Thursday, January 7, 2010

Draping Cowhides

Jill Brinson drapes a cowhide on a white settee/sofa

I love decorating with cowhide rugs. Lately I have been seeing them off the floor and onto the furniture. And I'm not talking about some hokey ranch style decorating, but a rather chic and pretty application.

Jill Brinson drapes a white cowhide on the dining room table

Jill Brinson is the "new" darling designer du jour of decor bloggers, recently "discovered" and put on the cover of the 2009 December.January issue of House Beautiful. She is hardly a design novice, being the creative director for Ballard Designs.

Jill Brinson uses a cowhide ont he floor in the master bedroom

Recently Stephen Drucker the editor of House Beautiful did a very good interview on the Skirted Round Table, and talked about discovering Jill for House Beautiful. He couldn't exactly remember how her work was submitted, saying it "came over the transom" and he and his staff liked it and next thing you know Jill is on the cover.
(Note: Start throwing yourself over the transom at HB!)

Jill Brinson combines country and urban loft style

Her style is an combination of country and loft, and I love the way she gets the cowhides up off the floor, and also the way she uses one conventionally as a rug in her master bedroom. I also like that she uses several throughout the house.
I have two cowhides in my house, and contemplating getting another one, and the only thing that held me back was not wanting the house to look like Rancho Vamp. Jill Brinson shows me how to do it!

On a recent trip to New York last July, I saw this cowhide draped couch in the uber stylish shop Moss down in Soho. At first I thought it was about styling and merchandising the cowhide, but as I looked closer, this is the way the couch is designed and sold. I made a mental note to try getting cowhides off the floor at my house.

But I don't think it's as easy to get this look simply by tossing a cowhide on a chair.
No this is not my house and that is not Cholo - photo via Google Images

What about cowhide printed fabric? I say no, but yet this party table looks kind of cute.

So does that mean using a real cowhide as a tablecloth is a good idea like Jill Brinson does? Maybe in this case it would look better draped and layered with another texture.

And do not do this! Do not buy a cowhide print comforter (with matching shams and pillows yet!).

When you see how Jill Brinson does something so artful and so seemingly simple with cowhides, you can appreciate her talent. I predict that in 2010 cowhide rugs will still be with us, and they will be used off the floor too!

Jill Brinson images via House Beautiful


La Dolfina said...

I love Jill Brinson's home.
It's super fabulous.
What a find she is!!
Great post...

Linz said...

Wow. I never thought of using cowhide...ever. But Ms. Brinson used it with such beautiful style... that little splash of pink really gives the room a more feminine appeal. It actually softens up all the tans and beiges. I love that loft!

studioJudith said...

This Cowhide Fan was so happy to see Jill's creative use of those rather- difficult-to-find white/cream cowhides.

I currently have one on the travertine floors in my bathroom.
It seems to reflect the marbled tones, yet give me a nice bit of fur feel on cold mornings .

Lovely post!


Hill Country House Girl said...

Valorie - great post, but that cowhide printed comforter is kind of embarrassing if it is from Texas! I am with you - the draped look that Jill does is very cool, the other stuff is not!! I want her!

Visual Vamp said...

Hi Everyone,
Try this place for white and solid chocolate (and other colors - the olive green and turquoise hides look intriguing!) cow hides at a very good price.

xo xo

Amy said...

When my daughter and I are out shopping, and we see something heinous, we say "Oh, my!" ('cause you never know if the person behind you is gonna pick it up and think it's the best thing comforter = Oh, my!

Sharon said...

Just this morning I was considering a cow hide rug for my house so this post is quite timely for me. I am going to look at the resource you suggested next.

Amy, ditto what you said about the matching set. Oh my!!!

Laurie said...

Thanks for this, after mentioning your cowhides earlier this week I have been thinking about them too. Where are yours from?


Wait, so are you saying that I should return my cowhide print comforter set? Damn, now what am I going to do for bedding?

Jan said...

I do believe I've never seen or touched an actual cowhide.
(sheltered life - obviously) :)

Design Junkie said...

I love cowhides..unlike so many other fabulous decor items they are virtually industructible. It was the only rug Cleopatra (otherwise the cutest sweetest god in American) was unable to eat.

Design Junkie said...

dog, not god

Willow Decor said...

I just put down a cowhide in my living room and I love it. Of course then I wanted one for every room but it gets to be too much of a good thing. Now I can happily drape them! Love Jill's home - Great post!

J. M. Hunter said...

These are beautiful pictures, with the exception of a select couple. Thanks for posting this! I saw Jan Eleni ( use cowhides on her couch (, floors, everywhere and somehow it didn't look like overkill. I bought a brown and white one for my living room a few years ago and it worked magic on the whole look of the room. My dog's (who, like Design Junkie's was something of a little god herself) reaction was really weird - she rolled and rolled and snuffed around on it like she had gone temporarily insane.

Design Junkie you made me laugh out loud. Are you like the dyslexic agnostic with insomnia? Do you lie in bed at night wondering if there really is a dog?

J. M. Hunter said...

Check out Jonathan Adler's "cruelty-free" versions:
And my personal favorite:

Would you buy one of these over the real thing?

Gwen Driscoll said...

Love cow hides. Use them 24-7. Hope all is well. Thanks for always having great posts. You are a wonder.


Linda at Lime in the Coconut! said...

ok...heres the thing. Sitting on furry cowhide with shorts doesn't work...well.

I know.

The unfurred version would be lovely.

I just threw mine on an ottoman last week. Like.

spit my coffee out at the dyslexic agnostic with insomnia comment!!

The Crazy Suburban Mom said...

I think it takes someone who designs very well to work with white. I think many people try and most fail - I don't have that touch! But a white room done well is heaven!


Renae said...

I love your take on this designer. I looked at her work and love what she does and honestly, I didn't even notice the hides. What was I looking at?
Great rooms, inviting, great style!

Anonymous said...

I think the use of hides on a sofa are good ones given that everything else in the room has the right feel. The idea, however, is not to completely cover a surface with one. Jill's home has the right ambiance, but I doubt you would see many of these in more formal living spaces. If so, I would like to see them and how they are used. On the floor in a wet bar area, maybe?

annechovie said...

I love Jill Brinson's style! Thanks so much for the sweet comment, Valorie! xo

my favorite and my best said...

when i saw that cowhide draped on the table i starting peeing sparkles.
i think the key here is the all white version though, don't you??

Visual Vamp said...

Hi Jenny,
I think white, or very pale palomino and solid color dyed hides with a short nap seems to be the way to go.
xo xo

La Petite Gallery said...

I grew up in Texas and have see enough Cow hides, Funny I think a beautiful wall Mount of a stag is fine but, recoil at the cowhide.
Maybe because I used to pet ole
Bettsie. I am a strange duck anyway.

Great Post, Just love everything you do.

Anonymous said...

Valorie - below is cut & paste copy of a comment left on the SRT Drucker post. Very interesting. Jill's web site is beautiful. Perhaps you can share it with your readers.

Comment read: Sincerely surprising that Stephen Drucker portrayed the work of Jill Sharp Brinson as being unknown and unfamiliar with House Beautiful. Perhaps, Mr. Drucker should further familiarize himself with Jill by visiting her web site - and click on the "Press-Bio" link. One can then view an HB article "Quirky But Cool" featuring Jill's Atlanta apartment from early in her photo stylist career. Yes ... Jill's work has previously appeared in HB! Her web site is listed in the 'Resources' credit to the most recent article of her and Rob's home.

Further, under her "Clients" link appears House Beautiful, Veranda, Southern Accents, Ballard Designs,Target, Blackberry Farm among other prestigious clientele. The kitchen was actually #6 of Southern Accents top 10 kitchens: published in SA.

It is within understanding that Mr. Drucker might be uninformed of the earlier published article with HB. However, one would suppose that his wide circle of staff would have been more informed regarding Jill's work and thus relayed such to Mr. Drucker to prevent such a gaffe on SRT.

For more photographs of Jill and Rob's home - visit her web site and click on the 'Dossier' link, then 'Habitat Design'. There is a very nice shot of the entry steel doors among other photographic shots.

Kimberly said...

It is this easy...I came home one day and my hubby had draped our two hides over two chairs in front of our fireplace, and it was divine. If he can do it anyone can. Now I need to replace them on the floor!!!!
xxx kim