Since 2016, Adelphi Paper Hangings has been collaborating with interior designer Kelee Katillac, custom coloring historic patterns from our archives.
While the Adelphi team has created a spectrum’s worth of custom colorways for designers of all persuasions, we were completely unprepared for the exuberance of Kelee Katillac’s vision. When Kelee first inquired about custom coloring, we had no idea what she had in mind. Then, packets of color chips and diagrams began to arrive. At first, there was skepticism – followed by curiosity. After each trial, discussion with Kelee, and subsequent revision, we were able to find the point of balance in these inspired color choices and color combinations. This has been a challenging treat for everyone here. It’s gratifying to see these historic patterns march, without hesitancy, into the 21st century. Featured in our Designer colorway project are five of the patterns. Learn more about Kellee’s inspiration, and her story below.
Interior designer Kelee Katillac is widely known for her incomparable mix of color, couture, pop culture, and history. In the new book Historic Style, Katillac reimagines what preservation can be with a renegade attitude and Mick Jagger style. Working with historical patterns from Adelphi Paper Hangings, Katillac boldly recolors period wallpapers as an homage to the great houses and America’s hidden creators, while shifting paradigms with her concept rooms.
“At the venerable House of Adelphi Paper Hangings historical paper patterns are keyed to the proper period for accuracy. However, I dreamed them all in TECHNICOLOR, shifting old patterns to create new possibilities. Thank you, Steve Larson and team, for paint and woodblock wizardry that is making mind-opening psychedelic joy for a new day. Here, we can take the aspects of history we find empowering and leave the rest behind; it is rather like the cultural non-conventions of Lin Manual-Miranda’s Hamilton as a cross-cast musical, Shonda Rhimes’ Bridgerton for Netflix and the movie The Personal History of David Copperfield, directed by Armando Iunnuci. Life becomes a holograph and we can all assume the great archetypes through art and design.” – Kelee Katillac
“For example, in my recolor of Madison Damask from Montpelier I pay homage to great women including Dolley Madison, Marion duPont Scott and the women of the Descendant Community. The pattern itself refers to Dolley’s salon diplomacy; the amped up pink is a riff on Marion’s horse racing silk colors and the vibrant violet damask overlay represents America’s once hidden female co-creators now visible at Montpelier.
In 1776, what I call “Jefferson Yellow” – based on the chrome yellow dining room found at Monticello. And, I do wonder — in an entirely fan-girl way — if Sally Hemings had any influence on Thomas Jefferson’s color choice? I rather hope she did.
In my recolor of Westwood Gothic, the stained glass at the 1920 Gothic Revival Kansas City Club was the color inspiration. I created a thoroughly modern room with only the ornate tracery pattern and limestone mantel as architectural references to the original structure – now called Hotel Kansas City. The result is a posh gothic VIP room!
The Dundurn Castle Ashlar recoloration is in “Glasgow Punk and Balmoral River” as a tribute the Scottish Bingham Farmstead (family of painter George Caleb Bingham) in Arrow Rock, Missouri. Also involved in the concept are the early Black creators in that region and their spiritual figurehead out of North Carolina the great designer Thomas Day. The punchwork and scallops in the Dundurn pattern recall Day’s architectural millwork.
Neoclassical Squares is printed in “Freedom Orange and Yarn Pink.” Once again as a tribute to the craft of women and the power to affect the world through quilts, needlework and community.”
Kelee’s work has been featured in the pages of USA Today, House Beautiful, Designer Builder, Traditional Home, Introspective, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, The Dallas Morning News, The Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, and hundreds of others worldwide. The books House Beautiful Pink and Gestalten’s. The Chamber of Curiosity featured her signature style. She has been a guest on CNN, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Discovery Channel, Pure Oxygen, The Family Channel, and many others.
In addition, Kelee is the author of two nationally acclaimed books and is the founder of Design Gives Back, an initiative to provide rooms of hope, health, and happiness for those who are critically ill or in need. Her book Historic Style has just launched October 2023.