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Wallpaper will always have a place

It's seldom that I yell at a magazine, but that's what I did recently while thumbing through House & Garden and reading this quote from Georgina Brandolini:

"I find wallpaper to be a bit cold and old-fashioned. I prefer paint," she said.

Granted, this woman worked for years for couturier Valentino and knows a thing or two about design. But, still.

Saying you don't like wallpaper is sort of like saying you don't like . . . air.

Sure, some air stinks. But some air is fresh. And the right wallpaper can breathe life into a room.

Years ago, bored silly by our dining room, I chose a wallpaper that I knew was right the moment I saw it. It has a black background covered with magnificent magnolias. That, along with the addition of white molding, French doors and corner cabinets, has made our dining room one of my favorite spots in the house.

We have wallpaper in several other rooms, too. For the downstairs bath, I opted for a tone-on-tone look.

And our daughter, who believes deeply in all things pink, has in her bedroom white wallpaper with pink stripes and a coordinating border lined with sassy pink, purple and orange purses.

Some people count sheep at night. Our daughter probably counts purses.

Although professionals have hung some of the wallpaper in our house, other times it has been a family affair. And one never lacking in drama or adventure.

Year ago, for a master bedroom, a team of relatives converged, including my mother. Her footwear of choice for this particular project was something along the lines of a pair of terry-cloth slippers.

Isn't everyone's?

Halfway through the project, she dropped a pair of scissors, point-size down, onto her foot. Everyone swung into action, running for towels and bandages and talking about trips to the emergency room.

What I discovered that day is that while there may be such a thing as too many cooks in the kitchen, there can never be too many hands in the wallpaper paste.

In this case, some tended to the medical emergency while the rest carried on and got the job done.

Call me old-fashioned, but I am not ashamed to say I love wallpaper. But, judging by some people's reactions to my most recent selection for the kitchen, perhaps I should be.

I think the black-and-white checked wallpaper in our kitchen is crisp and tailored and just perfect for a room without a lot of open wall space. At least one other person finds it nauseating -- and this happens to be the person to whom I am married.

Trust me, I had told him beforehand, closing up the wallpaper book with complete confidence.

Yes, things were a little tense those first few days after the paper went up. Never one to stay uninvolved, our daughter became Little Miss Echo. As in:

Husband: "I really don't like that wallpaper."

Daughter: "Me, either!"

Husband: "It makes me dizzy."

Daughter: "Me, too!""

One day, while driving along, I glanced in the rear-view mirror and saw our daughter staring out the window, in deep thought.

Perhaps, I considered, she is reviewing her spelling words for tomorrow's quiz.

"You know," she said, breaking the silence. "Dad really doesn't like that wallpaper."

My guess: Our new kitchen wallpaper will eventually grow on him.

By that time, however, I'll probably have the itch to change it.


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