Saturday, July 16, 2016


The word découpage comes from the French word découper which means to cut out. It is literally the art of cutting out printed or drawn designs and gluing them to another surface. The surface, which is usually painted or stained and may be gilded or antiqued, is then coated with multiple layers of clear varnish until the glued-on pieces no longer rise above the surface of the item.

Traditionally, 30 to 40 layers of varnish were applied to a surface and the item was sanded between each coat of varnish.

It is generally thought that the origins of découpage came from Siberian tomb art and the technique made its way to China in the 12th century.

The Chinese decorated lanterns, boxes, windows and pieces of furniture with cut-out pictures and elevated the craft to a sought-after art form.

Alligator & fish WPB 260. TB 130.

By the 17th Century, Florence, because of its formidable trading with the Orient, began to adopt many of the art forms imported from China.....découpaged art amoung them.

Flamingo & Coral WPB 260. TB 130.

Today, many companies advertise their products as découpage, but they are not. If an entire printed page is glued to a wooden basket, or lamp, or plate, it is not really découpage. The image that is glued to the object must be cut out.

Pelican & Egg WPB 240. TB 120.

The more intricate the design, the more prized the art work. It takes a steady hand and a lot of patience to cut out a coral branch, for example. As the artist cuts out the paper for a design such as this, the resulting cut-out is extremely delicate and must be handled with care when applying to a surface so as to avoid a breakage, and I might add, a breakdown on the part of the artist after investing an hour or two of cut work should the image rip.

Shell WPB 240. TB 120.

Our Boutique is filled with découpage items in many different forms. We have an antique secretary with beautiful trim work and a bamboo table with fanciful images.

Note pad Holder 48.

We have lots of wooden items, including wastebaskets, tissue boxes, trays, notepad holders. We also have lots of items under glass.

Coral charger 260.

When découpage work is done on glass, it is glued to the reverse side of the glass item so the glass acts as the varnish. Behind the image is a coat or two of paint which acts as the backdrop of the design.  The paint color must be selected with care so as to compliment the image. 

Flower Fairy plates 112. each

Sometimes the background is solid gold leaf, as seen on the lemon plate, or gold leaf that has been partially rubbed off so as to let the background paint color show through, as seen on the flower fairy plate. This method gives the plate an antique feel.

Scott Potter Lemon Plate 140.

When découpage work is done on a plate, a last coat (usually in black) is applied to the back in order to protect the painted background color from scratches. These plates can be used to serve, but must be hand washed, else your diswasher might scrub the design right off.....mon Dieu !

Daffodile Lamp 1,780. ea. (there are 2)

When découpageing a lamp base, the work is again done from the back. Before the lamp is assembled, the glass cylinder has the design glued to its inside face. Several layers of paint are then added behind the image before putting the lamp together.

Black design lamp 2,100. ea. (there are 2)

Needless to say, this is a very time-consuming pursuit and requires an extremely skilled master craftsman to execute. It is very obvious why these lamps command such high prices.

Sealife lamp 2,680. ea. (there are 2)

Currently, we have many different themes in our lamp selections. Some designs have a pair of lamps and some only a single lamp. The artist whose work is most sought after is not producing his works of art any longer, so they are more valuable then ever !

Mint green floral lamp 2,670.

In addition, we have all sorts of shapes and sizes of lamps in stock, but should you need a particular size, shape, color or theme, we can order one to fit your need from our newest artist. She will work with you to create exactly what you want.

Floral lamp 1,260. (on reserve)

Sometimes, finding just the right image can be a difficult task, so we invite you to bring in your own images for cut work and découpage, whether it be for a lamp, a box or a tea tin.

Fish lamp 950.

Some of our lamps have a stained wooden base and cap and others antique gilded ones.

Pavillion lamp 2,400.

We do have some unusual items that sport a découpaged surface. One of our lamps is actually an antique tea caddy (metal) that has been sanded, painted and decorated. 

Tea caddy lamp 2,550.

We also have a small, oddly-shaped antique container, also made of metal, that has been painted in stripes, gilded on the edges and découpaged with the prettiest wildflowers and butterflies.

The woman who made this découpaged table top, did so on a vintage bamboo side table. Several times a year, she travels the globe in search of antique furniture and collectibles that she can decorate with her extensive collection of paper cut work. I say, what a fun way to finance your travels !

Bamboo table 2,100.

 Our lamp department also has a few lampshades with découpage designs. 

Rose shades 450. each

Lampshades usually cannot withstand the same multi-varnish layers that are applied to less porous surfaces, so the cutwork normally has a little bit of a 3D effect.

Black floral lampshades 90. each

Whatever the object, you can see how découpage art can elevate its beauty. Hopefully, you have gained an appreciation of the craft and the process involved in its creation. It is truly a labor of love (and stiff fingers).

Coral cartouche shade 420.


Thursday, July 14, 2016


This window treatment was installed this week on a current project of one of our favorite clients. A beautiful Roman shade in to-die-for fabric by Meg Braff Designs has a matching wallpaper which is covering the wall opposite this window. Stunning !

Here we are having a great time with D. Beerly from Monica James Company. They popped in to show us some wonderful new lines from Ferrick Mason and Elizabeth Eakins.

Dahlia candles and soaps from D. Porthault come in these splendid boxes that make a beautiful presentation and the fragrance inside is one of our all-time favorites.

This gorgeous D. Porthault pillow-strewn bed comes courtesy of one of our lovely clients. We helped her design a perfect (and unique) monogram to adorn her coverlet that would compliment all her floral boudoirs.

A smocked Liberty of London dress from our pal in London, Patricia Smith, and a crisp white piqué frock embroidered with ladybugs from our custom house, Baroni of Florence. We found a vintage dress and sent it to Italy for Baroni to copy....and what a perfect job they did !

I'll be back with more next week, but remember to check out our Instagram account for daily postings.


Monday, July 11, 2016


Some of our very favorite (and best selling) items are napkins and place mats made by an American design house, Julian Mejia.   

These are our go-to napkins for monograms. You can order them with a plain edge, with picot trim on the edge or with picot trim on the body of the napkin, which is called an American Hemstitch. The added weight and softness of the particular linen he uses gives these napkins a formal feel while making them extremely easy to care for.


Julian offers a traditional 22" dinner napkin, but will make the napkins any size you wish. You can order oversized napkins, square or rectangular cocktail napkins or little folded tea napkins. It's totally up to you ! You can even choose to make a cloth (with or without edging) in a custom size to fit your table.

We always have all white napkins on hand at the Boutique, and a smattering of other color combos as well. These colors vary by the year. It just depends on our mood when we place our order.

Because there are so many colors of linen and colors of picot edging to choose from, you can virtually create a totally custom combination to match your china, your dining room wallpaper or your Easter dress. We've done it all !


Here, above, is just one of three pages of the picot trim you can choose from. Picot is a cotton yarn that is crocheted by machine into a edging that is about 1/8" wide. It is then applied to the edge of a linen napkin in such a way that it creates a scalloped look.

And below are three (of seven total) pages of linen color choices. This Nevada-weight linen is a heavy, garment weight linen that drapes well, wrinkles less and absorbs more (spilled wine or au jus) than your traditional linen used by most napkins companies.  For every day use, it can be hand-pressed right out of the washing machine and left to dry on top of your dryer. If you are using your napkins for a "fancy" dinner, you'll want to iron them for a nice, crisp finish.

Although the picot edge is the most ordered style, Julian has been introducing several others that we think you will love as much.

Also made from Nevada-weight linen is the contrast hem, scalloped-edge style. Shown in a two-linen combination, it is also available with a contrast hem of Liberty of London fabric (there are a multitude of prints to choose from).

In addition to the linen we are so enamored of,  Julian offers a white cotton piqué fabric as the main fabric of the napkin. To this piqué you can add a picot edge, a ric rac edge or as an interior ric rac trim as shown below.  The piqué can also be used for the scalloped-edge style with a contrast hem of Liberty fabric.

Julian uses grosgrain ribbon to trim some of his other selections, and you know how much I adore ribbon trims. There is a wide grosgrain ribbon with a contrast stitch or a skinny grosgrain, either of which can be applied to a linen napkin for a clean, modern look.

A straight edge, contrast hem linen napkin can be daring and bright as those shown below or subdued simply by using white for the body of the napkin and ecru or soft grey as the contrast trim.

Embroidered dots, ovals or lines add just a pinch of color for the tradtionalist who prefers his or her napkins to remain mostly white.


Several years ago, Julian introduced these interesting woven placemats. You can order any style in any of his woven colors and can, in fact, choose two colors when ordering the styles with a double-color weave. We are very fond of the double-color styles and will have stock in our shop by September.

Julian Mejia's tabletop collection will inspire you to create color combinations for your mats and napkins that coordinate with every dish in your cupboard. It's hard to stop once you place your first order and see the quality and easy care of his products. In fact, every napkin you have ever bought will sit undisturbed in your linen cabinet as your new "Julian's" will be decorating every placesetting, casual and formal for years to come.