Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Deborah Bowness Wallpaper (2013)

Good morning!

Well, I'll ask you straight out-- how often do I, your humble narrator here at She Was a Bird, get overly excited about something that is crisp, fresh, brand new, as opposed to faded, possibly mildewed, in short stock, or impossible to find? I'll tell you, it's far more likely for me to find something I love in the latter category than the former. However! Yesterday, as I working my way through the September issue of Vogue (the notoriously huge annual volume is 900 pages strong this year!), I came across a diminuitive little feature on Deborah Bowness's trompe l'oeil wallpaper, and you could have knocked me over with a feather. Ingenious! Bold! Gorgeous! Other-adjectives-I-wish-were-used-to-describe-me!

Here, for example, are three panels of wallpaper from her "Collections Collection", which features glass tableware. I'm reminded of Dorothy Draper or Elsa Schiaparelli for how clever and beautifully decorative this idea is-- not just a smart notion, but a stylish one! In the Vogue featurette, Bowness describes Ducamp, Magritte, and the surrealist and dada schools of art as major influence in the same breath as apologizing for the "obviousness" of those style choices. Well, yes! Of course, yes! Don't apologize, Miss, your work is totally aligned with those bright, simple, resonant ideas. I, for one, deeply miss the idea of a playful, while not at all childish, approach to interior design! Why not make it smart and pretty at the same time?

Bowness's work includes full panels of chairs, lamps, subway tile-- as well as cut outs. Don't have time to amass a gallery wall of weird, flea market prints of Tretchikoff and the like? Why not have one of these gorgeous 2D versions to flip your guests' respective wigs as they visit?

We were talking just yesterday about how SPACE is a newly important factor in my design aesthetic. The really fascinating thing about these Bowman wallpapers to me is the idea that you can have visual clutter, while maintaining minimalist space. The same happy feeling I get from seeing stacks of magazines and old picture frames can be cunningly recreated with two dimensional counterparts that charm without sucking the air out of the room.

Filing cabinets stacked to the ceiling? Why, yes! Please!

Clocks, clocks, all you can carry:

I think this would look cool under the chair rail in a kitchen or dining room:

And who knows! Maybe I would change my mind about books everywhere if they were an art installation rather than a physical manifestation of my compulsive buying habits!!

At $50 a yard, this is definitely high end wallpaper, but gosh! Look how cool it is! Maybe it's like those gorgeous handbags and shoes the article itself was neslted amongst....a luxury that might well be worth saving up for....

What do you think? Have you seen anything in a magazine lately that really just took your breath away for how interesting it was? 900 pages of Vogue, and this is the one thing that left me wowed!

That's all for today, but I'll catch you all here tomorrow. Have a great Wednesday! Til then!


  1. I had to read this twice to figure out that it's not vintage wallpaper!! Too cool. I love the *idea* of wallpaper but loathe the idea of stripping it years later when I get sick of it.

    1. Haha, every once and awhile I throw a wrench in the system by going modern! I agree about stripping wallpaper-- we spent SIX. HOURS. doing the kitchen when I moved into the house I'm in now. NEVER. AGAIN. I'm intimidated by wallpaper but if I got some and put it up, up it would stay, that scraping process is for the birds!



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