How Wallpaper Makes the Room: De Gournay

Last week, I made a point of stopping in to see the new de Gournay San Francisco Showroom. I have known about de Gournay for some time and have always admired the vast array of exquisite hand-painted wallpapers they produce. These refined wallpapers are in the style of 19th C. French Papier Paint with exotic motifs. Luckily for those of us in Northern California, it is now available in this exciting new addition to the design scene found on Sacramento Street, the go-to haven of architecture and interior design in the Pacific Palasades neighborhood. (I kid you not when I say this street is a mecca of inspiration!) I had to make the trip from Sacramento to see  de Gournay's space in person!

I think these papers can create a backdrop of sophisticated and refined beauty for interiors, transforming, say, a dining room or entry, beyond that of most other wall treatments! And it can be used in a multitude of ways as you will see.......

It was a chilly rainy day, but as soon as I stepped inside, I was in a tropical garden of color! In the front entry I was greeted by de Gournay's tropical "Amazonia" Chinoiserie painted on an arresting blue Xuan paper ground. And a stunning bouquet provided by my friend, designer Jonathan Rachman adorns the showroom with his artistry of beautifully arranged flowers. (Look for my upcoming story on Jonathan's work featured in the living room of the 2017 San Francisco Decorator Showcase!)

The smoky Murano glass chandelier and wall sconces in the entry immediately caught my eye. I think the modern counterpoint to this traditional wallpaper style is truly breathtaking. (I must have stood there too long in awe because the showroom staff started to look at me a little funny.) The light fixtures were found in France and are the design of Carlo Scarpa (circa 1950) for Venini.


Claud Cecil Gurney, founder of de Gournay, and a great fan of the city, says "San Francisco is on the edge of the world in every sense. It is not only a wonderful place to live, full of welcoming and friendly people but it has some of the greatest design talent in the world and is the bridge to the Pacific and Asia. We cannot afford not to be here!" We are thankful that they are!

The paper above was especially created for the opening of the San Francisco Showroom by de Gournay's artists. Called "Foundation of North America, the panoramic scenes show the Pilgrims landing in Massachusetts, and cross the plains showing buffalo hunts, on to the Rocky Mountains ending in the Redwoods of the Pacific Northwest.

At the back of the Showroom is this charmer of a scene inspired by a wall covering found in Yves Saint Laurent's apartment. It shows peacocks and doves on fruit trees. I think it is very appropriate for California as well!

I loved the soft color of the next paper with almost a faux bois effect. The mirror is an English Chippendale Period  George III with custom blue and white painting.

If you have a chance to visit, do take a look in the loo or you will miss the jewel box that is created by the Art Deco paper inspired by Armand Rateau woodland glade scenes. It is aptly called "Rateau"......

The cabinet is by Clive Christian in black walnut and oak. The details are so beautifully thought out for this space...from the curve on the backsplash stone, to the antique brass faucet to the lovely soft brass and crystal sconces.

When I arrived at the Showroom on that rainy afternoon, the very kind staff was preparing for a Tea Party for lucky designers and others from the San Francisco Decorator Showcase (for which de Gournay graciously contributed wall covering in the Living Room, a Staircase and the very special Laundry and Puppy Bath Room!) They were so attentive to my questions, and I did not want to keep them, but I had to admire the beautiful "Plum Blossom" paper and how it set off the tea cups for the party.

As I left to head home with visions of flowers and peacocks floating through my head, I could not but think that this IS how wallpaper makes a room!

Please take some time and venture down Sacramento Street to see all the loveliness next time you have a chance! The address for the Showroom is 3681A Sacramento Street, San Francisco, Ca.

And to see the papers by de Gournay designed especially for the San Francisco Decorator Showcase, I hope you have a chance to explore the fantastic house in the Pacific Palasades neighborhood( Mother's Day people! It's coming up!!) I will be following up very shortly with lots of photos of the Showcase to whet your decor appetites!

Thanks for stopping by!