Bolton wallpaper designer whose latest collection is inspired by Rivington offers top tips for styling homes under lock-down

A Bolton wallpaper designer has taken inspiration from her childhood playground Rivington Oriental Gardens for her latest creations.

Thursday, 2nd April 2020, 5:00 pm
Nina Marika Tarnowski, who runs Woodchip and Magnolia with her husband Paul from their home in Edgworth, has taken inspiration from Rivington Oriental Gardens for her new wallpaper collection.

Nina Marika Tarnowski, who runs Woodchip and Magnolia with her husband Paul from their home in Edgworth, created the collection of six bright prints to bring the magic of Rivington indoors. Their creation coincides with the area's new conservation scheme.

The 45-year-old said: "I was inspired by my childhood memories of walking round the area - the colours; the rhododendron bushes; and how surreal it felt to have a Japanese garden in Rivington.

"It was so characterful."

Nina as a child. Her memories of walking in Rivington have inspired her new wallpaper designs.

Volunteers have spent the past few years revitalising the terraced gardens after securing £3.4 million in Heritage Lottery Funding.

"I'm very much looking forward to seeing their hard work once the pandemic is over," said Nina.

"We're lucky to have such incredible spaces in Lancashire."

Now the mum-of-two is encouraging people to recreate the beauty of their favourite childhood nature spots at home to help them cope with life under lock-down.

"It makes such a difference, when you're staring at four walls, to have a touch of familiarity at home. It makes us feel safe and happy," she said.

"It's incredibly important to create a tranquil space somewhere - and nature can offer that.

"This week, people have been requesting bespoke nature-themed murals to put on their walls.

"You could also add plants and greenery to your desk to help give yourself a positive mindset."

In fact, it seems many people are using this period of isolation to make their homes more inviting. Paul and Nina say not only are they still shipping products worldwide but have seen traffic to their website hit its highest ever level.

"The amount of people who are still ordering wallpaper is incredible," said Nina.

The way we style our home can have a huge impact on our emotional well-being, she adds.

"Colour and pattern are so important in the home because they are very emotive and provide warmth," she said.

"Your mood can dip easily, especially in these hard times, but seeing patterns and colour helps to level my emotions.

"People are now being more creative in their homes, and creating a space that feels safe. It is powerful."

She also hopes that the lock-down will help us to adopt healthier lifestyles.

"A lot of good could come out of this pandemic. It has made me stop, slow down, prioritise tasks better and become more creative," she said.

"Sight and sound are incredibly powerful, so as a family we've slowed down and have been watching and listening to birds in our garden every day.

"Normally, I'm living at 100 miles an hour. But you end up feeling burnt out, living that way.

"That's why we started Woodchip and Magnolia in the first place - so that we could have a healthier lifestyle."

Nina says she has always been creative and remembers telling a teacher at age five or six that she wanted to design wallpaper for a living.

"I always felt different," she said.

"I craved patterns and colour, and was inspired even as a little girl by the changing seasons and colours outside."

She studied for a degree in textiles design before working at wallpaper factory Graham and Brown in Blackburn for 18 years as a design manager and head wallpaper stylist.

"Then I hit 40, got married and decided I wanted to follow my dream of having my own design company that would work around my family," she said.

The couple, who did just that three years ago, starting their business from their kitchen, can now count TV presenter Fearne Cotton among their army of fans.

The Celebrity Juice TV star and BBC Radio 1 DJ posted a photo of herself in her bathroom on Instagram this week, with a Woodchip and Magnolia design in the background.

But life wasn't always like this for the couple.

"I worked for a big brand and did long hours. Now, I have flexibility," said Nina.

"We shut the door at the end of the day and don't discuss the business after a certain time. Otherwise, it can take over your life."

That is why she advises people to '"zone" their homes.

This means having separate spaces at home for work and personal life. Nina says this allows people to shut off from their job at the end of the working day.

"I hope other brands make the decision to continue to allow their employees to work from home once the crisis is over," she said.

"You get so much more out of people, and we have lots of fun too.

"I think the lock-down will change people's business mindsets."