While Etsy may not be the first place you'd think to look for linens, it's a gold mine for marvelously detailed and earth-friendly options. Our decorating resolution? Replace paper napkins, bare tabletops, and department store dish towels with gem-quality linens lovely enough to frame.
If you're a fan of Indian block printing, you'll flip for Chinese Nankeen cloth. After moving to Shanghai, Liza and Claire picked up more than just Chinese. The two fell in love with the vibrant indigo hues and imperfect patterns of Nankeen cloth and decided to translate the look to products for the modern home, with LuRu Home.
The ritual of making this traditional cloth dates back thousands of years to ancient China. It involves applying soybean-rice paste to cotton and linen with hand-cut stencils. After the paste dries, the cloth is dipped over and over again into baths of indigo ink. While the fabric dries, oxidation creates brilliant hues of blue. The soybean-rice paste is finally scraped off to reveal a marvelous piece of hand-dyed fabric.
New to NYIGF, I have a feeling LuRu Home is going to be a hit! With pillows, tabletop linens, and aprons, I'm anxious to incorporate this look into my own decor. Keep reading to see more goods from LuRu Home and a peek at additional shots from their imaginatively styled lookbook!
A new trend in table linens is vertical table runners or place mats for two. Instead of running the width of a dining table, the linens run across the table depth-wise, acting as a shared place mat for parties seated across from each other. I've seen the style in a few different homes, but I think it looks best in a modern interior like this luxury, contemporary apartment on the right bank of Geneva. Never say never, but I would also reserve the look for solids or large-scale patterns; I don't think tiny country florals would work here.
If you want to pick some up for yourself, CB2's Duo Linen Placemat For Two ($15) is a simple, affordable option. Or, the Amenity Hand Woven Runner ($100) is a higher-priced option. My suggestion is to have a seamstress divide an existing runner you own into several smaller ones. Or sew some yourself with affordable fabric.
Are you a fan of this style, or is too modern for you?
Poppytalk recently shared a tutorial on hand-printing your own fabric. And while I'm filing this away on my to-do (someday) list, the truth is I simply don't have the time to tackle another DIY project. But I still adore dressing my kitchen and dining table with unique linens. Luckily, Etsy has plenty of pretty hand-printed designs in the form of tea towels, tablecloths, napkins, and more to satisfy that desire. Take a look at some of the gorgeous finds that will have your friends inquiring on just where you found that fantastic tea towel or apron.
Last week, I attended a fantastic cocktail party at the home and office of San Francisco-based designer Ken Fulk (right), hosted by Ronda Carman of All the Best, to celebrate SFERRA's 120th anniversary. The luxury linen brand was founded in 1891 by Gennaro Sferra when he first opened his linens factory in Venice, Italy. In 1977, it was purchased by CEO Paul Hooker (left), then a young 20-something, and has grown to include an extensive collection of fine linens for the bedroom, bathroom, and tabletop and become one of the most respected names in the arena of luxury textiles.
When Gennaro launched the company, his focus was intricate handmade laces and embroideries. As you can imagine, a lot has changed since then, so I was eager to learn more about the progression of the brand and where it's headed next. Luckily, Hooker gladly obliged to do a little interview with me. Read our conversation below!
CasaSugar: You bought SFERRA in the '70s, and it's since become one of the finest linen brands. How has the market for luxury bedding changed since then?
Paul Hooker: When I bought the business in 1977, there was no such thing really as "luxury bedding." SFERRA offered no bedding at all in our collection. We made tablecloths and napkins, mostly handmade lace from Italy. The changes in both have been dramatic. Today, it’s all about luxury bedding, and fewer and fewer people over the years have been having traditional dinners with lace tablecloths, so the change has been dynamic indeed.
CS: What growing trends do you see in the world of luxury linens?
PH: The buying trend today among the affluent consumer is one word: VALUE. She is not overly impressed with labels, to the contrary, she wants to know why she is being asked to pay a premium price for what is being touted to her as "luxury." What makes it so special? What is it made of? Will it last? She will pay for quality, no doubt, and she still aspires to owning luxury products, but today, she needs to be shown the reason for "paying up" for luxury. The importer and the retailer who doesn’t have those answers may not be around long enough to find them.
CS: What are your most successful products?
PH: Our customer loves the color and design, but she generally selects the "basics." She knows that she is spending one third of her entire life in bed, and combining the wonderful experience of a great mattress and luxurious sheets makes it all so wonderful. She wants to be pampered in bed, feeling the very finest cotton in the world next to her, to give her the ultimate sleeping experience. So, when it comes right down to it . . . "Would you like Percale or Sateen, white or ivory?” It’s quite simple what she wants, so we strive to give her several choices of the finest "basics" in the world.
There's no doubt that Little Fockers is bringing cheer to theaters around the country, but what's brightening my day in the film is the vibrantly striped tablecloth at the Focker dinner party! Many families tend to use deep hues in the Winter, but I'm all for introducing sunny colors to warm up a cold room. If something seasonal is what you're after, a big holiday turkey or honey-baked ham will certainly do the trick! The Missoni Home Karl Tabletop Collection ($41-$225) is my favorite; you can make it more wintry or summery depending on what colored accents you use elsewhere on the table. Here are a few more picks for you:
The days of pecan pie, 30-lb. turkeys, and Yule hams are about to sneak up on us, so while you're shopping for pumpkin puree and Christmas sweaters, don't forget to dress up your dinner table as well! Crate & Barrel has kicked off a fabulous sale on table linens to make the task a cinch. Now through Nov. 29, select tablecloths, napkins, and napkin rings are 25 percent off! My favorite is the Marimekko Lumimarja Tablecloth ($32 and up), which has a modern berry pattern that's festive and seasonal, but not too kitschy.
Check out a few more of my picks from the sale below!
I've shown you some classy Halloween decorations, and now I'm back to help you create a sophisticated, goth-friendly table setting for a Halloween dinner party. Start with this Phillipe Dining Table ($2,100). With gorgeous turned wood legs and a shiny black lacquer finish, the distressed birch tabletop will be the perfect neutral foil to your glam tableware. Check out the widget for some options on completing a dark and sophisticated Halloween table setting.
I'm not the type of person who redecorates with the seasons; I have a hard enough time just finishing decorating each room in my home to begin with. But I do love to introduce seasonal tabletop décor. That said, I love color too much to go all browns and grays when Fall comes around.My latest obsession is Simrin's new Fall table linens! The Verdant Placemats ($22), available in navy, brown, or gray, have a broad-scale, modern, William Morris-inspired botanical pattern with a dark base and enough pops of color to keep it light. The Fan Placemats ($22), available in gray, mauve, or turquoise, have a graphic, monochrome, Art Deco-style pattern. Both can be interchanged with the new Optic Napkins ($18), Geo Napkins ($22), or Herringbone Napkins ($22), and the mix of patterns and colors will surely create an engaging table setting. What do you think?