Off The Wall

The area's most fashionable walls wouldn't be caught dead wearing the same old coat of paint. Here, a runway of ideas with straight-up style.



Paint, this story is not meant to hurt your feelings. We all know your wondrous powers of transformation. We are quick to acknowledge you are one of the biggest bangs for the buck in home decorating history. Your limitless colors have lifted spirits and brightened the face of a listless wall in little more than a few hours' time. But this story has nothing to do with you. At this moment in time, you are old news. For those searching to dress their walls in something au courant, your name never touches their lips.

Wall coverings haven't seen the kind of attention they are currently receiving in decades. "Wallpaper is back!" is just the beginning of the battle cries coming from designers eager to wow their clients with treatments that transform a room without taking up an ounce of space.

Choices in designer wallpapers are dizzying, as those who create them scramble to release new designs while keeping up with the demand for current ones — especially those that involve patterns that are printed or even painted by hand. What's more, Design Your Wall.com takes orders for custom wallpapers. They're a popular choice among celebrities and set designers looking for just the right print to represent a certain era. The site has a remarkable selection of vintage reproduction, silk, rice paper, and velvet flock wallpaper, as well as murals and a new line by artist Cole Gerst designed specifically to cover doors. For the home that has everything, check out Knoll's line of vinyl, linen, and Ultrasuede for the wall.

But wallpapers don't tell the whole story. Even we can't tell it all in 14 pages of papers, woods, tiles, plaster, fabric, steel, and faux finishes. We will, however, paint a totally different picture for walls in need of special treatment.

EVERY WHICH WAY

Made locally, Wallteriors handcrafted wallpapers jump to the forefront of the recent wave of interest in customized wall treatments. They can be hung horizontally, vertically, or in pieces. Triptych (above right) creates the look of a jigsaw puzzle of multi-colored squares. The unique effects achieved with Wallteriors are a result of the colors, patterns, and textures of the papers, in combination with virtually endless installation options. Not sold in traditional rolls, these papers are made to order. Individual pieces can be sized from 12-inch squares up to 3 feet by 30 feet, with straight or torn edges. One popular variation is the "torn random" application, which lends itself particularly well to the more organic designs of the Leather, Granite (see photo gallery), and Limestone collections. Wallteriors offers metallics (Brushed Sterling, Tarnished Steel, Copper Leaf ), Trowelled and Venetian plasters (without the expense and mess!), and Tiger, which reads like watermarked silk.

The papers became a fast favorite shortly after they were introduced in 1984; the collection now includes more than 50 styles. Custom colors are also an option. "These wall treatments reflect my passion for design, offering a simple and cost-effective way to add depth and texture to any room — in ways that exceed all expectations," says creator Hector Romero. The Thom Home showroom at The Atrium in Rancho Mirage, the local distributor for the line, showcases nine papers on the walls (along with large samples of the entire collection) to give designers and homeowners a visual idea of the possibilities. "People walk in and we can see their eyes grow larger as they encounter the walls," says owner Thom Theis. "The level of excitement around Wallteriors is amazing. And the response after it is installed is sheer joy." Many clients start with one wall and find they simply can't stop. The Thom Home showroom - 328-2036.

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