Design Notes Archive

Border Lines

Border Lines

Flipping through the latest issue of The World of Interiors, one is reminded of the endless amount of detail adorning the walls of Morocco’s storied Villa Oasis. Elaborate borders—from hand-carved and painted trims to mosaic zellige tiles inspired by La Mamounia—grace nearly every room. The design, executed in the 1980s by Bill Willis and Jacques Grange for Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berger, is a powerful example of how borders can transform a room.

Moroccan borders were just one of the elements that architect Peter Pennoyer looked to when designing this sunroom, left, in the home of art collector Scott Mueller. Dubbed Rowdy Meadow, the house boasts a confluence of influences, beginning with Arts and Crafts then switching gears midway to Czech Cubism, after Mueller returned from a trip through Eastern Europe newly inspired. To blend the disparate genres, Pennoyer first did a deep dive into the book, Czech Cubism: Architecture, Furniture and Decorative Arts 1910-1925. Later, elements of German Expressionism and Viennese Secessionism also came into play. Ultimately the union lay in a shared appreciation for geometrics. Here, Moroccan zellige tiles (set in plaster walls) are patterned in a nod to Koloman Moser, founder of the Weiner Werkstätte, and the work of Austrian architect Joseph Urban.

Building Mueller’s home from the ground up allotted Pennoyer a healthy dose of flexibility. For creative consultant Carlos Mota, the plain white walls of his flat in the Dominican Republic left him wanting, centre. Having traveled the world as a style editor for top interiors magazines, Mota looked to the ornate motifs of India and Morocco for inspiration. Rather than installing millwork and coving in the airy tropical locale, he created a sense of architecture with painted patterned borders around doorways in some rooms and ceilings in others. In this dining room, the colours of the zig zag pattern pick up on the floor tiles while natural furnishings keep the background in focus.

Conversely, designer Susie Atkinson used her new striped wallpaper border to highlight traditional architecture, right, adding a dado rail in a contrasting check for a contemporary twist. Studio Atkinson’s new collection is available on their website now. We also love the painterly quality of Kate Hawkin’s wallpaper borders for Common Room, which are a bit wider and feature bows and ivy. For borders that are handpainted directly onto the wall, try reaching out to artist Julianna Bryne, who is represented by Partnership Editions. And for tile, Balineum’s Tube Lined collection is in sync with Rowdy Meadow’s aesthetic, as are some patterns in the Series S collection, including Federica, Losanga and Croce, which is also offered in an elongated listello border tile size (30x7cm).

Photographs © Eric Piasecki; Simon Upton; Studio Atkinson