Object of Desire – Bespoke Wallpaper

This week’s obsession is not the Royal Wedding for me, but the amazing new wallpapers which I keep seeing everywhere as new designers embrace the digital printing possibilities that are now available.  It seems that interior trends are embracing large scale and bright patterns, and while they may not be for everyone’s taste I love the boldness they offer.

The original bespoke wallpaper in Europe from makers such as de Gournay are exquisite and I have always lusted after a bespoke wall covering.  But they are not cheap, and there’s a part of me that just cannot justify the expense.  But just look at the beauty of them:

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Recently, due to my somewhat obsessive scouring of Instagram and Pinterest, I came across a designer team in New Zealand called Back To The Wall.  These designers do huge digitally printed murals in gorgeous designs, and while they may not have the hand finished painterly effect of a de Gournay, they are still pretty spectacular.

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In the UK, another digital mural company well worth looking at is Surface View.  They have a huge collection of images available to be printed up as large scale murals.  Their botanical and historical prints are pretty amazing and you can go as wild or as tame as you like in terms of design.  But all are large scale for a great feature wall.

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Another favourite who I love is House of Hackney.  They print beautiful designs which are quite intense, sometimes quirky and also designed as a set of 3 panels which can  repeat around a room if desired.

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I used their design Florida Onyx in my renovation of a townhouse as panels on wardrobes and it was stunning.  Who knows, one day I may be brave enough to do a whole room?!

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My ‘Door to Nowhere’..

As mentioned in the last post, the final item left to complete was my door to nowhere.  This the odd doorway/architrave mid way up the top stairs.  A nice, but quite bizarre period feature in the house (?!).  You know that song ‘We’re on the road to nowhere’ by Talking Heads, it has now morphed into ‘There is my door to nowhere’, and I have been so obsessed with getting this area sorted that I just can’t stop singing it in my head….

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The wallpaper I put in it a few years ago had faux books, and I was quite bored.  I ordered some samples of wallpaper to see what I could replace it with.  They were all extremely expensive, and actually when they appeared I didn’t like them.  So I turned to my iPad and starting hunting with the hashtags #quirky.  And this amazing paper appeared via the excellent site Iwantwallpaper…  it is a great site and they have a really good collection of papers.

It’s called Mad Dogs by Holden Décor and there is a monochrome or coloured version.  I decided to go monochrome, as I can always add colour later if I want to with my trusty pencils.  It arrived really quickly, was very reasonably priced (£15.99!  Saved me a bomb!) and took literally a few minutes to hang.  It does not stretch or sag like a lot of papers do when they are left to soak, so lining up was really easy to do.

So there are dogs & flamingoes in hats, boxing kangaroos, drunk toads and a giraffe smoking a pipe amongst other things.  I love it!

Here it is in situ, and I think it suits the grey walls much better than the previous books paper.  Due to the width of the Door to Nowhere I couldn’t help but have to cut into the frames on the vertical run, but I still love it….

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What do you think?  It could be a Marmite situation for this paper for most people – love or hate!

A Quick Kitchen Makeover on a weeny budget

This was a very old kitchen.  It is orange wood, is really tired and the expense of the recent roof-light saga has put a replacement total replacement kitchen on hold.  So I had to do something to make it less hideous for a minimal cost and which was less brutal on the eye.

 

It is amazing what a lick of paint can do to jazz up something in the meantime.  Cue two pots of very dark grey paint – one eggshell version for the cupboards, and another tough kitchen wall paint.  Add some new handles, and nearly done.  New Stainless steel wrapped shelves and hanging rails from Ikea add an industrial vibe to the wall by the sink area.  Total time 2 days, and that was because I was waiting for paint to dry mainly and trying to hand the shelves straight.

But those leaded effect glass doors had to go as they looked so dated – so I took off the doors , (that’s down to my friend Rita who told me to do it – Ta Rita!).  I then painted the interiors of the open units white as they were also lined in garish orange effect wood.  I used a trompe l’oeil metro tile wallpaper on the backs, and marble sticky-backed plastic paper to wrap the shelves.  It looks a TRILLION times better now, and I can relax.  Plus the sticky-backed plastic reminded me of Blue Peter and making things when I was small so I got a nice bit of nostalgia thrown in.

Before…

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After…

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Lamp Black eggshell by Farrow & Ball on the Cabinets

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After…

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Asphalt by Valspar paint on the walls

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After…

 

Total Budget for paint, paper and shelves came in at less than £270.  The handles came from my favourite ironmongery shop Nu-Line in Notting Hill and can be re-used when I get the kitchen of my dreams one day in another house.

Ta Dah!  I am so pleased with the results.  Hope you agree….

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Wallpapering Wardrobes

It’s raining, in August as usual, and I am sitting looking through a window at a waterlogged garden.  So I have a quick moment of calm to post about the cupboards that I mentioned recently were being built.  They were fitted in a day, have a load of space inside and then it was my turn to get going on them.

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Here they are going into the alcoves, this is in the room that has one built in wardrobe:

The room also had a horrible and ugly boiler cupboard, and my carpenters very kindly made me a new door and frame for free, (probably as it was so offensive in the room compared to the new one above!).

Once they were in they just needed a lick of paint.  They are going to be very simple and white so I had a plan undercoat applied in the workshop.  I will post more pictures once I have finished them.

MAIN BEDROOM

The main bedroom was due two wardrobes, one in each alcove.  We went right up to the ceiling to maximise space and brought the cornice around the front of the doors. I had already asked for a specific configuration of shelves and rails in advance.

As you my have gathered, I LIKE DARK WALLS!  This room was painted in the inkiest dark blue called ‘Hague Blue’ by Little Greene – it changes from inky blue to almost black depending on the time of day.  I have left the ceiling, cornice and skirting white along with the window woodwork.  The flooring is very pale too, so light can bounce around as I didn’t want it like a dark tomb.  The cupboards were also going to get a coat of Hague Blue, so the undercoat was in a dark grey to help speed things up.

The woodwork paint was the same colour in their new range of dead matt eggshell which is water-based, and which is supposed to have a very low 10% sheen.  It is also supposed to be very workable.  However, to be honest I was not that impressed with it.  I used brushes for detail mouldings and  foam roller for the flat surfaces and it dried really patchy, even after 3 coats.  Next time I am sticking to normal eggshell.

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See the streaky finish in the panel area?

However, my master plan meant that the finish on the flat panels did not really matter.  I have been waiting forever to use some House of Hackney wallpaper, and planned to set it into the panels of the wardrobes.  I had even asked the carpenters to make them exactly the same width of the wallpaper so there was no wastage, how sad am I?!

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Continue reading “Wallpapering Wardrobes”

Wallpaper – The proper kind…

I saw this today online and had to share… it’s like porn for interior enthusiasts!

I love the old colour, the music, the voice-over and most of all the skills and time involved in making the papers.

I know some papers today are hand-printed and hence very costly, but this film will make me very doubting when perusing the mass-printed wallpapers in the DIY store from now on. No wonder you can see 150 year old wallpapers in stately homes that have lasted the test of time, as they have been made by hand as in this film.  Here is some more footage….

Has anyone ever used such beautiful hand-printed papers in their own homes?