Can Tell us a bit about your back story leading to where you are now with WallTawk?
Hi, I’m Batya Stepelman, the owner of WallTawk: a wallcoverings boutique that specializes in unique and customizable design for your walls (though we are now carrying select lines of fabric too!). The name WallTawk is a nod to my hometown of NYC. Originally, I thought it would be fun to name my company, “If These Walls Could Talk,” or “Wall Talk,” but every iteration of those concepts was already taken, so I went with WallTawk, substituting a ‘w’ for an ‘l’, because it represents who I am…and, of course, the domain name wasn’t taken!
I carry independent lines, many of which had not been available elsewhere, and added Denver Damask, an exclusive pattern made in collaboration with Meredith Feniak, a Denver-based artist, several years ago. That pattern is a love note to the cityand our non-profit partner is The Center on Colfax (donations earmarked for their LGBTQ teen suicide prevention program). More recently, I became the showroom partner for EdieUre, a Boulder-based natural dye and textile designer, who converted her botanical and organic patterns into paper wallcoverings! WallTawk sources hard-to-find domestic patterns, along with international and emerging brands. Many of the patterns I offer are printed on FSC-certified paper (or their equivalent), are printed with vegetable dyes/inks, are fully biodegradable (organic grasscloth from Twenty2), or in the case of commercial/performanceType II substrates,are PVC-free.
I’ve been operating for almost 7 years, which feels like a true accomplishment, and completed over 1900 projects to date. It’s been a wild and wonderful ride!
Jennifer Olson Photography
What are some of your favorite projects in Denver you have done?
Most of the projects I work on are residential, but I have been involved in great commercial projects too. I’ve placed paper in restaurants, bars, hair salons, and a bowling alley. There’s a very exciting project coming up at the end of 2022, but I can’t reveal any more about that one just yet!
Most recently, I had the great privilege of collaborating with Nora Hoffman (Unum Collaborative) and Niki Haberberger (owner and stylist) on the new Peleet concept based in the Golden Triangle. The story board behind the salon’s design was organic, so we used Wall Covering in customer scales that included quartz crystals, geodes and vines; it came out beautifully!
Tell us about the historic home your business is located in? Why did you choose Congress Park for your business?
The historic home I operate the business out of, also known as the showroom, is actually my own residence! People think it’s wild that our family lives here, but I’m used to it by now. I love experimenting in this space and it gives clients some visuals, scale and context for the papers they are considering.
We had already been living in Congress Park when I started the business, but what lured me to the neighborhood was its historic homes, tree lined streets, people and walkability.
Are you from Denver?
I’m originally from NYC. We moved to Colorado in 2011, so I’m not a native but I have been here for quite a few years!
How can people hire you to make their Wallpaper Dreams come true?
Having a few images, along with a color, pattern and budget preference, if applicable, can help get the ball rolling.
I post inspiration photos, process images, new samples and completed installations on IG, and I can be reached on that platform via DM as well.
I hold virtual and off-site appointments by request, and in-person sessions, by appointment only, Monday-Friday.
If clients know what they want, and the paper is one of my brands, then I can process orders and no appointments are necessary!
If interior design firms want a presentation, those are available too.
What accomplishments from the past year are you most proud of?
To be honest, surviving the intensity that comes with being a mother and a businesswomen.Navigating supply chain issues, setting realistic expectations, dealing with shutdowns that are out of my control, reworking the calendar due to health concerns like Covid, school and camp closures…I’ve been through it all (like so many others); getting through the summer of 2022 is an accomplishment in and of itself. Pushing through the challenging times while simultaneously loving what I do, and being enthusiastic about it, is something that makes me proud.
What do you love about Denver? How would you describe the “Vibe” of Denver?
Not too fast, not too slow. I hope Denver “stays weird” as it grows. Each neighborhood has its own feel and character. It feels like there are small villages within the city, and each “village” has its own great independent shops, restaurants and businesses.
There is a collaborative spirit here that doesn’t necessarily remind me of home, if I’m being honest. When you come from a very competitive place, and there are only so many pieces of the pie to go around, you don’t really find the same type of support and cooperation. Denizens of Denver have a generous spirit!
What are your favorite local Denver businesses?
Design, decor and lighting: Homebody, Mod Livin, Modern Nomad and Studio Como.
Candles: Rosy Rings.
Food: Pretty much every Ethiopian restaurant on Colfax, Shaya, Brasserie Brixton, Ash’Kara, Q-House, Fruition (for special occasions), Thai Flavor (Aurora), along with Somebody People and Vital Root for vegetarian fare (I’ve been a vegetarian for 36 years!).
Ice cream: I love Smith & Canon.
Where could I spend all of my retirement savings? Sacred Thistle
Best place to imbibe? Room for Milly (I’m biased, look at the wallpaper) and Middleman.
And I would be remiss not to mention the Denver Botanic Gardens, just a few blocks away from WallTawk. I love that spot so much!