July 21, 2011

Summer Cottage Curtains

My family (my dad’s side) has had a summer cottage outside of Chicago since the 50s.  My grandparents used to take my dad & my aunt & my uncle out every weekend to play on the lake & get away from the Chicago daily grind.  My grandfather was a knife sharpener & both he & my grandma immigrated to the US from Italy.

{My Nanoo in the middle of his brothers & sisters}

My Grandma Maestranzi used to make my Nanoo stop the car along fields on the way to Antioch so she could pick raddichio for salads for the weekend.  (Raddichio is also known as Italian Chicory & is super-bitter but she’d make a dressing of oil & vinegar, onions & salt&pepper to take the bite out of it.)

{Image from growcookeat.com}

When they bought the house, they bought the antique dining room furniture with it & it’s still there today, although we’ve put it through some serious abuse & some of it has broken. (My dad’s a big guy)

{My grandma’s dining chair after all of these years…  I love its lines}
I remember going out there on summer weekends as a kid & the whole family would be piled in.  I remember staying up late at night with my cousins & aunt and falling asleep listening to the AC window units roar.  We’d spend the days on the lake: up early fishing, then home for breakfast & then back again for boating & skiing.  My grandma did big Sunday dinners (always prime rib in my family: “Where’s the beef?!” probably came from them) with salads & pasta & minestrone soup.  I remember picking flowers & putting them in tiny vases around the house and apples in late summer .  My grandma died when I was 8 but the family still went out to Antioch.  Now, all of these years later, my dad has renovated the house from top to bottom and moved there, wanting a more relaxed pace for himself.
{The next generation of cousins at Antioch…  minus Justin}
Anyway, my dad’s single and decorating the house has been a sloooow process.  It’s been years.  My dad loves doing anything architectural (like adding moldings or staining floors) but it’s been such a battle for me to get him to let me furnish the house & finish it.  (He’s also sort of a “more is more” guy so we’ve definitely had our battles.  I’ll share more about this when I’m out there this summer so you can see pics.)  BUT he’s finally letting me do curtains and I’m pumped!!
Over the years I’ve done things to get around not having curtains.  Here’s a pic of garlands I hung at Christmastime:

I love the house so much and some of the fabrics from my line sprang pretty much directly from the wildflowers that grow around Antioch in the summer: Wild Chicory, Queen Anne’s Lace & Thistle & Clover .  (They pretty much grow everywhere on roadsides, but I’ll always associate them with my childhood summers in Illinois.)  I finished one yesterday called Queen Anne’s Bouquet & I cannot wait to see it up in the very place I think of whenever I see Queen Anne’s lace.  I placed order yesterday for over 100 yards of fabrics for curtains.  I cannot WAIT to hang them!!

In the kitchen, I’ve displayed some of my grandma’s china in glass cabinets:

She used her china on a daily basis & mixed and matched everything.  I remember when I was 4 or 5 trading plates with people because I would want a certain floral pattern.  (I always wanted the one I thought was prettiest on the table 😉


The china pattern I’ve hung throughout the kitchen is a fairly common one in thrift/ antique shops but I think it’s just right for Antioch.  It works perfectly with all of the wild flowers that grow around there.  For the curtains in the dining room & adjoining living room/ kitchen, I wanted to go neutral and overscale so I could really mix it up & use any of my grandmas’s china, which consists of small florals.  I decided to use one of my newest designs, “Live Paisley” in Antique Beige, which made up of a series of leaves & vines:

Here’s a close-up of it.  It’s puposefully mottled for an antique look, it’s made of 4 colors, and if you’ll look really closely, I hid a small inscription that says “Live your life.”
{It’s hard to see in this pic but it’s on the inner right area}

I wrote “live your life” on the paisley (which I orginally drew as a doodle thinking I would need to hire someone to actually draw it for me) just on a whim, but it’s a saying that really resonates with me.  To me it means: following your dreams, keeping your eyes on “your own paper” and focusing on what you can do & not on judging others, and loving what you have and your life & making the best of it.  Forgetting about the things you can’t control & just living & giving your best to every day.  Letting go.

I didn’t really have much confidence in myself or in my ability to draw at all when I drew this pattern.  (I still really don’t) But I was completely shocked with the results.  Since this pattern arrived at my door, I’ve drawn a few more & I sort of feel like I’m getting into a groove, developing my style a bit.  It’s really difficult for me, as drawing is not something that I’m good at or that comes naturally, but it’s really rewarding when I see the designs on fabric & in my clients’ homes.

Anyway, I’ll be sure to take pics of the curtains in Antioch.  I’m doing 4 rooms & fingers crossed that they look good!!

***Also, many of you have asked how  you can purchase the fabrics.  And, as far as selling the fabrics go… I’ve sort of hit a crossroads.  The more I learn about the industry, the more I learn that there are paths you have to choose that can really change everything.  I’m a bit undecided as of right now as far as how I’m looking to approach selling fabric line.  Price points & means of production are determining factors in how the line is sold/ where it’s sold/ who sells it, etc.,  and I’m not quite sure yet how I want to go about it.  I have an online store all set up & ready to go, but time-wise I’m not sure we’re ready for it.  I also don’t know how I feel about posting pricing on the fabric online because that will affect things in the future.  (Ie where it’s sold, etc.)  I started this whole thing because I was passionate about the designs but not because I had a plan.  (That’s a bit nutty, I now.)

For now, if anyone you know is interested in purchasing any of the fabrics, they can email my assistant Meghan (meghan@thepurestyle.com) for information & pricing.  I’m hoping to finish photographing all of the fabrics in the colorways this Summer & will post them online so that the line can at least be viewed.  ***
If you made it to the end, thanks for reading this long rambling post! 🙂  Enjoy your day!!

xoxo, Lauren

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