One of my favorite wallpaper brands (based equally on its name as its designs), Timorous Beasties, has recently designed a line of five patterned tile designs called the Rorschach Tile Collection forclé. Designed by Paul Simmons and Alistair McAuley of Glasgow-based Timorous Beasties, The Rorschach Tile Collection is comprised of five designs inspired by traditional damask motifs from the ninth century. The symmetrical blotches, splats, and drips are creating with hand drawing, marbling, and puddles of ink. The patterns are hand lithographed on 12″ x 12″ limestone or thassos marble tiles. These patterned tiles are certainly statement-making.
I started out by ordering swatches of about a dozen wallpapers. Some were great, others were unpleasant surprises. (Oversize metallic patterns on mylar—no thanks.) My favorite was Timorous Beasties “Thistle Superwide” in black on ivory; no surprise to those of you who read regularly.
Meredith wasn’t crazy about the more illustration-like choices, though eventually “Thistle” grew on her, and she asked about a less bold version.
I liked the idea of doing “Thistle Superwide” in gray on ivory, with Timorous Beasties “Birds’n’Bees” in the powder room. Neither one of us are huge bird fans, but the quality of the papers and the colors look beautiful together. Nevertheless, we decided to hold out for a swatch of the new “Butterflies” paper. We’re still waiting!
I stopped by Jonathan Adler on Newbury to take a look at some furniture and rugs. They had a wall with a console done in “George“. Fab!
Cole and Sons “Hicks Hexagon” | Jonathan Adler “George”
Photo: Mikkel Vang for Domino
Then it hit me: David Hicks “Hexagon.” It’s fresh, but timeless. Daniel liked the blue colorway, but Meredith preferred a more subtle pattern, so I put this together:
S C H E M E 1
Lights: West Elm “Polyhedron” – Sonneman “Castelli” – George Nelson “Pear Criss Cross” – Z Gallerie “Glo” – IKEA “Knappa” Wallpaper: Ferm Living “Ribbed” – Kreme “Chevron” – Jonathan Adler “Greek Key” Consoles: West Elm “Source” – Bungalow 5 “Odom” – World’s Away “Noho”
(Meredith & Daniel’s own octagonal mirror)
* * * S C H E M E 2
Meredith loved the chevron and the Greek key papers, along with the simple gray lacquer console. Many of the pendants I had chosen only used 60-watt bulbs, so we went with a George Nelson; they’re great functionally, aesthetically, and budget-wise. Then I added a couple of other consoles that look pretty with the chevron paper.
I also suggested a bench for around the corner, since there was plenty of room, and with a toddler, quite useful. Here’s the “Butterflies” paper that we’re still waiting to see in real life. Love the green; perhaps for the powder room? Details for the consoles show the lacquered grasscloth finish and nailhead detailing.
* * * S C H E M E 3
The nailhead console was too short, the white too white (plus, no drawer), so the glossy gray lacquer it is. With a pale gray paper and the console’s simple silhouette, I was afraid the finished look wouldn’t make enough of an impact. Although we never discussed orange for anywhere in the apartment, I couldn’t resist adding this mirror. She loved it! Yay! Now we need to find somewhere else to put the octagonal mirror.
* * * S C H E M E 3
And finally . . .
Do you love it? We do!
I love the quirky silhouette of the mirror paired with the clean-lined console. Its curves, plus that of the classic modern pendant, provide contrast against the pale backdrop of the bold Greek Key pattern, while the shape of the console echoes it. And the orange and glossy gray colors really pop. Can’t wait to see it IRL!
If you read my blog post about gray sofas earlier this month, then you know I have sashayed into the realm of decorator. To recap: A friend asked me to decorate her new four bedroom apartment in New York City. There’s no construction, kitchens or baths involved; it’s the paint and wallpaper, furniture, rugs, lighting, and accessories. There are a few pieces making the move that I’ll need to integrate, and the toddler’s room is pretty much set, leaving the master bedroom, nursery, guest bedroom/office, playroom, living room, and dining room.
The master bedroom seemed like the easiest place to start. Meredith is really drawn to this bedroom, particularly the jade color, designed by New York City designer Fawn Galli.
Designed by Fawn Galli
I’m a huge fan of Fawn’s work. In this room, I love the dramatic green headboard and wallpaper with surreal tree forms. However, the bedroom that really spoke to me for this project was the one I wrote about for TradHome, by San Francisco designer (of whom I am equally enamored), Palmer Weiss.
Designed by Palmer Weiss
Some of the differences between the two rooms reflect how my tastes and Meredith’s can differ. She tends to favor curvier, more feminine styles, while I really like more spare, hard-edged lines. Luckily, blue and green are both of our go-to colors.
She knew she wanted an upholstered headboard. After sifting through styles and swatches from Jonathan Adler, Dwell Studio, Serena & Lily, West Elm, Crate & Barrel, Ballard, Williams-Sonoma, Oly, Cisco, Vanguard, and Lee Industries, we chose the Serena & Lily Pondicherry trimmed with nickel nailheads. We haven’t confirmed an exact fabric yet, but it will be white.
For wallpaper on the bed wall, we ordered samples from Walnut Wallpaper, Graham & Brown, Burke Decor,and indie designers’ sites. I didn’t find a jade green—most were sea foam or pale sky blue. She liked several, and we narrowed it to two choices: Grow House Grow! ‘Mme. Jeanne’ and the new Timorous Beasties ‘Butterflies,’ which we have yet to see IRL (in real life).
Master bedroom floor plan
Which decorating scheme do you prefer?
Feel free to leave feedback. Remember, I’m new at this.
Yasumasa Morimura “Dialogue with Myself 1,” 2001 on Timorous Beasties, “Glasgow Toile ” printed linen, 2004.
Last fall, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston opened the new Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art. We went with the kids, in a fit of “let’s get them some culture.”
Turns out one of them had a serious fever by the time we got home. But anyway . . .
I was thrilled to turn a corner to see an entire wall sheathed in Timorous Beasties’ “Glasgow Toile.” I knew that the Scottish designers, Alistair McAuley and Paul Simmons, were talented guys, but I hadn’t realized they had reached such sophisticated levels of recognition. Turns out, their work is also at the V&A in London and the Cooper Hewitt in New York.
I have been meaning to look into how the “Glasgow Toile” fit into the larger exhibition as a whole, as well as the relationship between it and the Yasumasa Morimura painting that hangs on it.
(Yasumasa Morimura, by the way, is a Japanese painter who borrows images from historical artists, ranging from Edouard Manet to Rembrandt to Cindy Sherman, and inserts his own face and body into them. I just read the article in New York Magazine about an African American superstar artist working in Japan who has a similar schtick, but I shan’t digress any further.)
Although many of the works in the gallery have been moved around since my visit, including the Morimura, the fabric is still there, and will be through the fall. What’s on it today? Interestingly enough, Cindy Sherman’s Untitled #282, in which she portrays herself as Medusa.
My own simulation: The Cindy Sherman photo that hangs on the wall of “Glasgow Toile” at the MFA.
This morning, I talked wtih Edward Saywell, Chair Linde Family Wing, Head of Department of Contemporary Art & MFA Programs. He was charming and informative, with an appealing British accent. Although he doesn’t know the TB designers personally, he went to college in Scotland at the time they first set up shop in 1990, and has always been a great fan.
He told me that the theme of the gallery is “Quote Copy Update,” so all of the works in the space are about artists reacting to or emulating prior works of art, sometimes breaking traditions. Some look to the past to create something fresh with new technologies. Saywell says, “The Timorous Beasties ‘Glasgow Toile’ fits beautifully in that context. They looked at the old toiles of pre-Revolutionary France, and effectively created a toile for the 21st century.”
Like Morimura’s work, which is based on Frida Kahlo’s self-portraits, Sherman also looks back into history for inspiration. Saywell points out what now seems obvious: Sherman’s work looks back to the Old Masters. Making it even more fun, he told me that it was photographed for Harper’s Bazaar. He says, “She looks like a sexy centerfold, but has cast herself as Medusa.”
Seywell explains that they wanted to show the Timorous Beasties fabric as something that belongs in the museum in its own right, but they also wanted to get across the idea that since it is commercially available , one is likely to have something hanging on it in a domestic setting. He says, “We could have just displayed the roll of it. . . but we wanted to underline the drama and the excitement of the fabric by covering the entire wall.”
Why am I blogging about this today? One, Timorous Beasties has been on my brain. I just ordered a few samples of their papers—“Butterflies” and “Thistle”—for a design project I’m working on.
Top: Butterflies | Bottom: Thistle and Thistle detail
Two, I was asked to write a blog post about a London store I’d like to visit as part of the launch of the new Shopikon Londonsite and app. Shopikon is a very well-done shopping guide (I know, having written a number over the years myself!), with summaries and photos of the best stores in Barcelona, London, New York, and Vienna (Paris and Berlin to follow).
Obviously, Timorous Beasties is my top choice of London shop. As if I don’t want to get my eyes on this stuff already, Shopikon further lures me in with: “Part showroom and part art gallery, you could spend hours gazing through the collection.” Yes, please.
London-based design blogger (maybe we’ll meet!) Katie Treggiden of Confessions of a Design Geek sent me these images of Timorous Beasties “Thistles” concrete tiles that she spotted at Clerkenwell Design Week. They would be fantastic in a powder room, or in a kitchen with gray-grouted subway tile, installed behind a stainless steel range. These would be especially satisfying to experience IRL (in real life).
Ok, all of you sea and sky lovers, get yourself a wall of wonderful blues and greens in the most amazing patterns . . .
Anderson Jazz Colelction Ogee Damask; Walnut Woodstock; Timorous Beasties; Tres Tintas Barcelona Amapola; Graham and Brown Monsoon Amelie; Graham and Brown Julien Macdonald Dazzle; Graham and Brown Basso and Brooke Chinoiserie; Graham and Brown Basso and Brooke Chain; Sandberg Marlene; Sandberg Neo; Sandberg Kaj; Sandberg Ebba; Sandberg Dino; Sandberg Claudia; Cavern Home Casa; Anderson Jazz Collection Star Flower; Walnut Wallpaper; Bodrum Eyes at Design Your Wall; Sum Underwater Bamboo; Studio Printworkds Recessed by Given Campbell; Flavor Paper Aster Space Palm; Flavor Paper Farmer’s Market; Cavern Home Navajo; Tres Tintas Barcelona Lineas; Second Hand Rose Flock 132; Second Hand Rose Novelty W-16; Second Hand Rose Mylar K-208; Designer’s Guild Kashima; Flavor Paper Sharp Descent; Flavor Paper Onda.