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In conversation with Mairi Helena

2 years ago by

We spoke to Mairi Helena, a talented Edinburgh-based designer, about her exciting plans for her new studio. Find out more about Maira’s designs and her recent work with Paint my Home.

A new studio, how exciting! Tell me about it…

It’s my fifth year in business, so it felt about right to make the move to a stand-alone studio. As more customers were asking to see my papers in larger drops, I was keen to find a space that showed my designs at a larger scale, as it makes such a difference to help visualise. A studio space was ideal for showing my collections to customers and great that it is so central in the heart of Edinburgh! It’s a big dream of mine to have my own studio, and this is a milestone for my business moving forward. I’ve been waiting for this a long time, and finding the right property has been a challenge over the last 18 months.

I see there will be three different room settings at the studio?

Yes. The bedroom and living room will have a more traditional feel to them, whilst the kitchen will be a little more edgy and contemporary with some quirky and fun features. It’s really so that customers can visualise what my designs might look like in their own home.

Our local Paint my Home team are currently decorating the bedroom setting for your studio, can you reveal what they are doing?

It’s so exciting! They are hanging my new design ‘Poppy Cloud’ wallpaper from my Back to Nature collection. I’ve been gradually introducing new lines from this collection throughout the year. This design takes inspiration from the meadow gardens at the Botanical gardens in Edinburgh. I loved the red poppies against the blue sky, a colour combination which is quite different to what I have designed before.

It’s much more a move to bold florals. The details in the background are very much inspired by my trip to Wester Ross visiting Durnamuck, part of Scotland’s Garden Scheme. The new design features just wallpaper at the moment but will hopefully be available in fabric too later in the year.

Can you give away any secrets as to how you create your designs?

It all starts with taking photos with my camera. I alter the aperture (the depth of field) in my camera which blurs out the background and allows me to get close up to individual details. I’m always thinking about my designs when I take my photos. I’m constantly thinking about colour and nature. Nature always gives me inspiration for a colour palette.

It’s a very experimental process of layering repeated pattern, I’m never really sure what the final design will end up like. I usually have a key focus as a starting point of the design – for example, a thistle or a poppy.

I can see in the bedroom setting that you have chosen Steel Pole’ blue by Craig & Rose paints?

Sky & Sea often feature in my designs. I wanted to keep the rooms in my studio connected, and Steel Pole was a great choice for this as it will flow with my other designs. I wanted a versatile practical colour that people can visualise in their own home.

Do you think it’s essential to use a professional decorator to hang premium wallpaper like yours?

A professional decorator will guarantee a fantastic finish. This new paper is slightly different to my others as it is printed in panels, making it easier to calculate the pattern repeat. Unlike my other papers, where you have to take into account the pattern repeat.

What are your most popular designs?

It changes with the seasons. Hidden garden helps to bring Summer into the home – this design goes with lots of greens and other fresh, uplifting colours like yellow. My Island Botanist featuring dark Blues and Ochre, colours that are very desirable at the moment. Forest Light with its Scandi/Wintery feel – use as a feature wall, and keep the rest of the décor simple for a stunning effect.

When can you welcome customers into your studio?

Soon! It will be by appointment, and clients will be able to book through my new booking system on my website into the early part of next year. It should all come together in the next month or two, so I’ll be busy finalising it all in the run up to Christmas. It’s definitely still a work in progress!

What can we expect to see when we book our studio consultation?

Feature walls of my wallpapers, as well as furniture, furnishing fabrics such as lampshades, throws, cushions, rugs and footstools. I’ll even have my mugs and tea towels on show. Customers can take away samples of the fabric and paper for consideration at home.

Is your new design wallpaper available to order now?

Yes. It’s £150 per roll. It can be printed in bespoke lengths for high ceilings too. You can place an order by visiting my website.

• Length 10.8m, printed as four panels, with 52cm width
• Pattern repeat: 104cm wide and 135cm high
• One roll creates a panel 208cm wide and up to 270cm high

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