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Posts tagged ‘wallpaper’

A super-sized chrysanthemums mural

Floral wallpapers on the whole can look really twee and old-fashioned  and not necessarily in that funky retro kinda way. But, they don’t need to. Recently I added this incredible mural to the main wall of my bedroom and it is stunning.


The image is an enlarged and cropped version of a 19th century Japanese photograph by Ogawa Kazuma. The much smaller original is part of the collection of one of my favourite places in the world: the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. For years that wall was blank. I didn’t know what to do with it. It was the first thing I saw when I woke up in the morning and it left me uninspired and some days even unhappy. Not a good way to start the day. And then I stumbled across Surface View . . .


Surface View is a UK based company which owns the copyright to numeorus impressive collections. You can select what you like and have it custom sized to fit the specifics of your requirements. The mural came in three large panels and the expert craftsman and decorator, Matthew Collins, installed it. The walls were painted in Porter’s Paints Triple Led Grey in distemper, which has an incredible velvety chalk-like texture.


Two warnings though, Surface View is totally addictive and you can fritter away hours on their site and once you discover distemper there is no going back to low-sheen, wash-and-wear finishes. But that is the subject of another post!





Am I happier now? Absolutely! But the right wallpaper and paint can do that to me.

Styling Emilie Smith

Photos Kate Challis and Emilie Smith

My Love for Interiors Magazines: Australian Vogue Living January/February 2014

I love interiors magazines: World of Interiors, Belle, Living etc, Real Living, Dwell, Elle Decor, Lonny, Adore, Wallpaper, (inside), House & Garden, Inside Out, Architectural Digest . . . you name them and I read them or, more aptly, I read them!

A year ago I invested in an iPad mini with the idea that I would subscribe to these publications online and have access to inspiring material whenever I needed it. What happened instead was that my 4.5 year old took charge of “Mummy’s Eye-a-Pad” and it’s now full of Pixar movies, Ninjago games and reading apps. For him 30mins of screen time is a treat, for me the last thing I want to do when I am relaxing is to look at a screen. I know it is terribly old-fashioned, but I take more pleasure in flicking through a magazine and earmarking pages I love. Most e-mags don’t let you tag images and import them into Evernote, or app of choice, for later reference. While I assume the publishers’ reasons for this is to limit the digital dissimilation of their products in the hope that consumers will pay for content rather than download it for free. The problem with this way of thinking is that it prioritises the suppliers’ needs above that of the consumer. So, in the short-term I am sticking to hard copies of magazines. I also love that I can give them away to friends or my local op-shop for someone else to look at and be inspired by.

Given the relatively small size of the population in Australia, we have a disproportionally large number of interiors magazines on offer. In fact, Australians read more magazines per capita than any other nation. I do my best for the country and help out as much as I can and one of my favourites is Vogue Living Australia. When I recently returned from overseas the  January/February edition was waiting for me and here are my highlights

A stunning flower photo shoot styled by Glen Proebstel . . .


The North Fitzroy home of metal worker artisan Anna Charlesworth . . .


A lush mood board of foliage . . .


An iconic Dale Frank painting in the Perth of Chris Lyon . . .


A breath-taking renovation of  a 19th century house in a coastal town  in Victoria by Tim O’Sullivan of Multiplicity which superbly combines the old and modern, sleekness with texture, history and nature. Known as the Drift House, it is a rental property. It has inspired me to find an excuse to go to Port Fairy for a long weekend for a visit.


A simple Scandi kitchen of Danish jewellery designer, Charlotte Lynggaard . . .


A breath-taking display of De Gournay wallpaper in the home of Wheels & Dollbaby founder, Melanie Greensmith . . .


A masculine, earthy, 19th century inspired study  . . .


Rushcutters, a restaurant to visit when next in Sydney . . .



This is not a sponsored post. I wrote about the January/February 2014 edition of Australian Vogue Living, because I adore it and wanted to share some of the love.

What do you like looking at for inspiration? Blogs, magazines, pinterest, instagram? All of them? None of them? Or something completely different? I would love to know.


Ascending into the Clouds: Fornasetti’s Nuvolette

Recently, the fabulously talented Matthew Collins wallpapered the entire stairwell of my house in Fornasetti’s Nuvolette. It is, oh, so beautiful. Something incredible happens when wrap an entire room in wallpaper . . . you are subsumed.


After years of being considered passé, wallpaper has made a huge comeback, especially as feature walls. While these can look great, it usually ends up appearing timid . . . lacking in confidence. You  loose the impact and the transformative quality that wallpaper can bring. I say, commit yourself fully, throw yourself in and paper an entire room. You won’t regret it.


Ahhhh, who knew that some paper stuck to a wall could make me this happy.

Photos are mine.


Grit and Glamour: the new look for Unico Hair Salon, Melbourne

As I move into interior design, I am finding less and less time for my blog. While I love what I am doing, I am really missing posting regularly. So with my new found resolution to post more often I thought I’d start by sharing my latest project.

It’s a revamp for of a tiny salon for Unico Hair in Degraves St, a gritty little lane way in Melbourne.


Ok, now here are some before shots.

UnicoHairSalonBefore04 UnicoHairSalonBefore02 UnicoHairSalonBefore05 Unico Hair Before

 And here are the after shots.



The most transformative change involved covering the walls with an exquisite wallpaper from Merci Paris, a concept store in the Marais. Entitled “Brooklyn Tin Tiles”, the paper features a realistic photographic image of a pressed metal tile that has been aged with peeling paint, rust spots and cracks.




The next step was designing the all important lighting concept. I teamed up with Volker Haug, a leading Melbourne- based lighting designer, who creates industrial/glam lights. We eliminated basin boredom by installing one of Haug’s lights, Famous Five, made up of spectacular Edison Spherical bulbs. In the shop window we installed one of Haug’s Mega WOW lights in green.

Everything else was painted black, from cabinetry to counters, wooden floors and splash back tiles so the wallpaper and the lime green products really stand out.

Photos: Derek Swalwell

Cole & Son launch more Fornasetti wallpaper

This week Cole & Son launched their second range of Fornasetti wallpaper by the Italian design studio of the same name.  The hand-made paper showcases drawings by the Milanese artist Piero Fornasetti and celebrates the centenary of his birth. The range consists of 13 different designs in a variety of colour ways. Be warned though, they are quirky.


You can select from Edwardian flying machines, bizarre sea creatures, surreal dark rain clouds, gold keys hanging in dense foliage, wide-eyed owls, Pietro’s collection of umbrellas, walking sticks and riding whips, super-sized fountain pen nibs, promenading monkeys, architectural features as well as trompe l’oeil niches which reference the Renaissance masterpiece that is the Duke of Urbino’s Studiolo. There are both vertical and horizontal papers. The idea being that you can mix them together to create your own fantasy. For example, clouds can be combined with balustrades or climbing monkeys with umbrellas (as seen above).

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Barnaba Fornasetti recalls that “Pablo Neruda once described my father as the magician of precious and precise magic and I think that this decorative collection beautifully captures the magic essence of the Fornasetti world”.

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I adore using unconventional and unexpected elements in design that make you smile and add fantasy to your life.

The papers are wild and I am longing to use them. Would you or are they just too mad?