The Joy of Bespoke Stationery for the Holiday Season
This article was originally published on Christie’s International Real Estate’s blog Luxury Defined.
Bespoke stationers understand the importance of the personalized, and how the perfect event begins with the perfect invitation—Luxury Defined looks at where to go when only the best stationery will do.
When the holiday season comes around and a beautiful invitation or letter arrives in the mail, you know that someone has really put thought into it—from what style of invite would best evoke the event and which words to put on the front, to the typeface, colour, and thickness of card, die-stamping, or embossing. No text or email can ever match the thrill of receiving something handmade—and if it’s thick and embossed with your name in gold letters, so much the better. We profile three of the best bespoke stationery companies around.
Barnard & Westwood
London’s Barnard & Westwood fine printers and bookbinders has been producing bespoke handmade invitation, stationery, greetings cards, and journals since 1921. It specializes in combining traditional skills and methods with modern technology to produce beautiful pieces of print, and what’s more, is the proud holder of two Royal Warrants granted by both Her Majesty The Queen (held for more than a quarter of a century) and His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales (granted in 2012).
“Every project is different, and we take great pride in tailoring each invitation to the needs of each individual client,” says director Alasdair Abrines. “Giving an invitation the desired wow factor” can be achieved through many different means, be that using traditional raised printing methods such as die-stamping or selecting textured papers to give the material itself a unique tactile finish.”
Barnard & Westwood has worked with a huge array of companies and institutions such as Moët Hennessy, Vivienne Westwood, Paul Smith, Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Design Museum and, of course, The Royal Household.
Whenever possible, it invites customers to visit its workshop close to London’s revitalized King’s Cross neighborhood, as the process of designing an invitation, or any stationery, is a very tactile and creative process. “Clients might draw inspiration from walking through our factory and seeing our artisans at work. Or perusing their collection of printed samples showing what can be achieved through the different processes,” says Abrines.
Customers will often bring in their own designs and or artwork, but Barnard & Westwood is also able to work from ideas. “From the moment the invitation drops through the letterbox you are setting the tone of the event and establishing your guests’ expectations,” says Abrines. “Through our years of experience in designing and producing printed event stationery we can ensure your invitations convey the right message and give guests a sneak preview of what to expect on the night.”
Mrs. John L. Strong
Founded in 1929, New York City’s Mrs. John L. Strong still uses traditional techniques to create invitations and embossed monogrammed paper and envelopes. “In a fast-paced world of digital communication, Mrs. John L. Strong still upholds the tradition of the written word,” as its mission statement puts it.
Flora, the original Mrs. John L. Strong, worked from her sister’s trousseau shop on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and the company’s HQ is still on Madison Avenue. Clients can visit the bricks-and-mortar store to browse stationery from an archive of house dies or commission something truly bespoke, including monograms, family crests, lettering, and more.
Mrs. John L. Strong also produces place cards, so you can ensure your dinner party guests are perfectly positioned, along with menu cards and coasters for drinks.
A Paris Chez Antoinette Poisson
The founders of A Paris Chez Antoinette Poisson met when they were working as freelance paper conservators, saving wallpapers in some of France’s oldest palaces.
Working on a project in Auvergne they needed to replace 18th-century “Domino”—decorative sheets of paper used on walls, distinguishable by their 16.5-inch (42 cm) by 12.6-inch (32 cm) size. When they struggled to find exactly what they were looking for, Julie Stordiau, Vincent Farelly and Jean-Baptiste Martin decided to make their own, establishing A Paris Chez Antoinette Poisson, with the aim of bringing lost wallpaper techniques back to life.
Today the trio, working from an atelier in the 11th arrondissement of Paris, produces colourful domino papers, some inspired by their 18th-century counterparts, others original designs, wallpaper roll, notebooks, and stationery, all handmade using traditional methods.
A flamboyant Rococo design, rediscovered by the Antoinette Poisson team, recently caught the eye of Alessandro Michele, creative director of Gucci, leading to a collaboration that led to the designs being used for Gucci’s summer 2018 resort collection as well as on the hand-painted floor of the newly refurbished Gucci Wooster boutique in New York City.
81 Glastonbury Drive, Stratford.
Charming 1.5 storey home in a quiet neighbourhood for sale. Kitchen offers a custom tin backsplash and barstool seating. Painted white brick fireplace in living room. Renovated 4-piece washroom. 2 lovely bedrooms with tons of storage space. Lower level is fully finished and features a 3-piece washroom. Rear deck and private fenced backyard. Large covered front porch with hanging porch swing. Use the walking trails beside the home to get downtown in just 12 minutes. Receipts and dates for all major upgrades completed by current owners.
Located in London North, this beautiful family home is impeccably maintained and a pleasure to show. 4+1 bedroom with 3.5 bathrooms. Bright and airy with modern features.
The dark hardwood floors contrast perfectly with the soft white decor throughout. The kitchen has been updated including new appliances.
The lower level is completely finished with large recreation room and wet bar & 3-piece bathroom. The backyard includes a large permanent wooden covered porch with vaulted ceiling. Other features include outdoor speakers, underground irrigation and exterior lighting.
Bonus feature is the amazing pie-shaped lot with 140 ft. of frontage.
Full listing on our site.
If you like to entertain, even a large kitchen can get congested, especially if you're busy preparing and serving food. Adding a butler's pantry can be a stylish solution.
Design and build by @clarkandcohomes
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Using a shade of green in a kitchen works well with so many other elements (bright white, grays, wood textures, marble, brass accents, etc.). Whether you’re considering bringing colour into your kitchen on the cabinets, doors, island or walls, you may want to consider green 🍃
text via @emilyaclark blog ‘5 SHADES OF GREEN FOR YOUR KITCHEN CABINETS’
Welcome to 16 Haig Street, Stratford 🏡 This lovely 1761 SQFT bungalow is situated on a spectacular lot & located on the north side of Lake Victoria. The Great Room features vaulted ceilings, gas fireplace & large east-facing windows that offer gorgeous views of the lake & park. Beautiful natural light occupies the home in the morning from the front windows & during the afternoon sitting on the backyard deck.
𝐉𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝐋𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐝! 𝟏𝟓𝟐𝟕𝟎 𝐓𝐡𝐢𝐫𝐭𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐌𝐢𝐥𝐞 𝐑𝐨𝐚𝐝, 𝐃𝐞𝐧𝐟𝐢𝐞𝐥𝐝. This wonderful family home offers country living just minutes north of the City of London. Lifestyle features include large principal rooms, finished walk-out lower level, heated in-ground swimming pool with hot tub located in covered cabana area. Large patio area to enjoy poolside living and entertaining with family and friends. 3 bedrooms on main floor with private principal bedroom & large ensuite. Lower level offers heated floors, large family room with gas fireplace and den and additional 4th bedroom with powder room. Lots of natural light on both levels. Heated floors in 2-car built-in insulated garage. Backyard is fenced offering plenty of privacy. Landscaped with front and backyard gardens.