Deck The Halls

adding shimmer & sparkle with fabrics, wallcoverings, and trims

Chandelier at the Metropolitan Opera HouseThe Chandelier at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House


My life as an interior designer is all about details.  I love to go to extremes whenever possible.  With the drab winter season fast approaching, I’m feeling the need for some shimmer and sparkle. Since my home is a total reflection of my life, I embarked this week on a shopping excursion in search of just that rare entity: fabrics, wallpapers, and trims that lend dramatic effects by virtue of their reflective qualities.

As I made my way through New York’s Decoration & Design Building, I popped into a few of my favorite showrooms looking for inspiration.  Confident that I am going to find what I am craving, my first stop is the Koroseal showroom, which represents some of the most vibrant lines of fresh and upbeat products.

Here I find a number of potent choices.  There are wallpapers made with micro glass beads which give off an icy appearance, hence the name ‘Ice’ in 20 colors by Luxe Surfaces.  As an apt companion Opuzen Textiles offers a fabric version, ‘Enchanting Flex’, in 21 colors.  The latter can be used for upholstery as well as drapery.   The concept just takes my breath away.

As I continued scheming at Koroseal, I also found ‘Amalik’ by Opuzen, a silver metallic viscose and cut velvet.  With my vivid imagination, I conjure up Hollywood’s Golden Age classic movies.   The first to come to mind is “The Scarlet Empress” starring Marlene Dietrich as Catherine the Great, in which she is surrounded by cold and ice, all the while swathed in sumptuous furs.

large_current_12_024Rounding out the story are two more wallpapers.  First is ‘Atlantis’ by Silk Dynasty Inc., a damask pattern on a matte strie foiled ground which features shimmering vinyl beads.  Second is ‘Paradise’ by Arte, a painterly metallic design of tropical foliage.

IMGP0613‘Amalik’    ‘Enchanting Flex’    ‘Ice’     ‘Paradise’     ‘Atlantis’


Still looking for more, my next stop is de la Cuona.   Here I found two new lustrous products.  First is ‘Liquid’, a viscose blend velvet that rivals any stunning silk panne, and second ‘Opera’, an iridescent linen that bounces light as if it were a fine lamé.   They’re supple enough to want to drape one’s body in them.

jean-harlow-and-clark-gable1Both are part of the de la Cuona ‘Relaxed Decadence Collection’ offering 10 color ways in the ‘Opera’ velvet and 14 in the ‘Liquid’ linen.  In keeping with the tradition of creating soft, textural, subtle fabrics, these additions add a new dimension to the line which I am most enamored with.

IMGP0636‘Liquid’    ‘Opera’


My last stop for the day was at Passementerie Inc., which produces some of the finest trims available to the US market.  I am proud to say that this 22 year old business is based in Long Island City, New York.   I find nothing more satisfying that being able to purchase truly luxurious trims that are made in America.


Since the firm offers 100% custom capabilities, I seldom pick anything ‘off-the-rack’.   Here I have selected a 9” silver thread bullion fringe, a silk floss and silver thread tieback, a tape, two bobbin fringes, and a key tassel.  There is enough here to definitely strike a cord when it comes to opulence.  These products are not inexpensive, but as Joseph Stegmayer the owner says “you can make any humble fabric look like a million dollars with good trimmings.”   But, he also warns “you can cheapen an expensive fabric with the wrong trim.”

In my years I’ve learned that the secret to a successful application of trimmings is volume.  Most trims should be doubled or even tripled to make a real statement.

Somewhere we lost the oomph factor that such trims can bring, but we can still add it into our work in small but poignant ways to add shimmer and style to punch-up any interior.  Without the highs and lows, the best interiors can look flat.

Whether it by candlelight or strobe, without a shimmery surface to catch and disperse the light, we are just living in the dark!

8 thoughts on “Deck The Halls”

  1. My favourites are the De Le Cuona velvets….stunning!! Merry Christmas and a happy new year from Down Under where I still try to get the christmas feeling we were used to have in Germany – but with 35 degrees and party mood everywhere it is just not working…

    1. Hi Bettina,
      yes, aren’t they simply scrumptious! You really need to see them in person. they took my breath away when I first was shown them. The colorations are also brilliant! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you as well. My suggestion would be to add some icy sparkle to your holiday decorations next year! It may do the trick! Cheers! Carl

  2. Wonderful post with great selections! I just love that chandelier at the Metropolitan Opera House! Divine! It’s nice how you mixed in the black and white photos from Old Hollywood with your shimmery fabric and trim selections.

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