When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. The same can be said for rooms that lack architectural detail. It is certainly nice to be blessed with rooms that have rich paneling or moulding. On the other hand, plain-jane rooms present a blank slate in which to express one's creativity. Recently, I've seen quite a few rooms in which decorators have used upholstery nails on walls to create faux architectural features and designs. In fact, New York decorator Jeffrey Bilhuber has used this effect in two different apartments. In a client's Manhattan apartment, Bilhuber glazed the walls of the library and then created faux paneling by studding the wall with nails. For his own apartment (photo at top), Bilhuber employed this technique again, this time using square brass nails over walls covered in Groves Brothers' "Marianne" cotton.
Some decorators prefer to use the nails to create a more "free form" pattern, such as that created by decorators Etienne Coffinier and Ed Ku for the Kips Bay Decorators Showhouse. The two designers used silver nails over white leather panels to create a more fanciful design. And just because I've seen three rooms recently with studded walls, this design trick is not new. The venerable design firm McMillen used brass nails over green felted walls for Charles Revson's billiard room, seen below.
Manhattan library decorated by Jeffrey Bilhuber; photo courtesy of British House & Garden, April 2007
Room designed by Etienne Coffinier and Ed Ku; photo courtesy of New York Times.
Billiard Room of Charles Revson, decorated by McMillen
(Photo at top of Bilhuber apartment courtesy of Elle Decor, May '07)