This week’s Wallpaper Weekly is rich in history. Studio Printwork’s paper, “Syrie” is named for the famed decorator, Syrie Maugham, who began her career in London in the early 20th century (starting with an apprenticeship in the early 1910s) and worked up until her death in 1955. She is perhaps best known for creating and popularizing the use of shades of white in interiors. We love that the first (and in fact her only) true all-white room was her own London Drawing Room – which she unveiled to guests at a candlelit midnight party! She clearly had quite a flair for the dramatic (and quite the personality – read more via ArchDigest).
And while she is still best known for this original all-white candlelit room – and for the “Maugham treatment”: striping and painting furniture white – she did implement the use of color in her interiors. According to Arch Digest, “Cecil Beaton remembered leaf-emerald wallpaper [perhaps our wallpaper weekly, no.20??], magenta cushions, Schiaparelli pink” in Syrie designed rooms.
We love this quote by Billy Baldwin from House and Garden, which describes the above pictured Syrie designed San Francisco bedroom of client Celia Tobin Clark – where the use of white was heavy and today’s Wallpaper Weekly – the original – covered the walls:
“The moment I stepped into the bedroom, I was in a fairy tale, my task to find and awaken the sleeping beauty. It was a very tall room, made even taller and airier by the large white bed, whose bedposts seemed to reach to the ceiling — it looked as if the bars had been taken off a giant birdcage. The room was almost square and had an open, delicate, almost ephemeral quality, enhanced by the dreamy fragrance of white petunias blooming in profusion in the garden below. Since there was an adjoining dressing room for clothing, the bedroom’s only real furniture consisted of a bed, with its white coverlet, a few chairs upholstered in white raw silk and arranged on a sculptured white wool rug, a low upholstered silk stool, and a comfortable large wooden bedside table, stripped and treated with glazed white paint. At the windows hung practically nonexistent curtains of unlined white voile. The color — and the only pattern — was in the wall covering, a contemporary Swedish rough linen just this side of white, crudely stenciled with a scroll design in quite a strong grass green. Only white flowers were allowed in the room, but they were, as in all of Syrie Maugham’s rooms, extravagantly everywhere. – Billy Baldwin, printed in House and Garden, October 2001
In 2001, House and Garden in collaboration with designer James Shearron (and assisted by our dear friend, Marisa Marcantonio of Stylebeat!) recreated the Syrie bedroom so beautifully described by Billy Baldwin. Check out Marisa’s take on this famed room and wallpaper.
A couple other rooms of note with Syrie clad walls…
A completely eco-friendly New Orleans bedroom featured in the final issue of Domino Magazine – one which went to help the community in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Yes, the Syrie paper from Studio Printworks is also eco-friendly!
And the booth by Liz O’Brien at the 2011 Winter Antiques Show. (We can confirm she has used a Studio Printworks wallpaper in her booth this year as well – one of our favorite showings from the preview last Friday!)