5 New Wallpapers That Will Take Your Room Back To Nature
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5 New Wallpapers That Will Take Your Room Back To Nature

Interior designer Michael S. Smith has created a series of new wallpapers for de Gournay.

By Megan Conway
Mon, Aug 30, 2021 11:12amGrey Clock 4 min

According to interior designer Michael S. Smith, certain elements involved in decorating have the feel of magic. Among them he counts wallpaper, with its ability to lend flat surfaces the illusion of depth. A new collection of five wallpapers of Smith’s own design launches this season in collaboration with de Gournay, a British company that specializes in custom, hand-painted panels. “It’s all ideas I’ve been carrying around in my head, things I’ve wanted to use for a long time,” says the Los Angeles–based Smith, who is best known for redecorating the Oval Office and White House residential quarters for the Obamas. “To put them all together as an arsenal or box of crayons is amazing.”

The Braganza pattern installed by design dealer Jermaine Gallacher in his London design showroom. PHOTO: MIGUEL FLORES-VIANNA

“Michael is one of our most longstanding clients,” says Hannah Cecil Gurney, de Gournay’s director, whose father, Claud Cecil Gurney, founded the company in the mid-1980s. “He came to us and said, Look, if I’m wanting this particular kind of look and feel for wall coverings that I can’t currently find, then it would be silly not to offer them to the world.”Each of the wallpapers in Smith’s series draws inspiration from the natural world, be it the softly coloured stone of Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia or the bird-filled trees on the tiled murals at Lisbon’s Palácio dos Marqueses de Fronteira. Smith took the idea for Botanical Studies from 18th-century Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus’s studio, which was hung with prints and engravings of heliotrope, gardenia and other flora.

Antique dealer Edward Hurst’s use of Botanical Studies at a client’s home. PHOTO: MIGUEL FLORES-VIANNA

In the spirit of Smith’s polished eclecticism, de Gournay invited five decorators, makers and curators from varied backgrounds to each use one of the wallpapers in the context of their own work. The English antique dealer Edward Hurst chose Botanical Studies for the bedroom of a client’s Dorset manor house, pairing the panels with a Chinese black-and-gold lacquer cabinet set on a Chippendale-period stand and a neoclassical George III canopy bed. “It sort of vibrates in the room,” says Hurst of the paper.

The new de Gournay wallpaper Pantheon in artist and curator Peter Ting’s home. PHOTO: MIGUEL FLORES-VIANNA

Ceramic artist Peter Ting, co-founder of Ting-Ying gallery, hung Pantheon, an intricate design that recalls natural stone, at home, alongside his collection of artworks and porcelain. He immediately noticed the paper’s partial glazing, “as if it has been polished by centuries of touching, like real marble would in a powerful and spiritual place like the Pantheon.”

British-born Ghanaian furniture designer Kusheda Mensah used Uki Hana, a wallpaper inspired by the chrysanthemums of Edo-period Japanese artworks, to create an immersive environment within a London creative space. Mensah set the wallpaper against her own curvilinear, modular furniture. The panels are gilded with a golden-brown copper leaf at the bottom that gives way to a lighter aluminium leaf toward the top, mimicking the soft, tarnished gleam of 17th-century Japanese folding screens. Mensah says she was surprised by de Gournay’s level of customization: “One of the designers just got out her paintbrush and literally started drawing flowers onto the wallpaper to expand the pattern and print.”

Designer Kusheda Mensah’s furniture, which she placed in front of the Uki Hana motif. PHOTO: MIGUEL FLORES-VIANNA

“They’re game for anything as long as it’s grounded in fundamental quality,” says Smith of de Gournay, which gives clients the opportunity to collaborate with its team of in-house designers and painters. “I felt entirely included in the creative process,” says Amanda Brooks, who used Nordic Garden, Smith’s interpretation of a rococo-era Swedish wallpaper, to decorate a temporary retail space next door to her Oxfordshire home-goods shop, Cutter Brooks. “We changed the colour of a couple of birds and some berries, moved motifs from one panel to another and altered the deep teal colour to better match my shop merchandise,” she says. British design dealer Jermaine Gallacher, meanwhile, took Braganza, a wallpaper that references porcelain tile, off the wall. He suspended the paper on movable panels in his London showroom, its tile-like grid acting as a backdrop for sets of his own creation.

Smith says seeing the diversity of responses to his designs was inspiring. He partly credits de Gournay’s success with a broad resurgence of interest in wallpaper. “After years of a kind of minimalist thing,” he says, “people are realising how pattern and colour can make a room so much more beautiful.”

Reprinted by permission of WSJ. Magazine. Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: August 29, 2021



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New research suggests spending 40 percent of household income on loan repayments is the new normal

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Requiring more than 30 percent of household income to service a home loan has long been considered the benchmark for ‘housing stress’. Yet research shows it is becoming the new normal. The 2024 ANZ CoreLogic Housing Affordability Report reveals home loans on only 17 percent of homes are ‘serviceable’ if serviceability is limited to 30 percent of the median national household income.

Based on 40 percent of household income, just 37 percent of properties would be serviceable on a mortgage covering 80 percent of the purchase price. ANZ CoreLogic suggest 40 may be the new 30 when it comes to home loan serviceability. “Looking ahead, there is little prospect for the mortgage serviceability indicator to move back into the 30 percent range any time soon,” says the report.

“This is because the cash rate is not expected to be cut until late 2024, and home values have continued to rise, even amid relatively high interest rate settings.” ANZ CoreLogic estimate that home loan rates would have to fall to about 4.7 percent to bring serviceability under 40 percent.

CoreLogic has broken down the actual household income required to service a home loan on a 6.27 percent interest rate for an 80 percent loan based on current median house and unit values in each capital city. As expected, affordability is worst in the most expensive property market, Sydney.

Sydney

Sydney’s median house price is $1,414,229 and the median unit price is $839,344.

Based on 40 percent serviceability, households need a total income of $211,456 to afford a home loan for a house and $125,499 for a unit. The city’s actual median household income is $120,554.

Melbourne

Melbourne’s median house price is $935,049 and the median apartment price is $612,906.

Based on 40 percent serviceability, households need a total income of $139,809 to afford a home loan for a house and $91,642 for a unit. The city’s actual median household income is $110,324.

Brisbane

Brisbane’s median house price is $909,988 and the median unit price is $587,793.

Based on 40 percent serviceability, households need a total income of $136,062 to afford a home loan for a house and $87,887 for a unit. The city’s actual median household income is $107,243.

Adelaide

Adelaide’s median house price is $785,971 and the median apartment price is $504,799.

Based on 40 percent serviceability, households need a total income of $117,519 to afford a home loan for a house and $75,478 for a unit. The city’s actual median household income is $89,806.

Perth

Perth’s median house price is $735,276 and the median unit price is $495,360.

Based on 40 percent serviceability, households need a total income of $109,939 to afford a home loan for a house and $74,066 for a unit. The city’s actual median household income is $108,057.

Hobart

Hobart’s median house price is $692,951 and the median apartment price is $522,258.

Based on 40 percent serviceability, households need a total income of $103,610 to afford a home loan for a house and $78,088 for a unit. The city’s actual median household income is $89,515.

Darwin

Darwin’s median house price is $573,498 and the median unit price is $367,716.

Based on 40 percent serviceability, households need a total income of $85,750 to afford a home loan for a house and $54,981 for a unit. The city’s actual median household income is $126,193.

Canberra

Canberra’s median house price is $964,136 and the median apartment price is $585,057.

Based on 40 percent serviceability, households need a total income of $144,158 to afford a home loan for a house and $87,478 for a unit. The city’s actual median household income is $137,760.

 

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