Throwback DIY: Albert Hadley Walls

Many, many years ago, before I even knew the name Albert Hadley, I pinned this image of a bathroom wallpapered in a print ("Fireworks") by the design great: Screen Shot 2015-10-25 at 3.39.02 PM

A quick design history lesson... Albert Hadley was one half of the design company Parish-Hadley--"the erudite yang to Sister Parish's freewheeling yin," as Architectural Digest describes him here--who brought about wonderful things in the world of interior design. His clients included the Rockefellers, the Astors, and the Kennedys, to name a few, and his signature lay in creating a comfortable room with some punchy kick to keep things interesting. Though Mr. Hadley passed away a few years ago, his legacy lives on in many ways--including this wallpaper!

One college summer, I decided my lime green bathroom needed a facelift (really wish I had a "before" photo!), and, remembering that great image, I decided to do a little Hadley-inspired DIY.

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First things first: paint the walls. I picked a sandy off-white neutral; this bathroom gets very little sunlight so I made sure to choose a light color, without feeling too sterile.

For the "fireworks," I picked a high-gloss white, the whitest white; the glossiness helps the white stand out against the sandy background color. Once the wall color was good and dry, I mapped out my pattern lightly with a pencil, taking care to space the fireworks correctly. This is one of those steps that takes a long time but makes such a difference and actually saves time--and headaches--in the end!

Then I got to work! I found it important to have enough paint on the brush each time so that the fireworks didn't look too painterly (a look I often love but not here).

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I'm still so pleased with the result, even several years after completing the paint job. And it was absolutely more budget-friendly than installing genuine Albert Hadley wallpaper! Maybe one day...