A chat with Cindy Weil, founder of Wallpaper Collective
July 21, 2010 | Home Run
East Hampton summer resident Cindy Weil started the wildly successful online retailer Wallpaper Collective two years ago when she grew frustrated navigating the quizzical “only-to-trade” sales operation that is standard for most design showrooms. “I loved work by a British designer who was represented by a showroom at the Decoration & Design Building,” Weil remembers, “but I didn’t have an account there, so it was difficult even getting a sample, let alone buying the paper.” She wondered, like many before her, why access to choice wallpapers was limited to decorators and architects. Couldn’t she buy and hang the paper herself? Discerning DIYers, rejoice: from the comfort of your backyard hammock you can surf Weil’s site—which aggregates the hippest wallpapers by designers from all over the world (mostly produced in small batches so you won’t see your paper in the neighbor’s powder room)—and purchase with just a click. (Best of all, no snooty D & D workers!) “All the advantages of a traditional showroom,” adds Weil, “but none of the attitude.”
Herewith, a few of Weil’s East End favorites for summer.
SUE HOSTETLER: What’s the most exciting element behind the concept for Wallpaper Collective?
CINDY WEIL: Regular people will be empowered and inspired to make their own design choices and will now have the ability to get the good stuff. Additionally, it’s arduous and time-consuming going to the showrooms, so I think we’re providing a huge service to designers and architects too, by consolidating hundreds of great designs under one virtual roof.
What’s life like for you in the summer at the beach?
Generally we fly way below the radar out here. David [Weil’s husband, a managing director at Credit Suisse] and I love to cook, have a fairly constant stream of houseguests and take advantage of the beach. The boys [sons Elliott, 9, and Max, 7] and I love to ride our bikes to Atlantic or Two Mile. This summer, with Wallpaper Collective busier than ever, I’ll be finding a breezy spot to curl up with my laptop!
Who is producing clever papers in the Hamptons right now?
A group called Crezana based in Southampton does exquisite hand-embroidered and hand-painted papers, and has a killer client list… like the White House.
How about artists who are creating special pieces for the interior?
Soraida Bedoya in Bridgehampton is creating the most amazing porcelain pieces. I just lust after them! I also love Helen Gifford’s Urchin lights. They seem indigenous to a beachscape, but you can also see them at Room in Tribeca, where they are magnificent in a modern interior.
Which interior designer are you loving right now?
Jarlathdan. This firm—it’s a combination of owners’ Jarlath Mellet and Daniel Burns’ names—and their shop have been around Amagansett for years, but they seem to consistently keep an edgy, razor-sharp eye. They obviously have a sense of humor and the windows of the shop are always irresistible.
What is your favorite beach event?
The East Hampton SandCastle Contest on Atlantic Beach in Amagansett.
Suggestion for fun, summery beach wallpaper?
For me, yellow and green scream “summer.” Both are difficult colors to work with, but they can breathe life into a small, windowless space.
If you weren’t running Wallpaper Collective, you would be….
Helicopter-parenting my children.
GIFTS FOR THE HOME: Turpan (55 Main St., 631-324-2444) in East Hampton and Comerford Hennessy in Bridgehampton. Kim Seybert in East Hampton has everything for your table. Don’t forget Bagley Home (34 Main St., 631-725-3553) in Sag Harbor for the best French soaps!
Sue Hostetler is the shelter and design editor for all Niche Media magazines. She is the author of three books—most recently Majestic Metropolitan Living—and she splits her time between Shelter Island and New York City in the summer.