How it’s Done (Part 3)

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a million.  Watch silk screening in action.

Wallpaper History :: Political Wall Coverings

Political themes emerge in wallpaper’s recently history. First, Andy Warhol’s most famous wallpaper depicted Chairman Mao with a purple face, simply repeated. Like his cow wallpaper, the pattern challenged traditional notions of wall coverings with strong color and bold composition.  It also created a strange discord between the poppy colors and the unlikeable political figure.

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Then we have the Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, known for his bright colors and fanciful, absurd renderings. With mushroom, eyeballs, and happy flower characters, Murakami evokes political themes associated with the atomic bombs that dropped on his home country. Like Warhol, he creates an intriguing (even disturbing) effect by matching such serious political themes with such an optimistic, energetic color palate.

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Nick Peters picks up where Murakami and Warhol left off. Several of his images mix World War II bomb imagery with innocent, even childish, fruit renderings. He also uses wallpaper to investigate the current political situation in Russia. After meeting Putin for the first time, George W. Bush said, “I looked the man in the eye. I was able to get a sense of his soul.” Peters patterned those eyes, adding hammers and sickles.

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Political wallpapers certainly do not appeal to mainstream taste, but they do provide an interesting outlet for activism. They also serve as yet another example of the thin line between wallpaper and fine art.

Floor Patterns

As a pattern enthusiast, I love graphic designs on the floor as much as on the wall. Here are some rugs that caught my attention recently, from Loloi Rugs and from my personal design hero, Jonathan Adler.

Rugs not only increase the cozy-factor of a room but also accent any colors and patterns you already have. Rugs can bring rooms together or they separate areas of a larger space. They provide a great outlet to express your design sensibility, and they are one more opportunity to add patterns to a space.

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How It’s Done (Part 2)

While many people are familiar with silk screening as an abstract concept, the process of turning a digital image into silk screened wallpaper is admittedly mysterious- and amazing.  Here’s an overview of the process.

First, we e-mail our digital files to the printing facilities.  The image is printed on special plastic paper, called film.  Then this crazy machine uses light to burn the film onto silk.


The silk screen allows paint to seep through to paper below only where the pattern should be. For a pattern such as our “Blackbird,” there may be two screens.

Paint is poured and distributed evenly…


And finally, the screen is washed with high powered hoses.


And voila!


Every Day Patterns

The more I keep my eye out for patterns, the more I am struck by the enormous variety of ways in which they appear.  From wallpaper to fabric, rugs to book covers, posters to building facades, patterns differ in style but always create a distinct, highly energetic style.

Here’s a table at a coffee shop, which not only has a pattern carved into its surface but also shows a mirrored image (in shadow) on the floor.  I took the photo with my new iPhone- many more of these to come…

Wallpaper Exhibit

The Whitworth Art Gallery at the University of Manchester is hosting what looks like a fantastic wallpaper exhibition.  If you’re in the area, check it out, and if not, here are a few highlights.  Thank you Tom Slaughter for alerting me!





Better Homes & Gardens…and Wallpaper

Better Homes and Gardens Book Cover

Whenever I want inspiration, I open my “Better Homes and Gardens Decorating Book,” published in 1961.  Boasting over 300 color illustrations, the guide mixes amazing photos of mid-century modern spaces with practical advice that still holds true almost fifty years later.

Today I’ll point your attention to the idea of patterning ceilings.  As Better Homes & Gardens points out, wallpaper on ceilings is smart when you want to lower a too-high ceiling or call attention to an unusual shape.  I would also add that wallpapering a ceiling adds an unexpected twist to any room and asserts a confident design aesthetic.  Depending on the style paper, the effect can range from edgy/cool to traditional/formal.  But no matter the aesthetic, ceiling wallpaper declares that you care about your space and demonstrates that you will make sassy choices to enliven it.  Remember: no risk no reward!

BHG Patterns Intro

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Cavern hits the Netherlands



We just sold some rolls of wallpaper to our first client in the Netherlands.  Arnhem to be exact.  Once again, loving that global village.

Today Arnhem, tomorrow….

Enjoy the long weekend!

Everything’s Coming Up Patterns

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New York Magazine recently covered patterns in their Fall Fashion Preview.

Whether its wallpaper, fabric, or any other medium, we support the pattern revival!

Restaurant Wallpaper




A restaurant’s choice to wallpaper can be its single most effective design decision for two reasons.  First, restaurants and stores must quickly establish a design identity that is felt and understood the instant anyone walks in the door.  Especially for street-side establishments (such as this one), wallpaper effectively separates the interior space from its surroundings by presenting large swaths of color and pattern.

Secondly, restaurant wallpaper gives patrons a comforting sense of establishment, permanence. People like regular destinations- places to return to and share with friends.  Like a menu that changes by the season but always maintains its trademark dishes, wallpapered walls suggest a long-term commitment, as if to say, “this place is here to stay.  Get comfortable.  Enjoy yourself.”