“Who makes the finest furniture?” “What is the best fabric?” Interior designers deal with these and many other questions every day. In honor of this issue’s “Best Of” feature, this month’s column focuses on some of the bests in Interior Design.
What is the best X? With all of these questions the answer is really, “it depends,” but if we begin with the assumption that money is no object and the use is high-end residential, here are the answers we supply to our clients.
What is the best fabric? There are many amazing fibers and numerous applications. In general, the best drapes are made from silk, and that silk is either embroidered or woven into a brocade. As for bedding, natural linen is what we consider to be the best choice. And when it comes to upholstery, while we love a good herringbone or chenille, the best is usually velvet. Typically mohair is the premier velvet, but silk velvet is pretty amazing, too.
Pro Tip: In the realm of exotic you could upholster with an Epingle (a 14th century wire woven fabric) or better yet…Vicuna wool. Vicuna is to Alpaca what Alpaca is to Llama.
How is the best cushion constructed? No matter how “advanced” a manufacturer claims their multi-zone foam cushion is, it’s simply not as nice as a properly made down- and feather-wrapped, eight-way hand-tied coil spring cushion. Supported by a weave of jute webbing, cushions made in this fashion not only are the most comfortable, but they last far longer than foam – memory or otherwise.
Pro Tip: We have mentioned it before, but it is worth repeating. There are hypo-allergenic downs and cruelty free downs. Neither you nor the fowl need suffer for your comfort.
What are the best floors? While most people will argue hardwood or marble, (and we’d ask that you also consider cork; it’s beautiful, forgiving, resilient, and green), it’s what is under your floor that’s more important to us. The very best floors found in the very best places are heated. Radiant heating will keep your feet warm and your energy costs down.
Pro Tip: Radiant heating has been around for centuries. It is one of the most efficient methods of heating your home, and since the invention of cross-linked polyethylene (PEX), any risk of serious issues has greatly decreased.
What material makes for the best countertops? Once again our old friend marble is the first to many people’s lips. It is beautiful, and without any consideration for maintenance or expense, it’s definitely a top contender. However, we suggest you look into an option that doesn’t even appear in most searches for countertop material… porcelain. The queen of clays, porcelain can be manufactured in slabs for use as a countertop. Heat resistant, easy to clean, and very durable, porcelain is a popular choice across Europe.
Pro Tip: Make sure that your installer is familiar with working with porcelain slabs. While the material is gaining popularity in the United States, there are still far fewer installers who have worked with it than other countertop materials.