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

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

31 comments:

Jen said...

Your paisley pattern is gorgeous. Absolutely beautiful. I gotta admit, though, you totally have me stumped...I can't see the words anywhere on the pattern! And I even clicked on the picture to enlarge it.

Ellen said...

Lovely images....wonderful creativity....smiles

Cottage Blue Designs said...

What a beautiful fabric! I love it! Thanks for inspiring us! Megan http://cottagebluedesigns.blogspot.com/2011/07/update-on-bedroom-make-over.html

Karen@StrictlySimpleStyle said...

The fabric is absolutely beautiful and couldn't be more perfect for a cottage.

Wives said...

i am so in love with the paisley and that you inscribed it with something! i NEED to have this in my house - cant wait to see the other colorways you have!

Megan Lee said...

I've been to your dad's house and everything you've done looks amazing. So I can't wait to see what you do next!

Ange said...

The paisley is gorgeous! I'm not usually a big fan of Paisley, but this, I really really like!

diane@onlinefabricstore said...

Lauren...check out HFI Brands company. They may be able to provide some help with your business. Good luck

Kristy @ I Design Love said...

Your fabric is beautiful!

kayce hughes said...

The paisley is perfect! (I hope some day it will come in some bright colors.)

Jennifer said...

LOVE the paisley. and I knew it was just a matter of time before you did Queen Anne's Lace! love it.

Laura Stockett Roberts {Eclectic Etcetera} said...

What a charming post! So personal. I love everything about it!

Holly Irwin Fine Art said...

This is such a beautiful post.....thank you! I just love the old china and those beautiful delicate patterns. What a treasure to pass on through the generations.

Low Tide High Style said...

How fun to decorate a place that means so much to your family! And I love the fabric, but I love it even more because you incorporated the saying and a little bit of yourself into the pattern!

Kat :)

Karen said...

What a lovely post. I love getting to know my favorite bloggers better. This bit of your history is so sweet and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I love the paisley and your artistry is amazing.
Thank you,
Karen at Garden, Home and Party

Barbara said...

You're a very wise young woman. One day at a time! I tell my kids, don't give away your power. Meaning, to own your own destiny and be true to yourself.
Be well,
Barbara@TheTreasuredHome.com

lindab said...

You lucky lucky girl. A house to go to on week-ends....MY DREAM!
Please show the whole house. I would love to see outside too. Love your blog. And Thanks...love the necklace you wear on profile pic. I got one for my self.

under spanish moss said...

Dear Lauren,

I just love your HEART...grandma Maestranzi china is so special and your children will be so excited to use it during their family holiday gatherings. So special!

With that said, follow your heart regarding selling fabric. Whatever decision you decide to make you will know you made the right decision because it was your hearts passion. Have a great week!
XO,
Renee and Angela

Elizabeth said...

Oh the joys of a summer cottage! I have so many memories of my grandparents and spending time with them.

Love your new fabric!

Gretchen O. said...

Beautiful! I think the fact are figuring it out along the way is just a wonderful testiment to "just do it, and things will fall into place". Jumping in is sometimes the hardest part...so bravo. I can't wait to see where it leads:)

Red River Interiors said...

Such a thoughtful post... love the china patterns and paisley fabric.

Fay

classic • casual • home said...

Beautiful fabric design and sentiment, Lauren. You are so wise for being so young and really a good person...your grandma would be proud.

Acquired Objects said...

I love this post because it brought such wonderful memories back to me of when our whole family would drive up to our cabin in Michigan every summer. I also loved reading about your Grandma picking raddichio along the roads because I remember getting asparagus along the railroad tracks. Later in life when shopping with with my Mom I was dumbfounded to see asparagus sold in the store and for so much money. Thank you for bring back so many wonderful summer memories.

Leah Moss said...

Lauren, seriously, you're incredible! I think that paisley is the most beautiful fabric I;ve seen, and I love the inscription.

Tessa said...

oh wowie wow that is one gorgeous paisley! great job!! can't wait to see what else you've dreamed up! xo, Tessa

Kerry said...

I read every post and I must say that this has been the most engaging since I found your blog. I could totally relate to all of the warm fuzzy, yet design related memories. The house looks like the most charming recipient of your skills and I can't wait to see the results.

thebeneblog.com said...

Love your lifes motto, recently put a Dorothy Draper quote on my blog very similar to this. Your fabric is stunning..keep at it and it will all work out exactly as it should. Sometimes not having a plan is the best way to approach things as they follow there natural course. Which ever way you decide to go they will be a success..very fresh!

Jean said...

You are so fortunate to have a summer cottage that is so meaningful in your family! It looks like such a warm and inviting place! The fabric is beautiful and will be a lovely addition to the cottage and to your grandmother's furniture and china. My family's heritage is also from Italy and I am very familiar with those radiccio salads!

rachel @ Just a Touch of Gray said...

What a special place. I can't wait to see the curtains up. And good luck with the fabric line... even where you are now is a huge accomplishment. Have a great weekend!

Kathysue said...

I loved this post and how you literally drew on your memories to produce this wonderful fabric that shows a flow and ease of a lifestyle,Love that, Kathysue

life, in small chunks said...

Love the paisley fabric and can't wait to find out how (if??) I can get some!