Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Beautiful Butterfly Bounty: Thibaut and Others

Recent visits to butterfly exhibits at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History just confirmed what wonderful additions butterflies are in the garden.  And seeing so many got me thinking about their decorative use in our homes.
Butterflies bring movement, color – bright and iridescent, whimsy and a sense of exoticism to our lives.  They exude happiness and optimism… not to mention a little mystery and elegance.  But there are so many pretty butterfly accessories… one can get overwhelmed!  So I thought I would only share products I love, that really capture the multi-faceted nature of butterflies, from companies and designers that understand the beauty and innate symbolism of butterflies.  Too much to ask of a wallpaper or chandelier?  I don’t think so.

Despite the French-sounding name, Thibaut is an American company, first established in New York City in 1886 by self-starter Richard E. Thibaut, when he was just twenty years old.  Known for their gorgeous palettes and painterly quality, Thibaut is usually the first place I look for wallpaper and fabric in lush, no-holds-barred floral and faunal patterns.

The slightly tropical Lillian, seen here in blue, and its coordinating trellis Margo epitomize Thibaut excellence.
Lillian wallpaper and fabric in blue
Margo wallpaper in blue
Lillian comes in six colors, in both fabric and wallpaper, and Margo is available in the same colors but only as wallpaper.
Detail of Lillian in white
For a less “decorated” look, I can imagine a cheerful room with one wall papered in Lillian, all the soft furnishings slipcovered in tailored white linen or raw silk and Ingo Maurer’s Johnny B. Butterfly pendant light.  Can’t you?
Charming Gwen, a wallpaper from Thibaut’s Great Estates Collection, comes in five colors.
Gwen wallpaper in white
Pair it in blue with Cyan Design’s Garden Settee.  Add a fat seat cushion, with a full length skirt, in lichen velvet to play up the garden feel and keep everything from getting too saccharin.
Detail of Gwen in blue
I suppose most people would use Ladybug in a young girl’s bedroom.  But I think it’s sophisticated enough for a home office or foyer.
Ladybug wallpaper
Splurge on a pair of Hermoine lamps from Charlotte-based Carson and Company.
Hermoine lamp
Or really celebrate pink and green with their stunning Palm Beach lamp, recently featured in House Beautiful.
Palm Beach lamp
Carson and Company also offers fabrics based on their historic decoupage designs.  Roman shades or an upholstered screen in Barbara, in dark chocolate, or Kelsey, in citrus, would be amazingly over-the-top and absolutely perfect with Thibaut’s Ladybug.
Barbara fabric in dark chocolate
Kelsey fabric in citrus
A printed wallpaper with the texture of grasscloth, Butterfly Garden is one of my all-time favorites.  Your dining room would shimmer both day and night with Butterfly Garden in metallic gold and the Gemma Chandelier from Made Goods.
Butterfly Garden in metallic gold
Large Gemma chandelier
Include decoupaged, glass paperweights and trays from John Derian’s marvelous collection and set your table with Anna Weatherley’s Amber Leaf porcelain dinnerware.
Brown Moth paperweight
Dark Green Butterfly glass tray
Green Butterfly Luna Moth glass tray

Small plate from Amber Leaf pattern
Medium plate from Amber Leaf pattern
Purple isn’t usually my first color of choice, but Butterfly Garden in eggplant really shows off the complexity of the design.
Detail of Butterfly Garden in eggplant
Plus it complements Anna Weatherley’s Exotic Butterflies so wonderfully.  And instead of large hurricane globes, adorn a sideboard with a pair of Butterfly Orbs by Global Views.
Dinner plate from Exotic Butterflies pattern

Butterfly Orb adds a little metal to a traditional room.
The truth is… you can add beautiful butterfly accessories to just about any room.  These little touches transport the garden and meadow indoors and remind us of sunnier days and sultry summer evenings.

Butterflies Live! is a seasonal exhibition in Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s Conservatory in Richmond, Virginia.  It includes mainly tropical and subtropical butterflies and runs until October 14.  Admission to the Garden is $11 per adult and $7 per child and includes entry to Butterflies Live!.  The Butterfly Pavilion is a permanent exhibit within the NMNH in Washington, DC.  Of course, admission to the Museum and the related exhibit Butterflies + Plants: Partners in Evolution is free, but touring the Pavilion costs $6 per adult and $5 per child.  So, go be inspired yourself!

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