Let your home proclaim your own provenance
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.