When Amy Mills–co-founder of Bay Area wallpaper studio Paper Mills–unleashes her creativity, the outcome is nothing short of whimsical. It’s also an effect of her balanced ties to nature and fine art.
Launching their studio in 2005, Mills and her sister, Noelle, use hand blocking and in-house printing to create patterns like the studio’s Little Havana and Pablo prints. Picture large botanicals in flashy colors and pink zebra ferns. They are constantly looking at the old masters to inspire our work and ethos.
Below, we learn more about one of the makers of the dynamic wallpaper.
Tell us about your most treasured creation.
Our Zebra Fern pattern is my favorite thing of the moment. It’s been in my head for a couple of years, and I finally cleared the decks to produce it.
What was your first job, and what did you learn from it?
I cleaned a woman’s house. I learned that work is hard. I once had to rake an entire apple orchard by hand. I used to love to go into her basement and page through all of the curios and ephemera in her late husband’s desk.
Which show are you currently binge-watching?
Silicon Valley. I love laughing and living in the Bay Area, and well there is a lot to laugh about. It’s oddly “real.”
Tell us about your all-time favorite piece in your home.
Our beaten up old couch, on which I can lie all the way down while watching TV. It serves in both the form and function department. I’m more utilitarian; I don’t get excited by an ornament.
One trend I hope never goes out of style is…
Wearing yoga pants everywhere–a secret, disgusting pleasure.
Tell us about your all-time favorite book.
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. If you read the footnotes, it’s hilarious, haunting and dense. It reminds me not to take myself so seriously.
My three favorite design/photography/art social media accounts to follow are…
@bymartinmeyer is a friend and photographer. I enjoy his take on the world; @nancygruskin is a painter, and I dig her work; @clothandkind is a design house, and its Instagram is always beautifully curated.
In a dream world, what place or location would be most exciting to see your work used in?
It would be great to see my wallpaper in the movies. I reached out to the Coen brothers’ designer once–that would be so much fun.