Tag Archives: embroidery

Spotlight on Suzani

It’s no secret that we’re textile fanatics here at RHW, and today we thought we would share one of our favorites, suzani.  Suzani, a type of embroidery on a cotton base, is a staple of bohemian decorating.  The word suzani comes from the Persian word for needle, suzan.  This type of embroidery is found in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and other Central Asian countries.

Suzani textiles look beautiful used as table cloths, bed spreads, or even as upholstery.  About the only thing that could make the Louis XV chairs in the image below even more over-the-top is this bold and bright suzani.  We think it works perfectly with the loose and playful arrangement of pictures over the mantel.

This is a dining room we would love to visit.  Invite us over and we promise to wear pants that don’t have embroidery-snagging buttons on the back pockets.

In this stylish entryway, a little suzani goes a long way.  We couldn’t imagine a better pairing than the yellow pillows with that striking painting.

Amber Lewis of Amber Interiors is the master of mixing patterns and creating depth with textiles. The spaces she designs tend to be restrained with an emphasis on symmetry, and the following two bedrooms are no exception. Without the suzanis, these spaces might feel a little chilly, but the embroidery gives them just the right dose of layered texture.

Suzani is also right at home in more formal settings.  In this bedroom, rather than seeming boho or eclectic the suzani bedspread reads as a natural extension of the floor length silk drapes.

From Vogue, via Domaine

From Vogue, via Domaine

For those of us who don’t have soaring ceilings and whitewashed herringbone floors, bringing in a suzani can add a feeling of luxury.  In this room the color palette is tied together with an autumn hued bow by the beautiful suzani on the wall.  We’ll take that feather-stuffed mustard yellow English roll arm sofa, too.

Here is another example of using suzanis as wall hangings.  The textile gives a simple, square-shaped room the cozy feeling of a bed nook.  We’re not sure we’d want that shirtless man smelling his pits so close to our pillow, but otherwise . . . .

Something about the suzani paired with these delicate lace pillow cases is really doing it for us.  Lone Philodendron split-leaf required.

From "The New Bohemians" by Justina Blakeney, via Decor8

From “The New Bohemians” by Justina Blakeney, via Decor8

Which is your favorite? Mera is in love with the mismatched upholstered dining chairs in the second image, and Katie loves the simple sweetness of the last image. Happy Monday!

Good Score!

Good Score! is a weekly feature here at Red House West highlighting our readers’ secondhand finds. If you scored a great bargain at a thrift store, found a treasure on the side of the road, or discovered a one-of-a-kind gem at a yard sale, we’d love to hear about it! Please send a picture and a brief description of what, where and how much to redhousewest@gmail.com -OR- use the hashtag #rhwgood score on Instagram and each Friday we’ll share a couple of highlights.

It is our fourth week of posting Good Scores, and it has been so fun to receive pictures and stories about your found and thrifted treasures (if you missed out, you can see previous Good Score! posts here). For this week we wanted to tell you about a few recent good scores of our own, and to let you know that you can now submit your Good Scores to us through Instagram.  Simply upload a photo of your thrifted treasure to Instagram, and add the hashtag #rhwgoodscore. Send us pictures! Please and thank you!

From Mera:

This weekend I found a chair on Craigslist that I am really pleased about.  The majority of the population in Alaska moved here in the 1980s, so the furniture you find here is . . . wait for it  . . . 80s.  When this handsome non-80s fellow appeared for $30 I jumped at it (him).


It is solid, oak I think, with some really beautiful details.  The finish is pretty yucky and at some point I’ll do something about that.

chair back

The woman I bought it from upholstered the cushions herself, and they are a sight to behold!

chair cushions

For now I have the bottom cushion covered with a white plaid wool blanket, but someday I’ll get a thinner cushion and properly upholster it.

chair 2


My second Good Score! is a pretty little tea towel I bought at a favorite antique store for $5.  It has an intricately embroidered crewel peach on it:

Tea towel

I cannot begin to imagine embroidering something this fine on a towel used for drying dishes and hands.  I have been working on a crewel embroidery project off and on for 15 years, and I can tell you that if I ever manage to finish it no one will wipe their hands on it and expect to keep them.

tea towel close up


From Katie:

Well, I dragged home another down-on-its-luck shell chair – it was $20 on Craigslist – though this one is a Herman Miller office chair rather than a tulip chair. The upholstery is in less dire straits than the tulip chair (no goat beards!), but it is covered in stains of indeterminate origin. I’d prefer that the origin remain indeterminate, but I’d sure like those stains to go away.

Some of these stains are... disconcerting

So cute!…but also ew

I’m going to try giving the chair a good steam cleaning and cross my fingers that gets rid of the worst of the stains. I really hope it does! I’d love to keep the green upholstery. Happily, the fiberglass shell and the wheels are in great shape and the chair is really comfortable.

The Herman Miller stamp on the speckled charcoal-colored fiberglass

The Herman Miller stamp on the speckled charcoal-colored fiberglass


I found this amazing acid-yellow bowl yesterday at a vintage store. This store is usually pretty pricy – they definitely know what they’re selling – so it’s rare that I can afford something there or that it would qualify as a Good Score, but this bowl had some little chips in the glaze and they were asking $10.

I love the little pedestal and its relaxed shape

I love the little pedestal and its relaxed shape

It says ‘made in Italy’ on the bottom, but I don’t know anything more about it than that. Well, I do know that it makes my heart sing.


Thanks for checking out our Good Scores!  Please send us yours – either to redhousewest@gmail.com, or by uploading them to Instagram with the hashtag #rhwgoodscore – we’d love to see what you’re finding and to feature it here on Red House West. Thanks, and happy weekend!