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Photo courtesy of Batya Stepelman

We Need This Denver-Inspired Wallpaper

Damask wallpaper with hidden Colorado iconography? We need this.

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Batya Stepelman has a passion for wallpaper—one so strong that in 2016, the former PR professional left her career to launch the wallpaper boutique and design consultancy WallTawk & Design. But simply selling gorgeous wallpapers by independent designers and artists wasn’t quite enough to satisfy Stepelman’s creative appetite: “I had dreamed of creating a Denver-centric wall-paper for several years,” says Stepelman, who was inspired by Flavor Paper’s Brooklyn Toile wallcovering, which incorporates iconic Big Apple imagery into an at-first-glance traditional toile pattern. There was just one problem: “I can’t even draw a stick figure,” Stepelman says, “so I thought about local artists who do amazing work.”

Top of mind was Meredith Feniak, a botanical illustrator and artist whose work Stepelman had spotted around town—on the windows at Bloom by Anuschka in Cherry Creek North and on the walls of Union Station’s Next Door Community Pub. “I love that her work is beautiful, unique, and meticulous,” Stepelman says. “She really thinks things through, and you need someone like that when you are designing a pattern for wallpaper.”

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To create WallTawk’s first original pattern, Denver Damask, the pair began with a traditional, antique damask pattern, then updated the elaborately scrolled motif with subtle, stylized nods to Colorado: wagon wheels, the Twin Sisters Peaks (in honor of the artist’s twin sons), the Bluebird Theater marquee (“because I love Colfax Avenue,” Stepelman says), and Union Station’s iconic clock (set to 3:03). And Feniak couldn’t resist adding a few plants to the design (think columbines and ash trees). “I grew up on Ash Street and, given the ash-borer problem, I wanted to give the tree its 15 minutes of fame,” she says.

The intricate pattern— which can be printed on clay-coated, pearlescent, or vellum papers or on grasscloth—comes in five colorways: warm charcoal on matte black, gold on green, graphite on mauve, ink on parchment, and a tonal gray grasscloth. Because the rolls are printed to order, however, customers can opt for any colors in printing company Twenty2’s ink library.

The project has fueled Stepelman’s passion for wallpaper—and for giving back. Ten percent of proceeds from Denver Damask go to supporting local nonprofit Rainbow Alley. Two more collaborative WallTawk patterns are in the works; both will benefit local charities. “I’m not rushing anything,” Stepelman says of her creative process. “Great design is worth the wait.” Denver Damask Wallpaper, starting at $52.80 per roll, walltawk.com

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