Adrienne Neff: Handprinted Wallpaper

General / People / Products / April 1, 2015

A background in interior design and an ear to the ground led Adrienne Neff to wallpaper design in 2009.

But hers is not just any kind of wallpaper, and it certainly features no ordinary designs.

Neff recruits gifted artisans to carve patterns into blocks of rubber, 27 by 20 inches square, then coat them with paint and print them onto panels of paper, three, four or five yards in length.

“It’s very labor intensive – the process needs the right artisans with experience, who are comfortable working with the blocks,” she says. “The work ebbs and flows – I have several artists in the workshop, three to four people running around, at any given point.”

Her color palette is inspired by nature, with hints of mountains, water and the enduring themes that recall the Japanese decorative arts from vintage kimonos she favors.

“The dark blue and granite gray background is one of the more popular, and people really love pale soft colors like the jagged agate and Yamanoma,” she says.

Her clients – architects and interior designers alike – can select any two colors for the look they want. As color trends change each year, her palette follows; she also offers custom colors, so a designer can make it his or her own.

Wallpaper, she says, is an excellent way to transform a room without tearing up a floor or replacing the furniture.

“You can isolate a wall behind a headboard or a sofa, or transform a small space like a powder room or a vestibule,” she says.

Her largest order to date: a recent request for 300 yards, shipped to Hawaii for a master bedroom; the smallest was 33 yards for a powder room.

Prices range from $75 to $140 per square yard, net, to the trade.

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Mike Welton

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