can still end up with teeny gaps at some seams.
To prevent the white backing from showing through, I run a stripe of dark paint under where each seam will fall.
I use matt finish craft paint from the hobby store, diluted with a little water (in the orange bottle cap) and smeared on the wall with a scrap of sponge. Use a ruler or level and a pencil to mark where you want to stripe the dark paint.
Remember to allow for that expansion as the paper absorbs moisture from the paste. Meaning, if the paper is 20.5″ wide, and expands 1/2″, you’ll want to run your line at about 21.” And make sure that your painted swath is about an inch wide.
I also run a bit of dark chalk along the edges of each strip, to prevent the white substrate from showing at the seams (no photo).
Morris & Co. makes this iconic Strawberry Thief.
Interestingly enough, most times when I’ve hung a Morris paper, it’s been a non-woven paste-the-wall material.
Today’s option was a surprise – a traditional British pulp . This is a pretty basic and somewhat old-fashioned type of substrate . Sort of like construction paper, or the pages of an old family Bible .
The paper is very fragile , and can tear easily. You have to keep using new razor / trimming blades, because the material dulls blades quickly, and when dull they will drag and tear the paper.
Pulp papers also require a soaking / booking time after pasting , to allow time for the material to absorb the paste , soften a bit, and expand . The edges of the strips like to dry out , so I’ve learned to dip about 1/4″ of the booked ends ( booked means the pasted side of the wallpaper strip is folded onto itself, bottom edge folded up and top edge folded down to meet in the middle), into a bucket of clean water.
Then it goes into a black plastic trash bag to soak and relax for a few minutes before hanging. I use this opportunity to paste the next strip.
Non-woven wallpapers have advantages, because they do not expand when wet, and therefor you can get accurate measurements. They also can be pasted and hung immediately, with no waiting time. Alternately, you can paste the wall .

Strawberry Thief in Spring Branch Powder Room

June 12, 2022
Textured wall before smoothing .
Done!
Shot of a corner, showing more of the pattern. The color is off … see below…
This murky blue is a more accurate depiction of the color. Strawberry Thief comes in many colors.
Striping dark paint on the wall under the seam areas, to prevent the white wall from peeking through, as it’s common for teeny gaps to open at the seams of wallpaper .
I use bottled paint from the craft or art store, diluted with water, and apply with a scrap of sponge, on top of my wallpaper primer. It’s important to not make the paint too thick, as it’s not formulated for wallpaper to grab ahold of.
British Heritage is the brand. William Morris designed Strawberry Thief about the turn of the last century. I’ve noticed a real uptick in interest in Wm. Morris patterns lately. This is my fourth installation of this particular design this season, and have done others recently, too. Do a Search (upper right) to see other jobs I’ve done.
This is a non-woven material, and can be hung by pasting the paper or pasting the wall. It’s durable stuff, more stain-resistant than many other options, and is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate.
wallpaper installer houston

Another Installer’s Problems With British Pulp Paper

May 31, 2022
Scroll down a few posts to see where I hung this exact same pattern, and coincidentally just a few blocks away. I had absolutely no problems. Yet this poor installer struggled and ended up with many dissatisfactory issues.
In this photo, you see where the wallpaper has shrunk at the seams and left a gap, some tears, and a patch to cover a mishap.
More tears and gaps.
Paper coming lose from the wall. Not taking primer or paint with it. But you can see the adhesive clinging to the back of the paper. I’m suspecting this is clay adhesive. Nothing wrong with clay, but I prefer one of the vinyl-based adhesives.
Not sure what the guy used as a primer (if any).

This is the popular Strawberry Thief by William Morris , usually sold by Morris & Co. I’m believing the problem here is the material on which this pattern was printed.

The site from which this was purchased called it a ” heritage ” paper. It is, indeed, made of what we call a British pulp material. Old-fashioned, it is. These days, most wallpaper coming from the U.K. is printed on non-woven stock. The paper I hung a few days ago was non-woven.

Pulp wallpapers have a nice look. But they have no protective coating, so become soiled easily. They soften when wet with paste and tear easily, and can also shred under the razor blade while trimming. They expand when wet with paste, and then shrink as they dry, which often results in gaps at the seams.

Even skilled installers can have difficulties when working with this stuff. In fact, on the private Facebook page of the Wallcovering Installers Association ( WIA ), we have just been discussing this very same topic.

I believe this previous installer had a few shortcomings, such as lack of skill and maybe used the wrong or no wallpaper primer. But I think the real and unsurmountable culprit was the substrate.

Moral: If given the option, choose a non-woven material. They are made with minimum 20% polyester content, and thus are resistant to shrinking, tearing, and tension at the seams. Many other advantages, too. Non-wovens are also referred to as paste the wall .

William Morris Strawberry Thief in Houston Heights Powder Room

May 26, 2022

Originally, the whole room was this not-quite-milk-chocolate brown. Dark can look good in a small room like a powder room. But stark dark with no pattern is often claustrophobic.
Since this is a 100-year old bungalow with many layers of paint and potentially incompatible wall coatings, I was worried about unstable conditions inside the wall. Long story short, these conditions can lead to stress on the wall and delaminating layers, which also mean wallpaper seams that don’t stay down. Do a Search here to learn more.
So the homeowners agreed to have the walls lined, as a way to avoid these potential problems. Read previous post for more info.
The photo above shows the walls covered in the white liner.
Finished!
William Morris’s designs, and Strawberry Thief in particular, have been very popular the last two years or so.
His patterns are studies in symmetry and rhythm , and evoke the era of Art Nouveau and even Art Deco .
Last corner magically ended up with virtually no mis-match.

Morris & Co is the manufacturer. This is a nice, supple, non-woven material, and can be hung by pasting the wall , although I prefer to paste the paper. It has a vinyl coating and will be fairly washable – good for this family with a toddler. It’s also designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate.
See previous post for a pic of the label of the liner paper.

William Morris Strawberry Thief in Houston Heights Breakfast Nook

May 5, 2022
Primed and ready for wallpaper.
Finished!
I love the way the light fixture repeats the red color, as well as mimics the curve of the birds’ bodies.
It’s almost like a hummingbird hovering over flowers in an English garden.
Strawberry Thief is a popular pattern, and I have it coming up two more times, in the same neighborhood, also in renovated 1920’s bungalows. Usually you see it in the red or navy colorway.
This is the first time I’ve seen it in this muted, pastel colorway. This color is available only from Morris & Co.
The symmetry and the fluidity of the design are very pleasing.
I’m seeing a lot of interest in William Morris designs lately. Many vendors are offering his originals, and many others are designing similar patterns. Dorota at the Sherwin-Williams in the Rice Village showed me two new wallpaper books with patterns reminiscent of the Arts & Crafts and Art Nouveau eras. See my post from April 17, 2022.
This material is very user-friendly, being a non-woven material that can be hung by pasting the wall or by pasting the paper.

Arts & Crafts / Art Nouveau Wallpaper Books at Sherwin-Williams

April 17, 2022
A lot of my clients are choosing designs that harken back to the turn of the (last) century, particularly by William Morris. A lot of those are made by higher-end companies, and the material can be hard to work with. So I was thrilled when my favorite wallpaper sales person, Dorota, showed me these new books at her Sherwin-Williams store in the Rice Village.
British Heritage is by Wallquest , a brand I like a lot.
Below are room-set photos from those books.
This is the very popular Strawberry Thief by William Morris. I’ve hung it before, and have it coming up again soon in the Heights ( Houston ).
Arts & Crafts designs are very rhythmic and stylized. Some, like this, have a lot of color and impact.
Others, with muted or tone-on-tone color pallets, are more subdued.
Revival is another wallpaper selection book with designs of the same theme. A Street Prints is by Brewster, another great company.
Most A Street Prints are on a non-woven , paste-the-wall substrate, which makes them quite user-friendly and affordable.
CFA Voysey was a designer of the same period. I would say he was far ahead of his time, with some patterns reminiscent of MC Escher, and others bordering on … well, sort of psychedelic. Very progressive for the 1880’s!
He continued to design through the Art Nouveau ( 1920’s ) and Art Deco ( 1930’s ) periods.
I have his Bat & Poppy in my powder room. Search here to see photos.
The fluidity here speaks of the Art Nouveau style. Alphonse Mucha was a European artist known for his elaborate theater and advertising posters in this style.
I was lucky enough to have seen a fabulous exhibit at the Taft Museum when I was in Cincinnati for a Wallcovering Installers Association annual convention.

Not all Sherwin-Williams stores have wallpaper books, so call before you head over. Dorota isat the 2525 University store. This store has more wallpaper books than any other in Houston. Her hours vary, and someone may have checked the books out, so call before you head over. (713) 529-6515