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Double, Double Toile and Trouble

In French, the word toile (phonetically “twall”) refers to a simple woven fabric, in fact the word in French means “linen cloth” or “canvas”.  However, in interior design and haute couture, the term toile is mostly used in reference to  “toile de Jouy” – a cloth from Jouy-en-Josas France which originated in the 18th century.  This type of decorating pattern usually consist of a white background, on which a repeated pattern depicting complex scenes, can be found. The scenes are of pastoral farm life, picnics, high society, and any number of classic architecture motifs. The pattern consists of a single color, most often black, dark red, or blue. The fabric was extremely popular in France and Great Britain during the 18th century, and late in America during the Colonial Era.

It’s time for the resurgence of this trend!

James Merrell / The Walkup

Colefax and Fowler does a modern take on toile wallpaper. Bright printed pillows, and a graphic (zigzagged!) patterned throw bring this bedroom into the 21st century. A turquoise, gilded headboard doesn’t hurt either. Photograph by James Merrell via Design Gumbo.

The Walkup

London Toile Brights by Timorous Beasties offers a neon take on English cityscapes. 

Modern Toile Wallpaper

Somehow this match-matchy room, wherein the stuffed animals match the pillows which match the wall, comes off looking extremely cute, french and modern. Image via Le Petit Chou Chou

Balleroy by Manuel Canovas

Pink Toile on Toile via Manuel Canovas, Paris.

Surrender the Pink / The Walkup

A toile, Japanese print screen acts as a headboard. The bed’s dust ruffle and chair bring the nautical, fresh and revitalized Colonial bedroom to the present. Image via Surrender the Pink.

The Walkup

A grown-up office space. I imagine myself closing envelopes with wax seals in this sohpisticated nook. The geode bookends match the Toile pattern perfectly. 

The Walkup / House to Home

Like an aristocrat from days gone by, feel free to cover every surface with bucolic, toile scenes. Add some edge to the space by playing on the contrast of farm-scenes with more modern, colour-blocked upholstery. Midcentury Modern and geometric design elements finish off the eclectic space. Image via House to Home.

The Walkup

In the guest room of his Manhattan townhouse, Architectural Digest decorator Geoffrey Bradfield experimented with a black-and-white toile depicting the city skyline to create a modern take on a traditional design concept. The upholstered headboard was inspired by one in a Dubai hotel. Image via Architectural Digest, September 2005. Photography by Durston Saylor. 

The Walkup

Toile drapes, pops of red, long mirrors and classic bathroom floor tiling allow this bathroom to be a space which I would not mine relaxing in for hours. I particularly love the industrial pipes-meets-marble His and Hers sink station. 

Sheila Bridges / The Walkup

‘Harlem Toile De Jouy’ Wallpaper from Sheila Bridges home. Somehow a Domino Magazine article from 2007 is still relevant, and even, forward thinking! The minimal, Scandinavian cuckoo clock is also wonderful. Featuring a canary yellow wallpaper backsplash found here.

The Walkup

If you can’t commit to toile drapes or upholstery, might I suggest leaving these cute sneakers in your doorway? Product via Keds for Opening Ceremony.

Toile Mesdames Multi Toile Mesdames Multi

Toile meets watercolor and hints of gestural drawing techniques via the Swedish-based design company, Mimou.

Mendelson Group Inc. / The Walkup

A sophisticated Purchase, New York home rei-magines a 1950’s diner palette via the Mendelson Group.

The Walkup The Walkup

The Walkup

The Beastie Boy’s Mike D helped to design this Brooklyn Toile Wallpaper, along with Matt Manson. The vision was to pay tribute to all things Brooklyn in a way that would appear to be a traditional French Country Toile, but when you step to it the pattern reveals elements and vignettes that make up the truth about Brooklyn (such featured design elements include  the Notorious B.I.G, Hasidic Jews, and the Brooklyn Bridge). 

The Walkup

A bumblebee color palette is uber contemporary when matched with a super graphic toile scene. This dining room is full of classic, no-fuss style. Image via House to Home.

SF Magazine / The Walkup

A dark, intimate bedroom mimics the gentility and noblesse of Versailles. Stacked coffee table books featuring one on Louis Vuitton hammer home this interior’s obsession with “haut monde” French. Image via SF Magazine.

P.S. Also unrelated but, guess what? I don’t know how, but suddenly I’ve become an organization guru, featured on Home Made Simple! This runs contrary to everything most people know about me…click through for the article which I am very excited to share – HERE

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Keren Veisblatt Toledano is a Senior Strategist at Brooklyn United, a digital agency for bold brands. In her spare time, Keren can usually be found taking photos of old doors, visiting museum, soaking in Epsom salts, admiring copper pots, reading dystopian science fiction or sneaking a slice of lemon into her drinks. Her motto is, “A morning without coffee is sleep.” She lives in a brownstone with her cat, Cagney, husband, Michael, and son, Josiah, in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, NY.

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8 Comments

    • Hi Lesleigh, thanks for visiting! This paprika orange and hot pink french Bengale toile print is designed by french label Manuel Canovas. It is available as a fabric or wallpaper.

      Reply

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