16 Aug

Faux Bois Goes Soft

Faux Bois (fō bwah) ~ French  for false wood, refers to the artistic interpretation of wood or wood grains in various media. The craft has its roots in the Renaissance with trompe-l’œil, but became popular when in 1875, Joseph Monier designed the first bridge of reinforced concrete, sculpted to resemble timbers and logs.


Faux bois was first crafted with concrete and mortar applied to a frame built of iron materials like chicken wire and barrel bands and sculpted by “rocailleurs” or French garden craftsmen to resemble lifelike representations of wood especially logs, roots, branches and bark.  Most popular in the late 19th century through the 1940s, true faux bois has largely disappeared with the passing of those most experts.  fauxbois technique

I often see some of these remaining pieces- prized by collectors and usually planters, benches or birdbaths- at the Clignacourt flea market. Still haven’t figured how to get them home with me!tree_bed shauwn lovell

Today, faux bois effects can be achieved by painting, printing, or imprinting a design on textiles, home accessories, walls, and furniture.

Want to learn more about the technique and one of the artisans reviving the craft? See Logging Out- in Traditional Home. 

What Goes Around; Comes Around

The classic motif is “hot” again especially when it comes to soft goods. We spotted rugs, bedding, pillows and fabrics at recent markets in High Point, Atlanta and Vegas.  Think of it as Faux Bois Rebooted; the latest riffs are playful, imaginative  and a great way to add texture and pattern in a room.

Moire, Faux Bois’s first cousin, is coming along for the ride back up the trend curve. Several  A list editeurs (re)introduced moire earlier this year. Look for it to start popping up in your sample books soon.


These upholstered walls are stunning in Dedar’s Losange Moire.


Oh My Pillow

spin cityetsy faux bois (2)

Spin City’s cotton print is available on Etsy.

fauxbois cushion

Sew Faux ‘s chair cushion



I love these log bolsters; they are equally at home in a kid’s room or a luxe lodge.



Fresh interpretations for wallpaper- Piet Hein Eek’s photo realistic wood slices from his Scrapwood collection.  Top: Farrow and Ball’s Parquet hand blocked design. Bottom: Graham and Brown’s planking says hand drawn.


faux bois wrapped

Thibaut’s Eastwood wrapped drapery poles.



 Schumacher’s take on the classic design in embossed velvet.


Faux Bois looks can range from quirky to sophisticated. Here Kelly Wearstler interprets the classic motif in a contemporary embroidery for Groundworks.

faux bois1


We spotted Surya’s Hurricane rug , Callisto Home’s beaded faux bois pillows and Kevin O’Brien’s  ombre faux bois embossed velvets at  summer markets.



09 Aug

The Design Network – Soft Design Lab Channel is Live!

NETWORK LOGODesign-Network-logo

We are very proud to announce that you can now view all of our Take Ten, and other videos and content on  The Soft Design Lab Channel on  The Design Network !

The link is:   http://www.thedesignnetwork.com/viewChannel.php?channel_id=56

If you’ve found our Soft Design Lab information, webinars and video helpful to your business, please help us spread the word so we can get more people all of the valuable information we are giving away to help them stay on top of our fast moving industry.

The Design Network is the world’s first video-sharing platform that gives interior designers, architects, home enthusiasts, and video professionals the opportunity to create and share entertaining, engaging, and inspirational content about the home.  Anyone in the design field can create their own channel and post video and static image content.

The Design Network was created for everyone who shares a passion for all things “home.” They are  dedicated to connecting you with the your viewers so you can  serve up entertaining, inspiring and instructional videos about interior design, home fashion and style that can be accessed anywhere, anytime.

You are their Programming Director! They  want to build and customizeThe Design Network based on what you like. The Soft Design Lab  gals see this as the new frontier of design marketing and promotion and we will be posting more in the future about how you can get on board!

Please join us in viewing, rating and suggesting the videos you like best. Help us build your The Design Network , as it becomes a new kind of network spanning all the screens you use in and outside your home.

You don’t have to buy a special box or pay a monthly fee to access The Design Network . All you need is to be online, with your computer, your tablet or your smartphone–anything that has a browser. Just push play to get started …

The Soft Design Lab gals see this as the new frontier of marketing and promotion and we will be posting more about how to get started and capitalize on this powerful tool soon.

We have more Soft Design Lab videos and insights to come so please stay tuned!!!





05 Aug

Pattern Alert: Is Chain Link the New Trellis?

Anne Spiro

Since the moment, a few years ago, when Kelly Wearstler’s Imperial Trellis hit the scene, the trellis pattern has become a staple for most soft furnishings vendors.  Intersecting lines have intertwined in an unending variety trellis designs ranging form simple to elaborate.  Now, it seems a new trend is emerging of a trellis stripe or chain link for lack of a better name.

In this new version of the classic motif the interlocking pattern runs in a directional stripe as a border or as a repeating stripe.

The overall design of these chain link patterns is more sleek and sharp in its delineation with harder angles and thinner surface width.

Simplicity is the key and these new patterns seem to be more about exploring the relationship between positive and negative space rather than creating an equality in it.

Trellis Stripe Pattern #: WC4395

Harder lines and angles make for a more modern look.

ON SALE Woven Trellis Pattern  Vinyl Wall by wordybirdstudios, $55.21

Even the DIY world is picking up on the trend with stripes of trellis linking in chains down one wall as a highlight.

Circle mirror with lattice wall panels!

Here sections of wood trellis are used to create a striped effect.

Rugs USA - Area Rugs in many styles including Contemporary, Braided, Outdoor and Flokati Shag rugs.

Rugs USA

This rug design shows a more rounded take on the design giving it a retro feel.

Alternating shapes run in vertical stripes within the trellis create a strong graphic pattern in this drapery panel.

Aqua Embroidered Trellis Stripe on Sand Linen

This pillow follows the trend by using a trellis embroidery pattern to create a stripe as an embellishment.

Although his fabric featured on chairs from CR Laine is a complex pattern the central motif runs vertically creating a striped effect at the center.

Low prices and fast free shipping on F Schumacher. Search thousands of patterns. Item FS-5003282. Swatches available.


This wallpaper pattern overlaps a chain link pattern in a simple graphic design.

Love this.  Nice pattern, great colors, especially the aqua and turquoise with this orange red.

Trina Turk

Designer Trina Turk imparts a tribal feeling to this faceted design.  Tribal and modern southwest designs are popping up everywhere and take these patterns in a whole new direction that imparts an ethnic vibe.

Gray dotted trellis dwell studio decorative by pillowflightpdx, $28.00

This intricate pattern created with the applique of decorative trim on the face of this pillow has an almost aboriginal look that blends well with new emerging trends.

Anna Spiro has designed a striking wallpaper collection for Porters Paints.  Just recently released at DesignEx I am looking forward to having brunch @ Porter's on Thursday so i can see the whole collection!

Anne Spiro

This wallpaper from Anne Spiro in Australia also feels as if it were taken straight from a piece of aboriginal folk art. I think we will see the evolution of this chain link look into bolder and more colorful ethnic designs as these design trends come full circle.


04 Aug

Dolce Gabbana Takes On Home Decor Motifs

I am thoroughly obsessed with the new Sicilia collection by Dolce and Gabbana!  It is a stunning take on handcrafted Italian tile designs and traditional Majolica patterns.   As we all know home décor often follows fashion trends but this time the designers are taking their cue from a traditional home décor theme and imagery.

The fabrics are digitally printed to capture all of the nuances of tile glazing and colors and the designs come to life with the addition of jewels and gilded crowns.  This trend of using bold colors and bright contrast is in line with what seems to be happening now in home décor .  Manufacturers are showcasing bright colors in  primary contrasting hues for a knock out effect that is a welcome relief to the bland color we have been seeing for the past few years as we have dug out of the recession.

The use of bright colors  in fashion and in home décor usually signifies an upturn in the economy and a positive attitude about the future..  Since I am Sicilian I am especially drawn to these motifs and of course to the beautiful scenery captured on the Isle of Capri. .


This particular collection not only shows bold choices in color and pattern but it seems to be a return to classicism and the comfort of deeply rooted cultural design.  It reminds us that the richness of life doesn’t always come with financial excess,  sometimes it is rooted in the simple images of our culture and history.