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Posts Tagged ‘pillows’

Those of you who know me a long time know I’ve been pitching for years that you should always save inspiration photos (and have the bulging tear sheet folders to prove it). These days it is so easy – Pinterest being the key tool – that everyone knows what their dream bedroom/bathroom/renovation/house looks like. As a result, it has become so easy to work with people long distance in that ideas for spaces can be communicated visually almost instantly.

Case in point. Claiborne Swanson Frank’s study was one of those most pinned rooms from Elle Decor back in 2011. I think it was the combination of affordable mass market items (like the Ballard Louis Daybed), the absolute “it piece” (Madeline Weinrib’s Indigo Brooke rug) and the fresh mix of accessories combined with the effective and functional use of a small space that made this room popular. Who doesn’t need a space like this, especially when it is so recreateable?

Claiborne-swanson-FRAN ED11-2011-06 pc Simon Watson

In the Chicago project I’ve been working on this past year, we found just such a need. Two apartments had been combined to make one, so there is both a formal living room and a large den, but no guest room or study. The living room was long and awkwardly shaped, with a separate square area set off at one end. It was an easy decision to simply put up a wall with French doors, adding bookshelves for display on the living room side, and enclosing a study. My client adored the room above and had saved it in her inspiration photos, so we turned to it for the design. After all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Since then the Louis Bed has come from Ballard and the Madeline Weinrib Brooke rug is on order. The room is basically square and the desk will go opposite the daybed in the window.

Chicago study

Weinrib’s Brooke dhurrie, particularly in Indigo, has become almost ubiquitous, but I would argue that it has crossed the trend borderline to absolute classic (I can see them being avidly searched for in vintage stores 50 years from now). Among others, Emily Henderson keeps featuring them in her designs, not because she suggests it, but because everyone keeps asking for it!

Emily Henderson rachnas-house

We are shopping for a desk in glass/lucite to keep the room airy, much like in the inspiration room. One of the issues we are facing is the daybed cover and bedskirt. Swanson Frank’s has a custom cover in a Rogers & Goffigon linen, but we are trying to keep this as one of the low-budget items on our list.  We’ve scanned all the catalog/internet options, but no one seems to have anything we like. Suggestions? If you have any please let me know.

The reason to keep the cover price to a dull roar is the key to accessorizing the bed and bringing the space to life is gorgeous pillows in antique and special textiles. From previous posts you know I am obsessed with the daybed (and striped dhurrie) in Alayne Patrick’s Brooklyn apartment, which is piled with amazing pillows from her shop Layla.

We love the pillows from Turkey (and frankly everything else) in Claudia Benvenuto’s guest room. Because our space is also tight, we are thinking of some small moveable side tables. I love this bench!

06-Claudia-Benvenuto-Design-Solutions-0912-xln

Designer Karen Cole has a tight little guest space with pocket doors out onto the stair landing.  Again, I think it is the exotic textile mix that makes the room (and a little base of ticking never hurts either).

Our answer may simply be to find a reasonably priced fabric and have a custom cover made -”couture” details to dress up an off the rack piece. Then the pillow fun can begin!

Image credits: 1. Elle Decor November 2011, photo credit: Simon Watson, 2. client’s snapshot, 3. Emily Henderson, 4. Bringing Nature Home by Ngoc Minh Ngo via Style Court, 5. Elle Decor September 2012, photo credit: Joe Schmelzer, 6. Canadian House & Home March 2011, photo credit: Angus Fergusson.

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One of the most distinct logos in the world, the chunky bars of the Red Cross have been on my mind lately for obvious reasons, and not so obvious ones. I think I am not the only one either – ironically, the interior design world seems quite interested in it too. Maybe it’s just these constant disasters have worked on people’s subconscious and turned it into a larger decor trend?

I have been inexorably collecting design images featuring that red cross shape since the earthquake and tsunami here in Japan. And then one of the things I noticed from my post the other day was how much Ben Pentreath liked his red cross pillows, shown here in his old New York apartment around or before 2003…

…and then here again just the other day in his new London flat. He obviously really likes them (and his sofa) because while other things have changed, he’s kept them in rotation. Of course it’s not really the pillows that grab your attention in his new apartment – it’s that amazing map grouping (a re-print of John Roque’s Plan of the Cities of London and Westminster, and Borough of Southwark from 1746) against the wall. But more on maps some other time!

Interior designer Brian Paquette boasts a pair of the cross pillows in his 220 square foot Seattle studio.

The collage of vintage photos and the framed Japanese mail bag are amazing and imbue the space with a masculine kind of romanticism.

He likes the cross motif so much he even has it here on a stored blanket. Frankly, the entire space has a ship-shape/found object vintage military vibe – it’s a bit of an oxymoron, but that’s what makes it work!

I’m not sure where Ben or Brian got their pillows, but Angel Dormer got hers from Jonathan Adler. I had started to feel that this trend was distinct to men, but this photo disproves that theory.

Jonathan Adler offers the pillows in a variety of fun colors.


I am always discovering great things on Emily Henderson of Secrets From a Stylist‘s blog. As an antique dealer, it drives me a bit crazy that she is so inaccurate about naming items she uses (calling a Louis style chair Victorian, for example) but as a stylist and designer she has a way of knocking your socks off. Here her red cross (actually a vintage Swiss flag) provides the exclamation point to a funky couch and warm brown furniture.

A red cross pattern is not uncommon in traditional quilting. Love this modern usage – graphic, but sensible – you can pull it down if you get chilly.

Red crosses seem more literal in bathroom spaces, like this one tiled in a kids bathroom. Love that trough sink – it’s everywhere these days!

Or this vintage medicine cabinet.  You always know where the band aids are in this home.

Love love these gray cabinets and slab marble counter but not sure how I feel about the subtle cross on the backsplash under the hood.

I’ve seen my fair share of official old Red Cross items at the shrine sales, like this large square carrying trunk at Kawagoe. I think Brian Paquette would love it, don’t you?

And others are interested in this trend too – this Red Cross army box sold quickly on One Kings Lane.

Is it just the graphic punch the cross gives that makes people like it? Or do you think that is so because it represents succor and security in an emergency?  Any which way, if I have helped you feel like making a donation, of money or blood, here’s the link: RED CROSS. At the end of the day, they always show up to help.

Image credits: 1. Red Cross, 2. The Financial Times, 3. via Ben Pentreath Inspiration, 4-6. Rue Magazine January 2012, photo credit: We are the Rhoads, 7. Lonny Magazine January/February 2011, photo credit: Patrick Cline, 8. Jonathan Adler, 9. Emily Henderson, 10. Limilee, 11. Martha Stewart Living October 2010, 12. Country Living, October 2011, photo credit: Bjorn Wallander, 13. via Willow Decor, photo credit: Jamie Salomon, 14. me, 15. One Kings Lane

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Was it this room in the October 2010 issue of Lonny that started it?

Or this one in the November 2010 issue of Elle Decor?

Either way, I don’t know the answer, but it is no longer just my own selective perception. I figure everyone must be tired of ikat and suzani throw pillows, as every time I turn around (or actually, click on a link) I come across indigo pillows, new and vintage, shibori or tie dyed, sashiko stitched, wax-resist dyed, printed and other techniques, all reminiscent of or actually made from Japanese textiles. Not a new topic for me at all, but I do think they have gone from being a rarely seen item to being prevalent and readily available. So if you are not here in Japan where you can stop by a shrine sale and pick up Japanese textiles to sew into pillows, or if you like your pillows ready-made, here’s a look at what’s out there.

There are certain places you’d expect to find them of course…John Robshaw for instance (his room is the top one above).  The website has tie dyed pillows for sale which I won’t call shibori as I believe they are made in India, not Japan.

Jayson Home & Garden still stocks the Zoe tie dyed pillow in the second photo, but unfortunately they are out of the blue and only have it in sage and plum. Don’t despair as Roni over at The Loaded Trunk has a nice selection of hand tied indigo pillows as well as a full assortment of Moroccan, Kuba cloth, Hmong, Afghan, Mexican, Indian – you name it – pillows from around the world.

Here’s a close up of the big 24 inch pillow on the floor in the photo above. It would make a good substitute for the ones in the Elle Decor photo.

Anupama also has a wide range of global pillows, including this typical shibori circles pillow…

…and this more unusual beehive shibori pattern.

Big shibori furoshiki (wrapping cloths) make great floor pillows as shown here by these from Ouno Design. I recently sourced a great furoshiki that designer and friend Maja Smith is making into one for her Lake Tahoe home. Looking forward to photos of that!

One Kings Lane has had some very authentic looking pillows from a shop called Viridian made from vintage tsutsugaki (literally, tube drawing) textiles, a paste resist method of decoration…

…as well as others made using the katazome (stencil paste resist) method from Erin Taylor of Botanik.

There are also some boro (tattered rags) styles too.

Even mainstream retailers are getting into the game. While Anthropologie is no longer stocking the Japanese inspired bedding and pillows they had last year, Serena and Lily, normally so preppy and demure, has been stepping up their game with an online bazaar filled with vintage accessories as well as their line of linens and furniture. They have also caught a bit of that boro fever…

…and have some new Japanese inspired textiles.

Even Ralph Lauren isn’t being left out with his Indigo Modern Stripe Collection, a dip dyed pillow and sheeting set.

Related Posts:
Tie Dye Heaven…Painterly Effects from Monique Lhuillier and Eskayel
A Little Shibori Feeling From Eskayel and Anthropologie
Selective Perception…Maekake at the Heiwajima Antiques Fair and Kawagoe Shrine Sale

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