Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Decorating With Ikat

Ikat, (pronounced ee'- kot, rhyming with spot), has been in vogue at different times throughout history, most notably in the 80's and again in the last few years. Ikat comes and goes, but is never actually gone.The fact that it's never really known if it is in or out is the secret to it's "favored status". Given it’s lengthy, well-documented history, it’s safe to say that ikat isn't a ‘new’ trend. It has merely been reinvented and is once again providing homeowners with a sense of worldliness, ethnicity and glamorous travel.

Ikat burst back onto the uber-chic interiors scene several years ago first from high-end ateliers like Madeline Weinrib and worldwide fabric collectors like John Robshaw.

This ancient style of weaving uses a resist dyeing process on the fabric to create the pattern. Resist dying is when products (wax, paste, chemical agent) are used to prevent the dye from reaching all the fibers. So this specific placement of product will create the beautiful patterns you see.The result of this process is a motif which is “blurred” in appearance. This ‘cloudy’ look comes from the slight bleeding of the dyes into the resist areas. I am telling my age but it is a similar process to the tie-dyeing we did in the 60's.

To distinguish true woven ikats from prints, look on the back of the fabric. Woven ikats have the same pattern on both sides. Prints are on the face of the fabric only, though some show through a little on the back. 

Madeline Weinrib

A collection of ikat pillows. Depending on fabric weight, ikats are wonderful for accent pillows, duvets, window and table top treatments.

Much desired ikat upholstered furniture is also making a splash. This includes accent chairs or sofas, but also headboards, ottomans and foot stools

Designers Guild

Ikat has been around for centuries, and is thought to be one of the oldest weaving techniques. Because of the fabric’s diverse history, it’s versatility comes as no surprise. Ikat can be exotic, luxurious, ethnic, earthy, posh, and bohemian.

Ikat covered chair and pillows bring life to an otherwise serious room.

Susan Glick Interiors

Ikat fabric comes in beautiful pastel colors as well as the more exotic bright colors.

The exciting variegated motifs of ikat has global appeal

Most real ikat textiles are labor intensive, hand-woven cottons. But today we also see printed fabrics in many fibers, like cotton, rayon, silk, and polyester, with designs that resemble variegated ikat motifs. There are even upholstery weight machine-woven ikat style fabrics.

There is nothing like ikat to punch up the color in a room.

Ikat is said to have started in India and crossed into other countries/cultures due to merchant trade. However, some say it is difficult to pin point the exact country of origin.

Madeline Weinrib Black Luce Ikat Pillows

Ikat prints can slip easily into spaces of many different styles. From a glamorous traditional living room to a contemporary bedroom to a bohemian loft, the ikat patterns injects a playful yet historical vibe.

source unknown

Ikat fabrics make a striking tribal statement in current fashion and in home decor.


If you want to use ikat fabric in a more low key way, try a black and cream pattern.

A collection of suzani and ikat patterned pillows. You can have a lot of fun with mixing and matching while creating a great "wow factor" in your interior decor.

Laura Ashley

Because its creation was so time consuming, ikat was often a status symbol of wealth and power.

Liz Caan Interiors

Throw pillows are an easy way to incorporate a trendy fabric like ikat into your existing decorating ideas. Plus, throw pillows are inexpensive, which makes it easier to swap them out when you want to change your colors.

Jordan Carlyle

Both trendy and classic, ikat fabric works well in many different interior styles.

Cutting Edge Stencils

Even a sophisticated grey interior can enjoy a taste of an exotic ikat pattern

Blue and white ikat is a perennial favorite.

via pinterest

Colorful ikat chairs and rug. Because ikat has such a long history and tradition in far-flung places from Bali from Bolivia and from Cambodia to Uzbekistan, there are plenty of color combinations, styles, patterns, scales and sizes for designers to choose from.

Mary McDonald

As you can this wonderful ikat pattern in bright orange provides interest in a period room.

Ikat collection by anczelowitz, via Flickr

Accessories and a few pillows may be all you need to spruce up your space.


Brightly colored ikat patterns pop against white backgrounds. Ikat has a more ethnic look when used this way.

Madeline Weinrib

With the popularity of the eclectic interior it is safe to say that ikat is here to stay.

Click here to see the previous post!

This blog post was published by

Lisa Farmer

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Decorating With The Whole Tortoise Shell

This post is a follow-up to Decorating With Tortoise Shell. While that one focused on using this versatile design element in a more traditional and classical way, this post spotlights the whole shell and how is has become an art form that lends itself well to any style home. Large turtle shells have been showing up on the walls and shelves of homes for some time now and for homeowners that like using natural elements such as antlers, taxidermy and shells, a tortoise shell can be a great addition to your decor. They are also perfect for the animal inspired or safari interior and look wonderful displayed with leopard or zebra accessories.

As sea turtles are protected, current designers resort to faux tortoise shell plastic and other imitation materials such as resin. I only support the display and use of real turtle shells that are antique or have been shed naturally. Make sure you know the dealer you are buying from.

Joe Nye

The pedestal with the tortoise shell came from Hollyhock, his mentor's Suzanne Rheinstein's shop.

Kelly Werstler used 100's of faux shells to create this look at The Tides La Marea. I love the brown chairs and how they make it look like you are in your own shell.

Kelly Werstler

When allowed to become a focal point, the shell itself makes quite an  impact.

These shells seem to work well anywhere you display them, even in a soft and elegant room like this.

This lighter colored shell is perfection in this stunning room. You can display them alongside your favorite antiques.

Display a specimen box with a shell inside. As you can see they make great vignette accessories.

I love the well traveled look the shell adds to a room.

Bunny Williams- Town & Country

Victoria Hagan

I think tortoise shells are especially beautiful when used in a neutral interior.

Some like them natural.......

and others like the lacquered look. It's a matter of personal taste.

Karen Robertson

A trend in decorating is the Specimen Look and the whole shell works perfectly with the other displays.

Here a do-it-yourselfer has used an old brass candlestick to create a lovely display stand for the lacquered turtle shell. 

Phoebe Howard

Gabriel Hendifar

Ballard Designs

A stand is a great way to display the beauty of the shell as it enables you to see all sides of it.

Aerin Lauder's home.

Photo by Simon Upton

The whole tortoise shell becomes a lovely addition to a classical display.

This eclectic interior features a tortoise shell as wall art in another specimen display.

via pinterest


Even the smallest version steals the show!

For more on tortoise shell .......used in a more classical way, be sure to check out the post below.

Click here to see the previous post!

This blog post was published by

Lisa Farmer
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