See the wild, weird wallpaper of Phoenix firm Anthony W Design | Phoenix New Times

This Phoenix design firm sells wild, weird wallpaper that's anything but boring

Roman gangs, poisonous platypuses, Justin Bieber: Anthony W Design makes wallpaper that's anything but boring.
The War on Plants, a design featuring plants used in mood-altering drugs, is one of Anthony W Design's most popular patterns.
The War on Plants, a design featuring plants used in mood-altering drugs, is one of Anthony W Design's most popular patterns. Anthony W Design
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Fake it till you make it is a tale as old as time, and according to Tony Williams of Anthony W Design, a luxury design firm based in Phoenix, that’s the key to success.

“I often joke by saying the best way to become an interior designer is to start telling people you’re an interior designer. I really have no formal training,” Williams says.

Williams' family split their time between Alaska and Phoenix during his childhood. He's lived here full time since he was 17.

In 2016, Williams felt bored in his 12-year career as a retail buyer.

"I really had no idea what I wanted to do, but real estate was something I found interesting, so I became a Realtor. I quickly learned that it was not for me, because I’m way too selfish with my time and do not like being on call 24/7. But in that time, I had flipped a couple houses and fell in love with the design aspect. So, I came up with a logo, printed business cards and started telling people I was a designer. My first project was actually a condo for me and my wife, and thanks to the power of social media, it ended up getting published and that’s all it took," he says

Anyone looking for wallpaper that's simple, neutral or minimalistic won't find it through AWD.

General manager Casey Charpio says his favorite pattern is Thug Life, the theme of which is "modern crimes in ancient times. It’s a very subtle depiction of stereotypical gang life in an ancient Roman setting. It hits for me because I grew up listening to gangster rap (NWA, Ice-T, Snoop Dogg). From afar, it looks like classic toile wallpaper."

Charpio is getting Thug Life paper installed at his home soon.

"The blue on black has a blueprint feel. I love all our wallpapers on black backgrounds. Tony and I vibe on that aesthetic,” he says.

Charpio jokes that Williams tricked him into coming on board with AWD.

"We were friends and he sent a job description asking me to share it with my network," Charpio says. "I asked him to coffee to find out more about the position. At coffee, I told him I might be interested. He then confessed that that was what he was hoping I’d say when he sent it to me. He wanted someone to help run the business so he could focus on the creative side.”
Tony Williams of Anthony W Design.
Anthony W Design

Creative barely begins to describe it.

Williams says the names of the wallpaper designs, most of which carry subversive messages, come to him once he develops the visual concept.

“I wish there was some creative process to my designs, but it really does just come to me," he adds.

“Glamour Life features things that are poisoning society or poisoning us physically. Did you know the platypus is poisonous? God Save the Biebs is inspired from an actual photo of Post Malone choking Justin Bieber in a club one night. The photo just happens to look like a Last Supper setting,” he says.

“War on Plants features plants used in mood-altering drugs. Everyone might expect the marijuana leaf or mushrooms, but there are so many more. Plus, I wanted a floral pattern. It just needed to have that AWD spice to it.”

What kind of drugs pair well with their wallpaper?

“Mushrooms or LSD might be interesting in a room with our warped patterns,” Williams says; AWD sells designs like Warped Houndstooth and Warped Checkerboard in bold colors that can turn an ordinary room into a funhouse.

The company does offer help with putting up the wallpaper, because if you’ve ever tried yourself, you know what a hot mess it can become and look crooked afterward.

“We have some resources we refer to clients, but a lot depends on the space. It cost a little more to put it on textured ceiling that a simple smooth wall,” Charpio says.

And AWD is affordable, according to Williams; designs cost $180 for a roll that covers 54 square feet.

“While we don’t offer pre-glued, we are still a very affordable option for a high-end wallpaper that’s not your run-of-the-mill pattern. As our tagline says, ‘Say No to Boring.' At the end of the day, our designs are a conversation piece.”
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