December 10, 2012

By Gabrielle.

These snapshots are swatches of the wallpaper hanging in my family’s home in 1969, Gallup, New Mexico. No children had come to my parents yet — I’m sure they had no idea there would eventually be eight kids running around! But the yellow flowers went into the nursery because they were expecting a baby.

My mom said the blue print was her first introduction to Finnish design house, Marimekko.

I didn’t live in this house. I was born after they moved from New Mexico to Alaska to California, and I never saw this wallpaper. But my mom remained a fan, and worked Marimekko textiles in to our home when possible. And her appreciation for Finnish design was certainly handed down to me.

When I saw these swatches on my mom’s blog, it was a reminder of how much our surroundings come to influence us as adults. The fabrics on our beds. The art on the walls. The scenery near by.

Do you remember any art or wallpaper that hung on the walls of your childhood home? Does it hang there still?

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

1 liz December 10, 2012 at 11:18 am

Gabby- I reall wish you would write a memoir. I think all of us would find your life growing up so inspiring. Sounds like you had the chance at having amazing parents! You have a built-in audience waiting to hear more………


2 Design Mom December 12, 2012 at 6:07 am

I did and do have amazing parents. I’m a lucky girl.


3 Valerie December 10, 2012 at 11:24 am

Gabby .. I am curious, have you noticed how frequently wall paper is still used in France? I have one cousin who built a home in the past 5 years and I think every room in the house has paper in it (and different paper per room at that!) Plus, another cousin rented an apartment just outside of Paris and they re-papered the walls with the landlords blessing.

Because I watch a ton of design shows, I love some of the very graphic, contemporary prints available today – but I think with our textured walls I know it’s a nonstarter since the finished appearance would be lumpy at best!


4 Design Mom December 12, 2012 at 6:08 am

Good question. In the house we live in, there isn’t any wallpaper at all — but some of the walls are painted to look as if they’re papered. : )

When we go cottage shopping, I’ve noticed many of the older homes have layers and layers of paper on the wall, but in the modern homes, I haven’t noticed much.


5 kelly December 10, 2012 at 11:31 am

What fabulous taste they have! Both designs are positively smile inducing :)


6 Sara @ What About Sara December 10, 2012 at 11:40 am

Oh, I remember wallpaper that hung in my room as a little girl – it was yellow and floral and AWFUL! We had plans to take it down and paint the room a nice neutral color, but we ended up moving away before we had time to execute those plans. Funny how that yellow wallpaper sticks in my mind, even though I was just seven years old…


7 Crystal December 10, 2012 at 11:41 am

My first bedroom, that I can remember, was hung half with football paper (it was previously a little boy’s room) and half with rose’s wallpaper. I guess my parents ran out of wallpaper. However, I always thought the football paper was more interesting to look at. This post made me think about it so I went online and found it available on etsy. Brings back memories:


8 Design Mom December 12, 2012 at 6:08 am

Half and half. Hilarious!


9 Giulia December 10, 2012 at 11:42 am

I VERY clearly remember having the Marimekko bo boo print on our sheets and roller blind and because of this I still hang on to a vintage piece of bo boo fabric that I have at home even though it doesn’t go with anything I have. It’s all about the memories.


10 mom in mendon December 10, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Giula, We had this one, too. I still love it. We made it into a smallish quilt that became “the car blanket.”


11 Design Mom December 12, 2012 at 6:09 am

The good old car blanket. Is it still in your linen closet, Mom?


12 Melissa December 10, 2012 at 1:16 pm

My brother had individual images from this fabric stretched on canvas in his room as a child. I also can’t see it with out nostalgia!


13 Danielle December 10, 2012 at 11:44 am

Your mom has great taste! I wish Marimekko would make that paper again; it’s so happy but not overpowering. We have a similar design of theirs in a magenta and black (poppies, I believe) – used in a comforter set. It’s very bold, the graphic is not as airy or painterly as the wallpaper.

p.s. I agree with Liz about the memoir.


14 Sarah December 10, 2012 at 12:20 pm

i remember the stripy pink and blue flowery wallpaper i picked out when i was 8 – and i remember how great it felt ripping it out when i was a teenager and wanted something more pared-down and grown-up (ie. plain white walls)…


15 Design Mom December 12, 2012 at 6:09 am

Fun that you remember both the picking it out and the taking it down.


16 Cheryl Burchett December 10, 2012 at 12:37 pm

We had a Raggedy Ann and Andy themed bedroom as kids with curtains that my mom made from pink fabric printed with the characters in it. I was in an antique store in college and I saw a piece of the curtain fabric and couldn’t resist buying it. I can’t think if anything to make from it, but I had to have it for the memory!


17 Carter Higgins December 10, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Love this! We had this bright, primary colored wallpaper in the kitchen growing up. It always reminded me of Richard Scarry’s Busytown. I think there was a lady selling bread and people picking flowers? And it had a really thick texture, too. The things we remember:)


18 Design Mom December 12, 2012 at 6:12 am

Oh. I think Richard Scarry totally needs to make wallpaper. I would buy it in a heart beat!


19 Nicole T December 10, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Your mom’s blog is priceless. I love the post about WEB LOGS. She has me counting my blessings for each of my ooohs and aaahs.


20 Nora December 10, 2012 at 1:09 pm

My, I must be of a certain age. The blue flower pattern showed up in our house too, but we had them in oranges and yellows running the entire wall fn our family room and down the stairs to our basement. Oh, and orange shag carpet too! What a sight, but so cool at the time. Now that I see them again, they are very cheerful and can only make me smile!


21 Ananams April 6, 2013 at 2:40 pm

We had the orange and yellow in our house, too. My parents built that house in 1970.


22 Rachel December 10, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Funny you should post this today…I am guest blogging over here this week….http://modflowers.wordpress.com/2012/12/10/fabric-and-friendship/ and my theme is Heals fabrics from my collection…the first bit of Heals fabric that I ever owned hung on the wall in our home when I was a baby, and was hung in every home we lived in after…now it’s one of my all time favourites in an ever-growing collection of vintage 60s and 70s fabrics. A huge influence on me from day one!

Love those wallpapers, your Mum has great taste!



23 Tasha December 10, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Those bright yellows and oranges! They are so like my wallpapered bedroom I shared with my sister!!! LOL…we had it until almost high school!!! (born 1967)


24 Pam December 10, 2012 at 10:20 pm

I had that very same blue flower wallpaper in my bedroom! For my 12th birthday, my parents gave me the gift of re-decorating my room. I chose that wallpaper and sewed matching curtains and Hollywood bed cover. I loved that wallpaper.


25 Design Mom December 12, 2012 at 6:11 am

Sounds lovely, Pam!


26 Kate The Great December 10, 2012 at 11:21 pm

My mom had a quote by David O. McKay hanging in her bathroom. Right in front of the toilet, at eye level. I dug up the quote:

“So much depends upon our willingness to make up our minds, collectively and individually, that present levels of performance are not acceptable unto [us] or … the Lord. In saying that, I am not calling for flashy, temporary differences in our performance levels, but a quiet resolve … to do a better job, to lengthen our stride.” Spencer W. Kimball

I could read, and I figured out what the quote said. But just because I could read it didn’t mean I knew what it meant. Then I made up a song to the tune of these words. You know, little songs that kids make up on their own. I’d sing that song every time I used that toilet.

I still remember that little song. In fact, it’s the tune to the song which helped me dredge up the quote to include here. But it’s because the song was engraved in what looked like black granite and mounted nicely onto a frame that caused me to look at it so much. I knew my mom thought it was important to hang it in such a prominent place.


27 l o v e l y t h i n g s December 11, 2012 at 6:15 am

This take me back to 1970…how wonderful that your mom saved the notes so that you had them and also a glimpse into your childhood home. I loved the bold design and colors of marimkko and always have!


28 Jennifer Rodgers December 11, 2012 at 6:58 pm

Yes, the wallpaper still hangs in the home I grew up in. I know this because me, my husband and our two boys live in that very house. We bought it from my parents six years ago and promptly started to remove the 1980′s striped/floral wallpaper…yes the living room had striped, floral paper. The dining room had pink floral wallpaper with a border! GAH! I am still in the process of removing the pink floral wallpaper from the stairway and upstairs hallway. It is such a PROCESS.


29 the emily December 11, 2012 at 11:01 pm

I can’t believe your parents lived in Gallup! I moved here last year and for some reason it makes me feel better knowing others lived here and made it out. :)


30 Design Mom December 12, 2012 at 6:10 am

As I mentioned, I wasn’t born yet, but I did visit Gallup once — for Hands Across America. Do you remember that event?


31 Martha December 12, 2012 at 4:40 am

I have pieces from the rainbow nursery my mom created for us hanging in my son’s room. Love these prints!


32 Heather December 12, 2012 at 7:27 am

Huge Marimekko fan which I contribute to my parent’s love of good design and the huge wall hanging Marimekko Kumiseva (1971) in green purple that was in our house for years. I know have that wall hanging in my bedroom and love it!


33 Hildie December 12, 2012 at 9:01 am

We had atrocious wallpaper in our kitchen: yellow abstract flowers on a silver metallic background. Super tacky.
And then there was the full wall mural of a waterfall in our living room; the other side being floor to ceiling mirrored tiles. It was certainly groovy.


34 Laura Zarrin December 12, 2012 at 7:56 pm

Wow! I’m pretty sure we had the top one in our main bathroom when I was a kid!


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