October 26 2011
Word-of-mouth recommendations often lead fine linen-lovers to the Royal Warrant-holding company Heirlooms. For despite retailing a small selection through Fortnum & Mason and Woods of Harrogate, it’s Heirlooms’ made-to-measure service that really attracts.
Naturally, the linen produced by this small West Sussex-based firm is exceptional. “It becomes softer the more it’s washed and will last for years,” says Ruth Douglas, Heirlooms’ general manager. “All the designs can be made in large or unusual sizes to exact requirements and we can embroider monograms, crests, names or even replicate motifs from upholstery or curtains.”
No minimum order applies and the company, which employs 20 people, archives each design to facilitate reordering. This is a boon for yacht-owners regretting lost items at port laundries. “We recently kitted out a yacht with bed linens, bath linens, slippers, laundry, lingerie and washbags, table linens, deck towels and sun-lounger covers,” says Douglas. (Three sets of bed linen for each of six guest/six crew cabins plus towels and table linens costs about £75,000.)
The owner of a Victorian manor house, meanwhile, sent upholstery swatches with a request to colour-match the master bedroom linens. After supplying initial samples, Heirlooms inset the creamy bed linen with a burgundy border and gold piping. The client went on to order further linens in different colours for each bedroom (similar super-king sets from around £1,200).
“Made-to-measure bed and table linens are the most popular requests,” says Douglas, citing a stately homeowner who ordered table linen embroidered with a monogram (from £900, including embroidery, for a bespoke tablecloth with eight placemats and eight napkins). Meanwhile, monogrammed bath towels (from £200 for a bath sheet, bath, hand and guest towel) never seem to lose their appeal.
First picture: Circles design, based on decorative tiles, for a private home. Second picture: “After 50” yacht embroidery.