January 4, 2013

I heart Swans Island Blankets

I heart Swans Island Blankets. Plain and simple. There is something so incredible about a product and a company that is connected to it's roots and land. Located off the coast of main lies a company producing less than 2000 blankets per year because they are all hand woven by local craftspeople. Incredible..

I had a chance to ask Bill Laurita, Swans Island Blankets President a few questions..

What is your favorite blanket?

B. I think the solid Indigo, in both the winter and summer weights, are my favorites. I just woke up from sleeping under both.

What is your favorite color yarn?

B. I do love the colors that are particularly saturated. I find the Teal and Beetroot captivating. I don't wear those colors, I'm just really taken by their beautiful variegation. They are both dipped in two different color vats. They look like they came right out of nature.

How many Swans Island blankets are in your home? ( I'm pretty sure I'd want a new one every week ;) )

B. A lot. Probably 10 blankets and throws.

I read that you've renovated 4 houses...

B. My wife, Jody, and I currently reside in a 1924 Arts and Crafts bungalow. We bought it 6 years ago from 3 siblings in their 70's. Their Dad built the house and they were all born upstairs in the master bedroom. The kitchen still had the original cook stove that had been changed over to kerosene in the 1950's. We gutted and opened up this room. Jody and I designed the cabinets and had them constructed out of Fir and finished with wax. We found the soapstone for the counter tops at a local salvage yard. They had been classroom chemistry table tops.  

These stones were collected from local fields and beaches. We refinished the maple floors and installed a wood stove. It is beautiful to watch the fire on a snowy night and the stove is a really practical and environmentally friendly way to stay warm on the coast of Maine! 

Do you and your wife share decorating styles or is it a collaboration between the two of you?

B. Having taken on so many design challenges over the years, we have developed a great working relationship. She is very sensitive to color and composition. I've really learned a lot from her. I've acquired many practical skills and love to make and build. Right now we have redesigned a set of rush bottomed ladder back chairs which we bought at a sale for $10 each. I've re-shaped the slats to calm down some of the curviness and taken off the old dull dark finish. The wood is, I believe, poplar and looks great with a tung oil (3 coats) and wax finish.

I'm curious if your connection to nature and natural organic elements extends from Swans Island Blankets into your home? 

B. Living on the coast of Maine is, by definition, to be engulfed in nature. We have a fantastic local trail system and Acadia National Park is only an hour and a half away. Between hiking, biking, sailing and skiing, there is always a way to be out and about. This constant immersion in nature of course comes out in my design work. My most recent design is an Ikat inspired blanket that looks like moving water.  

What's your favorite room in your home? And your wifes?

B. My wife loves to cook, so her favorite room is the kitchen. I love to eat, so I guess my favorite room must be the dining room. In the summer, my favorite room is our brick patio. It is a brick circle enclosed in a white fenced square. Three of the corners are flower gardens and the fourth contains our strawberry patch. I love nothing better then enjoying lunch out there, or relaxing on the loungers with a cold drink.

Favorite items in your home?

B. That's a hard one. I love this mother and child pastel and oil we got on a trip to Oaxaca, Mexico. I was determined to find a second hand shop while we were visiting and to my surprise in a city of half a million people there was only one. They kept sporadic hours and we finally found them open on our last day. In we went to a shop chock-a-block filled with religious icons. As we looked through the baby Jesus statues and alters, there in the corner hiding was our lady. The bargaining was interesting between parties who did not speak a common language. We came to an understanding, grabbed our find, and proceeded to try to figure out how to say, "bubble wrap" in Spanish.

Do you collect anything?

B. I like to acquire a cork screw from every European country I visit. Each has something about it that embodies the culture where it was conceived and manufactured. When I open up a bottle of wine, it always reminds me of the trip where I found it.

Thanks so much Bill for taking the time to chat about your home and style with us.. It's a pleasure to be able to share with Flourish Design + Style readers a company that is so so wonderful. x

design philosophy | providing a foundation to grow and alter through the years, I keep the core basic and layer in the current, creating a room that is innately yours. I believe great interiors are not found in one shop. I know you should feel a sense of calm in your space as well as balance, and revel in that gut feeling that it’s the right fit. DESIGN SERVICES start at only 10.00. See Sarah Swanson Design at the top left of this blog!

1 comment:

Francine Gardner said...

really enjoyed reading about this part of life and design in Maine, my favorite place in the world!