Lifestyle

Mr Moneypenny’s wonder wallpaper from the front line of interior design

If you want to know what’s really going on indoors, talk to someone who works in a store. They are the front workers of the design scene. A case in point is Paul Moneypenny. Fans of the BBC TV series Interior Design Masters starring Alan Carr will remember him as the cheeky Belfast native who made it to the semi-finals of series two.

Elven locals know him as the manager of Nobletts of North Street, one of the largest independent wallpaper retailers in Europe. His wallpaper collection – The Paul Moneypenny Collection, produced in collaboration with Arthouse – was released in December 2021.

For Moneypenny, creativity begins on the sales floor. “Everything I know I learned at work,” he says. “I work with the manufacturers, the agents and the customers. I hear what they ask for: what color, what pattern, and what scale. I am very happy.

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Stately Bouquet Charcoal Gray Wallpaper by Paul Moneypenny

“A lot of designers who work for the big wallpaper brands don’t have that luxury. They’re locked in a small studio and don’t get any inspiration to engage directly with the client.”

Moneypenny has always had a passion for wallpaper. “I’ve been working with it every day for ten years. I used to put the rolls on the shelves and dreamed that one day my name would be on a label, but I never dreamed of having my own collection.”

In 2021, Moneypenny appeared on Interior design mastera program that pits up-and-coming interior designers against each other by transforming ordinary spaces.

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Crown Jewels wallpaper by Paul Moneypenny

“I was the only Irish candidate,” he says. “I jumped in at the deep end, flying back and forth between Belfast and London every week. We have traveled all over England and done various projects. It was all very unknown.

“Most of my stress wasn’t decorating because I’m very practical. It was the stress of buying everything in the program from another country in a few days in the middle of lockdown.

“The best part was spending time with people who are passionate about design.”

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Wild Vibes wallpaper by Paul Moneypenny

His six wallpapers show a strong emphasis on floral and botanical designs, some with mock wood paneling. “It’s pretty out there,” he admits.

“I’m pretty maximalist and I wouldn’t put my name on anything that doesn’t represent my personality. There are several colors – between 6 and 9 – in each of them. That makes them flexible. You are not tied to a specific color.”

In the Crown Jewels wallpaper, he overlaid a thick stripe with a Jacobean pattern. “It adds another dimension,” he says.

“There are so many Jacobean patterns on a flat background. I wanted my first collection to be something special. I love House of Hackney but I didn’t want to copy them. I wanted it to be my own thing and I wanted it to be affordable.”

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Belfast designer Paul Moneypenny

The collection is available from specialist retailers everywhere including Littlewoods Ireland where it retails at €28.99 for a 10 meter roll.

One of our most personal wallpapers, Stately Bouquet is a gorgeous floral design in the Dutch Masters style. If you look closely you can see two butterflies, a ladybug and a caterpillar.

“It’s a bit like my story,” says Moneypenny. “The Journey of a Caterpillar to a Butterfly. And the flowers in this pattern are from my parents’ garden. But for everyone else it’s just a decorative detail.”

With this success behind him, he is often asked when he is moving to London. But Moneypenny isn’t going anywhere. “This is the shop where my parents used to push me around in the stroller to buy wallpaper,” he says. “It’s not like a grocery store. People are excited that they are transforming a room in their home. It’s a treat for her.

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Carol Maxwell is a London-based Irish designer and founder of Max Made Me Do It

“It’s nice to be a part of that and to guide them so that they get the best version of the space they have. I love dealing with people. Coming to work is always easy when you enjoy what you do.”

Over in the UK, another Irish wallpaper designer is enjoying the success of her first collection. Carol Maxwell is from Co Wexford but has lived in London for the past 20 years. “My background is in textile design,” she says.

“But ideas for wallpaper were always in the back of my mind. I remember one Christmas morning when I was about five years old. I woke up very early and lay in bed waiting for it to be time to get up.

“In my bedroom was a wallpaper of rosebuds and I followed the pattern until I was hooked. You can somehow put yourself in a pattern. It stimulates the imagination.”

The ability to connect to a pattern in this way, she says, is what separates people who love wallpaper from those who don’t.

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Alice Periwinkle wallpaper by Olenka Design

Maxwell’s design company, Max Made Me Do It (MMM), was founded while she was on maternity leave with her first son, Max. It started with prints for children’s rooms and grew organically into textiles. “We had an incredibly successful year in 2020,” she says.

This allowed the business to expand to the point where she was able to design and produce a wallpaper collection – Outside-In – with matching velvet cushions. The designs are, as the name suggests, flowers and plants with a strong extrovert character, but there are dinosaurs in sight.

Maxwell will soon be releasing a range of dino print wallpapers, featuring carefully drawn dinosaurs on subtle backgrounds. They are designed for children’s rooms, but by no means childish. “It’s hard to find beautiful dinosaur wallpaper,” she says.

“A lot of the drawings are very cartoonish. Mine are detailed. It’s something a child doesn’t grow out of easily, and adults like them too.” Her wallpapers cost £85 (€102) for a ten-metre roll, with prices depending on the width of the pattern repeat. If you are shopping from Ireland the easiest way is to arrange a custom order through the MMM website.

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Ladies room with Opium Blush Teal wallpaper from The Curious Department

The question remains what do you do with your beautiful wallpaper once you have it at home. Wallpaper is having a powder room moment, according to Fixr.com’s annual trend survey. This space received a staggering 88 percent of votes as “The Most Popular Place to Add Wallpaper in 2022”.

Basically, it’s a low-risk area for experimental design. Guest toilets are small and nobody lingers there for long. You don’t need a lot of wallpaper to decorate the whole room and you probably won’t get bored of the pattern. As there is no shower, condensation will not be a problem. no sweat Next year the dining room.

See wonderwallfashions.com, maxmademedoit.com, fixr.com

https://www.independent.ie/life/home-garden/interiors/mr-moneypennys-wonder-wallpaper-from-the-frontline-of-interior-design-41408984.html Mr Moneypenny’s wonder wallpaper from the front line of interior design

Fry Electronics Team

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