Thursday, May 7, 2009

Powder Room Pastorale

As you all know, I am partial to wallpaper. Sometimes when I'm driving along Beverly Boulevard I find myself uncontrollably veering into a parking space in front of Walnut. Their gorgeous selection of patterns, colors and textures -- from companies such as Cole and Son, Allegra Hicks, Neisha Crosland, and Osborne and Little -- never fail to set my head spinning (and make driving home an especially tricky task).

But I must confess a mad and desperate love for the cheeky designs of Timorous Beasties. I used "Thistle" in my kitchen, so when my friend Claire informed me she had just hung their "London Toile" in her powder room, I grabbed my camera and raced lickety-split up the hairpin turns to her fabulous home in the Hollywood Hills.

I fell to my knees when I saw it. I know that's rather a dramatic gesture, but it felt entirely appropriate at the time.

From a distance, you expect to see twee scenes of peasants frolicking in an Arcadian garden...
but get up close and you are treated to urban idylls...

...and teenage malaise.

Other vignettes in the pattern depict a Sikh meditating on a bench, a chic mum wheeling a massive Silver Cross pram, a City businessman on a cellphone and a group of rebellious skateboarders. 
I love it because it's a triple threat: modern wallpaper that's also art that's also social commentary. (In perhaps their boldest move, there's also a man holding a gun.) It's subversive, it's unsettling and the images linger in your brain long after you've seen them. One critic recently described their work as "William Morris on acid"; another as "Damian Hirst on Ovaltine."

According to Alastair McAuley, (who, along with Paul Simmons, is one of the founder/designers), "[Some of] the imagery in the French toiles from the 18th century is actually quite shocking. They have scenes of workers womanizing, smoking and drinking. What we've done is update the imagery." 

And again from McAuley: "I guess our typical customer would be someone about our age or a little older [both were born in 1967], perhaps imbued with a punk ethos, who wants their home to express something more interesting than IKEA minimalism."
If you're curious to know more about these two fearless gents, click HERE.

22 comments:

The Squirrel Girl said...

What a wonderful powder room! I've been meaning to find some wallpaper for my hallway (your lovely entryway inspired me) so I'm glad you mentioned some companies with great selections. Thank you :)

pve design said...

Paper and patterns do more than merely cover a wall, they evoke a memory. I love paper in powder rooms where one is held captive.
I also like magazine or book racks in powder rooms too.
pve

Anzu said...

Love their stuff too - very clever. Have a couple of cushions of theirs. The paper looks great in the bathroom too.

Mrs. Blandings said...

Madly in love. No surprise you have friends with fabulous taste.

Sarah's Blog said...

Great wallpaper. And thanks for visiting my blog. :)
xoxo
SARAH

Tricia said...

Thanks for the TB link -- I read the article then downloaded their great "wallpaper" for the Mac. Love my new TB desktop!

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Tricia: How amazing...I must have missed the wallpaper link in the article...thanks for pointing it out!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Oh, there are so many new wallpaper designs out now, and like you, I adore wallpaper! Have you seen some of the new Designer's Guild designs?? And I used the Cole and Son trees in a clients bathroom recently, with antique gothic cabinetry...it was perfect!

I love this toile, and am a fan of Timorous Beasties...right down to their name!

Betty said...

Help! I've just discovered your blog and desperately need to cover a bad faux finish in my foyer. Please let me know the maker and pattern of your foyer paper....exactly what I need!!
Love your blog and many thanks,
BB

Found said...

speaking of edgy toiles, have you seen this?
http://www.studioprintworks.com/files/wallpaper-detail.php?wallId=22
we like.

two hippos said...

What a fabulous room! I had planned to use this very paper in out cloakroom and my daughter decided she hated it, possibly down to the fact that the swatch we received had the chap being held up at gun point! Their papers are fabulous and inspirational, love the idea of them being William Morris on acid!

Glenda said...

Happy Mothers Day


Ciao

royalapothic said...

I too am in love with this print and just covered a trunk in it!

A Super Dilettante said...

This wallpaper is absolute to die for!!

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Betty: It's "Flowering Quince" by Cole and Son.

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

And to Found: That Harlem toile is super lovely, too. Thanks for posting the link!

ArchitectDesign™ said...

OMG -i love that wallpaper! I like that it appears traditional and pretty but then like you said -after a moment you realize it's more interesting than that! layers of interest :-)
Also love that molton brown soap -such yummy scents!

Laura [What I Like] said...

Oh how wonderful! I'll admit that at first glance I wasn't convinced, but I do love that the vignettes are a bit on the edgier side. There's something a tad Hopper-esque about them which I love.

JMW said...

This powder room is lovley - love that wallpaper!

ALL THE BEST said...

LOVE Timorous Beasties! I am in their shop every chance I get these days! I MUST put their Glasgow toile in our bathroom. It's equally cheeky!

little augury said...

I included a link to your wallpaper posts in the blog today. G

wecouldgrowup2gether said...

thats my kindda green. loves it!

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