Wallpaper with Heart

Frustrated by the (always crooked) collection of frames on your wall? Here's a new way to display your memories. 
Kathy Vegh wanted to make a statement in the entry hall of her recently purchased suburban-Cleveland residence. Family was extremely important to the president and chief executive officer of retailer Danny Vegh’s Home Entertainment, particularly since giving birth to a daughter with a congenital heart defect. So she chose approximately 350 photos — everything from parents’ wedding portraits to her daughter’s first-birthday snapshots — and asked a vendor if he could print a black-and-white collage of them on wallpaper. After contractors hung the result on a wall between the entry hall and living room, she showed it to her entrepreneur husband. It was the only redecorating project she hadn’t shared with him.

“He just stood there in absolute awe,” she remembers. “His jaw dropped, and he cried.” But it took a year of constant compliments from visitors to make her realize she’d come up with something big. “I’m like, ‘What? Why am I not doing something with this?’”

In April 2016, Vegh commissioned a logo and Web site where customers could upload digital pictures and order a single-image mural, multiple-image collage or mosaic (a main image or design that a computer program “populates” with smaller photos) in black-and-white, sepia tone or color. In mid-November 2016, My Heart Wall personalized wallpaper was born.

The products are offered in eight finishes, from a canvas texture to a leather look to silvery metallic. Three, including the usual smooth matte surface, are available in a “repositionable” version that can be removed and rehung up to seven times on a special liner. Prices range from $600 to $1,000, depending on the product, paper and wall size.

 “You can wipe them down,” Vegh says. “They are fire-resistant — they have a commercial grade to them. You can put them in schools, hospitals. The uses are truly endless.”

Vegh has a created a collage for her daughter’s playroom with the covers of favorite children’s books. She has produced collages out of an interior designer’s kitchen designs and mosaics in which pictures of employees form corporate logos. But most customers use My Heart Wall to get family photos out of shoeboxes and photo albums, off computers and smart phones, and into plain view. She notes that the personalized wallpaper is easier to develop and maintain than the traditional photo gallery.

 “Never can you get those frames to stay straight!” she declares. “It’s irritating. They get dirty.” And the cost of high-quality frames adds up. “Frankly, this is actually more cost-effective.”