Ways to make your place look luxe for less
Fabric retailer No Chintz doesn’t follow the fashion rules, writes Catherine Nikas-Boulos
If you’re a soft furnishings aficionado, then No Chintz would be a name you’d recognise. Chrissie Jeffery started the retail arm of her business 25 years ago and with four stores under her belt, she still finds time to run workshops that include how to line the drum of the lampshade or pipe a cushion.
The No Chintz business has built a reputation by providing quality fabrics that are on-trend locally, but not necessarily in the design hubs of Europe or the US.
“Australians love a certain colour palette that is not necessarily favoured by the rest of the world,” Chrissie explains.
“We have an obsession with blues and cream colours and we like hot pink. We have our own design, and it’s not necessarily driven by colour forecasters.”
Big on blue
Chrissie says than in 25 years in retail, and 10 years before that working with interior designers and architects, blue has been a perennial favourite.
“Australians have always loved blue and in every shade — even when it’s not fashionable in other parts of the world.”
She says that the Australian sun makes us see colours in a particular light, which makes greens and blues more appealing.
“Like South Africa, we have a bright light. In America and Europe, they like more conservative colours and yellows and greens look a little bit grubbier there,” she says. “I like when people go out on a limb and put plums and blues together. It’s a creative expression.”
Fabric of choice
Chrissie’s business was born well before the internet boom, and she says that if you’re going to shop fabrics, don’t do it online unless you’ve had a chance to see and feel a product prior.
“People spend a lot of time looking at a screen now, but you can’t buy a fabric that way. The screen is a great liar, and we’ve all had that experience buying something online,” she says.
When it comes to picking her favourite textiles for homewares, she says natural fabrics tend to work better.
Linen is a personal favourite, but as the world discovered the numerous uses of linen, the price went up. Cotton and wool are the other standouts, although some natural textiles are now blended with polyester mixes.
“We expect too much from fabrics these days,” Chrissie says.
“Fabrics are like people, they get old, and if you mistreat them they look shocking. So treat them well.”
Chrissie, who has been in the industry long enough to have second and third generation clients on her books, says fabrics are ever evolving.
“We’re recycling and turning plastic bags into fabrics. I really think recycling is a bigger growth area than we can ever imagine. We waste so much.”
The fabric enthusiast has come full circle since her student days at East Sydney Technical College, and now helps raise funds for the Art Gallery of NSW to allow the institution to buy works by contemporary Australian artists.
“When I was a young student at East Sydney, some days I wouldn’t have a cent and I’d spend all day in the Art Gallery because it was free. It’s the reason I love colour and fabric. This is one way I can pay them back.”
There’s nothing fabric retailer Chrissie Jeffery (above) doesn’t know about furnishing fabrics.