When I moved house almost a year ago, I was excited for many reasons (more space for one), but I was very much looking forward to having a plethora of new styling opportunities to sink my creative teeth into. As a bit of background, the front of my home is a century-old cottage while the rear extension is a modernist, much more masculine space. Consequently, I felt the front of the home, with its beautiful original skirtings, architraves and other period details, was the perfect spot for me to indulge my softer, more whimsical tastes.
Cue a wallpaper journey that took nine months as I do like to ruminate! Firstly, when it came to the pattern I didn’t want an obvious ‘repeat’ – I definitely wanted some sort of mural but soon found that while there are plenty of those around, there are plenty of tacky ones too. Secondly, I wanted the design to have a natural element – for while I’m the world’s least enthusiastic camper, I’m a big fan of bringing the outside in. Thirdly, I wanted the wall to have impact and I love how wallpaper, often relatively inexpensively, can completely transform a space.
The hunt lasted several months, eventually leading me to the wonderfully talented Dutch artist Ellie Cashman who turns her paintings into giant wallpaper murals. She paints in the style of the Dutch masters, whom I’ve long been a fan of, but it’s the customisable colours and ability to play with scale that gives her wallpaper a contemporary edge too. Her work is feminine without being girly which is a tough balance to strike.
And while I’d decided on a floral, to really channel that gothic-inspired, dark woodsy vibe I decided to go with Ellie’s ‘Dark Floral II’ in the ‘desaturated’ colourway – I preferred the cooler tones and wanted to drench the wall with as much colour as possible. While I am a big lover of colour, I mostly favour a neutral approach to walls so that I can get carried away with soft furnishings (my husband is constantly bemoaning my cushion addiction for one).
I decided to go with the design in the XL scale – the largest flower is almost one metre in size to give you an idea. I’m a big believer in making a design statement and in my years of hands-on interior design and styling, I’ve noticed that most people are too scared to take risks in their homes. But, in my view, given wallpaper isn’t a hard structure, if you really loathe your decision you can always change it. Wallpaper certainly doesn’t come with the responsibility that, say, choosing a tile does.
Needless to say, I love the wall and I’d even go so far as to say that it’s transportive. During these hot summer days there’s nothing like retreating to my bedroom and dreaming I’m in a majestic European garden enjoying spring’s first flourish.