I am thrilled to share the insights of Kate Guinness. I am a huge fan of Kate's work so I am delighted that she has agreed to answer some questions about vintage textiles. Kate Guinness Design is an interior design and decoration studio based between their West London studio and Wiltshire. Having launched in 2016, Kate and her team specialise in creating interiors with an authentic sense of accumulation through combining antiques, fabrics, colour and art.
Firstly, what attracts you to vintage textiles? An ever-stronger focus on sustainable choices, we are always looking to be more green whether it be through using antiques, vintage textiles or adapting existing pieces to suit new purposes. I also love vintage textiles for their unique antique qualities and the fact that no piece is ever the same. Furthermore, they often require us to be extra creative as they are usually only available in limited quantities.
How do you go about incorporating them into your work? We specialise in creating interiors with an authentic sense of accumulation: juxtaposing contemporary works of art and vintage textiles with antique and mid-century furniture, which results in projects anchored by timeless details that feel lived in rather than styled. Combining the old and the new always seems to balance each other out and work well.
How best to display them? The list is endless but a particular favourite has been the stretched Kente cloth from Adam Bray hung in a kitchen of a recent project of ours. If you love a particular vintage textile but think you might want to move it around over time, it may be worth having it prepared as a wall hanging and using a pole system in your project. That way it can be enjoyed in various different spots over the years without bashing your walls too many times.
Where to start when using vintage textiles? Can they inspire a whole scheme? Absolutely! However, the thing we have noticed about vintage textiles is that it can be incredibly difficult to find exactly what you’re looking for at the moment you need it. Our top tip would be to pick things you love up as you see them and to then weave them into a scheme when you create one – one of the easiest ways to incorporate vintage textiles is through cushions. Depending on what you can find, you can mix a couple of cushions made from vintage textiles in with newly-made ones or create a whole pile of vintage ones. This can be done at the outset of a scheme or woven in when you have the main building blocks of the scheme already done, so it’s very flexible.
Unique creative ways of working with vintage textiles Suzanis & Kanthas? They are hugely versatile and can be used as bedspreads, wall hangings, throws, tablecloths, picnic rugs, for upholstery… the list goes on. It’s often worth thinking outside the box when using them, for example with upholstery, chairs and sofas can have contrasting backs or seat cushions - this not only adds interest but can help use up smaller quantities of vintage fabrics where you might not have enough to cover the whole piece of furniture.