Wonder Wall

Just what do you do with a 30 foot long pegboard wall? That was our design dilemma this winter as we decked out our new studio / office space. I spent weeks trying to determine the best way to maximize the impact of this grand wall space and still live within our budget. It seemed the previous tenants used the offending wall as display space. They’d mounted (and framed, no less) an enormous matrix of pegboard slabs to an otherwise unadorned nine foot high wall. This is the only uninterrupted wall space in our studio, and it was hidden behind a massive display of unsightly pegboard. Unacceptable. After careful inspection we determined that the only way to remove it (and its framework) from the ancient plaster walls was to demolish the wall and rebuild. It seemed so inefficient. The one redeeming quality of the wall was its glossy white crown molding surround. Yes, those tenants may have chosen utilitarian pegboard, but they’d had the good sense to leave us with a gorgeous, white surround. It had potential.

SHAN-Shangri La by Inhabit Living.

Discussions with others led me to consider my options: wallpaper? Too thin to conceal the underlying texture. Grasscloth? Again… likely to be too thin. Murals (although enjoying a return in popularity) were never my style. Tearing down the structure was beginning to look unavoidable. And then it occurred to me that I’d come across several vendors that carried textured wall panels. These panels are often used in lofts and industrial spacing to hide structural imperfections or simply add drama. I needed a good dose of both. Dozens of posh Manhattan eateries couldn’t be wrong. This idea had legs. It eliminated the need (and the cost) of tearing down the existing pegboard. Instead, I could simply mount these panels to the existing board and finish it as I saw fit. With this solution I knew that my eyesore was destined to become the crowning glory of the office.

Wonder Wall

If you Google ‘modular wall panels’ you’ll find no shortage of vendors. They come in many shapes and forms, but most their unifying quality seems to be their modernity. The options you’ll see are sleek, imaginative and seductive. Treehugger points us to the curvaceous creations of ModularArts. Hip salons, offices and restaurants have been known to cover their walls with these unique creations. Newcomer B+N offers a dizzying selection of modern options (Helsinki or Seapod would have been perfect, had I seen these options in time for my project) in gloss and matte finishes. Inhabit Living also offers a nice (albeit small) family of options, all of which are eco-friendly. Shangri La is my personal favorite from their collection. The possibilities are endless.

Wonder Wall

After much shopping, we made our selection and ordered ninety (yes, 9-0) panels. For those of you who might consider trying this on your own I offer this warning: installing panels takes precision, patience, time and substantial cutting tools. If I had to do it again I would absolutely hire a professional to install them, as it required six weekends and copious amounts of industrial strength spray adhesive (not to mention a pneumatic nail gun) to successfully adhere the panels to the wall. It was grueling, frustrating and downright maddening.

But the result, you ask? The once weather-worn pegboard is now a distant memory. In its place is a larger than life conversation piece for all who visit us at our new studio. And while I may still be removing the spray adhesive from my fingertips, this grand wall offers a proud reminder that it pays to seek out nontraditional design solutions. After all, great innovation is often just a mouse click away.

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