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Wall Candy by Renn Designs

Written By Château de Gudanes France


Posted on February 19 2021

When walking about the Château, lost in thoughts about its history, we often ask ourselves if the walls could speak what would they say?


Perhaps upon reflection, in our modern homes we don't take the time to think about this as much as we should. All homes are keepers of memories and our own are filled with their unique and special memories of family lunches, birthdays and various photographs on the walls reminding us of special times.


And wallpaper, a returning trend to transform your space, can add a wonderful and imaginative layer to these stories. 


Today on the Shop The Château blog we welcome Chantal, creator of Renn Designs, to talk about her business and the colourful and fairytale wallpapers that she creates for children and the young at heart. 


Happy reading and with love, 

The Château Team x




"Ever since I was a very young child I loved drawing and could spend hour upon hour creating scenes from my imagination. I was also captivated by nature and the beauty to be found in our environment; whether picking wild flowers on a walk, watching the fish at the garden centre, or searching for shells at the beach in France where we spent Summer holidays visiting family.


Many of my childhood drawings depicted cosy or magical scenes in the countryside, reflecting my own wonder at nature and the outdoors, as well as a love of enchanting homes and spaces. I adored the Brambly Hedge books by Jill Barklem, for their detailed depictions of industrious mice making their homes in the English countryside, and pretty much wanted to live on The River Bank with Ratty and Mole from Wind in the Willows!


Following a degree in illustration, I spent some years illustrating children's books, creating engaging characters and dreaming up worlds for them to populate, but always had a love of design and interiors. 


I started designing prints for children's home textile products additionally and began to realise the potential for large-scale detailed repeating patterns to create something striking and immersive. I also enjoyed the technicality of designing complex repeating patterns, taking into account how the different elements would repeat and the possibilities that allowed. 


When a friend told me how fondly she remembered her childhood wallpaper from the 1980s, precisely because of the level of detail and imagination, I realised that there was not much available in contemporary wallpaper designs for children that would inspire young minds in the same way and be remembered into adulthood.  And that's how Renn Designs came about! 


There's no reason why such magical wallpaper can't be created today but with a contemporary aesthetic (fun as the 1970s and 1980s designs were, it's not the look a lot of people want now!), and this has been my aim with Renn Designs.


One of my early customers sent me a video of her daughter, a toddler, being shown her new Big Cats wallpaper in her bedroom for the first time; she walked up and down gazing at it and talking about the animals, before stopping, taking a good look and trying to step into the design, and it was the best endorsement I could have asked for!


As a little aside, the logo of the little Wren bird (the most common UK breeding bird) actually originates from my grandad Harold Renn's old London-based business Renn's Shaped Ply. My great grandad, Arthur, before that had been a piano maker in London, and as an expert in shaping wood to create musical instruments was asked during WWII to work on the making of a wooden fighter jet - the Mosquito.


The factory went from making pianos to planes but after the war Arthur returned to his first love. His son, Harold used the knowledge of shaping wood to start a furniture business, Renn's Shaped Ply, in London's East End. I am told he was very sociable and well-liked by the diverse staff. The business, close to Brick Lane in East London, closed in the 1970s but fortunately some printed examples of the logo remain and it's wonderful to be using it and the Renn family name for my own business.


As with many illustrators and creative businesses, I use Instagram to share my work and follow others who inspire me, and this is where I came across the absolutely enchanting Château de Gudanes. 


I am half-French on my mother's side and  have so many fond memories of France, with a real soft-spot for the French countryside and the grand châteaux so it was such a delight to see the beautiful images of Château de Gudanes and the incredible renovations that make it such a magical location. 


When I discovered that the lovely Château Team were looking for businesses whose ethos was to create things with meaning and care for our world to get involved with Shop the Château it seemed like a wonderful fit and I am so happy to be part of this exciting venture alongside other businesses who all share similar values."  


Thank you dearly for reading for reading my words and story, 

Chantal x