COTE DE TEXAS: Pillows and More!

Pillows and More!


I’m a huge fan of using pillows in décor – well, I guess everyone is! But whenever I am designing a room, I give the pillows a lot of thought – it’s not something that I just leave to the last minute. Lately I like two kinds of pillows - either velvet or “antique” pillows, made from old textiles like pieces of tapestry, Fortuny or appliqued stump work.



In this living room, I used brown velvet pillows. I usually like to put only 2 or 3 at the most on a sofa. Lately, I use a plain seam with a hidden zipper so they can be cleaned. Depending on the height of the sofa back, I like to use 22” to 26” – never smaller. And, I like to pop the pillows instead of having a bunch of smaller, assorted pillows that don’t make as much of a statement.


Here, two plain velvet pillows, with smaller lumbar sized zebra print to pop the brown linen.


For this client, I used the same formula –2 24” inch pillows, but in a linen print that is on the chairs – for a punch of color. Another idea I use a lot is repeat the drapery fabric on the pillows.


Last year I showed this house designed by Suzanne Kasler HERE. The house was up for sale so we were able to see the house how it appeared in House Beautiful versus how it looked after all the styling accessories were removed. One thing that struck me was how important the pillows were to this design, but the owner obviously didn’t agree, as she didn’t buy the ones that Kasler used for the photoshoot. Here, in the living room, the chairs and settee are pillowless.


And here, you can see the pillows that Kasler used. She brought applique stump pillows from BViz – which add the perfect touch to the room. It looks so bare and plain without the luxe pillows.


And across the room, after the room was unstyled.


And as seen in House Beautiful with the pillows brought for the photoshoot. Two plain pillows with one fabulous, large tapestry pillow. These pillows are from the Louisiana firm, BViz, owned by Rebecca Vizard.


Here, after the styling accessories were removed, a set of flat, lifeless looking pillows sit in the chairs.


Here, the pillows that Kasler placed in the chairs – with a beautiful velvet background. It looks like the pillows were made for the chairs. Notice also the shelves and mantel and mirror that Kasler styled, which was dismantled by the owner. At the time, my comments were – why use the best designer but then not let her finish the job?


Rebecca Vizard of BViz, looking out at a Louisiana swamp, wearing a fabulous suzani coat. (Becky – I want that coat!!!!!) Vizard creates the prettiest pillows, period. They are impossible to beat. She uses vintage Fortuny, damask, tapestries, embroidery, stump appliques, toile, suzanis, needlepoint, brocade – and who know what else! Her work is exquisite. Recently she teamed up with a fabric house to design a new line of pillows – more about that further down!


I used two BViz Fortuny pillows and one stump work pillow in Elisabeth’s bedroom. In fact, I bought the pillows first and then decorated around them!


BViz pillows are everywhere. If you open a magazine and see a beautiful pillow that is more like an antique than a pillow – it is probably a BViz, like these, by designer Eleanor Cummings.


Here Cummings used another BViz pillow on this French daybed. Love this!


Jane Moore used BViz Fortuny pillows in her living room.


And another on her bed and chair in her townhouse.


Pam Pierce used BViz pillows in this house published in Veranda.


In this family room, Atlanta interior designer Barbara Westbrook used velvet pillows mixed with tapestry pillows from BViz.


And she used another smaller BViz next to a large antique tapestry and a tapestry covered bench. So pretty!


In the bedroom, she used two smaller BViz tapestry pillows to pop her bedding.


In this townhouse, Ginger Barber used Rose Tarlow fabric on pillows, along with a smaller stump work pillow from BViz. This small size is nice to add a soft texture. I love the stump work pillows.


Phoebe Howard is a fan too – in her own apartment she used this large, velvet backed pillow made of an antique fabric.


Gerrie Bremermann continually uses BViz pillows, as seen here.


Gorgeous tapestry pillows used by Bremermann. I love the larger size!


In this living room, Bremermann used a few pillows from BViz.


Babs Watkins and Eleanor Cummings used an assortment of BViz – some Fortuny and some stump work. Love this room.


And in the study, more Fortuny pillows from BViz.


BViz pillows are not just for formal French rooms, here in a colorful interior, her pillows fit right in!


And these might be my favorite! Suzani pillows used in a girl’s bedroom by Melissa Rufty.

You can order the pillows online at BViz HERE – Becky will also work with you to design a custom pillow. AND, Watkins Culver in Houston carries BViz pillows. She just had a show there this week! For more information, contact Watkins Culver HERE.

Recently, BViz partnered up with Coleman Taylor Textiles to produce a new line of pillows using their fabrics, which are subtle and have a look of a patina to them. They are reminiscent of Fortuny but with a more contemporary aesthetic. BViz designed the new Passport Collection pillows using these hand crafted fabrics. Below are some of their patterns, which come in five different colors.


And here is one of the BViz designed pillows using the fabric:


If you are in Houston, come this Friday to Segreto to see these pillows. A representative from Coleman Taylor will be there to explain how to order them, plus there will be some for sale. Friday, March 1 – from 9:30 – 4:00 pm at Segreto!



If you haven’t been to Segreto’s new space – this is the perfect time to visit! Leslie Sinclair recently renovated an old house and turned it into a gallery, boutique and office. It’s incredible how she transformed this 50s tract house into a wonderful space. She has just returned from market and everything is now arriving, so the shop is well stocked. Besides accessories, there is furniture, jewelry, and art.


Segreto’s new space. This was once the garage, hard to believe. It is so pretty!! The walls have the stucco treatment that Segreto is famous for – so if you’ve never seen in it person – this is the perfect place to experience it. But be warned, once you see it, you will want it in your house!!!


Love those paintings and the console!!


Be sure to tour the entire house to see how Leslie transformed it.


I love this office. Leslie painted the floor using her own design.

For instructions on where and when:


Call or email for more information! To see the pillow collection, be sure to go by this Friday.


  1. I used to have velvet cushions, (aka in Ameri-speak "pillows"!) with gold applique, and used to sell them for a friend who had a collection made in China/Hong Kong, about ten years ago. Unrelated, she closed her business, but I haven't really seen them around since then, or maybe I'm now more used to seeing Thai silk here, which is gorgeous, especially the Jim Thompson lines.

  2. Joni! Was so surprised and excited to see the shop on the blog!! Thank you! We are going to have such fun at the trunk show today--Love there fabrics and pillows!!!! xo Leslie

  3. Yeah! Fab post on the world of pillows of which you know I am an avid fan. I don't think that anything is as rewarding to me as hunting for the fabric, laying it out, the sewing and stuffing a pillow. At each stage it just seems to unfold before your just never know exactly how they are going to turn out. You can make a pillow from anything. Fragments, ribbons, buttons, is endless. As a pillow maker I don't enjoy anything more. xxx

  4. Beautiful rooms in this post. Thank you! I love many of the pillows too.

  5. Leslie did an amazing job on her showroom. She is very talented. As for the pillows, I have them everywhere and love to change them to give a room a new look. I cannot buy any that are really precious like BViz's or the beauties that Acquired Objects sells because, although I love their pillows, my dog Bella does too. She is like the story of The Princess and the Pea and she nests on all of them. Bad training on my part, I fear. Thanks, Joni. for the eye candy and the great sourcing and inspiration you always provide.
    XO, Victoria

  6. These pillow photos just left me....wanting more (pillow fettish!!) Incredibly gorgeous...they really are pieces of art. Perfect! franki

  7. Joni, Fabulous post. No one makes pillows like Becky. Another interesting topic about her is what she has done for the employment and economy of her small town in out-state Louisiana. She could very easily have had the pillows made who-knows-where, but instead, she has a thriving local business. Your posts always make my day - always so many good ideas and information. Thank you!

  8. I like the arm chairs at the Segreto site. I wish I live closer to Houston. All the pillows showed are lovely. Congrats for this new post!

  9. To me pillows are the jewelry of a room. Often however, they are after thoughts by many decorators who don't put the same importance
    on them as they should. Becky's pillows are nothing short of fabulous. It was great to revisit them in this post.

  10. Segreto should have an online store for those of us who don't live nearby! Gorgeous!!!!

  11. So interesting-starting with your fabulous living room that has surely inspired so many followers as it has me :) The pillows are beautiful and make a statement, much like that special piece of furniture that pulls a room together. They were all beautiful and enjoyed seeing many of my favorite rooms. The picture of Becky was beautiful and reminded me of the Tammy movies with Debbie Reynolds, Sandra Dee and John Gavin on teh Louisiana Riverboat. That dates me lol. I would so love to tour Leslie's new store. It looks fabulous. Enjoy your day and thanks again for another wonderful enlightening blog. :)

  12. What a beautiful post, Joni. Your blog always makes me feel happy! Thank you!

  13. well, so beautiful house, all furniture are expensive and perfect . oh I wish :)
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  14. HI Joni, Gorgeous pillows (and everything else). V-Biz does make the most gorgeous pillows-- vintage Fortuny has my heart.

  15. Beautiful pillows!!! Be still my heart!!I have a huge pillow fetish (like Merlin) & have too many to even switch out on my furniture. Luckily, (or not so luckily) I can't afford the BViz pillows or my husband would have a fit.

  16. Beautiful post. You are so right about the perfect placement of pillows. As you displayed, it really makes a difference. I had the opportunity
    to attend a presentation by Rebecca Vizard many years ago here in Jackson Mississippi. Her creations are so beautiful. Wonderful post.

  17. Now I have to shop for better pillows!

  18. such lovely pillows. I am a designer that thinks accessories make the home, rather like dressing a woman. Placing accessories is one of the most fun parts of my job as a designer.

  19. Hi Joni!

    I love Leslie's showroom! I see several pieces there I'd love to own. And I love pillows - they're just so pretty and finish a room so nicely.

    I have questions about two things I've never heard of before: What does it mean to "pop the pillows"? Also, what are stump work pillows?


    1. well -it just means an accent, a pop of color? not sure really!!!! just a word that means bring the eye to it?? i think. haha!!!

    2. Stumpwork pillows are those that have raised and padded embroidery, usually gold or silver thread. Old vestments or ottoman textiles are used on pillows, it can be quite time consuming to disassemble the embroidered detail that goes on a pillow and then the question arises as to how to apply it to the pillow, some glue it on or others sew it on. As Charlotte said, Mohair Velvet is a wonderful choice for the pillow body. When you consider the exorbitant prices of pillows sold by Oreillers and BViz (among others), take into account the age of the textile and the amount of work converting the textile into the accoutrment for your home.

    3. Thank you, Joni and Anonymous!

  20. Joni - I'm a bit of a failure when it comes to pillows. Can I confess I have 2 twin bedroom pillows covered in a linen on one of the sofas in my family room. They're a disaster - way too squishy. Your side by side comparisons in this post are very helpful. Time to get my act together! Michele

  21. Since residential design is (or at least should be ) about both beauty and comfort, no wonder lovely pillows are de rigueur. Personally, I prefer mohair velvet when velvet is the look I want. Silk velvet is lusterous but can crush or water spot. Mohair is VERY durable, yet beautiful. As a DIYer, I was surprised to see how reasonable Mohair Velvet can be. Calico corners has Mohair velvet on sale right now for as low as $27 per yard. Their regular price is around $40 to $50 per yard. Other on-line fabric suppliers carry many shades of Mohair velvet for $50 or less per yard. 2 1/2 yard will give you enough material for 2 - 26" square pillows. You can easily make 2 lumbar or roll pillows with one yard.

    Joni had a wonderful post back in June 2010 called "In love with Velvet".

    1. i did?????????????????? haha. i don't even remember that! omg, it was probably the same exact think and i do love mohair i should use it more often,

    2. Oops - meant to say that 1 1/2 yards will give you enough material to make 2 - 26" square pillows. Joann's has regular sales on zippers and pillow inserts, so for around $100 plus an investment of your time, one can make 2 Mohair Velvet pillows.

  22. I used to have very beautiful pillows until my black lab systematically bit off the corner of every dang down filled pillow in the house. He ignored the cheap ones and went straight for the good stuff. Wish I was in Houston to go to the show.

  23. Have you seen Debra's work from Acquired Objects? She is amazing!



    1. yes amazing!!!!!!!her things are incredible.

  24. So beautiful!

  25. Not to throw a wet blanket about the gorgeous pillows, but it's good to keep in mind how it's going to "sit." If the pillow is large and too well filled, it can leave too little space on a chair to actually be able to sit on comfortably. That's not usually a problem with sofas though.

  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

  27. Totally agree with you Joni that a space can be enhanced with the use of pillows though I prefer to call them toss or accent cushions to distinguish them from those in the bedding category. ☺ As a hobby sewer, I have always made my own to create a one-of-a-kind using Down feathers as a filler. The selection you have shown are beautiful BTW and very inpsiring. -Brenda-
    P.S.: I'm wondering if there could be a small glitch in the BViz order link you provided as I could not connect.

  28. I really love B. Viz pillows - they are like works of art in a room.

    One question, though - with the Fortuny pillows, why wouldn't a designer simply buy Fortuny fabric and have one made, versus purchasing a B. Viz Fortuny pillow? Is it because of fabric minimums?

    1. Good question! Most of the Fortuny I use is older and has a nice patina. Dye lots vary, and color ways change. If it is a new Fortuny, I probably have it because someone offered it to me for a good price. (You will notice the pillow prices vary depending on what I paid for the fabric). When I first started working with Fortuny, there was a tremendous delay in getting the fabric from Italy. So "instant" Fortuny was almost unheard of. Thank you for your lovely comment! BViz

  29. Thank you Joni for making my day Friday. I read your blog with my morning coffee and immediately changed my plans for the day!

    I live outside the southeast beltway so I made a stop at IKEA (the thrifty to balance the haute couture to come)and then went to Segreto. Leslie's shop is beautiful. I had gone to the Pink Ribbon House last year (after you wrote about it), met Leslie and admired her work there. It's so nice to see the different finishes all on display in her new location and see her continuing success.

    And then I met Miss B Viz! She was inspiring, funny and someone who makes you feel like a treasured friend. We spoke about her pillows, her story and the wonderful local ladies who sew for her. We also spoke of her travels, inspirations and her measure of success. I truly enjoyed every moment with her. Someday I'll have one of her wonderful pillows.

    I bought a couple of small items to treasure and then made my way home in the afternoon traffic. No one seemed to be smiling as much as I was though. Joni, your posts are always so well done. Today it truly came alive for me. Merci.

  30. As I tell all my clients, the key to successful pillows is to use quality down/feather inserts that are 1-2" BIGGER than the pillow size you desire (i.e if you want a 22" pillow buy a 24" insert). This ensures your pillows will be full and not limp looking and will look great long term.

    Plus I like to chop them down at the top, which is another topic....

  31. In the third picture of the home you decorated, could you tell me where you found the bar stools?? Thank you.

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  34. How wonderful looking. Thanks for sharing with my newbie party.

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  37. Beautiful pillows but for most of us, totally unaffordable.

  38. Thank you Joni, I was going back through your posts and this just made my day!!!