silk Archive



Cheryll Gillespie Media Group, Silk

I’m all about silk in home design these days, literally ‘worming’ my way to creating fabulous spaces: silk wallpapers, drapery, upholstery and rugs. I just can’t get enough of this incredible textile. There truly is nothing like silk, if you want to create a room that looks and feels like luxury, then nothing compares to the “silky smooth” yet simultaneously rough texture of silk. The way its prism shaped fibers reflect the light is unbeatable, lately, it is my go to textile for fabulous spaces.

Silk is one of the many inventions that we thank the Chinese for. The legend of silk gives credit to Yuen Fei, a concubine of an emperor nearly 5000 years ago who accidently dropped a cocoon into her tea and after watching it unravel, discovered the silk thread. This queen of fibers is versatile and decadecant. Silk is a protein fiber, as is wool. It is natural for silks to have some irregularities – sometimes called “slubs”. This is the nature of the 100% silk fabric if you are looking at silk fabric samples and you see tiny black specs these are not flaws but actually part of the original cocoon. The most expensive silks are made from cocoons of the Bombyx moth who feeds from mulberry leaves. Other silks are made from moths that feed on oak leaves. Amazingly, the average coon contains three to four hundred meters of silk.

Cherylll Gillespie Media Group, SilkHow can we use silk at home? Let’s start with the simple ways: elegant drapery panels for your window, this is my go to window dressing. Simply hung or tied back with a beautiful tassel, the iridescent quality of silk will dazzle in the sun while providing great light control if closed. Being a natural fiber, silk is prone to colour fading, so draperies must be lined and interfaced. Include a silk-upholstered pair of chairs or add some DIY silk cushions made from vintage silk scarves to an existing upholstered piece in the room. Consider hand-painted silk or embroidery on the pillows or even on the back of the chairs for a truly custom look.

Since my first trip to the silk factories of Suzhou, China, I have been hooked on silk wallpapers of all kinds; hand painted, embroidered and left au natural. The look and feel of silk on the walls is irresistible elegance and I can’t think of a space that would not benefit from this wall treatment. We have wallpapered dining rooms, living rooms, bedrooms and even water closets with silk. I just can’t get enough of this textile in design. I guess we could say that the Silk Road is the way to fabulous spaces. Consider this natural, ancient textile for your next design project- five thousand years of being the most luxurious textile made can’t be wrong and if you haven’t all ready embraced the silk worm – isn’t time you did?


Dressed for Fall

Dressed For Fall

I can’t believe we are almost at the end of August, another summer has flown by but the good news is I always find fall fashion exciting and eagerly anticipate the arrival of Vogue’s September issue. I’m in Shanghai this week and just returned from one of the large designer fabric markets fueled and filled with anticipation as I just found the fabrics I need for my master bedroom and library-aside from my clients windows these are my personal  current window dressing projects.

As the sun sets on summer we need to dress our rooms for fall and for me that always means window dressing. I love fabric and I love taking yards of scrumptious textiles and creating draperies that complete a room. No room is complete until the draperies are hung. Often we forget the windows or stall (which I agree is the right thing to do until you have found the perfect fabrics) but know that window dressing is the ultimate detail in a room. Just as we dress ourselves in layers so do we dress our windows.

When styling a room’s windows think in terms of layers. The first layer is a layer of light control, perhaps a blind or a fabulous sheer drapery then a layer or even two layers of sexy textiles to add pattern and or texture and then the finishing layer: a brilliant rod and finials, trimmings, tie back or perhaps a valance. I love to play creatively when we are dressing windows.

Let me give you a couple of examples. In my library I used metal chain link drapery to act as the first sheer layer as I am not terribly concerned about light control in this window as it faces out onto a courtyard. Next, a layer of fabulous distressed handsome gray velvet that will drape lightly onto the floor which will be swept back away from the window by a sensational tassel made from silk, chrome, and crystal and feather details.

In my master bedroom I started with a layer of white sheer fabric that has rows of silk leaves loosely running vertically then a layer of raw white silk panels that are detailed with white eight inch trim on the bottom hem.

My favorite drapery fabrics are sheer, velvets and raw silks or silk like fabrics which can be designed to create stunning window fashions in just about any room of any style. These are my go to textiles. Textiles designed for drapery are wider that dress textiles and this is important especially in a room that will be closing the drapes in as you’ll see the seams. When I’m using sheers I always look employ fabrics designed for drapery as the seams will distract from the window but when it comes to drapery panels which are often just used for esthetics consider using dress fabrics which when sewn correctly the seams can be hidden in the folds and could save you a lot of money as apparel fabrics are often considerably less expensive. Solid fabrics are often less expensive than patterned fabrics so when I’m working on a tighter budget I will use the patterns sparingly. Perhaps just on the bottom third of the panel or only in the valance or has a faux second layer to the drapery panels saving my money for what I consider to be the better investment: rods and finals, tie backs and trimmings. More bang for the buck, as they say!

It is also important to always line your drapery panels as this will ensure that the uv light does not damage or discolour the fabric and the panels will hang and look much better. Like the icing on your cupcakes draperies are to the room- the sweet finishing touch to fabulous space.

A great tassel can be used for more than just tying back draperies. We love tassels, small ones big ones and all in between. I hang small tassels from cabinet, end table or bureau knobs. Larger tassels look fabulous hung on the back of dining chairs or from behind a framed picture. Small tassels can be tacked onto the front of pillar candles or glued onto the front of glass canisters. Shop for tassels when you travel to exotic destinations such as China, India or Morocco.