Growing up, my stepmother held a variety of part-time jobs. Usually chosen when we needed some extra household money, each job seemed to coincide with a major appliance going out within a few weeks of her starting the new job. To this day, I’m not sure if she sensed we’d need the extra money for a new refrigerator or washer, or if the appliances were in cahoots.

And while I don’t remember every job she had – or every appliance that was replaced – one job that sticks in my mind was hanging wallpaper with a girlfriend of hers. It was something that could be done during the day while the four of us were at school, and it was a skill at which she became quite adept. Which could explain the yellow and green jungle-themed paper in my bedroom when I was young.

As an architect, however, wallpaper and wallcoverings aren’t products I think about often when working with a client. Coming from a background of architecture where the walls were often just Benjamin Moore Decorator White and intended for art, wallpaper was rarely seen. My first encounter was with block-printed paper for a client’s laundry. Seemed like a lot to spend for a small space, but the interior decorator was able to convince the client that’s what she needed.

Consequently, when someone recommended I go by Milton & King Wallpaper in the Design District, I wasn’t overly sold on that being anything important. It’s wallpaper. And the interior designer usually selects that stuff. Plus, thanks to the pandemic, I hadn’t been in many showrooms since March 2020. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect or what I would get out of going.

Then I walked in and completely geeked out. The Architecture Geek was on full display. Starting with the giant mural – for lack of a better word – of vibrant pinks and oranges on one wall to the rows of papers hanging throughout, I was bordering on sensory overload. For someone who can have trouble deciding on dinner (I don’t need 50 entrees to pick from!), I couldn’t begin to imagine how to narrow down choices. And you should see the awesome ways their wallcoverings are utilized by DIYers on TikTok.

Beautiful patterns. Amazing colors. And even though I couldn’t see myself using some of the wallpaper personally, it was easy to look through and think back to older projects that could have used a little color. Or perhaps a better choice of product. Sure, the blue silk wallpaper in one powder room was stunning, but I imagine the first grandchild with dirty hands who touched it was banished from there for life.

And because I can’t geek out enough, Richard, one of the owners who was there, took me in back to show me their production line. Because, yes, they produce everything in-house. Each order is printed specifically on what has to be the largest HP printer I have ever seen. Which means their turnaround time for every order is days instead of weeks. Pretty cool, huh? Or is that just the geek in me? You know. The one standing in front of the printer watching the printheads run back and forth.

Check out the reel that I created during my visit to the showroom in the Dallas Design District.

So kudos to the friend who recommended Milton & King to the Big Gay Architect, who needs to get out of his office a little more. Who should be visiting more showrooms. If for no other reason than to geek out just a little bit every once in a while.