'80s Wallpaper, Updated: Hand-Painted Interlace

'80s Wallpaper, Updated: Hand-Painted Interlace

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Mark Chamberlain
Nov 14, 2012

I have a project I've been wanting to write about forever, and have been waiting for print exclusives to pass with bated breath. So without further ado…

In my mind I call this "the Larry Hagman Treatment," because there's a scene in Blake Edwards' S.O.B. where Larry Hagman does a phone monologue in front of this outrageous foil wallpaper — it's very Malibu ca. 1980. I made a Snapz shot tear-sheet years ago and have been saving it for an occasion such as this, and here we are. What I didn't realize until we started painting is that when you strip away all the overly fussy detail and reduce the design to it's bare-bones essence, something much more timeless and elemental emerges.

According to Henry Harvard's Dictionary of Furniture and Decoration, interlace is "An ornament composed of cords or bands that cross over and intersect with one another." Its origins are ancient, and it has been used by civilizations as diverse as the Romans, the Persians, the Byzantines and the Anglo-Saxons. Interlace most likely sprang up as an ornamental counterpart to the weaving, plaiting and knotting that was essential to nomadic life, and because it was associated with infinity, it was linked to the divine.

As you see, much of the rest of the apartment is silver and purple, with primary splashes of yellow and blue. I've always had the best luck with a less-is-more colorway, and this was no exception. The basecoat is Ralph Lauren Evening Slipper RM43, a metallic paint that gives this pattern a bounce; the lattice part is Plummett 272 and Skimming Stone 241, both from Farrow & Ball, which is an excellent brushing paint for projects like these.

I'm enclosing the dining room shot because you can see our interlace in the distance, and also to continue to show off the fabulous interiors by Juan Carretero.

For further reading about the interlace pattern, see The History of Decorative Arts/ The Renaissance and Mannerism in Europe, specifically the chapter titled "Interlace," pg 21.

(Images: 1. and 4. Tyson Reist; 2. 3. and 5. by Mark Chamberlain)

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