Thrifty Orla Art

6 Mar

I travel to the UK a fair bit for my job.  (Yes, I have a real job, believe it or not.)  And I am not complaining about the travel because London is one of my favorite cities in the world and one I am certain I will someday call home.  You know, as soon as we finish raising this gaggle of girls and all the renovations on this house.  Probably right before we leave.  Life is funny that way.

Well, during my last trip to London, I made a pilgrimage to my personal mecca:  the Orla Kiely store in  Covent Garden.  The clouds parted, the sun shone and a choir of angels sang as I entered.  It was heavenly.  Oddly set up with two storefronts, one housing purses and accessories and the other housewares connect by a basement full of her clothing and Etc. bags.  (I will also say I visited the New York store shortly after and it wasn’t nearly as fun.  It seemed a little too precious in its layout and staff.)

Orla Kiely, Covent Garden, London

While I was there, I picked up a lovely bag in her Olive pattern on sale and some mugs.  Waking up every morning with my tea in an Orla stem print cup is the best way to start my day.  I also saw some of the wonderful Orla wallpaper all over the store.  Now, you all know how I feel about wallpaper. (Even more about it here.)  It is from hell and I will never ever ever never have it in my house after spending so much time taking down the stuff already on our walls.  However, I really love the prints and tried to think of how to integrate it into our décor.

I noticed they had a small piece of one of my favorite patters, the gray flowers with the green center as featured on the cover of Orla’s recent book, Pattern.  (Exact same green as the family room.) I asked what it would cost to have the piece to which the sales lady responded…’Oh, that’s a sample, you can have it.’ Bingo!  I knew exactly what I was going to do with it.  Frame it.  Orla art.

Then I saw the roll with the classic stem print and cagily said, ‘I am not sure which I like more.  Could I please have a sample of that too?’  But, of course!  I went home with two carefully rolled swatches of (free) Orla wallpaper and carried them on the plane like little precious babies so they wouldn’t get crushed.

Yesterday, when I was on my photo and art hanging frenzy, I got around to this little project.  I knew the perfect frame for it was sitting in a pile of dusty frames in the living room that I had yet to know what to do with.  It was a chocolate brown, which would match the wood in the family room.  I thought black would just be too matchy-matchy for the wall paper.  This was so easy.  I wrapped the wall paper sample around the back of the frame, trimmed the edges and then locked it into place.

I hung it in the family room next to a beautiful photo of all four girls and a rubbing Maeve did for me of the tile on our Batchelder fireplace in our old house before we moved.  The paper lamp is from IKEA and, of course, the books is my Orla Kiely Pattern coffee table (or in this instance bookcase) book.  I am pleased with how it all turned out.

I still have the stem wallpaper to frame and that will go in the living room.  Stay tuned for that post soon.


12 Responses to “Thrifty Orla Art”

  1. artinpublicplaces March 8, 2012 at 6:12 pm #

    Love your sensibility, and frugal approach to turning wallpaper into art. I am a fan of op art wallpaper from 60s MCM. Very Vasarely : )



    • Brandy March 8, 2012 at 9:05 pm #

      Very Vasarely, indeed. Glad you approve.


  2. Pippa March 6, 2012 at 10:35 pm #

    I’m very jealous, thriftyness has paid off very well, love it!

    • Brandy March 7, 2012 at 7:43 am #

      We got pretty lucky with the samples!

  3. Dana@Mid2Mod March 6, 2012 at 8:51 pm #

    Love how that turned out!

  4. Lynne van den Berg March 6, 2012 at 11:52 am #

    Looks great! Now I need to get more current and browse the Orla Kiely store, where have I been?

    • Brandy March 7, 2012 at 7:42 am #

      It’s not that common, Lynne. Don’t worry! I just have a minor obsession.

  5. susie March 6, 2012 at 9:41 am #

    Looks great!

  6. janis - pinecone camp March 6, 2012 at 8:05 am #

    That looks great! I love that pattern. One of my favourites of hers. As for her shop in London, isn’t it beautiful! I could live in there.

    • Brandy March 6, 2012 at 8:11 am #

      I love the London shop. But have you been to the NYC one? Eeek. Totally different not-so-fun vibe. There is a table and chair dining set at Heald’s in the UK that I covet. If only I could get it here without spending a fortune!


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