Stafford's historic landmark inspires new interior design venture

"The market in interiors is enjoying a revival in the use of wallpaper, and our students can tap into this and see the link between our heritage and contemporary design."

Rowena Beighton-Dykes, Staffordshire University

Contemporary wallpaper designs inspired by one of Staffordshire’s finest Tudor buildings were unveiled at a special exhibition.

Led by designers, lecturers, wallpaper historians and business experts, High House is Staffordshire University's new interior design venture which provides opportunities for graduates and students to create quality wallpapers with British and international appeal.

High House's debut wallpapers – inspired by fragments discovered in the Ancient High House in Stafford – offers a contemporary twist on classic designs for period and modern homes. The new designs were exhibited at the Ancient High House in Greengate Street, Stafford.

Once dominating the Stafford skyline, The Ancient High House is the largest remaining timber-framed town house in England. During its restoration, layers of wallpaper were uncovered and these, together with the work of the Tudor craftsmen who originally constructed the house, are celebrated in High House's first wallpapers.

Staffordshire University’s Rowena Beighton-Dykes, a specialist in period wallpaper, said: “Working with The Ancient High House has been a privilege. The market in interiors is enjoying a revival in the use of wallpaper, and our students can tap into this and see the link between our heritage and contemporary design.”

Designs selected for Spring 2013 include a reinvented toile by Russian-born graduate designer Anna Drezova which captures the spirit and pace of contemporary life on Greengate Street; youngsters sip coffee at small tables, old chums chat idly on benches, shoppers rush, busy mums push their prams.

Graduate designer Rosy de Beer took inspiration from the most prominent feature of The Ancient High House, the timber frame. With her geometric 'Carpenter' design she recreates the beauty and grace of the historic timber patterns for today's walls.

Alcalthaea, designed by Fran Massey, takes inspiration from a detail in the original damask still to be seen on the Ancient High House walls, combined with Alcalthaea, a type of hollyhock which is abundant in town and cottage gardens.

Staffordshire University graduate Fran said: "The opportunity to be part of High House's fantastic new venture is so exciting and I am very humbled to be working with such a talented team."

Project manager Kay Dawson said: "The designs have been extremely well received by those in industry. Wallpaper Direct will be stocking the Alcalthaea design at £45 per roll in their own exclusive colour of apple green."

"In celebration of the exhibition,  we are also offering members of the public the chance to purchase the Alcalthaea design chalk at the special price of  £45 per roll direct from our website."

  • An exhibition of HIGH HOUSE wallpapers and products, together with a selection of original period papers discovered during the refurbishment of The Ancient High House was previously on display at the Museum on 9 April - 4 May at The Ancient High House, Greengate Street, Stafford.