On the road
As summer is upon us, my thoughts have turned towards travel and exploration. I've always been fascinated by the the old-fashioned ways of traveling, involving Louis Vuitton steamer trunks and tickets for the Orient Express, evening dresses and weeks-long transatlantic crossings. Not exactly practical, nor affordable, but I can dream... Nothing represents the romance of travel more than a beautifully rendered map; from detailed city plans to two-dimensional representations of the entire globe, from gorgeous nautical and celestial maps to utilitarian subway plans, maps hold the promise of sights unseen and adventures not yet lived. As such, I find them to be a perfect decorating element: their subject matter as well as their abstract beauty will be a conversation starter and source of delight for years to come. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Size does matter; a world map that covers an entire wall will makes the most impact. Alternatively, consider making room-wide window blinds out of reinforced maps.
If your maps are not that big, display a few like-size pieces in a gallery-wall format. Take pointers from your maps' vintage color palette to make color choices for the rest of the room.
Nautical maps and brightly colored contemporary renderings are a perfect choice for smaller spaces such as powder rooms and guest bathrooms, as well as children's spaces.
A black-and-white palette will highlight the graphic, abstract nature of your map. These maps will add real personality to more minimal, contemporary interiors.
The vintage celestial chart from Rand McNally on the left is the focal point in the study of designer Thomas O'Brien's Manhattan apartment. Scour flea-markets or look on Ebay to find similar items.
And don't forget about fabrics: Calico's Parisenne depicts a vintage Parisian city map, rendered in pretty parchment shades.
Last but not least, maps are the perfect DIY material: all you need is a jar of Mod Podge, and a brush you you can decoupage just about anything: doors, bedframes, chair.... Are we there yet?