47% Viscose threads
Machined background embroidered pattern
Hand embroidered detailing
15.5" vertical repeat
24" horizontal repeat
Teflon finish available.
Made to order in colorway of choice
3 to 4 month lead time
MSRP $390.00 per yard
A terrible thing happened when I went to see BeeDee about her bedroom.
Last year, about this time, she called to say she never uses designers, does most of her own sewing and some of her own upholstering. She was very clear, " I do not need your services. I just need for you to come to my house and tell me what colors you would recommend. You will understand when you arrive".
Quite the invitation.
Since the design business is closely tied to both construction and real estate , we also are down, as an industry, about 60%. More in some areas. So odd invitation or not it at least represented a consultation fee. I went. I immediately fell in love!
She has a newer style 5000+ sq. ft. cottage on the lake. The rear of the house is almost solid window walls to capture the breathtaking north facing views of the lake and mountains. Seriously, in the first few minutes, I could not follow her conversation because of the distraction of the view. "Purple mountains majesty" is way more than a song lyric in this location.
Back to BeeDee. There is much to admire. She is a tiny little spitfire of a woman. Beautiful without any artifice, interference or apologies for aging naturally. There is evidence of the journey etched into her face but it is mostly the result of a fully lived, laughter filled, journey. She raised 5 children, pretty much alone, while her husband invested long, long hours in his globe trotting executive career. She came from a monied family, he did not. When he asked for her hand he promised her Dad she would not suffer for loving him. They have lived in 17 homes on 4 continents. They have been married 40 some years and share 17 grandchildren. Two years before retiring he told BeeDee, " I owe you . Pick wherever you want to live, build whatever you want."
Once I got beyond the distractions BeeDee explained she was ready to "freshen the nest". She explained about the 17 houses, that she and the kids had "done them" all.
All of her children can paint, sew, upholster, garden and cook. She said many of their furnishings had traveled with them, like old familiar friends, just getting new looks for each new location. She was very clear on never liking houses which have that "designed" look. She much prefers homes to reflect the character and interests of the occupants. I agreed. Pointing out a house with a "designer look" was the definition of failure. Her home is meant to be about her life, not my talents. To have "a" look is the definition of failure as a designer.
For the record. The majority of my clients are smart, capable people with beautiful homes. Most have never contracted a designer and most have a healthy disregard for my profession. Often they call because they are busy and want someone to "expedite" their needs not "design" their needs. I understand. I would have a very hard time allowing a stranger to come into my house and set about changing it. When a project is converted from "expediting" to actual "designing" I am thrilled. I like to ring the bell.
What she wanted was to re-upholster every piece of furniture on the main floor (except in her Master Suit.)
upgrade all window treatments and, add a little " zip" to the overall statement. She was about to go traveling through multiple states, loved shopping for textiles and wanted me to evaluate her color balance and put together a new color scheme for her to take with her. " Just so you know, I will NOT be buying any designer fabrics from you". I nodded my understanding, took some photographs and scheduled a presentation conference in a week
Being a competitive sort I presented her with a color scheme with an ensemble of 22 of those designer fabrics. Demonstrating not just the color palette but also the value of contrast in scale, texture, weight and mood of each fabric. I knew she would never find equivalents in her travels. I presented them to her in a conference setting and then in the individual rooms in her home. She bought every single one.
The entire family gathers for a week every Spring.
BeeDee reported all the kids and all the grands loved everything.
Honoring that invitation was a date I looked forward to.
I know it sounds odd to some but the exact color, the exact fibers, the exact pattern, the exact mood of a single fabric can be an obstacle to many women. I have met women who have let their drapes literally rot in place because they could not find a fabric they loved as much as the original.
I get that.
If it fails to evoke that since of "right" for the woman and for her home then it will be an expensive daily thorn.
Before our appointment I ordered in samples of fabrics to be presented. One did not arrive so it was necessary to bring the swatch book to the presentation. Bee Dee and I had a nice visit then got down to work. Everything started just fine. But, while we were looking at the proposed fabric in the swatch book it slid off the bed and onto the floor . When I picked it up it was open to the swatch of the embroidered fabric seen in the photograph at the opening of this post. You probably noticed the colors in that fabric are exactly the colors out the window of the view across the lake to the mountains. It has an airyness, a traditional statement but, in a more contemporary flow. Much like BeeDee's airy, traditional cottage with a contemporary flow.
She plucked the entire sample book out of my hands.
" This is it!"
" BeeDee. Lets go back to the other swatch."
" Fishy! I adore this fabric. It's perfect in every way."
" BeeDee, it's beautiful but that is an investment fabric".
" What kind of investment?"
"Significant. I think we could get a yard, maybe two of this to add impact. We shouldn't consider this for your draperies. You have this entire window wall and ten foot ceilings which requires 35 yards of fabric"
"We are not poor!"
"I noticed. But like you told me before , you do not want any fabrics in this house which will not hold up to peanut butter and jelly fingers. That you want all your grands to feel welcome and loved in every room. That you did not want your children to have a melt down if their kids put feet on the furniture. This textile does not meet this criteria. Can we go back and look at this other swatch?"
" No. I like this one the best of everything I have seen today.
Let's use this as our inspiration fabric and move forward."
There was a pause before responding,
BeeDee gave me a measured look.
ANY designer would love to have a client say " I want what I want damn the costs". Certainly BeeDee can afford anything she wants. But this is not her "show and tell" house it is her "lake house" and while she loved this fabric, I knew she would not buy it.
" Um hum"
" Investment fabric? What does that mean?"
"In this case it means the fabric is a tight gauge, combed linen ground with hand embroidery made to order which is reflected in the price."
" Is this one of those hundred dollar a yard fabrics?"
"Well then, lets continue on".
I started pressing buttons on a calculator.
"It's $413.40 per yard including tax.
According to this calculator, 35 yards would cost $14,469.00 plus shipping from India."
Teflon coating to make it jelly proof would be a few hundred more."
There was a sudden stillness in the room. I wasn't certain but I thought there was a fifty fifty chance she might succumb to the urge and smack me with the swatch book. I looked her in the eye and said,
" Hand me the book BeeDee"
She did not. She was still taking my measure.
" Why did you show me this fabric Fishy?"
" I did not SHOW you the fabric. It was in the swatch book with a fabric I did want you to see.
Let's forget about this fabric and go back to our options."
" Why did you even bring this book onto my property?"
" Do you want me to go put it in the car?"
" I am just so mad. Is this what designers do? Bait you with love and hit you with dollar signs?"
I looked around at her multi-million dollar views in her multi-million dollar home and thought to myself what client would buy this fabric? It is beautiful. It is also quiet, understated. Not too many would. A few maybe, like BeeDee who has a love for beautiful handarts and the funds to indulge that love.
" BeeDee, let me tell you about this fabric. It's made in India. In a horrible building. There are women there with babies in their bellies and another strapped to their back. They sit on the floor on a pile of scraps for back breaking hours trying to concentrate on the perfection of the stitches. There is an overseer who walks down the rows to keep the women from chatting too much and, to make sure the workmanship is impeccabe. If it is not they will not be paid for the days work. They will maybe earn a dollar for every linear inch they embroider. That's forty eight inches. They will not earn much for their artistry, sacrifice and effort. That dollar is life to them. That's the real 'investment' of this fabric. You actually can afford all of this you could possibly want, it just offends your sense of decency. Mine too."
After a lengthy pause she said,
"Do you drink?"