When I (Karen) was a kid growing up in Stow, my childhood home was a fascinating, charming and unique place, where bold design expressions were common and often came in the form of interesting and colorful wallpaper.
Mama Kay was not afraid of pattern or color, or the work it took to frequently add or change wallpaper in a room that she felt was just too simple and in need of some pizzazz.
I can picture each of the many different wallpapers from my childhood home clearly: the wallpaper in my big brother’s room that was like a funky line drawing of toy soldiers; the border along the chair rail in our dining room that was like a garden exploding with blue and pink hydrangeas; the graffiti-like kid’s bathroom paper that was the envy of all friends that would come over to our house - if your name was one that was included on the wall, there was something exciting and special about that (so said my friends and cousins named Jenny, Cathy or Danny.)
One of my favorite memories from my youth is getting to visit January Paint and Wallpaper with my mom when she was on the hunt for the next great wallpaper. It was like Decorating Christmas.
The most special of those occasions came when I finally had my own room and my mom said I could pick whatever wallpaper I wanted, to truly make it mine. I picked out THE most 1980’s of wallpaper borders I could find…black background, with ivory and gold calla lilies, blush pink and sage green highlights. It was perfect for 13-year-old me.
They say that, "the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree", when it comes to similarities between kids and their parents. In my case, I believe I developed my current day fascination with wallpaper because my mom was so bold in her decor choices for our home growing up.
That old adage also holds true for the January family, as the Akron-famous business is now in its third generation of helping locals find the perfect wallpapers for their homes.
Shane and I visited them recently to talk a little about the history of the store and begin the interviews for when we do a full feature on the family in the book. For our upcoming book, If This Wallpaper Could Talk, we will tell the story of how this Akron-based family business got started with Mom and Dad over 62 years ago, as well as highlight the individual wallpaper styles of the three siblings that still run the operation today.
Until then, here are some photos of Andy January, Phil January, and Clark January (Phil's son), inside the store on the day we stopped in. Sister Hariett was not at the shop the day we visited but helps run the place as well (and keeps her brothers in line.)
If you've ever been to January Paint and Wallpaper, then you know what a special family they are and how they have helped the rest of us in the Akron-area find the best in wallpapers and paint for over six decades. If you've never been there, do stop out and visit them! They are located at 394 W Exchange St, Akron, 44302.