People quite often ask me what to do with their spare wallpaper. My first thought is 'you have spare wallpaper? My second thought is 'you must be better at wallpapering than me!'. But of course I import and sell wallpaper so am naturally supposed to be good at hanging it......
I have two replies to the question of 'spare wallpaper'.
The sensible answer: 'Put it away in case the wall is damaged in anyway'. You would be surprised at how frequently designs go out of print. So if your beautiful wallpaper is damaged it is quite often impossible to replace it. In fact I am supposed to recommend buying an extra roll for this very situation - but it often just sounds like a hard sell, so quite often I don't suggest it.
The fun answer: Make decorations of course! How cool would you look if your Christmas decorations matched your feature wall? If your baubles echoed your hallway or your dingly danglies reflected the aura of your home? Why you'd be the envy of every Home & Garden writer!
Of course dealing with wallpaper everyday I often request samples just so I can cut them up and often I fail miserably so once again I am forced to be sensible and say 'practice on plain paper first'. Also when using patterned paper it is easy to become a little cross eyed.
One of my triumphs, (I know this because none of my visitors ever comment on my failures) is the wallpaper ball. It looks fantastic and according to my crafty friends is really easy to do. Actually I didn't find it so easy at first, but once I figured it all out haven't looked back. In fact a friend of mine has made a giant one for her kitchen light shade (she made it out of plain printing paper but it would look so much better out of wallpaper of course).
You will need scissors and paper. No glue necessary.
Cut the shapes out neatly. I found that cutting just past the end of the slit gave me more flexibility, but my friend found the opposite, so you may need to experiment a little bit. Use the slits to join petals together. Keep adding shapes, connecting as you go, so that every petal is connected to another on the neighboring flower.
I made the mistake of using one shape as the centre and then adding the remaining shapes around it so that it resembled a 'sun'. This is not how it is done, and it took me nearly eight attempts to finally get it. If you look at the photographs of the ball you will see that it is really connected in groups of threes (difficult to explain but if anybody gets really stuck and needs help let me know and I will post some 'construction' photographs).
I also take great pride in the fact that I placed some of my mothers really ugly Christmas baubles on the inside and constructed the paper ball on the outside giving it more strength and solving the problem of what to do with the ugly 'baubles'. Another idea to make them more permanent is to cover the shapes when they are flat in clear cover seal or contact. I did make a few of these out of plain scrap book paper but they were a little flimsy which is why wallpaper is so perfect.
Here is the link of where I got the original idea from.
I quite often get asked ‘how do I decorate my child’s bedroom on a budget?’ If you're like me and doing it the hard way (had the child first, bought the house second, renovated last) then you now know why people usually do it the other way around. There is something to be said about tradition after all!
Some people spend thousands on their children’s bedrooms and believe me - it is really easy to do! BUT it is also possible to have a stylish nursery with out spending a fortune – you just have to pick your battles. I did a room for somebody recently who wanted to spend about $600 dollars all up. Her theory was the kid would out grow it in a few years and she would have to start all over again. While this is partly true, good choices can ensure that this isn’t a problem. However, the customer is always right and I was up for a challenge. I agreed to take her one but on the condition we were going to have to do some ‘hunting’. If you don't want to spend hundreds instead of thousands – you cant be snobby.
The cheapest way to tart up any room is paint. Paint not only makes a room feel fresh (as well as covering up faults and blemishes) it adds new life and comes in thousands of exciting colours. The problem was my customer didn’t know if she was having a girl or a boy. Eventually we decided not to interrupt the flow of the rest of the house and painted the room in Resene Tea, so that it all matched.
Now that we had a base it was time to spend our money.
I advised her on either a vibrant wallpaper or colourful curtains. Modern wallpapers are designed to be strip-able, which means once you become tired of it, the wallpaper is easily stripped off and replaced with another or just painted over.
The secret of decorating on a budget is to spend up large on one quality item that makes the rest of the room look quality as well. I thought she would go for one of our designer kids wallpapers to do a feature wall, since the room was small she might only need 1 or 2 rolls. At just $80 they would hardly cut in to her budget. Instead she took one look at the newly imported Saffron Craig fabrics and wanted a Roman Blind made out of that. Problem was she had 2 windows and her budget just didn't stretch to that. I also advised her that two blinds in the powerful purple colour she liked would probably over power the small room. But the lady just wouldnt budge.
SOLUTION, we visited a few second hand shops and found an old white Roman Blind that was being given away. Next we went to Spotlight (any good craft shop would do) and for $4 bought some purple felt fabric. Carefully tracing the patterns off the expensive Saffron Craig fabric we transferred them onto the felt and appliqued matching shapes onto the free white blind. We then sewed on a variety of pretty buttons for added texture and fun. A word of advice, this is extremely time consuming and guaranteed to give you an actual pain in the neck, but the rewards can be well worth it! The room now had colour and life but was missing any furniture and we were nearly at the end of her budget.
An option probably not a lot of people are aware of is your local recycling centre. The local one in our town is run by the Nelson City Council and attached to the town ‘dump’. Needless to say she was a bit hesitant but after some selective rummaging, we came away with a tatty free standing wardrobe for $15 and an old cot for $10. The next stop was Mitre 10 Mega who sold me a tin of paint for $10 with a Resene tint of my choice for $5. They also informed us that it was not led based which is great because toddlers have a nasty habit of chewing their cots. She had originally wanted a red cot but a little bit of internet research informed us that pastels were best to encourage sleep! (I have a feeling by this stage she had found out what she was having because she selected baby blue). We then painted the wardrobe and cot in the same colour for continuity. Noticing that we still had a little bit of cash and Saffron Craig Fabric left we decided to make the Roman Blind and lampshade match so ordered in a matching fabric lampshade, which really pulled the room all together. With the last of her money she ordered some cute decals to stick on the wardrobe.
Cute Kids Bedroom
1 x lined large Roman Blind – $450 including installation.
1 x White Roman Blind – Free
1 x Purple Felt $4
Selection of buttons – $4 from the local Salvation Army Shop
Paint for Wardrobe $15 (including colour tint)
Matching Lampshade $120
Decals (wall stickers for wardrobe) $30
Just over budget but the room looked fantastic and the design chosen for the Roman Blind would be suitable right up to ages 10 or 11. She still didnt have a matress (it is recomended these days to have a new matress for each child – so the recylicng centre was not an option in this case!) or any duvets, sheets or blankets (she was hoping to get them at her baby shower).
There are hundreds of alternative ways to decorate your child’s room, local markets, garage sales, recycling centres or trademe and ebay have great second hand items that are begging to be recycled and re loved - it just takes a little imagination. And if you spend up large on one item all the second hand bits and bobs you acquire on the way will also take on a new lease of life.
Recently a customer asked me if I sold wallpaper by the metre. How ridiculous I retorted (I really need to think before I speak). Does nobody appreciate how much it costs to import designer wallpapers? The customs fees? duty charges? International freight? I was on a tirade, until I stopped mid speech.
What do you want with just one metre of wallpaper? The answer may just have changed my life.
She replied decoupage. 'I want to cut up one of your German goldfish wallpapers to do a headboard for my daughters room'.
A headboard! The idea intrigued me. I googled decoupage.
Decoupage - Art produced by decorating a surface with cutouts and then coating it with several layers of varnish or lacquer.
To cut a long story short, I now sell several wallpapers by the metre. I think I am the first one in New Zealand to do so. I dont charge the earth, just $10.00 per metre. Financially speaking it is hardly worth it - but ahhhh the results!
The question remained, what could one make with bits of wallpaper, and what costs would be involved? I went to the Nelson Recycling centre and bought a table for $5. There were quite a few made out of plywood. I think they must be a Nelson Boys College woodworking project. I then used 3 metres of wallpaper, some wallpaper paste and varnish. The total cost for the table came to about $50.00. Check out the picture - there will be more coming as decoupage is my new addiction.
The Insidejust loves Florence. Too bad she is so expensive. I suppose that is the price you have to pay for exquisite wallpapers and patterns made by the victim of an unsolved murder mystery. At $300NZD + per roll its not just the design your paying for, its the enigma.
Whoever killed her did the world no favours, she was simply brilliant. Her brightly-coloured geometric prints and oversized nature-inspired designs make for decadent walls. The Sydney printing company that holds the exclusive rights to her designs guard them fiercely. Although certain noteworthy fashion gurus such as Akira Isogawa and Karen Walker have been permitted to use some of the designs in their work. Another Sydney based company, Cadrys Handwoven Rugs have a Florence Broadhurst Rug Collection which are handmade in Nepal. I think Florence with her love of the avant-garde would approve. What she would make of the $4750AUD price tag, I just don't know ($7000AUD for silk no less!).
The Insidedesperately wanted to stock Florence, but the cost went against our very motto - Designer walls without the designer price tag. I fought with my partner, "change the motto!" I yelled.
But clearly I wasn't being logical. The argument caused me to ponder. Was anybody else out there worthy? Somebody more modern, somebody more cost effective? Of course I don't wish to compare designers, there are no fair comparisons. But the thought took me on a great search.
And I think we found somebody worthy.........
Enter please Judit Gueth, a Hungarian born designer living in Toronto. There are some similarities in style, form and design. Judit's work is beautiful, well crafted and features a graceful fluidity. But the big bonus (apart from being blessedly alive), is her wallpapers are well priced! Well, as reasonable as unique non mass produced wallpaper can be. Even better The Insideare in negotiations to become her New Zealand representation. At last classy walls without the designer price tag. Yes - I can still use the motto.
She even does rugs. I think Florence would approve.
As I said, negotiations are afoot - watch this space.
How does one begin importing wallpapers? It all began one fine day when we were renovating. I trawled the wallpaper shops, collecting sample books to take home. And when we finally decided on one? It turned out to be a deleted line. I decided to try overseas. Eventually I found a small boutique company in Europe willing to send wallpapers to New Zealand. The postage was horrendous. I wandered if anybody else was interested. After advertising on the New Zealand online auction site 'trademe' I was inundated with requests for smaller amounts and different colours. Thus after a ton of negotiation and calls to customs, our wallpaper import business was born. We now import to New Zealand and Australia at just a little over half the price of most chain retailers.