This month in my series 'Decorating with Vintage Textiles' I am thrilled to share the insights of Nels Crosthwaite Eyre. Interior Designer Nels used to work for acclaimed decorator Robert Kime. Nels now specialises in English country house style with an exotic East meets West feel. She loves the traditional patterns we have grown to associate with our English homes but likes to introduce unique pieces to keep the space fresh. A clash of pattern, and no fear of colour are what make her interiors stand out. Hugely influenced by her travels, especially in Turkey and India, Nels has a passion for vintage textiles and furniture from the East. So I am delighted that she has agreed to speak to me about vintage textiles. 


Firstly, what attracts you to vintage textiles?
As with antique furniture, I love touching vintage textiles and imaging what life they have had. What sort of house? Who were the people? I am intrigued by other people’s lives and I think this is why I love older things and the secrets they hold. 
How best to display them? 
It's important to really think about how to use these pieces. Often they can be delicate e.g:  if worn/faded by the sun or intricately embroidered. You need be careful they are not placed where they may snag on belt buckles or playful pets! Some of the African textiles are quite strong e.g: Kente or Kuba cloths so can be used for upholstery and can take more wear.

How best to display them? 
Personally, I like textiles to be displayed in a relaxed fashion and simplest is best. Often adding some rings and hanging from a picture rail really allows the fabric to sing. Thrown over the back of a sofa or end of a bed are also great ways to avoid having to interfere with the textile and shows them off well. 

Where to start when using vintage textiles? Can they inspire a whole scheme?
A vintage piece can absolutely start a scheme. I am working on a Queen Anne house at the moment and the entire drawing room scheme is rooted in an old Afghan weave which I negotiated a rug dealer to give me when buying carpets. Its a scrappy thing but the colours are so warm I just fell in love with it. 

Unique creative ways of working with vintage textiles Suzanis & Kanthas?
I love using Suzanis for upholstery - a large ottoman or pretty bench at the end of a bed. The rest of the room can be really serene and then a beautiful object really holds its own. Cushions with a beautiful trim or large corner tassels always feel luxurious.