Yurdan, suzani, and me

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I recently was asked by friend and blogger Style Court, whether I had ever ordered anything from Yurdan, and if so, whether I had been pleased with the company. The answer to both questions was an enthusiastic "yes!" As soon as I replied with my answer, Beach Bungalow 8 chimed in to say that she, too, had ordered from Yurdan without any success - she never received her order. Well, that just wasn't my experience. Yurdan, an ethnic trading company operating out of Istanbul, Turkey can't afford unhappy customers at this point. Their press has been phenomenal, given that they've been featured in these magazines recently: Domino, 3 times, House and Garden (with a personal shout out from Gwyneth Paltrow), House Beautiful, Woman's Day Magazine, and even USA Today. Why all the fuss about a company based in Turkey? Suzani is why. Suzani, an embroidered fabric handmade in Uzbekistan (don't ask me what the name of their country used to be) is the hottest textile in the decorating industry today. Everyone is clamoring for a suzani and the magazines are hot on the heels of this Major Trend Alert. The Californian decorator Michael S. Smith is really to blame for this hysteria. Forsaking the ubiquitous down-filled duvet at the foot of the bed, he started placing colorful suzanis in its place. It's taken a while for the trend to take off, but boy, has it ever gone crazy now. Which takes us back to Style Court and Yurdan. While Yurdan has gotten the most press as THE place to buy relatively inexpensive suzanis, there are several other trading companies with better and bigger selections.

Of course, the best place to start when ordering a suzani is eBay. Most of the major trading companies have eBay stores and using PayPal gives one some modicum of security when ordering from a company based in a third world country. My advice, if you are looking to buy a suzani or an ikat (another Major Trend Alert textile),would be to stick with eBay, and order from an eBay store like Yurdan, Then, start slow. It took me three or four tries before I actually purchased a suzani I was happy with. Word to the wise: stay clear of the velvet suzanis (no explanation needed - think Elvis). Also, if the background looks shiny in the picture - stay clear of these too. Try to buy new, unless you are willing to shell out $1,000s+ for museum-like quality. Otherwise "antique" means holes, tears, and dirt. But be forewarned, some new suzanis bear pencil and pen marks where the embroiderer went out of line, just as a child would while coloring! Lastly, shop around Yurdan's web site. They sell a large range of exotica.



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Michael S. Smith, single handedly started the suzani craze with bedroom designs such as this one in a New York City apartment. He forever banished the down-filled duvet in favor of the colorful, embroidered suzanis.


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Close-up of a favorite suzani of mine. I'll keep it draped over my wine table during the winter only.


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I bought this piece of kilim upholstered luggage from Yurdan. It's almost too cute to use!


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Yurdan sells lots of kilim upholstered furniture like this ottoman. Pieces like this are reminiscent of the famous George Smith club chair, also upholstered in kilim.

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Another stool from Yurdan.

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Yurdan sells a large range of household goods like vases, plates, glasses, jars and tiles.

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They sell several different kinds of rugs, here - a striped kilim.

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And here, a more traditional kilim. I love to layer kilim and dhurri rugs over seagrass.

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They sell a large range of wool mohair blankets. Mostly striped, these would look great in a boy's bedroom or a country home.

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Of course I would love these shoes with jeans. I ordered the bottom pair, but they are too tight - anyone want them? Free to the first one to speak up, size 9!

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This Yurdan suzani in my bedroom is very muted - which I love. The colors are pink and green and very soft - totally different than the black and pink suzani in my family room.

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A large suzani tote from Yurdan. This would be perfect the beach.

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This is from Antiquarian Textiles, a great Ebay store for suzanis, new and old.

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Another one from Antiquarian Textiles, is at a Buy It Now price of $425.00

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Agvgera, has this suzani for sale in his Ebay store.

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In my guest room, the dreaded "shiny" suzani I warned you about. I wish someone would have warned me!!!

If you have any further questions about suzanis, Yurdan, or eBay, please e-mail me and I'll be glad to help out.

cote de Texas

Sconces

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One of my favorite blogs that I read is Things That Inspire. Sarah is the voice behind this interesting design blog and she and I email each other regularly to discuss decorating and blogging and other very important topics. Lately Sarah is wanting to talk about chandeliers and sconces and recently, she wrote an interesting blog about chandeliers. She asked me if I would then write one about sconces because she knows that I, well... really love them! Throughout my house, I currently have seven (!) pairs of lighted sconces. Most of these sconces I picked up at antique stores around town, unelectrified. This isn't really a problem because any reputable lighting store can wire a pair of sconces. Some people prefer to use candles in their sconces instead of lightbulbs, but I'm not one of those. I put low wattage, silicon tipped bulbs (7 wattage) in mine.

Another thing I do is leave my sconces on all the time. I never, ever turn mine off. Dimly lit sconces are wonderful because they're a great mood enhancer in a room. It's very atmospheric to see a low light glowing in a darkened part of a house. Rooms just comes alive when some kind of light is on and sconces are a perfect way to do this. I try to convince clients to leave their sconces on, but this is a battle that I sometimes lose (you know who you are!). They are either scared of fire or the electrical bill. These same people aren't afraid to leave a night light on, but I just can't convince them to leave their sconces lit. One person who really doesn't like to keep sconces on all the time is Ben Webb. But he knows this is one battle not worth taking on and after 20 years of marriage he's learned to live with lit sconces. I'm not going to change my mind about this and so he's resigned to living with "atmospheric lighting."

When decorating, I always try to add sconces to a design plan. Sometimes I've installed them without even telling the client beforehand that it was going to happen. I know that once they are installed and lit, the client is going to be happy, but given a chance to decide ahead of time, they would have said "no." To date, I haven't been asked to remove any yet.

Apparently I'm not the only one obsessed with sconces as their popularity seems to be on the rise. The magazine House Beautiful is running an extensive feature on different types of sconces in this month's issue. There are as many kinds of sconces on the market as there are chandeliers. Many sconces come "matched" with a chandelier, but I personally don't have any of these. I just prefer to have a sconce that looks like it was purchased separately from the chandelier. There are sconces made for the living room and dining room, and there are less dressy sconces made for a den or a porch. Some people prefer sconces in the bathroom as opposed to overhead task lighting. Recently, the owner of a company based in New Orleans, Julie Neill - Illumination for a Well Dressed Life, sent me her list of inventory. Hand made and totally customizable, her gorgeous crystal and hand turned wood chandeliers come with matching sconces. Julie Neill just discovered design blogging a few weeks ago and she is still giddy with excitement over her discovery. If you haven't visited her web site, but sure to do so here.

If you don't have any sconces in your house, take a look at these pictures below and see if the look appeals to you. Most likely you will be in agreement with me that sconces are a wonderful accessory that add a finished touch to any room. If you haven't before, take a chance and install a pair in your house - trust me, you'll be very pleased with the results.

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Julie Neill - Crystal Sconce


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Another Julie Neill - Sconce, 4 arm


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David Iatesta Sconce based on a Swedish design



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Niermann Weeks, 3 arm sconce



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Niermann Weeks again, crystal sconce



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Antique crystal sconce

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Charlotte Moss loves sconces and has them all over her apartment.

Here, 3 arm sconces on mantel


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Charlotte Moss, again, 2 arm sconces frame the mantel




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Client's bedroom with Blanc d ivoire sconces



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Antique sconce with unusual double shade



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Sconce in a foyer lights up the space



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My house - one of two period antique sconces, triple arm, from Tara Shaw



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Triple arm sconces surround a fireplace



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Ultra contemporary sconce



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Client's house with antique sconces in dining room




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One of two antique sconces in a living room

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Carolyn Roehm's bedroom with candle sconces



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Antique sconces light up a powder room



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Entry hall with contemporary sconces

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Sconces balanced on either side of armoire in a living room



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Sconces in master bathroom



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Dining room with sconces over buffet



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Contemporary sconces with red shades



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Dining room sconces frame silk curtains




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Another dining room with sconces

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Here, candle lit sconces over an antique mantel



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My house: these iron sconces complement the wood turned chandelier



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Brass candle lit sconces balance window seat



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Large wood sconces frame living room sofa


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Double tiered sconce



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Here, lantern type sconces light a powder room



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My house - large triple arm iron sconces frame a desk




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A sconce in a bath tub enclosure provides the atmosphere