Abnormals Anonymous

Curious, Colorful, and always fun, could there be a better way to describe our friends at Abnormals Anonymous?

On this month's Studio Stories we chatted with the anonymous duo, asking everything from how they keep their identities secret to what inspires their highly memorable wallpaper names.

HOW DID YOU MEET AND DECIDE TO FOUND ABNORMALS ANONYMOUS, HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE NAME? HOW DO YOU STAY ANONYMOUS?

It was a random meeting. He lost a phone prop for a set he was working on for Bon Jovi and I had a designer meeting cancel. We both went back to our hotel in Nashville, TN and met in a quick, descending elevator ride to get back to work. Insert business card exchange and a few quick mentions of design and the rest is history. The love of wallpaper was mutual from the get go as we both used wallpaper in our work at the time, and dreamt of having our own collection. Fast forward to a move to Los Angeles and our first baby boy. Our flame to start the business ignited while walking the aisles at a Santa Monica flea market as we found inspiration for our first and best selling pattern, Mr. Blow. Our company name came from a 1950’s book title, that captivated the sense of being a bit quirky and letting the wallpapers speak for themselves. Letting the designs do the talking is how way we stay anonymous. We don’t promote ourselves, just fun designs and wallpapers. There are a few people out there that know who we are though [wink]..

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE ABNORMALS ANONYMOUS AESTHETIC?

We like to think of our wall coverings as Curious, Colorful, and Humorous…. like the spirit of a Wes Anderson film.

MR. BLOW...BUGGIE...BLOCKPARTY...YOUR COLLECTION HAS SOME OF THE BEST NAMES FOR PATTERNS AND COLORS WE HAVE EVER HEARD. HOW DO YOU COME UP WITH THEM?

Naming our patterns and colorways is one of our favorite parts of developing a new collection. We get very excited to start working together on names that have some fun and humor. 

The patterns each have their own unique personality and we honor that by digging in and giving them name that bring them to life. Mr. Blow is such a stand up guy, he needed a name with presence; he seems like he might be wearing a bowtie headed to a dinner party. Buggie is a name we called our oldest son when he was young, it just worked with the design. Block Party seemed so perfect for adults and kids alike. Growing up on a cul de sac and having loads of summer block parties gave this pattern a real sense of nostalgia. 

Many any of our colorway names are born from our fascination of pop culture in music and movies. Paco (as we call him) has a background in the film and music video world and we both love all types music, including a sweet spot for 80’s yacht rock. 

WHERE DO YOU GO TO FIND INSPIRATION? HOW DO YOU APPROACH DESIGNING NEW PATTERNS?

We find inspiration all over, but living on the water on a small island outside of Seattle gives us loads of natural eye candy. Basically if it’s outside, it inspires us. Wish we had a standard process for designing new patterns because it would make things much easier!  When an idea pops in our heads that excites us, we just go for it. Our process always takes longer than we think. We get very detailed with scale and color until it’s just right.

WE KNOW THAT YOU ARE VERY ECO-CONSCIOUS ABOUT HOW YOU PRODUCE YOUR WALLPAPERS, WALK US THROUGH YOUR PROCESS AND THE MATERIALS YOU USE?

We try our best to do our part in staying eco-friendly. All of our papers are printed with VOC free water based inks and our clay coated papers are FSC Certified ensuring responsible use of forest resources. There are also other ground options that include recycled material and can earn LEED points. All of our papers are printed by the linear yard, so you can order as much or as little as you need to fit your space.

WHICH OF YOUR DESIGNS DO YOU FEEL THE CLOSEST CONNECTION TO? YOU HAVE TWO YOUNG BOYS, DO THEY HAVE FAVORITE ABNORMALS PATTERNS INSTALLED IN THEIR ROOMS?

Mr. Blow still makes us smile. He has such personality and a happiness to him. Also, being the first in the Abnormals family, he holds a very special place in our hearts. He has been reimagined many times over by designers through the years. We love to see how clients put their personal spin on him. New built in bunk beds were just finished in our boys’ room (they share a space) so we are currently trying to figure out which pattern we want to install. One of our newest patterns, Block Party in color Rolling Stone is a top contender. It’s hard to pick!

WHERE HAS BEEN THE MOST EXCITING PLACE YOUR DESIGNS HAVE BEEN INSTALLED?

Our first big project, Palihouse Santa Monica, was and probably still is our most exciting installation. Three of our patterns fill their lovely guest rooms and the combination of the interiors, vibe and seeing our work continues to bring on the good butterflies. Floria was just installed in the Lobby restrooms in one of their latest hotels, Palihotel Seattle. Their eye for the modern mix is spot on.

WHAT'S COMING NEXT?

Large scale, almost mural like florals in bold colors are next up, we can’t wait for these! Also, a kitschy getaway themed collection and dreaming about a small fabric offering as well.