Shopping with Schuyler Samperton for textiles to use in unexpected ways
When Los Angeles interior designer Schuyler Samperton was growing up in Maryland, her mother used a men’s black-and-white houndstooth-check suit fabric to recover their sofa, placed against a wallpaper featuring blueprints of Italian villas. Antique Indian tree of life panels were tablecloths. “Our house didn’t look like any of my friends’,” she says.
Samperton now combines memories with modern-day living in her versatile textile style, in which fabric — whether from a vintage sari or a tapestry found at the Santa Monica swap meet — can be used not just to cover a sofa or pillow, but also lampshades, kitchen banquettes, beds, walls or the inside of an actor’s trailer. “Fabric is the soul of a room,” she says. “That’s what gives it character and interest. For me, color, pattern and prints bring a space to life.”
And they bring her joy. So she created Schuyler Samperton Textiles to spread it around. “Fabrics say so much about who we are, personally and as a culture,” she says. “They hold a lot of resonance for people. I wanted to do something close to my heart.” Which is why the fabric names in her line are born of nostalgia, such as Overlea, the street she grew up on, Woodley for her childhood school and Caledonia for her Scottish roots.
We took a stroll with Samperton to see where she finds her spark.
How can the rest of us bring joy into our lives with textiles?
Surrounding yourself with things that are really beautiful elevates your life and changes the way you live every day. Not just on special occasions.
Aren’t textiles a commitment?
I change the pillows all the time. If you just buy the covers, they’re easy to store and you can change them out. I have a crazy stash of stuff. People are afraid they’re going to make mistakes, but don’t be. And stains come out.
What if someone can’t afford to hire an expert?
It’s easy to upholster stuff yourself, especially if it has a removable seat cushion. Use a staple gun and recover it. You can change everything, like a great set of dining chairs. You can mix stripes and florals; they don’t all have to match. That’s a cool look too.
How many pillows on a sofa are too many?
Pillows are a very controversial topic. People say “I don’t want so many pillows that I have to throw them on the floor,” especially men. It’s a real sore spot. I do three on a standard 7 ½-by-7 ½ sofa, a pair and then another one.
Can all these textiles work in a small place?
It’s not about the square footage but how the elements play off each other. I live in a tiny place here. I can sit on a sofa and my eye will land on something I love. Color is the most stimulating. I painted the walls of my bedroom Pitch Blue by Farrow & Ball. It just makes it warm and cozy. Sometimes you just have to embrace your condition. Same goes for life.
Here are a few of interior designer Schuyler Samperton’s sources:
By appointment at (213) 500-3229 or firstname.lastname@example.org
“[Owner Johnny Zerbo] travels all over the world to find vintage fabrics of all sorts — England, France, Spain, Italy, Africa,” Samperton says. “I come here when I’ve got the basics organized and I want that special layer to make it sing. This is my super secret source. We go through phases where I’m here every day of the week.”
Lisa Borgnes Giramonti
By appointment at (310) 916-7074, lisaborgnesgiramonti.com
“She’s a textile artist; it’s artwork made out of textiles,” Samperton says. “They’re needlepoint samplers with 21st-century predicaments. It’s the coolest thing ever. Everything’s so personalized; it’s yet another way to make a space particularly interesting; nobody else is going to have this.”
Hollywood at Home
703 N. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 273-6200. hollywoodathome.com
“I’ve always been a big client, and then when I came out with my textile line I wanted to be repped here,” Samperton says. “It’s got a really nice vibe, a boutique feel. There are all these fabric lines in one place, super colorful, full of pattern. If you are looking for punch and individuality, this is the place to go. They also mix well with vintage textiles, which I love.”
10654 West Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 441-2477. fsfashionfabricslosangeles.com
“This place is a classic,” Samperton says. “It’s the best source for good patina’d-looking ticking. This cotton/linen blend (see top photo) from India is my favorite and it’s $39 a yard. I love the charcoal, but the red makes it a little funkier. I’d upholster a great sofa or sectional then cover it with tons of really cool textiles on pillows. And anyone can come in and buy yards of fabric without having to order. It’s reasonable and useful.”
Heather Taylor Home
1101 Glendon Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 305-4343. heathertaylorhome.com
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“I love tabletop linens, Heather’s got a range of things you don’t see other places,” Samperton says. “She had this great idea to do rentals of linens; the convenience is incredible. People are returning to this type of comfort, patterns and textures and a touch of fringe — all those details feel cozy. My mom was obsessed with tabletop; growing up we had racks and racks of napkins in our basement for entertaining.”