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Wallpaper Woes and Grows

Written by Jaqui Lividini

Having grown up in the 1970s, my history with wallpaper is long and storied. I lived in a house full of it—almost every room. Truthfully, I’ve hated wallpaper ever since.  The impression it left on me during my most impressionable years was not a fond one. It felt busy and chaotic, not the simple serenity I coveted. 

Let’s fast forward several years to when I moved into my current apartment in New York City. After living in an all white environment for decades, I found myself wanting to add some color and pattern into my life. First I started small with accent pillows, upholstery, etc. Then I took a big leap of faith and decided to give wallpaper another try—in the master bedroom no less! And to my surprise, it was love at first sight! When we began planning the beach cottage renovation project, I decided to take it even further and put wallpaper in two rooms: the downstairs powder room and my daughter Calliope’s bedroom.

Powder room wallpaper

The powder room is “intimate,” so choosing patterned wallpaper instead of a pale paint color was a bit counterintuitive. The results, however, are spectacular. We used a bold colored Ralph Lauren nautical themed chart paper, and just as I had suspected it made the room feel large with personality. Years ago I found a beautiful antique mirror trimmed with a myriad of bleached beach shells—it will be the perfect compliment to the chart paper. Can’t believe I’m so excited about a powder room. The power of wallpaper!

Powder room

Calliope’s room is bathed in reflected light from the Sound. We gave her three wallpaper patterns to choose from, all also nautically themed. The colors on each were bold and lively.

Rejected wallpaper

Rejected wallpaper

She chose the one that featured coral, seahorses, and other treasures from the sea.

Calliope's wallpaper choice

The room is all white (even the floor), so the wallpaper colors—blues, lilacs, and pinks—really enliven the space. Long before Calliope came into the world, John and I found two matching twin iron beds on one of our New England antiquing adventures. We knew one day we would have the perfect spot for them. Paired with beautifully quilted white bedspreads trimmed in pink, I couldn’t be happier with the result. Who would have guessed wallpaper would be the centerpiece of not one, but two of my rooms—in a beach house no less!

Calliope's wallpaper and bedspread

I’m so delighted that I decided to take the plunge (pun intended) and revisit wallpaper. Next stop: shag carpets! 

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