With Chinese New Year and the most romantic day of the year around the corner, perhaps it’s time to recognise the occasions through your most often utilised but frequently underappreciated fabrics. Though the brand has been available since Christmas time, Australian designer linen manufacturer Linen House’s timing couldn’t be better. The New Year holiday is about resolutions that you’re never going to stick to, usually involving dropping the extra pounds from Christmas, but CNY is another story — focused a good deal on renewal and rejuvenation. Right on its heels this year is the most charming of manufactured observances, Valentine’s Day. Regardless of our perspective on either, both are good reasons to clear the linen shelves for a fresh start.
Founded in Melbourne in 1993, Linen House exploits the best of the Internet retailing model: no store means no overhead, which nets consumers upmarket, luxurious product for less than you’d pay at Lane Crawford. With over 1,000 separate bath and bed items and accessories (like the Floriana cushion with its, uh, petal-ish texture) scattered over 120 collections there’s something for all tastes. In the way residential bathrooms have taken a decidedly spa turn of late, linens are increasingly important. According to Linen House’s creative director, Sue Morris, we spend one-third of our time at home, and we want it to be comfortable. Working from home is at record levels and rising, and so the living room becomes more than just a place to crash: it’s often a meeting room. Those working in an office with longer hours than ever want to get home and just sink into bed for a few minutes. Gone is the time when we waited for a housewarming party to score some decent towels to indulge in plush comfort after a shower.
Linen House collaborates with artists and designers and the latest in textile technology for their product, and the result is innovative and affordable linens for the home in a huge variety of print, jacquard, embroidered and appliqué designs. Of course, if fabric bling isn’t your thing, LH is a firm believer in classic single colours traditional patterns despite really being notable for its bold designs. The Honolulu line, for example, features vintage iconic, and ironic, typically Hawaiian images, the Kokomo is all about bright, vivid stripes, where the soft purples of the Penelope sheets and most of LH’s 450GSM (or better) towels come in soothing post-bath solids.
So what does Linen House recommend for Valentine’s Day? In bed linens the standouts are the ultra-feminine Rose Bed (Bon Jovi not included), the Lettre de France — complete with romantic tale written in inky blue on antique cotton sateen — and the vintage pattern Amour. For the Year of the Snake, try sheets and accent cushions from the Benvenuto Gold line, with woven gold beads as well as the traditional Medici Red cushions for an auspicious start to the year. If gold is too much, try the jacquard weave, vaguely snaky Animalia, whose neutral tone allows gold accents to stand out without being overbearing. But those suggestions aren’t carved in stone. “Make sure [your linens] express your personality and reflect what makes you unique,” says Morris. How you choose to uniquely reconcile “Valentine’s Day” and “bed sheets” is up to you, but this is a family publication. You’ll get no hints from us.