Wallpaper. There was a time when it was really “in,” heavy floral patterns and hard-to-remove glue adhesive tormenting future generations who had the task of removing it when wallpaper became really “out.” Anyone who’s spent countless hours tearing strips of wallpaper off walls and repairing the damage left behind is likely now traumatized, those unlucky individuals leading the charge of design enthusiasts who have their feet firmly planted in the only use paint club.
“Wall coverings can run from very affordable, to more expensive based on thickness and texture of the material.” – SHAY EDWARDS
Shay Edwards of Shay Edwards Interiors wants to change all that. She wants to end the silent battle between the wallpaper and paint lovers and show, through her impeccable design, that both can live under one roof and elevate a home’s design aesthetic to an entirely new level….and not leave any irritating glue behind. The wallpaper that swallowed your house in the 1970s was simply printed paper with no coating, which meant it wasn’t easily washable and required harsh glue to apply.
“When people think of wallpaper, they think of it as being permanent,” Edwards says. Wallpaper these days is often covered with a vinyl finish that allows for easy cleaning and is applied with an adhesive that is easily removed when the time comes. “You don’t even have to repaint your walls when you remove these new wall coverings,” she says. Most importantly, wallpaper often isn’t even called that anymore – it’s wall covering. Take a moment to leaf through a few sample books and you’ll see why. Gone are the days of matte paper and visible seams that don’t perfectly match up the repetitive floral or pinstriped pattern. The fabric, texture, and style of modern wall coverings are what sets them apart from their older counterparts, shimmery patterns and touchable embossed designs transforming walls into statement pieces in any room.
And, because they are now viewed like works of art, wall covering designers are as well known in their industry as Michael Kors and Stella McCartney are known in theirs. Schumacher, Ronald Redding, and Candice Olsen are among Edwards’ favorite designers, their metallic patterns and textured damask styles adding a finishing touch to any room that shows confidence in the design. Most importantly, beautiful design isn’t necessarily cost-prohibitive. “Cost is all over the board,” Edwards says. “Wall coverings can run from very affordable, to more expensive based on thickness and texture of the material.”
Visit Edwards’ home and you’ll see that she lives what she loves, her dining room an example of timeless design with its textured cream and white branch-patterned wall covering that makes you want to reach out and touch it. Surprised at the difference in design preferences within Kansas City, Edwards says that her clients in Johnson County often request to see wall covering options, but clients in the Northland tend to shy away from it. Because everyone wants their home to reflect their personal style, Edwards hopes to encourage more of her clients to be open to the idea of exploring something other than a color wheel of paint options that, although fine, offer very little in terms of design aesthetic. Because every home is as unique as its owner, Edwards enjoys creating designs that extend clients’ personalities into the rooms that they live in. The first step is to forget about the burnt orange floral pattern on your grandmother’s walls and realize that wallpaper has come a long way. Edwards is sure that, if people take a moment to open that sample book and give it a chance, they might just be surprised by what they see… and what they might love.
This article was written by Tiffany Westphal Killoren. It originally appeared in the July/August 2015 issue of North Magazine.