Interior Design | The Bespokesperson

Hand embroidery that adds glamour to a room

A craftswoman who creates exquisite bespoke embellishments

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Hand embroidery that adds glamour to a room

September 28 2011
Nicole Swengley

Textured embellishments inject glamour and drama into any interior, and it’s these decorative, finishing touches that are Geraldine Larkin’s tour de force.

Larkin has honed her couture hand-embroidery skills over a 20-year career in the fashion industry but in-the-know clients also commission glamorous work for their private homes. Most are word-of-mouth referrals who visit her London studio by appointment, sometimes with their interior designer.

Larkin offers all kinds of hand embroidery, including traditional styles such as bullion work, but what excites many clients are her contemporary techniques – wall panels layered with hand-cut, hand-dyed chiffon, room dividers overprinted with sensuous, silk-thread crewel-work and cushions decorated with metallic silver thread and tiny crystals.

One client ordered six wardrobe doors covered in mixed-stitch silk thread for an Italian villa (similar would cost from £3,600). Another commissioned curtain leaders and pelmets with heavy, metallic embroidery (curtain leaders from £1,800). A velvet sofa, meanwhile, was transformed into a real eye-catcher by embellishing the rim with appliquéd beads and sequins (from £3,600).

“We can replicate historical designs or develop decorative new ones,” Larkin tells me. “With residential projects, we start from the style of the space and function of the room. The way colours and textures are already used there is a key factor in how our embroidery designs develop.”

Larkin can imbue dull dining-chair backs with drama, for example by adding a satin quilted effect (from £540) or embellish sofa backs with a glistening border of raised, metallic threadwork (from £3,600). She has also created sequined panels for bathroom-door exteriors (from £1,800 per sq m) while cushions overprinted with sequins (from £1,800 per pair) are a perennial request. As Larkin puts it, “Finishing touches like these can really give a room a lift.”

First picture: overprinted silk thread crewel embroidered screen. Second picture: tufted silk thread ikat embroidery cashmere throw. Third picture: mixed stitch silk thread wall panel.