Living Vintage, Reviving Beauty

“What are those amazing things?” This is a question that Analisse Taft, designer and owner of the interior decor showroom ALT for Living, is probably used to hearing. After all, she deftly curates an impeccable selection of rugs, fabrics, and other home design elements at her showroom in Soho and has grown accustomed to clients entering and gaping at all the ALT offers. However, it was Taft herself who stopped in her tracks and posed that question while visiting a Civil War-era factory in Red Hook. “What are those amazing things?”

Taft tells us that she saw vintage silkscreens “hanging high in the rafters—and the ceilings are 18-feet-high there—in the dust and cobwebs” and immediately asked Bob Burns, one of the owners of the EFS Factory, what they were. Taft recalls that after Burns replied, “‘Oh, it’s just garbage.’ I was dying! I asked what he did with them and he said, ‘When I have time, I just burn them.’” Taft saw the beauty in these decades-old fabrics and started to sell both the original vintage silkscreens and, later, fabrics based on the rescued designs.

The original screens are a stunning example of mid-century design sensibility and the modern fabrics based off the screens are brought into the contemporary design world with a modernized color palette. And, as Taft points out to me, at a time when local manufacturing is prized, these fabrics are all made in America and are the perfect example of sustainability and recycling. Rather than feel nostalgic for the beautiful fabrics that were tucked away in the cobwebs of a Red Hook factory, Taft repurposed them in a singular way, so that these vintage pieces could live a second life.

Photo Matt Feddersen

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