The room doesn’t just exude luxury. It seems to exhale it, filling the space with majesty. Magnetism. Magnificence. But even with super-luxe fabrics and exquisite furniture pieces…even with priceless art and attention to every detail within the room…there may still be something missing if the frame of the space hasn’t been properly addressed.
And we’re not talking about paint. Today’s luxury homes are increasingly eschewing slathered walls in favor of high-end applications that adopt classic themes, modern interpretations and everything in between. We looked at four luxury trends that will have your walls talking this year.
Classic Luxury Wallpaper
Chinoiserie dates back to the European aristocracy of the 17th century, and its popularity today remains every bit about royal heritage, bespoke elegance and timeless appeal. The hand-painted wallpaper from de Gournay is revered as the industry standard, showcased in some of the finest homes on earth, and is soaring in popularity even outside of more expected venues.
“The broad subject matter of the wallpapers and the diverse techniques we use in their creation mean they inhabit both historic and contemporary environments with ease — often pairing elements from both styles to great effect,” says Harald Donoghue, spokesperson for de Gournay. “For example, a traditional, 18th-century chinoiserie motif might be painted onto a background of tarnished silver leaf, custom colored to resemble rose gold.
“Every single panel of our wallpaper is painted entirely by hand, which means we regularly work to specific briefs outside of current interior trends, each one beautiful and diverting in its own way,” he continues. “However, more recently, the metallic effects we can apply to our existing chinoiserie and Japanese, Korean and scenic motifs never fail to capture clients’ imaginations.”
Contemporary Vinyl Wallpaper
Between the subdued yet rich color palette, the plush materials of velvet and marble and gold accents, and the Serge Mouille light fixtures, it’s hard to know where to settle your eye first at 51fifteen Cuisine and Cocktails in Saks Fifth Avenue…until it lands on the enormous graphic flower that seems to be coming to life right on the wall. The design, and everything else in the talked-about Houston restaurant, was the work of “It Girl” Nina Magon, owner of Contour Interior Design, and it showcases how contemporary wallpaper can transform a space.
“We used a large-scale Wall&decò super graphic vinyl wallpaper to echo the blossom ceiling lighting theme in the entry of the restaurant,” says Magon. “This dramatic wallpaper created the illusion of a three-dimensional pattern that added depth and color to the restaurant design. When used in the proper manner, wallpaper can really change the personality and design of any space. Not only does it provide an eye-catching, large-scale pattern that creates impact, but it actually makes the rest of the room easier to design.”
Leather. It’s sensual when worn, and that goes for clothing and walls. That may account for the demand for fine leather tiles in lieu of other luxury wall coverings. With different shapes, sizes and compositions, it’s possible to create a textural mosaic that brings a distinctive touch to an upscale room.
“Discerning clients demand their interior designers create unique spaces that reflect their lifestyle and personality, and that applies to wallcoverings,” says Paolo Timoni of IMAESTRI, who exclusively handles U.S. sales for leather wall tile leader Lapèlle. “To help interior designers meet the demand of highly sophisticated clients, Lapèlle has created unique leather tiles that offer unprecedented quality and flexibility, with 14 collections, each with different textures and finishes and available in a range of at least 15 to 20 colors and in 14 different shapes and sizes.”
Scientists believe that paintings depicting seals on Spain’s Costa del Sol are the world’s oldest works of art. Forty-two thousand years later, murals remain a popular artistic expression — albeit with exceedingly more sophisticated techniques.
“Murals were among the very first interior decorations, as seen in prehistoric cave paintings,” says renowned custom artist Paul Montgomery, whose work is showcased worldwide in luxury residences and hotels. “We have always been tuned into nature, history, architecture and landscapes.”
While custom murals and larger-scale design have experienced a recent resurgence among luxury clientele, Montgomery says it’s not about chasing trends. “Classic designs cannot be improved upon, just reinterpreted in thoughtful and exciting ways. The fact that these pieces are less intimidating than they once were, partially thanks to advanced techniques that allow many of them to be hand-painted in the studio and finished onsite, is also a factor.”
By Zachary Chase
This article originally appeared in the spring 2017 issue of Homes & Estates.