This is the guest post I did for Ally at From the Right Bank, a delightful design blog I’ve been following for some time. I was so flattered she asked me to write about my favorite trends. Here is the original guest post, right here, which I’m reposting:
First, thank you Ally for asking me to do this guest post on your blog — what an honor. I’ve been thinking about favorite trends, and one that emerged for me a couple years ago and persists today started with this stunning foyer designed by my friend Tracy Morris:
I just couldn’t stop staring at that dramatic wing chair under the stairs — never mind that you don’t normally see a wing chair there, but the upholstery had me mesmerized. And you know when you see one thing that really catches your eye, you see it everywhere? Well.
I started spotting this elegant stripe characteristic of old French grain sacks — you got it, everywhere.
So much so, that I compiled a product page on the trend for Washington Spaces last year.
Big furniture companies such as Vanguard and C.R. Laine were getting into the act with reproductions of that stripe, as well as the more ornate patterns on those old sacks that bore family names and farms. Then I found Kymberly Fraser, who started her own company, 3 Fine Grains, that sells nothing but furniture and accessories made from authentic, antique sacks from France and Germany. I particularly love this throw:
And, well, that was about it for about a year. Fast forward to this summer, when I was hunting high and low for window treatments in my sons’ bedroom, and I come across my old friend again at Calico Corners. They called this “Primitive Stripe,” but I know where its inspiration lies.
And then, AGAIN, I start seeing this everywhere — I guess it took a couple years for the really big guns, from Ballard Designs to Restoration Hardware, to incorporate this trend into their lines. These images are from the most recent catalogues.
Anthropologie, as they do with everything, puts its own twist on the trend with the Lunet chair, which they say is upholstered with recycled jute sacks from France:
Anthro’s Ditte sofa in “Seaswept” also puts a fun twist on our lovely stripe.
Now, check out Restoration Hardware’s current offerings — all about industrial-inspired furnishings with metal accents and old-looking fabric, as we see here in this bedroom setting:
Resto’s throw pillows also channel the French sacks of old.
The French stripe in Ballard’s current collection is included in a general trend toward rougher upholstery fabric, in keeping with another trend toward old industrial-type furniture in formal settings.
Rough fabric. I’ll say. If French sacks aren’t rustic enough, some furniture makers are amping this trend up a notch with truck tarps. Yup, you read that right — old, beat-up, stained canvas truck tarps. If they can survive years of covering God-knows-what in trucks rumbling all over creation, then you know there’s absolutely nothing you can do to destroy them on your furniture.
Again, from Restoration Hardware:
I’ve also seen the tarps from to-the-trade companies at the market in High Point, NC — and it’s only a matter of time before you start seeing them in the major catalogues, I think:
Maybe this trend toward old fabric and old furniture (we’ve all seen the general leanings now away from mid-century-modern to industrial and “granny chic.”), is symbolic of us yearning for simpler times in such a complicated, technology-infused era.
Whatever it is, I’m loving the honesty of it — there’s nothing contrived in these fabrics, and they’ve certainly stood the test of time.