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What is Lincrusta?

In conversation with Frank Holmes of Frank Holmes Ltd

The luxurious textures, in a range of classic or contemporary designs, lend themselves perfectly to adding decorative effects or highlights – I enjoy the creativity of exploring the possibilities.

- Frank Holmes

Lincrusta is a heritage wallpaper dating back to 1877 and was invented by Frederick Walton (1834 - 1928). He changed his popular floor covering, Staines Linoleum, so that it could be applied to walls and in doing so, came up with a perfect alternative to plasterwork. Today, Lincrusta wallpaper is still made with many of the same natural materials.

Lincrusta has been called "the ultimate wall covering" and has gained a lot of popularity over the last few years. As it is a specialist wall covering, it requires specialist installation skills. Frank Holmes is an approved Lincrusta installer and restorer and I asked him to tell us a bit more about this incredible wallpaper. Here is what he said:

Where did your love for Lincrusta start?

Probably when I first started decorating some 30 years ago. I’ve always admired the decorative details of things, especially within historical properties.

What is your favourite paint effect for use on Lincrusta wallpaper?

Lincrusta is so versatile. The luxurious textures, in a range of classic or contemporary designs, lend themselves perfectly to adding decorative effects or highlights – I enjoy the creativity of exploring the possibilities! One of my personal favourites is an aged ceramic paint effect, which worked well on Lincrusta Kelmscott design as an inlay for a Victorian Pot Cupboard.

Can Lincrusta be repainted?

As Lincrusta ages, it also ‘cures’ and hardens, making it extremely durable, lasting for years to come. That is why you see many historical installations still wearing well today. Once installed and primed, Lincrusta can be painted in any finish to suit your interior style and personal taste. Just re-paint it when you’d like a change!

Is it possible to repair?

On occasions, Lincrusta installations may need repairing, e.g. as a result of property renovations and remodelling. If the design is no longer in production, it is possible to take a mould of a good area to replicate and replace the damaged area. This is particularly useful when many coats of paint applied over the years has caused some of the decorative detail to be lost, in which case replacing with new Lincrusta would be too obvious, so taking a mould and replicating a section would be more sympathetic with the original.

Can it be used in bathrooms?

Lincrusta is fire retardant as well as water resistant, making it ideal for any room, as long as it is finished with an appropriate paint product, for instance in kitchens and bathrooms.

Tell me about the beautiful Lincrusta splashback in your kitchen.

I am always looking for new uses of Lincrusta. I successfully installed Lincrusta Amelia as a kitchen splashback (chosen for the unfussy design). This example is finished in copper, which proved to be incredibly durable and easy to wipe clean.

What is the most unusual Lincrusta project you've worked on?

A Concept piece – a customised large steamer trunk covered in Lincrusta Amelia, and then gilded with a stunning variegated metal foil. This was a labour of love – time consuming and technical to cut templates for each piece of Lincrusta to perfectly fit, before adding the stunning variegated metal gilding foil and sealing to protect it.

The Lincrusta project you found the most interesting?

Creating 2 bespoke Lincrusta headboard features for a boutique hotel. I prepared sample boards for the client, based on features he liked in the Lincrusta brochure. The copper effect was chosen, but for the second installation, I showed the client one of my creative experiment boards and he had to have it! Lincrusta Elizabeth design was painted in an off-white, then I used faux gold gilding foil (dutch gold) to highlight the relief detail. The frames were also gilded for an added touch of luxury.

Lincrusta Elizabeth Design. Image credit: Frank Holmes Ltd

Manufactured here in the United Kingdom, Lincrusta is such a versatile and durable choice for wall treatments and the classic designs never look outdated. There is a stunning collection of patterns available and as Frank said, it lends itself to some very interesting and beautiful creative projects.

Thank you very much to Frank and Amanda from Frank Holmes Ltd for making this post possible.


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