With a focus on styles inspired by the past, it's no surprise that Gracie Studio has an interesting past of its own. Almost 100 years ago, Charles Gracie, great-grandfather to current owners Jennifer and Mike Gracie, discovered rolls of hand-painted rolls wallpaper from China. He recognized an opportunity to create a market for these intricate designs in the United States, so he built relationships with China-based painting companies and began producing Japanese and European styles of hand-painted wallpaper. Those relationships still stand today, keeping a centuries-old art form alive and well.
Dallas Design District (DDD): What do you love about being in the Design District?
Gracie Studio: It’s really the only place in Dallas for Gracie to be. This is where our clients have always found us, and it’s gotten more vibrant and interesting in recent years, with exciting new restaurants and clubs.
DDD: How would you describe Gracie Studio’s showroom style?
GS: We love what our architect, Bentley Tibbs, did with our space. He created lots of unique and interesting areas for us to feature our hand-painted wallpapers, lacquer furniture and antiques. The architectural style complements Gracie’s products, which are rooted in the quality and craftsmanship of the past, while introducing modern and inventive elements.
DDD: What is the first question you ask a new client?
GS: We like to tour the showroom with new clients and see what they respond to. It becomes quickly apparent the styles and color palettes that appeal to them. From there, we guide them toward designs and pieces we sense they will like. Or we can show them samples and images of custom projects that might appeal to them.
DDD: What's trending now in the world of wallpapering?
GS: We’re seeing a return to crisper, less-antiqued versions of our designs. It’s great to see these designs coming back since they really allow you to appreciate the meticulous artistry that goes into our hand-painted wallpapers.
DDD: Which Gracie Studio wallpaper collection are you currently most excited about?
GS: We’ve added new designs to our Japanese and European collections. Many of the Japanese designs are adapted from antique Japanese screens. There’s something very “new” and timeless feeling about Japanese art forms — even when they’re 200 to 300 years old. Many of the European designs are reproductions of 19th-century French hand-blocked scenics. There’s a fascinating and rich history of that craft as well.
DDD: What features make a home timeless?
GS: Beautiful architecture is timeless. Beautifully designed and built spaces can be preserved and serve as a foundation for lifetimes of decorating changes.
DDD: What differentiates Gracie Studio’s style from competitors?
GS: Gracie is the oldest surviving hand-painted wallpaper studio. We began producing hand-painted wallpaper in Beijing in 1927 during my great-grandfather’s era. We’ve worked with the same family that runs our China studio since 1960. With our long history, we’ve been able to develop multiple repertoires and raise the quality of our work to the highest possible level.
DDD: Complete this sentence: “Every home should have...”
GS: Having just lost our adorable Wheaten terrier-poodle mix at 16 years old, I’d have to say every home should have a dog. It’s a bit too quiet in our house right now. Maybe not right away, but something tells me we have a puppy in our future.
If you thought wallpaper was out of style, think again. Wallpaper is more than just a covering over plaster. It's artwork for a blank canvas. But even if gorgeous wall art isn't on your checklist, stop by Gracie Studio for stunning custom lacquered furniture and a studio that offers restoration of antique Chinese and Japanese furniture and porcelain.