Posts in inspiration
Marthe Armitage hand printed wallpaper designs | Nick Balloon photography | via: chatham st. house

Design Crush: Marthe Armitage

Let’s talk linocut and Marthe Armitage shall we? This octogenarian is a print powerhouse and masterful wallpaper designer who everyone should know, if they don’t already. I am obsessed with her fairytale-like designs and she feels like the perfect designer to kick-off a new series I’m calling Design Crush. It acts as a companion piece to my Interior Crush series where I explore inspirational interior design. Design Crush will focus on the work of designers and artists who have had a huge impact on interior design, but focuses less on a singular project and more on their entire body of work.



I first discovered Marthe Armitage on Pinterest (how I love a good Pinterest rabbit hole) and I devoured post after post about her life and work. Like so many of the women designers I love her work stems first from her love of family and home. A graduate of the Chelsea School of Art, now the University of Arts – London, Marthe put aside her artistic ambitions to raise her family and support her architect husband in the 1950s. It was during this era that they lived in India and she was first exposed to the art of block printing.

Marthe Armitage studio visit | via: chatham st. house
Marthe Armitage studio visit | via: chatham st. house
marthe armitage design sketch | via: chatham st. house
marthe armitage in her studio | via: chatham st. house
Marthe Armitage studio visit | via: chatham st. house


This experience left an indelible mark on Marthe, and that early inspiration can be seen in her work to this day. Taking block printing a step further, Marthe uses the technique of linocut to create all of her wallpaper designs. Linocut is a printmaking technique where the design is cut into a linoleum surface with a sharp knife. The raised areas create a reverse image of the design when printed by hand or with a printing press. The use of linocuts vs. block prints allows for a greater level of complexity and nuance to her designs.


Initially Marthe Armitage created hand-pressed wallpapers as an artistic experiment for her own family home. It wasn’t until she acquired a lithographic press, well into her adulthood, that she was able to make her designs commercially available.



Inspired by the natural world, books and art, Marthe’s designs have a mystical, fairy-like quality that transcends genre. Each design starts as a four-section sketch that masterfully evolves into a repeatable print. These sketches are then transferred to a linocut and hand-printed on the lithographic press. This handmade process creates a finished product that is incredibly durable while simultaneously keeping the delicacy and ethereal quality of Marthe’s work.

Designer Marthe Armitage at home | via: chatham st. house
Marthe Armitage's daughter Jo Broadhurst designer and architect | via: chatham st. house
 Marthe Armitage, T Magazine


Her imagination is unparalleled with (perhaps) one exception - Marthe’s daughter Jo Broadhurst has become an integral partner in Marthe’s studio and elegant designer in her own right. They work continue to work side-by-side, hand printing Marthe’s extensive body of work and developing new designs for their ever expanding client list. I can’t get enough of their use of color and the whimsical stories they tell through their wallpapers and prints. Read more about Marthe Armitage on her website here. -b. 

Image Sources: 1 | 2-3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8-9

first day of spring | couplings no. 20 | via: chatham st. house
first day of spring | couplings no. 20 | via: chatham st. house
first day of spring | couplings no. 20 | via: chatham st. house
first day of spring | a flower does not think...| couplings no. 20 | via: chatham st. house
first day of spring | couplings no. 20 | via: chatham st. house
first day of spring | couplings no. 20 | via: chatham st. house

Welcome to Spring. As I sit here typing I'm staring down yet another snow storm and spending precious minutes trying to conjure up what today should feel like - "I'd have to say April 25th. Because it's not too hot, not too cold, all you need is a light jacket." One can dream.

To help with my conjuring, and maybe yours too, I've collected all the pretty I could muster this morning and I'll be staring at this arrangement from now until April when 70 degrees is the new 30. Happy Spring equinox everyone. - b.

Couplings is a series on Chatham St. House celebrating the kindred spirit in images, how they relate and respond to one another in a way similar to how body language communicates between two people. 

Image Sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

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couplings 20 | goodbye summer | via: bekuh b. of chatham st. house

Summer is rapidly coming to a close. The evenings feel quieter, shadows are getting longer, and my yearning for sweaters has reappeared. The change of seasons stirs something inside me and I can't help but feel the chapters of my life change with them. 

This is particularly true this year as I embark on a new journey in my career. After four and a half years with Urban Outfitters, Inc. I have decided it is time for me to find myself elsewhere for awhile. Instead of rushing into this "elsewhere" however, I'm giving myself a moment to pause, reflect, and evaluate what's next. For someone who is often described as a workaholic, this is a gigantic leap for me and one I do not take without hesitation. 

It's terrifying to think I'm walking away from a hard fought career in digital marketing and into the unknown. What if I can't find a job when I try to re-enter the workforce, extending my three month sabbatical to six months or a year? What if no one understands this need for a break and holds it against me in interviews? What if...I won't bore you with the endless self-doubt. All of this to say, I'm not naive in the risk I've taken, but I've taken it nonetheless.

The reason? I've been working so hard I've forgotten what it was I was passionate about to begin with. My creativity has shriveled to almost nonexistent and I'm just not fun anymore. I got so busy making a living, I've actually forgotten how to live. It wasn't enough to simply say these things, attempting to make strides towards them, I had to stop completely in my tracks and reroute.

I'm also excited though. I'm looking forward to reconnecting with my center, spending time with Ryan in the mornings, and examining what is most important to me. I'm eternally grateful I have a husband to support me in this endeavor, and savings to alleviate some of the stress of leaving immediately vs. holding out for whatever the next position will be. My one goal in all of this is to find the girl who used to laugh uncontrollably and hold onto her for dear life.

Goodbye summer.  - b.