Perfect on Paper
In the practised eyes of Allyson McDermott, the right wallpaper can bring a space to life, or even improve it. Armed with a lifetime’s experience in the conservation and restoration of original wallpapers and interiors, McDermott’s resourcefulness and attention to detail have made her famous.
Her studio holds an important archive of designs dating from the 17th to 20th centuries, and she’s been credited with researching and rediscovering century-old techniques such as woodblock printing, varnishing and gilding.
“We always work with each client to produce something unique that reflects their own taste and aspirations," says McDermott of her bespoke consultancy and interior design services. “It will belong to its setting and sit comfortably within the narrative of the building, whether that be an Australian forest or a Finnish snowscape, a modern city apartment or a country estate." Her most high-profile projects have taken her into some of Britain’s stateliest spaces, including the Palace of Westminster, the Royal Pavilion and Harewood House.
The launch of The Portfolio Collection (prices start from £252, S$436 per square metre) offers 18 classic wallpapers that have been expertly paired with bold and contemporary colourways.
“The Pomegranate is a particular favourite of mine," she explains. “A tiny fragment was found under the floorboards at Temple Newsam House in Yorkshire. Using analysis and historical research, we were able to recreate the design and print the wallpaper using the same papers, pigments and techniques utilised when the paper was first made in 1740. The effects are astonishing. It is not enough just to reproduce historical designs using modern commercial techniques – the authenticity of hand-craftsmanship and traditional materials takes them to a whole new level."