Credit where credit’s due

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A two-page spread featuring four Trustworth Studios wallpaper patterns in English Arts & Crafts Furniture

Although my paternal grandfather, Morris Hiller, died before I was born, my father has gone a long way toward impressing on me the kind of man his dad was. His motto: “Beware of unappreciative people.” I will never forget being reprimanded at a B&B in Scotland circa 1972 for not saying “thank you” loudly enough for the waiter who brought my porridge to hear. Lesson learned.

I did my best to thank everyone who helped with research, pre-publication feedback, photographs and other materials for English Arts & Crafts Furniture in a long list of acknowledgements at the back of the book. Aside from editors Megan Fitzpatrick and Scott Francis and book designer Linda Watts, the person who arguably made the biggest impression on how the book appears is David Berman of Trustworth Studios, who provided the Voysey-pattern wallpaper on the cover that was also used for endpapers. I consider David a mad genius and have written about him elsewhere. It came as no surprise when Fine Woodworking’s Ben Strano told me that he and his colleagues were making a video about David as an online extra related to my project article in FWW#270 that incorporates a piece of Trustworth’s “Hemlock” wallpaper.

But as I thought about this, I realized there’s someone else I should credit in this regard: Patricia Poore, longtime editor of the magazines where David’s work first came to my notice. Had it not been for her work, I would likely never have come across David, his fabulous 1910 shingle-style house (which merits the adjective “fabulous” largely thanks to his painstaking and delightful restoration), his adorable dog, Merry, nor his eye-popping period kitchen (stay tuned for a sneak peek, coming soon; his kitchen will be featured in the book I’m writing for Lost Art Press). David has advertised his wallpapers for many years in Old-House Journal, Arts & Crafts Homes and the Revival, and Old-House Interiors*. A staunch preservationist with an impressive portfolio of her own restorations, Patricia continues to publish content that’s inspiring, informative, and thought provoking.

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A selection of covers, the best designed by Inga Soderberg, going back more than 20 years

merry on couch

Merry

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Detail of paper on staircase wall

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David created this pattern, “Laborate et Amate” (the imperative “Work and Love!”) for his kitchen based on a set of Voysey tiles. The plaster moulding at the bottom is trompe l’oeil.

–Nancy Hiller, author of Making Things Work

*Although Old-House Interiors is no longer a stand-alone publication, much of its content has been incorporated into Old-House Journal. Arts & Crafts Homes and the Revival is now published online with a high-quality annual print publication, the first issue of which is scheduled for this October.

About nrhiller

cabinetmaker and author
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7 Responses to Credit where credit’s due

  1. Richard Mahler says:

    I am back to reading English Arts & Crafts Furniture after two weeks in Scotland – I had no room in my luggage to take it with me! I also purchased a fine copy of Naylor’s The Arts and Crafts Movements after reading your mention of it.
    I have always been intrigued with Arts & Crafts designs (and as a graphic designer, the typographic fonts, those that survive), and though my home is filled with 18th c. furniture (family pieces), some of the more delicate Victorian pieces, as well as contemporary pieces, and a bit of my own designs, as eclectic as it is it is not a house that allows A&C wallpaper and curtain materials (to my sorrow), but both oriental and A&C rugs do quite well. It takes a certain home interior to be dedicated ‘whole hog’ to Arts & Crafts throughout. I look forward to seeing Berman’s kitchen in your upcoming LA book.

    Thanks for telling us that the plaster moulding in the wallpaper photo is not real. That is stunning!

  2. tate hewitt says:

    I got the chance to take a tour of his house during the first Greenwood Fest. the entire house is a wunderkammen. In one room I saw stuffed passenger Pigeons. On a landing, a false bookcase leading to a secret workshop. Throughout the house you can see his wallpaper, light fixtures and furniture. Tons of other artifacts too–better than most museums. Such ingenuity and curiosity in Berman’s mind.

  3. Joe Kesselman says:

    Off topic, but you reminded me — is there any good way to find a match for existing wallpaper? I’ve got a situation where I’d like the illusion of an open back on a cabinet, but I’m honestly not sure how to find a good match. I have some samples of the wallpaper in question, but alas manufacturers don’t seem to print the pattern name on the back…. I’ve found many similar patterns, but not a close enough match to be convincing. I’m sure there’s a resource that would solve this, but I don’t know where to start looking. Suggestions?

    • hiscarpentry says:

      David may have the capability to reproduce it. Not sure if he does that kind of work though. Check out his website. The link is above. (Sorry if it’s bad form to answer a question asked of someone else.)

  4. Finn Koefoed-Nielsen says:

    As a lapsed professional hanger of wallpaper, I can state with some confidence that the staircase wall above looks like it was a proper tricky bugger.

  5. hiscarpentry says:

    David is an incredibly humble and kind man. I have had the joy of being in his home , and my daughter and I will forever remember his secret workshop.

  6. Dave Fisher says:

    Great post, Nancy. It’s always a treat to get to talk with David Berman. His kindness and wit are only topped by his vast interests. Look up “fascinating” in the dictionary and there’s a picture of David. I’d love to be a fly on the wall the next time you and David get together to talk design.

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