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Home: Curtain Call

Jackie Caradonio

A thread of summer runs through the new Island series of fabrics from Anthony Lawrence-Belfair (ALB). The New York–based custom-furnishings company charged interior designer Juan Montoya with creating the line’s 10 light and refined patterns, which creative director Lana Lawrence, daughter of ALB founder Anthony Lawrence, calls "casual yet elegant." For Montoya—who worked with Lana on ALB’s first fabric collection, Metro—the Island draperies and upholstery are side benefits of a project he recently completed for a client in the Dominican Republic’s exclusive Cap Cana enclave. "I couldn’t find the right textures or materials that would evoke the sense of not only a beach house, but also a homey environment," says Montoya. "It inspired me to create something new that would address that missing element."

If, in fact, such offerings had been missing from ALB’s repertoire, you would not have known it by gazing on the company’s Manhattan showroom. The 3,000-square-foot space is a sea of white, with chairs, sofas, benches, and lounges—clad only in creamy muslin cotton—stretching from wall to wall. Like blank canvases, the furniture and the window treatments await brushstrokes large and small: ALB’s artisans execute each client’s specifications by hand, meticulously sewing each drape, stuffing each cushion, and carving each wooden leg.

Such attention to detail has been the Lawrences’ focus for more than 80 years. Lana’s grandfather Joseph, who upholstered for some of New York’s finest shops, taught her father the craft. Decades later, after Lana and her brother Joe helped move their father’s Greenwich, Conn., furniture store to Manhattan, the family acquired Belfair Draperies, which was known for having curtained the White House during several administrations. Lana debuted Metro in 2004, and at times over the past 15 years, she has employed dressmakers to fashion ALB’s draperies. "Everything that we do is so detailed and intricate; it’s very much like sewing a couture dress," explains Lana. The result, she says, "is better scale, finer stitching, and the most precise look possible." 

When developing the Island series ($70 to $150 per yard), Lana and Montoya focused on textures and colors befitting upscale beachfront homes. Standouts include Sundancer, a white linen embroidered with Mayan-influenced forms. "The collection runs the whole gamut of fabrics, so it is ideal not only for draperies and furniture, but also for wall upholstery and tablecloths," says Lana. "There are so many variations that it’s hard to choose a favorite."

Anthony Lawrence-Belfair, 212.206.8820, www.anthonylawrence-belfair.com

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