We have a joke at the LMB Interiors studio that I would wallpaper the world if I could. This passion is born out of a childhood experience. Often, the wounds of our past transform into gifts. Whether it’s a broken heart, self-harm through narrow-minded thinking, family contention, or trauma done unto us either purposely or unwittingly, we can recognize how these ultimately enhance our own growth and purpose if we are willing to inquire within.
Such was the case when my beloved mother decorated our childhood home, and applied a wallpaper in her bedroom that was wrong in every way. Since starting my business twenty years ago, I’ve been on a mission to beautify interiors and apply gorgeous wallcoverings – the right way – to every powder room, bookcase, wall, or ceiling I can get my hands on.
It’s not just my mom who made design mistakes. I’ve certainly looked back on some of the choices I made in my early years as a professional designer and thought, “I’ll never do that again!” My mom didn’t have the luxury of do-overs, though. As a professional, I get to fix my mistakes (at my own expense), but she didn’t have the resources for that. If she did, she might have reconsidered her wallpaper choice.
I was eleven years old and already noticing details in my interior environment. My parents were building a home on a property my dad inherited from his mom in a woodsy neighborhood near Lake Sawyer in Black Diamond, WA. I was enthusiastic and eager to help choose the finishes. The closest design center was a JC Penny in Kent, so we drove there one day to make some selections for our new home. This included deciding on the wallpaper for my parent’s bedroom. I recall vividly flipping through the giant book of designs and being mesmerized by all the options. I flipped through the oversized pages one after another, envisioning how beautiful each one could be. Behind me, I heard my mother take in an excited breath. “That’s the one!” she said.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In her eye was a silver, reflective landscape that appeared to me like a plantation home painted by a color-blind novice. I couldn’t see what she saw, but she loved it, and so off we went with our sample. It was bad enough that the wallpaper was atrocious. To make matters worse, she applied it incorrectly so the pattern lined up horizontally rather than staggered, as it was designed to be. I learned early on the importance of hiring trades who are skilled in their craft. For the rest of my childhood, I bore witness to that decision. (Side note: this is further evidence for why it is so important to have a reliable sounding board via your friend with excellent taste or an interior designer).
As I previously mentioned, within every wound is a gift to be discovered. This experience was no exception. I swore if I ever got to choose wallpaper in my life, I would do so exquisitely and thoughtfully. So thank you, Mom. I am so grateful that you exposed me to appreciating the fine art of making home so I could grow up and do it for others.
Here are a few of our projects where we installed wallpaper to beautify spaces. And to all those skeptics who complain it’s hard to remove, I offer you this: two days of scraping ten years from now is well worth the enjoyment you’ll experience until you find a wallpaper you love even more, or new homeowners decide to replace it. Plus, modern application is easier to remove, and the amount of options these days is beyond belief. Life is short, let’s make it beautiful!
A version of this article appeared in the Piedmont Post