Fabrics and Trims...My Favorite Part of Decorating Mountain Homes

As a designer at lake Tahoe, my work is mostly on lakeside cabins and rustic mountain lodges.  Whenever I'm asked where I start in designing a room, I have to answer, with the fabrics.  I confess that I am passionate about fabrics.  I love their textures, colors and patterns.  I love the way that fabrics have the ability to enliven, soften and warm up a room.  For me, they are the personality in any design.

Sometimes it's fun to show the design process.  Here are a series of fabric photos I sent to a client during the decorating of her stunning Martis Camp home.  Some of these made the final cut and some didn't. (See more photos of this house.)

Chivasso Osman

Meet Chivasso Osman.  This is one of my favorite mountain fabrics.  Clients often fall in love with it. The problem with Osman is that it's expensive, very expensive.  However, that doesn't stop us from using it.  I've learned how to stretch a yard or two of really good quality fabric into a pair of spectacular toss pillows, some Euro shams or, in this case, chair seats or seat backs.  I often mix or match really expensive fabrics with less expensive fabrics to keep the total cost down but the overall impact up.  Using a few yards of a beauty like this elevates an entire room.

Chivasso, Osman, see here.

Since many of my clients only visit Tahoe occasionally, in person meetings can be infrequent.  I often start my work by snapping photos of suggested fabrics and trims.  Sometimes these photos include flooring or tile samples, paint chips or wood trim, too, depending on what we already know will be in the room.  If the client is interested in what they see in the photo, I will order physical samples to be sent to their home.  In the case of this house, the client was living in Mexico City during the construction and we did not meet at all during the period of time we were making many of these decisions.  Below is the actual photo I sent her with fabric ideas for her den.  You can see below that we used the stripe and feather trim on the curtains and Chivasso Osman on the seat backs on a pair of upholstered chairs.

The client loves horses and Western artwork.  Throughout the house we've used Western details and trims.  

You can see our final finished chairs here before the room got dressed up with toss pillows and accessories.  
Some of the pillow ideas for this room.  

Evergreen, Blue, see here.  
Next, we have another mountain favorite, Evergreen by Grey Watkins.  Evergreen comes in three gorgeous colorways.  My client chose the blue.

Although not as expensive as Osman, Evergreen is just a bit pricey too, and we needed a lot of yardage for curtains in the daughter's room.  We had already used it for a dust ruffle on the bed and the budget was getting tight.  Rather than do the entire curtain in Evergreen, we chose to extend it with a pretty stripe from Calvin Fabrics (no longer available). 

Sorry for the poor quality of the cell phone photo--it's the best I have of this room.  

Finally, here are some original fabric photos sent to my client along with a sketch for a chair and ottoman in the living room.

The fabric is Lee Jofa Eric Cohler Sundance Tapestry.  Again, this fabric is expensive so we "stretched it " with a beautiful but highly affordable herringbone.  Using Sundance on the chair seat, back and ottoman top only amounted to a significant savings and yet, the impact of this gorgeous fabric is still there.  Luckily for my clients, combining multiple fabrics on one upholstery piece works especially well in mountain houses where the intended look is rustic, comfortable and casual. 

Sundance in Clay...gorgeous nubby woven texture, see here.

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