Posts Tagged ‘william morris’

Old House = Shifting Walls / Uneven Spaces

June 7, 2021

This house has been around since 1939.

Think the walls, doors, ceiling, and floors have shifted around over time? YES!

At first, your eye is caught by the 1″ difference in height between the left and the right of the area over the door.

But look more closely and you will see that the vertical space to the right of the door is uneven, too.

On the left side of the door, where two walls meet in a corner to the left of the door,,, if you look closely enough and can visually keep the two walls separate, notice that the rear wall is wider at the top than at the bottom – just the opposite of the dimensions on the wall to the right of the door.

Other walls in this hallway looked like this, too.

This “Willow Boughs” by William Morris is a good choice for wallpaper in this room. The pattern is busy enough to distract the eye from minor imperfections. And bets are that your eye won’t notice if the ceiling line starts moving up or down

William Morris Wallpaper Design, in an Upstairs Hall, 1939 home

June 4, 2021

Before. Actually – this is after I was finished stripping the original wallpaper, and then sealing it with Gardz, .

Motif centered on back wall, to give a unified, balanced, feeling as you come up the stairs and enter the hallway.

William Morris was an influential designer from the early 20th Century, Arts & Crafts and Art Nouveau periods. His patterns are timeless, and I am seeing renewed interest in his designs today.

The original pattern (top photo) was very similar to the new selection. But it had been damaged by some home renovations. And the color had dulled over the years and looked dingy. I have started to strip the paper off the wall.

Second photo shows the wall prepped and ready for wallpaper.

Third photo shows the finished wall. I centered the pattern so it would give a balanced effect as one walks into the room.

The pattern is called “Willow Boughs” by Morris & Co. It has a nice “raised ink” texture to it. It is printed on what we call a “British pulp” substrate. It’s a classic, but rather old-fashioned material. Reminds me of the pages in the old family Bible. Somewhat brittle and stiff, and can tear easily, even when simply trimming with a sharp razor blade. And some pastes can stain papers like this.

The home is in the Rice University area 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 in 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.

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.

Good Catch After a Mistake

November 19, 2019

Whoops! Somebody (me 😦 ) cut a wallpaper strip to 6’24” instead of 6’34”.

This William Morris wallpaper is expensive, and I didn’t want to just throw away the too-short piece. So I figured a way to use scraps to save it.

At the bottom of the too-short strip, I trimmed horizontally along an element of the design. From the scrap pile, I found a piece with a corresponding pattern, made sure it was the right length to reach the baseboard, and then trimmed the top horizontally to match up with the design on the piece already on the wall.

The reason I trimmed along the swoopy line of the design is that I wanted to eliminate a straight horizontal ridge showing under the two strips once they were overlapped on the wall. The eye might notice a wide, non-conforming, horizontal ridge, but it won’t notice a narrow overlap that follows the contours of the pattern.

I put the short strip in place, and the pattern matched perfectly.

But there was a slight sheen from above, glinting off of the cut edge of the wallpaper in just a few spots. You can just barely see this in the second-to-last photo.

So I pulled the two strips of wallpaper apart and put them back together, but reversed the sequence, overlapping the top strip onto the lower strip. Now there was no cut edge for light to catch or bounce off of, and now the overlap / ridge is completely invisible.

Note that the surface of this wallpaper was a vinyl (plastic) material. Wallpaper paste won’t stick to plastic very well (it’s too slick). There is a special adhesive called VOV – for Vinyl Over Vinyl – formulated to make this bond. But I don’t always trust it.

So I often use clear caulk, which I call Super Glue for Wallpaper. Under the right conditions, it’s a wonderful solution.

Note: There is a technique called a double-cut, which is a method of splicing two strips of wallpaper together. A double-cut eliminates the possibly-visible ridge that you get when you overlap strips of wallpaper. For various reasons too complicated to get into here, in this case, and especially down low and behind the toilet, I preferred to use the overlap-and-super-glue technique.

William Morris – Symmetry and Balance

November 17, 2019


As you see in previous posts, William Morris designs of the Arts and Crafts Period were all about nature and symmetry and balance.

When hanging wallpaper with a strongly symmetrical pattern (like this one), it looks good to balance / center the pattern on a main focal point, such as where the mirror will hang over a sink.

After you place that one strip, the pattern on the subsequent strips will pretty much fall as it comes off the roll.

In this room, after I centered the design on the vanity wall (see previous post), when the pattern worked its way across the walls to these narrow spaces between doors, it landed so that parts of the motifs would be cut off vertically. I thought I could make it look better.

So I tweaked things a bit and moved the floral elements so that the design would fall smack in the middle of the space between the doors.

This threw the pattern match off a bit above the doors.

But I’ll bet you can’t spot it.

And the finished effect is much more pleasing, with the flowers perfectly centered as they march their way down the wall.

William Morris Wallpaper in Bellaire Master Bathroom

November 15, 2019


The homeowners had lived in England for six years. There they picked up a love for the turn-of-the-last-century renowned trend-setting British designer William Morris, along with tons of other English tastes.

They returned to their Bellaire (Houston) home to find it flooded by Hurricane Harvey. After extensive repairs to the first floor (which included me wallpapering their powder room https://wallpaperlady.wordpress.com/2019/07/27/william-morris-pattern-in-bellaire-powder-room/ , they decided to update their master bathroom. Note that I had hung the original small-print wallpaper (no photo) 20+ years ago (and still in perfect condition, I might add. 🙂 )

The homeowner incorporated her love of all things William Morris with the new bathroom, and chose this lovely “Snakeshead” pattern, in an earthy green / gold colorway.

William Morris was a pioneer of the Arts & Crafts decorating style, which incorporated symmetry and a love of nature.

This is one room that is defying the trend to all-white or all-grey. Even the cabinets and mirror frames are a warm wood tone (instead of white or grey). Note how the colors of the wallpaper dovetail with the stained wooden mirror frames.

Beautiful, beautiful stuff!

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.