Formal personalization is appearing on furniture.
In grand houses of the late 1890s, sofa and chair backs and seats were covered by embroidered fabric or material elaborately appliqued with gimp and fringe. These days you can see examples at the Frick Collection in New York City, or the Vanderbilt Mansion in Rhinebeck, New York which are museum-homes of the period. Occasionally I spot elaborate upholstery details (such as those favored by British designer Kit Kemp) and there clearly is a growing group of skilled high-end upholsters across the country as these beautifully monogrammed upholstered chairs attest. Professional monogramming is always luxe so Christmas seems the right season to show it. I’d gladly take a chair like this as a holiday gift (or any time) even though it would look a bit formal in my house. But wait! I have tones of monogrammed hand towels so what’s the difference really? White fabric sets off a contrasting saffron Art Deco style block-letter framed monogram and coordinating pillow with utter simplicity, as this chair by California designer Andrea May (whose fabulous powder room floor we featured recently).
Across the country, the very same monogram style, done in green, was chosen for a boudoir chair by New York design Brenda Kelly Kramer. Kramer’s includes contrast welting in the monogram hue on the rolled arms and seat cushion. The styling is no coincidence – Kentucky’s Leontine Linens appears to be the current go-to source for this “Alcott” monogram, which Kramer repeated on bed linens. (Bathroom towels can be done to match as well). It’s a statement.
Professional monograms must sit exactly right on the back of a chair. So a young blogger at Dixie Delights (sorry not to give her a shout out but she doesn’t include her name on her profile!) found a budget white Waverly matelassé fabric for a wallflower of a fauteuil in her bedroom and used it to successfully transform the chair into a tone-on-tone swan using low-contrast natural linen for the monogram, double welting and lumbar roll. “While I adore a good DIY project, I brought in the professionals for this makeover,” she stated. That would be Number Four Eleven, in Savannah, Ga., which provided the monogram. Smart.