In home decor, stripes are stars again

Solid colors yielding to bold patterns with many hues

September 29, 2002|By Charlyne Varkonyi Schaub | Charlyne Varkonyi Schaub,Special to the Sun

The young and the trendy used to draw the line at stripes. Too bland. Too boring. In other words, my darling, way too traditional.

But suddenly stripes are stylish again for everyone's decor -- from punk to posh.

Todd Oldham's ultra-hip new dorm collection for Target contains a plethora of multicolored stripes.

The cover of the August-September issue of Elle Decor featured a tres chic blue-and-white striped area rug in a room that superstar designer Victoria Hagen created for a client in the Hamptons.

And the "style beat" column in the August issue of House Beautiful features a striped wastebasket and striped shades from www.gracioushome.com.

Like many decorating trends, the catalyst for this was the catwalk. During the past two years, haute couturiers have used stripes to add sass to their styles. Ready-to-wear designers have caught on to stripes as well.

The home-fabric choices seem endless. Sizes range from pinstripe to awning stripe. Weights go from light sheers to heavy chenilles. They're made of cotton, cotton and linen blends, silk or multifiber blends. And the designs have pizazz, including tricolor cord between the stripes, palm trees embroidered on top of pinstripes and wovens with multicolored stripes inside circles that are played against a neutral background.

The leader in the charge of the stripes brigade at last spring's International Home Furnishings Market in High Point, N.C., was designer Bob Williams of Mitchell Gold. His designs are sold at Pottery Barn, Restoration Hard-ware and Crate & Barrel. Williams has used stripes on everything from beds and large ottomans to pull-up chairs.

"Stripes have gone through a whole cycle of being out of fashion and back in fashion, whether it's classic navy and white or bold multicolored stripes," says Williams. "After several years of solids, people are interested in more pattern. Stripes are the first step. We will see this trend continue for the next several years."

Williams says he realizes people may take more chances with their wardrobe than with their furniture, so he tries to walk the tightrope between too trendy and too careful. The idea, he says, is to create something fresh and fashionable that people will still be happy with in five or six years.

What's new this time around is brighter colors, like bold, multicolored, 100-percent-cotton stripes from Designer Guild's Habanera Collection and the multicolored Nameanisha cotton chenille from Osborne & Little's Moghul Collection.

Charlyne Varkonyi Schaub is a reporter for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

Stripes strategies

If you're interested in using stripes in your home, here's some advice from the pros:

* Apply stripes horizontally as well as vertically. For example, use the same fabric vertically on the chair seat and horizontally on the back.

* Use a striped rug as a focal point in a room of solids.

* Wide striped wallpaper can be an interesting yet neutral background to hang pictures and prints in a hallway.

* Add striped pillows to a beige sofa. Have a chair covered in the same stripe.

* Stripes can look contemporary as well as traditional. Good contemporary-look fabrics are Jupiter Dusk, a hand-painted linen and cotton blend from Walfab, and Georgica, a tan and black and tan 4- 1/2 -inch wide stripe from Manuel Canovas.

* Update an old set of drawers in your home. Apply an undercoat of white paint. Allow to dry, then add a second coat. Divide the piece into stripes of various widths, marking with a ruler and pencil. Use low-tack masking tape along your pencil lines to mask areas. Paint in a variety of colors.

SOURCES: Mitchell Gold, Osborne & Little Style, F. Schumacher & Co. and Glidden Paint Co.

-- South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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