decollage wallYou know I like to collage. In my last class, I learned about collage’s opposite: Décollage. As I understand it:

  • To collage — is to build up layers, artfully letting the various layers show through, for effect.
  • To décollage — is to strip away layers, artfully leaving bits of each layer showing, for effect. Originally, decollage was a “happy accident” — like the beauty of layers of torn posters on a city wall. Later, it was pursued as an art form of its own.

In our collage class, we experimented with purposeful décollage — we would add layers, then sand away. It is so satisfying to sand away! I loved this effect in our little works of art — and I love the effect, large scale, on the wall of Andre’s living room, above. Andre’s didn’t just strip wallpaper to achieve this life-after-the-apocalypse beauty — he painted, then stripped. Again: Purposeful décollage.

Andre, who featured this story on his blog A Beautiful Revolution, gave me permission to show his process here:

decollage wall

andre jordan doodleI discovered Andre’s walls, because Andre draws “doodles” for my friend Margaret’s blog, A Way to Garden. He has written several books. He now also has a shop on, his rugs are gorgeous. What an interesting person. I asked him why he did his living room wall this way. He said:

We are very interested in creating what we refer to as a ‘bohemian decay’ look. We sell many rugs that are worn – i think the trend is now to have a rug that looks like it has been walked on for a hundred years and i think that same line on thinking applies to the original wallpaper – it tells a story, lots of stories about those who were here before us.

This blog — Retro Renovation — is about the “retro”. But there are no prescriptions about how to do it. Can Décollage… Detritus… Decay… make for… Decorating? Sure. In fact, Andre’s Bohemian Decay does not seem too far from Shabby Chic or plain old junk yard style on the Decorating Continuum. I totally understand the aesthetic — raw patina is interesting and can be very beautiful, once you get your head around the idea.

And you know I like vintage wallpaper. ‘Most any way it’s served up.

Thank you for sharing, Andre!

  1. Joan St. Doll says:

    I’m glad to see I share something with such a creative mind. While ripping off paneling on my 100 year-old home, I came upon various wallpaper. I’d stop in mid-discovery. Once when I did reach the plaster, I found in pencil a man’s name. Was he the plasterer or the wallpaper hanger?
    Thank you for placing this article below a current post. I’m new here and love your sensibility!

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