I covet beautiful fabrics. I used to collect antique fabric back when I made quilts...many lives ago. I would seek out elaborate pieces on my travels, especially when I visited NYC. I no longer have use for a few yards of this or that- instead, I now use yard goods for specific pieces of furniture that require exact amounts.
I have a library of fabric samples that rivals the Merchandise Mart’s. Well actually, most of them come from the Merchandise Mart. Reps come to my office regularly with their new collections. I choose samples of what I like, which is how my fabric library has evolved. Everyone that knows me understands that I will not use a fabric that is highly directional. It must move in any direction. It gives me the creeps to move a directional fabric the wrong way. I also do not use paisley, for personal reasons.
I often mix fabric with fur. I love plush mohair. I find it irresistible. Maharam, Knoll and Gretchen Bellinger have the best plush mohair. Bellinger has exquisite jewel tones in her collection. I also love alpaca, boiled wool and velvet. And then there is silk! Jim Thompson at Holly Hunt makes luscious silks. It is common for silk to be dyed two different colors making it iridescent. The effect is amazing.
I find silk drapes very romantic. When they blow a little in the breeze they remind me of old movies. To enhance the allure of silk drapes, there needs to be a sheer underneath. Then, the window is complete. Outdoor fabrics are very practical for people who have children and pets. They are very easy to clean, and practically every showroom has outdoor fabric. Many don’t even look any different than indoor fabric, they’re just much more durable.
In the process of designing a room, choosing the fabric with the client is my favorite thing to do. The color, texture and hand make for a powerful statement in a room. It sets a tone for the style. You can dress a room up or down, depending on the fabric you choose. You can play it safe or you can make a bold color statement. You can accent with fabric or make it the main course. My advice is have fun with the decision. Don’t belabor it too long. Your choice should be uplifting.