Af­ter decades of sit­ting pretty on screened porches, wicker fur­ni­ture is get­ting a se­ri­ous sec­ond wind. Clean, mod­ern pieces made from jute, rat­tan, rush and other durable fi­bres are easy to find and look fresh in­doors year-round. So in­vest in an iconic b

Muscat Daily - - FEATURES -


Grace­ful and ul­tra­sus­tain­able, this ma­te­rial - har­vested from the solid core of a South­east Asian climb­ing palm - can be steamed and moulded to cre­ate state­ment-mak­ing shapes. And these days, re­pro­duc­tions of mid-cen­tury Euro­pean de­signs and other sculp­tural pieces abound. Con­sider this sleigh bed and other ob­jects here as stylish ex­am­ples.


You’ve prob­a­bly seen this fi­bre twisted into a crunchy rib­bon around a bou­quet or gift, or braided into ac­ces­sories like totes and san­dals. But del­i­cate raffia palm fronds can also be spun into fab­ric that re­sem­bles grass­cloth - for a third of the price, says Frank. And that frees you up to ex­per­i­ment with it: Just a few yards give the doors of this plain ar­moire a cus­tom, earthy fin­ish­ing touch.

DO-IT-YOUR­SELF IDEA: Trim raffia fab­ric to fit the sur­face you want to cover (be it a panel or even a tray). Spray the back of the fab­ric with ad­he­sive (try 3M Su­per 77 mul­ti­pur­pose spray ad­he­sive), press it evenly onto the sur­face and let it dry com­pletely.


There are lots of rea­sons why rugs made from these trop­i­cal leaves are a top pick: They’re neu­tral, ver­sa­tile and rel­a­tively in­ex­pen­sive.

“If you need to cover a large area, use a jute or sisal rug as your base, then layer a smaller pat­terned one on top,” says Ja­cob­son.

Just be mind­ful of which tex­tile you use where: Sisal, made from the agave plant, is rough, re­silient and ideal for high-traf­fic zones, while jute is softer and well suited for rooms where bare feet tread.

For a softer feel, look for rugs with wool or hemp blended in. © 2017 Mered­ith Cor­po­ra­tion. All rights re­served. (Dis­trib­uted by The New York Times Syn­di­cate)


Also known as bul­rush or cat­tail, this wet­land reed has se­ri­ous bona fides: It’s been used to shape chair backs and bot­toms since the time of the pharaohs. In more re­cent his­tory, Amer­i­can Shaker fur­ni­ture mak­ers gave their aus­tere rock­ers’ seats this four-flap en­ve­lope mo­tif, and mid-cen­tury Dan­ish and Amer­i­can de­sign­ers ex­per­i­mented with the frame’s look.

Most con­tem­po­rary it­er­a­tions use twisted paper cord in­stead of nat­u­ral rush, but both are sur­pris­ingly hardy, thanks to the den­sity of the weav­ing. So sit down and stay awhile.


This in­va­sive aquatic weed may be a land­scaper’s neme­sis, but in­te­rior de­sign­ers love it for its chunky, nubby qual­ity. The stalks can be dried and worked into dis­tinc­tive bas­kets, or wo­ven over metal frames to cre­ate pieces that bring the out­doors in.

“Noth­ing about it looks man­u­fac­tured,” says Mike Frank, owner of Frank’s Cane and Rush Sup­ply, in Hunt­ing­ton Beach, Cal­i­for­nia.

A ham­per made from the ma­te­rial lends a spa-like vibe to a bath­room, and ex­tra-large bas­kets make chic planters.


Nat­u­ral wall cov­er­ings of­fer im­me­di­ate di­men­sion and cosi­ness. “Grass­cloth is a clever, sub­tle way to add tex­ture,” says Tay­lor Ja­cob­son, an in­te­rior de­signer in Los An­ge­les who loves soft, fem­i­nine pinks and grays like these, as well as prints and su­per­sat­u­rated colours. Fin­ishes vary from smooth to coarse. “Choose fine grass-cloth for a sleek, min­i­mal­ist look, and a loose one for a more rus­tic feel,” she sug­gests.

An­other guide­line: Don’t use it in rooms vul­ner­a­ble to mois­ture, hu­mid­ity and fin­ger­prints, which can cause mildew and leave stains.

Martha Ste­wart

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