We’re chatting with Amanda Miller of NW Design Studio about what considerations went into selecting wallpaper for her recent projects. The short answer? Make it an experience! Amanda's love of art, architecture, nature, and creating function within spaces is all reflected in her work. Her personal design-style leans casual but classic with her southern roots influencing some of her design choices.
*All images are credited to Dave Bryce Photography
Tell us a bit about your background.
I originally worked as a facility-planner for public schools where I learned a lot about space planning, ergonomics, and the number crunching that goes into planning public spaces. It was an amazing learning experience, but I could tell it wasn’t my forever. To make a long story short(er) I returned to graduate school to obtain my Master of Occupational Therapy and worked as a pediatric occupational therapist at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh for over ten years when I finally decided to “temporarily retire” and be home with my young children full time. I was home for 2 weeks when COVID happened (yikes!) and all of my kids were sent home from school. When the kids (finally!) returned to school, my husband asked for my help in his business, Northern Woodworking. Their amazing clients were looking for them to bring their spaces to completion with those final layers like rugs, furnishings, artwork, decor, and wallpaper. Thus, NW Design Studio was born, and I am thrilled to be back in the design world!
In general, why do you like using wallpaper in your design projects?
I love the ability to bring layers of color, pattern and texture to a project. Minimalism, although amazing and beautiful, is definitely not my jam.
Wallpaper is often a starting inspiration point for me. A space's color story is really important to my design though process, and wallpaper can be a really good starting point for that.
Tell us about selecting Alpine Garden (Ebony) for this basement bar.
We designed this for Foxlane Homes Pittsburgh, a semi-custom homebuilder. The area this neighborhood is located in is somewhat rural with German roots. I wanted to pay a subtle homage to that history with a beer-focused bar and more masculine gathering space. I love the way the colorway combines a stronger palette with a more feminine floral pattern. The ebony background combined with the metallic outline is just beautiful! The wall behind the bar is papered, as is the ceiling between the bar and the island. The experience of standing under the papered ceiling is magical!
Why did you select Piedmont (Indigo) for this bathroom project?
Piedmont is actually what started me down the rabbit hole of Hygge & West wallpapers! This was my first project for Foxlane Homes, and I was looking for a more subtle way to reference their brand within the home - thus enter Piedmont!
Why did you choose Conservatory (Ochre) for this ceiling?
The floor plan is fairly open, and although this dining room is defined with cased openings, I wanted an additional way to define the space. The ceiling offered more “real estate” to paper within the context of a more open plan. This home has a Craftsman inspired exterior, so I allowed that to serve as a major source of design inspiration for the home. The motif reminded me of many of the botanicals historically seen in that style of home.
Why did you choose Diamante (Gray) for this space?
This walk-though butler’s pantry is located between the kitchen and a children’s office/play space of the Chestnut Hill model. I liked the combination of curved and linear geometry offered by Diamante. We wanted the space to feel refined as it is adjacent to the kitchen, with a bit of whimsy since we envisioned lots of kids snacks stashed here given its proximity to the kid’s office/play space. The softness of the grey colorway allows the wallpaper to lend texture to the space without overpowering it.
"I love to create spaces with layers of details so that the experience continues to evolve each time you experience it. Wallpaper can be an amazing and impactful layer."
What was your though process for selecting Olive Grove (Spruce)?
I thought the curvilinear nature of the pattern as well as the Spruce colorway was right on track for the powder room in this cottage-inspired home. We were looking for a clean, fresh, and tailored spot for guests to use.
What was your approach to selecting wallpaper for kids rooms?
This home has a cottage-inspired exterior with a really lovely arch at the front entrance, so I wanted to incorporate softer patterns into this overall design.
I absolutely love the variety of colorways the Daydream wallpaper is available in. I wanted a fun way to have the children’s bedrooms reference one another without being the same.
"I think wallpaper paper on the ceiling give such an interesting experience to the transition into a room. It’s something you experience more slowly as you enter, rather than all in one fell swoop as you do when it is on a wall."
In this home the ceiling of these bedrooms are visible as you ascent the stairs to the second floor. It adds so much visual interest, drawing you upward.