Want to see some embarrassing before photos of my home followed by some inspiring after ones? Okay so I’m totally psyched to share this with you because I love, love, love working on decorating projects and this wallpaper project, which I’ve teamed up with Aimee Wilder in Brooklyn on, is just bananas. Or in this case, pineapples. Remember this paper from the other day?
That’s what has transformed my entry. But truthfully, outside of designing my son’s nursery before his arrival this year, I’ve not done much of anything in my home except think about things I need to do before I lose my mind. Despite my love of motherhood, I also love my home. I can’t deal when rooms are upside down or incomplete, this makes me feel chaotic in my head. Can you relate? Home is my sanctuary, my place of love, peace, dreams and aspirations. If it’s a cluttered dump or piled with half-finished projects, I can’t give 100% to my family, friends or job.
And you know that expression, don’t do anything half ass – use your whole ass.
So I decided to use ALL of mine and work on a project this week that has been annoying me the most – my depressingly unwelcoming entryway. But first. Three truths.
- I rent.
- We aren’t moving anytime soon.
- I have to live my life NOW because none of us are getting any younger.
BAM! All are challenges and inspirations. And they affected this project. I think the hardest thing is to pay for stuff in a rental that you can’t take with you when you move. But unless you imagine having the same wallpaper on your walls for the REST OF YOUR LIFE then wallpaper really isn’t as hard to commit to as you may think. Sure, it’s an investment. But it’s a bigger emotional investment to come home to a space that doesn’t have YOU written all over it. That is depressing. It drains you.
I have this philosophy that I’ve written in my books already but in case you missed it, I believe that if you make your home a great place, even if it’s a rental, you will become more successful in other areas of your life. That may sound really far out, but in my life, it’s just how it is. I have always been the most productive, the slimmest, had the most money and been the most energetic when I lived in a space that was decorated and organized well. My hope is that this wallpaper will make me rich and thin. (smile)
I’m also not one to wait until I own my home before I properly decorate it. Never have been. I remember gut renovating my first apartment when I was 22 years old living on my own in Boston. While I won’t install something like a new bathroom into a rental, I am willing to work on smallish projects that have major impact. Like paint and wallpaper. And while wallpaper and installation aren’t cheap by any means, it is so worth it to do at least one complete room in a home and/or a feature wall somewhere. I have one wall in my tiny half bath with wallpaper and now, my entryway in giant golden pineapples – and to borrow from Jerry MaGuire – It “completes me”.
Am I crazy? Yup. Positively mad.
But that’s a good thing because crazy people take risks and have more fun. Just like no one ever wrote a song about a skinny flat butt, no one ever wrote a hit song, film script or book about a normal person doing normal things. Bleh. We all crave a little crazy.
Where I’m from (I grew up in South Carolina), a pineapple was the welcoming fruit. It meant hello, we love ya, have some iced tea on our front porch, tell us about your day. We had a brass pineapple door knocker (always). We had a brass pineapple on own living room bookcase because that was the 80s, brass was were it was at. I’ve never not lived in a home without a pineapple somewhere – until now. I gave away my gorgeous white ceramic pineapple to a friend before I relocated to Germany and I’ve missed having it around. Seeing one always made me think happy thoughts associated with home and love. My fruity talisman. And now I have a billion of them! The moment I step into my home I’m greeted with an explosive reminder of warmth, welcome and love. Everywhere. It’s bonkers and I love it. When I walk in, my view sure has changed from before…
Above: The view from the main stairwell into our apartment after I’ve opened our double doors.
This transformation was done by removing an ugly unused radiator from the right wall, stripping old wood chip wallpaper off the walls and replacing it pineapples and getting an inexpensive pendant from a local shop, handmade in Thailand. Now I can’t wait to finish the room with furniture, a rug, coat hook, etc. I’ll show you the finished room soon! But doesn’t it make a huge difference to add a little wallpaper?
Designer: Aimee Wilder
Wallpaper: Piña Sola
Note: You can order a sample, single roll, double roll, or a gorgeous sheet of it if you don’t want to wallpaper with it but frame instead which would be gorgeous. Please note: I didn’t install the paper myself, I hired out for the work, so if you ask me questions about installation I’m not your girl. All I can say is that this is the most gorgeous paper and in person it’s even more stunning than in my snapshots.
I’d like to thank Aimee Wilder and her team for sponsoring this project by donating this beautiful wallpaper. I contacted them with my idea and they were so supportive and lovely, which gave even more good energy to the project. Thank you ladies!
SO DO YOU LIKE IT?
(images: holly becker for decor8)
I love the gorgeous wallpaper care package that Abigail and her husband Ryan from Abigail Ryan design in Belfast sent over yesterday! I immediately tore into the pretty box (which was wrapped in wallpaper) and upon seeing their samples, I literally gasped. I love these hand-illustrated papers and the fresh and fabulous colorways. I immediately thought, “neon pink washi tape!”, so I grabbed a roll and stuck them to my wooden cabinet so I could show you how stunning they are. I think neon really works with these papers so if I were to design a room using one, I would definitely have a neon accent somewhere in the room.
Inspired by flowers, Abigail hand-illustrated four wallpapers using two patterns and four colorways: Flamingo, Powder Puff, Maraschino and Margarita. I love how vibrant these are! Abigail and Ryan Bell started their company based in Ireland back in 2009. Their products are sold at Liberty in London, Fenwick on Bond Street and have been featured in high end design mags like Elle Decoration and Livingetc.
They’ll be launching their Spring/Summer collection, which includes this wallpaper along with throw pillows and table linens, at Pulse at booth LP58 (wish I could go, this will be an amazing show!) from May 12-14 so if you are in London, do head over to Earls Court and pay them a visit. And in a few weeks, they will be available online so bookmark their site and visit them towards the end of May to place your order! I just ordered 4 rolls for a project, I’ll show you the results eventually… :)
What do you think? Which is your favorite?
(images: holly becker for decor8)
Are you still loving the whole wallpaper comeback? I remember when it first started regaining popularity again around ’04/05 and I was just getting started as a decorator and freelance journalist. Today, the trend is no longer a passing phase but in full bloom and seems to have real staying power. I was writing a piece for Oprah.com about wallpaper and trends, etc. and came across the work of Flat Vernacular in Elle Decor and had to show you this gorgeousness. Are you familiar with Flat Vernacular? I wasn’t either until this morning and now I really dig their work. Check out what founder, Payton, did to a bedroom with her STICKERS below- yeah stickers, lovely, right?
You can see more of this NYC townhouse here. Yowser! So cool! Payton Cosell Turner lives in Brooklyn and is the granddaughter of the late sportscaster Howard Cosell (I remember him so well growing up with my father watching sports on tv). She is also the lady behind Payton Cosell Turner Design (mostly wall stickers) and co-founder of Flat Vernacular, a bespoke wallpaper company that she runs with artist Brian Kaspr.
I was really drawn to these patterns (wallpaper) from FV below… Fun and funky! I don’t know if I’d have these in my home, it really depends I guess, but my mother had metallic gold wallpaper just like the first one shown below in our living room when I was a little girl, I remember her picking it out with her interior designer who later became her best friend and a huge decorating inspiration to little me back when I was around 6 years old. I never forgot my first home or the design of it – my father designed it and had it built and my mother hired a designer to help her decorate it – it was split level so we had 4 levels of living space. I just remember loving it so much because my mother loved that home – she had so much passion for decorating, gardening and landscape design as well as all of the flower arrangements she made, oil paintings she did to adorn the walls and her bold color choices of avocado, red, black, gold and indigo blue. She had NO fear. That’s a good thing, I think, to have no fear when decorating your home. To just go with it. I think Kelly Wearstler does that in her designs and while they’re not for everyone, you can’t help but think she is the coolest lady on the planet for executing such (often) outrageous ideas with so much confidence. My mother was the same, she was confident and just went for it and to think she was only 31 years old when she was hiring an interior designer to help her pick metallic wallpapers makes me smile. I love that.
From that Elle Decor story about Payton, I also happened to find Juell, whom I featured in my earlier post today. I love the web, so many beautiful things to find made by some exceptionally talented people. These wallpapers above are so dramatic – total statement makers and very edgy – love it.
What do you think? Can you imagine using any of these patterns in your home? Would you stick a million stickers to your wall to create a pattern similar to the top images? All I can think about are my old collections of Mrs Grossman’s stickers from the late 80s!
(images: elle decor/flat vernacular)
I can’t stop thinking about my walls lately. This past week I was hired to work for a major client on an advertising campaign here in Europe, so I had to do a lot of shooting using my home as a studio space. It was SO much fun and worked out beautifully, mostly because I made some nice backdrops for the walls, etc. but I kept feeling really discouraged with my ugly raufasertapete walls. I know you have heard me complain about this before, but in Germany nearly every rental property is coated with raufaser – it’s this super dated and tacky wood chip wallpaper that, while it may have been popular during the Bauhaus period, I vote we move on and have smooth, normal walls in rentals. That way, it’s easier to paint or paper over them and apply things like decals and washi tape (particularly fun in children’s rooms). Smooth walls are also so easy to clean and maintain. Plus, raufasertapete tears super easy. Here is what it looks like.
Raufasertapete makes me cringe for so many reasons, but mostly cosmetic ones. But there are also the problems you run into painting it. You have to apply 3-4 coats, sometimes more depending on how deep the color is, because it just soaks in your paint color like a sponge and a lot of times, the color isn’t so even when you are finished which is particularly noticeable if you’ve used a really dark shade, like charcoal. If you want to clean raufasertapete you can spot clean it, which takes a long time, or you can paint over it which is what nearly everyone does – paint over dirt, stains, smudges, candle smoke, etc. I don’t want to sound snobby but paint over dirt? No thanks.
While I singlehandedly cannot change what people want to put in rental property here, I keep thinking about what I can change in my own rental home without getting in hot water. We are looking to buy a home now, but the house hunt will take years and I’m all for future thinking but you also have to love where you live today and for me, the one big thing that makes me love my home less is the raufasertapete everywhere. Thankfully, the landlord didn’t put it on the ceiling in the four rooms in front of the house, but in the hallway, kitchen, guest room, master bed, both baths and my husband’s office, she put it on the ceiling too – which just makes it look like those equally bad “popcorn” ceilings in American. Thankfully, my ceilings are SOARING so you don’t really notice it at all but still. Such a shame to see this cheap paper in a gorgeous period home built in 1900. Why do people devalue their property and take out the charm just because it’s a rental property?
So I’m thinking a lot about ways to camouflage it, especially since more and more magazines want to hire me to style for them and shoot in my studio, and because I’m shooting my next book partly in this space, so what can I do? I cannot learn to live with it. I tried for 3 years and I cannot change the fact that I think it’s the ugliest stuff on the earth. Sure, it’s white and you don’t “see” it unless you are photographing against it – but when you style shots you mostly are styling against a wall if you are showing art or photos or shelving, etc., so the wood chip ‘bumps’ are super visible and even appear grayish and cast odd shadows and some days, it even goes a bit yellow in the sunlight.
I thought to use wallpaper, though my landlord says I cannot paint or wallpaper my walls, but I think that is very unfair given what we pay for our apartment so I’m thinking to speak to her again. I want to do remove the raufasertapete and hire someone to smooth out the walls and then paint them in muted Farrow & Ball colors (nothing dark, I really dislike dark walls). I wonder what she’ll think of that? I’m a little afraid to ask! And I would only do it if I didn’t have to return everything back to the way it was when we rented it – meaning, install the raufasertapete all over again. No way, I would never do that, the smooth walls are so much more beautiful and easier to wipe clean and only make the property more valuable and gorgeous.
I was also thinking to spare the expense and headaches and leave the walls as they are and just hang murals like the ones shown in this post from Anthropologie, or buy wood panels and create some wood backgrounds behind my bed or sofa, for instance… Or mount some plywood on the wall above my sofa and wallpaper it, or or OR! I just keep thinking, what can I do!?
I think, aside from learning German, raufasertapete is the most challenging thing for me since I moved here – thankfully I love German but not the wood chip paper. Our last apartment had it too. I just don’t get it. And I just don’t want it!
Any opinions to share?