If there are two questions I get asked most, they would be “where do you buy your rugs?” and “where should I shop for wallpaper?” And I get it. There are endless places you can buy wallpaper or rugs, yet sometimes it feels difficult to even find one good place. If there is one thing I could say about either wallpaper OR rugs, it would be to SHOP SMALL. Go to a boutique shop that specializes in rugs…or wallpaper… and little else. Because such places do not have the kind of enormous marketing budgets of big box stores, they can be sometimes difficult to find. Diamonds in the rough, if you will. But, that’s why you’re here, right? Because you know I live and breathe wallpaper and rugs….and I spend all of my time finding such places so you don’t have to.
Today I want to highlight perhaps my favorite wallpaper shop on the planet. Divine Savages is a U.K. design line specializing in distinctive wallpapers, made accessible to the everyday buyer. It was started in 2017 by husbands and design studs, Jamie Watkins and Tom Kennedy, who had come over to the interior world with a heap of fashion and design experience in their pockets. I think it must have been their time in the fashion world that informed their painstaking attention to detail, pattern and texture that has come to be a defining feature of their Divine Savages brand. As an American, I find it particularly refreshing that Jamie and Tom have not sold out to cutting edge trends in wallpaper design. While most American wallpaper companies pump out leopards, artful blotches, and monstera fronds, Divine Savages has reimagined walls through a lens that is both distinctively imaginative, yet historically thoughtful. Their impressive knowledge of design history has consistently informed their work, even landing them a collaboration with London’s illustrious Natural History Museum.
Divine Savages recently launched a new line that, truly, could not have been brought to life by anyone other than Tom and Jamie. This new collection of papers plays off some of Divine Savages‘ iconic papers by reinventing them with a shimmering finish. “The Metallics Collection” is now available for purchase, and features designs that seem as though they were created for Buckingham Palace….and is if Lady Gaga were its principal occupant.
I decided to take one of the papers from “The Metallics Collection” and dream up a space for it. Divine Savages’ “Deco Martini” paper offers a classic throwback to the roaring 20s, with a flash of modernity in its shimmering rose gold finish. This paper makes a stunning backdrop for an eclectically styled space. I pulled in a bit of 1980s art deco flair in the undulating lines of the sofa and sconces to play with the 1920s deco pattern in the paper. The more traditional Moroccan rug grounds the room and offers a fun pattern play with the paper by picking up the subtle pastels on the wall, yet transforms the space into a more bold statement by bringing blacks in through the rug. The blacks are then repeated in the boho mirror to finish out this playful, yet contemplative take on the evolution of 20th-century Art Deco styles.
In this era of “Stay at Home” I could get a bit carried away making moodboards with Divine Savages papers, but for now I will let your imagination run wild with the possibilities.