Whether you’re looking to freshen up your office space or transform your powder room, wallpapers are making a comeback! Emily Yewchuk is the founder and owner of Wildflower Mercantile, a home-décor and design shop located on Vancouver Island. Emily is passionate about creating beautiful spaces with her hand-drawn peel-and-stick wallpapers and curated home décor. Her love of nostalgic design has helped her create wallpapers that fully transform your space while bringing a little magic and whimsy. We chatted with Emily to learn more about this trend. —Noa Nichol
Please tell us a bit about yourself to start.
So, a little about me – I’ve been a professional photographer for 10 years, and when I’m not behind the camera, I’m busy being a mom to three kiddos under 10, a wife, a chicken mama, and a flower-obsessed gardener! After spending fifteen years away, I recently made the decision to move back to my hometown of Courtenay, B.C., it really felt like coming home. After hosting a few gardening workshops and pop-up shop events at my greenhouse, the opportunity to open a brick-and-mortar shop presented itself. It was a natural progression, a way to bring all of my interests together in one place. From photography to community outreach, the arts, and giving back – this shop embodies everything that I hold dear.
When and why did you launch Wildflower Mercantile? What niche were/are you aiming to fill?
Wildflower Mercantile is a community-focused shop in a century-old heritage building in Courtenay on Vancouver Island. It was inspired by my own nostalgia for my hometown after moving back to the Comox Valley in 2019 and a desire to support a cause close to my heart. The shop features locally grown flowers and carefully curated home, lifestyle, and children’s products sourced with the intention to support ethical and environmentally conscious practices. The shop carries Canadian brands such as Magnolia Giroux Jewelry, Natura Soy Candles, Cuddle and Kind, Haiku Lane, Everlasting Candles, and Tiny Button Apparel. Wildflower Mercantile also hosts workshops that support artists and children through the Wildflower Kids Scholarship Fund, which aims to help families with children over the age of 5 who have atypical development. The fund provides financial assistance for services such as speech-language therapy, art therapy, Autism and ADHD assessments, and psychology services that are not covered by the medical system. 90% of ticket sales from workshops go directly to the artists hosting, and the remaining 10% goes to the scholarship fund. Beyond being a retail space, Wildflower Mercantile is a community hub where people come together to connect and support one another.
We love your hand-drawn wallpapers! Can you please take us the process for making these? Also, what inspires your designs?
Thank you! I have always been drawn to colors and patterns, and enjoyed sketching and painting in my free time. Through my experience as a commercial photographer and stylist for various wallpaper companies, I decided to launch my own curated collection featuring prints from some of my favourite artists as well as a few of my own designs. The process is so varied depending on the print. A few I took from start to finish with my own pen and (digital) paper, a few I worked with talented graphic designers, and a couple I added because I love the artist and wanted to round out my collection, so I bought the commercial rights to their designs, there are so many ways to make art and support artists! What inspires me is typically the patterns and colours I see in nature. I often begin by selecting a color palette and then build on it with details and a theme. Nature provides a wealth of colour combinations that leave a lasting impact. For instance, my design “Pastel Blooms” was inspired by my daughters, who helped choose the colours they wanted to see in their room, and we built it up from there using watercolor (which I adore!).
Some people may think “old-fashioned” when it comes to wallpaper; how and why is it making a comeback in the home décor space?
Oh gosh I used to think this if I’m being honest but that totally has changed in the last few years. But wallpapering no longer has to be intimidating. With the advent of user-friendly peel-and-stick wallpaper, even beginners can achieve stunning results. Our designs are printed on high-quality, easy-to-work-with wallpaper that can be lifted and repositioned if mistakes are made during the installation process. Personally, my favourite places to install wallpaper are kids’ rooms, offices, powder rooms, and laundry rooms. Wallpaper is not only easy and renter-friendly, but it also adds a touch of sophistication and style in a clean and quick manner. Ideal for those who love DIY projects but don’t have the patience for lengthy and messy renovations.
How does purchasing and installing your wallpapers work? Any pro tips/tricks when it comes to placing and putting up wallpaper at home?
Honestly, the best advice is to just go for it! The peel-and-stick wallpaper is forgiving if you need to gently lift and replace. When it comes to decals, I recommend using painter’s tape to temporarily place them in the desired position and adjust until you’re satisfied. Then, peel off the backing paper and stick in place. Get creative with your wallpaper use and think beyond just the walls. Use it inside closets or pantries to add a pop of color and texture. Incorporate it into furniture pieces, such as the inside of drawers or the back of a bookcase. Add a touch of character to your computer or notebook with decals. Give any space a framed look by placing wallpaper inside wall molding panels. Even a door can be transformed with a bold or playful print. Get the most out of your wallpaper by using leftover pieces in a drawer, dollhouse, or to cover switch plates or an old piece of furniture. The possibilities are endless!
What’s your top wallpaper pick for spring?
I’d say the Yew Garden Floral its so soft and clean and has a lot of my favourite flowers represented: hydrangeas, dahlias, wisteria, and cosmos. Currently, I am working on two new designs, at the request of my 8-year-old son, one inspired by surfers in Hawaii (our favourite family vacation spot) and the other inspired by the lush forests of the Pacific Northwest. I anticipate both designs to be completed and launched by early spring. I also have a notebook overflowing with floral sketches, so you can anticipate a fresh batch of florals in our next release as well.
Win! A $150 Gift Card From Wildflower Mercantile!
One lucky Canadian winner will receive a $150 Gift Card From Wildflower Mercantile! To enter, follow @wildflower_mercantile and @vitadaily.ca on Instagram and follow the entry rules on our corresponding post. Contest opens March 2, 2023, and closes March 9, 2023. Rules and regulations here. Please note: if you are the winner, you will receive a DM (direct message) in Instagram directly from @vitadaily.ca. Please be wary of fake accounts, which often use similar handles with an extra or missing letter, number or symbol. We will never ask for a payment or for your credit card number, and we will never ask you to click through a link. If you are unsure whether you have been contacted, via Instagram, by us or a fake account, email us before responding.