The wallpaper that changed my life
Every once in a while, you come across a design element that is so beautiful, so perfectly an extension of who you are and how you feel in the world, that every time you see it, you are filled with happiness and a renewed sense of calm and rightness on the planet. For me, that design element is Flat Vernacular wallpaper because—and I do not think I’m overstating things here—it is the greatest thing in the world.
Seriously, I’m not a fancy lady. Nor am I much for expensive objects or slick design, but I do like my surroundings to be just—chaotically, weirdly, vintagely—so. And earlier this year, when we were moving HelloGiggles headquarters to a bigger space (you’ll be able to see more of our office soon in a new home decor column by designer extraordinaire Clayton Doyle) and I found out that, for the first time in my 15-year career, I would have my own office (!!!), I knew precisely what I wanted it to look like and be.
The back of my strange, narrow new office was a sad, plain gray wall and I wanted something pretty and a little crazy and cool-looking to diffuse the corporate vibes. Enter Flat Vernacular. They’re a Brooklyn-based design company that makes original hand-drawn, hand-printed wallpapers. Their designs are fanciful, and sometimes retro-looking, they’re also lovely and feminine and utterly unique.
The company’s been around for five years (it was founded by designers Payton Cosell Turner and Brian Kaspr in 2010) and, in that time, has amassed a loyal, almost cult-like following, with celebs like Lena Dunham among its biggest fans.
It was a tough decision (I also love FV’s Peacock and Perseid and Burma and Flora: Soft Focus and…all of them) but after poring over my Flat Vernacular choices, I finally landed on Full Bloom: Begonia …and things have been pretty awesome since.
I feel happy every time I look at this wall. Other people feel happy around this wall. The wall reminds me of something Goldie Hawn would’ve had in the ’60s (and really what is better than Goldie Hawn in the ’60s?).
When I come in after a stressful meeting or on a Monday like today, I see this wall, my mood lifts and the wall tells me “look at these silly-sweet flowers, everything is going to be OK.”
I read recently that Seinfeld used to keep a picture of the Hubble Space Telescope in the Seinfeld writers’ room, to keep everything in perspective, so the writers always remembered the importance of what they were doing in relation to the rest of the world. The blooming, bright, realistic and ridiculously alive looking flowers in this wallpaper make me feel similarly grounded and connected to the natural world outside.
Here I am in front of the wall posing for one of a series of head shots I had to get for HG (head shots usually make me uncomfortable/give hives):
Here are some of the wonderful HG editors—left to right: Kayleigh and Gina—posing with watermelon in front of the wall. See their happiness?
The wall is great, life is great, we are so lucky to be here and to be able to appreciate pretty, simple things.