You know those house tours? The “at home with” posts and “design files” circulating blogworld? I love them, but everytime–everytime–I see one that I think I absolutely have to repost and share with my own lovelies, it ends up being a kids room. I’m not completely sure what that says about me: A lack of maturity? A love of the occasional stuffed creature I just can’t shake? An undeniable attraction to pink, or a devotion to childhood that just won’t fade…In my defense though, take out the tiny, tiny skirts, replace the bears on the cabinet with some stacked sweaters and this room could definitely be adult-worthy. Either this girl’s got style or her mum just took over, but either way they got to this design–I’m in love. That wallpaper is gorgeous. An all-over small print like this is usually too much, but in this room it totally works; and the pops of neon pink and whimsical bobbles on the curtains keep those metallic hydrangeas from sending out old-lady vibes. Virginia Woolf said it’s ok to have illusions–even as a grown-up–so I’m coming to terms with my kids-room attraction as something I’ll never lose….I’d just “acquire others” anyway, and I kinda like this one.
If you know anything about nineteenth century writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s famous short story “The Yellow Wallpaper,” you’re probably wondering why you would ever, EVER take tips on style from a short-story about a room that concluded in driving a woman mad. But, have you read it? Among Gilman’s subtle jabs at the patriarchal society that often misunderstood and misdiagnosed female physiological illnesses during the centuries preceding our own, there is actually a lot of design theory intermingled:
the emotional Impact of your environment
The protagonist of the story is a woman who is seemingly suffering from postpartum psychosis–assumed by the mention of a new-born, the family’s recent retirement to an obscure summer house, and her physician husband’s notions that she must remain quiet and “not think of her condition” of recurrent nervous bouts, uncontrolled crying, and frequent tiredness. While her husband apparently has locked her into a room in an attic to “recover” by sleeping off her mental distress with not much besides a hideous, yellow wallpaper-pattern to entertain her, and a large bed nailed to the floor, she longs to exchange her room for one “downstairs that opened on the piazza and had roses all over the window, and such pretty old-fashioned chintz hangings.” Though she finds herself feeling best when she walks in the garden, away from a room she garners an eerie feeling from, her husband only “laughs at her” when she suggests that the room is making her nervousness worse. The impact her dismal environment was having on her was a severe one. As the story progresses, she also progresses further into madness. Though her husband didn’t understand it, and she lacked the agency to insist upon it, “The Yellow Wallpaper’s” protagonist responded extremely negatively to the decor that surrounded her. And, it’s true, how you feel in a room may not be just “a false and foolish fancy” as the woman’s husband attempted to convince her. It may be that your room needs a bit of airing:
I fell in love with this summer house shoot over on 79 ideas. It immediately made me think of what the woman in “The Yellow Wallpaper” wanted to escape to: a space that was open, light, and the perfect mix of vintage pieces, modern, clean white, and what she described as “old-fashioned chintz hangings.” She sought, and I think would have found in this space, a warmth, expression, and softness that she couldn’t find in a world that left women who struggled to fulfill their roles as wife and mother with little other options or assistance.
Don’t forget the walls
As the short-story continues, the woman’s descriptions of the wallpaper grow continually more bizarre. After reading Gilman’s short, you might be a little nervous about adding wallpaper to your world. But don’t be! Though nineteenth century papers were rather heavy, overwhelming patterns, the wallpaper of the 21st century is definitely something to check out. And though we spend most of our design dollar on the furniture and items that fill our spaces, the woman in “The Yellow Wallpaper” could definitely tell you, don’t forget the walls! they have quite the impact (good and bad!) on your room as well:
**Did you like that last picture of Anthropologie’s “Paeonia” wallpaper? If you don’t feel like spending $148 on your walls but still want this adorable print, check out how I did it myself via this post.**
“The Yellow Wallpaper” is famous for its commentary on the ignorance of the nineteenth century, male-dominated medical community who excused real women’s issues with the idea that women were simply fragile, weak, and incapable; The cure? Force women to languish, discourage any intellectual pursuit, and avoid at all costs the horrors of a woman who would give herself an identity outside the home with her own creative success. Don’t let your rooms fall into the same madness the protagonist of “The Yellow Wallpaper” did. Mix vintage with modern to keep it fresh, don’t put up with patterns and textures that depress you, and if you’re feeling blue in your room, don’t dismiss it, accept it, and make a change!
– <3 A.
sources: “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Gilman, Anthology of AMerican Lit. vol. II, Prentice Hall | images via 79 ideas, sfgirlbythebay, anthropologie, adored vintage.
I had the great pleasure, that ended in the great horror, of walking into Pottery Barn recently and walking out with the realization that, that store could have been a figment of my imagination for as realistic as it was for my life. Everything was so exquisite, and the women shopping there, even more so. Rugged yet elegant, natural yet chic, the store had beautifully combined the usual dichotomies perfectly. Even their salt and pepper shakers were so adorable, it was ridiculous:
Perhaps Pottery Barn isn’t your style, but I’m sure you’ve all had the drooling episodes of walking into stores you adore but cant afford and emerging frustrated and suddenly dissatisfied. Home-envy I guess you could call it- a very dangerous affliction.
The quickest way for me to get over my home-envy, is doing a little DIY. So today, I thought I would share some anyone-can-do-it mural DIY to perk up your home if you too are sneering at your side-table or railing at your rug.
Wallpaper is making a comeback, and, for good reason. Putting a fun pattern on your walls or even a single wall can make a huge impact in an otherwise typical room and with so many modern patterns available, the word “wallpaper” no longer conjures up images of bad 80’s motels and outdated grandparent’s houses. However, wallpaper can be awfully expensive and is notorious for making messes and ruining walls with its super-sonic-sticky glue. So, why not paint it instead?
Step One: Supplies
picture of a pattern you can download or upload onto a computer
a projector that plugs into your computer
Pick a pattern that isn’t extremely intricate, mostly because you will hate yourself later for having to paint in a bunch of detailed lines. I mentioned that you can choose a picture you can download or upload because, the easiest way to do it is obviously to download a picture off the internet. However, my image came from a piece of scrapbook paper. I took a picture of the piece of paper on my phone and then uploaded it to my computer:
After doing our wall, a friend loved it so much she wanted to do it in her home too. She wanted to use a pattern of actual wallpaper she found on the Anthropology website. It was super expensive though, so, she just copied the image, I edited it in photoshop to get a large enough image to project, and we had our template to paint the pattern ourselves:
Like I mentioned before, this image is pretty complicated and was very difficult to paint. She had some extreme patience and a steady hand though and it turned out fabulous.
Step two: Painting
If you have no artistic ability and are looking at this project thinking, “uh, yeah, no way would mine look like that,” think again. If you can color in a coloring book, you can do this. Pull up the image in whatever photo viewing program you use (I use Picasa) and put the settings on full screen slideshow. Then, plug in the projector and point it at the wall you want to paint on, and start filling in the lines.
Easy, yes? You may have to play with the alignment of the projector to get the image in the right place on the wall. As you can see, this only covered half the wall and we had to realign the projector to paint the bottom half. Just line up the pattern again once you have re-positioned the projector and you have a seamless wall.
The other pattern, because it was so much more detailed, was much more difficult to paint. However, the effect is stunning if you have the patience to hang in there.
The best thing about this is that if you mess up you don’t have to scrape off a whole wall of rumpled wallpaper, you can just paint over it and re-stencil. Or, if you end up hating it in an hour, a week, or a year, just paint it away and create something new.
Pottery Barn has yet to infiltrate my own world, however much I wish it too, but I think this easy project keeps you loving your own abode in a super cheap, fun way, and kills that home-envy just a little bit.
Happy Friday to everyone, hopefully this has inspired you to do some fall decorating this weekend. This marks the end of week two of Vintage Muse Modern Views and I wanted to thank everyone who has been faithfully reading along. Don’t forget to head over to http://www.etsy.com/shop/VintageMuses and check out some pretty things. This weekend there will be some pretty patterns added for you to choose from.