OUR DREAMS of overseas holidays have fizzled in the midst of the pandemic like an inflatable raft hitting a horseshoe crab. We wish we could see anything but our plain four walls. Why not kill two yearnings with one stroke by papering those walls with transporting imagery?
Sanderson’s Beach Huts design, with its rows of cheek-by-jowl seaside cabanas, recalls the pebbly beaches of Cornwall. Mediterranea, from Cole & Son—conceived in the 1940s by Piero Fornasetti for his Milan home—depicts a jumble of old-town hillside buildings that could be Dubrovnik or Amalfi. Zarafa, a toile from Brunschwig & Fils, captures the Jardin des Plantes in Paris. Strolling through the garden’s leafy lanes? The giraffe that Egyptian ruler Muhammad Ali gave King Charles X in 1827.
Interior designer Richard Mishaan hung a classic French toile as wall covering and drapery in the guest bedroom of his beach house in Sagaponack, N.Y. “Guests always say they feel like they’ve been transported to rural France after a weekend sleeping in that room,” he said. The truly clever among us can heighten the effect with visualization techniques, said New York psychologist Nancy B. Austin: “As you breathe gently with eyes closed, conjure the sights, sounds, smells of the place and the way you feel there.” This can quiet muscles, slow a busy mind and reduce anxiety, she added. “As you imagine the location, it begins to feel so familiar that when you open your eyes, it’s as if the toile life is a new holiday memory.”
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