Lacing a room with lace
“I like the Eiffel Tower because it looks like steel and lace.”
- Natalie Lloyd
I recently completed a design project for a dining room that is both petite and a bit dark due to the deep burgundy walls. With the room size and the overwhelming hue, dining was not as pleasant as it could be and it became obvious that changes were needed. This particular project did not come as a surprise to me as I had assisted with many of the rooms in the home, and this room did not quite fit into the master plan. My clients and I had developed a strong color palette and the dining room did not have the continuous color flow that was our goal throughout the home.
We all agreed that wallpaper was just the nudge needed to breathe some life into this wonderful little jewel box of a space! An F. Schumacher wallpaper (Toile Florissante/Begonia) in a red rose toile was just the answer with its hand-painted look and luscious cream background—stunning! Who wouldn’t enjoy a romantic candlelit dinner in this elegant rose room!
Once the wallpaper was installed, the question of window treatments needed some consideration. The treatments couldn’t be too heavy, but privacy certainly was a concern, and it had to be pretty—oh so pretty! Lace! This room needed lace! (Please don’t make that face, sweetie. Lace is making a very strong return to home interiors. Really, I would never guide you in the wrong direction.) The laces available today are strikingly attractive, and you can indulge yourself with a perfect selection from contemporary to cottage! Think sleek, clean geometric designs or butterflies fluttering over flowers. The possibilities are just scrumptious!
A Look Back at Lace
Let’s explore this wonderful fabric, which might remind you of your Grandmother’s home. If you have fond memories of her home, this will be just your cup of tea. But if you only remember her home as a bit old fashioned, then I can understand your resistance to bringing lace into your home. Like so many luxuries that have come down through the ages, lace was a symbol of wealth and status.
England's Elizabeth I introduced the love of lace to the world during her reign on the throne. During this period lace from countries such as Belgium, France and Italy was magnificent —as well as illegal in England due to laws imposed to protect English workers. Once the bans were lifted, lace was still extraordinarily expensive due to the meticulous labor involved in hand making such a lavish product.
Today, lace can still be one of the higher-end fabric choices for an interior design due to the increase in cotton prices in the world. Handmade lace costs substantially more, but you can find machine-made lace that is beautiful. In fact, a good share of the lace used today is machine made, which decreases the labor costs and makes it affordable. When produced from polyester, lace can offer a truly enticing price point. Handmade lace is still available and primarily comes from India and China, where it is crafted by accomplished artisans.
Fabric companies such as Duralee have compiled entire books dedicated to lace. You’ll find leafy patterns perfect for either contemporary or an English cottage. The classic fleur-de-lis pattern is ideal for a multitude of design directions—a wise choice for window treatment panels installed on a rod with rings in an edgy downtown loft or comfortably fabricated into short café curtains in a friendly French kitchen. Lace makes stunning Roman shades as well. Even lined, they allow some filtered light while still providing peace of mind in regards to privacy. In a recent project, I used a rich cream floral layered over a soft gray linen. This created an almost cocktail dress appearance—a Paris runway appeal that was oh so chic. This same layering of lace could easily be used in the design for a bed skirt. The next time you are looking for a new and polished look for your home, spend some time considering lace in your design ideas.
You’ll discover a multitude of beautiful ways to introduce lace in your home. Dressing an elegant table for a bridal luncheon is a perfect way to toast the bride to be. Lush lace table linens are very accessible and come in a broad range of price points. I have found stunning collections of napkins—napkins worthy of her Majesty herself—at Tuesday Morning. Snap some up to partake in a sophisticated luncheon you are hosting, gorgeous! Tablecloths featuring delicate cutwork floating along the edge are timeless and sure to become family heirlooms.
Outside the dining room, consider dressing a bed in exquisite bed linens with handcrafted lace edges on the top sheet and pillowcases that ensures a dreamy and delightful night’s sleep. (Make sure to iron the pillowcases as well as the top edge of the top sheet to give your bed a wonderfully polished and elegant appearance.) Look for wonderful ironing sprays scented with lavender, crisp summer lemons or English roses; I’ve found them at Tuesday Morning and T.J. Maxx. Spraying your linens with these delicate scented sprays and ironing them is a wonderful luxury I invite you to try. Settling into a well-made bed with a wonderful book of poetry for a short read before you call it night is as good as any five-star hotel stay. Staying home never felt so good!
The next time you are daydreaming about what you might do to lighten up your home, please consider lace. It is not only ageless, but it has the ability to give a room a fresh clean look—with just the right amount of romance and grace!
I will be here next week to have morning coffee or tea, so please don’t forget about me! I am leaving you with some lovely words by Janet Miles.
“A portion of your soul has been entwined with mine. A gentle kind of togetherness, while separate we stand. As two trees deeply rooted in separate plots of ground, while their topmost branches come together, forming a miracle of "lace" against the heavens.
Jan Colvin has been a professional interior designer for over 25 years (Allied ASID). She accredits her mother Pat Robinson and Lucille Chase for her intense interest and love for design.
She has taught interior design at the college level and operated her private design business since 2001. Today she spends a majority of her time completing her new book which will be available in the first quarter of 2013.
Jan welcomes questions, which will be answered in her columns. Send your questions to: email@example.com