Woodchip & Magnolia - the interior design firm inspired by the Lancashire countryside

PUBLISHED: 00:00 11 November 2019 | UPDATED: 17:32 13 November 2019

Nina Marika Tarnowski and husband, Paul

Nina Marika Tarnowski and husband, Paul


Lancashire landscapes inspired these bold and beautiful wallcoverings.

One the key interiors trends of 2019 has been the growth of nature-themed designs and our love for bringing the outdoors indoors is expected to continue in the new year and beyond.

Many national design companies have jumped on the trend and brought out wallpapers depicting generic leaves, birds and other wildlife. But a Lancashire firm has been leading the way and using our spectacular landscapes to inform their creations.

Designs inspired by the Queen Anne's lace of the West Pennine Moors, the conifers of Entwistle Reservoir and the Japanese Gardens of Rivington, have helped make Edgworth-based Woodchip & Magnolia one of the most exciting names in interiors right now, with supermodels, television presenters and interiors aficionados among their fans.

The company was founded two years ago by mother-of-two Nina Marika Tarnowski, alongside husband Paul. Nina created her first designs at the kitchen table and their first roll of wallpaper was printed in October 2016 in the adjoining garage. It is the culmination of a lifelong ambition. Nina was just five-years-old when she told her primary school teacher she was going to be a wallpaper designer.

Sam Massey and Lucy PeperkampSam Massey and Lucy Peperkamp

At the time her family lived in a beautiful converted church, more than 1,000ft above sea level, deep in the Moors. And while it was beautifully styled, it was missing the colour Nina loved - her parents preferring a minimalist approach to interiors. But that house, with its living space on the upper floor, was where Nina's passion for the Lancashire countryside was ignited.

'Our family home was very minimalist, very white,' she said. 'But the living space had the most stunning natural light which made the room look and feel different, not just throughout the day but at different times in the year. I loved seeing the light change and the impact it had in the home and it is something I am still obsessed with today. 'The view across the moorland was stunning. It was the perfect spot to observe the changing landscapes as seasons came and went. Everywhere you looked there was a million different shades of green, it was - and still is - luscious.'

Nina's determination to bring colour and pattern into her life saw her leave her beloved Lancashire - briefly - when she moved to Leeds to study Surface Pattern and Textile Design at the city's College of Art.

On her return to Lancashire she achieved her childhood dream of becoming a wallpaper designer and joined Graham & Brown, the family-run wallpaper firm in Blackburn where she spent two decades as Head Stylist and Design Manager. It was here she honed her craft and it was where she met her husband and business partner, Paul.

Together, they have an impressive knowledge of the wallpaper industry. She is the creative force, combining traditional hand-drawn craftsmanship with digital know-how to give her designs a unique edge. He is an expert in all things digital and oversees the production side of the business which is where his passion for the environment shines through.

Paul said: 'When we decided to go for it and start our own business, the most important thing from the off was sustainability. We wanted to make sure our wallpapers and fabrics were the most environmentally friendly they could be.'

All the inks they use are water-based and because all their wallpaper is printed to order on FSC-sourced paper, paper wastage is minimal and all rolls are packaged by hand. Labels are printed on recycled paper and they even use a renewable energy supplier to power their printers.

In the production room. All the inks they use are environmentally-friendly and water basedIn the production room. All the inks they use are environmentally-friendly and water based

Nina added: 'The Lancashire landscape is our inspiration and we have to do our bit to protect it.'

Nina's passion for her surroundings are evident in her designs - her Rivington collection, for example uses a whimsical, Oriental-inspired, botanical print born out of Nina's childhood memories of Rivington Oriental Gardens.

'Entwistle', is a striking wall mural inspired by Entwistle Reservoir in Lancashire, where lush forestry clashes against a concrete backdrop - a reminder of the region's industrial heritage and natural beauty.

Ava Marika, named after her daughter, was influenced by the flowers grown from seed in a friend's flower field. Helena Christensen and Fearne Cotton have both instagrammed rooms with Woodchip and Magnolia paper and singer-songwriter Pearl Lowe has her own range with the company.

Woodchip and Magnolia have recently branched out into velvets made from recycled plastics and will soon be launching their first furniture range, built by craftsmen in Lancashire.

Nina said: 'We love working with people who are as passionate about the North West as we are.

The beauty of having our own business means we can pick and choose who we work with and what we do.

'We like to do things differently. We don't follow trends, have a signature style or distribute pattern books - or as we call them, 'dust collectors'. We design, curate and manufacture then launch online when the mood suits.

We don't follow the same rules as everyone else, we don't bring out collections every season - we do it as and when we are inspired to create our best work.'

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Latest from the Lancashire Life