Purdy's Wallcoverings appears in the Arts and Culture issue of Lakewood Ranch Life Magazine.
Whatever happened to wallpaper?
Written by Christy Clark & Joseph Galardi
Patterns so sad that they're laughable.
Textures more suited to a bedspread than a wall.
There are certain elements that can counteract kitchen feng shui. And when it comes to standing and trying to cook—or eat, for that matter—there is nothing more disturbing than staring at a wall covered with nausea-inducing wallpaper. It not only affects the proper chi flow, but when it comes to preparing a nice plump chicken for dinner, by all means, your walls shouldn't remind you of what it looked like before you served it for dinner.
At this point flashbacks from your childhood home pop into your head—that white-hot, glaring flourescent bulb has finally caused you to realize that the time has come to retro fit your "vintage" kitchen for the 21st century. That requires getting rid of the obnoxious paisleys, eagles or fuzzy velvet flocking found covering your walls—instead make way for faux finishes, glazes and stenciling.
As tastes and design have changed, so has the use of wallpaper. In the 1970s, groovy earth tones in brown, avocado, yellow and orange flowed freely on walls in free form patterns. The 1980s brought the height of big hair, spandex, women with extraordinarily large shoulder pads and "Dynasty" fashion, but also the advent of embossed paper in formal dining rooms everywhere. In the 1990s, it seemed bouquets of flowers bloomed readily on walls everywhere. And what about the country look? Herds of cows and gaggles of geese could be seen in many a country-inspired kitchen.
But we have to credit the Chinese. As history recalls, they were the ones docked for inventing paper. No sooner was it invented, they found a way to ingeniously stick it to their walls—and history accounts for such a trend with the Chinese to have originated some 200 years B.C. Today, the traditional use of wallpaper has seemingly diminished, and new techniques have evolved as well as the new name: wallcoverings. Alison Garcia of Dream Home Interiors says wallpaper as we know it isn't being used as much. It is losing in popularity to paint techniques such as faux finishes, glazes, stenciling and special effects, she says. There are various other products the home design market lends itself to as well. As for the wallpaper, Garcia says that it has taken a totally new form. "Wall coverings are now being manufactured using natural fibers and grass cloth. We can even have coverings that have gemstones embedded into it." Sound more enticing? You decide.
The Roaring '20s accounted for the sale of more than 400 million rolls of wallpaper.
Wallpaper or faux finish...What's the question? It's either oneor the other. Wallpaper design companies must have finallyrequired their designers to sit at the kitchen table in front ofsome of these striped, paisley-plastered or over-floweredprints. At last, realization: WOW! That is bad. Moreover, they'vefinally realized the majority of homeowners have converted tofaux painting techniques to replace the paper.
But it's not dead yet. Gina Purdy, of Purdy Wallcoverings in Sarasota, says wallpaper consumers aren't quick these days to say "bye, bye" to the paper.
"Wallpaper has made a huge comeback within the last five years. It's cost effective, and is easy to change, whereas using faux finishes can make it difficult to change the room," Purdy says. "Sometimes what people see on the walls really is wallpaper, but wallpaper has evolved in such a way that you don't automatically say 'that's wallpaper.'"
It boils down to what exactly fits your personal lifestyle and whether you are partial to modern faux painting techniques, or wallpaper, please heed the following advice. Remember to choose wisely, there is one thing you don't want to do: don't leave a bad image "seared" in someone's mind. Searing is for roasts—not retinas! LWR
Jean-Michael Papillion, a French engraver widely considered the father of wallpaper, started making block designs in matching, continuous patterns—thus embarking on the birth of wallpaper.
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