Gracie Studio installs custom spaces, wallpaper for Antiques & Garden Show

By Hollie Deese

Mike Gracie, president of Gracie Studio, has only been to Nashville once before on a family vacation, and he is looking forward to returning this year as part of the 32nd annual Antiques & Garden Show at the Music City Center Feb. 11–13, 2022. The event, which draws attendees from nearly every state, is expected to bring more than 15,000 people to tour its three interactive landscaped gardens and its showcase of antiques from more than 150 dealers.

This year, there also will be multiple, custom-designed installations from Gracie Studio, including a unique-to-the-show wallpaper installed in a charming fairy-tale cottage that illustrates this year’s show theme: “Home is where your story begins.”

“We had to curate something completely original.” Gracie says. The signature product of Gracie Studio, a fourth-generation design studio with presences in New York, Atlanta, Dallas and Los Angeles, is hand-painted wallpaper—much of it in the chinoiserie style. The craft originated for export in China in the 1700s, and Gracie has had it produced there for their company since 1927.

In addition to the wallpaper in the cottage, the studio created imagery for the lecture stage backdrop and huge entryway panels, which he says took about 100 hours per panel to paint.

“You can get close and see all the individual brush strokes,” he says. “There is an actual artist putting a brush to the paper, every line that you see in there.”

So, combine that kind of detailed handwork with the sometimes-frustrating logistics that go into creating large-scale, interactive installations remotely, and it will be just as exciting for Gracie to see the final outcome as it will for any other attendee.

“The whole idea of scale is completely lost on a screen,” he says. “It’s amazing how much we found we can do using technology, but it’s somewhat utilitarian. We’re exchanging information in a very effective way, but we’re not immersing ourselves in an experience together. So to be able to walk through the mazes and experience that movement through the space, there’s just no replacement for the real thing.”

The East Garden will be presented by garden designers Anne Daigh and Wade Rick of Daigh Rick Landscape Architects, and its garden structure, built by Cook Builders, will feature Gracie wallpaper. The West Garden will showcase a design by Joseph Hillenmeyer Garden Design of Lexington, Kentucky, with a Hartley Botanic greenhouse. The design for Cheekwood’s botanical Entry Exhibition will again be led by Cheekwood Vice President of Gardens and Facilities Peter Grimaldi.

“We love working with the Nashville interior design market and look forward to really being able to enhance that relationship—and expanding our work with landscape designers, which is not an everyday thing for us,” Gracie says.

Antiques & Garden Show of Nashville, Feb. 11–13, 2022
Music City Center, 201 Fifth Ave. S., Nashville