Tag: textiles

Kitchens with Character, vol. 1: Wallpaper

Even in the most beautiful homes, kitchens have (historically had) a tendency to feel sterile.  Expensive countertops and elaborate backsplashes can only go so far in imparting personality to a space.  Happily, this is changing.  More and more, I’m seeing kitchens with character.  After all, more and more entertaining is taking place the kitchen.  Thus, art, accessories, unconventional furniture, and textiles are creeping in.  Notably, wallpaper seems to be an emerging trend in kitchens.  Here are 6 reasons why…

Kitchens with Character | Wallpaper | Motley Decor

This kitchen in Sydney looks both tropical and inviting thanks to vibrant, palm-printed wallpaper hung on one wall.  With the white bar and cabinetry, the punch of color and pattern is a welcome addition.  Mai Tais, anyone?

Kitchens with Character | Wallpaper | Motley Decor

William Morris wallpaper gracefully envelopes this Scandinavian style kitchen, offsetting warm wood finishes, mixed metallics, and white subway tile.  Both fresh-feeling and traditional-leaning, this kitchen feels like the kind of space outputs raw kale salads and grandma’s famous cookies in equal quantities.  Yes, I got all of that from one wall display.

Kitchens with Character, vol. 1: Wallpaper on Motley Decor

Who can resist a little Fornasetti?  Not I.  Doesn’t it make the perfect backdrop for open shelving in this neutral-yet-uber-cool kitchen?

Kitchens with Character | Making a Statement with Wallpaper | Motley Decor

This is the kitchen of two artists living in Paris.  Not surprising–is it?  The gorgeous and elaborate wallpaper was hand printed by the couple and conveys a sense of soul.

Wallpaper in Kitchens with Character on Motley Decor

A beacon of malachite is visible through a cutout that reveals the kitchen of Juan Carretero’s apartment.  The green wallpaper calls to one in a way that makes one understand where Jay Gatsby was coming from when he gazed across the bay at the Buchanan’s dock each night.

Kitchens with Statement Wallpaper on Motley Decor

Channeling a Moroccan vibe, this wallpaper is easier to install than tile.  It also makes ordinary kitchen utensils look like an artistic still life.

Clearly wallpaper is one way to lavish style on your kitchen.  This blog post is titled “vol. 1”, because it’s not the only way.  I have a few more to share with you over the coming weeks.  So please stay tuned.




A Fortuny-Inspired Footstool

Fortuny fabrics are distinct, romantic, and have been celebrated by A-list interior designers since Elsie McNeill Lee, a New York based decorator, stumbled across them in 1927.  Today, they still impart a sense of luxury and good taste to any space they occupy.  Having long admired these unique textiles, I was moved to take a stab at creating my own Fortuny-inspired fabric and recover an old footstool scored on eBay.  Here’s how I did it…

Gathering Supplies

Fortuny-Inspired DIY Tutorial


A mottled, watery background is a hallmark of Fortuny’s.  In their factory, this effect is achieved by multiple printings with specialized dyes.  For a similar, but not-quite-as-exquisite substitute, I purchased a length of cotton, watercolor batik fabric (found in the quilting section of most fabric stores) in a rich, rust-meets-burnt-orange colorway that recalls the dusty jewel tones for which Fortuny is known.


Step 2 was to find a damask-like stencil.  For this, scale was important.  The footstool I was refinishing had a cushioned area of 12″x16″, so the stencil needed to be a bit smaller and allow for some repetition.  I found this nice 9″x9″ stencil on Etsy.


Finally, there was paint.   After some disappointing experiments with inexpensive fabric paints (which proved to be too thick and transparent), I went to an art supply store, explained my project, and gobbled up their advice.

DIY Fortuny Inspired Fabric Tutorial

The nice people at Blick advised me to choose any acrylic paint and combine it with a fabric painting medium.  However, they warned me that I might have to play around with the proportions so that the mixture did not become too runny and bleed beneath the stencil.  They also cleverly suggested that I apply the paint using a lint free rag rather than a stiff bristled brush.  This turned out to be solid advice.  Supplies in hand, I got to work.


The ideal mixture turned out looking something like this:

Fortuny-Inspired Fabric Tutorial | DIY | Motley Decor

I can best describe the consistency as that of maple syrup.  Test the paint mixture on a corner of your fabric.  It should apply flat and evenly without bleeding into the fabric fibers.

DIY Faux Fortuny Tutorial

Beyond getting these proportions right, the 2 other important things were to tape and measure.  I taped the fabric to the table to avoid movement and then taped the stencil to the fabric.

Fortuny-Inspired DIY Fabric Tutorial

Then, I just started carefully dabbing away.  Once I had finished, I’d let the paint dry, remove the tape and the stencil and used a small paint brush to fill in the blanks spots where the stencil was held together by thin bars.

DIY: Fortuny Inspired Fabric Tutorial | Motley Decor

Re-positioning the stencil for the next round, I always measured the distance from the previously painted area and the edge of the fabric.  I decided to keep the stencil facing the same way for vertical repetitions, but then staggered and turned it the opposite way horizontally.  I also stenciled an area just a few inches larger than the surface of the cushion.  This gave me so wiggle room when it came to upholstering.

DIY Fortuny-Inspired Footstool | Motley Decor


After all of the stenciled areas were dry, I was ready to upholster.  Planning ahead, I had already broken down my stool, repainted the base, cut new foam, and stapled it to the base using batting.

A Fortuny-Inspired Footstool Refurbishing

Next, I positioned the design in the center of the cushion and stapled it into place.  At this point, something occurred to me that hadn’t previously.  I decided that my new footstool could benefit from some kind of decorative cord trim.  So, I ventured out again and bought a couple of yards of gold braided trim with a lip.  I used a hot glue gun to glue the lip to the underside of the cushion.

DIY: Fortuny-Inspired Footstool Refurbishing

After the glue cured, the only thing left to do was to screw the cushion onto the base.  My end result looked something like this…

A Footstool Gets a Fortuny-Inspired Makeover

Fortuny-Inspired Footstool | DIY Tutorial | Motley Decor

If you need some additional Fortuny inspiration, check out these 7 eclectic rooms that showcase Fortuny textiles.



7 Eclectic Rooms that Celebrate Fortuny Fabrics

Even if the words “Fortuny fabrics” don’t ring a bell, chances are that you’ve seen and admired them before.  Watery jewel tones combine with understated metallics to form intricate patterns–often damask-inspired.  This signature look is achieved by multi-step, printing processes especially developed by company’s wildly talented founder, Mariano Fortuny.  Today, the company is still headed in Venice, Italy by Mickey and Maury Riad who remain true to Fortuny’s original techniques and designs.  These gorgeous textiles are sold only to the trade, but even in second hand markets, fetch hundreds of dollars per yard.

Here are some stunning, eclectic interiors featuring Fortuny fabrics…

7 Eclectic Rooms Featuring Fortuny Fabrics

Alessandra Branca often uses Fortuny fabrics in her designs and her Manhattan home is no exception.  In the living room above, a pair of 18th-century armchairs is adorned in the coveted cloth.  The red and white damask pattern is fitting in space with so many other red accents and global influences: a chinoiserie cabinet, an African feather headdress, paisley lampshades, and porcelain vases.

7 Eclectic Rooms that Feature Fortuny Textiles

In a more relaxed setting, like this living room, a pair of Fortuny cushions are no less spectacular.  The towering gilded mirror and carved mantel echo the glamour of the sky blue and silver pillows.  However, the other elements in the room are muted–save the edgy, python-wrapped, Parsons style coffee table.

7 Eclectic Room with Fortuny Fabric

Designer Veere Grenney chose a Fortuny wall treatment to offset the homeowners’ art collection in this London home.  The scarlet textile was a daring choice, but the risk paid off, creating an arresting sense of grandeur.  Although patterned, the traditional-leaning print doesn’t detract from the modern art pieces.  Rather, it’s an equally matched foil that partners masterfully with the art.

7 Eclectic Rooms that Showcase Fortuny Fabrics

Like Mariano Fortuny (who was also a fashion designer and inventor), Eva Jeanbart-Lorenzotti is a jack of all trades and master of several.  Her home speaks to her creative talents with covetable furnishings that are artfully curated.  One such object of desire is that Tiplady Knole sofa, upholstered in (you guessed it) Fortuny fabric.

7 Eclectic Interiors that Celebrate Fortuny Fabrics

In this bedroom, a motley of marquis letters spell out “lover” in playful contrast to the opulently upholstered Fortuny headboard.

7 Eclectic Interiors that Showcase Fortuny Fabrics

A vision in plum, Alex Papachristidis’ enchanting dining room owes at least part of its allure to its Fortuny-clad dining chairs.

7 Eclectic Rooms that Celebrate Fortuny Fabrics


In this Steven Gambrel decorated living room, a  Cecily Brown painting, boldly bordered drapes, and a pair of Fortuny-covered club chairs combine to create a tantalizing trinity that draws your eyes to the farthest corner of the generously proportioned room.

All of these 7 spaces would be beautiful without the use of Fortuny fabrics.  However, I hope you’ll agree that the addition of this storied textile elevates each room.  Would you splurge on this fabric?  Would you try this Fortuny-inspired DIY hack?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.


© 2018 MotleyDecor.com

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑