Recently, we made a floorcloth for a couple in Australia who provided us with a copy of the Wunderlich Metal Ceiling Catalog, dated 1912, as possible inspiration for their floorcloth. Wunderlich operated in Australia from about 1892 to the early 1950’s and their products were widely deployed throughout the country. The catalog contains many examples of gorgeous designs that are highly adaptable to floorcloth patterns. The resulting floorcloth was loosely based on a Wunderlich pattern and we fell in love with many of the other ceiling patterns. We have a local client who had previously commissioned an entry floorcloth and a dining room floorcloth from us, and wanted a new piece for his home office. We showed him an image of the design we felt most spectacular from the catalog and he fell in love, too.
We measured his room and determined that the ideal floorcloth size would be 8’ 7” x 11’ 3”, resulting in 18” of clearance off of the wall, allowing for nice border of dark wood floor around the piece.
Translating an image like this into a floorcloth is a multi step process. The image supplied an overall structure and a suggestion as to the pattern for each of its elements. We spent a lot of time looking at enlarged versions of the image and imagining the details of each element and how they might be translated into stencils. Remarkably, the width to height ratio for the floorcloth matched the width to height ratio for the ceiling image exactly. This meant we didn’t need to alter the relative proportions of any of the elements. Ultimately, the piece was broken down into thirteen elements and each was sized, such that they summed to the proper dimensions for the finished piece. Drawings and then stencils were created for each element.
Now we were ready to make a sample. The client liked the palette that was suggested in the catalog image. We picked a background color that toned very well with his wall color (Benjamin Moore’s Meditation) and then used the Wunderlich image as our color guide.
The sample allowed us to “proof” the stencils and while we were generally pleased with the results, we decided that the square motif in the banded area with the seed pod shape was too large and a bit inelegant. We noted that the center motifs had an accentuated back and forth motion rather than the square matrix of nicely curved, but aligned motifs seen in the original image. We were also concerned that the overall palette leaned too far in the direction of a blue green, and that an olive green would work better in our client’s office, so we created a few additional motifs using an olive green so we would have both to show the client. The sample was approved, with the olive green and an agreement that the overall effect should be slightly darker. We decided to adjust all colors to slightly warmer tones.
Then, we began production: