Thursday, 10 February 2011

Thinking about wallcoverings

This morning was pretty mellow as I caught up on design magazine reading (the March issues of House Beautiful and Elle Decor both arrived yesterday), weighed in on versions of the staircase railing design, chased the plumbing estimate for the master and guest bathrooms, and provided details for a wallpaper estimate.

We're waiting on two insulation quotes and have been talking about getting the wallboard and plaster quotes, as well as paint quotes.  Mention of the paint quotes made me jumpy when I realized that I'd need to choose all the wall finishes before we asked for numbers.  Most of the rooms will be painted, but there are a few areas where I'd rather use some kind of wall covering.  I need to identify those areas so that the painters don't include them in their pricing.

The three places I've chosen for non-painted finishes are the walls in the common entryway of the building, the walls of our powder room and the ceiling above the open staircase to our bedroom level and above the adjacent hallway. 

For the walls of the common entryway, I want a midnight blue fabric that has some texture and probably sheen.  All along I'd been thinking of some kind of velvet - linen or perhaps silk.  When I was in New York a couple of weeks ago I visited one of my two favorite fabric stores and gathered a couple of swatches.  None of them got me really excited and the prices certainly aren't give-away.

Last week I visited a local fabric store with a huge selection of upholstery fabrics.  The prices were significantly better and they had an incredibly broad range of silks, but not much at all in the velvet department.  So I started to think about using a silk dupioni.  This was the darkest blue they had in stock, but they can special order a darker version.

Hard to photograph.  I think it's a bit too purple and also a bit on the light side, but it definitely meets my "textured and shiny" criteria.  And the price is great compared to the velvets as well.

Moving on to the second space....  Ever since I visited a wonderful feather store in Las Vegas, I've wanted to do a room where the walls are completely covered in feathers.  Crazy-sounding, I know, but the stuff is just so beautiful I want to be entirely surrounded by it.  My long-suffering boyfriend restrained himself from uttering an immediate refusal and instead requested that I make a sample panel with the material, thinking that then I'd see that it would be terrible.  No problem!  I ordered the feathers, got a plywood panel at Home Depot and set to work with spray adhesive.  Minutes later, I had the following:

The feathers don't cover the area quite as generously as I'd anticipated (the first photo shows an area of about 1 foot square) so it would be pretty expensive in a large space, but in our tiny powder room, I think it will work perfectly.

The last room where I intend to use a wall-covering is on the ceiling in the third floor hallway.  The idea is to bring some life to a windowless area with lots of books and to suggest the hopefully wonderful indoor/outdoor spaces that await at the end of the hall (the "courtyard" master bathroom, the head house and the roof garden beyond).  I want something really lush and intricate and realistically colorful (branches in brown, leaves in green, etc.).  It would be great to find something where all the flowers are white, too, since the outdoor and indoor garden rooms will have all white-blooming plants.  I looked at floral fabrics in NYC and here but nothing  my world.  My mind kept going back to de Gournay's fabulous murals but I'm sure the prices are stratospheric.  Instead, I'm inquiring into alternatives.  This is the kind of thing I have in mind:

 So far today I've resisted visiting the building.  I want to wait until after the crew goes home so that they'll have had a full day to make progress on the installation of the headhouse windows.  Can't wait to see that space!

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