This image in April's Lonny was my favourite - when I saw it my immediate thought was that it I'd probably smile *every* single time I crossed the hall. I don't think I'd ever get bored of it.
And then I read the caption - how true?It led me to doing some research on Zuber wallpapers - turns out they are still handmade in France today exactly as they have been for the last 216 years. Panoramic wallpapers of exotic locations became popular in France just at the end of the eighteenth century.
Back in 2001, Forbes magazine outlined how staggeringly expensive it is - 'A roughly 12-foot square section costs a minimum of $10,000; even a modest room could cost between $20,000 and $30,000' - crisis - I knew I had expensive taste but that's outrageously expensive, isn't it?
Michael Smith's inspired design using Zuber paper in this small bedroom manages to give it a big country house personality.
Only it doesn't seem too expensive when you find out how it's made - first a designer produced a full size painting, which was transferred slowly onto wooden blocks. 'Each block must be carved so as to transfer a different area of colour. The 1000 or more blocks needed for just one scenic could take 20 engravers close to a year to complete.' Zuber has over 100 000 blocks engraved during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.
And then this: 'Given that the number of wooden blocks was large, and that they needed to be applied with exactly the right colours and strictly in the correct sequence, it was small wonder that some of the printers went mad.*'
Can you even imagine that any other wallpaper would work with that incredible day bed?
On a happier note though, the Zuber site explains that the product is an investment, rising in value at between ten to fifteen percent each year. The company advises 'many years later, take off the walls, you just have to search into the Zuber price lists to know its valuation.'
An investment AND an elephant on my wall. Deal.
images: Lonny, Michael Smith, Four Seasons Milan, House Beautiful, Elle Decor, Houzz