The other day, I was shopping for fabric and came across something hideously wonderful. Almost a week later, I still cannot decide whether I hate it or kinda-sorta love it. Imagine a creamy, nubby, organic fabric. Got it? Okay, now imagine it printed with creepy drawings of nudists, muppets and pimps. Yep, that would be what I am talking about.
Some design-related inventions have so much wow factor that they force you to think outside the box. For example: anything Kelly Wearstler. Other times, conceptual designs are best categorized as crazypants suckmasters.
Here’s that fabric I was talking about, by the way. Wow? Or suckmaster?
When my graphic designer, Ashley Bothwell, created this Up Dog pattern as wallpaper for a yoga studio, I instantly fell in love with it.
At first, it reads as a simple, graphic pattern. But look a little bit closer and see that the shapes are made up by several figures of women in yoga poses. Perhaps what makes it so successful is its less-is-more approach.
Anyone else see anything that’s totally “out there” yet awesome? Or something that’s equally conceptual but terriby awful? Do tell.
Interior designer Doug Meyer papered the walls in his NYC rental apartment — literally. As in, he and his brother/design partner Gene installed 2,398 sheets of 8½-by-11-inch paper everywhere for a dreamy, if dizzying, effect.
Photo: Floto + Warner
I especially admire this print-motif in the bedroom, which Gene explains was their twist on wallpaper dating from the 1400s. That early wallpaper was comprised of small squares of paper that had been printed with wood blocks, but even if Warhols existed back then, I kind of doubt anyone would have thought to add one to such a rainbow riot. It’s like Marilyn is starring in a new movie here: Some Like It Colorful. You have to see the rest of the wild “wallpaper” in Meyer’s apartment on New York Magazine‘s site. I swear, you’ll never look at your kids’ construction paper the same way again!
Maybe I’m still feeling the vibe of Virginia Johnson’s quirky watercolor illustrations from The Perfectly Imperfect Home, because this watercolor wallpaper by Karla Davison of Black Crow Studios is dazzling me right now. (Our own Emily Henderson pinned this on Pinterest, so I know I’m not the only one crushing on it.)
It’s “art” that makes your whole wall the canvas! The hazy colors and the dramatic swirls would look breathtaking on a large scale, and how much fun would it be to run wild with this palette in a room? I’m a lover of all wallpaper, but I think this one’s a masterpiece.
What do you think? Would you put this painterly paper on your walls?
Here at HGTV, we get to know each other’s design taste and sensibilities pretty well, which explains why every so often I will get an email like the one I got from my co-worker Marianne yesterday, which said: “My fellow wallpaper loving friend, have you seen this?” The link she included sent me to Minneapolis-based screen printer Kick.Stand.Press’ website, or more specifically, to this gorgeous Organic Compounds wallpaper.
As a wallpaper hound, I tend to gravitate toward really graphic prints or cheeky twists on classic patterns, but I love the simplicity of this paper’s basic shapes and color palette. (And wouldn’t it look whimsical behind the bench of my dreams in my fantasy vestibule?) I know there are some wallpaper haters out there, but also consider that there are tons more uses for wallpaper than simply jazzing up a wall. For instance, you can cover an old vanity, or fake a tile backsplash with it. You can frame it, make gift tags and bookmarks out of it, or cover tin canisters with it. (There’s a great book, Wallpaper Projects, that has tons more crafty ideas like this, too! Check it out.) While there isn’t a good wall for Organic Compounds in my apartment at the moment, I do have tons of old books and journals that I’d love to cover with this stunner.
Lately, I’ve been spending a good amount of time in Los Angeles for “work purposes”. And when I say “work purposes”, of course I mean to have lunch with big-shot designer and producer friends, then drive around aimlessly looking at Hollywood Hills mansions. Well, aside from these grueling tasks, I’ve become familiar with a designer who has kinda-sorta taken the Hollywood design scene by storm, Michelle Workman.
When I first discovered Michelle’s work, it was in the pages of Veranda for a full spread on her design of Jennifer Lopez’s home. My jaw hit the floor. Not from over-the-topness or mind-blowing high energy color. More for her understated, elegant take on Hollywood glamour. If you’ve ever thought about going Hollywood in your own home but were apprehensive of it being too, well, much, I suggest you check out Michelle’s work. Also, if you like Jennifer Lopez, I suggest you check out Michelle’s work. Now, take a look-see.
Michelle Workman is a California-based interior designer known for successfully blending glamorous Hollywood style with understated traditional elegance. She is also good at walking fast. Earlier this year, we traversed a seven-city-block power walk from Starbucks to the Design Star offices. She got coffee, I got hot apple cider. And when I say hot apple cider, I mean a donut.
In this project for Jennifer Lopez, Michelle masterfully layered different shades of gray to create a soft, serene environment that borders on being colorless. This layering idea is an excellent alternative to more expected neutrals such as cream or taupe. So the next time your significant other shoots down using hot pink or turquoise in the living room, pull out your power back up: charcoal and dove gray.
Elegant materials and finishes are often seen in Michelle’s spaces. In this dining room also done for Jennifer Lopez, Workman incorporated many touches of light and airy feminine elegance: the modern(ish) crystal chandelier, a metallic relief damask wallpaper, pure white draperies and upholstery in ballet slipper pink tones. For anyone considering going pink in their home, keep in mind that pinks with lots of gray undertones are a great way to sneak in color without a space becoming a bubble gum factory or a nail salon. An excellent pink paint color for understated elegance is Primrose Petals from Benjamin Moore.
One Model Management asked us to design an inspiring apartment that would be used temporarily by different models during their time in New York. The apartment was a white box to begin with, but once we got our hands on it, it wasn’t that way for long!
The kitchen was very open but lacked proper storage. To remedy that, we headed to the Bowery in Manhattan — a street known for its restaurant supply stores — and purchased an industrial kitchen cart. The cart acts as an island for cooking as well as storage for pots and pans.
Our main objective was to create an inviting environment for the models. Most of the girls staying in the apartment don’t know each other and have come to New York City from all over the world. To personalize the space, we created amazing custom wallpaper with Flavor Paper. The wallpaper is a collage of head-shots of all the models at the agency interspersed with blue flowers. You can do this with your own photos to make truly unique wallpaper. The design can be created from a mix of different photos or one over-sized photo. Try it!
We really went crazy with wallpaper and brought in different patterns, all in the same blue color family for the bedrooms to really tie the whole apartment together and make it cohesive.
As a designer, I find that I’m more inspired by the past than hot, new trends. I love exploring designs that have stood the test of time. My job is to make them new again. Toile has always been a favorite for me. Painted scenes that tell a story are the essence of this 16th-century French decorating pattern. I did a deep dive into the history of toile in preparation for AphroChic’s Brooklyn Renaissance Collection, studying how today’s designers are updating these traditional treatments with contemporary stories and colors. Here are a few of my favorites. Designs that are completely reshaping the way we see and use toile in interiors.
The Parisian company Manuel Canovas has the most beautiful Toiles Collection of fabric and wallpaper. The designers at Manuel Canovas demonstrate just how beautiful toile prints in mod colors like fuchsia and paprika can be. It’s French design in a whole new light.
When I came up with idea for the modern toile for our Brooklyn Renaissance collection, I knew I wanted something completely out of the box. My husband and I worked with Brooklyn-based artist Samantha Hahn to create the Brooklyn Life Indoor toile that tells the story of young women living in Brooklyn on a really fun and fantastic (if I do say so myself) pillow.
A particular design by Sheila Bridges greatly influenced my Brooklyn Life toile. Her Harlem Toile de Jouy Wallpaper is so unique, presenting baroque scenes of “Afro-French” people. It comes in a range of hues like yellow, robin’s egg blue and cherry, and it is certain to brighten any interior.
I know some of you out there are not too keen on the whole wallpaper trend, but maybe this darling Ohoy Wallpaper from the newly-launched Fine Little Day shop will change your mind? The story behind the nautical paper is as sweet as the print itself.
The scratchy handmade charm comes courtesy of designer Elisabeth Dunker‘s young son, Otto. How brilliant that she recognized the then 8-year-old’s talent and turned his drawings into to-die-for wallpaper and textiles! The seascape would be perfect in a kiddie bedroom, of course, but I think it could make just about any space, dare I say it, shipshape.
I’m still not over Cole & Son’s Woods wallpaper. I know, it’s been done to death in magazines and on blogs, and is like “so 2006,” or whatever, but I don’t even care. There’s a store in my neighborhood that uses it on an accent wall, and I swear I always end up in that store just so I can bask in it. That’s how much I love it. Alas, I’m a renter and wallpaper ain’t cheap, so I kinda gave up the ghost on having some Woods of my own. Until I saw Inhabit’s Timber hanging slats.
Bingo! It’s like someone made Woods for renters. I can hang these beauts in my bedroom, guilt-free! Better yet, if I ever move to a large space that needs some definition, I could use the panels as room dividers, too. Now, if only someone would come up with a rental-friendly way for me to tile my kitchen…
Looking for tasteful wallpaper that still has a little bite? I’d say Jenny Wilkinson’s Hammer Head Wallpaper-By-Numbers fits the bill. I know what you’re thinking. “Shark wallpaper? Tasteful?!” But it doesn’t veer into Jaws territory, and from far away, the pattern even looks a bit traditional.
Plus, the paper has a neutral cream background, so you can color it in and personalize it with whatever hues suit you. Why not put it in a playroom and let your kids attack the sharks…with markers?