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#059: Using Wallpaper in Your Space with Candice Kaye

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On the show today, I am taking you behind the scenes and we’re going to learn all about how wallpaper becomes wallpaper. How does it get from an artist’s brain into a paper that you can put onto the wall?  

I get to sit down with Candice Kaye, who is a wallpaper designer. She also designs other textiles like rugs. We are talking all about her collections, her creative process, her inspiration, and her journey.  This is a really exciting conversation because it’s something I have always wondered about and it just makes it even more special. Now when I am looking at wallpaper patterns and prints, I am thinking of the artist behind them that actually created these. We talk about how to use wallpaper in your spaces, pro tips, and so much more.

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in this episode:

[02:21] Candice’s journey

[06:02] Her creative process

[08:12] The creativity process starts with a feeling

[10:40] Process for creating a design

[12:00] Her collection work

[14:30] Creating her open air collection

[18:42] Tips for choosing and installing wallpaper

[22:17] Selecting prints for your space 

[25:12] CB2 collection 

[28:23] Keys for purchasing quality textiles

[31:26] Candice’s upcoming projects 

[33:22] Matching and coordination 

[36:13] What Cara’s obsessed with this week

[02:21] Candice’s journey

It’s a long journey. I actually started in interior design and it wasn’t until I was making mood boards that I realized that there was a textile industry. You know, we were taught in school that you just kind of went to the showrooms and picked out your fabric. Nothing really happened beyond that process and that was your selection. During my interior design course, I realized I enjoyed making mood boards more than I liked the structure of buildings. So then I left, I left interior design, and I started blogging and doing photography. I started to make videos, and I fell in love with Pinterest and Tumblr. 

I always wanted to have my own company but I wasn’t quite sure what it was going to be in. I loved interior design and fashion. But I was like, where do I fit? It wasn’t until I went on a trip to see my good friend of mine. She was living in Paris and I walked into this manufacturing warehouse and it was filled with fabrics and wall coverings. I knew that was exactly what I was to do. I’m going to make my own fabric and put it on my own furniture and make my own wallpaper and create a world that’s my own through textile. Then I applied blindly to the Fit program in New York for textile design and somehow got in. Then I taught myself everything I knew and I fell into really cool clients and now I do bespoke textile for interior hospitality. and commercial, and residential.

[06:02] Her creative process

The process is really just allowing yourself to be open to creativity, That’s the number one thing that I’ve learned. I travel a lot and that’s where I find most of my creativity. For me, my main source of creativity has been my years of blogging and Tumblr and Pinterest, and just constantly looking at different images. I encourage others to start looking at images that make you feel something and inspire you. 

I specialize in bespoke, and what that means is I create prints that are one of a kind to the space. I started within the hospitality industry. So restaurants and hotels and cafes would come to me with the concept and from there, I’ll put together a mood board of feeling first. Then it turns into the hand painting and then it turns into the layout of the design. I find the creativity process always starts with feeling and then allowing yourself to be open to that.

[10:40] Process for creating a design

It’s a process. First, the client genuinely has an idea of what they’re looking for. I ask them lots of questions and take all that information and I put together a mood board or concept board. It’s a very hands-on collaborative process from start to finish. With every piece that I do, the client will see the client will approve. 

[12:00] Her collection work

Then I also have collection work that I sell online that I make myself. Collection work is the piece of work that is my me time. It’s my time to kind of dream and paint whatever I want and do whatever I want, whatever color I want. It’s my me time to have fun. 

[14:30] Creating her open air collection

Open air was really fun. Through the pandemic, I wanted to push myself to do something different and wide. One of my very good friends was going on a ski trip and I decided to go with her. When I went with her, I fell in love with Canada. The Canadian Rockies are breathtaking. I slept in a mountain for a week, not in the mountain but the hotel on the mountain.  I took ski lessons for a week and got much better at skiing. So that collection was inspired by this time during the pandemic where the hospitality projects were put on hold and I was left to dream again. We built a mockup of a home in the middle of the mountains, and illustrated the wallpaper on the wall. This is a direct inspiration of the Rocky Mountains that I was so grateful to be able to see. 

[18:42] Tips for choosing and installing wallpaper

Wallpaper can be a scary process. One of my main goals as a textile designer, particularly in the wallpaper space is to sort of break down those barriers. I would say order samples for sure. See if the color works in your space. Don’t be afraid to order a lot of samples, put them up on your wall, let it sit there, look at it, love it, fall in love with it. We offer peel and stick. So a lot of the time one of the main problems is putting it up on your wall and then not being able to take it down. Put it up and take it down whenever you want. Then make the investment. It’s a piece of artwork in your house or in your room. It can act as artwork. So it’s not just wallpaper that just kind of lives there it has energy and vibrancy.

[22:17] Selecting prints for your space 

If you want to just say you want to do your powder room, that’s something that I say have the most fun with. You can do small scale, large scale, dark colors, and even the ceiling. So when you walk in, it’s an escape from like the rest of the house. When you do a living space or like your bedroom. It really just depends on the size of the space. If you have high ceilings, that wall can carry a bigger scale. If you have low ceilings and you’re doing the smaller wall, I would do medium scale, I wouldn’t do something so oversized where it gets lost. 

[25:12] CB2 collection 

It was the best! The people that I worked with there were amazing and it was really fun. They approached me to put some of my prints on rugs. We did a collection of seven. I was super hands on from giving them prints that I loved and then being able to choose the fibers. I started in the rug industry in New York and that’s where I worked before I had my own company. We have more stuff coming out in the fall and another new collection coming out next spring, but I can’t say what it is yet.

[28:23] Keys for purchasing quality textiles

When it comes to wallpaper that really just depends on the type of print that you want. Paper is paper ultimately. My regular wallpaper is normally the best seller when it comes to residential. For wallpaper, it really just depends on if you want something that everyone else has in a big box store or would you want to go with a more independent designer and purchase a print that you probably won’t see every day? Pick and choose in your home where you’re willing to kind of splurge and then areas where you just want to save money.

[31:26] Candice’s upcoming projects 

The CB2 collection is coming out. I’m also working with two girls in LA. and we’re doing a really fun capsule wallpaper collection. The prints are something that I would have never done. I’m working on more table linens and tablecloths. I’m working on really fun boutique hotel projects on the commercial side of my bespoke business. Those are really the only things I can talk about right now. 

[33:22] Matching and coordination 

It’s important to make sure that prints are complimentary. I love matchy matchy. I think it’s so cute and fun when it’s done right.  For example, if we’re doing floral on the wall, maybe you’ll see the same flower as a single flower on the pillow or the rug. So at least when you walk in you kind of feel it’s very holistic and everything feels kind of the same.

[41:29] What Cara’s obsessed with this week

This week I am obsessed with my own genius invention. That is this wallpaper smoothing tool that I made. So backstory I got this peel and stick wallpaper and they sent this little tiny wallpaper smoother. It was the coolest tool I have ever used for applying wallpaper because it had an edge that you could push out the bubbles. But it was wrapped in this felt so it didn’t scratch or dig the pattern. Then I lost it and I needed to find a way to recreate this to install my wallpaper because it is magical. 

So I did and there’s a full tutorial on TikTok and Pinterest and probably also a highlight bubble on Instagram. Basically, I bought a paint shield which is kind of like a metal scraper edge, but it’s eight inches longish. Then I put sticky Velcro but like just the rough side of the Velcro on the metal edge of the scraper. Then I took a piece of felt and pressed it down onto that rough edge velcro and wrapped it around the edge so that the edge is covered and felt it’s no longer a sharp metal edge. Bam! We have a new wallpaper scraper that was under $5.  It is a game changer and you should definitely make one.

connect with candice kaye:

instagram: @_candicekaye_ // website: candicekayedesign.com

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