“We can make anything for the home that involves fabric – lampshades, tablecloths, cushions, bedspreads – but the projects we most enjoy allow us to flex our creative muscles,” says Lucy Bathurst, founder of Nest Design. “This includes upholstered doors and wall hangings that, due to their sheer size, allow us the widest scope to incorporate interesting design elements and one-off textiles.”
Bathurst’s fabric-focused label launched from a London basement in 2001 and has since grown to accommodate “a crack team of seamstress ninjas,” as she puts it. Her list of devotees includes architects and designers, and stores such as Marylebone’s Mouki Mou design boutique. Chef Skye Gyngell’s Spring restaurant in Somerset House features Nest’s seemingly simple linen draperies – look more closely and they are punctuated with pieces of exquisite vintage lace.
Bathurst has a particular talent for playing off contrasting textiles, such as linen and lace, against each other. Previous commissions that have made the most of this skill include double-height draperies containing swatches of rich velvet, antique silk patchwork curtains for a caravan and deco bedheads swathed in antique Indonesian fabrics.
For bespoke commissions (from £100 for a cushion; from £3,000 for curtains), Bathurst encourages clients to visit her studio. “There’s something about being surrounded by an Aladdin’s cave of fabrics that gets people’s imaginations going,” she says of the boundless array of textiles – particularly antique ones – that she sources from traders, collectors and fairs across the UK, and also by word of mouth from Morocco, India, Turkey and beyond.
Among Bathurst’s proudest achievements are the 42 pairs of curtains, pelmets, swags and tails that she crafted for the Chowmahalla Palace in India, as well as a voile curtain made for a warehouse in Shoreditch. “The space was amazing,” says Bathurst, of the 6m-high ceilings. “I will always love those clients for not laughing at me when I suggested a full-height, whopping great patchwork curtain that any sensible person would have dismissed.”