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Walls | Manolo for the Home - Part 9
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More bringing the outside in

I’m lucky in that I can sit here at my desk and stare out of my window into my extremely green backyard. The plus is that I can see flowers and shrubs and trees and a baby rhubarb and broccoli seedlings. The minus is that I can also see the dandelions. Now, personally, I like dandelions…on other people’s properties, that is. They’re pretty, but give them an inch of your lawn and they’re going to take over the whole thing. Grrrrrr!

Not everyone is so lucky, however, which means that city rats and apartment dwellers have to improvise when it comes to getting a nature fix. There’s not always time to get to the botanical garden or hike the nearest mountain range, but there’s almost always time for a little retail therapy.

Leaf Wall DecorLeaf Wall Decor

Multi-colored metal says fall to me, but it may say something different to you. But at a foot and a half square and two inches deep, I have to wonder how heavy these leaves are.

Golden Leaves 1 by S. Hadley: 18 1/5 x 18 1/5 Print ReproductionGolden Leaves 4 by S. Hadley: 16 x 16 Print Reproduction

Custom framed golden leaf prints by S. Hadley…whoever that is…represent a lighter option.

Wall DecorWall Decor

Is it weird that I can’t figure out whether these are plates or plain old circles? I love putting plates on the wall, even though plenty of them are a pain in the tuckas to hang.

But wait…am I being too literal? Too literally leafy? Personally, I like this:

Green Leaves by Kim Robertson: 22 1/5 x 22 1/5 Print Reproduction

Boring walls? Here’s one solution.

I’m still sick, and I’m looking forward to going back to bed. Perhaps my convalescent experience would be made more pleasant with a few wall decals? The first time I encountered these was surprisingly weddingish–a company I haven’t been able to find again was pushing stick and peel decals. I wondered, at the time, how frazzled site managers would feel about brides and grooms covering their walls, floors, and dancefloors with monograms.

Personally, I like art on my walls…from photographs I took myself whose artistic merit is on shaky ground to Chinese paper cuttings to my crazy glittery Jesus painting framed in red velvet and gold. The Beard bought that last one off the back of a truck somewhere near Mexico! I’ve never considered wall decals, but I’m tentatively open to the idea. Here’s a supercute selection from Vinyl Wall Art, a great online shop in desperate need of a better name:

Just monkeying around the walls


Seeing into other people’s lives

There are few chores sadder than taking stock of the possessions left behind by an older relative forced by circumstance to move into a “home.” The things we gather over time define us in our own minds, but say something completely different to the outside observer. Some people–my mother, for instance–want everything to be new and flashy and modern. To them, anything vintage or outdated belongs in the dumpster.

Me? I like retro anything, even if it’s so kitschy as to be rather…ugly. I wouldn’t want a room full of kitsch, but a few crazy pieces of tacky history here and there can make an otherwise bland a room POP. People who visit say, “Oh my goodness, where’d you get this? My crazy old aunt had one just like it!” A ceramic cat or a crazy lamp really take people back…to spring vacations spent at the houses of grandparents…to their own childhoods. Everyone sees something different.

It’s Aunt Bea’s kitchen, bizzitches! And don’t you forget it!

The story behind this photo and the ones that follow is this: I have a friend whose aunt is moving into a home, and it fell upon said friend to catalog the stuff left behind. His ladyfriend, Jennifer P., took pictures, and I found them to be quite moving.


Bringing back the Atomic Age

Just a tad busy, but in a good way

I like things that look like other things, and this Bradbury & Bradbury Atomic Age wallpaper fits the bill. When I look at it, I see beautiful bolts of cloth…but that might just be the sewing enthusiast in me. The cool thing is, as I see it, that the patterns I drool over when shopping for fabric are being translated into wall coverings and ceramics and more. Or maybe it’s happening the other way around, with the decor sweeping onto the scene first and changing the direction that everything else is taking.

That’s one of my favorite things about design in general–really amazing colors and patterns eventually show up everywhere. When you find a piece of furniture or a yard of fabric that just strikes you as being oh so right for the times or the season or the political climate or whatever, chances are good that it will eventually inspire the people making clothes, housewares, jewelry, linens, and so on.

Paper perfect

Wallpaper has always struck me as a pain-in-the-tush design element. Tearing old outdated paper off can be a long, arduous process if the glue underneath is old and the wall underneath that is pitted. Cutting the paper and putting it into the wall is often a recipe for disaster when you’re working in oddly-shaped spaces. Think about it…how many sitcoms have had crazy wallpaper plots?

And yet, wallpaper is just too, too classy. It’s got all of the patterns, colors, and textures you just can’t get from paint. I want to redo my little cottage in all of the wallpapers below!

Dresses on chairs!Gothy crosses!


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