Large Art: How Interior Designers Find It When Money Is Tight
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Large Art: How Interior Designers Find It When Money Is Tight

Here’s where design pros source large-scale decorations that don’t cost tens of thousands of dollars.

By Rebecca Malinsky
Mon, Feb 21, 2022 10:08amGrey Clock 4 min

LAUREN MCGRATH has spent the last decade fine-tuning her hunt for statement-making art that won’t break the bank. “Beautiful rugs and sofas are great, but if you don’t have anything on the walls, it doesn’t look complete,” said the Greenwich, Conn., interior designer. Many clients don’t think about art until the budget is tapped out.

Finding reasonably priced large-scale artwork to fill those gaping voids over beds and sofas is particularly tough. But if blue-chip paintings are beyond your reach, you aren’t doomed to hanging museum posters. Here, the newest ways design pros are filling big blank walls when cash is tight.

Wrap the Room

While it’s nice to dream of a virtuosic muralist gracing your room’s four walls with luscious landscapes or abstract panoramas, wallpapers can do that now much more affordably. Exhibit A: the Yunnan mural from French furnishings company Pierre Frey shown above. The misty mountains that envelop the Bethesda, Md., dining room by designer Erica Burns require no more adornment than a simple mirror over the mantel. Murals range from $8.16 a square foot, from online wallpaper purveyor Rebel Walls, to $488 for 24 square feet from West Elm. A 4-metre wide Hudson River landscape based on an antique etching runs approx. $829 on furnishings site One Kings Lane.

Ms. Burns has one warning for mural hangers: Avoid a single statement wall. Envelop the entire room for a modern, finished feel.

A digital tapestry by Zardi & Zardi warms up the bedroom of home restorer Greg Penn’s 19th-century Georgian house in Devon, England.
Dig a Digital Tapestry

Zardi & Zardi, founded by PJ Keeling, started digitally printing tapestries on linen in the early 2000s, at first just as placeholders for historic originals that were being restored. Soon, however, he was taking commissions from interior designers. Now the Gloucestershire, England, company sells its re-creations of European masterpieces online. A popular pastoral style about 7 feet wide, lined and weighted, costs approximately $1,900. “You get a million-dollar look that feels totally original,” said interior designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard, who has hung these tapestries in a 12th-century castle in Italy and a home in Connecticut.

Greg Penn, a home restorer in Devon, England, hung a Zardi & Zardi tapestry in the cavernous bedroom of his 19th-century Georgian home. (The studio, which has sponsored posts on Mr. Penn’s @manwithahammer Instagram account, sent him the tapestry gratis.) The classic bucolic hanging warms the vast space and “helps with the acoustics,” he said.

A large-scale photograph by Werner Pawlok hangs in this Rye, N.Y., living room by Greenwich, Conn., interior design team McGrath II.
Stay Local

Small art shops are not only less intimidating than big-name, big-city galleries, they represent lesser-known artists who don’t yet command top dollar. “Starting at a more local level, when it comes to galleries, is the way you’re going to find big pieces that fill a space at an affordable price,” said Ms. McGrath, who nabbed the large-scale, signed photograph (shown above) for $1630 unframed. Her source: Lumas, a website and global network of small galleries whose aim is “the liberation of art” via reasonable prices.

When shopping the local market, room-size paintings—which fewer buyers can accommodate—can be a better deal than modestly scaled art, said Patrick Bradbury, owner of Tuxedo Park Junk Shop in Tuxedo Park, N.Y. He recently scored an 2.2-metres square acrylic work on canvas by American contemporary artist Allan Hacklin for approx. $300 at auction. He advises seeking out vintage shops that have a lot of space to fill. Given his own gallery’s expansive walls, he’s more likely to stock big art than boutique galleries with a small retail footprint. Another plus: Regional operations might let you take the art home so you can see it in situ.

A classroom-style map handsomely establishes a studious tone when hung over a desk in Hilversum, Netherlands.
Look to the Old World

A vintage classroom map of Europe takes up most of the wall behind Caley Weyman’s living room sofa. “It’s always the life of the party,” said the Toronto collectibles dealer. “It doesn’t have a date, so people are always looking for clues as to when it’s from.” She sells vintage wares through her Instagram shop @shipyardvintage and says maps sell immediately. She favours rolling classroom maps over flat maps for their durable vinyl finish, weighted wood dowels and built-in hardware. “They have longevity and hang nicely.” She sources hers at salvage and thrift shops and wouldn’t pay more than $400 for one. Schoolroom maps, which typically span 5 feet, not only bring a bigger statement into your home than a dinky print but convey an equally expansive sense of nostalgia and adventure.


This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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Anger Does a Lot More Damage to Your Body Than You Realise

We all get mad now and then. But too much anger can cause problems.

Fri, May 24, 2024 3 min

Anger is bad for your health in more ways than you think.

Getting angry doesn’t just hurt our mental health , it’s also damaging to our hearts, brains and gastrointestinal systems, according to doctors and recent research. Of course, it’s a normal emotion that everyone feels—few of us stay serene when a driver cuts us off or a boss makes us stay late. But getting mad too often or for too long can cause problems.

There are ways to keep your anger from doing too much damage. Techniques like meditation can help, as can learning to express your anger in healthier ways.

One recent study looked at anger’s effects on the heart. It found that anger can raise the risk of heart attacks because it impairs the functioning of blood vessels, according to a May study in the Journal of the American Heart Association .

Researchers examined the impact of three different emotions on the heart: anger, anxiety and sadness. One participant group did a task that made them angry, another did a task that made them anxious, while a third did an exercise designed to induce sadness.

The scientists then tested the functioning of the blood vessels in each participant, using a blood pressure cuff to squeeze and release the blood flow in the arm. Those in the angry group had worse blood flow than those in the others; their blood vessels didn’t dilate as much.

“We speculate over time if you’re getting these chronic insults to your arteries because you get angry a lot, that will leave you at risk for having heart disease ,” says Dr. Daichi Shimbo, a professor of medicine at Columbia University and lead author of the study.

Your gastrointestinal system

Doctors are also gaining a better understanding of how anger affects your GI system.

When someone becomes angry, the body produces numerous proteins and hormones that increase inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation can raise your risk of many diseases.

The body’s sympathetic nervous system—or “fight or flight” system—is also activated, which shunts blood away from the gut to major muscles, says Stephen Lupe, director of behavioural medicine at the Cleveland Clinic’s department of gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition. This slows down movement in the GI tract, which can lead to problems like constipation.

In addition, the space in between cells in the lining of the intestines opens up, which allows more food and waste to go in those gaps, creating more inflammation that can fuel symptoms such as stomach pain, bloating or constipation.

Your brain

Anger can harm our cognitive functioning, says Joyce Tam, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. It involves the nerve cells in the prefrontal cortex, the front area of our brain that can affect attention, cognitive control and our ability to regulate emotions.

Anger can trigger the body to release stress hormones into the bloodstream. High levels of stress hormones can damage nerve cells in the brain’s prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus, says Tam.

Damage in the prefrontal cortex can affect decision-making, attention and executive function, she adds.

The hippocampus, meanwhile, is the main part of the brain used in memory. So when neurons are damaged, that can disrupt the ability to learn and retain information, says Tam.

What you can do about it

First, figure out if you’re angry too much or too often. There’s no hard and fast rule. But you may have cause for concern if you’re angry for more days than not, or for large portions of the day, says Antonia Seligowski, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, who studies the brain-heart connection.

Getting mad briefly is different than experiencing chronic anger, she says.

“If you have an angry conversation every now and again or you get upset every now and again, that’s within the normal human experience,” she says. “When a negative emotion is prolonged, when you’re really having a lot more of it and maybe more intensely, that’s where it’s bad for your health.”

Try mental-health exercises. Her group is looking at whether mental-health treatments, like certain types of talk therapy or breathing exercises, may also be able to improve some of the physical problems caused by anger.

Other doctors recommend anger-management strategies. Hypnosis, meditation and mindfulness can help, says the Cleveland Clinic’s Lupe. So too can changing the way you respond to anger.

Slow down your reactions. Try to notice how you feel and slow down your response, and then learn to express it. You also want to make sure you’re not suppressing the feeling, as that can backfire and exacerbate the emotion.

Instead of yelling at a family member when you’re angry or slamming something down, say, “I am angry because X, Y and Z, and therefore I don’t feel like eating with you or I need a hug or support,” suggests Lupe.

“Slow the process down,” he says.


This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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