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Sumptuous Fabrics | Design Ideas


LEFT: These Osaka chenille curtains and cushion in burgundy are also available in aubergine, black, chocolate and teal. Priced £36.00 per metre from Montgomery.


BELOW LEFT: House Couturier launches a new woven fabric service to their boutique shop. You can have the opportunity to add your own artistic fl air and use their designs to create a fabric of your choice. Priced from £94.00 per metre (minimum 20 metres) widths – from 130cms.


RIGHT: View of the Drawing Room at Calke Abbey, showing the windows, curtains and pier glass.


BELOW RIGHT: This beautiful Lucia fabric by Sanderson is available from Just Fab.


look cheap, particularly in traditional interiors. I appreciate that if you are decorating a modern interior you may want the harder, shinier look which a high man made content will give, but for the softer look, which works best for traditional home, I think it is best avoided. Velvet, chenille and cut velvet can all


T


hese abrics can of course, be made from all sorts of base materials, but what matters is the overall


effect. For preference I try to guide my clients away from fabrics which have a high man-made fi bre content. There are several reasons for this. We are all trying to be more ‘green’ in our approach to the materials we use. Man-made fi bres derive from petrochemicals and one way of reducing our carbon footprint is to avoid petrochemicals. Some fabrics may have a small amount of viscose in them to give them bulk and strength. I let those through. Also I fi nd that man-made fi bres give fabrics an artifi cial sheen which can


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be used in very different ways. Some years ago a designer friend of mine had the most fabulous drawing room curtains in her Victorian house made from the palest of yellow curtain velvets. They really were gorgeous, and I have longed to replicate them ever since. Plain velvet lends itself to the addition of trimmings such as ropes and fringes. Heavy chenille curtains look wonderful in dark coloured interiors. I have used them successfully in dining rooms, libraries, studies, TV and games rooms. If you have large windows and live somewhere that you want to cut out the cold winter’s night it is very satisfying (and effective) to draw heavy velvet curtains against the dark. Velvet can be made from a variety of


yarns such as wool, mohair, silk, cotton, linen and, as I discovered earlier this week, bamboo. All of these are sustainable, and each will have a different weight and look. Some of them are very expensive, but you may only need a small amount. They also last for ages. I have two chenille sofas in my sitting room which were covered at least 12 years ago. They look better with age, and it will be decades before they need to be recovered and as I love the fabric I will not get bored with it. A couple of silk velvet cushions can really lift a room. You can


December 2010 – January 2011 | Traditional Homes & Interiors 103


even get devoré velvet to use for sheers. If you want to put a big upholstered


stool in the middle of a room I always think velvet is a good choice, and with a deep fringe round it the stool will be a sturdy friend. I think it is worth searching for the aged velvets for upholstery, and it is vital that you check with your upholsterer that your choice of velvet is suitable for upholstery and not a curtain weight. Plain silk is another sustainable fabric,


which gives a room glamour. Not all silks have to be expensive. Plain, lightweight silks can be used for curtains and cushions, and because they take the dye so well they are available in all manner of colours. If you would like to use silk and want something in a natural colour it is worth considering silk noil, which is creamy


continued on page 105


©NTPL Photography: Andreas von Einsiedel.


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