Markella Mildenberger

Red Palette has home decor covered

Markella Mildenberger’s art is all over the walls in Vancouver. Quite literally.

Markella Mildenberger’s art is all over the walls in Vancouver. Quite literally.

The owner of The Red Palette in Vernon, Mildenberger has developed a way to transform her paintings into wallpaper, and designers in the Lower Mainland are starting to take note.

“It was sort of a middle-of-the-night idea,” said Mildenberger, a mother of two. “I am one of those people that keeps a notebook by my bedside.

“I played with the idea for about a year-and-a-half, just taking my original artwork and seeing what I could do with it.”

Mildenberger, who moved to Vernon from Edmonton seven years ago, started by scanning and photographing her existing work, and then manipulated it using computer software to create repeatable patterns. Through the wonders of Photoshop, she can adjust the size, frequency and colour schemes of her patterns to suit any client’s taste.

“From one actual painting, or one piece that I create, I can probably come up with hundreds of designs,” said Mildenberger, who also holds a degree in journalism. “The repeats, the colours – the sky is the limit.”

After that, it was a matter of transferring her digital creations on to a medium. Mildenberger works with two manufacturers, one in the U.S. and another in Canada, to take her art from the computer onto wallpaper, as well as fabric and textiles. Her website features an array of more than 150 designs.

Gone are the days of pasting a wall with a messy glue and hoping the wallpaper sticks, said Mildenberger. She uses water-activated wallpaper, and also offers a products that can be repositioned. However, she noted it still is a two-person job.

“It’s all PVC-free, it’s all eco-friendly and the inks last forever,” she said. “You soak them for three minutes, they go up, you smooth them out, line up your repeats and it’s done.”

Since the official launch of The Red Palette’s wallpaper line Sept. 1, the reaction has been tremendous. Mildenberger’s creations were featured in the Flo Form Lounge at the Vancouver Home and Design Show at B.C. Place, in mid-October.

That drew the attention of Colin and Justin’s Home Heist, a reality TV show on HGTV. Mildenberger hinted they are considering a piece on The Red Palette’s creations in the future.

“It just totally blew me away,” she said. “Wallpaper is a major thing in design now, like it used to be. It’s on a comeback. Every designer that I work with and talk to, that’s all they use.”

Mildenberger caters to both residential and commercial applications with her product line. Using her sales savvy, she has developed a clever business model to handle the commercial sector. Those clients, which could include restaurants, cafes and other franchise operations, have the option of either licensing her designs for a set period, or buying the copyright completely.

In time, Mildenberger hopes to see more demand for her work in the Okanagan, but added Vancouver is further ahead of the fashion curve, which is where she needs to concentrate her efforts. For now, she is content to make the bi-weekly trek to the coast to conduct business in the big city.

“It’s catching on in Vancouver to the point where I don’t have to contact people anymore,” she said.

In order to keep things fresh, and for her own artistic aspirations, Mildenberger is constantly working on new material. Now that the medium has changed from canvas to wallpaper, she admits to taking a more methodical approach when she paints. Well, most of the time.

“I look at it a little differently,” she said. “I still paint from the heart, and I’m still going to do my thing, but I now have a better understanding of the repeats and how the patterns are going to work, and how its going to look when I play with it digitally.

“But I still go down in my studio and turn the music really loud and get in the zone to make something for the pure purpose of making art.”


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vernon gas station lowers price nearly 20 cents/litre

Super Save Gas at 25th Avenue and 43rd Street selling regular gasoline at $1.09.9

Vernon’s Fulton Maroons fall in Valley final; earn berth to B.C.’s

Princess Margaret Mustangs of Penticton beat Fulton in Senior Boys AA Basketball final

Vernon science centre hosting anti-bullying workshops

The presentations are geared for children and parents and set for Pink Shirt Day Feb. 26

Okanagan flavour to BC Senior Men’s Curling final

Kelowna/Comox rink takes on defending champs from Duncan/Nanaimo

Vernon Vipers waiting on playoff foe

BCHL: Snakes won’t play Victoria, but will play either Wenatchee or Salmon Arm

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games wrap up in Fort St. John as torch passes to Maple Ridge

More than 1,000 athletes competed in the 2020 BC Winter Games

Still six cases of COVID-19 in B.C. despite reports of Air Canada passenger: ministry

Health ministry wouldn’t comment on specific flight routes

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

Kelowna Firefighters douse suspicious hedge fire

A 30’ section of cedar hedge burned prompting an RCMP investigation.

Kelowna RCMP make arrest in fatal stabbing of 16-year-old Elijah Beauregard

An 18-year-old woman is in police custody facing a manslughter charge.

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

B.C. money laundering inquiry to begin amid hopes for answers, accountability

Eby argued that most B.C. residents already know the previous government, at best, turned a blind eye

Most Read