A Room with a View: Dining in Kew Gardens

The Entrance Hall, Eltham Palace, Greenwich, London

The entrance hall at Eltham Palace, an Art Deco masterpiece in South London

I recently began the complete renovation of an apartment in one of the great Art Deco buildings on Central Park West. The clients had visited Eltham Palace in South London—built in the 1930s by a wealthy couple, Stephen and Virginia Courtauld, it’s one of the finest examples of Art Deco architecture in England—and had particularly loved the wallpaper panorama in Stephen Coutauld’s bedroom, which they wanted to use it in their new dining room.

The bedroom of Stephen Courtauld's suite at Eltham Palace with Kew Gardens, a Sanderson panoramic wallper

Stephen Courtauld’s bedroom at Eltham Palace features a panoramic wallpaper depicting views of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

The clients discovered that Georgia Horton in London had a preserved cache of the original wallpaper, which is called “Kew Gardens,” and was registered as a design by Sanderson on January 1, 1926. Hand printed using 134 blocks, the mural depicts real features at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, including the Greek Temple, the Lake, and the famous Pagoda. My clients chose it in a gray  with a lavender cast.

"Kew Gardens," a panoramic hand-blocked wallpaper by Sanderson, 1926

“Kew Gardens,” a 1926 panoramic hand-blocked wallpaper by Sanderson

The panorama measures 9′ 6″ by 21′ 8″. To make it fit, we are adding a wainscoting that will wrap the dining room. We Photoshopped the image onto our presentation to figure out the scale and to show the clients how it would look installed. As far as I’m concerned, there’s only one person in New York who can hang this type of paper—John Nalewaja—so we have hired him for the job.

A rendering of Kew Gardens, a 1926 hand-blocked wallpaper by Sanderson, in a dining room on Central Park West by Barry Goralnick

A rendering of the “Kew Gardens” mural installed in the new dining room