Thursday, September 18, 2008

Print Prozac




I was so excited to open the October issue of House Beautiful and see an article on "Happy Prints". Because you see, this is totally me. As I'm writing this post I'm sitting in my bedroom, and it's depressing me terribly. The walls are coated in wallpaper primer which make them look cold and sterile. I am counting the days until my wallpaper- yes, a print- arrives so that my bedroom can be transformed into a room that makes me feel chic and happy. In the meantime, I have to get up and run into another room to look at color and my other prints for a temporary lift.

I adore prints that have pep and spunk. I love prints that make you stand up and take notice. Of course I do believe in the old adage to beware of too much of a good thing. In fact, my love of prints has forced me to be a ruthless editor. I've got so many that I would love to use but... not enough space and too little time.

The way I work with happy prints is by toning them down a bit with the use of sophisticated color. Because my other love is color. I absolutely cannot live without it. The irony of it all is that I don't wear color. Occasionally a little pale blue, but mostly blacks and grays. Not only is this practical, but it makes me feel elegant too. But in my home I prefer prints with pizzazz combined with rich color. And when I say rich I don't mean bright, because that's not me either. I'm thinking creamy blues, mossy greens, aubergine, even powdery pink.

Now, I'm not immune to the charms and the quiet elegance of a neutral room. In fact, one of my very favorite Billy Baldwin rooms is one that is rather monochromatic and neutral. But for my own home? It's all about color and prints. Because at the end of the day, that is what makes me happy.



Chinoiserie prints always make me sing, especially those that are not so serious. I have two chairs upholstered in "Ping" (Scalamandre), and they make me very happy.


And all of Sister Parish Designs' prints are upbeat, especially "Chou Chou"


How about Meloire Reverse from Quadrille/Alan Campbell? This might just get your mind off of the economy- at least temporarily!


"Asparagus Plaid" by Brunschwig is such a funny print. While it's not my style, I can definitely see where it might make others smile.


Again, not a print for everybody, but it might be just the thing for a porcelain collector. "Imari Trophy Plate" by Carlton Varney


Prints don't have to bold, colorful, or whimsical to make you happy. I used this Tyler Hall print- "Exeter"- in my old powder room, and it gave the room some flair... which in turn made me happy!

Image at top: A room designed by Albert Hadley- in my mind, the pied piper of the happy, handsome, and understated print. His fabric and wallpaper for Hinson is by far my favorite.

24 comments:

  1. That asparagus plaid was charming and brought back memories.

    When I was in school, I designed "Wallpaper for a Gardener's Child" which was bundles of asparagus tied with ribbons and floating among the clouds. The background was a creamy white and the veggies and clouds were line drawings done in pink or blue.

    Now that I think of it, I also did it in green on white cotton for curtains. Thanks for reminding me of my younger days.

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  2. Congrats on the NY Times Jennifer! Hope your wallpaper is in place soon.

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  3. Ms. Wis- Now that sounds charming. I love the idea of asparagus floating amongst the clouds!

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  4. Thanks Courtney! I think the wallpaper is actually arriving today.. and not a day too soon!

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  5. Funny -I wear a lot of black and grey as a base, but my clothes are generally pretty colorful. However, my home I keep pretty monotone and calming -shades of grey with a few accent colors. I recently introduced some prints with 2 modern paisley throw pillows and am loving them! I need to incorporate more pattern into my home!

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  6. Change- Perhaps we should all post about our wardrobes and our homes- alike? completely different?

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  7. That would be really fun, POC! Interesting to see how people's taste in clothing differs from their homes!

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  8. Oh that Hadley room....it never grows tiresome even though it's jam packed with any number of elements.
    Do admit: is that what's going up on your new bedroom walls?

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  9. Toby- I know- the room is so fresh and vibrant. And no, it's not, but I do love that print! ;)

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  10. Hearty congratulations on the Times article this morning! Well done.

    I do so enjoy your site, even if I don't comment very often. And, I especially appreciated the posting on Sybil Connolly. She's always been one of my favorites and doesn't seem to get the attention she deserves.

    Happy day from both of us!

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  11. Congratulations on the NYT article; cream rises to the top. May I compliment you for your clear prose and crisp thoughts, it's not only the illustrations that delight me and your many readers. Thank you!

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  12. Thank you! I'm blushing right now!!!

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  13. Great piece in the NYT and darling photo!

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  14. Meg- You are being too kind! Thank you :)

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  15. Kudos on The Times mention!!! It's the little things in life that are really big deals, and you so deserve this and all good things.
    Wallpaper gets such a bum rap sometimes, but I love it. I don't love putting it up, but that's what we hire the wall paper guy for.

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  16. Vamp- Love wallpaper, but I don't have the patience to hang it!

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  17. Congratulations on your New York Times write up. It was fun to read your praise. Nice job!

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  18. I was so happy to see you in the NYTimes today; you are one of my favorites!

    One way to use a fun wallpaper that might not work on a big wall or in a room is to wallpaper the closet or the back of a cabinet or armour.

    I just love the Chou Chou and the Quadrille. They never go out of style!

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  19. Jennifer, congrats on the nytimes story. It was great to see one of my favorite bloggers 'in print!'

    -Lana

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  20. I am so glad the NY Times did the article, I was able to find you and your blog. Wallpaper (vintage) is how my business started. I love the pattern of Tufted Buttons you use on your header. Congradulation. I will be checking back daily!!!

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  21. congrats on the nyc times piece -

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  22. Jennifer, I contacted Sister Parish Designs to see if that top photo Desmond pattern was available in wallpaper and fabric, and I got back a prompt email that it indeed, did come in both, and then I got the nicest follow up from Sister Parish's granddaughter, Susan Bartlett Crater. It was a nice touch and I appreciated it. That's my second favorite wallpaper, but I can't afford Zuber!!! I love that print!

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