HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR WALLPAPER Back
From a distance of a few feet, the bedroom walls appear to be covered in an elegant damask. Get closer, though, and the design takes on a life of its own. Are those chains of glued-on daisies? Elvises, hot-dog carts, dragonflies, and bears? In fact, this ersatz wallpaper is an elaborate installation consisting of thousands of dime-store stickers.
Welcome to the decidedly off-the-wall world of Payton Cosell Turner, a 25-year-old New Yorker who has stickered everything from a child’s room in Austin, Texas, to the Brooklyn living room of filmmaker Lena Dunham. Turner also creates hand-drawn and screen-printed wallpapers for Flat Vernacular, the company she runs with fiancé Brian Kaspr; she was inspired by a zany 1970s wallpaper that hung in the home of sportscaster Howard Cosell, her late grandfather. “It was crazy and beautiful, with test tubes, bubbling beakers, and bugs,” she says.
She first devised a sticker wall covering for her senior thesis at the Maryland Institute College of Art. After graduating in 2008, she was asked to make an installation for a small Manhattan gallery. Carol McFadden, a businesswoman who saw the show, commissioned Turner to decorate the walls of her Greenwich Village townhouse. “I’m captivated by what Payton is doing,” McFadden says. “It’s fun and wonderfully bespoke.” For that project, Turner ordered stickers (including 5,000 flower stickers alone, at around $3 for a pack of 30) from companies like Paper House Productions. Each of the 16 panels measured 45 square feet and took about 40 hours to assemble. “I let the shape of the sticker dictate what I do,” says Turner, who uses Candy Dots, Sugar Babies, popcorn bags, and countless other sticker images. The overall effect is as sophisticated as it is cheeky, says Ghislaine Viñas, who decorated McFadden’s bedroom suite in primary-hued furnishings that playfully set off the room’s multicolor walls. Viñas points to a section where pizza slices cavort with tigers and says, “I like the way it messes with you.”