I am now into my fifth year of blogging daily here at Retro Renovation, and I have to admit: I am astonished that — most often through readers’ help — we together keep uncovering AMAZING designs created by AMAZING people from the postwar era that have received little or no recognition in the design world today. You’da think I’da run outta things to write about already. Not. So.
Au contraire: What a journey of discovery — what a joy — to discover new rabbit holes of beauty, like, every single day.
Yesterday, the rabbit hole was discovered when I posted Suzanne’s satanic vintage wallpaper. Crikey.
Within 40 minutes of my posting, reader Josh had discovered that the wallpaper was “Devil Paper” still in production from Waterhouse Wallhangings.
Within an hour or so, I was on the phone with the company’s director of product development, Daniel Recoder, and gathering the whole larger story.
And my, is there ever a story. In fact, there are several stories… but let’s start with Inez Croom. I went through 15 pages of Google search and found almost nothing about this amazing-sounding woman. Here’s a story about a talk she gave about wallpaper in Tuscaloosa in 1965. Here she is in a photo in Life magazine, sitting with a who’s who of famous midcentury designers; I need to read the story. There is an Inez Croom scholarship at the New York School of Interior Design. Here is her obituary in the New York Times (subscription required); she died in 1980 at age 87. I have some additional, cryptic links to check out; maybe I can find more. Daniel says that Inez Croom’s designs were acquired by Waterhouse a while back.
But, Daniel was able to tell me that she was a very prominent interior designer in New York City in the 1960s. In addition, she designed (?) wallpapers — maybe she commissioned the designs, I have to check this — and ran a wallpaper manufacturing business.
It’s taking me a long time to get to the “lead” of this story, but you got it in the headline: Daniel’s company, Waterhouse Wallhangings, still reproduces these wallpapers today. All of the papers I am showing in this story — and all those on the WW website — have been in continuous production for years.
Now, I am a highly visual person…. and I love to get the real-deal, original designs from the real-deal, original designers… and I love wallpaper… and I love 1960s wallpaper… so my EYEBALLS are popping out of my head at this one.
Now, don’t get mad at me, readers. This stuff is not cheap; I never said this website was only about cheap and cheerful products; I also will feature expensive products, too. This paper is expensive because it is hand-printed on the kind of paper that you have to trim the edges and use special wallpaper paste. It is a specialized business, and folks gotta make a living.
The wallpaper is available only “to the trade” — meaning you must get it from a decorator or shop that has or can set up an account with Waterhouse Wallhangings. This means the price will depend on what your decorator charges you. Here is the list of showroom locations; but again, you could get it from anywhere via a professional.
This paper is so expensive, you are going to want to have a professional install it, as well. No cutting corners. It’s couture wallpaper. Note: Devil Paper is not part of the Inez Croom collection. It is part of another collection also by Waterhouse Wallhangings — it was copied from and 1860s house in New England.
Back to Inez Croom: There are even designs printed onto mylar… and designs using metallic ink.
Daniel of Waterhouse Wallhangings also says that they can work with designer / decorator / clients to customize the colors used in the wallpaper.
Barbara Streisand… Diane Keaton… You are both interior design lovers. Do you want me to help work with you to get some of these gorgeous document wallpapers into one of your houses. I will! I will! We will be BFFs forever, I bet!
I count 47 different designs of Inez Croom wallpaper, available in 92 different colorways on the Inez Croom / Waterhouse Wallhangings website. Daniel says he has more document wallpaper available for reproduction, too — stacks that are seven feet high. Yikes. LUV to infinity and beyond.