Angela van der Meulen moved to Luxembourg six years ago from Seattle, little did she know this change would spark her creativity to a whole new level. With a transitioning family and phase two of parenting facing her she was ready to embark on a long held creative dream, designing wallpaper and textiles.
Why Luxembourg? We decided to move to Luxembourg for my husband’s job with amazon.com. My husband and I have since sent two children away to university (one is studying environmental design and the other business) and our daughter remains at home to finish her last two years at the international high school. Even before our move I had begun contemplating the eventual departure of my three children and how I might re-invent myself once they were all more independent. I knew whatever next step I chose to take into the creative world, it would take time. Being in Europe felt especially opportune where craftsmanship and quality are closely guarded and so I decided to finally embark on a dream of my own designing wallpapers and textiles.
“We came here not expecting to stay quite so long and now we would like to stay forever”
It has been an interesting transition for all of us as we have adapted to the European way of life, school, work and leisure. We came here not expecting to stay quite so long and now we would like to stay forever. We love the pace of life and how it allowed us to reclaim time with our teenage kids, learn new languages and explore new cultures through food, travel, fashion and some amazing design. Through all of these new experiences and new way of life I have found great inspiration for my work.
Luxembourg’s own artist community is growing and with easy access to all parts of Europe and so that also allows me to find and connect with other designers pursuing similar endeavors.
(Views of the van der Meulen’s home in Luxembourg)
Tell us about your home? We chose this house as it was being renovated but knowing it would be perfect for us. It has the right combination of old and new and it allows me to use it as a canvas for my creativity. My goals have remained largely the same for a long time. I love antique treasures mixed with modern. I mostly follow a philosophy of choosing things I love, that I find beautiful, interesting or quirky or artful and then they find their place in our home. I like a home that has a soul, isn’t too perfect. It is the patina that make all these things so beautiful and interesting. I also like to treat my spaces like little galleries. I like to move things around, bring out stored collections to give a space or an object new life. I love old, I love new, I love simple, I love details — I love beauty and the unexpected. It is this aesthetic that inspires me in my work as well. I take something old and give it a modern interpretation and produce both paper and textiles using the handmade methods I so adore, paper cuts, hand drawing, watercolors, screen-printing and block printing.
“I love old, I love new, I love simple, I love details — I love beauty and the unexpected.”
We have these enormous and wonderful floor to ceiling sliding windows and little glass enclosed terraces off of each floor so we leave the back of the house open in the spring and summer and it gives almost a tree house feeling. I love the indoor-outdoor aspect of the design and since I am so inspired by nature it makes access all the easier. Credit goes to our friends and owners of the house who conceived and designed the remodel from their own love of design and architecture.
(Views of the van der Meulen’s home in Luxembourg)
How did Angela van der Meulen Wallcoverings + Textile start? tell us a little about your creative process? I worked as a graphic designer for many years so my first love was ink on paper. I eventually started exploring other creative possibilities as a window dresser, photographer, interior designer and even had my own blog for a short time. All of these were temporary projects and as I watched my kids grow, I knew it would be a new time for me to fully exercise my creative energy and try something new and more permanent.
I had a lot of positive feedback from my past designs and realised I was creating patterns that resonated with many people and so after much thinking and tweaking and trying, I launched a small collection of wallpapers and textiles. My designs are hand-drawn and then printed in a way that they can retain their artistic quality.
Once living in Europe I also had the advantage of proximity to traditional printing methods in the UK that could honor the handmade integrity of my work. As a designer and lifelong admirer of beautiful things, my life and my design has always been influenced strongly by my Italian roots, my Italian grandmother Anna Maria Yolanda and by my long affair with the French language and culture, by my garden and the scent of flowers, by the joy that food and cooking bring me, by clothes and textures, and also by the people who have come across my life. I have a strong attraction to nature and the romantic. I try to take all these influences and interpret them in a modern way, to keep them unique and versatile.
Creating a home that is comfortable and pleasing has always been important to me. I never stop absorbing the charms of the cities I travel to nor the colors and landscapes and I try to incorporate that into my design. I have also found great joy in my flea market treasures and that is another place I often find inspiration. Old books, vintage fabrics, etched glasses or a taxidermied owl — they all add to my growing visual library from which I draw. I love using watercolors, pencil and block printing in my work. I often start with a small sketch or painting and then explore a variety of possible patterns with that original design. I have more ideas than I do time to create new products and learning so much along the way. It has been more rewarding than expected.
“I never stop absorbing the charms of the cities I travel to nor the colors and landscapes and I try to incorporate that into my design.”
My goal of creating products that are thoughtful and made artfully and of quality materials continues to be my guide. I care about classic design that will last and be loved. I am not interested so much in trends as I am in enduring the test of time.
(Angela’s working and creative space at her home in Luxembourg)
Where do you see your products? When my children were small the entire kids category seemed to explode. Cool clothes, cool decor, cool everything. It was very much a revolution that I found liberating because much of what I found shopping for my own kids was sophisticated enough to be used for myself and in a variety of ways. Much like modern kids products my hope is that my designs will work in a variety of spaces and places. Many of my patterns have a certain playfulness to them that translates well in a child’s setting but also add a lightness in an adult setting. I appreciate the unexpected and try not to limit or be limited by any one consumer group while staying true to my own style.
(Angela van der Meulen’s dot-to-dot Wallpaper in tangerine)
“Many of my patterns have a certain playfulness to them that translates well in a child’s setting but also add a lightness in an adult setting.”
(Angela van der Meulen Mimosa Trellis lapshade, Die-cut flower in grey cushion and the Yolanda tote)
Angela van der Meulen wallpapers are printed by a traditional British wallpaper manufacturer using sustainable forest papers and fabric hand-screen printed on 100% linen.
Look out for the Mimosa Trellis in Citron Vert Linen #CoupDeCoeur