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Home Design with Kevin Sharkey

Il Papiro

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A recent visit to Il Papiro, a stationery shop on Lexington Avenue, reminded me of how I love the shop's fine selection. The shop owners, John and Marilyn Leon, have operated the United States branch of Il Papiro for decades, priding themselves on maintaining a century-old technique in paper-making.

Il Papiro is one of the only existing paper-makers today that utilizes the 'papier a cuve' method of decoration. Said to have been invented by the royal book binder of Louis XIII, 'papier a cuve' is a process of applying paper to colored liquid solutions for a permanent, marbleized finish.

Because the paper technique is liquid based, no two products come out exactly the same. Every gift item or personal treasure at Il Papiro is hand-crafted and one-of-a-kind.

Have a look at the shop and some of its wonderful items!

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The interior of Il Papiro is colorful and well-designed.

1 The interior of Il Papiro is colorful and well-designed.

This is Marilyn Leon, co-owner of the shop.

2 This is Marilyn Leon, co-owner of the shop.

Owners John and Marilyn Leon.

3 Owners John and Marilyn Leon.

Il Papiro carries many boxes in a variety of shapes and sizes — pretty containers for paper clips, jewelry, or keepsakes.

4 Il Papiro carries many boxes in a variety of shapes and sizes — pretty containers for paper clips, jewelry, or keepsakes.

One of my favorite items at Il Papiro is the classic, marbleized journal.

5 One of my favorite items at Il Papiro is the classic, marbleized journal.

Such fun writing utensils!

6 Such fun writing utensils!

The back wall is full of stationary, all wrapped with fine ribbon.

7 The back wall is full of stationary, all wrapped with fine ribbon.

There are too many great items to choose from.

8 There are too many great items to choose from.

All the stationary is hand-painted, and would make a wonderful gift.

9 All the stationary is hand-painted, and would make a wonderful gift.

Owner John Leon showed me one of his most popular items, a beautiful box for storing wedding invitations, photos, or prized trickets.

10 Owner John Leon showed me one of his most popular items, a beautiful box for storing wedding invitations, photos, or prized trickets.

Made with acid-free paper, the box protects photographs and paper from yellowing with age.

11 Made with acid-free paper, the box protects photographs and paper from yellowing with age.

I could use a few of these on my desk to hold paper and business cards.

12 I could use a few of these on my desk to hold paper and business cards.

They are so pretty, too.

13 They are so pretty, too.

Seeing all the different patterns of paper is inspirational for me as a decorator.

14 Seeing all the different patterns of paper is inspirational for me as a decorator.

I love this leather portfolio. It is incredibly well-made.

15 I love this leather portfolio. It is incredibly well-made.

Notice the different techniques and styles Il Papiro uses to display their fine items.

16 Notice the different techniques and styles Il Papiro uses to display their fine items.

I was lucky enough to get to see the 'papier a cuve' process. Each photo hanging on the wall demonstrates a different step.

17 I was lucky enough to get to see the 'papier a cuve' process. Each photo hanging on the wall demonstrates a different step.

Beautiful papers for wrapping or framing.

18 Beautiful papers for wrapping or framing.

This photo series gives you an idea of how the colored liquids are shaped into beautiful designs for the paper.

19 This photo series gives you an idea of how the colored liquids are shaped into beautiful designs for the paper.

Start to finish, the process is amazing!

20 Start to finish, the process is amazing!

A great, daily agenda.

21 A great, daily agenda.

Wanting to feel completely authentic and traditional, the owners decorated the shop with Venetian glass lamps.

22 Wanting to feel completely authentic and traditional, the owners decorated the shop with Venetian glass lamps.

The ceiling is absolutely gorgeous, dark, wooden, exposed beams.

23 The ceiling is absolutely gorgeous, dark, wooden, exposed beams.

Aside from the New York store, Il Papiro is located in Palm Beach, Florida, Venice, Rome, and several other locations in Italy (as well as online!). Their line of paper goods includes hardbound address books, photo albums, stationary, and a variety of desk accessories.

Promoting an important artisan-family tradition, Il Papiro crafts some of the most interesting and beautiful papers I have ever seen.

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