From One Exotic to Another

So in the last few weeks you all have been privy to my excitement over Peter Dunham’s Samarkand fabric, seen here. Unfortunately, my excitement was ill-focused. I received the sample in the mail, looked at it in the kitchen, was absolutely thrilled, brought it into the dining room and it was wrong. More than wrong … ugly.

The dining room walls are Farrow & Ball Pointing, seen here on the left; and the trim (windows, fireplace, bookcase, wainscoting) is Benjamin Moore Wythe Blue. Seen here, these two colors look completely different than they do on my walls. The room is relatively dark with three windows total, two facing south and one facing north. The window facing north faces an old wall covered in fig vine (rampant in Charleston) and the two southern facing windows are underneath the piazza – so the light isn’t great. These two colors look wonderful by candlelight. However, Pointing looks much lighter, and Wythe Blue looks much darker. When I put the Samarkand fabric up against the wall in the evening, and then again in the daylight, the background of the fabric is so much darker than Pointing that it looks almost dirty – killing all the other colors in the fabric. Back to the drawing board.

Enter John Robshaw – another mention in a recent post. This fabric is called Ginger Coral, and I absolutely love it. The background is much lighter than Samarkand, and the repeat is not as big, which may make curtains in a smaller scale room much more feasible. I have ordered a sample of the fabric through John Rosselli in New York – we shall see.

Remember that all fabric looks different in all different light, just as Samarkand worked on the computer, and it DID NOT work in the dining room. I think that the dark nature of the dining room will bring down the tone of Ginger Coral just enough that it may be perfect. I love how this fabric is equal parts exotic and traditional – I would say that is exactly the vibe that I am going for in that dining room.

I think we should all pick up a copy of John Robshaw’s Prints. It gives wonderful explanations of block printing, Robshaw’s travels and inspirations, and interiors that he has done. Plus, let’s be honest, it would look great on a cocktail/coffee table. If you are not familiar with John Robshaw, I highly recommend visiting his website,, to check out not only his fabrics but his pillows, bedsheets, headboards … the list goes on. I will keep you all posted when Ginger Coral arrives and whether or not it is “the one.”

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