It’s finally here! The dining room remodel is done and I’m revealing the new look on TanyaFoster.com. There are only two things I changed in this formal dining room but it is the single largest impact we’ve ever made in our interior design. The elegance of Gracie Studio custom wallpaper transforms this room to extraordinary and breathes new life in to our formal dining room.
If you were to ask me if there was any brand on my dream list of companies to work with, Gracie Studio would be at the very top of my list. I have long admired friends who have used the beautiful, custom papers in their homes. I also admire family run businesses with an eye to detail. That is an understatement for Jennifer and Michael Gracie, siblings who are fourth-generation leaders of the company that started in 1898 as a custom lamp business (see complete history at the bottom). Not much has changed in the hand painted wallpapers created by Chinese artisans and the elegance of the process shines through.
I worked directly with Jennifer in her NYC studio on this project and we pulled in my interior designer Amy Berry to help manage things in Dallas. I quickly get overwhelmed with choices and Amy does a great job limiting my selections to those that will work well with what we already have. In fact, as mentioned in this blog post showing you all the BEFORE pictures of the room, we decided that the two key elements we would focus on is the wall covering and window treatments. Everything else would stay exactly the same. If look at the picture below and compare it to the ones above, you will see that I didn’t change anything else.
Amy pulled 4-5 tear sheets and then I went to the Dallas Gracie showroom in the Dallas Design Center and met with Andrew Gonzales to narrow my choices. The advantage to visiting the showroom is that all Gracie wall papers are mounted on a full panel for you to see a larger portion of the hand painted design. Also, the entire showroom features various Gracie wall paper on their walls so you can get a feel for scale and proportion. Andrew is such a wealth of knowledge including sharing which Gracie wall paper each President has chosen for the White House. Did you know that there is Gracie wall paper hanging in the George W. Bush Presidential Library too. SY-213 Parchment Vista is in the private dining room.
Together we decided that SY-201 Secluded Garden would pull everything together that was in the dining room and work well coming off the formal living room and entry hallway. The beauty of Gracie is that you can customize your selection. We took off the fence at the bottom of the paper design because the room has wainscot and I didn’t want a white fence sitting on top of wainscot. Amy asked to have the red flowers intensified in color and Pete wanted some of the birds to be cardinals as that is what we typically see out our window. Jennifer then asked if we would like to add a personal touch and weave it in to the design. They painted our names and wedding date on one of the leaves to make it completely ours. Can you believe that? How special!
The entire process from selection to install is a 14 week lead time. You can’t rush this job as each selection is indeed completely custom. The installation was a 6 day job and Amy only uses the best – Bobby King, the third-generation owner of Kings Custom Wallcoverings. Again, a family owned business with only the best artisans on the job. Bobby’s son Beau King was also a part of the project ensuring that the 22 panels were perfectly aligned and matched just like the architectural drawing specified. Perfection, I tell you.
In case Chinese Scenic paper is not your thing, Gracie also offers beautiful Japanese scenics, custom American and European scenics, antique wallpapers, metallics and the most gorgeous mid-century metallics you’ve ever seen. They have something for everyone which becomes evident by visiting one of their beautiful showrooms (NYC, Dallas and L.A.). Pete and I loved visiting Mike in the NYC showroom when we were there in September (Jennifer was in L.A. getting the new showroom ready to open). This is an investment in your home much like buying antiques is when decorating your abode. And it is well worth it!
Thank you for stopping by today and letting me share this special project with you. I hope you like it. xoxo – Tanya
P.S. I decided to leave the room without window treatments. It brings nature and tons of natural light in to the room and blends perfectly with the new wall covering.
Photo: Mary Hafner
The History of Gracie Studio
Gracie, established in New York City in 1898 by Charles R. Gracie, continues to be a family-run business to this day. Mr. Gracie began his business in providing custom lamps, often using unusual accessories and vases and adapting them. His business expanded into Asian antiques in the 20’s and 30’s. He collected and sold antique Chinese and Japanese furniture, screens and porcelain.
During the 1930’s, a friend of Mr. Gracie’s, a textile trader, returned from a visit to China with a roll of exquisite hand painted wallpaper that he had discovered in Beijing. Mr. Gracie was immediately enthusiastic. Gracie was the first firm to import handpainted wallpapers since their original creation by Chinese artisans in the 1700’s. A relationship was established with that studio which continued until the Chinese revolution in 1949. The same family has managed Gracie’s studio in China for fifty years.
Gracie’s New York studio consists of a fifteen-person production department skilled in painting murals, producing custom lacquer furniture, and providing museum quality restoration. The showroom features all of the lines described above, and a constantly changing selection of Chinese and Japanese antiques.
Jennifer and Michael Gracie are fourth-generation leaders of their family business. They continue to grow the business through new showrooms and design partnerships, development of new designs and techniques, and a dynamic social media and digital entertainment strategy.
BEFORE (click here for full post)