Repurposing Slip Covers in Virginia

At Kelley Astore Interiors we believe and are working towards, making interior design more sustainable. It’s a difficult balance to strike: on one hand, you want to be mindful and avoid excess waste, but on the other hand, you want each design to be perfect in your eyes and in your clients’ eyes. But humans make mistakes and change their minds – and that’s where we have to get creative and consider repurposing. Recently we upholstered two down-filled custom-made chairs and one ottoman for a client in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. They were originally covered in mauve fabric with a black floral design. I actually really liked this fabric on the chairs. However after they were made, and placed in the sitting room, we realized that the fabric was not the right choice for the design.

The rest of the room was a very neutral color palette, featuring a lot of earthy and beige tones. The walls were painted in a beautiful Farrow & Ball shade called Oxford Stone 264, which is a lovely sandy color. Against the walls and the rest of the decor, we found that the original fabric was a bit old-fashioned and stuck out in a way that we didn’t want them to. After speaking with my client, we agreed that the room wanted a more subdued and lighter fabric than what was originally chosen. Something that would compliment and blend into the rest of the design rather than becoming an eyesore. But we had already upholstered them – did this mean we would need to start over and reupholster all of it? That would take a lot of time and money…but more importantly, it would result in a lot of extra waste we didn’t need to produce. What else could we do?

The Solution

This is when I realized a simple, quick, and easy solution: instead of starting over and re-doing the entire project, we could have slipcovers made! So that’s exactly what we did. This meant that we could completely transform the way the chairs and ottoman looked without wasting unnecessary time, effort, and materials. Together we browsed through a variety of different fabrics and settled on a gray/black and off-white ticking stripe patterned fabric from Pindler (my favorite place to source fabrics!) We were able to bring samples of this fabric into the space, and we knew that it was perfect.

My workroom ladies got busy stitching the slipcovers, and they were done in no time. Afterward, we installed them over the original cushions. After a quick steam, the chairs and ottoman were completely transformed. Looking at them, you would never be able to tell that slip covers were being used. My client absolutely loved the modern edge of the striped fabric. To add color and balance back into the design, we paired them with lovely little red cushions. I think the chairs and the room look absolutely fantastic. My client was happy, and the best part of all was that very little waste was created in the process! I will definitely continue using this trick in the future.

Try it yourself!

If you love all things design and fabric, be sure to check out our latest article on our 2021 Autumn Color Palette featuring plenty of fabrics from Pindler. To pass the time this fall, why not learn how to make your own slipcovers to easily transform a furniture piece you already own? This trick really does open up so many opportunities, and I couldn’t be happier. 

Bespoke Upholstery for 2021: Living Room Remodel

Your living room is one of the most important rooms in your house. It’s where you unwind, spend valuable time with your family, and welcome guests to relax. The way your living room looks can make or break an entire house design. When working with clients on living room remodels, we always recommend they use bespoke upholstery. Bespoke Upholstery comes with many benefits, from sustainability, creative control, and individuality. Today we’ll be taking you through a living room remodel that used bespoke upholstery to bring the design together.

The Remodel

We started with a pretty blank room. It had a beautiful piano and a wall hanging sitting on the floor. The room had beautiful large windows and the walls were painted in a neutral color with bare wooden floors. The client wanted to continue with a neutral palette, and have gray be the main color. The first step was to install beige-toned carpeting to separate the space from the rest of the floor plan, and to create a more welcoming, cozy, and comfortable living room.

We agreed that bespoke upholstery was the best way to go: it gave us the most control over the design and ensured that the furniture and drapery would be of the highest and longest-lasting quality. Rather than going with a sofa set, we decided to use four armchairs to create a sitting area around a small round table. Armchairs are often cozier than sofas, and using four of them to create a sitting area helped to section the room off. We upholstered the armchairs in a textured gray fabric from Kravet. We made sure to use a textured fabric and add a decorative stud trimming to the armchairs to add dimension and details for the eye.

To match the armchairs, we used heavy gray linen from Kravet for the custom drapery. This room was on the smaller side and didn’t have exceptionally high ceilings, so we made sure to hang the drapes as high as possible and to have them reach all the way down to the floor to create an illusion of taller ceilings and a larger room. The piano stayed in the same general location by one of the windows, so we added black cabinetry on the opposite side to balance out the black of the piano. Two lamps with white shades and gray bases were added on top of the cabinets to provide soft lighting in the evenings. We then added in a small round table that had a grey top with black legs to tie the gray and black together.

The client wanted an ottoman, so we upholstered one in a textured orange fabric from Romo. The final step was to tie the entire design together with details and decor. Every armchair needs a cushion, so we had four throw cushions custom made using a gray and orange patterned fabric from Romo. These cushions were crucial in tying the design together. They had a few tones of gray, dark, and light, which tied the black piano/cabinets together with the gray armchairs and drapes. They also have just a few strips of white and orange running through them that matched perfectly with the ottoman and lamps. We hung some matching wall art of nature and used orange flowers and leaves to decorate the piano and cabinets, completing the nature theme. Lastly, we added a few smaller details such as coasters, a house plant for the coffee table, and a few books.

Overall this was a super successful design, and I’m delighted knowing that my client gets to enjoy this living room with their family for many years to come. Design is making a composition of items that are different but still match and complement each other. Going with bespoke upholstery and custom-made cushions and drapes allowed us to have full creative control. If you are looking to remodel, we highly suggest choosing bespoke upholstery for 2021.

Looking to remodel?

Among interior designers in Northern Virginia, we are nearly unique because virtually all of our cabinets, upholstery, and window treatments are completely custom-designed by Kelley and produced to her precise specifications by craftsmen here in the area. You can be assured that our designs will be expertly tailored for your living environment, and you will not find these elements of your design appearing anywhere but in your home. Head to our services page to get started today!

Cozy Design Ideas For Winter

Whether you’re a fan of winter or not, the colder months mean spending more time inside. You want your home to be a comforting place to welcome in snowy mornings and long nights. Here are four easy design ideas and tips to transform your home into a winter haven!

Lamps & Alternative Light

Ceiling lights are very bright and great for getting those last few hours of work done after the sun has gone down. But after work when you want to wind-down, they’re usually a bit too harsh. Having alternative sources of light is the easiest way to create a cozy atmosphere. Get a few lamps for different corners of the room. Compliment the lamps with different sized candles placed on tables and mantles. Another easy way to achieve softer, cozier lighting is by switching to dimmable light bulbs in your overhead lights. Many of them can be controlled on your phone or with a remote control, so transitioning from work into evening can be as easy as a swipe on your phone!

If you already have some lamps and are looking to change a room up, consider getting some new lamp shades! One of my favorite places to get lamp shades is from a British company called Vaughan Designs. The owner, Lucy Vaughan, is a wonderful and inspiring British woman. I have purchased lighting, chandeliers, lamps, and lamp shades from Vaughan for over 25 years. I couldn’t recommend her products enough! They are sold in the DC area exclusively at Hines Showroom at the Washington DC Design Center.

Tip: When setting up your lighting, be sure to purchase all light bulbs in the same hue: fluorescent lights offer a different experience than warm lights. I would always recommend warm lights for a cozy, winter atmosphere.

Create a Reading Nook

With more time to spend inside, the winter is always a fantastic time to catch up on some reading! Setting up a corner of your home dedicated to reading will make it easier to focus when you do sit down to read. If you have an armchair or even some comfortable cushions, find a corner in your house to set up a reading nook! Dress the armchair with a throw blanket or a cushion to curl up with while reading. Bonus points if you’re able to find a corner by a bookshelf!

Tip: When visiting your reading nook, leave your phone in the other room, switch on a lamp, and enjoy a break from the screens!

Chintz is In!

If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that I love Chintz! This timeless, floral pattern has a certain British charm to it that can brighten up a room and bring a lovely nostalgia into a design, perfect for winter. There are endless ways to incorporate Chintz into your home. Whether you opt for Chintz curtains as seen here, a more subtle look with chintz pillows, or full-out chintz wallpaper, there’s an option for everyone. These curtains here are lined with Bump Cloth, a heavy flannel material from England to add extra insulation and warmth. These curtains are definitely one of my favorite parts of my master bedroom and always brighten up my day! The chintz pictured here is from Lee Jofa.

Tip: Layering or juxtaposing different patterns, like this flannel pattern to outline the chintz, provides texture and depth to the design, and makes the chintz pop.

Kilims & Rugs

Kilims are a type of flat-woven rug traditional to the Persian empire. They typically have beautiful geometric designs, and are an easy way to add some color into a room. Having good rugs is most important in winter to provide additional warmth to the space. Walking on cold hard floors is hardly the cozy feeling we’re trying to achieve. Rugs are also a great way to separate a space into different sections. A rug or kilim is often the first place I’ll start when designing a room, because of the variety of colors they offer. I can choose different items in the room to coordinate with each of the separate colors.

Tip: Place a smaller kilim underneath your arm chair to section off the corner as your reading nook!

The Possibilities are Endless!

These are just a few ways that you can create coziness in your home. As always, the best place to start is with yourself. When you close your eyes and think about feeling warm, comfortable, and safe, what comes to mind? Allow that to be your starting point and make sure each element you incorporate will help you achieve that feeling!

For help in designing your winter home, visit our services page to find out how we can help you!

Kelley Astore Interiors

Expert Interior Design & Renovation Services of Every Style.

Where We Work

Northern Virginia, Washington, DC,
and the Greater Washington Area


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