Friday Focus – Gabriel Hendifar & APPARATUS

TGIF! This is the first of our new series, Friday Focus. Every Friday we will feature a favorite single interior or product that we’ve discovered. This week it happens to be both.

We were first introduced to APPARATUS at IFDANY’s Rising Stars of Design. It’s founders, Gabriel Hendifar & Jeremy Anderson, were there to accept the IFDANY honor for APPARATUS. Their presentation was charming, and WOW, did we fall hard for APPARATUS’ refreshing fixtures replete with sumptuous materials (like matte black python!) and expert hand finishing.

But something else caught our eyes too, and not surprisingly, it has to do with walls. They shared an image of a hand painted wall design based on geological strata in their former Los Angeles home that had the entire audience swooning. That design later inspired Strata Study, an APPARATUS linen wall covering collaboration with ZAK+FOX.

We’re in love.

If that weren’t enough, it seems that Gabriel Hendifar has some serious interior design chops.  One only needs to see this Hendifar designed dining room to fall even harder. Sigh.



APPARATUS founder, Gabriel Hendifar, designed dining room features the hand painted inspiration for Strata Study on the walls as well as an APPARATUS chandelier. Photo via APPARATUS

A name after our own hearts! Available though ZAK+FOX, Strada Study linen by APPARATUS X ZAK+FOX. Photo via APPARATUS

A name after our own hearts! Available through ZAK+FOX, Strata Study linen by APPARATUS X ZAK+FOX. Photo via APPARATUS


Holiday House Past

Grade Holiday House NY Interior Design

Grade’s Personal Time room at Holiday House NYC 2011. Photo via Grade

Critical acclaim, top interior designers, jaw dropping interiors, a stunning venue and one amazing cause, breast cancer research. That’s Holiday House NYC in a beautiful nut shell that the Nut Cracker himself couldn’t break. After attending the star studded Opening Night Gala a couple of weeks ago, we couldn’t resist reliving some of our favorites from Holiday House Past.

In fact, we were involved in the very first Holiday House NYC in 2008. Back then SuperStrata was an eponymous design studio run by our founder Jonas Everets under the moniker Jonas Everets Design. Jonas was thrilled when interior designer Kathy Abbott approached JED to do a custom wall treatment for her Kwanza themed room. The answer was a resounding yes! Beyond having a passion for great design, Holiday House’s mission was near and dear to his heart.

That first year brought together top designers and participants under a theme that is hard not to rally around- celebrate life! Every designer was asked to choose an inspirational holiday to design his or her space around in the historic Upper East Side mansion that would become Holiday House NYC’s home, Academy Mansion. Over the next six years the showhouse has seen top talent from the New York City interior design scene transform the Academy Mansion into a glorious and often luxurious homage to the beauty of life itself.


James Rixner Holiday House NY Interior Design

James Rixner‘s Engagement room at Holiday House NYC 2008. Photo via The Quest for “It”

Kelley Proxmire Holiday House NY Interior Design

Kelley Proxmire‘s Bedroom for a Holiday room at Holiday House NYC 2008. Photo via Visual Vamp

Interior Designer Kathy Abbott's Kwanza themed room with a subtle lime paint wall treatment by SuperStrata in the 2008 Holiday House. Photo via Kathy Abbott

Interior Designer Kathy Abbott’s Kwanza themed room with a subtle lime paint wall treatment by SuperStrata in the 2008 Holiday House. Photo via Kathy Abbott

Designer Barbara Ostrom's fabulous Festival of the Stag room at Holiday House NYC 2009. Photo via Habitually Chic

Designer Barbara Ostrom‘s  Festival of the Stag room at Holiday House NYC 2009. Photo via Habitually Chic

Diane Durocher Holiday House NY Interior Design

Diane Durocher‘s Winter Solstice room at Holiday House NYC 2009. Photo via Holiday House NYC

Timothy & Associates Interior Design Holiday House NY

Timothy & Associates Interior Design’s New Year’s Eve room at Holiday House NYC 2009. Photo via Timothy & Associates Interior Design

Mark Epstein Holiday House NY Interior Design

Mark Epstein‘s Hanukkah in the Library room for Holiday House NYC 2010. Photo via Emily Evans Eerdmans

Debra Blair Holiday House NY Interior Design

Debra Blair‘s Venetian Carnivale tabletop at Holiday House 2010. Photo via Holiday House NYC

Bradley Thiergartner Holiday House NY Interior Design

Bradley Thiergartner‘s Boxing Day room at Holiday House 2010. Photo via Emily Evans Eerdmans

Irwin Feld Design Holiday House NY Interior Design

Irwin Feld Design’s Snow Day room at Holiday House NYC 2010. Photo via Irwin Feld Design

Charles Farruggio Holiday House NY Interior Design

Charles Farruggio‘s Marriage Proposal room at Holiday House NYC 2011. Photo via The Countess

Avram Rusu Holiday House NY Interior Design

Avram Rusu’s New Year’s Eve room for Holiday House 2011. Photo via Avram Rusu

Ally Coulter Holiday House NY Interior Design

Ally Coulter‘s Mother’s Day room at Holiday House NYC 2011. Photo via The Countess.

Vicente Wolf Holiday House NY Interior Design

Vicente Wolf‘s Winter White room at Holiday House NYC 2012. Photo via Our Empty Nest

Inson Wood Holiday House NY Interior Design

Inson Wood‘s Chinese New Year room at Holiday House NYC 2012. Photo via Ecomanta

Suzanne Eason Holiday House NY Interior Design

Suzanne Eason‘s “Origins of Life” room at Holiday House NYC 2012. Photo via Simplified Bee

Suzanne Eason Holiday House NY Interior Design

Suzanne Eason‘s “Origins of Life” room at Holiday House NYC 2012. Photo via Suzanne Eason

Tobi Fairley Holiday House NY Interior Design

Tobi Fairley’s Spring Forward room at Holiday House NYC 2012. Photo via Tobi Fairley

Claudia Giselle Holiday House NY Interior Design

Claudia Giselle’s Vanity room at Holiday House NYC 2012. Photo via Claudia Giselle

Brett Design Holiday House NY Interior Design

Brett Design’s Valentine’s Day room at Holiday House NYC 2012. Photo via Brett Design

Charlotte Moss Holiday House NY Interior Design

Charlotte Moss‘s Everyday is a Holiday room at Holiday House 2012. Photo via Simplified Bee

Support a great cause and see some truly jaw dropping interior design through December 18th in Holiday House NYC 2013 with interiors by Ally Coulter DesignsCampion PlattChristopher HylandCullman and KravisCW DesignDarrin Varden DesignDécor by Guillaume GentetDeb Landis DesignDeborah Martin DesignsDonghiaFranklin EighthGregory Allan CramerJ + G DesignJ Cohler Mason DesignJames RixnerJoseph Parisi InteriorsKelley Jackson Mario BuattaMichael McKinnon Patrick J HamiltonPatrik Lönn DesignRachel Laxer Interiors, Scott Formby, Stephen Bastone, Studio Tim CampbellSusanna SalkTinatin Kilaberidze Design, and Weitzman-Halpern Interior Design.  Find more information here.

Nicole Fuller: Elegance With an Edge

Dining Room Interior Design by Nicole Fuller Interiors

Formal lavender dining room By Nicole Fuller wears “Boucle”, a custom textured plaster wall treatment by SuperStrata that was inspired by the iconic fabric that Chanel brought to fame

Interior, Furniture, and Accessories Designer Nicole Fuller is a lot like her interiors. At once exuberant, enchanting, and cosmopolitan, this hip sophisticate creates fresh, glamorous environments with just enough edge  to surprise and captivate. And we should know, Nicole has been a favorite client of ours for many years. Beyond being a joy to work with, she is an innovative designer who always requests imaginative new bespoke wall and ceiling treatments from us and other artisans she works with. Never one to overlook or downplay any element in her interiors, she’ll often incorporate bold wallpaper or design something completely new for those surfaces; whether custom plaster finishes, bespoke wallpaper, fabric, leather or metal, yes metal, the walls in her interiors are an integral component that never disappoint. We asked Nicole to share her design process, idols, and favorite wall treatments with us.

SS: You are a very detailed and involved interior designer and as you take every element of a room into consideration, at what point do the walls and ceiling come into your process?

NF: I consider them right from the beginning. The walls and ceiling envelope a space and are what initially inspire my creative process. They play a crucial role in the creation and direction of my designs. Walls and ceilings have the ability to either develop the pre-existing features in a space or even change the space entirely. You can also really play with spatial perception of a room just by referring to its walls and ceiling.

wallpaper and gold leaf ceiling by Nicole Fuller Interiors

A gold leaf ceiling and wallpaper by Cole & Sons in a foyer by Nicole Fuller Interiors

Nicole Fuller Interiors

“Farrah”, a custom striped venetian plaster wall finish by SuperStrata with beeswax drawing designed by Nicole in her own home. Photo via Livingect

SS:  Walls and ceilings in your designs are always an integral component. Beyond that, they are often really dynamic surfaces- fresh, inventive, and bold. Considering that wall finishes and treatments in contemporary design offer innumerable possibilities, what is your process in arriving at the final treatment for those surfaces?

NF: I like to learn and understand the age and character of the building that I am designing within. The intended emotion and ambiance in a specific space helps to define and clarify the creative process. My wall and ceiling creations often go hand in hand with the furnishings I am thinking of putting in the space, and building that initial relationship between actual pieces of furniture and what is either going on the wall or ceiling is vital.

Custom ceiling finish in living room by Nicole Fuller Interiors

Custom ceiling treatment in a dining room designed by Nicole Fuller Interiors

Custom tile mosaic with flanking wall murals in living room by Nicole Fuller Interiors

Custom tile mosaic by Sicis adorns the hearth with flanking wall murals in this sitting room by Nicole Fuller Interiors

SS: What challenges have you faced when designing for walls?

NF: More often than not, the issue is technical versus creative: uneven walls, poorly constructed buildings, and of course, low ceilings, are always a challenge that we look forward to finding a novel solution. I don’t really see any barriers as a negative but more as a challenge, and even the toughest situations excite me and push me to be more aggressive creatively.

It’s funny – clients typically resist wall covering at first. They only think about their grandmother’s flower paper. I have always used wallpaper and treatments in all my interiors. Wallpapers and treatments can reference history while simultaneously providing a compelling modern flair.

Graffiti Wall for Nicole Fuller Interiors

Personalized, custom pink graffiti wall mural by Eric Elms

Ink Blot wallpaper in an Nicole Fuller Interior.

Ink Blot wallpaper in an Nicole Fuller Interior

Custom wall finishing in dining room by Nicole Fuller Interiors

The perfect color of this high gloss lacquer sets the tone. Interior Design by Nicole Fuller Interiors

SS: What would you say has been your favorite wall treatment in one of your own projects? (Other than one of ours, of course!)

NF: I guess I would have to say Vampire’s Garden. It’s one that I designed. It’s distressed leather wall panels with abstract floral tattooed in pure mineral pigments. As with all our creations this treatment is fully customizable.

Vampire's Garden, a custom tattooed leather wallcovering by Nicole Fuller Interiors

Vampire’s Garden, a custom tattooed leather wallcovering by Nicole Fuller Interiors

SS: What about in another designer’s project?

NF: I’m obsessed with Coco Chanel’s famous apartment in Paris, France. Not only was she brilliantly talented transforming the fashion industry, but also her interior design skills were perfection. She continues to be a true inspiration. I also adore Hotel Costes, designed by Jacques Garcia in Paris. It displays such imagination brought together by beautiful wall treatments and textures. Also Yves Saint Laurent’s apartment in Paris, designed by Jean-Michel Frank is a favorite. The apartment is masterfully designed with the perfect pairing of new and old pieces.

Coco Chanel's Paris Home

Coco Chanel’s Paris Home. Photo via NPR

Hotel Costes in Paris by Jacques Garcia

Hotel Costes in Paris designed by Jacques Garcia. Photo via Keylee Sanders

Yves Saint Laurent's home designed by Jean Michel Frank

Yves St Laurent’s Paris home by Jean Michel Frank

SS: As a style trend-setter, are there any new products or processes that you’ve begun using recently? What trends are you seeing with regards to wall treatments more generally?

NF: I think metal on the wall is going to be the next big thing – applied, inlayed, and painted. Metal is inherently dimensional – you can’t go wrong. We have recently started designing a burnished bronze geometric design on large panels for a client. I can’t wait to see them in place! I’m mixing in all different metal leaves (gold leaf, silver leaf, etc.) as well in my treatments.  Stay tuned… I’ll be sending out sneak peek pictures through twitter at @NicoleFullerInt.

SS: As a designer, you create not only interiors, but also design individual elements that make up those interiors, such as furniture, lighting, and bespoke wall treatments. Where do you find your inspiration?

NF: Lately I’ve been inspired by vintage Van Cleef and Arpels jewelry. I recently went to a private showing and the shapes and color interacting just-so with the precious metals immediately made me think of a whole new concept for pieces of furniture.

Custom wall furnishing in contemporary room by Nicole Fuller Interiors

Interior Design by Nicole Fuller Interiors

It’s not surprising that Nicole is inspired by the baubles of the Van Cleef and Arpels. Just like those jewels juxtaposed just-so within their precious settings,  the elements in one of her interiors are perfectly paired with their surroundings.

For more interior design inspiration see check out Nicole’s work on her Website.

To see Nicole’s furniture and accessories, check out her collection, Isabella Wolfe.

All photos courtesy of Nicole Fuller Interiors unless otherwise stated.

Wall Pin Wednesday

We were recently inspired by one of our favorite chats on Twitter, Interior Designer Chat. Well, truth be told that’s not unusual! But during this particular session the topic was Pinterest, and the discussion, as always, was fast, furious, and fun. Pinterest, if you are unfamiliar, is a fairly new social media site that allows users to collect, “pin”, and share images on “boards”. It basically takes the place of a scrapbook, mood board or inspiration board. The Interior Design community is rightfully quite smitten with Pinterest. It’s a fantastic tool, and especially so for creative and visually based businesses.

The conversation, moderated by the founder of the chat, the lovely Barbara Segal of Noir Blanc Design, was steered toward the idea of collaborative Pinterest boards. At this point, Clever Storage, a clever kitchen storage design company, chimed in that they had started something called #DesignPinThurs or in non-tweet parlance Design Pin Thursday. Basically people can pin a design themed image, give it the hashtag #DesignPinThurs, tweet it, and voila, they will re-pin it onto a collaborative inspiration board.

We LOVED this idea so much that Wall Pin Wednesday was born and christened with the hashtag #WallPinWednesday. It works like this- tweet an interior design or architectural pin that boasts fabulous walls with the hashtag #WallPinWednesday, and we will re-pin as many as we can to a devoted collaborative board on Pinterest. Whether wallpaper, murals, fabric, mosaics, tile, glass, plaster finishes, distressed walls, paint, wood: as long as it is wonderfully wall related, it is #WallPinWednesday worthy. You can also follow the action on Twitter by searching for the hashtag #WallPinWednesday.

We realize that Twitter is not for everyone, and well, frankly, the lingo to the uninitiated can be confusing.  But never fear, there will be eye candy in Wall Pin Wednesday for you as well. Simply check out the resulting board every week to see what people are pinning. Or you can check in here for round-up posts of the top Wall Pin Wednesday pins!

Here are a few fabulous interiors with noteworthy walls that we’ve found on or shared on Pinterest.

Creative color blocking on Pinterest

Using creative color blocking to define the dimensions of a space. Originally via Desire To Inspire via Skona Hem.

Leopard Wallpaper

Luxury on the wild side with leopard walls. Pinned via The Decorista.

A lacquered sitting room by Interior Designer Miles Redd

Miles Redd does walls like no other. The dark teal lacquer of this sitting room coupled with pops of orange and turquoise is just one the elements that make it truly spectacular. Re-pinned via ABC Dragoo.

An arched hallway vignette is washed white.

A gorgeously framed hallway vignette is perfection in white. Re-pinned via Elizabeth de Montfort Walker.

de Gournay wallpaper with artistic flourish

Jeffrey Bilhuber’s Manhattan boudoir luxuriates in custom de Gournay wallpaper with golden gestural strokes by artist Nancy Lorenz. Re-pinned via Webster & Company. Originally from ELLE Decor, May 2007, Photographer William Waldron.

We look forward to seeing your pins for #WallPinWednesday, and remember, we will be posting Round-Ups of the top Wall Pin Wednesday images right here!

To see the inspiring Pinterest boards of Interior Designer Chat, click here.

You can also check us out on Pinterest, where we pin our (and your) inspirations and obsessions.

Sam Simon: Making Magical

Sam Simon paints a polka dot wall mural

Gentleman, artist, and designer, Sam Simon doing what he does best.

After far too long away from the blog, we make our return with one of our favorite discoveries through Twitter, Sam Simon. Not only is Sam a fine fellow and a fabulous follow, he is also a very talented artist working out of NYC creating custom murals and artwork with a focus on children’s themes. His past clients include trend-setters like Betsey Johnson, Versace, ABC Carpet and Home, Macy’s, the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop, and many happy homeowners. As Sam puts it, his goal is to create “work that hangs on your wall as long as you like- but hangs in your heart forever.”

We asked Sam to tell us a bit about the artistic process behind this charming boys’ bedroom mural. The project presented a few design dilemmas, not the least of which was the changing needs of growing boys. Without further ado, here’s Sam Simon-

“This is a shared space for two young boys in a very modern home in Manhattan’s Flatiron District.  The ceilings are soaring, yet the room’s footprint was not. The challenge was to create a beautiful mural piece that would allow for the furniture placement to change as the children grew older. (Currently, there is a crib on the opposite wall, in time another twin bed will be added under the taxi.) I also wanted the space to feel fun and alive- without being overwhelming or garish.  To achieve this I stuck to a relatively tight color palate of blues, browns and touches of red and yellow.  Keeping all of the focal points above average headboard height allows the clients to move furniture elements as the boys grow and their needs change.


Children's room mural by Sam Simon

A shared bedroom for two growing boys sports a custom Sam Simon mural. Photo: Mae Lee Hacking, co-founder of Here In This House

The over sized, washy block pattern looks super smart, and the horizontal lines give a “grounding point” for images like the dinosaur and vehicles. The washy texture that we achieve by mixing several values of the same hue softens the graphic nature of the piece.   Metallic white bands and silvery stars glimmer as you move around the room, and your perspective and relationship to ambient light changes.  It really looks magical at bedtime!

Children's themed, custom mural by artist and muralist Sam Simon.

An over sized block pattern creates the horizontal lines that give a “grounding point for images like the dinosaur and vehicles.” Photo: Mae Lee Hacking, co-founder of Here In This House

Personalization is what I’m all about- everything from the 17 on the fire engine to the lower case “j” and “a” have significance to the patrons.  The letters for example signify the first initials of both boys’ names, and the number 17 signifies the local fire station.

Detail of wall mural design by Sam Simon

Personalized details are an integral part of the design. Photo: Mae Lee Hacking, co-founder of Here In This House

Detail of wall mural in kids room by Sam Simon

Detail of wall mural design by Sam Simon. Photo: Mae Lee Hacking, co-founder of Here In This House

My goal is to appeal to both children and adults.  I also always want my work to look as good and clean from across the room or 1 foot away.  I have eyes like a hawk, and have been known to tighten up every line and corner until they look close to machine made.  The addition of tiny details are one of my trademarks- in this instance the passengers of the taxi-cab and fire engine.  I believe it is all about the details, that this is where the magic of fine craftsmanship lives.”

Here are a few more of our favorite projects by Sam-

Bathroom Mural by Sam Simon

A delightful animal filled mural in a bathroom by Sam Simon.

Sam Simon Wall and Painting with New Traditionalists furniture.

Love the polka dot wall with a custom painting by Sam coupled with nursery furniture by the fabulous New Traditionalists.

Painting with truck, boat, and car by Sam SImon

Painting with truck, boat, and car by Sam Simon.

A green nursery sprouts floral tree patterned walls.

A green nursery sprouts floral tree patterned walls painted and designed by Sam Simon.

The last line of Sam’s manifesto is “create your very own beautiful world, piece by piece, personal and precious.” Brushstroke by brushstroke, Sam is helping people do just that.

You can find Sam and many more of his magical creations at He can also be found spouting more manifesto worthy quips on Twitter as @1samsimon.

Music For Your Eyes: Fluted Walls

A few years ago we were installing a plaster wall finish for an interior design project by the venerable Jeffrey Bilhuber and fell in love with another wall- a fluted plaster stunner. It was the first time we had seen a fluted plaster wall, columns sure, but on a flat wall in a contemporary setting, never. We saw that flat, previously nondescript walls become architectural design statements when fluted. Tactilely inviting, optically captivating, and a bit mysterious, at a distance fluted walls could be mistaken for stripes, their trendy, two dimensional cousin, but fluted walls have a visual depth, a play of light and shadow, and a historical reference all their own.

We’ve always wondered when the idea of fluting walls would take off. And then, an eclectic, colorful New York apartment designed by Miles Redd featured recently in House Beautiful caught our eyes. Miles Redd’s designs often are eye catching, but the living room caused a double take; it has a beautifully applied plaster fluted wall treatment running right up the walls and over the ceiling. That got us to thinking- how many other designers are now using this ancient architectural element as a wall treatment? We couldn’t find many, but thought we’d share what we did find, along with a few casual shots we took of that Bilhuber project years ago…

Fluted Plaster Wall Treatment in an apartment designed by Jeffrey Bilhuber

The first fluted plaster wall finish we’d ever seen in a New York living room designed by Jeffrey Bilhuber. Photo by SuperStrata.

A fluted plaster wall finish designed by Jeffrey Bilhuber.

Up close and personal, the unfinished plaster brings a subtle texture. The texture and depth of the finish is further enhanced as the light plays off the ridges of the fluting. Photo by SuperStrata.

Bespoke fluted plaster wall and ceiling finish in a living room by designer Miles Redd.

The living room by Miles Redd that sent us on our quest for fluting! The walls and ceiling received a continuous surface finish created by applying plaster to the walls and fluting it while still wet with specially made tools. Photo by James Merrell via House Beautiful.

Miles Redd designed living room with fluted walls in New York.

The light, ruffled aqua drapes lend a delicate air to this sitting area designed by Miles Redd. Notice the fluted wall treatment does not continue over the ceiling, but rather meets it in a soft caress. Photo by James Merrell via House Beautiful.

A fluted reading corner by Miles Redd. Photo by James Merrell via House Beautiful.

Perfect fluting adds texture and movement to a hallway ceiling by Miles Redd.

The fluting on the ceiling, seen here reflected in the mirrored wall, adds texture and movement. Interior design by Miles Redd. Photo by James Merrell via House Beautiful.

Fluted walnut paneling in an interior designed by Fox-Nahem

We love this warm and sensual fluted walnut paneling in an interior designed by Fox-Nahem. Photo by Elizabeth Felicella via Fox-Nahem.

Fluted walnut paneling in an interior designed by Fox-Nahem

Photo by Elizabeth Felicella via Fox-Nahem.

Fluted walnut paneling in an interior designed by Fox-Nahem

Photo by Elizabeth Felicella via Fox-Nahem.

Bespoke fluted walls by the Luczak Brothers for Jean-Louis Deniot

A Chicago dining room by Parisian designer Jean-Louis Deniot with fantastic plaster fluted walls by the Luczak Brothers. Can’t you just see these walls perfectly juxtaposed with minimal and mid-century design as well? Photo by Miguel Flores-Vianna via Architectural Digest.

A fluted half wall in a home designed by McAlpine Tankersley

This elegant, rustic room by McAlpine Tankersly gets the traditional gone modern treatment in the form of a fluted half wall. Photo via Limestone and Boxwoods.

Art-deco era interior with Fluted walls.

Maybe not such a new idea? An illustration of an Art-Deco era grand “stair hall” designed by Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann with a fluted wall on the ground level. Image via Bradbury & Bradbury.

Venetian Plaster: Those In The Know Don’t Faux

High Sheen Polished Authentic White Venetian Plaster Wall Finish

Custom Authentic Polished Venetian Plaster by SuperStrata for Nicole Fuller Interiors.

In the last few decades the polished Italian limestone plaster as luminous as a pearl has come to be known as Venetian Plaster. Driving its immense popularity is its undeniable beauty, but behind the accent walls there is a storm brewing.

The tempest on the horizon of the design world could very well end the rein of Venetian Plaster as a “timeless” and “classic” wall treatment; the proliferation of badly done fakes by untrained “professionals” and “certified” painting contractors could render this once legendary finish a mere trend. In fact, many so-called “Venetian Plasters” that are installed today are the equivalent of buying Louis Vuitton bags on Canal St: they aren’t real; they aren’t natural; they aren’t quality; and they look like plastic!

True Venetian Plaster and its resplendent aesthetic qualities can only be accomplished with real limestone plaster and great artisanal technique. Authentic Venetian Plaster is made of slaked lime, marble dust, and water. As the plaster cures, it reabsorbs carbon dioxide from the air and returns to a stone state, strong and radiant with the depth of color and translucence of the natural stone that it is comprised of, limestone and marble.

modernCustom authentic, polished yellow Venetian Plaster walls in a mezzanine.

Custom authentic, polished Venetian Plaster walls with little color mottling in a modern mezzanine rivals lacquer for the title of queen of sheen. With the added bonus of being eco-friendly, the all natural plaster finish wins the crown every time. Interior design by Nicole Fuller Interiors. Walls by SuperStrata.

Now you can buy a can of something labeled “Venetian Plaster” at Home Depot, but what is in the can is not Venetian Plaster. The proliferation of these canned imposters full of ethylene glycol, vinyl acetates, acrylics, and resins have turned these so-called Venetian Plasters into a cheap and shoddy commodity, chemically incapable of the depth of color, the play with light, and the longevity that the real thing naturally boasts.

Venetian Plaster in Master Bath lends tranquility and a spa-like quality.

A true Venetian Plaster in a soothing natural tone lends tranquility and a spa-like quality to this master bath. Interior Design by Nicole Fuller Interiors. Wall Finish by SuperStrata.

Authentic Limestone Plaster by SuperStrata in a Master Bath

As pretty as a pearl, a classic wall treatment when paired with non-traditional fixtures and contemporary art make this bath stylish, luxurious, and grounded. Interior Design by Nicole Fuller Interiors. Walls by SuperStrata.

Venetian Plaster in an Upatate New York Home

The high shine qualities of the Venetian Plaster wall finish are topped by a ceiling aglow with Marmorino plaster  with Mica flakes. Interior Design by Nicole Fuller Interiors. Walls and Ceiling Treatments by SuperStrata.

When installed as it was meant to be, with real materials, expertise, and craftsmanship, authentic Venetian Plaster is absolutely gorgeous, but when applied by untrained labor and contractors, the result is often inferior. This is doubly so when inauthentic and second-rate materials are employed to save on labor and cost. The old motto “you get what you pay for” is alive and well in the wall finishing business. Add the environmental benefits of using authentic limestone plasters to the equation, and the real thing always comes out on top.

Benefits of real Limestone Plaster:

  • Authentic limestone plasters are natural & GREEN
  • Mold resistant– less allergens
  • Natural temperature regulator
  • Low VOCs– no harmful vapors or chemicals
  • Made of plentiful natural resources
  • Truly time tested- Used for thousands of years
  • Highly customizable
  • Capable of innovative visual effects and patterns
  • Aesthetically superior to synthetics

Book Recommendation: The World of Muriel Brandolini Interiors

The World of Muriel Brandolini Interiors

The World of Muriel Brandolini Interiors

The World of Muriel Brandolini Interiors By Muriel Brandolini with Amy Tai and Principle Photography by Pieter Estersohn

The first of our book recommendations, The World of Muriel Brandolini Interiors, was recently given to our creative director as a birthday gift. While familiar with interior designer Muriel Bandolini’s work, we had not had the pleasure of perusing this well written, beautifully photographed, and truly inspiring book. We quickly realized that it would make the top of our recommendation list; it is not only filled with jaw dropping interiors that infuse bold juxtapositions of color, texture, pattern, and periods, just what Muriel is famous for, but it highlights the sumptuous walls that set her unconventionally elegant stages.

Muriel Brandolini Fabric Walls and Ceiling

An upstairs bedroom in Brandolini's Long Island home's guest house. The space feels welcoming and secluded with walls and ceiling of matching patterned fabric. The bright magenta high gloss wooden floor plays off the walls and lends a glamorous edge.

In fact, creative and distinctive walls are at the very core of Muriel’s practice. As Wendy Goodman, the Design Editor of New York magazine, tells us in the introduction, Muriel “blazed the trail” in 1993 with her very own home. It seems the family was subletting an apartment that while perfect in so many other ways unfortunately boasted faux marble painted walls that did not suit her vision for the space. Worse, the walls could not be painted over according to the rental agreement. Never one to be put off, Muriel found an ingenious solution and  “high-tailed it down to the garment district, where she purchased colorful fabric scraps and then made them into patchwork wall hangings and curtains. The result took your breath away; she had set her course, transforming the apartment into a magical galley, a ship afloat in her unique bohemian glamour and offbeat sense of elegance.”

Bedroom By Muriel Brandolini with

On the Park in New York City, this bedroom has walls covered with squares of straw randomly rotated and adorned with handmade baskets from the Amazon.

Page after page illustrates Muriel’s unique style and flair for creating walls that are so much more than a backdrop. Never one to use wallpaper- she finds it “cold”- she embraces fabric instead and much of it is custom and embroidered or beaded. She has been known to use clients’ lives as inspirations for these creations, with words as pattern that are derived directly from their experiences.

Custom beaded wall covering designed by Muriel Brandolini

1960's plaid chairs from Italy embrace a steel table by Piet Hein Eek in this refreshing kitchen. The walls wear Holland & Sherry felt that is beaded with patterned happy "pills", each bearing a word from Lou Reed's "Perfect Day". More like a perfect kitchen!

Detail of beaded bespoke beaded fabric by Muriel Brandolini.

Detail of bespoke felt wall covering hand beaded in Vietnam.

In the book, Muriel’s musings on her relationships with her clients, her inspirations, life, and creative practice are ingeniously interspersed with clients’ reflections of the process.  The presentation of the designer’s thoughts followed directly by her clients’, is such an apt metaphor for the work and process, and more importantly for the final outcome. Each informs the other: client and visionary, lives lived and lives envisioned. Layer upon layer, a rich amalgam is revealed.

Muriel Brandolini embroidered fabic.

On the left, a wall covering with words from the owner's life are embroided onto a warm gray felt. On the right: an office with a hand-beaded circle design wall panel.

Chalkboard wall in a playful kitchen by Muriel Brandolini.

The well used chalkboard wall in this playful kitchen is the perfect juxtaposition for the 1950's chandeliers, custom stainless steel island, and Gino Carallo dining chairs.

A signature chair by Muriel Brandolini in one of her interiors.

A chair by Brandolini is accompanied by a "ring" coffee table by City Joinery. The walls in this home were "built to a size that would match the wall coverings" creating a seamless visual experience.

Muriel Brandolini Beaded Wall Treatment in an Entry

Signature style: custom beaded fabric bejewels this entry's walls with the lyrics from her clients' favorite Rolling Stones song.

Muriel Brandolini bedroom in horizontal stripes.

In a room meant for "both play and study" the designer along with Cameron Prather created a striped wall treatment consisting of padded felt rows. She calls them "sausage walls". We call them fantastic!

All interiors/images from The World of Muriel Brandolini Interiors By Muriel Brandolini with Amy Tai and Principle Photography by Pieter Estersohn


At SuperStrata we are all about great walls: yours, ours, and their’s; so while we create cutting edge plaster and paint wall finishes, this is the place where we champion the amazing walls that we find around us.


Walls Surround Us

Walls are shelter. Walls are privacy. Walls keep things in and keep things out. We are surrounded by them, and when we are lucky, kept safe and warm by them. Walls are ubiquitous yet sometimes they are cursorily styled, not as an afterthought, but almost as a non-thought, something to merely hang a picture on. Other times they are works of art themselves, outstanding jewels that are perfectly suited to their environments.  This blog is dedicated to those outstanding walls that surround us.

Chronicling our obsession, Walls Surround You profiles all things wall: plaster finishes, paint, design, tile, wallpaper, and of course, the fabulous producers, designers, architects, and decorators that create them. We will feature guest blog posts mixed in with our original content, projects, commentary, book reviews, and trend spotting. We are so excited to have you join us on our journey and to share our passion for the walls that surround us!

Without further ado, let’s jump right in!

Wharton Esherick's stair encased in worn plaster walls in his home in PA from Handcrafted Modern by Leslie Williamson

Wharton Esherton’s uniquely artistic home.  Photo by Leslie Williamson from the book Handcrafted Modern

A rough hewn plaster wall, resplendent with history supports a split spiral staircase from the 1939 World’s fair in artist Wharton Esherton’s home and studio in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. There has been a surge of worn walls lately in the blogasphere, but this one in combination with the warmth of the idiosyncratic staircase and large wooden beam with a chair on top, is one of the most earnest we’ve seen. From a wonderful book that we recommend for design (and wall) inspiration, Handcrafted Modern: At Home With Mid-Century Designers by Leslie Williamson.

Fabric covered wall with matching settee. Interior Design by Vessper Wilde.

Fabric covered wall with matching settee. Interior Design by Nicole Fuller Interiors. Photo via Nicole Fuller Interiors.

We had to include this entryway turned interior landscape by the former design duo Vessper Wilde. The settee is upholstered to blend into the fabric-covered wall almost seamlessly, creating the most glamorous camouflage we’ve ever seen. The oh so glam vignette is symmetrically flanked by hanging beaded glass light fixtures and walls of iridescent abalone shell tile. As a counterpoint, the soft, shag rug warms things up; plus, it’s the perfect contrast for the outcropping of black glass occasional tables that reflect the pattern of the fabric.

Custom, handmade plaster panels depicting a tree motif by SuperStrata flank cherry paneled walls.

Forest motif custom handmade plaster panels line the top of wood paneled walls.  Photo ©SuperStrata

It is not everyday we get to stretch our legs and work on a project like this one. Sketched, hand-carved,  and then cast by SuperStrata artisans, the detailed, custom plaster panels that abut the solid cherry wood walls were designed to bring the surrounding outdoors inside.  Exposed beams, wood mantel, inviting furniture, antique church pew: together all of the elements create a comfortably elegant gathering spot.

Detail of custom plaster panel atop wood paneled walls in upstate New York.

Detail of custom plaster panel with trees in upstate New York. Photo ©SuperStrata

Photo ©Jonas Everets

This photo was taken on vacation years ago in Mexico. We’ve long forgotten what town it was in, but we’ve never forgotten this work of traditional Mexican artistry. Unfortunately, we can’t give you too much detail, but we can share its visual splendor with you. We’re imagining the geometric rosette design as a painted contemporary wall treatment.

Lime paint wall finish and Marmorino plaster walls by Christian Liaigre in Alta Gracia Spain

Lime wash and Marmorino. Interior Design  by Christian Liaigre in Alta Gracia, Spain. Photo from Liaigre by Christian Liaigre, Thomas Luntz, Jean-Philippe Piter and Eric Morin

We love Liaigre! What’s not to love? He is so gifted, and we definitely appreciate his talent with walls. Not only two-toned, these walls are two-textured. Buffeting a warm toned limestone and marble dust plaster finish, Marmorino, or “little marble” in Italian, with a cool white lime paint in all of its gritty, brushy beauty is a textural feast for the eyes. Featuring this project and many more with walls that will make you swoon, Liaigre by Christian Liaigre is another must read for interior design devotees.

Detail of the brushy texture in the lime paint finish of a project by Christian Liaigre in Alta Gracia Spain. Photo by Jean-Philippe Piter

Detail of the brush strokes in an eco-friendly lime paint finish by famed Interior Designer Christian Liaigre in Alta Gracia Spain. Photo by Jean-Philippe Piter

Bausman window display by Interior Designer Oliver Furth honoring The Fountainhead

Bausman window display by Interior Designer Oliver Furth. Photo via Oliver Furth

Los Angeles Interior Designer Oliver Furth created this interior, actually a window display, for Bausman’s LA showroom, in honor of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead. We’ve included it in our inaugural post for its brilliant use of old blueprints as wall coverings. Given the subject and the context, the blueprints make for a smart show, but in combination with the oversized sexy, organic shaped desk, colorfully contrasting chair, stark black and white art work, and a light fixture mobile composed of architectural photographs, we think it’s downright outstanding. Now, where to find enough blueprints do our own offices…

Venetian Plaster in a high shine yellow warms a mezzanine hallway

One of our Venetian Plasters in a high shine yellow warms a mezzanine hallway. Interior Design by Vessper Wilde. Photo © SuperStrata

Not your average Venetian Plaster, this fresh, custom yellow finish was executed without the mottling that many Venetian Plasters have; perfectly smooth, it has all the sheen and double the glory. It reminds us of that other high shine treatment, lacquer. However, unlike lacquer,  an authentic limestone plaster wall treatment is eco-friendly, which makes us love it even more.

Dune Cast concrete tile by Stephen Lindsay

Dune, seen here in cast concrete, is a shaped tile by Stephen Lindsay. Photo via UrbanProduct

Dune, by Stephen Lindsay, is a contemporary shaped tile available in wood, concrete, and plaster. Abutting a bright white traditional wainscoting, the contrast of the organic inspired tiles is striking.  We are currently obsessed with tile designs that have a modulated surface, but we won’t get on our soap box yet, we have plenty of time for that!

Speaking of time, choosing the images for our inaugural post was daunting- there is so much we wanted to share with you! In the end, all are outstanding examples of their individual styles. We’d love to know what you think!


In the mean time, some Deconstructed Elegance


Thank you for stopping by!

Coming soon…

As we put the finishing touches on our inaugural WSY post, you can sign up to receive Walls Surround You by email or follow us on Twitter, so you’ll be the first to know when it’s up.

You can also check out a guest blog post that we did for Fauxology, a wonderful blog on decorative wall treatments, featuring one of our favorite projects.

Deconstructed Elegance

“We were so excited to be asked by the lovely and talented Regina Garay to contribute to Fauxology, one of our favorite blogs! Our answer was an immediate and resounding “Yes!” What to actually focus on was another matter. The world of decorative wall finishes is an exciting, multi-faceted place. In the end, we decided to write about a project where we got to do what we love: collaborate.” read more…

Nicole Fuller's NYC living room in LivingEtc with lime paint an plaster wall treatments by SuperStrata

Interior designer Nicole Fuller's NYC apartment is an elegant "masterpiece". A custom lime paint finish in the living room is a collaboration between the talented designer and SuperStrata. See more pictures, including the custom beeswax wall drawing in the master bedroom, and read about the process in our guest post on Fauxology. Photo via LivingEtc

About Fauxology

Fauxology is a fantastic resource for wall and interior design inspiration. Begun by Regina Garay of Garay Artisans in 2007 to chronicle  the love affair between Interior Design and painting, pattern, and finishes, it’s a must read. We can’t thank Regina enough for featuring us! We are honored to be included in her romance!