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Eve Spencer's provocative wallpaper

Well... not only provocative wallpaper. The stuff you'll see below – all created by wallpapers and fabric company, Eve Spencer – that falls under that category is also most beautiful. Though the hawk killing a cat, daddy long legs and "Oil Bird" designs may not be everyone's fancy.

Among some of the other prints, there is just the beautiful – but with a non frilly, girlie angle (so much wallpaper can be so painfully lady-like and proper, don't you think? I'm much more for a bit of gritty Timorous Beasties).

So as not to startle too swiftly, here's my favourite of the not-so-startling Eve Spencer designs: "Tropic"; jungly greens in repetition. Simple. I am fairly certain this is the wallpaper I have long coveted on the back wall at a local cafe (at southeast London's Brockwell Lido, in case you have been). Leafy textiles are one of my favourite ways for getting some outdoors inside.

Here are some of the company's other wallpapers, including the afore-mentioned cat/hawk and daddy long legs designs. All are available as fabrics, too (but prices vary as these can be made to order in different sizes). You can buy them at

"Sync Swim"

"Maple" (comes in two colourways)

"Kingfish" (comes with two different background colours)

"Kaleido" (also comes in a more muted colour combination)

"Jasper" (this carroty design comes in three subtly different colour options)

"Grass Hop" (this also comes with a lovely, mad flash of acid yellow)


"Bat Wing" (choose from a lovely petrol blue or pale grey as alternative backgrounds)

"Stork" (white or yellow backgrounds also available)


"Geo DDL" (daddy long legs, if you look closely; this is also available in muted, mid-century yellow or grey)

"Cat Hawk": could you live with this in your house?

The creative force behind the unusual and often bold – or plain shocking – Eve Spencer designs is Helen Spencer, and the British-manufactured finished products are not cheap. For the papers, you're looking at around £260 per roll.

But I always think splashing out in moderation, for one-off things that result in a stand-out corner or just make you really, really happy when you look at them, can be justifiable (and small expensive touches make your cheap, high-street stuff look more exclusive). So if you could only afford one roll of luxury wallpaper like this, here are some things you could do with it – so no excuse for a feature wall! (Am I alone in hating the things?)

Paper a nook. Did you see contributing editor Abi's slightly ridiculous but brilliant golden nook? The nooks on the left are papered in Eve Spencer designs.

Use it to back decorative shelves or the insides of glass-fronted cupboards

Make a bed headboard. Cover a cut-to-size piece of MDF in the paper by pasting it on, and wrapping it around the edges and corners – you'll need some well thought-out corner slits at the back to avoid wrinkles. Personally I'd then varnish it with a matt finish to protect it and make it wipe-clean-able.

Make it into stand-alone art. Paste it onto a large board made of something like MDF and hang onto a wall as artwork. I have done something similar in my front room with fabric (which also comes as a wallpaper). That's in the right – slightly mad cushion overkill going on now I revist that day. I'll blame the dog, it's usually his fault. Anyway, here the fabric is stretched on a canvas stretcher, which makes it really light-weight and easy to hang. The fabric was a gift from my brother and sister-in-law who live in Australia. The designer of this rather startlingly bold print is Florence Broadhurst, a 1950s Antipodean textiles designer whose archive has been revived in recent years.

Do the smallest room in it. Like a downstairs/separate loo.

Decorate your stair risers. And I'd get the pieces guillotined by an art shop or anyone you know who does the sort of job where they'll have such a machine – cutting them by hand will require very steady fingers.

Top a table with paper you love, and cover in cut-to-size glass.

Decoupage something. Cut paper into pieces and decoupage, say, a knackered wooden chair with it. A good use of sample sizes too. I also loved this idea, left, from a stylish French shop.

Make a backsplash. Again, protected with glass. This is trickier; it will need to be sealed to stay dry. A kitchen/bathroom shop is a good place to get advice so as to avoid blobs of sealant being visible under the glass.

1 comment :

  1. These wallpapers are so beautiful, I love them all - especially that bat wing one with the bright yellow background