3.9.11 Sweet Dreams
I believe it was right around this time last year that I was waxing poetic about linen sheets. (Yes, here it is.) I won't go into the same details again: about how linen lasts longer, getting softer and more wonderful with age, etc. But I will stress how crucial it is that you pay attention to your bed. I can't get over the fact that some people are willing to sleep on lumpy mattresses with cotton-poly sheets, hard pillows and threadbare blankets. I mean, you're going to be spending about 200,000 hours on your back during this lifetime, and some of your best work will be done there! So don't skimp on the mattress! Indulge in some quality linens 'n' things and your horizontal experience will improve dramatically.You may think me decadent—or neurotic!—but my obsession with having the perfect bed is one of my better qualities. Ask anyone who has slept in my bed, our bed, I mean, I'm talking about houseguests to whom G and I have given up our room. I swear they all ask where we get our sheets. Anyway, you can imagine that it has been a little traumatic to be laying my head on someone else's pillows every night for the last month while our bathroom is being renovated. (In fact, we actually brought our own pillows with us! Monte Carlo goose down from Garnet Hill, $138, if you must know.) Fortunately, the gorgeous house at Beaver Dam—our home away from home—features some very fabulous antique French linen sheets.
My favorite sheets from Society are made by the Italian textile group Limonta, which was founded in 1893 in Costamasnaga, near Como, part of an area that upholds one of Europe's longest surviving textile traditions. They are simply divine and priced accordingly. But as marvelous as they are, few of them have the wonderful hand-finished details of vintage linens. Antique lace, embroidery and hemstitching (also known as faggoting), are some of the traditional embellishments you can find when you go scouting flea markets, tag sales and auction houses. Or, if you're really lucky, your grandmother's attic.
Ebay and 1st dibs are both good sources for vintage linens. Of course some people might be skeeved by the idea of sleeping on sheets that belonged to someone else, but they are silly. I know a few good techniques for getting old stains out of sheets. Rubbing them with lemon and putting them out in the sunshine, for one. Hot water with baking soda and white vinegar is another. The nice thing about linen sheets is that they are quite tough. You have to be much more careful with old cotton as it tends to disintegrate.
Slightly less expensive (but not much), and equally lovely, especially if you like a subtly rustic look, are sheets from Matteo. Based in California, you can shop for them from the source online (or look around for online sales elsewhere) or at ABC Carpet & Home. They also do nice cotton sheets, and I especially like their crocheted lace, jacquard patterns, embroideries and rich mix of textures.I truly hope this has made you rethink your sleeping arrangements. Now go to bed!