When we first set foot in the Beekman, one of the first things that took our breath away was the hand-printed wallpaper that adorns the walls. The prior owners of the farm were friends with the proprietors of the British company Cole & Sons who have been making wallcoverings since 1875.
Last summer, we wrote about the gorgeous Zuber wallpaper hanging in the family home of Ross, our wine columnist.
But you don’t have to go to Europe to find exquisite hand-printed wallcoverings. You can find them right here in America. In fact, you can find them just three miles away from The Beekman at Adelphi Paper Hangings.
You may remember that Adelphi contributed to the creation of the portfolio of heirloom seeds that Beekman 1802 and Landreth Seed sent to the White House earlier this year. But that was not the first time that our friend Steve Larson’s work had been to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. When the Lincoln Bedroom underwent its extensive renovations, Adelphi was called in to recreate the wallpaper for the room. You can see the finished product here.
We spent the afternoon in Steve’s studio recently, and he walked us through the process of recreating historic wallcoverings.
Adelphi has an enormous collection of historic stamps that they have salvaged and preserved, a treasured archive of this beautiful artform. Along with templates that they have re-created, the antique stamps reside in a cool dark storage facility deep beneath the studio. They are carefully cataloged.
Without computers, the process of making wallpaper is time-consuming. Every different color in the pattern has to be applied in a separate step and using a different template, a complex overlay of patterns.
It takes hour and hours of research, painting and printing to create enough wallpaper for even a single room. It is clear why museums and historical societies frequently return to Adelphi. The company’s owners are true American Masters.
Imagine. We found these wonderful craftsmen in our own back yard. What are the hidden talents in your community? Share them with the rest of us.