Litchfield County: Happening in the Hills
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Local Bantam Private-Label Wallpaper Company Twenty2 Enjoys Success Amid Pandemic

By Jessica Grutkowski

It’s easy to fall in love with Litchfield County. Its charm, rich history, and bucolic landscapes, paired with interesting architecture and ubiquitous artisan community make it a special place for locals and visitors alike. Like many long-time city dwellers, Kyra and Rob Hartnett fell in love with the area and decided to lay roots in the country.

The love affair with Litchfield began when Rob’s parents moved there in 2000. While house-sitting, they perused a real estate brochure from the grocery store and saw the perfect 1846 Bantam farm house.

“We loved the soul and history of the area—dating back to the 1700s—but also how it infused mid-century modernism,” says Hartnett. “We knew the garage would make the perfect studio space for our growing wallpaper design business.”

Admittedly self-taught designers, the couple was influenced by their grandmothers’ shared passion for decorating with textiles, wallpaper, and antiques. Together, they have propelled Twenty2 to become a successful private-label wallpaper manufacturing company that helps more than 100 businesses develop and produce their own collections. When asked about the meaning behind their company name, the couple explained, “It’s our lucky number and both of our ages when we first met!”

This year’s quarantine has created a boom for the wallpaper industry. “People are embracing the power and sanctity of personal spaces, using wallpaper to help express their unique personality,” explains Hartnett. The Hartnetts are inspired heavily by their community, including fellow Litchfield resident Emily Dalton, co-founder of Jack Black, one of the largest U.S. men’s personal care brands. “She has been a huge inspiration and guide while navigating the challenges of running and scaling a business,” shares Hartnett.

Twenty2 currently offers more than 72 different color ways in its grasscloth collection alone, all of which are sustainably sourced and hand-dyed. “I love our grasscloths layered on metallic foil, which add texture and shimmer to the wall,” says Hartnett. “We’re proud to print many of the most beloved, inventive wallpapers on the market,” notes Hartnett. “We still offer our own curated collection of eco-friendly natural grasscloths through our website and various showrooms.”

Bringing a design concept to paper involves many careful steps. Twenty2 spends anywhere from one to six months developing digital artwork with its customers—originating anywhere from a napkin sketch to a fully-formed wallpaper pattern.

“In some cases, we photograph original artwork in-house, develop pattern repeats, and then produce the wallpaper,” explains Hartnett. “Once the files are approved for production, made-to-order wallpaper has a five-week lead time.”

Designers continue to break from tradition with wallpaper, utilizing pattern and texture to create unexpected pops. Recently, the Hartnetts worked with a Nashville client to create a “vibrant wallpaper cave,” with their friend Andra Eggleston’s wallpaper. “No room is off limits,” says Hartnett. “Bathrooms can be tricky, but as long as they are well ventilated, we have papers that can handle moisture.”

Twenty2 is honored to work frequently with artist Derrick Adams, including the recent installations at the Hudson River Museum in his “Buoyant” exhibition. The couple also enjoyed helping Voutsa create its iconic Memphis-style mural that wrapped around a large spiral staircase at The Kips Bay Showhouse in 2018.

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