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Elizabeth Rees, originally from Whitefish Bay, started an innovative wallpaper company in New York in 2013.

Chasing Paper rolls out new wallpaper concept, connects Milwaukee to New York

For many people, wallpaper is remembered as a pain to hang – and even worse to remove – with patterns like bold geometric designs, raised velvet paisleys or orange and brown flowers.

Elizabeth Rees created removable wallpaper that is none of the above.

"Wallpaper in the past has been associated with headaches," says Rees. "Not anymore."

The Whitefish Bay native, who now lives in New York City, started a business in 2013 called Chasing Paper offering removable wallpaper that's easy to install, easy to remove and easy on the pocketbook.

Traditionally, wallpaper was sold by the roll, but Chasing Paper wallpaper comes in two-by-four-foot fabric panels with peel-and-stick backs.

"It is tacky, but not sticky – kind of like the back of Post-It notes," says Rees. "It won't harm walls or pull off paint."

To further ensure this is not your Great Aunt Ruth's wallpaper, Chasing Paper's designs range from geometrics called "Sexy Hexy" and "Bow + Arrow" to animal illustrations called "Wild Thing." Chalkboard wallpaper and hip kid's patterns are also available.

"We want the patterns to grow with the person and family," says Rees.

About a quarter of the designs are created in-house, and the rest are selected from submissions by designers living all over the world.

"We're always looking for a fresh, unique perspective," says Rees. "Wallpaper re-imagined in a new way."

Most of the panels cost $40. "Sometimes you just want to dip your toe in and don't want to spend $250 on a roll of wallpaper," says Rees.

Chasing Paper wallpaper can be applied on walls or beyond walls. People have used it on kitchen back splashes, dresser drawers, coffee tables and more. "One customer wallpapered her refrigerator," says Rees.

After graduating from Divine Savior Holy Angels high school in Milwaukee, Rees went on to receive an undergraduate degree in journalism from Indiana University and a communications masters from American University in Paris. She worked for National Geographic for a few years and traveled before returning to Milwaukee to help her parents with marketing and web design for her family's printing business, Kubin Nicholson, 8444 N. 84th St.

"I grew up around the business, but never saw myself getting into it," says Rees. "But when I was helping my dad, I started to think about new ways to use their services, which led me to the removable wallpaper concept."

All of Chasing Paper's wallpaper is made in the United States and printed at Kubin Nicholson. The panels are printed upon order.

"I'm really proud of being from Milwaukee," says Rees. "Even though I live in New York and have a life here, I am very tied to where I came from and grew up. Milwaukee is a really important part of my business."

Chasing Paper wallpaper is available through Bloomingdale's, West Elm and the website.


Talkbacks

Hyland | Aug. 29, 2016 at 12:54 p.m. (report)

Yeah Rees!! Good for you, such a cool company.

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