Words by Andrea Glinn
orter Teleo is synonymous with luxury wallcoverings in the Kansas City design community. And although they are based locally, this to-the-trade, hand-painted wallpaper company’s biggest markets are New York City, California, Texas and Miami—and they export to 15 different countries as well. Partnerships with internationally renowned companies like F. Schumacher & Co. in New York, Perennials Fabrics in Dallas, Valley Forge Fabrics in Fort Lauderdale, and Élitis in Paris are not only a vehicle for sales but also help them expand their offerings.
“These companies license our artwork and create different kinds of products for the design industry—products like contract-grade woven fabrics, solution-dyed acrylic rugs, high-performance outdoor fabrics, and luxury wallcoverings and textiles for the residential market,” Kelly Porter explains.
With more than 17 years in business, owners Kelly Porter, an established painter, and Bridgett Cochran, a former interior designer, have certainly seen trends come and go. Still, they have avoided the stress of needlessly shifting styles in the direction of the mainstream, staying true to their artistic vision and continuing to create some of the same patterns and colorways they began with.
Blacks and grays made with India ink have a true longevity factor in their repertoire, but that isn’t to say that they shy away from color. “We always try to invent new ways of combining colors for fresh colorations that are not already saturating the marketplace,” Kelly says. “By offering something new and unique, we can bring something truly beautiful into the world. Sometimes we introduce bizarre colorations … and they go gangbusters. If we feel it is groundbreaking, then we go for it.”
Although their patterns are abstract, fluid and organic, their process is rather regimented, which allows for the quality and consistency their clients expect. “Translating the artwork is not only a training session but a philosophical conversation—a series of aesthetic rules to learn and follow, an exercise in composition, and an art tutorial each time we introduce a new pattern,” Kelly explains.
Their beautiful, hand-painted papers take time and skill to create, and they don’t fit into every budget. But don’t despair: some Porter Teleo accessories and artwork are now available to the public through their online boutique, the Porter Teleo Shop, to give your space a taste of the artistic glamor their papers provide.
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