Mixing vintage and modern

When I think of the kind of wine country retreat I would like, I do not immediately revert to the faux-Tuscan villa. There are many garish examples of that up and down the Valley. My vision is based on practicalities—easy to maintain, not so high-end that I’m always worried about things. I want it to be peaceful, yet welcoming. Mostly, I want it to honor my mom (its owner for 40 years) without turning it into a shrine.

There are some bigger projects to come and I’ve sworn I will not start bringing things into the house until I have done a thorough job of clearing the slate of the items I know I won’t keep.

That said, after nearly six months of “clearing out” I felt the need to create something…something that is an example of what I hope to achieve.

My mom was a prolific doilie-maker. Doilies cover every surface, as they do in many traditional Portuguese homes. I am not into doilies, although I have a chest full of them. I joked with my mom that they were mostly dust magnets. That said, there is no way I am going to part with the collection that I have. But rather than hiding them in a drawer, I wanted to figure a way to use them in a modern way.

I had seen an idea in a decor magazine that had a great, creative solution—framing them. I purchased three 25×25 white frames from Pottery Barn. I got some steel blue linen from Britex. While I was at Britex, the woman behind the counter walked me through what I needed to do; she used to work in a frame shop. Britex is a pretty expensive high end fabric store in SF, but it was totally worth the price to get the great advice.

After Britex, I went to a massive art supply store in SF and picked up spray adhesive and industrial-strength double-sided tape. Plus I had 1/8-inch foam core mattes cut to 25×25.

I cut the fabric into 28×28 squares (enough to wrap around the mattes) and ironed them. Then I ironed and starched three of my favorite, most delicate doilies. Working fast, I sprayed the mattes and rolled the fabric across them, smoothing the fabric down so it was flat. Then I flipped the mattes over and used double sided tape to adhere the fabric to the back. I had to do some fancy cutting to meter the corners so the would fit in the frames. That was perhaps the biggest struggle, believe it or not. I carefully placed the doilies on the mattes and voila:

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