Friday, August 7, 2009

Scenic Papers

paul montgomery portobelloimage Paul Montgomery Studio

I am mad for scenic wall murals. Not the faux Tuscan trompe l’oeil disasters you sometimes see featured on HGTV and DIY network, but the beautiful landscape scenes a la seventeenth and eighteenth century Dutch masters, and especially the grisaille and sepia toned works that portray historical panoramas.

de gournay henrietta spencer churchill DeGournay Paper

Personally, I prefer the mural to rest atop a chair rail or paneling of some sort as in this bathroom designed by Henrietta Spencer Churchill.

via Mrs. Howard Personal Shopper charlotte store

Photo via Mrs. Howard Personal Shopper

I was thrilled to see that the new Mrs. Howard store in Charlotte includes this lovely sepia toned mural. I can’t tell if it’s painted directly on the wall or if it’s a hand painted paper; either way, it’s gorgeous and I can’t wait to see how they fill the space!

Update: 08/08/09 - The Charlotte room is a bedroom, and as expected, it is lovely. Thank you to Laurie from JMH Interiors for confirming that the mural is actually painted on the wall--beautiful!

martha stewart turkey hill

image via Martha Stewart website

This mural is in the center hall in Martha Stewart’s Turkey Hill home. It was previously a more colorful scene, and was updated in the last renovation. The Empire style crystal chandelier complements it beautifully.

martha stewart center hall

A view from the top of the stairs. I wouldn’t have expected the railing over the mural to work, but somehow, I don’t mind it.

via cdt

These scenic paintings are a natural fit in a formal dining room, where a touch of drama is always appropriate.

Fiona Newell Weeks photo Michel Arnaud

photo credit: Michel Arnaud

Designer Fiona Newell Weeks selected a lovely chinoiserie scenic paper for this very formal and traditional dining room.

via the Paris Apartment

photo via the Paris apartment

A less formal dining room--this delicate painting reminds me of a beautiful linen toile. Maybe that’s why I’m so drawn to them.


Here, the painting was done directly over paneling. The element of texture that the panel grooves add to the composition is so unexpected and brings down the “stuffiness” factor in the room.

michael smith zuber

A bedroom is also a good candidate for a scenic mural. Here, designer to the White House, and fellow Californian, Michael Smith uses a grisaille paper from Zuber in a small bedroom. The absence of color in the painting results in a backdrop that is more texture than pattern and, although it is a strong element in the room, it does not demand the spotlight.

four seasons maybe milan

From the Four Seasons Hotel in Milan. Do you suppose the scene depicts the Italian countryside?

zuber Les Courses des Chevaux

Les Courses de Chevalier” paper by Zuber. Instead of white or off-white below the chair rail, the designer elected to continue the grey tones down the wall. Grass cloth in a similar shade would work equally well as a wall treatment below the moulding.



Scenic with a modern edge.

de gournay


Here, a grisaille panorama goes tropical.

There are several manufacturers of beautiful hand painted panoramic wall papers that I know of. Zuber, DeGournay and Paul Montgomery Studios all have some beautiful offerings. I’m sure there are others. For wall murals, research decorative painters in your area. If you are a skilled DIY-er I found a company that sells stencil kits that look promising here. I tend to try to do things myself, but I’m not sure that I’m talented enough to pull of a wall mural as beautiful as these. Then again, for the price, it might be worth a shot as the hand painted papers can cost a kings ransom. However they are done, these lovely scenes are a wonderful way to add classic beauty to any home.

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