Wallpaper designer Jee Levin

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"Wallpaper is coming into its own—it's growing away from the grandma's-wallpaper mentality," says Jee Levin, whose provocative, floral-inspired designs have already established a cult following in the year since she opened her business, Trove. Her clients include Amy Lee of the rock group Evanescence, and Atlanta's Georgia Aquarium.

Jee grew up in Minneapolis, in a house that had no wallpaper—though the home itself was pretty interesting. "My father built it out of a bomb shelter," she says. By the time she was in her 20s, she knew she was a creative soul—she'd worked in fine arts and as a food stylist—but she hadn't found her calling. Then she caught a cable-television home-design show where a house was being wallpapered "with giant strips of masking tape," Jee says. "And I thought, 'How come there isn't any great wallpaper out there?'"

Jee got her big break in July, when W Hotels hired her to wallpaper the rooms of its San Francisco property. "I didn't expect to get such a big client so quickly," she says. "For years I'd been designing in a cave, and I never imagined that people would respond so positively to my work."

Jee's floral wallpaper designs like Nekkar—seen here on the wall and table—sell for $12 to $16 per square at www.troveline.com.
Roberta Freymann has a keen eye for color.

2.
Roberta Freymann made a name for herself as an importer of tunics, robes and shifts, and now she's branched out into home furnishings. It's all sold through her New York City boutique, Roberta Roller Rabbit. Although her collections come from around the world, there is a heavy influence from India. "A shimmering piece of silk can still stop my heart," she says.

Born in London, Roberta translated a love of travel into a career as a retail executive—including stints with Ann Taylor and Laura Ashley—bringing the beauty of other cultures home to American customers.
Roberta Freymann's blankets, tablecloths and armoires

3.
Roberta Freymann made a name for herself as an importer of tunics, robes and shifts, and now she's branched out into home furnishings. It's all sold through her New York City boutique, Roberta Roller Rabbit. Although her collections come from around the world, there is a heavy influence from India. "A shimmering piece of silk can still stop my heart," she says.

Born in London, Roberta translated a love of travel into a career as a retail executive—including stints with Ann Taylor and Laura Ashley—bringing the beauty of other cultures home to American customers.
Barbara Tanner holds her fashion beach umbrella

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When her children started to leave for college, Barbara Tanner, who worked in financial services in New York City, began to think about a new career. "And as I thought about umbrellas, I grew more confident that I could create something beautiful and functional," she says.

Why umbrellas? They're the result of a practical need. "My family is fair-skinned and we were always huddled under flimsy, ugly umbrellas," she says.

She found craftsmen in England to manufacture her eventual prototype, which had a long screw on the bottom to keep the umbrella anchored and fiberglass stays to maintain its shape. The first time she tested it—on a beach in February, no less—she jumped up and down with friends when her creation stood firm in gusty winds. "People thought we were crazy."
Her umbrellas inspired Barbara Tanner's Le Dauphin line.

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Barbara's fabrics are inspired by Asian porcelain. "I feel like there's already enough tropical, big, splashy floral things on the beach," she says. "I wanted something that was graphically striking and would read well from a distance."

Those umbrellas sparked her entire Le Dauphin line of beach accessories, all crafted in England with fabrics made in the U.S. and sold online at ledauphindesign.com. The umbrellas are $595 each, as is the tote bag. The beach blanket is $375, and the fabric used for the tablecloth and cushions costs $75 a yard.

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