EATING OUT is a sensory experience: the noise level, presentation, service, your conversation, and the flavors on the plate.
And then there’s the décor. Many Portland restaurants apply the “just add horns” formula; others go for the straight outta Stockholm Ikea look. But more and more places are turning to ornate wallpaper to spice up a room. Dame, Angel Face, and Rum Club all have gorgeous interiors thanks to their fancy paper. Here are the stories behind our most recent favorite swatches—and the tale of the iconic Doug Fir wallpaper... that isn’t wallpaper.
The heart-shaped mussel wallpaper in the bar area of La Moule—especially when the evening light is still shining through—is probably the best place to selfie in all of Southeast. This wallpaper makes this place tick.
The story, as told by owner Aaron Barnett: “I found the image online by Googling “vintage mussel print.” It popped up as an old wrapping paper from the ’50s or ’60s. I screen grabbed it on my phone. I’ve tried to find it since and it’s disappeared! Never to be found again. Anyways, an artist friend, Damien Gilley, made the image digital, cleaned it up, enlarged it and tinkered with the colors. Then we had it sent to some people in Texas who turned it into pretty wallpaper. We were so excited to see it go up. It could’ve been a terrible look or too much for the space, but it wound up being perfect!”
The story, from owner Cana Flug: “Our most beauteous wallpaper was designed and illustrated by our own Kate Blairstone as a little homage to the garden Besaw’s had at our previous location. I had it produced locally by the fine people at Paper Paint Press.”
From chef/owner Derek Hansen: “We found the great fish wallpaper, and knew it worked perfectly with the whole aquatic theme we have going on. It kind of has a Wes Anderson feel to it. I really like the way that little room came together; we call it the aquarium room. I hung it up myself, which was my first time hanging wallpaper, and it hasn’t fallen down yet. So that’s pretty noteworthy in my opinion.”
Doug Fir Lounge
This is my old school favorite wallpaper in town—super ’70s glam that makes it fun to wait in line to pee. Except it’s not wallpaper!!! (Record scratch!)
From Jeff Kovel of Skylab Architecture: “The upstairs restroom walls at Doug Fir are antique glass mirror. It is the same in the men’s and women’s rooms. The product is manufactured by Stanley (a door hardware company). Typically, this product may be used on one wall in a space. In our case applying it to all four walls creates an infinity reflective effect where the antique pattern becomes almost screen like. We wanted it to feel vintage, but twisted in a contemporary way.”