I like your accent

I’ve never been a big fan of an accent wall. OK, that’s not entirely true. I’ll clarify. I am not a fan of a single wall painted a different color, just because. I’m even less of a fan when it’s a dining room wall and a bad shade of burgundy. Blehhh. But I am a big fan of statement walls and you can achieve that in so many, way less-boring, way more you, ways. Our last #NixonPack residence was a fabulous three story brick town home in Chicago. It was city living at its finest complete with an awesome skyline view on the roof deck. But what it did not have was a lot of space. It was a cookie cutter layout that mirrored every other town home in the complex. If you’d seen one, you’d seen them all and we wanted ours to stand out because that’s the Nixon Pack way. While it was a long space, it was narrow, and it was just one run-on wall from the back of the house to the front, encompassing the kitchen, living and dining areas. How could we define the space?

I give you the “before”:


Yeesh. It pains me to see it in this state. So as you can see it’s lacking in personality, style, and definition. We wanted to take advantage of the beautiful bay windows and let the light flow through the home and warm up those gleaming hardwoods. We were new to the city and I remember planning a date night one fall day where we would kayak the Chicago river to admire the views in the evening then cozy up with s’mores and hot cocoa by the fire. Sounds sweet, right? My husband didn’t think so. A couple of hours before we were supposed to leave, I come downstairs to see him swinging a sledge hammer through the wall to the kitchen. He thought by creating a pass-through he could get out of my date-venture because “babe, look what I did for us, now my back hurts and I couldn’t possibly kayak for miles. Let’s make s’mores on the stove”.  Well, that was the start of something beautiful. The pass-through was just what we needed and gosh darn it we made it out on that river. Soaked and frigid, but you know, memories.



We’ll get to the kitchen transformation another day, but back to creating purpose on the main floor and defining the rooms. My mother in law told us when we got married never to wallpaper, it’d end in divorce. So yeah, we were nervous for our first paper job. But you know what? They make it so much more fool-proof than the old days and that was all I could see when I looked at it. I wanted to make art out of it. Not the entire wall but a chunk to make the dining room shine and then I had a thought to create a border around it as a frame. See? Art! Now, whether or not you’re a fan of wallpaper, that’s OK. You don’t have to be!  The point is that you don’t have to paint a wall burgundy and call it an accent just because. Show your personality. You are the person who lives there and spends the most amount of time in that space. Don’t design for someone else’s taste – design for you. That large black mirror you see there was the deal of the century at one of those big box furniture stores. It was an ugly shade of gold and had obviously been looked over by countless people before us so it had a bright red must-go tag and I knew that we could make it shine. We taped off the mirror and spray painted it a high gloss black and it became such a beautiful accompaniment to the framed wallpaper. And just like that, our main living space went from drab to fab and it made for a great conversation piece when friends and family came to visit. You can do this too, I promise. Whether it be paint in an interesting pattern, a collage of dishes, a gallery wall or yes, even textured wallpaper, the wall is your oyster. What fun accents have you put together in your home? Share with us in the comments below!

One thought on “I like your accent

  • Reply Hunting in the Paper Mache Forest – #NixonPack April 24, 2017 at 7:25 am

    […] with me nagging the whole way to “be careful, they’re paper mache”. Remember these? How great do they fit with this theme? It’s always fun to re-use and re-purpose when you […]

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