Meet The Artist: Kristen Leigh

I am so excited to launch a new collection on Cailini Coastal today...wallpaper!  Wallpaper is something that I had been trying to source since we launched in April.  Why did it take so long? I had very specific criteria... 

First, I wanted designs that were truly unique and special and something you couldn't find at other retailers.  These designs needed to be sophisticated and elegant with a playful touch - making them versatile enough to go into almost any room.  I also wanted something that was not only high quality, but highly durable.  I am a mother of two toddlers and the thought of adding a luxury wall covering to our home terrified me for fear of one sticky-fingered incident that could destroy it.   Well, we finally found a wallpaper that checks all of those boxes and we can't wait to share these designs with you today! 

The six wallpaper designs that we are introducing today all come from one very talented woman, meet Kristen Leigh!  Kristen is a Houston-based watercolor artist.  By looking at her beautiful designs one would easily assume art has been a part of her life for a long time.  The reality of how Kristen become an artist - and now a designer - is quite an inspiring story.

Read on to learn more about Kristen, her work, and what makes her wallpaper so special.  Cailini Coastal is thrilled to be the exclusive retail partner of Kristen Leigh's wallpapers and you can now shop them here. 


Credit: Kristen Leigh


CC: Where are you based?

KL: I create all of the designs in Houston, Texas, and they’re digitally printed by a manufacturer in Chicago.


CC: Tell us about your background and how you got your start as an artist and how you got into wallpaper.

KL: I started out by teaching myself calligraphy after I quit teaching elementary school to stay home and raise my daughter. My small calligraphy Etsy shop grew into a boutique wedding stationery business, and more and more brides began requesting custom watercolor maps, portraits, and crests. I spent early mornings and my kids’ nap times teaching myself to paint to keep up in the wedding industry, but over time realized I loved painting and creating patterns more than anything I’d ever done creatively. I began to test out my designs on anything I could get my hands on- fabrics, art prints, and eventually wallpaper- and the rest is history!

Credit: Kristen Leigh Studio


CC: Tell us about your creative process and how your beautiful designs come to life on paper.

KL: It takes a lot of patience and quite a bit of time from start to finish. It always starts with a basic sketch or concept, then I hone in on what details I want to speak in that design. Sometimes it’s a million tiny dots, other times it’s a perfectly symmetrical starburst. After I’ve decided which general direction I want to go, I paint in the design with my favorite Winsor and Newton watercolors- usually in blue hues because they’re the most calming to me. From there, I scan it and begin playing with the repeat on my computer, and change my mind about a million times from my original sketch. Once I’m happy with how it looks, I send it to my manufacturer for strike-off samples to make sure the color, scale, and proportions are exactly right. After I make tweaks and give it my final approval, it’s ready to be made into full rolls for my clients.


CC: What type of paper do you print?

KL: My wallpaper is digitally printed on high quality PVC-free pre-pasted paper. It has a smooth finish and is highly durable (it can even be wiped clean with mild soap and water- super important for me since I have two young kids and I know messes just happen sometimes). Digitally printed was also important to me because I wanted to maintain the artistic watercolor quality of my paintings. 

Credit: Kristen Leigh Studio


CC: How would you describe your design style?

KL: I would describe my design style as classic whimsy. I like to take traditional shapes and designs and put my own spin on them. I love beautiful, livable spaces that feel timeless and effortless, and that’s what I aim for in all of my designs.


CC: What inspires your work?

KL: So many things inspire my work- the beach, travel, well curated spaces, patterns in nature. Mostly I’m inspired by my two children- they’re so imaginative, and always seeing things for what they could be. 


CC: If you had to pick, what’s your favorite wallpaper design?

KL: I would say the Parker Chevron print because it’s the design that started it all. I wanted to create something traditional with a nod to coastal style for my son’s room (Parker), and this is what I came up with.  

Credit: Kristen Leigh Studio


CC: When choosing a wallpaper, what tips can you share with our customers?

KL: Make sure the scale of the pattern plays well in your space. Too small of a pattern in a large room can be dizzying, and too large of a pattern in a small space can get lost. It’s about finding the right balance. 

Credit: Kristen Leigh Studio


CC: When you’re not painting, what can we find you doing?

KL: I’m usually drinking coffee, going on runs around my neighborhood, or spending time with my husband and kids.


For more information on Kristen Leigh and her gorgeous designs, follow @krsitenleighstudio on Instagram.


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