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Caitlin Cowger, owner of Camp Caitlin, has a piece of advice when it comes to buying your Upstate dream home: “Don’t look for the house of your dreams. Renovate the house of your dreams.”
I recently moved upstate into a house with Very Boring Walls: bare except for the baseboards and some generic moldings around the doors and windows. The walls were beige and mint, and looked cookie-cutter and boxy, which — in this early aughts saltbox pre-fab — they were. They needed personality. So, with no previous experience and having never before used a saw, I decided to add some wainscoting. I had a tiny budget and no professional help, but installation was easy enough. The finished effect gave the walls texture and allowed for more color, pattern, and finishing options for each room. In short, they look incredible, and now the rooms practically beg for martini hour.
In a time of blandly Insta-generic wall art, Marcie Paper’s patterned murals buck the trend.
The Hudson Valley painter layers and repeats abstract motifs—like delicate spindles and bulbous pear shapes—to mesmerizing effect, drawing inspiration from personal memories, vintage textiles, and her own small-scale paintings.
The results are absorbing, highly detailed works of art that reveal themselves the longer one looks. Below, Paper discusses her relationship to memory and meaning, painting and patternmaking, form and function—and why she loves living upstate.