handmade wallpaper – modern versions of an old art form

modern hand made wallpaper studioE

I recently penned a feature on traditional hand painted and hand made wallpaper available in today’s market.  While powerhouses like de Gournay and Gracie are the go to places for traditional designs, today’s companies are producing papers with incredible patterns and textures that seamlessly fit into our modern aesthetic.  I have to say that I’m smitten with the two firms featured today.  I’m regularly pouring through their pattern books to see what I can find that’s new and exciting for my projects.



Based in New York, Studio E are THE masters in handmade wallpapers of Venetian plaster and metals.  When I first visited and was told they can replicate Venetian plaster in wallpaper form, I was skeptical, but completely won over when I examined the product.  They mix plaster with marble dust and then apply it by hand in thin layers multiple times to build up the foundation on the wallpaper.  It is then burnished to create a luxurious smooth surface that has the illusion of texture and depth.  They can customize colors to suit any need and this is all at a fraction of the cost of having a team of professionals decamp to your home for a week to do the work in situ (and let me assure you it’s a fraction of the dust and mess as well!).  The metallic papers are amazing as well and have a fabulous texture where light plays delightfully off the surface.  Imagine a ceiling done in gilt or silver – so chic!



And for a trip to a world more akin to Alice’s Wonderland, you need look no further than British designer Tracy Kendall’s handmade wallpaper showroom in London.  With a background in both fashion and fine art, Kendall’s designs are absolutely stunning and original.  Inspiration can come from anywhere – post it notes; lace and fringe; jigsaw puzzles – I don’t know where she comes up with her ideas, but they are all amazing and sooo cool.  These are bold statements not for the faint of heart.  When you choose a Tracy Kendall wallpaper, you’re looking to stand out in a crowd, but isn’t that what great design is all about?  Who wants their room to look as everyone else’s?  Jigsaw is one of my favorites if only because the 3D aspect makes the tiles leap off the wall.  This could be a great backdrop to a powder room that will make you feel like you’ve just stepped into the puzzle box!!!



Hand painted wallpaper has come a long way from its roots and from the looks of these firms there is plenty still to come!

richard rabel
richard rabel: interiors + art
interior design and art advising
new york city

 image credits: Studio E, New York; Tracy Kendall, London.