Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016


Palettes of Leather

As Vicky Molinelli quipped in an email to me, sometimes a warehouse filled with row after row of beautifully dyed leathers is akin to an artist's palette. With all of this talk about chairs and benches upholstered in luscious leather, I started thinking about samples and sources. (Daydreaming about recovering an old chair in emerald-green leather is an indulgence I allow myself now when I need to re-energize after reading the daily news.)

There are myriad options online, but I wanted to ask a few designers where they go when they plan to reupholster an investment piece or a great vintage find. What follows is a mix of high-end and readily available choices.

[Image © Lacey Terrell via Kopeikin Gallery. All other credits follow at the end of this post.]

Nicki Clendening of Scout Designs is mad about the 75-year-old Lynchburg, Virginia-based company, Moore & Giles. Shown at the top and directly below are samples of their natural leathers.

A new site featuring the full range of Moore & Giles offerings is scheduled to launch at the end of the month.

Laura Casey says that her first choice is Edelman. She really appreciates the wide array of choices in color and texture. Both Edelman and M & G leathers are sold through design professionals, but if you are a retail customer, an option is to contact a designer, such as Laura, who offers one-time consultation and shopping services in addition to her full scale projects.

Betsy Burnham also uses Edelman leathers, and she thinks Holly Hunt has "some incredible colors with gorgeous quality." Still, Betsy is open to budget-friendly faux leathers. She often uses vinyl and says, "I'm crazy about snakeskin, ostrich and python faux leathers. We've even got a rattlesnake we're about to use for a family room ottoman."

Many cities have large textile centers that are open to the public. (In Atlanta we have Lewis Sheron.) It's always worth inquiring about leather options at stores like that, and some upholsterers have accounts with manufacturers, so ask to see sample books. Decorati is an online source for retail customers.

Resourceful Vicky notes that downtown Los Angeles has United Leather. This warehouse is open to the public with vast sections divided by quality and color. Although the offerings are not designer, Vicky says the prices are very reasonable. "It's so much fun! They have every color imaginable." 1414 Newton St Los Angeles, CA 90021-2726. (213) 747-1723.

Credits: In the collage of photos, the citrine Louis XV-style chair top left is from Cafiero Select; the second apple-green chair is Steven Gambrel's; the chair center bottom was photographed by Liz Banfield for Scout Designs. Next, artist Hayley Gaberlavage is shown in her studio. The dining room with green chair is by Kristen Buckingham. Photography by Simon Upton as seen in the March 2009 Elle Decor. The red chair is from a Betsy Burnham project, photo by Grey Crawford.

Chrome chairs with pale blue lambskin via Vicky's Yardsale.

Update 8.07.09
Check out an array of exquisite Moore & Giles samples over at The Peak of Chic.


La Maison Fou said...

It is truly sad, and very heartfelt to be losing such an inspirational resource!
Such heartbreaking news!

Style Court said...


It most definitely will leave a void. I know the news has been widely discussed already in the blogosphere, but I wanted to give a little shout out to the team before calling it a day.

The Peak of Chic said...

C- I too LOVE M&G leathers. They are gorgeous in person!

home before dark said...

I love the leather palette as well and love the idea of "little palettes everywhere." It's nice to know you have created a happy place to go to (green leather chair) when times get tough and just downright ugly. I write this sitting in my new office chair my best friend called my throne. It's a Henredon, red leather with touches of gilt on the ebony wood. I am almost 60. I have earned desk chair that doesn't hurt my neck and fits my keyboard, that doesn't look like spaceland spider and makes me smile every single day. As with the sudden death of Southern Accents, we must make each day count and fill it with beauty as best we can.

Style Court said...

Jennifer -- yes! A new obsession.

Style Court said...

HBD --

Eloquent as always. Your comments always put things in perspective. Lovely imagery with the red chair.

Michele From Boston said...

I actually yelled (out loud) "OH NO!" Southern Accents had wonderful articles, gorgeous homes and that air of taste, gentility and intellectual curiosity that was so wonderful to sit down to every month. I can't believe that not only has every newspaper owner not looked into the future to find out how to preserve content, but every magazine owner has followed suit also. WHAT A DOGGONE SHAME !!!

beachbungalow8 said...

i love edelman too. There's another leather place in the city of commerce (not far from downtown LA) they're to the public and have a huge selection. Wish I could remember the name.

Style Court said...

Thanks Megan. Generous of you to share sources! Maybe I can Google it.

Zuniga Interiors Design Studio said...


Thanks for the hearfelt post regarding Southern Accents; Besides being a designer, I have worked as an interior stylist for a number of years, so the closing of these publications has saddened my heart too. Many of them have been such a huge part of my life and career too. My heart goes out to those who are forced to leave the jobs they have loved...

Michelle Zuniga
Zuniga Interiors

Style Court said...

Michelle -- well said. Thanks for stopping by.