Helen Stevens of Surfacephilia turns walls into works of art

HELEN Stevens has shared the magical moments of couples getting married, their wedding nights and cosy nights in front of the tv through her Surfacephilia range of luxury wallpapers which interior designers all over the world use to transform rooms from dull to decadent.

Stepping inside her Saltburn studio filled with mood boards, sample swatches and paints it’s obvious that creativity feeds her passion – she turns bare walls into original works of art and attracting orders from as far afield as America and Australia.

Her latest two collections are titled Navajo (think feathers, birds and dreamcatchers) and decadence, inspired by the faded grandeur of a country manor house and not only come in wallpapers but can also be bought as co-ordinating fabrics, cushions and bone china. There is so much detail in her wallpaper designs which are digitally printed in the UK that they look like they’ve been handpainted – another service Helen provides.

“If a client wants a wallpaper design in a particular colourway or with a metallic background, I can adapt the collections or create new designs to fit any brief,” she explained. “My work has a lots of layers, textures and intricate detail, and I play around with the complexity of the repeat pattern, and try to make the designs as lavish as possible.

“Instead of the linen viscose mix fabric the surface patterns can be printed on heavy velvets or silks – I offer a completely bespoke service.”

Her originality extends to producing handpainted wall murals which unleashes her limitless talent on a super-sized scale to create truly unique effects.

“I was commissioned to paint a mural for the new registry office at Middlesbrough Town Hall, people love it, the response was amazing” she said happily. She also spent three months adorning many of the walls at the historic Brockley Hall in Saltburn that has been transformed into a boutique hotel.

Helen studied Textiles and Surface Design at Cleveland College of Art and Design, returning as a lecturer at the age of 24 and then launched her own successful business Surfacephilia, five years ago.

After exhibiting at six trade shows back to back she attracted international retailers and interior agents selling in Australia, Japan, America as well as all over Europe – she’s been named by The Telegraph Magazine as ‘One To Watch’ and Glass Magazine’s ‘Top Five Designers To Have In Your Home’.

She still adheres to the design process she learnt as a student involving mood boards, visual research and observational drawings. She’s currently working on an experimental art based portfolio of designs specifically for mural projects aimed at a hotels, bars or restaurants longing to be turned into stunning spaces.

She will be bringing out a new collection of art in November and will be holding an exhibition to showcase her handpainted experimental works, framed as well as canvas pieces, wall hangings and prints.

“The integral part of the business is the creativity,”Helen, 36, and originally from Middlesbrough, added. “It’s important to put time aside to play, and develop and indulge your ideas. That’s what keeps you fired up on those dull days of doing admin.

“I have customers who have become friends having kept in touch after sending me pictures of their homes decorated with my wallpapers and cushions, I have a few avid followers who always buy into what I do, it’s great to know some people love and feel inspired by the brand that much.”





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