My obsession with vintage/Scandinavian textiles is relatively recent – I’ve always loved the fabrics, but it’s only in the last year that I’ve started collecting (hoarding, surely not!) and framing textiles to hang on the walls of my home.
It all started about ten years ago when I’d just moved into my house and had some 70’s synthetic fabric which my Mum had given me. I thought it would look great on the living room wall so set about making a frame for it out of some 2 x 3 from Homebase. It was pretty rudimentary but a decade later, the fabric is still in the same place. Earlier this year, I bought a Nathan sideboard which sits underneath and the two look like they were made for each other. The fabric has ‘Subucolor’ printed on the selvedge and although the print is very distinctive, I’ve not found anything similar on the web anywhere. However, I did find another piece in a different colourway at a boot sale a couple of years ago and you can see a glimpse of this in the header image.
And that Subucolor fabric was pretty much it in terms of wall art for an entire decade until last year when I was decorating my second Airbnb and had the genius idea of adorning it with sunflower fabric to make it stand out in the listings. This time, I decided to do it properly and bought stretcher bars off Ebay and a staple gun. It was a bit nerve wracking but it worked and since then I haven’t stopped
Next came a remnant of Cliff Holden’s Solstice fabric which I spotted on Ebay for a bargain price. I absolutely love this print and thought it would look great in the highest point of my hallway, which is a bit of wall which faces you as you come down the loft stairs. It turned out that this particular bit of fabric was made up of lots of strips stitched together – imperfect but perfect for framing as I was certain you wouldn’t notice once it was up on the wall. At this point I was heavily pregnant and as part of my nesting craziness I decided it had to be done urgently and so spent an afternoon making the frame and crawling around on my hands and knees firing staples left right and centre. The result was stunning; alas, it took another few months to get it up onto the hall wall and it looked great for a few seconds then promptly detached itself from the wall and crashed into the hallway below. A second attempt at sticking it to the wall (I use Command strips, normally with great success) resulted in it crashing to the ground again a few weeks later, in the night (not a wake-up I want to repeat, ever) and since then it’s been sat forlornly but stylishly on the landing while we wait for a builder or climber to get a picture hook up there.
It wasn’t long after the Cliff incident that my basement kitchen/diner renovation was nearing completion and as I was still pregnant, the crazy fabric ideas were reaching fever pitch. I’ll write about the kitchen project in its entirely soon, but briefly a lot of conventional ideas for the new kitchen went out of the window as I seemed to form an emotional response to anything remotely conventional. Wall cupboards? Great idea usually, but thanks to hormones the very idea of them made me sad. A lack of cupboards meant framing space and so I got to work, searching everywhere to find something which would give the kitchen the wow factor and compensate for the slight lack of storage.
I still can’t remember how I found it, but once I did I knew I had found it. It’s a Marimekko textile from a couple of years ago called Kuuskajaskari and is a moody, watery, abstract landscape telling of approaching weather. The yellow and blue hues were perfect too for complimenting the very neutral colour scheme of the kitchen. I framed one very large piece as a backdrop to the dining table which directly adjoins the kitchen, then a narrower piece next to the fridge.
The facing side of the kitchen has another Marimekko textile by the same artist – it’s another abstract seascape and they all sit pretty well together, and I don’t miss the wall cupboards one tiny little bit.
The basement is open plan, with a small lounge/playroom area beyond the kitchen/diner and I found some fabric to ‘zone’ these areas. The lounge area, which is essentially two Ercol armchairs and a G Plan table on a rug is now adorned with a vintage barkcloth remnant in yellow-green. I nearly missed it as when I saw it on Ebay it looked like a badly creased scrap of nothing, but a second look revealed a beautiful tree design. It’s a David Whitehead fabric, probably 50’s but no idea as to what the print is called
The playroom area is technically restricted to the empty fireplace and an adjoining alcove but in reality spills out on a daily basis across the lounge, under the dining table and into the kitchen. I could have gone for a more playful fabric I guess, but I saw this fabric (another David Whitehead print) on Ebay and it just seemed ideal for the play area – it’s pretty, ties in well with the nature theme of the neighbouring textiles and the yellow hues look good with the others too.
And finally, we head back to the lounge where it all started over a decade ago. I love vintage Heals prints and this one which is Cascade by Evelyn Redgrave had caught my eye on Ebay. I kept on going back to it, and then during the week of my birthday I bought it as a present to myself. The original piece was longer than you can see in the photo as I’ve cut it down and the remainder will probably be converted to matching cushions for the new sofa which now sits here.
And so that’s it for now. Bits of old curtain offcuts, Finnish landscapes on linen and iconic prints of the 50’s and 60’s all pulled taut by stretcher bars and cheering up and adding life to different corners of my house. As soon as I’ve recovered from reupholstering my new (but old) sofa, I plan to put some more fabric up on the landing wall. One of the advantages of living in a four storey house is that I won’t be running out of hanging space any time soon…