Cole and Son

February 17, 2006

I was really hoping wallpaper would be considered “in” again. It was so hard to not see texture and patterns on walls anymore, unless it was (gasp) in the form of ivy leaf stencils around the frames of doors (shrug) or floral borders in mauve.

Cole and Son
Cole and Son from the UK has been making wallpaper for ages, since 1875 to be exact. They’ve papered the walls of homes everywhere, from Buckingham Palace to the White House. Some of their machinery dates back to 1900, which they still use in their factory. They have a collection of over 4,000 wood blocks, some that are still used on a daily basis. They flock, screen, and print some of the most dazzling wallpaper in the world, and now, with their contemporary designs, they’re certain to capture the hearts of hip urban designers more and more right here in the states. Their graphic post WWII patterns are lovely. They actually realized that they needed to get hip and decided to recreate some of their designs from 1955. Revamped and ready to roll, here’s some patterns that I love and hope you will enjoy, too.

What do you think about it, are you open to the whole wallpaper resurrection for modern homes? Where do you see it in your own space?

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(images from cole and son)


  • Reply Vajra February 17, 2006 at 9:58 pm

    I loathe wallpaper on walls. It’s ok in cupboards, or armoires, or drawers. I can’t bear it. It’s like tattoos: there’s no piece of art that I want to look at 24/7.

  • Reply decor8 February 17, 2006 at 11:03 pm

    Do you have any art on your walls then? Do you like just clean white space and very modern design? It’s funny, I like wallpaper, but not in every room. I would put it in my foyer for instance. Or a little 1/2 bath. But, I’d only have it in ONE area of my house not in 2 or 3 areas. I think it would appeal to me in an area that I didn’t have to stare at all day, like a small bath or foyer. Or inside of a coat closet…. Your thoughts on this?

  • Reply Vajra February 19, 2006 at 7:58 am

    Yes, I have art on my walls. And some pieces are so large that they are not moved frequently. I don’t know what it is about wallpaper…perhaps the fact that it comes in rolls and produced in huge quantities? I often like the designs (including three among the examples you provided) but I can’t imagine ever putting it up in any room of mine. I love endpapers in book. Weird.

  • Reply decor8 February 19, 2006 at 8:24 pm

    Oooo you have large art? Nice… I love art. Do you have a favorite artist?


  • Reply Anonymous February 20, 2006 at 4:50 pm

    I love wallpaper. I rent so I can’t put any up, which bites. I am going to try to wallpaper plywood or something and lean it against a wall in the corner. That may look cool.

  • Reply decor8 February 20, 2006 at 10:26 pm

    That sounds like a great idea for renters that can’t hang wallpaper, but enjoy the look of it, wallpaper over wood and leaning in a corner. Nice idea!

    I imagine you’d have to get an ultra smooth piece though – something with no ridges or bumps…


  • Reply Vajra February 21, 2006 at 9:26 pm

    Holly, I figured out my antipathy to wallpaper (I think). It can’t be cleaned. And it’s difficult to apply. But the idea of wallpapered plywood sounds really good. Also your idea of wallpaper in a closet was appealing. In a bathroom? Not so much.

  • Reply Anonymous February 21, 2006 at 11:16 pm

    i am not a big wallpaper fan but i love the cole and son’s patterns… i could easily see one of these patterns in my bathroom… too bad they are in the uk.. the only place in dc is only open to the trade :-(

  • Reply decor8 February 22, 2006 at 7:02 pm

    Vajra: I’m happy you got it all figured out. You’re too cute. I can imagine you sitting over there, whereever it is that you’re based (please tell me, by the way) and thinking about wallpaper and wondering why you detest it as much as you do. he he. You are a total design addict so how can I not simply admire such deep thoughts? I have to agree, wallpaper is one of those “hmmmm” subjects for me too. I mean, I love it on one wall or in a very small space. I papered my old walk-in closet, for instance. Although, with my extreme sensitivity to mold, I try to avoid hanging it in large doses because I’m scared, over time, it could collect mold. My great grandmother had floor to ceiling wallpaper in her home, all 15 rooms of it was coated with enormous floral patterns. It was lush, and worked for her, but I remember sleeping in the guest bedroom and the room being somewhat musty. I was sneezing all night. Blah.

    Anonymous: I know what you mean, Cole + Son is sold only to the design industry, strictly “for designers only”. You have to hire a designer to get your hands on it. I just had a thought, maybe eBay has some? Who knows, you may find a spare roll on eBay. I’m finding everything on there lately…


  • Reply Anonymous February 24, 2006 at 8:54 am

    Wall paper can be beautiful in the right place but I completely sympathize with the fear of mold. Mold actually can be very dangerous. I think putting it in a small area that has a lot of circulation is key.

  • Reply Maryam February 27, 2006 at 11:10 am

    I would love to make a patchwork of some of those beautiful wallpapers you have shown. Collage it into something new. The plywood is a great idea – it could become a moving installation. You could wallpaper both sides with something different and then move it around when extra drama is needed for a dinner party……And then flip the plywood midway through the dinner. People would think that they had had one too many martinis…..

  • Reply Maria Novais November 22, 2009 at 8:47 am

    Love Cole Son wallpapers . Fan of Fornaseti collection. I m right now revamping old piece of furniture with Tema e Variazioni.

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