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One of the things keeping me busy this summer was an amazing vacation in Virginia where the boys enjoyed all sorts of traditional ‘boy’ activities such as crabbing, fishing, building sandcastles, foraging for bugs (of which there were plenty) and the like. Meanwhile, the girls, took advantage of being officially in the South and escaped to the local quilting store.

Now, I’m no quilt expert (in fact, I can barely sew on a button), but I know a piece of textile art when I see one. So you can imagine how pleased I was, on my return, to find an email introducing me to a fabulous online textile store, Darjeeling Cotton.

This is my favorite of the patchwork quilts on offer. Bold, simple colors and a classic design that would look great in a girl’s bedroom or even in a modern family room.

The handblock quilts are also stunning. I particularly like the Crimson Buti range (above).

The Flower Garden design (above) is a little more traditional but would be stunning against white sheets. Indian handblock prints are very ‘of-the-moment’ – and for good reason. They look fresh, authentic and pretty, while giving any space an eclectie, personal touch.

Best of all,  for every quilt sold Darjeeling Cotton donates $12 toward educating a child in a developing country. So you can feel good while indulging in something beautiful for your home…

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There’s something very satisfying about using natural materials and textures in design.

Take this room, via Kika Reichart, for instance. A simple color scheme and sparse furnishing leap into life with the use of tactile surfaces and fabrics made from linen, wool, plywood, sisal and hessian. I’ve always loved this look and longed to have the discipline to carry off an all-neutral space dressed with with scrubbed wooden tables and white linen upholstery.

No surprise then that the trend toward using burlap in the home has had me intrigued for a while. Of course, designers, and the more adventurous amateurs among you, have used burlap, linen, hessian, rope and similar materials in all sorts of unusual ways for some time. But now it seems that even the major home stores are going wild for the look. And it’s not just plain linen drapes that they’re pushing. I’m talking straight-from-the-flour-mill, shake-out-the-sawdust, sackcloth-turned-decor here. Welcome to the era of Hopsack Chic.

Take these pillows from Restoration Hardware, for example. Now this is a store that is known for polished fixtures and sumptuous leather sofas. But here we have what appear to be converted (wool?) sacks?

Pottery Barn continues its love affair with numbers and text, this time with a distinctly agricultural feel.

And even more so with these pillows, seemingly made from coffee sacks (also Pottery Barn).

Anthropologie keeps it feminine with these pillows which, despite the floral emblem, still look like they were made from something altogether more utilitarian.

So, if you like the look of Hopsack Chic, what else can you do to apply it at home?

Some simple linen tablecloths would be a good start (via Katy Elliott).

Or, if you want to push the boat out – an elegant chair recovered in coffee sacks, anyone? Via Sumner Design.

A stamped burlap headboard might be more your taste. Via Poppytalk.

Personally, I’d opt for a less literal interpretation and fill my place with beautiful linen tufted sofas like this one from Anthropologie.

Then I’d go for some tree stump side tables, like these from West Elm.

And a twine lamp from Anthropologie to complete the look. And there you go – Hopsack Chic!

What do you think? Chic or eek?

The design discoveries and dilemmas of a Brit in San Francisco as she turns a house into a home.
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