A Budding Wallpaper Designer on Her Career—and Inspirations

January 14, 2020
Cristina Buckley, a Schumacher alum, debuted a beautiful wallpaper line in 2018. And her refreshing patterns—a joyful mashup of references: preppy meets Hollywood Regency meets traditional design—have been on our radar ever since.
We recently caught up with our former design director, who opens up here about her career, design inspirations, upcoming 2020 collection and favorite vintage sources.

Q: Remind us a little about your background—and launching your wallpaper line.

A: I’ve always been surrounded by art and design: I grew up in New York City, where both my parents worked in creative industries, and I went to high school for art.
In college, I studied film production and afterwards worked in set design for films and TV. There, textiles, furniture and decorative objects caught my attention, so I went back to school (Fashion Institute of Technology) to hone my skills in surface pattern design.
That’s where I fortuitously found an internship with Schumacher, where I eventually became a Design Director. After a great run, I moved to Los Angeles to become the Creative Director for Kelly Wearstler.
Seven years later, I left to become a consultant and finally launched my own wallpaper line.
Edie wallpaper by Cristina Buckley

Why wallpaper?

Wallpaper is a medium that combines my main passions of art and interior design. My drawings and paintings hopefully translate into something people will live with and be inspired by. I also like keeping the handmade tradition of wallpaper alive in this digital age.
"Vera Paints a Scarf: The Art and Design of Vera Neumann" is on view at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York through January 26, 2020.

Who do you admire in the handmade field?

Vera Neumann’s artwork had a very loose, painterly quality to it that I’ve always loved. She became a household name and was the pioneer precursor to someone like Martha Stewart. Learn more about her here >
I also adore Alexander Calder, who worked in different mediums. He made incredible sculpture and mobiles, but he also made one-of-kind pieces of jewelry, wallpaper and rugs.
A scene from Porter Teleo’s study.Paul Versluis
In terms of artists today, I appreciate the work that Porter Teleo does—all of their unique fabrics and wallpapers are painted by hand. *Learn more about Porter Teleo, a Schumacher collaborator, here >
Also, the fashion designer Dries Van Noten. He designs and prints original fabrics for his fashion collections each season. For his A/W 2019 collection, he photographed flowers from his garden in front of colored panels. These images were printed onto silk and sewn into his designs. *View a video of the collection here >

Where do you find inspiration?

I love design and art books. A few are:
Fashion and Surrealism by Richard Martin
Richard Martin was the Director of the Costume Institute at the MET Museum and this book comprehensively looks at the relationship between the surrealist movement and fashion.
Flowers—Charles Rennie Mackintosh by Pamela Robertson
This may be the first book that sparked my interest in pattern design. This book introduced me to the stunning botanical watercolors of Mackintosh and showed me how one can merge natural forms into geometric layouts.
Wallpaper and the Artist by Marilyn Oliver Hapgood
This book was a revelation to me! Alexander Calder and Henri Matisse designed wallpaper? This book spans the history of wallpaper design from the Arts and Crafts movement to the more recent days of the 1970’s and 1980’s.
Alexander Girard by Todd Oldham & Kiera Coffee
The original version of this book, which was published in 2011, is so humongous that it does not fit in any of my bookshelves! It is a mind-boggling survey of the life’s work of Alexander Girard, who designed textile designs, restaurants, dinnerware, china patterns—and even his own fonts and alphabets!

What’s next for you?

For my upcoming Spring 2020 collection, I was influenced by my love for florals from the Art Nouveau and the Weiner Werkstätte movements. The florals are very stylized but have a romantic and sophisticated quality. This collection will be softer than my previous collection, with the use of dusty greens and Bordeaux reds which I haven’t used before.

Your favorite vintage sources?

NOMAD VINTAGE for funky and fun vintage clothing. 208 East Sixth Street, New York
BARBARA TRUJILLO for unique jewelry, antiques and clothing. 2466 Main Street, Bridgehampton, New York
THE MART COLLECTIVE for over 100 dealers of art, vintage design books and interior design magazines. 1600 Lincoln Blvd, Venice, CA


Do you have a mantra or piece of advice you tell yourself often?

I was recently given this piece of wisdom from a taxi driver and it stuck with me: “Life is a battle. Fight it boldly.”

For more information on Cristina Buckley, visit her website >

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“One Hundred Rooms to Know and Love”
by Schumacher

The creative team at Schumacher has compiled 100 to-die-for rooms by some of today’s most brilliant designers into a slender and attractive cloth-bound volume.