Lincrusta is like linoleum for the walls and ceilings. It differs from Anaglypta wallpaper; it’s harder wearing as it doesn’t have a paper or vinyl base. As with Anaglypta it can be identified by its raised relief. It can be painted, and is perfect for hard wearing areas such as hallways.
It was very popular in the Edwardian period. I used to go to many Victorian houses in my old job and the, now sad looking, grand premises often had stained glass doors with Lincrusta on the hallway walls. They’d often be painted in gloss paint and, although they interested me, they often looked….bleugh. But it doesn’t need to be; more on that later.
Lincrusta is expensive. It’s about 300€ per roll and a freize with a Lincrusta design on it is the same amount. So bear that in mind if you’ve moved into a period home, spy it and want to tear it all down!
It’s made from a paste of gelled linseed oil and wood flour spread onto a paper base. It is then rolled between steel rollers, one of which has a pattern embossed upon it. The linseed gel continues to dry for many years, so the surface gets harder over time. This is why it’s so expensive and hard wearing.
Not only is Lincrusta expensive to buy, applying it is different from putting up standard paper or vinyl based wallpapers and would need a specialist. You need to cut the Lincrusta panels to the required size and then soak them in warm water until they are malleable, before sticking them to the wall using a special Lincrusta adhesive. The expertise is especially significant as it can’t be cut to allow it to go around corners.
A little history. Lincrusta was invented by Frederick Walton who also patented the aforementioned linoleum flooring in 1860. Lincrusta then followed in 1877 and was used in places from royal homes to railway carriages, hotel foyers, bars, restaurants and casinos.
Can you believe that it was in six staterooms on the Titanic? It’s also in the White House. Like I said – if you have it and are restoring please don’t tear it down!
Although Lincrusta was originally manufactured in various locations all over the world it is now produced in Morecambe, Lancashire using traditional methods.
Both oil-based and water-based paints can be applied to Lincrusta. Below are some inspirational images, but it’s worth bearing in mind that it can provide a base for a variety of treatments.
These are some traditional dado style Lincrusta. As said earlier, this is likely to be found in a hallway. Even giving it a fresh coat of eggshell paint will make it look dramatically different. However you’ll see other treatments too.
A whole wall of Lincrusta? Take a look at these…
Stunning isn’t it?
I can’t afford Lincrusta, I don’t even think I can afford Anaglypta – it’s poor, but still expensive, cousin. However I might be able to afford some embossed wallpaper. Why would I want to introduce this into our house? When you live in a period, stone house you notice the cold. Once it gets warm it stays warm, but this is largely because we have double glazing. However we’re always looking for ways to add insulation.
As there are a lot of these types of homes here in France using a thin layer of polyesterene prior to wallpapering is common. It adds a layer between the cold stone and the wallpaper, stops the heat seeping into the wall.
In the upper rooms and hallway we have a lot of polystyrene tiles on the ceiling for this reason (😱). So I’m thinking of replacing that with a polystyrene sheet and some embossed wallpaper. It won’t have the durability of the Lincrusta, but you don’t exactly get a lot of traffic on the ceiling. Why would I do this? Take a look…
The other way I’ve been inspired by Anaglypta is the friezes. They’re as much as the wallpaper. Yikes! So I’ve come up with an alternative. I’ll tell you about this shortly, but here’s what’s got me salavating…
You may have noticed that I jump around a lot in my decorating; enthusiasm and circumstances result in my haphazard approach. Unfortunately there are no big ‘reveal’ moments from me. Just an ongoing saga of the decoration of an ancient home. But I love it.
It’s also necessary for me to, once again, apologise for my posting absence. I’ve been finishing curtains, decorating rooms, struggling with local artisans and being an, albeit rather squiffy, hostess. As the much awaited guests needed something a little more than the bare minimum than I’d been providing I’d felt a change of decoration and a new focus on the guest room was in order.
This is what it looked like before…..
Now, I’m a pink person – but……..Also it’s a little somber.
The first thing I started to do was make these curtains. In fact that was all I was originally going to do. They’re double width and pool at the bottom giving them a sumptuous feel in an otherwise Edwardian country bedroom.
I edged the curtains in this scalloped lace and the voiles compliment them. They were originally in the dining room, but were so perfect for the lace edging I moved them.
Here’s a closer look at those Art Nouveau plates that I’ve hung between the curtains…
I have so many little nik naks that I’ve bought from French brocantes over the years, just waiting for the right place to go, that I don’t always know where I’m going to put what. However the green in the plates, along with the design, seemed to fit perfectly. In fact, although you’d think the bed dominated the decor design, it was actually these plates. Once they were in situ other things naturally followed. Like these Art Nouveau prints…
Perfect fit, no?
From there I took this old, French country style iron chandelier…
…with its adorable bows. I might add some clip on light shades, I don’t know yet. I’m going to do a stencil freeze around the room and it may be too much. We’ll see.
As I said, I’d only intended to sew curtains. However I suddenly wondered to myself if I could paint over the wallpaper. It was very thick, typical of the type used in old houses. Often when the walls are old and the plaster weaker thick, textured wallpaper is used to ensure it goes on, stays on and covers the imperfections in the wall. As a result its thickness means you can paint it as the paper is strong enough not to be damaged by the moisture. If you live in an old house and are afraid of taking off structurally sound but unattractive wallpaper because of what you may find underneath this can be a good option.
Here’s a wider look of the same corner of the room….
…the lighter paint makes such a difference doesn’t it?
You can see that I’ve moved the secrétaire that I had here (here’s the original how to). The coverlets on the bed are only a temporary, summer set. I’ve bought some high quality, white cotton for when my guests return at New Year.
Here’s the other side of the room…
In the corner is this dressing table…
As I added pictures and the light to the room it took on a definitive theme of Edwardian country; it wasn’t by design, it just fell into place like that. Isn’t it lovely when that happens? All of a sudden in the middle of a room project you realise “Oh, so this is who you’re going to be!”
As a result I don’t know whether this dressing table will stay here. I have a beautiful Edwardian one in my own bedroom that I love, but I just feel that it will be perfect in this room. Take a look and tell me what you think.
I need to redo the paintwork on this cream one, you can see in the pictures below how the wood was cracked by a falling wardrobe (!). My plan is to decorate the next spare room in a French country style, so it might be transported there. We’ll see what I end up with!
As you can see I’ve styled the dressing table top. I didn’t want it to feel barren and soulless when my friends arrived. I’ll do a post later on preparing rooms for guests (my husband thinks I’m crazy, but it may give you a few ideas).
Here’s a lovely panel detail on the armour wardrobe that I picked up in another brocante adventure. I bought it prior to our move here, it was in the house we rented when we first arrived. However the parts of the dismantled wardrobe have been leaning against a wall. When we went to refit it it wouldn’t slot into place correctly. We’re unsure if it’s warped or if we need to keep playing around with it (I’m using the word ‘we’ lightly).
I may end up putting a curtain on the armoire, or even salvaging parts to use in other projects and buying a new one.
Do you remember how I said that I was going to stencil, well here’s the start of that part of the project…
I started above the door here. I think it will look really nice. It may not end up being so close together though as it’s tall and may not work round the beams well as a result. Consequently I may space the design between the beams, leaving appropriate gaps. I’ll paint over the additional stencil if need be.
I ordered the stencil from Royal Design Stencils in the US and my husband brought it back from one of his work trips there.
I’ll post a final picture when it’s all done; in fact I might have a post on ‘finally, completely finished rooms’. In the meantime I’d love to know what you think.
I’ve had a terrible chest infection, it’s something I’ve been susceptible to since forever, but this one has been very hard to shift. It still lingers, but I’m starting to be able to join the land of the living -even if I limp away after short periods of time.
However as it’s the feast of the Sacred Heart today I thought I’d give you an update on the hallway, with its dedication to the Sacred Heart, and in particular the doorways that I’ve painted. The hallway isn’t finished so you’ll see some snags in the paintwork amongst other things which I’ll touch up prior to those final details.
The doors originally looked like this…
I’d already added the vintage fingerplates and I knew I’d paint and gild the doors as I did in the dining room, but as you can see from these picture I’ve also added a feature on the top….
These were wood mouldings bought here that I didn’t painted gold. They tie in with the wood carving over thee main door. Those of you who read the blog at that time will remember that I’d bought this old top from an armour and put it above the door (the post is here).
As you can see I’ve highlighted this in gold too. I’m considering hand painting some roses in the panel that is bare as I did with my secrétaire. When I have more energy I’ll get to it.
On the doors you can see I’ve filled the gaps between the armoir carving with these wood mouldings bought here and spray painted gold.
You can also see that I’ve added additional flourish mouldings bought here and, again, spray painted gold. I’ve also highlighted details on the door in gold too. I did this as these doors are original Art Deco, which would be great in a more modern scheme but doesn’t really go with this. I took a chance that the details would bring it in line with the rest of the room and I think they’ve worked.
Previously I’ve given how tos on the panelling (here and here) but these were literally paint, glue them on and then repaint any details that need it. I haven’t done that last part yet due to my illness and you can see that when I remove the masking tape a little extra gold and blue came with it. It will be done.
You can see the little, porcelain door handle that used to be in the dining room that I’ve now moved here as I thought they went so well with the decor theme and colours.
I gave you a sneak peak of the marble relief picture, but here it is in more detail…
You’ll notice I’ve used the picture rail. The picture is so heavy I’d taken it down for fear of it dropping and smashing. I’d ordered the wire and picture rail hooks from here and here and it had taken some time to get to France (I hadn’t seen an equivalent here). They’re the brace to the belt of the picture hook and eye system that I’d already used. I’m a little more confident now that it will remain there.
The Queen Anne chair has been pictured on both sides of the room as shortly after I took the photos my husband came in and complained about its position. He thought that as it was just in front of the door it was an inconvenience. So I moved it to the other side.
Here’s a close up of the ceramic umbrella stand which is an original Art Deco piece and suits the colouring of the room superbly. I think it mimics the central chandelier with its pink candle cap light shades and the ceiling rose that reflects the stained glass design I made (see here).
In these shots you can see the cornice I’ve added and, unfortunately, the unfinished side panels. The one drawback of ordering the wood carvings from China is that they take soooooo long getting here and I’m waiting for two more pieces.
I was going to add some more wood carvings on the ceiling and above the picture rail, but it looks ‘enough’ now, and I don’t want to spoil it by adding more. Some of them have already arrived and I think I’ll use them in the dining room where I’d intended to do something similar.
What I am also waiting for is some crystal droplets to arrive for the chandelier – I’ll post with the other details as well as one more little thing I want to add.
So I moved the chair on the other side. I covered this about three years ago and had considered recovering it in gold damask as I have some material upstairs just waiting to be used. However seeing it here I’m not so sure I’ll rush into that.
Here’s a reverse shot of the chair. I’ve always loved the rose pattern on the reverse of the chair. I think the umbrella stand looks good here too.
Above the radiator, which I’ve spray painted pale blue along with the gold shelf, are some old dress design prints. One is from a collection in 1914….
or season one Downton, and the other is from 1922….
Now is that season three or four? Doesn’t the old telephone suit them?
Anyway I think they’re beautiful and the black and gold seems to tone down the cutesy girliness of the room as does, I hope, the muted pink and taupe.
I’ve replaced the photos of my great grandmothers, again. Whenever I decorate a new room they are ceremonially moved into it it seems.
Here’s a close up of that beautiful clock. I haven’t even tried to get it going yet. I don’t think it has a key. I know I won’t be winding it up every day so why fuss?
Finally here’s a close up of my Sacred Heart statue. I’ve added some tea light holders and flowers so it doesn’t look so bare as before. I’m dedicating all my family to Him anew today. Are you?
You may have noticed my long absence; I’ve had so much to contend with and in the middle of it all I decided to start the second part of our mouldings. I cannot tell you what a mistake that was! It turned out to be a huge job -not the mouldings themselves, which were simple, but I suddenly found myself doing lots of other work around them too.
I’ve seen on Pinterest lots of helpful ‘how tos’ on wainscoting or panels to your walls. I always think they look classic and they’re on my decorating want list for the other entrance.
However with the main entrance I wanted something more classicly French that would still go with my Art Noufaux doors (how to here). So I came up with this way to add faux panels (take a look at the more intricate panels in my first how to here).
Throughout the hallway was textured wallpaper with an underlay of very thin polystyrene. This had been used because the plaster beneath was rough and in some places falling a part. So the reason I’ve been delayed, amongst other things, is I’ve been stripping most of the wallpaper off and plastering the wall as well as starting to work on covering the seams of the remaining wallpaper to paint.
I’ve also added a picture rail. If you want a how to for either of these let me know in the comment box below.
For the panels I used19mm half rounds and more decorative wood appliques. The ones I used are here…
You need to decide if you want rectangles or squares for the panels. I chose rectangles as they elongate the room. I cut all my half rounds into the same length though as the height and length of the mounding still were very different so they actually created the rectangular shape.
Unlike the other panels I painted the wall before I applied them to make it easier to decorate post paneling. However I’m not sure if this was the best thing. I’m going for a two tone look in this section and I think I wasted paint in the middle which will be painted over with a taupe colour. Here’s my inspiration for this section by the way….
One benefit of painting first is that you can see blue through the fretwork of the scrolls, as you can see here…
I’d also pre painted the lengths and scrolls. Painting delicate details in situ can be tricky so this gave me a head start. My gold liquid paint is a slightly lighter colour, so I’m going to use the two shades as a detail itself.
As I had to work around the radiator, which I’ve sprayed the same shade of blue and it’s given it a new lease of life, it naturally led to my considering it in the placing of the panels considering its dimensions. Would I place it near the wall, and therefore have the entire panel on display, or would I have some of the detail behind the radiator itself? I went for the latter as I wanted the panels to be parallel to each other and, as there was no impediment on the other side, the spacing wouldn’t look right.
Work out the spacing?
Prior to continuing I placed what would be the upper half of the panels on the floor running alongside the wall to have an idea of how they’d fit. Satisfied I carried on to the next part.
Obviously when I was working out where to place the mouldings I measured the half rounds in addition to the lengths of the appliqués and then with the depth. As I was going to have two panels I subtracted the total of the two from the length of the wall and I was left with 32 cms. So I decided to allow for the majority of the gap in between and divided the space as 10cms, panel length, 12cms, panel length, 10cms.
I did the same with the depth, deciding on a distance of 5cms between the wall and the length of the wood scroll.
Adding the first detail
Just like my previous tutorial I used no more nails and immediately applied some to the back of the first, wooden scroll. I measured 5cms down and 10cms in and applied it to the wall. Using my infra red beamed spirit level I continued along.
Adding the first length
NMN was added to the half round and applied to the wall with the spirit level’s aid. However I checked the distance from the dado rail with my measure as we’ll.
It’s really important to do this as in an old house like this (ours is definitely pre 1850s, they only kept records after that date, so it could be sìgnificantly older) there is often movement in the walls etc. So although the houses are solid they may not be 100% level. As a result a level line might not coincide with the dado rail.
Continue with the rest of the rectangle.
Measure the width between the rectangles and start again
Is this sounding simple? It is. It would probably be tricker if I didn’t have the dado rail already. After the internal double doors, where I plan to continue the moulding, there’s no dado rail. I’ll have to apply a dado rail there and I’ll post about that then.
In the corners it was too small for individual panels without them looking odd, so I continued the panel around the bend. This meant still using four of the scrolls, the same half round length for the depth and a significantly reduced horizontal half round.
I glued the two top scrolls first, then worked out the different length for the top horizontal. Having glued the verticals and the second scrolls I worked out the next horizontal before gluing. Like with the previous panels I checked the measurements throughout.
More odd areas
The next odd areas where too narrow for double scrolls, so I used this carved, corner detail and a scroll without any horizontal half rounds. I’m actually really pleased how this one turned out.
I painted the interiors this taupe colour, but I feel it’s a little strong. I intend to add a raised stencil to that area in the blue to tone it down. I’ll update you on that as well.
I’ve also used a complimentary gold to highlight the scroll detail and, as you can see in my last ‘odd area’ I’ve started to highlight parts in gold.
Of course, I’ve done it all out of order as I should have started with the ceiling first. However I was waiting for coving to arrive and was too eager. Next will be door details and following that the coving, ceiling details and a feature between the picture rail and the coving. Subscribe so you don’t miss any of it and let me know in the comments what you think – I’d love your feedback!
After my Art NouFaux stained glass front door and update of the front of the house I’m adding additional details. I absolutely love these signs, as the post shows, and I thought of a way to get a similar look for our house. It’s normal in France to have your name near your door so, even though I already had the iron number on the door, I thought this would be a good solution. It’s sooooo simple. Honestly, one of the easiest crafts I’ve ever done. Here are the simple steps…
Spray paint a picture frame to make it weatherproof
We have a French glass porch, so I’m not expecting the weather to be able to get at this too much. However it always pays to weather proof. Mine started off grey, but I thought it would blend too much with the stone, so I chose black and gold throughout.
Spray front and back. I intend to attach mine and try and seal it to waterproof it from behind, but just to give it a bit of extra protection I think it’s advisable.
Spray paint the wooden backing and glass with mirror bronze paint
As my frame is round I spray painted the insert that goes behind the picture gold too. I didn’t know how see through the colour would be and didn’t want the mirror like shine to be diminished.
I originally thought of doing this with an actual mirror, but then realised there might be accidents outside my house with glare from the sun 🤭 😆. I wouldn’t have been popular in the village!
So this mirrored finish gives the same feel, but without the danger.
Create your design and print it on clear, waterslide decal paper
I used a frame from the graphics fairy and a monogram. There’s obviously no point in my doing a print out for this. Follow the instructions on your packaging, but you can see my how to here for this craft. This is a picture of the image before sealing and the decal clearly stands out from the backing. The mirror image looked super shiny too.
As I’d cut the decal out too small you could just about see the edging in the one above, so I redid it. But, like pinning your hair in a chignon, finding a couple of stray hairs and attempting to make it perfect, it wasn’t to be. I had the decal équivalant of a messy chignon, because it kept puckering. I don’t know why. I tried a couple of more times to no avail. Tant pis!
Seal the image with glossy, acrylic craft varnish
So, on my slightly less satisfactory, final attempt I used this really thick craft varnish to create a waterproof finish and seal the gaps between the glass and the picture edge. Make sure it’s glossy to keep the mirror shine.
On the second image i don’t know if you can see that the letter is slightly raised from the backing giving it a 3D affect. I haven’t put it up yet, but I’ll update you when I do.
I want to do something with our boring upvc front door. I’m an admirer of Artt Nouveau stained glass, as this post showed. I would really like to see if I can imitate that on our dull front door. In the meantime here’s some inspiration….
I have one more to show you, but I might basing my attempt at repeating Art Nouveau stained glass on it; so more of that later.
As I said in this post I love kitchen signs, particularly the ones that look handpainted and a little Victorian. I really wanted a sign on the side of the bookcase where I’ve put the French baguette bin, but as it was a fixed position I had two options.
The first was to do a seperate sign and the fix it to the wall. This would have given me the opportunity to take my time in painting the letters.
The second was to apply something to the wall itself. I’ve never got to grips with image transfers, but as I’ve recently found water slide decals this seemed like the best option (see here and here). It meant that I could choose something with a lot of detail too, which is a bonus.
By the way I used an iPad and Canva app to do this, so the instructions obviously reflect that, however I’m sure you can adapt them for other systems.
The first thing was to design a sign. I’d done a lot of inspiration research and I really like a mixture of typefaces and scrolls etc. I also like illuminated letters. I trawled through Pinterest for free to download Wreath illustrations (thank you graphics fairy) and monogram letters to use.
Take a screen shot
When you come across an image or piece of typography you like you can take a screen shot of it – all computers have different ways of doing this, so you may have to look yours up. However on an iPad, as I tend to us, it means pressing the circular home button and your on/off button to the side of the iPad at the same time. When you do that a photo of the image you want will be taken and stored in your photos.
Edit the screen shot
Your screen shot will have lots of other things apart from the image you want on it, so you need to get rid of the excess. On your iPad when you have your photo open in images you’ll see an icon for editing it in the top, left hand corner; press on that.
The edit facility will look like this
The third icon down, the square with arrows surrounding it in shot 2, is the option you chose to edit the image. Once you’ve clicked on it the image will be smaller and you’ll have two capacities on your iPad; to rotate the image to a position you want it in using the dial on the right, or to resize it using the four corners at the edge of the image. Just move the highlighted corner to move the edges inward until the image is cropped. When you’re done press ‘done’ on the right hand side and your image stays like that. However if you want it to go back to the original go back through the edit system and press revert.
Creating your layout
Once you’ve selected typefaces and decorative details for your sign you want to create a layout. I used the Canva app to do mine, which is a free app that you can download. At the top of the open app you’ll see lots of different options – I chose poster for this project.
You can use a pre-existing template, but I just wanted a blank space to try different set ups on. In the left hand tool bar (see above) you can see an option saying uploads. If you click on it an icon for your photos comes up and clicking on this shows you your photo gallery including your cropped images.
Select your image and slide it into the work space. Above the image you’ll see lost of different functions. Move the image to where you want it and make it smaller by touching on one of the black circles moving them in (below).
As I wanted a monogram effect I’d already decided I wanted a stand alone type face in our surname, so I had the image stored in the gallery and added that in the same way. I used the same method to move and make smaller the image. As you can see in the image below, images added from your gallery will have a solid background, so if they overlap another image from your gallery they will block out that part of the image. Canva text boxes don’t have this problem though.
You can see in the next shot that I just position the V in a way that ensures no overlap.
In the next one you can see I’ve applied a text box using the text icon. There are lots of pre-existing layouts you can use, but I find that some are stuck in caps so it’s easier to use the simple ‘add text’.
In the next image down you can’t see a tool bar has come up above the keyboard. It does that when you touch the text to alter it. On the left hand side you can see the typeface which you can scroll through to get your preferred one. Once you see the one you like touch it and you’re text changes. Use the large and small capital to increase or decrease the size of the text and then position the text where you want it to go.
Carry on in this way until you have the design you want. You can see in my final design below how the text of ‘akery’ overlaps the B typeface that I’d downloaded. This is because the text box, unlike the downloaded images, doesn’t have a solid background so they give far more flexibility.
The image below is towards the end of my final design. If you look at the ‘Pastries’ text you will see there is a turning arrow symbol. I used this to give the pastries word a slant that mirrored the scroll design. You can also see the scroll design below has a part of the image I couldn’t crop out, but as I’m going to apply them with water slide decals this doesn’t matter as I can crop them in real life with scissors.
At this stage it’s best to download your image by pressing the download function button on the top right hand side of the screen and a box appears for you to download (See below). I always use the top option and it saves the image into my photos. I then insert the image into a document page and make sure it’s at full size.
The next thing to do is seperate all the parts of the image so that you can remake them on a bigger scale. I did this by using the additional page function, then copying an element of the design and putting it on an individual page.
If you see the images below you can see I’ve copied the image by pressing on the two, overlaying rectangles in the right hand margin. To get lots of seperate images delete all but the part that you want to use in a stand alone capacity. So the wreath and family name I’ve kept as one image on a page, the bread and cakes part another and so on. Some I didn’t make a page for, like the B, as I already had a cropped image of this to make this mock up.
Take a screen shot of these stand alone parts (see below) and crop them as before (below again).
In your pages section, using the mock up as a template, seperate out the parts so that you’ll be able to print them on waterslide decal paper.
In order to determine how best to lay your design out you need to think about how many pages your design will need to be spread over. I did this by holding a piece of A4 paper in landscape and then counting how many I would need to fill the space in the top portion and the bottom. The design was spread over this many pages.
Do a mock up first; printing on plain paper and placing them where you think they should go. This way you won’t waste any decal paper.
Also, once you have an idea of the text size you’ll need, you may want to rearrange your components of text into different groupings in order not to waste too much waterslide paper.
You’ll notice that the finished piece has some additional illustrations. When I put them on the side of the cupboard I wasn’t satisfied with the gap at the top between bakery and our family name in the wreath and bakery, so I hunted around for a suitable illustration and followed the steps again.
I’d also started placing the bottom part too near the base and there was an unsatisfactory gap. The illustration of the woman drinking her tea was perfect to fill it. As far as I’m aware all these are free to use by the way.
Finally, I’d planned to fill the original bakery B with my own colours, but as I sealed the design with a coat of spray varnish they ran. I’d use different sharpies and expected that to work, but alas no. So the B you see in the image was my second attempt.
Also, as you can see, I’ve changed the baguette bin from lavender to a teal blue. I think it’s a better tone for the yellow, don’t you?
What do you think? The kitchen is no where near finished and I might be a bit crazy to have done it already, but I’m super pleased with the result. Even the hubby likes it!
Art Nouveau is my favourite decor period; it has the more restrained elements of the Edwardian period, after the excess of the Victorians, but still maintains beautiful, intricate details. The decorative style wasn’t as commercial as the aesthetic it’s ofen confused with, Art Deco, primarily because the latter is more easily mass produced having cleaner lines. However where I find Deco too sparse and clinical (sorry to you Deco fans), for me Nouveau communicates the romance and, perhaps, innocence of the prewar period.
I naturally gravitate to the colours of the period too and have found, having researched it, that many of the decor items I already owned are of this time. In fact if you look in my wardrobe it reflects this tableau of era’s colours.
The tones are far lighter than the Victorian palette, primarily because of new technologies. The Victorians had acquired wealth, so their decor was opulent with lots of fuss and nicnacs in order to show that new found money, but due to the gas lighting a lot of the textures and colours were sought for their capacity to hide the resulting soot marks. With the introduction of electricity this wasn’t such a necessity.
I say all this to introduce you to a find I fell for today – hook, line and sinker. This little Art Nouveau stove. It’s dirty and I doubt I’ll be able to get it to work, but I still couldn’t resist it. The beautiful intricate metalwork, that soft Art Nouveau blue – heaven.
I naturally did a little research on it as it’s name was proudly emblazoned on the top. I found this website of a company near Fareham, coincidentally my old stomping ground, where they refurbish old, French stoves. They’re a mine of information.
The company, Deville & Cie of Charleville in the Ardennes, called the model ‘le non pareil’, or the none equalled. The French Antique Stove refurbishment company found it advertised in Deville’s 1930s catalogue with the subsequent information on it.
The stove was manufactured in the early part of the Art Deco movement, with production between 1925-1935, however the style is evidently Art Nouveau.
The design, described as a ‘pôele à bois’ visible et continue’ by the manufacturers, was revealed at the 1925 Paris exhibition. It was developed with style conscious Parisians in mind. The site continues that if you look carefully at the film Chocolat, you can see a honey brown “le non pareil” in Judi Dench’s character’s parlour, but I’ve done an internet search and can’t find any images (not even on one of my favourite sites Hooked on Houses),
Here are some close ups of the working stove on the refurbishment site, just to give you a taster of what mine will look like when it’s been cleaned up a little. Mine won’t be in situ for a while; I have to finish the kitchen first (as well as the finishing touches on the dining room and the soft furnishings in the living room) and then move to what will be the family dining room. So, lots of work. Can you tell I’m loving it?
This post has taken me a long time to write, because I became distracted by other projects when I went to finish the second valance. Yet finally, finally, my curtains are finished. This how to isn’t how I made the curtains, as I think they’re pretty self explanatory, (if anyone wants a how to on that let me know and I’ll do one as I have plenty more to make for the house), it just focuses on the valances.
I decided on a valance with a pole as one with a box seemed a bit complicated for my first outing – they use a double pole bracket. The measurements are obviously dependent on the width of your windows.
Identify the depth you want the valance to be
I had to cover these box structures which hold electric shutters, it’s one of the main reasons I want valances in this room. So for me the depth naturally flawed from that.
Identify its length
Then I identified the length; the width of the curtain pole plus the additional fabric needed to go around the end of the poles in order that the end curtain hook can be attached to the end curtain ring of the curtains (see the photo). As I knew I wanted pleats I cut my material to include the depth and twice the length – so two lengths of material. You may need three, or two and half dependent on the width of the window, or how many pleats you want.
Join the material lengths
Join up your lengths of material so the pattern is still evident. As I have a damask, striped curtain this pended itself quite easily to this.
Hem both lengths and ends
I just used a 1cm depth for the lengths and let the natural stripe of the curtains guide the ends.
Pin the trim along the bottom length
If you’re using trim pin it along the bottom, then sew it in place.
Pin the trim along the length where the curtain pole will be
I used to types of trim along this length; lace and a bobble trim. Again, because is specifically wanted the end of the valance to cover the shutter box, I measured the distance between where the curtain pole was and where I wanted the end of the valance to be and started pinning trim along this stretch.
I used three lengths of trim. In order to have the depth of lace I wanted I had an opposing, double length of lace. Pinning it along the length with curves down, then another length with the curves up so they overlapped as in the picture (you may of course find lace with a design you like, which is thick enough for your purposes).
I then pinned the length of bobbled trim in between the two and sewed them in place. After it was sewn I double checked that all three pieces were firmly secured.
Decide what pattern you want your pleats to have, then hand sew in place.
I chose a more random, pleated pattern with a. central double pleat, single mid pleat and multiple pleats to the end. You may want a more regular pattern of course, but pin them in place at this point.
If, like me, you use a bobble trim you may need to snip some of the bobbles to ensure the material can lie flat – obviously ensure you’re sure you have the pleats in the right place before you do this.
Pin a stiff, curtain tape strip to the rear.
I used a really stiff strip of curtain header tape in order to hold the shape along the pole better. Pin it in place on the rear of the main length of the curtain where the trim is excluding the side of the valance where it will wrap around the end pole to attach to the curtain ring. Add extra pieces to this section of the curtain too – the divide will help the valance keep its shape too. Then sew both pieces.
Put curtain hooks in
Start about an inch in to make sure the material, stiffened by the curtain header, remains close to the wall, then place a hooks along the length of the curtain. Keep two hooks back. Hang the curtain valance and then add a hook each end in order to make sure they correspond with two curtain ring that you keep outside of the curtain pole brackets which will be you penultimate hook prior to the end one attached to the curtain (again, see the above picture).
Shutter box covered and a lovely period feature – I’m pleased with the result.