Let your home pro­claim your own prove­nance

The Palm Beach Post - Residences - - Residences - Rose Bennett Gil­bert

Ques­tion: We have a large col­lec­tion of Ukrainian tex­tiles. These are fam­ily pieces that were brought over in the early 20th cen­tury and kept in my mother-in-law’s closet un­til we found them while clear­ing out her apart­ment last year.

We have em­broi­dered pil­lows, men’s dress shirts and ta­ble run­ners — all hand-worked and won­der­ful. We’d like to bring the­mout and show the­moff. But I am afraid they will “take over” our home, they are so col­or­ful (and, dare I say, “eth­nic”?).

An­swer: Dare to say it! Eth­nic is in, in case you haven’t no­ticed. There’s great re­newed in­ter­est in cel­e­brat­ing one’s in­di­vid­ual her­itage in the way peo­ple dec­o­rate their home. The same goes for to­day’s hand-crafts — one-of-a-kind fur­nish­ings cre­ated by mod­ern ar­ti­sans work­ing in the tra­di­tion of the Arts-and-Crafts move­ment of the early 20th cen­tury. Re­port­ing on the 2011 Fur­ni­ture Fair in Mi­lan, renowned trend-spot­ter Patty Bouley re­cently told mem­bers of the New York In­ter­na­tional Fur­nish­ings and De­sign As­so­ci­a­tion that cro­chet­ing and em­broi­deries are “big!”

Among the many pho­tos she brought back from the in­flu­en­tial fair were im­ages of cro­chet used to cover chairs as well as light fix­tures, and of con­tem­po­rary so­fas dec­o­rated with em­broi­deries that look any­thing but old-fash­ioned. Say the same about the red, white and won­der-filled liv­ing room shown here. It’s the coun­try home of de­signer Mar­ian McEn­voy, who “has spent her life mak­ing a bold state­ment in fash­ion and in­te­rior de­sign,” writes Chippy Irvine in her book Shades of Coun­try (Taun­ton Press).

McEn­voy has cre­ated what the au­thor calls “Uzbek­istan on the Hud­son” by adding suzani (an em­broi­dered tribal tex­tile) trim­mings over all the white cur­tains, lamp­shades and pil­lows in the room.

Rose Bennett Gil­bert is a Cre­ators.com colum­nist.

This room is from the coun­try home of de­signer Mar­ian McEn­voy.

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