space of the week

Wall Play

A new wallpaper collaboration from Wallshoppe and Bill Blass creative director Chris Benz, showcased in a 100-year-old Brooklyn townhouse.

Chris Benz’s living room. Photo: Nicole Franzen
Chris Benz’s living room. Photo: Nicole Franzen

Wallshoppe, the brainchild of Mert Beraze and Kiwi Neman, who brought on Los Angeles–based interior designer Nathan Turner and his partner Eric Hughes as creative directors, just launched its seventh collection. It’s the third designer collaboration since Wallshoppe launched two years ago; past collections were by Turner and handbag-and-accessories designer Clare Vivier. This latest one features a collaboration with Chris Benz, the creative director of Bill Blass. The company has made a point of appealing to the commitment-shy and those used to quick change; all the wallpaper designs also come in easy-to-apply (and remove) panels. “I love the fact that wallpaper is having such a moment,” Turner says. “I have this harebrained theory that it’s due to the rise of the millennial. They understand creating a ‘moment,’ something that dazzles, sparkles, is charming, is old-fashioned, is high fashion, something that isn’t just a boring old wall!”

Well, for sure there are no boring old walls in Benz’s townhouse, the rooms of which are clad in some of his collection. Above, in the living room, Benz features his Marguerite Mural paper. “I have always loved the spirit of Miró,” he says, “and given that I am a child of the 1980s, anything that feels big, bold, and spirited is really where it’s at for me. We created this print as a combination of vintage surf clothes and Abstract Expressionism. The free spirit of both translates onto the wall so perfectly.”

A guest room features Benz’s Monroe Street pattern. “One of my many collections are vintage textiles,” Benz says. “French ticking stripes, African indigo, Japanese boro and patchwork, etc. They’ve really caught on in the design world. I love tossing them over the back of an armchair or on the side of a bed. I imagined how great it would be to have the sensation of a nontraditional upholstered wall using these materials. This undulating woven stripe is the perfect thing for a sweet bedroom.” Photo: Nicole Franzen
“I love a mix of materials and periods in my design work,” Benz says. “And this raffia-print patchwork inspired by traditional mud cloth really sings.” Photo: Nicole Franzen
Do try this at home if you are not faint of heart. “Again, growing up in the 1980s means I can’t escape a splatter-paint moment.” Benz says. “Here, I tried to capture the idea in a modern way, combined with the studio floors I remember from my college years at Parsons. I love how from a distance it even feels like a toile or traditional print until you look closer.” Photo: Nicole Franzen
“The idea of upholstered walls at an accessible price really appeals to me,” Benz notes. “It gives such a rich, soft feel to a room. Here, we worked with antique hand-loomed textiles for a tonal, cozy wallpaper. I wanted each of the papers to feel very approachable, but also a distinct break from what’s available on the market.” Photo: Nicole Franzen
“High-low is of course the best combination of things,” Benz says. “The print called Corner Deli is inspired by the laminated counters in New York City delis and diners. We really played with color combinations here, of which there are quite a few besides the traditional black and white.” And don’t let the millennial appeal fool you; Wallshoppe really has something for everyone, even those of us who are not afraid to make a commitment. “In my parents’ day,” Turner muses, “wallpaper was serious, and it was a major decision — not anymore.” Then he adds with a laugh, “The green hunting toile from my childhood bedroom is still up.” Photo: Nicole Franzen
An Arty Wallpaper Series, Showcased in a 100-Year-Old House