Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Blind as a Slat

One of my all-time favorite fabrics is Venetian Blind, a trompe l'oeil chintz designed by the late, great John Fowler (see it above.) If you've read Martin Wood's book John Fowler: Prince of Decorators, you've seen the print; it makes appearances throughout the book as Fowler used it quite often in his projects. I've always wanted to make shades out of Venetian Blind ever since I saw Clarence House's version many years ago. Alas, Colefax & Fowler discontinued Fowler's original print years ago, and Clarence House's version is, yes, discontinued too. I think that's why Nicky Haslam's version was met with great fanfare when it was introduced last year.

Nicky's talented Creative Director Colette Van Den Thillart was kind enough to send me samples after I inquired about the fabric. Nicky's interpretation is printed on linen, and the various colorways are gorgeous! Dovecote Grey has my name written all over it. Now I just need to find some naked windows in my home that I can dress in this fabric. Or, I can do as Colette did and have an actual dress made from the fabric. (If you want to see Nicky, Colette, and the entire staff posed in front of the print, click

Funny enough, on the same day that I received the samples, I happened to find a photo of a room designed by Madeleine Castaing in which the wallpaper looked Venetian blind-esque. It may not be a blind print per se, but you can see below that it somewhat resembles blinds. You know how I love design happenstance, so how could I not write a post on such a charming print?

Nicky Haslam's version is Shutter Stripe. Colors include Dovecote Grey, Moonlight Beige, Pomegranate Red, New Mown Green, Cloudy Lilac, and Unearthly Brown. For more information on Shutter Stripe, visit NH Design's website.

Here, Fowler used the fabric for shades in the home of Anthony Ayscought at 14 Gayfere Street, Westminster. Don't you love how you can see the sheen of the glazed cotton?

Venetian Blind also made an appearance as, what else, blinds in Fowler's early showroom at 292 Kings Road.

Here, the chintz was made into a roller shade at Yarty, a country home decorated by Fowler.

I wonder if this vignette was located in Castaing's Rue Bonaparte showroom? I'd love to know what this wallpaper's print actually is. Might it be Venetian blinds?

This Nobilis paper named "Les Jalousies" graced the entryway of the apartment of M. et Mme Yves Halard.

(All Fowler images from John Fowler: Prince of Decorators; Shutter Stripe samples photo by Jennifer Boles; Castaing photo from Decoration, Volume I (Connaissance des Arts Collection); Halard photo from Les Reussites de la Decoration Francaise, 1950-1960)


  1. I have never seen the jalousie wallpaper before. It is exquisite, and how wonderful to use in passageways. RD

  2. I have always been interested in the Fowler version, but wanted to think of a use other than a window shade. As a wallcovering in a hall, I can see the possibilities. And a dress would be delightful.

  3. Absolutely brilliant - i meant to do this myself but heavenly to have your post appear!! Thank you Jennifer. Mitch Owens said that Castaing was a big fan of Les Jalousies so i wonder if its that in her showroom?? WE on the other hand, ARE printing it in wallpaper and its divine. Have just installed in a study in Monaco in our 'pomegranate red' - i shall try and post for you. x Colette

  4. ps ...do let the Devoted Classicist know the dress, if interested, can be seen on our blog at www.nh-design.co.uk archives Oct 12 2010. I had it printed in a bespoke grisaille grey!! Enjoy!

  5. Michele from Boston9:29 AM

    Absolutely LOVED the Halard entry. I'd never seen it before. It kind of makes the walls disappear and it evokes an exotic French Colonial vibe. How marvelous of you to post it! Strangely enough, I just ordered the Fowler book yesterday after seeing another room that I had to learn more about. So happy Nicky Haslam has revived the concept. It's a shame that such inspirational fabrics are discontinued. That punchy leather Jeffersonian-style corner chair done in white really makes the whole room sing.

  6. It's a charming, chic design but not always easy to
    use on windows, due to the placement of the trompe
    "tapes" on either side. In the Clarence House version
    they were too widely spaced, necessitating seaming for
    a narrower window. Fowler's blind in the 1930s house
    was painted on. In fact it began as a painted design.

  7. This pattern is new to me, but I love it. Thank goodness NH has resurrected the essence of it. It has such positive energy and whimsy. Mary

  8. I just saw it used as upholstery on a chair somewhere and I'm wracking my brain to remember where. I was surprised to see it (and surprised to see it on a chair!) because I thought it was no longer made not being aware of NH's line. I've loved it ever since it was shown to me many years ago.

  9. Love this...thanks xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

  10. The venetian inspired wall paper totally rocks! I love it!

  11. It's held up well---absolutely chic

  12. Sue Dalgleish1:26 PM

    My favourite fabric of all time - please do a paper too Nicky

  13. LOVE! Where do I buy it? It only needs one seam....Toby Worthington! Just one seam on one side to narrow the field!

    Jeez! We have been seaming for YEARS for everything with borders!

    Good grief! All my fave carpets used to be seamed every 27 (or close) inches! I loved those seams!

    Alas; they got wider looms........most no longer need them!

    That sensational fabric for roman shades!

    Nicky Haslam is one swell genius!

  14. Venetian blinds not only work in windows but also work well in other areas of the house. The wooden varieties look very trendy in the bedroom or living room, with dark-colored slats are pretty effective at blocking out the light.

  15. Love the timeless charm of Venetian Blind fabric, a design classic in the world of decor.