Sunday, July 11, 2010

Toile Today

Toile du Jouy, the well known design that we love, 
celebrates its 250th birthday this year. Although many of us find that four walls of Toile in a room can be a bit too much, who wouldn't love a touch of it here or there? Who would have known that Toile designs can even have a sense of humor! How would you want to incorporate Toile into your home?

 Artists from around the world are still finding ways to add to its versatility in design. German born Christophe-Phillipe Oberkampf first began producing the patterns in his factory, located in Jouy-en-Josas, a French village close to Versailles. Toile du Jouy, commonly referred to simply as Toile, has been in constant production in various French factories since 1760. **

    Here are artists who have contributed their creativity to this classic pattern. Which designs are your favorites?

Jessica Smith at Domestic Element designs a line of home textiles that apply state-of-the-art techniques with a Bohemian twist to historical motifs. Here are several of her contemporary Toile patterns.

This is South Beach, originally designed for Design 05 at Art Basil- Miami.

Cul-de-Sac reflects a digital map a la Google or Live Local.

Trash Day tells the story of a typical suburban setting on the morning of garbage day, following the sprucing up of the neighborhood yards over the weekend.

Of course, there are many classic Toile du Jouy patterns available in a large range of colors.

Corey Amaro, from Tongue in Cheek's Brocante Market blog, recently sold these gorgeous, antique pillow cases from France.

What great colors!
Sheila Bridges' famous Harlem Toile du Jouy pattern comes in six color ways. This pattern is available not only as wallpaper, but also as fabric, bedding, plates and furniture. The wallpaper pattern is now in the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.

Timorous Beasties, a design studio in Glasgow, Scotland, was founded by Alistair McAuley and Paul Simmons. They offer a contemporary graphic style that can be both surreal and sensational.

In their Wallcoverings group's Toile collection,  Decouper 2 is a black and gold pattern on sustainable forest paper.

A totally different approach to incorporating Toile du Jouy in the home is demonstrated by Pat McWhorter from Lane's End Decorative ArtsShe recently took individual elements in the client's Toile pattern and painted them on the adjoining powder room's walls.

 What a charming way to tie the rooms together!

Cynthia Davis from Cynthia Designs applied a texture through a lace pattern to achieve this embossed Toile du Jouy wall finish.

If you do not see exactly what you like in the retail offerings, creating a custom design is a great alternative. There are many stencil design companies offering Toile stencils: The Stencil Library, Designer Stencils and  Jeff Raum Stencils.  

Beatrice Nourissier, a graduate of the Van der Kelen Institute that I wrote about here, paints her inspirations on canvas.

How do you feel about Toile? Would you use it in your home?  

** For further information, I found the website,, to be very helpful and thorough. There are also many books on the subject.


  1. I think Toile is timeless, I love the classic one but also the new versions, more graphic. Of course it depends on the style of the interiors but I would use both versions for some accents.

  2. Not only do I love to use it in my home, at one time I think I overused it in the guest bathroom! The cul de sac one made me smile...if you can think it, it's out there! I love baby toile with the vintage circus animals :) Lovely post!

  3. A great post! I love the classic Toiles, especially those by Pierre Frey and Pierre Deux. Pat McWhorter's painted toile walls are stunning. And her background wall colors are beautiful.

  4. I love toile when used in one area. When my daughter was a baby her nursery bedding was toile and I loved it. I'm also loving the first image of toile in your post.

  5. What fun....wants me make to move and create a new spot so I could use toile again. Thanks for stopping by
    it has made me come visit you what a great discovery! Heather