Did you know that England has one of the oldest housing stocks in Europe with 21% of dwellings built before 1919? That means a lot of people will have the pleasure (and responsibility) of owning a piece of history. And according to Historic England it’s thought that around 500,000 UK buildings are listed.

Even if your property isn’t listed, it’s important to consider the long term impact of any alterations you make. From larger scale work like extensions, renovations and conversions, to seemingly smaller choices such as interior details and finishes, every aspect can impact on your building.

Of all the enquiries we receive at Earthborn, advice on painting older properties, and in particular questions about breathability, are the most common. We think this is great news because it means more people are considering the implications of the work they carry out to older, period properties, where even a simple paint choice can make a difference to the fabric of the building.
Why should I treat my older property differently?
Most historic buildings were constructed from solid walls using porous materials like stone, brick or timber, along with plasters made from lime. Traditionally, breathable materials were used to allow the air to flow through and prevent condensation. It is the porous nature of these materials that is key to the construction.


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However, many modern building materials work on the basis of blocking the elements rather than allowing air to pass through. Non-porous materials prevent this flow of air and ‘seal’ the walls. In modern houses this can be a good thing, but if these non-breathable materials are used on older properties without professional expertise, it can lead to future problems. The moisture in the air becomes trapped and is then forced out through the porous parts of the building, causing damp.


Likewise, if an older property is painted either inside or out with a plastic-based paint, rather than an appropriately breathable paint, it will prevent moisture from flowing through the walls and can exacerbate damp problems. So if you have invested time and money in choosing the right building materials for your period home, it makes sense to carefully consider the type of paint used too.
What type of paint is best for a period property?
Before deciding which colour to go for, make sure you consider the breathability of the paint first and whether it is suitable for your project.

At Earthborn we have been fortunate to work with a number of heritage building specialists including architects, specifiers and building contractors on a variety of projects, each with their own unique requirements. What they all have in common however, is the need for an appropriately breathable paint to work in harmony with the other materials and techniques used. If you’d like to learn more take a look at our Case Studies.

Our breathable Claypaint is ideal for interior surfaces and our Ecopro Silicate Masonry Paint is perfect for exterior mineral-based walls. Both products have extremely high levels of breathability and are compatible with lime based plasters. In fact, both types of paint offer a viable, long-term alternative to lime wash because they are so breathable.

“This lake is lovelier than other lakes”. From the novel The Mansions around the Lake, by Birgit Th Sparre.

A number of mansions around Lake Åsunden create the scene of the book and film that put wallpaper manufacturer Sandberg‘s hometown Ulricehamn on the map. This countryside has a long history, and the splendid mansions have been preserved with care and passion. The Swedish Manor, surrounded by natural beauty that follows the colours of the seasons, is a symbol of the Good Life. In this setting, you’ll find a gravel approach lined with old oak trees that leads to the magnificent manor house and its wings. The inviting rooms have beautiful aged wooden floors. Linen curtains dance in the breeze, and filter the light from the big windows. In the garden, there’s a park bench with a view of the lake. Next to this lovely house are an abundance of flowers and greenery that provides tranquillity.


Ava_404-86-390x388The Brunnsnäs wallpaper collection is Sandberg’s modern interpretation of this piece of history. A symbol of the Good Life to remember and adopt in a home make-over project today.
When Sandberg designer, Sissa Sundling, first unveiled the collection, she began with the word “Love”. Not only the love of wallpaper and beautiful homes, but also the love story between Diana and Joachim in the novel The Mansions around the Lake. Sissa then unveiled her new wallpaper, Ava, stating that she ”….drew Ava with the intention of creating my most beautiful wallpaper ever”. Her desire was to offer wallpapers with patterns that inspire joie de vivre and make every day more beautiful.
The collection features eleven patterns, including the return of some old favourites, such as the classics Waldemar and Elizabeth.
Brunnsnäs wallpaper is surface-printed, using non-woven paper and is available from Paint & Paper, Norwich

Posted in Sandberg


April 23rd, 2015 Osborne & Little Intarsia Vinyls

Osborne & Little Intarsia Vinyls

Intarsia Vinyls by Osborne & Little are a great choice for places like the kitchen, bathroom or basement, because they can withstand moisture, humidity and temperature changes far better than regular wallpaper or even most types of paint.

Vinyl wallcoverings are also the easiest papers to hang, making them a good choice for inexperienced wallpaper hangers.

Osborne & Little Intarsia Vinyls are printed on wide width rolls and easy to keep clean. Finished with textured emboss, they are also extremely durable.

Osborne & Little Intarsia Vinyls

Metallic highlights of silver and bronze feature prominently in the colour combinations along with neutrals, stone, grey and taupe making them popular for hospitality design.

HB_vinyl_4.5_cropHalls Beeline Wallpaper Paste. For sticking your vinyl wallpaper to the wall, you will find it hard to beat Halls Beeline Readymixed Vinyl Adhesive. Made especially for vinyls, these are sold in handy 4.5kg tubs.

A 4.5kg tub of Halls Beeline Vinyl Adhesive is enough to hang nine rolls of normal sized paper. Intarsia Vinyls, being slightly wider than a normal roll, will require a little more paste. Halls Beeline Vinyl Paste provides high initial tack and excellent slip properties. Halls Beeline also make a wheat based tub paste for speciality wallpapers and an excellent Medium Grade Readymixed Adhesive in 5kg tubs which is ideal for Osborne & Little woven papers.

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Olfa Tools. For trimming your vinyl paper, the Olfa 18mm Comfort Grip Snap Knife is an ideal choice. It’s unbelievably sharp blade will glide through even the most difficult wallpaper, eliminating frayed cuts and rips.

posted in Vinyl wallpaper


For interior designers, blue is the most versatile of all colour groups and for historians, it offers the richest of stories.

Since ancient times, the precious nature of naturally occurring blue pigments has given these shades stature and gravitas in art, fashion and decoration.

In Little Greene’s interpretation of the world around us, blue represents both sky and sea… but also space and infinity, and in this perpetuity, blue colour schemes naturally offer security, longevity, depth and calmness.

The new Little Greene colour card brings together some known Little Greene shades with a spectrum of archive blues.

All are available in the full range of Little Greene paint finishes, suitable for interior and exterior use with the exception of Ultra Blue (264) which is available in tester pots and 2.5 litres of Absolute Emulsion. Ultra Blue (264) is subject to a few days wait while it is produced.