Friday, 10 June 2011

Wonder walls

A little detective story (more of that in a moment) got me thinking about wallpaper this week.  In particular it got me wondering when and why we fell out of love with it.  I'm a child of the '60s and in the modest 3 bedroom bungalow where I grew up, we had wallpaper in every single room, even the bathroom.  Now, I'm not saying it was all that attractive - I seem to remember some velvety flock and some badly-drawn utensils and jars repeating around the kitchen walls - but there was certainly a good dose of colour, pattern and texture in our otherwise ordinary house in a little village in Scotland.

Did it become cheaper to paint?  Did it become too hard to rip off wallpaper when we inevitably changed our minds?  Or did we all lose our confidence and start playing it safe?  Were my parents, in fact, brave and daring decorators?

Whatever the answers, with the seemingly never-ending range of stunning wallpapers out there today, there are no more excuses (and I'm talking to myself here, probably more than anyone!) for not splashing some colour and pattern on our poor Hog-Bristled walls.  Of course I could dedicate a whole blog to wallpaper, but here are a few that caught my eye this week that I hope you'll enjoy ...

First up, some hand-painted heaven from the fabulous Fromental:

Embroidered Nonsuch in (custom) Glacier

Paradiso in Kelly

Sylvaner in Bolero

Blue/green wins me over again with another gorgeous and luxurious hand-painted paper, this time from DeGournay:

Earlham design in part custom colours on Emerald Green painted silk

While I'm on a roll (pardon the pun) with botanicals & birds, what about some Lorikeets from the always interesting Sixhands:

Lorikeet in Emerald City

Or some striking colour and shape combinations from Nama Rococo:
Chateau 66 in Hot (via Little Willow - no longer appears on Nama Rococo website)

Chateau 66 in Kraft (photo by K Kennefick)

Bring the 30s bang up-to-date with this from Graham & Brown:

Soprano in Teal

And of course I couldn't do a post about wallpaper without including Sandersons 50s collection:

Wrappings in Kingfisher/Red

More funky, modern shapes from missprint:

Saplings in Sunflower Yellow with White

Little Trees in English Grey and Cotton Trees in Snapdragon Red

And I just love Lizzie Allen's sense of fun:

You can even create some cool clutter without taking up any floor space with Ella Doran's Stacks and Stripes:

And talking about texture, go 3D with this beautiful Bramble wallpaper from Catherine Hammerton:

And finally, to a classic I return to again and again - the remarkable and fascinating William Morris:

via Historic Style
I got so carried away with all these amazing wallpapers, I nearly forgot to tell you what started all this in the first place!  It was the Ikea Family Live catalogue, would you believe, and in particular, this picture:

I just fell in love with this wallpaper and had to know what it was.  I did some fairly random and aimless internet searching, then had the brainwave to email the editor, whose kitchen happened to be the one featured.  Needless to say, I am sure Lotta is extremely busy and I appreciate that a question about the only thing in the whole catalogue that is not an Ikea product is not quite top of her list.  So I resigned myself to never finding out, but was already inspired to write a post about wallpaper.

In my research for this post, I was leafing through a gorgeous book I have - Wallpaper: The Ultimate Guide by Charlotte Abrahams - and what do I find?  This fresh, colourful and joyful wallpaper that makes me think of spring is by Josef Frank and is called Varklockor.  No wonder I love it ...  

Varklockor wallpaper designed by Josef Frank in the 1940s

Funny how you find what you need when you stop looking. 
Have a great weekend, everyone. Nx

P.S. Just noticed a bit of a bias to UK websites/companies - completely unintentional!


Kate Coveny Hood said...

Fromental is like dream budget wallpaper. I only wish... But you're right - there really does seem to be some fabulous new options out there. I have always preferred paint since I can tend toward somewhat busy decor that does better with a simple background. But I have fond memories of going through my mother's wallpaper samples and picking my favorites. Those of us who fear wallpaper generally turn to fabric. But we're all textile junkies at heart right?

Ms Chef said...

I loved that excerpt from the Ikea catalogue too! All things kitchen ;-) I remember my bedroom wall paper. It was that bumpy textured stuff and I imagined shapes - a bit like star constellations out of the patterns.

Tricia Rose said...

Wallpaper is fine in theory, but in practice patterns irk me deeply and a wallpaper by definition repeats. A fresco would be another matter!

I laughed out loud at your incredulity : 'Were my parents, in fact, brave and daring decorators?' Maybe they were!

Oliver @ Sabi Style said...

As I continue to read your blog today I had to laugh about my last comment - "maybe you will like Miss Print" when there in front of me is some beautiful examples of Miss Print.

Its true then, great minds do think alike!