243 East 59th Street
New York City
To fully illustrate my love for de Gournay I must mention our last trip to London. Two years ago, we took the red-eye there, checked into our hotel in Mayfair and I immediately dragged my husband in search of this very special showroom which I insisted he too would love. With only a day and half in London, there was no time to waste. When I tell you that I dragged him, I’m not exaggerating. On our walk there, we stopped in a home decor store where he actually fell asleep while standing. When we finally found our way, as I had promised, he was blown away by the exquisite hand-painted wall coverings. You can imagine my excitement when I found out that de Gournay was opening its first outpost here in New York.
At an intimate bloggers’ reception held at the new showroom last Thursday, I got a chance to chat with Hannah Cecil Gurney, daughter of the founder Claud Cecil Gurney. Encouraged by her father to first gain a solid background in accounting, she spent several years at Price Waterhouse Coopers before entering her family business last year. Her father too had been an accountant before he founded the company 26 years ago after an unsuccessful search of artisans to restore antique Chinoiserie wallpaper in his home. Since then, de Gournay’s products have expanded to include hand-painted porcelain and fabrics, and hand-carved and -gilded furniture. Their wallpapers are hand-painted on silk in China, taking the artists anywhere between 36 to 50 plus hours to paint each panel. The majority of their work is customized and they’ve added the Japanese & Korean and Eclectic Collections for more contemporary interiors. Hannah’s excitement and passion were infectious as she told me about some of the custom projects they’ve worked on. For fashion designer Matthew Williamson, they created a custom color-way of their Chinoiserie wallpaper for his London flagship store. Since the papers were painted on silk, Mr. Williamson was able to fasten decorative pins to the beaks of the birds. How gorgeous is that?
*Photo of Matthew Williamson’s London flagship store courtesy of de Gournay