after asking for advice on how to clean lucite (one of the top ways our blog is found via the google), the next most common question maison21 gets asked is, where did he get the fabulous yellow chinoiserie wallpaper he used in the bachelorette's living room? and to everyone who searched in vain through every single post, maison21 offers his sincere apologies- though he promised often, he has never revealed his source- until today.
maison21 knew he wanted to use a fabulous de gournay or gracie chinoiserie hand painted silk wall covering somewhere in the home, and the bachelorette was wild for the idea. since gracie and de gournay are exquisite, but rather pricey, maison21's original concept was to use 2 panels on one side of the living room as a focal point, and frame them as "art". they also started out orange, btw!after spending some time in the house, as maison21 likes to do at the beginning of a project, we realized that the room was dark and gloomy even in the brightest hours of the morning, so orange was out, and a liberal dose of white and yellow was the cheerful cure diagnosed by dr. m21, ID (yellow is probably our favorite color, but lots of clients are scared to use it- not our bachelorette!) he also decided that 2 panels were never going to cut it, as he needed the whole room to be circled in a cheerful yellow garden to banish the gloomy malaise and bring in the happy. the new happy concept unfortunately also posed a bit of a sad problem- our budget would never allow the number of panels of de gournay or gracie we needed to bring life to what was until our intervention, a rather dark and oppressive room.so on to the internets we went, hoping to find a budget alternative, and the gods of home decorating smiled upon our search- we struck gold in finding the wallcoverings of griffin and wong.the griffin and wong panels are about a half to a third of the cost of the other sources we were considering, and even better, no upcharge for matching a custom color, or resizing the panels! m21 was leery of ordering over the internets sight unseen, so he contacted douglas bray, g & w's north american rep and douglas sent us a finished sample in a stock yellow background- fast! painted and fed-exed to us from china within two weeks!the quality of the sample was excellent, but the background color wasn't quite right (too timid, we wanted knock-your-socks-off yellow). we then asked for a background strike-off to match benjamin moore banana yellow #2022-40, and since this didn't have to have the florals painted, we had the strike off in 3 days! pretty amazing. we selected the "shen de tang" pattern from the many styles g & w offers, and once the pattern is selected, you can then specify which panels you want to use off a line drawing. since our panels were to be framed, we didn't necessarily need continuity, so maison21 selected some panels in sequence, and some not. that way we were able to get all the juicy bits- a little lotus leaf, some cherry blossoms, cranes and songbirds, trees in pots, hanging lanterns, etc. fun...we were then further able to customize how we wanted the florals painted, full color or white and pastels. we originally intended to go white and blue, to keep things light 'n bright, but as our sunny garden room concept took hold, full color seemed to be the option that "sang" to us...during the painting process, douglas was excellent about supplying us with jpegs of the panels in process, and we were even able to add in a few more birds and butterflies where things looked a little bare, just before they shipped. how's that for custom?from start to finish, the process was amazingly quick- once we gave our deposit, we had the finished panels in about a month! and as we've said the customer service provided was excellent- the whole customization process was a breeze. even non-decorators will be comfortable working with douglas.we are really pleased with the results- truly gorgeous, especially for the price. we honestly couldn't say whether the panels are entirely hand-painted, or whether they are a combination of printed material and hand-painted finishing, but we really don't care, either- the results look good. we did have 2 panels delivered with a few branches unfinished in spots (still needed some flowers and leaves), and while g & w offered to replace them, we didn't feel the need to wait for new ones since we were cropping some of our panels & just worked around the missing bits. no big deal. even if we used them as painted, we doubt anyone would have ever noticed the missing bits. the verdict? if our budget were unlimited, would we use griffin & wong rather than de gournay? probably not- de gournay (and gracie) manufacture true works of art, and while g & w comes close, it's the difference between a couture gown and ready-to-wear. more importantly, will we use griffin and wong again in the future? heck, yeah! for the price of two or three panels of de gournay, we were able to do a whole room, so off the rack prices really helped make the project sing. added bonus, g & w's lead time is about a hundred times faster ,and the customer service couldn't have been more personal. all in all, we couldn't be happier with g & w, and we think the results speak for themselves. two thumbs up- way up!ps- if you do decide to order from griffin & wong, please do us a favor and tell 'em maison21 sent you. we don't get paid for our endorsements, but we sure wouldn't mind if they gave us a really good deal on our next order- every little bit helps in our new economy! ;-)