Linen is a natural fibre many times stronger than cotton. Its durability ensures products are made to last. Linen is an investment but unlike cotton, linen when cared for correctly has the potential to last much longer before needing to be replaced. This is often why linen sheets become heirloom pieces and is one of the few fibres that becomes better with age, becoming softer and more lustrous. Here we have created your definitive Bedding Care Guide to assist with your linen care and get the best from your luxury linen bedding.
Whilst we understand linen sheets can be a financial investment, it is important not to relate price to care. To get the most of your linen it must be cared for properly. Always follow the care instructions on the product label. Linen sheets should always be rotated and it is advisable to have at least two complete sheet sets for any one bed for change-over. Using the same set of linen sheets every day is not recommended and keeping multiple sets on hand will also ensure a fresh set is always ready to go on the bed.
Over washing can be damaging to luxury linen and will break down even the highest-quality linen and should be avoided. A gentle warm machine wash is recommended with like colours. Wash your linen bedding separately from towels or clothing and avoid over-filling the machine so the product can move freely during the wash and circulate in the water; this also prevents damage caused by zippers and other fasteners. To maintain the colour of your linen, we advise not to use bleach or detergents with optical brighteners and avoid exposure to continual sunlight. We suggest using a mild liquid detergent such as Wool Mix on all of our linen products. Products such as linen fitted sheets are subject to more friction than any other item in our collection and as a result, they can deteriorate if over used and not cared for correctly.
We strongly recommend tumble drying our linen, at least partially. Linen will dry more quickly than other fabrics, so the sheets won't need a hot or long dryer setting. It can be tumble dried safely on low to medium heat to keep your linen soft and to maintain its textural appeal. As linen is a very loose weave, if it is subject to constant use and never tumble dried, it is not given the opportunity to return to its original woven state and the constant stretch caused over time will inevitably wear the item out. Our linen has been pre-washed at very high temperatures to ensure that with proper care no further shrinkage should occur. Please note our linen blankets should not be dried in a tumble dryer, but instead line dried out of direct sunlight.
Natural Fibres need to breathe and it is optimal to keep your linen bedding folded flat in a dry, well ventilated environment away from direct sunlight. It is best not to store your linens in a plastic container as this can cause them to yellow over time and can trap moisture, encouraging the growth of mildew. Lining drawers and shelves with high-quality tissue paper and scented sachets helps to counteract moisture and keeps your linen smelling fresh.
With each wash and proper laundering, our linen becomes softer and more desirable, offering a unique sleeping experience and wonderfully tactile products for around the home. HMCo linens are pre-shrunk and pre-washed to ensure our products retain their original quality from the first wash. Our linen sheets and linen duvet covers are the perfect pieces for layering, ruching and draping on your bed, creating a sumptuous haven you won’t want to leave!
Making your bed into a comfortable and calm retreat to rest, relax or rejuvenate requires time, luxurious textiles and careful craftsmanship. Your bed is the focal point of your room and we show you how to go beyond the plumping, straightening and rearranging to create a soothing sanctuary. Nothing beats climbing into a beautifully made bed at the end of the day (or a sneaky daytime nap!).
1. THE BASICS
A bedhead instantly pulls the entire look together and becomes the focal point when layering pillows and cushions. A linen bed skirt will also complete your bed and along with a fitted sheet, are the basics with which to begin your collection. With the addition of a good quality feather pillow and duvet inserts, these essentials are the perfect pieces to begin building your perfect bed sanctuary. Keep the colour palette neutral with these pieces and you can begin to add colour and interest with sheets, pillowcases and other accessories.
Many people love the simplicity of an all-white bed but linen bedding is a good way to introduce pattern and colour into a room. It’s easy to change from one season to the next and can give your room a different look and feel each time. If you plan to inject some colour into your bedroom, it’s a good idea to add a pop of colour using items that are easily interchangeable such as stripe pillowcases, colourful cushions or throws. Our linen bedhead is a versatile option with a removable pure linen slipcover; allowing for a seasonal change at a whim. Sometimes just adding one colourful piece can make a bold statement.
You don’t want to overcrowd your bed with lots of pillows and decorative cushions but rather make it look relaxed and welcoming. European pillowcases are a good visual anchor to the bedhead and serve as support when propping yourself up to read. Keeping within your colour scheme, it’s good to work with different shapes and textures and it’s always a good idea to scale up a size with the duvet to create a more lavish look. If a relaxed, textural look is preferred layering your linen will add a sumptuous feel to your bedscape. Overlap pillows, set them at an angle or stack them to complement this look. Finish the arrangement with decorative pillows such as linen bolster cushions, smaller rectangular cushion in a print or stripe, longer body cushion or the ruffled edge of a Kristine European pillowcase. An artfully draped throw cascading to the floor, linen blanket or a ruched sheet will make for a dramatic bed dress while incorporating various design elements for a truly luxurious bed look.
If you prefer a neutral or monochrome look, it’s important to add texture to create a more interesting accent. Completing the look with a linen throw or blanket and mixing up textures will add another dimension. Finishes such as our Flocca edging embellish and add interest and texture and will add contrast to the simple hemmed finish of our Basix pillowcases.
Always buy the best linens you can afford. Linen is the perfect choice being a truly beautiful, natural product with an inherent timeless quality derived from flax. Its characteristics make it the perfect choice for luxury linen sheets and household linen. Flax is a wonderfully lustrous fibre many times stronger than cotton and its durability ensures our products are made to last. Natural fibres are the first choice in linen bedding allowing for breathability; keeping you cool and dry in summer and warm in winter. A true luxury linen is best made from individually dyed fine linen yarns and this process ensures colour fastness and a palette beyond compare. Superior quality linen is designed to be relaxed in nature and truly easy care; it should always look beautiful with a minimum of fuss. Perfect for easy living.
Nothing beats getting into a luxurious bed after a long day...
Citing craftsmanship, innovation and research as their core values, one of our favourite online journals, LE PARADOX' ethos befits HMCo's philosophy of culture, tradition, pride and centuries of craftsmanship. A recently published article by Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Cecilia Musmeci caught our attention where she chats to Italian label Archivio J.M. Ribot and their artisinal approach to creating garments.
Describing Archivio J.M. Ribot's collection as "digging into the past to give a new identity to clothes that have a memory," Cecilia expressed that she "really hopes we will have the chance to actually touch and see the pieces in person as they are truly outstanding. One can sense the incredible craftwork behind each stitching."
So do we.
ARCHIVIO J.M. RIBOT – CAPSULE I
Nostalgia is an active and useful creative tool that brings the old times back.In this spirit, Archivio J.M. Ribot digs into the past to give a new identity to things that have a memory. Officially launched last year, Archvio J.M. Ribot is a research clothing project split in two capsule collections: Riforma, consisting of one-of-a-kind pieces created by combining antique parts of clothing from early 20th century, and Archivio, a series of limited edition garments made with ancient fabrics collected in a textile archive throughout the years. The concept that inspired the project subverts codes of sartorial conservatism, showcasing a great engagement with craft...
It would be hard to imagine anyone more passionate about ceramics, and the more imperfect the better.Interior designer Janine Vasta takes us to meet Justin van Nierop, artisan, designer and founder of the Melbourne tile gallery Urban Edge Ceramics.
Justin van Nierop started Urban Edge Ceramics 15 years ago in an inner city Richmond warehouse that he says had seen better days. “It was supposed to be a hobby project, a toy.” Justin set up the showroom after the pace of the successful Sydney renovation company he ran with his sister left him looking for something more low-key.
Instead the thriving business now sees him crossing the globe several times a year in search of the best and latest surfaces in Europe and beyond. But meeting Justin you get the feeling that nothing he does stays small for long. He’s the kind of person who reminds you that success really can come from following your passion and trusting your own sense of style. Oh, and that perfection is way overrated.
The highly skilled Portuguese artisans Justin has teamed up with to produce his latest collection had a hard time understanding that he wasn’t seeking a faultless tile. “The first samples they produced were just too perfect,” he says. “It was a really difficult process. They just didn’t believe that we actually wanted the tiles to have wobbly edges and for the glaze not to be perfectly even and flat.”
Justin says that his partners in the new range are Portugal’s only government certified producers of ceramic tiles. “They kept looking at us and saying, ‘but no!’,” he laughs. “These guys have been conditioned to create the perfect handmade tile. It was a bit of a shock when we actually wanted them to relax a bit.”
The result, “Fifth Element Handmade Tiles”, is completely artisan-made, from sourcing and mixing the clay and grinding the pigments for the glaze to the firing process that creates the little imperfections that make every tile in the collection unique. “Everything is done as it has been for centuries,” he says. Laying them out on the table back in Melbourne, Justin looks like a proud father. He loves them. He dreams about them he tells me unashamedly. “They’re my gems.”
This isn’t such an odd analogy when you consider Justin trained as a goldsmith in Sydney and spent his childhood fixing old watches with his father, a Dutch watchmaker and jeweler. The youngest of five and the only boy, he learnt from his father to love and respect handmade objects and the artisans who create them. This passion for craft and the happiness that comes from beautiful textures and surfaces shapes the collection at Urban Edge Ceramics.
Justin’s Dutch-born mother played her part too, making everything at home from bread and cakes to clothes by hand. “Nothing was bought," he says. “It was the seventies and there was a lot of sameness but everything we had was handmade.” Fast forward to 2015 and Justin thinks his mum’s handmade fashion would be way cool today. “Handmade clothes, handmade food, handmade whatever is cool now,” he says. “It’s self-expression. Whatever is cool for you is cool.”
For Justin, along with his fierce anti-sameness ethos, certain inspirations never falter. When I ask him where he finds most of his products for UEC he’s quick to single out Italy as his go-to place for everything from lifestyle and coffee to tiles. “The Italians are the best,” he says. “I know them and I know their quality is going to be first class."
But he’s also ready to add a new muse to the list. “Lisbon is amazing,” he says, recounting the story of a dinner for two in the Portuguese capital (Justin works and travels with his partner Mia) that turned into a late night sightseeing tour with the local couple at the next table. “The Portuguese are so open, ” he says. “They say ‘this is our style’ but they’re not too proud to reinvent themselves and try new things. I could move there tomorrow."
In a time when we are bombarded with superficiality, through social media, technology and materialism, our desire for a natural aesthetic is increasing. With many choosing to grow their own food, buy organic products and purchase fewer possessions, leaving a small ecological footprint is very much in vogue.
The slow movement, which spreads across food, fashion, art and much more, encourages us to slow down to appreciate the joy in making things from scratch. Through enjoying home-cooked meals, bespoke fashion and handmade objects for example, many consumers are turning away from cheap, mass-produced products.
There is great satisfaction in purchasing something that has been made with care, natural materials and ethical principles. Despite such products often costing more, they last longer, wear better, and in fact, usually improve with age. As consumers, it is important to make ethical decisions based on the environment and the working conditions of those who make them.
An article in Trend Bible states that consumers are “looking for longevity and provenance in the products they invest in for the home” and that they have a desire to slow down their lives. The article talks about consumers taking control of their environments by purchasing quality pieces for their homes and supporting local enterprises.
Design Sponge founder Grace Bonney also writes about the pleasure of taking a slow approach to the home. “I find that slowness is something that both defines and refines my aesthetic over time and allows me to make decisions that are based more on long-term happiness than short-term gratification,” Bonney says. Her article goes on to describe the challenge of finding a balance between our desire for beautifully made products while seeking low price points.
Materials such as pure linen, that are natural and of a higher quality will always be more expensive. Similarly, if products are produced by small companies and independent designers, the price of this workmanship must be taken into account.
Perhaps the answer lies in buying fewer items and savouring the process. Like a slow movement in consuming. This way, we can decorate our lives with products that are carefully considered, which eliminates the chance of us growing tired of them. By gradually acquiring possessions, we can avoid waste, which will benefit the environment together with our purse strings. It is also rewarding to collect things that have a positive background story.
Possessions with a story attached are something Megan Trousdale writes about for Slow Living Magazine. Trousdale has written about houses and interiors for over 20 years, and describes the idea of “slow interiors” and the beauty in acquiring pieces over time, making your own and purchasing antiques. “It is the interiors layered over decades, not days, that have the most soul and meaning,” Trousdale says.
Another aspect of pursuing a natural, simple and slow aesthetic is accepting imperfections. This might be in the form of coveting a well-loved piece of furniture, an eccentric family heirloom or repairing a damaged item instead of throwing it away. It is true that many natural products are imperfect, but through altering our perceptions of these blemishes, we can come to see them as uniquely beautiful, and indeed more desirable than those without flaws.
Orchard Keepers is a superb 10-acre property nestled among the vineyards and orchards of Red Hill on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. There are three cottages that have been standing since the 1890s and 1950s, which have been restored and rejuvenated to create the ideal holiday accommodation with a touch of luxury.
When I phone Poss Sampieri early one Monday morning to arrange a time for this interview, she is busily changing linen bedding after a full weekend of guests. Since opening Orchard Keepers in 2013, her hands-on approach has well and truly paid off.
Warm and vivacious, Poss is the first to admit that maintaining Orchard Keepers requires a huge amount of work. However, she does it with passion, which makes the effort possible, and ultimately, deeply rewarding. “Unless you are actually prepared to do it yourself, get your hands dirty and feel it, it’s not going to work,” she says.
A 24-year background in sales and marketing with Ansett and Air New Zealand has given Poss a wealth of knowledge to apply to running Orchard Keepers, some of which is purely innate. Every detail of the business is carefully considered, from the slick website to the fresh flowers in each room, which are lovingly sourced from local gardens.
Indeed, Orchard Keepers is attracting guests from as far as Singapore, England and America due to her business savvy and dedication to creating a “chic country” escape. Sweeping sea views, an established garden and children’s playground are just a few of the details that make Orchard Keepers stand out. Antique furniture, original artworks, Grown Alchemist and Hale Mercantile Co. bedlinen ensure guests feel suitably indulged.
“The biggest thing for me is that people appreciate the space and feel at home,” she says. “I don’t want Orchard Keepers to be a design success and for people to go there and think it’s awful. I always say it’s not about how it looks, it’s about how it feels.”
After deciding to open a holiday retreat, it took Poss three years to find the right location. Initially she was interested in the neighbouring property but when Orchard Keepers came up for sale, she bought it immediately (it had only been on the market for two days). The charm of the old cottages, beautiful garden and surrounding scenery completely won her over.
Running the business hasn’t been without challenges, but Poss always manages to find clever and positive solutions. You can’t foresee issues that may arise before beginning a business, but these are the things that strengthen your approach and grow your wisdom. “It’s a fine line between picking up on things and becoming too cynical,” she says. “You have to just allow things to happen and you have to let them go.”
Poss says that Orchard Keepers wouldn’t be what it is without the people she works with and is quick to sing their praises. Every few months, she takes her small team out for a meal to touch base and express her gratitude. This open-hearted nature is characteristic of everything she does.
“All the people I work with are not picked randomly, they are who they are because I need them and I know I can’t run the business without them,” she says. “It was basically getting the best people, putting them all together and making it happen.”
Never in her wildest dreams did Poss imagine Orchard Keepers would be such a hit. The picturesque property is already booked out until November 2016, and the future is bright. She has bonded with the Red Hill community, and works closely with local wineries, restaurants, builders and gardeners. Poss is keen to open another holiday retreat in the area, one that offers the same unique features of Orchard Keepers, but with a different design aesthetic.
It seems that part of Orchard Keepers’ success stems from the energy Poss injects into the business and her generous philosophy. With editorials in Elle Decor Ukraine and Condé Nast, Germany, Canada and more, obviously she is doing something pretty special.
“In the last six years of my corporate life I commuted to Sydney every week, so on a Monday morning I’d get on a plane to Sydney and stay for two or three days and I’ve got three kids. I was sometimes in Perth, Brisbane, New Zealand and the States,” she says. “Now when I go to work, I drive down the peninsula, I drive up the driveway with a beautiful hedge and I see the workers’ cottage, which is 150 years old. It’s just such a nice place to be.”