31 July 2009

Guest Post: Cote de Texas Blog

Gold Notes wraps up its first anniversary coverage with a guest post from one of my favorite design blogs, Cote de Texas. Joni Webb, CdT's creator and author extraordinaire is also a terrifically talented interior decorator.

As the blog's name implies, Joni lives and works in the Lone Star State -- the greater Houston area, to be specific. Her blog, however, casts its discerning eye across the pond to France, covering all things French Country and French Country-inspired.

Since I'm an enthusiast of European country styles, I just had to ask Joni to share some of her Cote craft with Gold Notes readers.

Merci, merci, merci!

Joni gets bullish on burlap

In honor of Gold Notes' one year anniversary, blogger Jamie Goldberg graciously asked me to write about a trend I see for the upcoming year. Well, this trend may be still be upcoming, but we are actually in the throes of its tidal wave right now. Feedbag chic, burlap design, grain bag fashion - call it what you want, but call it hot, hot, hot!

Everywhere one looks these days, there are signs of it: burlap is used for curtains and pillows, lamp shades and beach totes. And following right behind all the burlap are feed and grain bags! Yes, all those bags that are used to hold beans and coffee are the chicest things on the market today. The bags are being used to upholster chairs and settees - both new and antique; pillows, bolsters, mattresses and rugs are being made out of them. The more valuable vintage bags are framed and hung on the wall. The older the bag, the more expensive it is, but older pieces are also rare and not quite as hardy.

To deal with the demand and the scarcity of vintage feedbags, entrepreneurs are now manufacturing faux bags stamped in Eastern European lettering to lend a degree of authenticity. It's true the vintage materials are softer and faded, but the newer versions are cheaper and in most cases, better for upholstery purposes.

A pillow on your sofa tomorrow, perhaps?

People are wondering if feedbag chic is tied to our faltering economy. No, it's really not. These materials were becoming popular before our stock market took its nosedive. But it does make for a better story: we're so poor now, we are being forced to use burlap to upholster our furniture. Sounds good - but it's just not true.

Vintage bags on vintage chairs

As does Elle Decor

Feedbag chic used in interiors is either beachy or dressy. Yes, it CAN be dressy. Antique French furniture is now sporting the lowly material on its gilt frames. The burlap craze is found both in the living room and the laundry room - there are no rules when using it. Whatever your application is -- curtains, pillows or sofas -- just don't go overboard with it. As fast as you can say "feedbag" - we're all going to be staring at it, wondering, "what we were thinking? Feedbags? Were we crazy?"

This summer Elle Decor magazine got on the feedbag bandwagon, big time. Here - a bench is loaded with several different types of feedbag pillows.

Elle Decor: Burlap curtains are dressed up with black grosgrain ribbons.

And, again Elle Decor - this living room is trend central with its grain bag hemp pillows, large peacock, railroad luggage cart, train station sign, black and white photographs, finials - wow! The only trends missing are zebra and coral.

And her designer colleagues and sources

Dan Marty has championed this trend in his new showroom in Los Angeles. Marty is now synonymous with the chic grain bag look. Here, faux vintage bags with foreign print are used on dining room chairs.

Hemp grain bag pillows and rail station clocks - another hot trend

Settee covered in vintage red gunny hemp - Dan Marty Design

German grain bags? I doubt it! But they are great looking, nonetheless.

Old or new? Hard to tell these days.

Definitely new - the art of lettering is a related trend

Feedbag framed to hang on the wall Vagabond Vintage sells these to use as runners or rugs.

Joni expounds

There are many different bags, totes, cushions and other shapes made out of burlap feedbags on the market now. When Target gets into the trend, sell!

This is how chairs used to look before they were upholstered - burlap is used to hold the horsehair cushioning in. Suddenly, this looks fresh! Picture from Shawn of Country French Antiques blog.

Again, is this finished or ready to sell? Hard to tell.
From Shawn, Country French Antiques

In the Tanglewood House, I used vintage grain bags I found on Ebay for pillows. But, the client also received pillows made out of the Ikat fabric to use when the trend has passed.

Over a decade ago, Houston interior designer Carol Glasser used burlap in a way that had never been seen before. Today, it's common place.

Aidan Gray is one of the hottest decor companies -
this chaise, half burlap, half linen is OUT OF STOCK. What a shock.

And concludes

How long is the burlap/grain bag trend going to last? No one can say for sure. But if you love it, go for it. Just remember to go small, and don't make a huge investment. This way you won't be out of a lot of money when you retire this to where your put your suzanis and faux deer head!!!


  1. Thank you so much for including me in your anniversary series!!!! Much appeciated and Happy Anniversary!

  2. I love your site and I love using golden accents. I haven't gone to burlap yet;adore a great mix of fabric. Designs in fabric are often my inspiration for the colors in my paintings.

  3. Thanks, Jamie and Joni! Learned so much about creative burlap ideas and the current trend. Happy Anniversary, Jamie!

  4. Happy Anniversary Jamie! This was a delightful post to read!

  5. There are certainly a lot of details like that to take into consideration. That’s a great point to bring up.

  6. I like your blog info.
    Thanks for sharing with us.

  7. I love your site and I love using golden accents. I haven't gone to burlap yet;adore a great mix of fabric. Designs in fabric are often my inspiration for the colors in my paintings.
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  8. now I'm still living in my parents' house, but someday I want to make a new home and live with my wife. I really love it when I found this blog, because I dream of having a nice house interior design. this blog makes me inspired. Thank you very much

  9. Very nice decoration.Thank you very much for valuable ideas.Thank you very much for sharing.I love this. Shed Plans

  10. After viewing your site i want to redo my whole house. Thank you for the inspiration. I can't wait to get started.

  11. Those feedbag prints are gorgeous! They've got the old-world charm to it.


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