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coffee + cre8tive {sept 7 ’06}

In my opinion, wallpaper is only as amazing as the person installing it. If good taste isn’t exercised, it can induce vomiting and scare the children. If you want to wallpaper but don’t know where to begin, refer to a trusty friend with great design sense, or hire someone with exceptional style for a quick and painless consultation.
Many decorators and designers are happy to spend a day helping you locate the best supplier, pattern, and installation crew for the job. Most importantly, they can also help you with placement and color. The thought of sugar coating an entire wall with something beautiful, like these beech leaves from House Couturier, totally thrills me. Most other Americans aren’t sold on the trend yet, many complain that we spent the entire 1990’s to get rid of it, and to see it return somewhat defeats the purpose. Given the popular selections of times past, I can see why they’re moaning. Some of it was insane.

The most common complaint from readers and clients pertains to the actual removal of it more than the installation process or costs involved. Others struggle to see past images of oversized cabbage roses or folksy prints with roosters or jumping dolphins on bathroom borders. Flashbacks of tacky 1970’s paper in their childhood home is incentive enough to step away from the wallpaper trend.

We had wallpaper in our home but my mother was smart enough to hire an interior designer when she got stuck on paper selection. The designer, an Italian with exquisite taste, transformed several rooms in our home into a papered paradise. The rooms could have graced the pages of any design magazine back in the day, at least a 1970’s magazine with all it’s gold, orange, green, yellow, blue and white splendor. My great-grandparents on the other hand, that’s another story. They had wallpaper that would induce nightmares. Flowers so bold and out of scale that you envisioned they’d jump out and eat you in the night. Their gigantic floral wallpaper combined with floral linoleum floors (that ultra thick kind), huge oriental carpets and mahogany antiques embellished with lion’s heads and paw feet supporting hand-carved credenzas, was way over the top for a Rhode Island farmhouse. Gladly, I didn’t inherit any of their design genes and I have not once ever slept over at their home. I preferred my grandmothers flower-free abode across the street. She had subtle wallpaper, the kind that won’t eat you in your sleep.

Next enter the renters, those who would consider wallpaper but are prohibited by the landlord to install it. That is where I see myself.

Renters and haters and traumatized children aside, there exist others that can and do wallpaper their homes, taking delight in using decorative papers to breathe fresh life into their space.

Where do you stand? To paper or not to paper, that is the question.

note: fabulous wallpaper link via print + pattern

(images from house couturier)

Posted in walls on September 07, 2006

coffee + cre8tive {sept 5 ’06}

Here’s a creative idea to start off your week! It’s always fun to find new and exciting ways to display things, right? Traditional methods can become quite boring after awhile, but with a dash of creativity, finding an alternative way to show off your things can transform your space into a visually stimulating and appealing place to hang out.
By creating inspirational focal points in your home, guests will linger, conversation will fill the air, and friends will return home with a new eye for their own space. Most importantly, displaying your favorite things (vs. tucking them into drawers or displaying them somewhat incorrectly) makes you feel happier at home, more stimulated, too. Don’t you want your home to sing your song? Your space should tell your story, your home = your life. All of the things you’ve collected and cherished throughout the years deserve a place, whether grouped together on a shelf or dresser top, displayed on a transparent wall mounted shelf or carefully congregated on the fireplace mantle, all deserve a place to shine and be seen.


If you haven’t picked up the September issue of Living Etc (UK) magazine yet, grab it and turn to page 41. There’s this great tip called “Off The Peg” which suggests using a clothes line in your kitchen to display your favorite dish towels. That idea didn’t interest me much, but the thought of using a retractable clothes line did give me ideas for other spaces in the home – over the bed, over the sofa, down a long narrow hallway… I encourage use of this clothes line technique to any room in your home, going far beyond dish towels, to include posters, photography, fabric, even strips of gorgeous wallpaper. Install a clothes line over your sofa, for instance, and clip on 3 bold prints from the International Poster Gallery in Boston (or online). Viola! Art you can rotate without purchasing poster frames.


Living Etc. suggests using a clothes line with metal wall mounts, which I stand behind as well since the look is more contemporary than rope, wood pins, and eye hooks. I would like to see the clothes line extrended across an entire wall, rotating your favorites as the seasons change. How fun! This clothes line and these funky black birds clothes pins are hip and functional, as well as affordable. Gotta love that!

Have you experimented with this display technique in your own home? Do you like this idea?

(images from living etc, international poster gallery, where did you buy that, and
vendio)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, diy, shopping, tips, travel, walls on September 05, 2006

coffee + cre8tive {aug 24 ’06}

Yes? No? Maybe?
I recently discovered this mosaic tile wallpaper from Graham + Brown, and wanted to ask you for your thoughts on this look in a kitchen or bathroom. Do you think it’s a good option for those that may not have the budget to sink into the real thing? It’s available in these cool blue tones, as well as creams, pinks, and various shades of brown.

So, what do you think of this as an alternative to tile? Would you use it?

(images from graham + brown)

Posted in walls on August 24, 2006

ask decor8: Stencil Resources?

After reading my post yesterday about wallpaper and the DIY squiggle idea, decor8 reader Christina Sachtleben wrote in to share a photo of her very own DIY wallpaper project – just add paint and a good stencil and viola! fauxpaper, as I call it (see below photo). I think Christina did a great job, and of course, she gave me permission to post her work for all of you to enjoy and to hopefully become inspired by! Maybe there’s a space in your home where you can create your own fauxpaper?


Christina is looking to take on another DIY project in her home, so she’s wildly combing the web for more stencil resources, this time, plaster stencils. I tried to do some digging for her, and I found the following stencil and/or plaster stencil resources. Some of these places are great, I am really surprised at how easy it is to dress up your walls on a budget. When I think of stencils, visions of apples and chicken borders race through my head. Time to think OUTSIDE of that very small box. Stenciling goes way beyond farmhouse folk art and shaker styles…

Stencil 1 – Sheesh, this place is total coolness. Scroll down the entire page, so many fun designs, I really love the sparrows (see top photo). Deers, skulls, stars, great stencils for gals and guys.

Modello Desgin – Classy place for gorgeous stencils. These people embrace ceilings as being the fifth wall and glam them up to the max. (They even sell kits to create antique mirror effects.)

Stencil Planet – Lots of everything. I really like this idea, only I’d add glass to the top to dress it up a bit more.

Victoria Larsen
– Plaster stencils + more!

Stencil Library – Great source for stencils from Japan to Art Deco and Modern Design.

Henry Donovan Motif – UK based, super selection, unique designs. Isn’t the water chrysanthemum stencil beautiful?

My Stencils
– These folks tend to carry more of the folksy stencils, but the damask stencils they have are gorgeous – so check them out!

Royal Design Studio – Another great site with lots of stencil designs to choose from. I really like the Swedish Florals. After I emailed Christina last night with these resources, she is going with the Swedish Florals as her next DIY project. Hopefully she’ll send in some more photos…

If you have a quick design question, need help finding that special something, or if you’re looking to share photos from a project you’ve completed, please send me an email.

Christina’s DIY Fauxpaper Project – Good job!


(images: Top: Stencil Planet, Stencil 1, and My Stencils. bottom: Christina Sachtleben)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, diy, reader questions, tips, walls on August 17, 2006

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