Friday, April 30, 2010

Going Against the Grainsacks.....

Here are two gorgeous chairs done with the real thing. One with a German Grainsack on the left and one French Grainsack on the right. They are in a fabulous home I will blog about next but this is about the grainsack reproductions.

This is a pillow the real deal from Kymberly Frasier of 3 Fine Grains, note the detail and some of the fading on the beautiful rooster with the wheat.

This is another French one, I am showing more French because the Popularity of the German ones are just now hitting their stride. This is a real one and we have seen this knocked off everywhere.........Sometimes well, sometimes not so well.

Another French grainsack from Textile Trunk proprieter Wendy Lewis another expert in grainsacks.

This is a repro from Aidan Gray, great look, not inexpensive but they tweak it so theirs are unique to them. Pricing is less than the authentic grainsacks but no appreciation of value.

Another two repros from Aidan Gray, well done, not as pricey as the real thing. But not a pricepoint for everyone, fabric is new reproduction fabric but looks good! Well thought out these are sold in pairs meant to be on beds or off setting sofas....

A delightful grainsack in burlap from Petite Coterie, whose product has improved. Less than Aidan Gray and a great price point for those who want the look.....And good value too. These cost less or the same as the ones below...

THESE are terrible! Very bad imitations that make all the companies look bad. It would be better for you not to have one than to have one that looks like this.

Or these. What fabric is this, cotton duck just cut up???? (About 4.00 a yd)

Isn't this a classy chair??? I don't think so. The point is these are popular items and that the repros are knocking off the repros and then the quality of the REPRO goes south. It's going to happen, but will be less likely if you don't buy the worst representations of the real thing. I urge you to go up and see the best at the top of this blog and see how the last three don't cut the mustard. I urge you to visit 3 Fine Grains blog and Textile Trunk on EBAY to see the real ones, and then visit Aidan Gray and Petite Coterie and maybe you will find some you can afford. If you can't get a DECENT repro......Wait til you can.

Thanks Kymberly and Wendy for your help on this.......


  1. Those top chairs are gorgeous Maryanne, and I look forward to your blog about their home.

    Those last three photos of the faux grainsacks made me cringe!

    Between the Aidan Gray and the Petite Coterie... I think I like the Petite Coterie repo better than the A.G.,...

    since neither of them are the real thing, I think the Petite Coterie is more refined...even though authentic grain sacks were never intended to be refined!

  2. Maryanne,
    Great advice. I waited until I could afford the real thing, vintage German, and I'm glad I did.

  3. Terrific post Maryanne. Great points in regards to horrible knock-offs and how they spoil a great look. You presented good examples. Hope you are geared up for a lovely weekend? All my best to you xx

  4. Thank you for actually saying this !! I've seen so many knock-offs that the look is becoming stale. But I still love the real thing.

  5. Those chairs are fabulous....Have a wonderful weekend, xv.

  6. I understand your point, but I also realize not everyone can afford the real thing and never will. Why shouldn't someone have an opportunity to follow a trend at a price point they can afford and still enjoy?

    It's like fashion, trends are reinterpreted at lower price points so the masses can have the look but not at the high end designer price.

  7. Dear Gail,
    I totally agree with you! The whole point was a lot of these bad knock offs are not necessarily less expensive than than some like Petite Coterie who does a nice product for the same price as the ones shown in the last three pictures. So, absolutely, you should be able to afford the look to fit your budget, but if you're going to spend say $40 don't you want the best quality for that amount???

  8. you forgot about restoration hardware too. well, i don't know. not everyone can afford the real thing - and sometimes the real thing is just dirty and old and tattered. I'm not against the repros myself. in fact- the one you said was horrible, i kind of liked it - it wasn't a faithful repro, but stylized. that's what makes horseracing - whatever that means! GREAT ARTICLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. I think we all like the real grain sacks, but the price points are a little to high for many of us. What is really sad is when my orginal designs are being knocked off by some big names in the industry. I try to offer an affordable burlap design that many are using for chairs. Thanks Maryanne for a great post.
    xx, Michelle

  10. Michelle makes an interesting point...

    I adore the German sacks..i am honestly sort of sick of anything that says Paris even if is expensive and authentic...just me.

    I think we all get the point that not everyone could or should afford the 3 Fine Grains, I think Maryanne is highlighting that actually..i have a 5 year old BOY it would be stupid to have a collectible textile near his koolaid and goldfish BUT the point is you can find decent looking repros if you want the look..I just encourage my budget clients to avoid the cheese..the Restoration ones are really petite coterie and Pottery Barn makes a great burlap with red stripe that looks like a mangle sheet but its soft and clean!

    I think I saw those exact chairs at Marburger..funny and I AM NOT LYING but I was inspecting one of those stenciled pillows at RT and the booth owner said "thats some kind of old sack..not sure" OMG PLEASE..that's just wrong..not making this up. they sell these stencils on etsy i think right?! nuts.

  11. Great post, I adore old grain sacks and am lucky enough to own a few real old French ones myself.

    That said not everyone can afford nor wants an old grain sack sitting on their bed or couch thus prefering to buy a new one that has a similar look.

    I love Michelle's burlap cushions as they are unique and represent good value for money.Infact I have recently requested Michelle to custom make a fabulous cushion for one of the window seats at Maison No.20, our home in SW France.

    It makes me mad when I think that there are people out their who cannot come up with their own ideas and start copying others which are often inferior in quality or made in sweat shop conditions and then sold for high prices.

    Merci beaucoup Maryanne for such an interesting post....

    Leeann x

  12. Hi Maryanne;
    I was so glad to read your post as my blood start boiling when i see all these knock offs everywhere. Jose Esteves' work has been so copied in the US first by Wisteria (to a tee except that their supposed antique silverware has no silver in it), then came in Restoration Hardware, then my antique farm tables and industrial pieces badly botched up and made in Vietnam. Where is the creativity? these companies certainly can afford to hire creative talents...The new Times did a cover story once on us...the topic was where do Pottery barn, Crate and Barrel and others get inspired?? they go to Interieurs...
    I always explain to my clients that I not just get copies of furniture, accessories or lighting if they do not have the budget for the real piece, but my role is to find something just as suitable and interesting in the appropriate price category.
    Thank you for your good wishes, (very much needed!!!) Francine

  13. You are so absolutely right Francine!!!!! A good designer is going to make sure their clients, when making choices, will make the right ones within their budget. I mean the best value for the dollars alloted. Whether it be art or pillows. We are in a great time now EVERYONE can access what they want to see on the web and make their choices. BUT, there are many moms, lawyers, bankers, and business owners that don't have the TIME to research their choices. A good Designer designs for their clients, period. You echo that venue.Bravo for you!

  14. great post. I love grain sacks . These armchairs are gorgeous.

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  16. Hi dear, I am always for the "real thing" (I rather save up or wait). Maybe that is my Swedish gene - quality not quantity. And today with the internet you can really scout products all over the world - and find the best prices - and the real deal. It just takes a little bit of research.

    Good post my friend - and a great collection of images!

    Cyber hug


  17. I think you should always wait until you can afford the real thing! Great post! Tracey xx

  18. Hi Maryanne! My thing with grainsacks is I love the texture first, then the design. If its a good look, and I'm not paying an antique price, I'm ok with a "copy"...IF its not a pure rip off of someone else's design. Think its fine if someone creates their own design to capture the trend and doesn't try to pass it off as vintage/antique. Hate exact copies at virtually the same price as an original. Flea market chic marked UP? Where's the added value? I'd pay extra for provenance, originality, and/or age...otherwise I'm just getting ripped off. Opinion subject to change...but that's where I am now. Back to the wild of my back yard. XO Trish

  19. I eagerly await your post about those fabulous chairs. Your point well made and I agree. Best to wait until you can get the best. Unfortunately, most of the time once a trend hits the mass market and is reproduced, it is run into the ground. Hopefully the grain sack trend won't fall as a casualty soon. Thanks for your great photos and comments.

  20. I am going to make my last comment on this post I(I think). I do so appreciate all the wonderful opinions offered by those who agree, disagree and have a different take, but I would like to end by saying this: Buy the best you can afford, whatever your budget according to your taste, but don't buy crap...There is a lot out there to choose from, CHOOSE WISELY, and be proud of your choice.:)

  21. Love your chairs, Maryanne! Yes, I have loved the real grain sacks for so long as they are just full of texture, charm and go in any interior. Thanks for the juicy post!

  22. Thanks Maryanne, for sharing this great post.
    The chairs in the top picture are just gorgeous and look forward to seeing your next post.
    I often think if you can't afford the real thing, wait until you can.

    Enjoy the rest of the week

  23. i like your style gals!!!!
    you tell it like it is
    without mincing any words.

    i agree on all points.
    and i will be back for more!!!!

  24. Lovely, lovely pillows. Beautiful blog.

  25. 處順境須謹慎,處逆境要忍耐。........................................

  26. Happy Mother's day wonderful, beautiful Maryanne! A warm hug, Mon

    P.S How embarrasing that my DRAFT post when live (Princess Victoria) with tons of typos and xxxx, for words to be added. Glad you commented so that I could take it down! You must have thought I was totally intoxicated! (:

  27. Monika,
    I didn't even notice!!!!! I read it fast except for the underwear model made me linger a bit!!!!!HAHA!

  28. Dear Maryanne, I have loved, loved those great upholstered grainsack chairs, the best ones I have seen ever!!! and the withe chair is so lovely too!! Will wait to see the house where they are in...
    Muchos cariños,
    Maria Cecilia

  29. I would love to come and visit your store one day Maryanne. It looks so lovely. Great chairs!

  30. that's happened with so many antique/vintage items that suddenly were THE thing to's really sad.

  31. fantastic! that first rooster is awesome!

  32. Great post and wonderful commentary! - The Arkansan Anglophile

  33. Lovely round up of my current obsession with grain sacks. Have you seen the grain sack rug from Viva Terra? It's perfection.