Paper Chase

Madcap wallpaper.


Most kids are captivated by toys and television. For Payton Cosell Turner, it was wallpaper—specifically, the paper in a bathroom of her grandparents’ rambling house in the Hamptons. “The pattern was a crazy laboratory: this huge system of frothing beakers, all these little bugs,” recalls the 25-year-old, whose grandfather was sportscasting legend Howard Cosell. “I would literally sit in the bath for hours and stare.” It’s an obsession that never really faded. This past May Turner and her fiancé, Brian Kaspr, launched Flat Vernacular, a line of silk-screened wallpaper based on her sketches. The 14 prints are offbeat and cheeky—a far cry from your mother’s chintz. Eyelets, a doilyesque motif of fluttering eyes, was inspired by lace and old portraits in Brooklyn restaurants; Dandelion Creatures pays homage to exotic animals like pygmy hogs, capybaras, and wombats; and Toile de Derby is best described as a blend of classic toile de Jouy and a multicar pileup at the side of a highway. “Wallpapering is an incredible way of taking over an entire space with artwork,” explains Turner, who is working on a line of wooden trunks with silk-screened exteriors and will expand into fabric later this year. “For me, the line between fine art and design is blurred.”

Photo courtesy of Victoria Will