upholstery 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?


Room Swoon

Room Swoon

Do you swoon over your room when you walk in door? February is the month of love, so this week, let’s get right to the heart of the matter and address how much or how little we love our rooms. I’m away from home a lot as I have to travel for work, shooting TV, designing around the globe and as exciting as that sounds, the best part of travel for me, is always coming home. When I arrive home from a trip I just can’t help but look around and note how much I love my house. Treasures I have collected from around the world, colours I adore envelop me, textures that seduce the hand and the eye, art work that always captures your eye and great spots to curl up with a puppy and read a book or enjoy a cup of tea with a friend or glass of wine with my husband.

If you don’t have a similar reaction to your rooms then our goal this month will be to change that. It’s a gift of love that you can give to yourself. There’s no excuse for not having rooms you love, it’s not about budget and it’s not about time (if we are honest with ourselves, we can always make the time) it’s about designing for ourselves and caring enough about ourselves to take the time and make the effort to design for us. It’s imperative that we love our home; we spend so much of our valuable time there and with our most valuable people.

Before we divulge a recipe to love your home, let’s be perfectly clear about how great rooms are achieved. A room will never be finished-always be open to change, you find a new treasure, you add a new photo, a new piece of art, buy a new duvet; bring home a vintage piece of furniture. Embrace change and never settle in a space, rooms like ourselves should keep evolving and improving upon themselves. Rooms we love and that others love as well appear timeless. You also need to live your rooms (need to work and function as well as they look) as much as you love your rooms

Start with a palette that you adore and that is appropriate for the room’s main purpose. Colours you love to wear, colours that make you feel sexy or creative. A colour palette moves beyond the paint on the walls and includes fabulous textures brought into the room in the way of drapery, pillows, upholstery, flooring, throws, and wallpaper. Texture is has important as colour when it comes to creating fabulous rooms.

Arrange your furniture creatively and not simply lined up along the walls, have furniture with purpose and include unique and interesting pieces. Include art in every room. Art does not have to ‘match’ your space, hang and display pieces that catch your eye and that you want to see every day. Every room should include mementoes from your life, heirlooms from your family, collectables from your travels, treasured finds from a estate sale you attended with a girlfriend, and framed black and white photos of you and the family. Lighting is the most often missed design element. Hunt for great fixtures, spray a brass chandelier peacock blue and rehang it, be creative mix and match your table lamps, run rope lighting under a platform bed or even the sofa, add spotlights to your potted plants and art lights to wall art. Be sure to add life to every space, a potted plant and pair of gold fish housed in a fabulous vintage vase (be creative), rescue a pet. Now that fabulous living!

I love coconut oil and keep a bottle of oil in my bathroom for conditioning my hair and my skin but I also use it to polish the wood furniture. Mix equal parts coconut oil and lemon juice into a spritzer bottle and use as you would a commercial furniture polish-spray on and wipe off with a lint free cloth.


I Love Istanbul!

Sam Shakura - Rock House of Design Inc.

I love Istanbul! Istanbul is one of my favorite cities and Sam and I have just spent a fabulous week shopping, site seeing and gathering inspiration for our next projects during the first annual ISF (Istanbul Shopping Festival). So as I enjoy a glass of Turkish wine (if you haven’t discovered Turkish wines you should, they are wonderful) on the 9 hour flight home (Istanbul direct to Toronto on Turkish Airlines who even have their own chef on board) I thought that I’d share some of my favorite ideas with you.

Honestly, Istanbul is a design hotbed. An amazing destination for apparel and home fashion products, materials and ideas. Its one of the best kept designer secrets and Sam and I love to shop there for textiles, antiques and home décor products in the Cukurcuma District. What did we buy- while we found a carousal house that I am having shipped home for our dining room. I plan to set the top half of the horse on one of my tables and have the bottom half set on the floor-very avant-garde. We also found some amazing wooden signs, old chair frames, stone pots and old capitals and wall stones, great to simply sit on the ground inside or outside of a home. Many of the antique stores also had beautiful antique mirrors that would be fabulous brought home for bathroom mirrors. We feel strongly that it is the diversity, the jux of position with respect to texture, colour contrast, modern and antique that makes a room exciting. It is the diversity that creates the drama that creates the best spaces.

I’m recreating a brilliant idea that haute couture designer Ozlem Suer used in her show room (she’s dressed Jessica Simpson and I can tell you it wasn’t in those high waisted jeans). She filled a pot with old clocks and simply left it on the floor of the show room. I have some great modern and old clocks in my prop room and will fill a metal pot with a collection of them as soon as I step off the plane-love this idea. We also saw at one of the fabulous dinner clubs we went to another brilliant idea using old oil drums. Painted with in street fashion these drums became fabulous bar tables. Loving this idea, we’ll surly employ it at home or in one of our projects perhaps in a man space bathroom as a sink base or on a contemporary patio, oh the possibilities.

Istanbul, being so close to Italy is also filled with great Italian furniture pieces; we fell in love with lots of bright and uniquely upholstered pieces. We have said it before but when you travel keep an eye open for interesting fabrics, textiles and unique items to use in upholstery. For example, you could buy and antique caftan to be used as a chair back, a fur pelt, carpet, harem towels, scarf or even a painting. We often upholster the chair back and seat in different fabrics/materials.

If you are searching for the perfect travel destination, one that combines your quest for culture and shopping than you need to go to Turkey. Its an amazing destination filled with great food, wonderful people, history, and of course some of the worlds best shopping-now that’s a fabulous trip!!!