Monday, June 16th, 2008

Map Happy*


Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
6 Comments » | Published in Art Arrangement, Design Books, Design Magazines, Design Press  |  6 Comments


In addition to my chair obsession, my purse fetish, and my love for ceramic rams with big asses , I have a serious map fixation. I could study and old school AAA triptik or an NYC Subway Map for hours. Thus, I’ve collected maps and snagged old atlases at flea markets and junk stores for years.



The other day I had this urge to wallpaper my sunporch in old maps. I don’t like the color but it’s too crazy a room to try to paint – high ceilings and trim galore. I realized that I did not have enough maps with similar colors, and that just going all out with all different palettes would look ridiculous, so I wound up with these out of a 1935 slightly moldy atlas that’s been wasting away on my shelves:


It’s not there yet. I think it needs some sort of black border. I wish I could find some 2″ thick black graphic tape, or that I had a saw and knew how to use it so that I could just build a big frame around it. Maybe it works as is, maybe it fails miserably. I always have to experiment with these things a million times. Victoria, will you please come over and help me?

As I looked through my magazines before deeming some keepers and others recyclers, I realized how much of my brain has absorbed inspiration from magazines, books, places I’ve visited and other blogs:

1. Peter Dunham’s fabulous 1960s L.A. Freeways Map:


2. A love of island maps and charts:



3. Matt Albiani’s love of all things nautical and his genius way of composing unexpected objects:


4. Flickr map fun from flickr member inspiringdecor:


5. This wall from a Luis Barragan home:


*(added later, I forgot!) What is it about blogging that makes me use the cheesiest punny titles for posts? It’s like I can’t help myself. I think the worst one, or one of the worst ones I came up with was “Lofty Aspirations!”

• First four horribly amateur photos from yours truly. Next, in order

• Peter Dunham photo by Miguel Flores-Vianna, as seen in Domino

• Photo by Paul Massey as seen in Coastal Style

• The next two Matt Albiani photos by Matt Albiani, as seen in Domino

• Large map photo from inspiringdecor, as seen on flickr

• Barragan photo by Armando Salas Portugal as seen in Barragan (holy crap, that book ranges from $512 to $1000 on Amazon, maybe I should sell mine! Sounds like they need to re-release it!)

About Becky:
Hi, I'm Becky. I live in Atlanta. Besides acting as the Editorial Director here on Hatch, you can find me talking design over at Houzz. Make me happy — leave a comment!

About Becky

has written 1620 post in this blog.

Hi, I'm Becky. I live in Atlanta. Besides acting as the Editorial Director here on Hatch, you can find me talking design over at Houzz. Make me happy — leave a comment!



  1. Aimee says:

    June 16th, 2008 at 6:28 am (#)

    That is so fun! I have a few big maps that I have been planning to use on a wall in my laundry room. I thought it would look fun, and after seeing your wall now I know that it will. 🙂

  2. Becky says:

    June 16th, 2008 at 8:07 am (#)

    Hi Aimee! I’m so glad! Send us a picture when you are done!


  3. kitpollard says:

    June 16th, 2008 at 5:21 pm (#)

    I love that! My whole family has a fixation with maps – they just seem orderly and creatively energetic all at the same time. My dad has a ton of nautical charts on the walls in his home office and my brother has a couple of antique maps in his office-office.

    I’m obsessed with metro maps from all over…but never do anything with the ones I find (except stash them in random bags and lose them!)

  4. Becky says:

    June 16th, 2008 at 5:54 pm (#)

    Hey Kit! Perhaps start with the inside of a closet door. I had an NYC subway map from 2000 inside my linen closet door for years, and it always brought a smile to my face (I lost it in my last move, which means it will turn up in about 5 years when I am looking for some important tax document I don’t wind up finding!). I would study it and try to memorize it, so that I wouldn’t feel like such a hayseed tourist in NYC.

    I’ve also splurged and had a lot of my favorites framed. They then take on the importance of artwork, and I’m more likely to seek out places to hang them.

    Map renderings can be so amazing. After having to produce them in school, I find I appreciate the hard work, the composition, and the art that does go into them. Get those maps out, I promise they will make you very happy!


  5. kitpollard says:

    June 18th, 2008 at 10:34 am (#)

    That is a GREAT idea – thanks!

  6. Organization Tuesday, Oops, Thursday… :: Hatch: The Design Public® Blog says:

    May 27th, 2010 at 12:09 pm (#)

    […] may recognize my map wall. It had seen better days; the sun had faded the once-lovely blue to a depressing gray. Yuck. […]

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