The Home Snob

Old and New: Wicker with Tropical Barkcloth Prints

Posted on: October 24, 2008

Courtesy of the Molly Brown House Museum

Courtesy of the Molly Brown House Museum

While preparing Wednesday’s post on canopy beds, the Home Snob discovered a curious thing:  Wicker and rattan furniture with tropical upholstery looks equally at home in the Victorian Molly Brown House and the Domino “bedroom on a budget.” This would be one of those trends that the Home Snob promised to cover (see The Home Snob Manifesto) – a trend that won’t make your grandchildren question your sanity, now or later.  And it’s a look that’s easy to achieve.

How to Get the Look – the Furniture

High End: Call it coincidence or call it fate, but Maine Cottage offers a wicker chair called the Molly Rocker ($990)* that would look right at home in Mrs. Brown’s house. It comes in a choice of 40 colors and fabrics.  (Or for a closer capture of the vintage look, see the sources for barkcloth fabrics below.)  Maine Cottage has a great selection of wicker and rattan, and we think any of their chairs, loveseats and rockers would carry this look.

Courtesy of Hotel Surplus

Courtesy of Hotel Surplus

Budget: Hotel Surplus Outlet of Van Nuys, California, currently has a limited supply of chairs that originated from the high-end, beachfront Casa Del Mar Hotel in Santa Monica ($189.95).  And though Hotel Surplus doesn’t offer shipping as a standardized part of the sale process, the staff is friendly and does their best to help customers meet their shipping needs.

Caveat: Wicker furniture with scalloped edges, curlicues, flourishes, and wood framing runs the risk of being clichéd, unless it’s bona fide vintage.  To avoid that risk, shake the cliché by painting your wicker an edgier color (e.g. black or gray) and reupholstering the cushions with sharp, modern geometrics or abstracts or “retro” prints.

How to Get the Look – the Fabric

There’s a plethora of sources to choose from, and prices generally range from under $10/yard to $55/yard.  Look for barkcloth** fabric in cool vintage tropical prints.  (We especially like Full Swing Textiles‘ prints, which manage to look both vintage and fresh.)  Curious souls can learn more about barkcloth at True Up (blog) “About Barkcloth”.

The Seam Shoppe
Key West, FL
(305) 296-9830
www.tropicalfabricsonline.com

Hawai’i Fabric Mart
Various locations, HI
www.hawaiifabricmart.com

Barkcloth Hawai’i
Honolulu, HI
(808) 422-4321
www.barkclothhawaii.com

Big Kahuna Fabrics
Niles, IL (near Chicago)
www.bigkahunafabrics.com

Full Swing Textiles
Duxbury, MA
781-934-6781
www.fullswingtextiles.com

J&O Fabrics
Pennsauken, NJ (near Philadelphia)
(856) 663-2121
www.jandofabrics.com

* All prices are as of the date of posting.  Contact company for up-to-date pricing.

** Coming soon to Dr. D’s Dictionary

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