Well-Appointed Rooms

When selecting a needlepoint project, we often have visions of where we’ll place our finished handiwork before we’ve even picked out the fibers. Will it become a pillow and grace the living room sofa or find its way into our best friend’s kitchen in the form of a doorstop?

Luckily for us, inspiration abounds in the world of interiors where needlepoint has held a coveted space in some of the most revered rooms. Great stitchers before us including Mario Buatta incorporated charming canvases into their spaces while modern mavens such as interior designer Mallory Mathison continue to carve out a niche for beloved needlework pieces. Lending an inviting and collected sensibility, these conversation starters can be spotted in many a sophisticated setting.

Elsie de Wolfe’s private sitting room at Villa Trianon. Image via 1st Dibs.

Back in the early 1900s, needlepoint held court in none other than France’s famed Versailles courtesy of decorator Elsie de Wolfe. Guests of the grande dame of interiors were treated to tented dance floors, flowing champagne, and Villa Trianon’s rooms peppered with personality. De Wolfe’s private sitting room was bedecked with pillows emblazoned with her favorite sayings—”I believe in optimism and plenty of white paint!” and “Never explain, never complain.” 

This canvas was reproduced by the Windsor Conservation and covers the original one from 1928. When touring Castle Hill, one can see it in person. Image by David Kasabian via Architectural Digest.

Across the pond, needlepoint was also making a personalized statement at the grandest of homes in America. At Castle Hill, the Massachusetts estate of Chicago business magnate Mr. Richard T. Crane and his wife Florence, no detail was spared in creating a sumptuous manor tailored to the couple. A stitched vanity stool featuring Florence’s monogram and distinguished crane silhouettes (an ode to Mrs. Crane’s last name, of course!) sits pretty in her bathroom.

Bunny Mellon’s Oak Spring Farm Estate. Can you spy the “bunny” pillow? Image via Sotheby’s.
Here’s a close up!

Celebrated philanthropist, art patron, and gardener Bunny Mellon also had homes brimming with needlepoint. Stitched keepsakes, all created by the renaissance woman herself, lived harmoniously with her collection of modern art and antique heirlooms. As seen in Mellon’s Upperville, Virginia living room, a “You’re Nobunny Till Somebunny Loves You” pillow was a standout at the highly anticipated 2014 Sotheby’s auction of her estate.

C.Z. Guest’s cheeky needlepoint fits right in at House of Bedlam, the home of John Loecke and Jason Oliver Nixon of Madcap Cottage.

It’s often in times of regret over not nabbing a have-to-have auction lot that we wonder who the lucky bidder was that took home the prize. In the case of socialite C.Z. Guest’s needlepoint collection, we can quit guessing and delight in the well-appointed approach the gents of Madcap Cottage have taken in displaying her pillows. “Living well is the best revenge” reads one—and that sentiment is especially true if acquiring a charming needlepoint jackpot is involved! 

Tory Burch’s desk looks out onto needlepoint pillows at the offices of her eponymous brand. Photo by William Waldron via 1st Dibs.

In the case of Tory Burch, her stitched collection enjoys prominent placement in her office designed by Daniel Romualdez. A richly lacquered wall and elaborately trimmed sofa make the perfect backdrop for a mix of eclectic canvases to pop. Perhaps, in true Tory Burch fashion (cue the sizable double “T” toting lady army!), her interiors will inspire a legion to take needle to canvas too.

Mallory Mathison’s Showhouse space featuring Lycette Designs works. Image via Traditional Home.

Most recently, Mallory Mathison’s ladies’ drawing room from the 2018 Southern Style Now Showhouse in Charleston took a dazzling turn as cover girl for the latest issue of Traditional Home. Lycette Designs was oh-so-thrilled to have created a “Chardonnay & Shih Tzus” design featured as a pillow in this spectacular space along with the ever-popular “I would prefer not to” mantra. Cheerful hues and an assemblage of time-honored decorating details are the perfect setting for needlepoint treasures! 

Hopefully, these lovely and considered spaces have provided plenty of inspiration for how you’ll showcase your finished projects. As always, we adore seeing how you’re living with your Lycette so please do tag us on Instagram—can’t wait to take a peek!

First image: A Mario Buatta Kips Bay Showhouse space featuring a needlepoint pillow. Image via The Glam Pad.
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