I was first introduced to ZUBER wallpaper about 20+ years ago through a home in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The foyer, larger than my kitchen and big enough to accommodate an Empire sofa, was papered in a pictorial scene that was original to the turn-of-the-century residence. It was, I found, a wallpaper by the French company ZUBER.
I appreciate what is involved in the printing of this wallpaper. As a former art major at the Kansas City Art Institute, I often silk-screened and block-printed paper and fabric. But covering the walls in my own home with wallpaper such as this has never appealed to me; a good thing, since hand-printed paper with the legacy of ZUBER is pretty spendy. I was totally infatuated and intrigued, however, by what I had just discovered. You see... my maiden name is Zuber.
Probably to my father's dismay (and I am certain, everyone else in my family), I have spent much of the past 20+ years trying to find a connection between my German ancestors and the ZUBER wallpaper dynasty in France. I have always felt I must be French -- not German.
My father's family came from Baiertal, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany. Close, but not that close, to the French border. Zuber in German translates to "wash-tub", not an encouraging insight. Correspondence with the Amana Historical Society in my hometown of Amana, Iowa, Ancestry.com, and the U.S. division of ZUBER has produced absolutely nothing.
Turning a corner last week onto rue des Saints Pères, while strolling cobbled streets on the Left Bank of Paris, and suddenly seeing the giant, gold ZUBER name painted on the glossy, black wood surround of the shop's entrance, left my sister and me momentarily speechless -- a rarity to say the least. The shop at 18, rue des Saints Pères, houses the ZUBER paint line.
It consists of two small rooms; the first with floor to ceiling black, enameled shelves, filled with paint cans and stacked, heavy, glass sample bottles with silver lids reminiscent of ink wells.
What can I say... a paint store unlike any I've ever seen.
A very old, black-lacquered hat box with the lid covered in ZUBER wallpaper and the interior lined in a glossy, black paper printed with repeat ZUBER's in gold letters was part of a display in the front window.
The second room had a pictorial scene, hand block-printed directly onto the walls with ZUBER paints. The light of the chandelier bouncing off the crystals, and onto the color-saturated stone surfaces was truly magical.
After stepping behind a ZUBER papered folding screen and finding the shop's paint mixing equipment, I felt our enthusiastic welcome was wearing thin, and I put my camera away. I had explained to the young woman in the shop why we were so excited to be there, and she was extremely kind, letting me photograph the interior -- something, I felt, they normally do not allow.
ZUBER wallpaper samples were in a shop three doors down which displayed the paper in a large room where the floor, walls, and fireplace were all constructed of creamy limestone, a simplicity that complemented the elegant papers.
And, just in case you're wondering... ZUBER wallpaper is manufactured at 28 rue Zuber, in Rixheim, France. There are show-rooms in Paris, New York, Dubai, London, Nice, and Moscow. Maybe ZUBER needs a mid-west rep in the Twin Cities?
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