The client wanted something contemporary, something with an Asian feel, but very restful and not so contemporary that her traditionally-styled mahogany furniture in the master bedroom would look out of place. The first thing we changed was the lighting, choosing a dramatic Asian-inspired lantern pendant and coordinating sconces from Fine Art Lamps' Singapore Moderne collection. The window treatments came next. I didn't want to drill into the marble tile on the wall above both windows, so I knew I wanted decorative ceiling hooks for these swag treatments. When I couldn't find stock ceiling hooks with the right look for this project, I designed these geometric wrought iron ceiling hooks to coordinate with the light fixtures and had them custom-made for this client.
So, fast forward to today. The grasscloth wallcovering needs to be stripped and replaced, and the window treatments were most likely tossed into a dumpster because they were so badly damaged by smoke and soot. It's sad, but at least with good insurance coverage everything can easily be replaced, right?
WRONG!! The embroidered silk fabric has been discontinued from the mill in our colorway, it was exclusive to Pindler & Pindler so I can't source it anywhere else, and there is no stock available. I begged P&P to custom order another bolt for us from the mill, but the answer was no. I was told that this fabric was still available in Hot Pinkish Red colorway (no!), Sickly Mint Green colorway (no!), or Weirdly Orange-Yellow Gold colorway (no!). I searched the designer showrooms for hours, with the assistance of the showroom staff, and we could not find any acceptable substitute for this fabric.
However, I found a couple of terrific resources, and I am going to have this fabric recreated on plain silk taffeta by a custom embroiderer. Richards Jarden of Embroidery Arts is custom-digitizing the embroidery motif in a commercial embroidery format for me, working from a scrap of the original fabric. Then Kadire Biberaj of European Designs is going to custom-embroider the silk yardage in her workroom in Virginia before sending it off to my drapery workroom for construction of the window treatments. Kadire specializes in custom embroidery for interior designers, and her monogrammed linens are in the current White House. She once recreated 80 yards of a discontinued embroidered silk fabric for celebrity designer Barry Dixon, who proclaimed that Kadire's version of the fabric was of even higher quality than the original.
I must admit, I love a challenge, and I enjoyed seeking out and finding these talented individuals. I also get a certain satisfaction from fighting back against discontinued status instead of crawling away in defeat. But the best part of all of this is knowing that my client, who has been through so much, and lost so many mementos, photos, irreplaceable antiques and artworks, will at least get to enjoy her beautiful bathroom again, with every detail exactly as it was before.