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.
Just Listed on Lake Simcoe: 968 Degrassi Cove Pl W, Innisfil
This custom home direct waterfront home was built in 2000 by the current owner and has served as a sanctuary for family and friends. Over their 22 years of ownership, they have enjoyed the property during every season.
Degrassi Cove is a small and exclusive waterfront community and share the private road. The forested lands on the opposite side of the street provide great privacy. There is no vehicle traffic other than the neighbours, so it is very safe for kids.
Built as a 4-season home and located on the west-side of Lake Simcoe. You will enjoy north-west facing views of the lake and sunsets. There are no stairs to the water’s edge. The water table is level to the lot, which offers a beautiful beach area along the shoreline. There is great swimming and boating. The portable dock is 65 ft long with a 12’ x 12’ patio area. Boating enthusiasts can store their boat in the dry boathouse. Entertaining on the lake is so easy!
The home offers 2,700 sf on the main and upper level. The principal rooms offer generous space including a large private family room, formal dining room, large great room combined with the eat-in kitchen. In addition, there is 1,535 sf of finished space on the walk-out level. There are four generous size bedrooms. The primary bedroom is situated on the main level and overlooks the lake, and includes a five-piece ensuite, a walk-in closet and a garden door to the lakeside patio area. The three other bedrooms are located on the second floor.
The lower level includes a large recreation room with wood-burning fireplace and a walk-out to the lake. A large office with a built-in desk and bookcases can serve as a large 5th bedroom. The 3-piece bathroom is also equipped with a partially finished cedar-lined sauna. There is plenty of storage space on this level too.
Photography by @ishutterphoto
Staging by @chateau_designandstaging
This professionally designed custom-built home embodies a comfortable, vintage cottage feel built with energy efficient maintenance-free materials. This home offers a private park-like setting, with in- town conveniences. It’s a nature lover’s lot…a sanctuary for birds and wildlife. This one in in a million home was showcased in a 16-page spread in Cottages & Bungalows Magazine.
Shiplap walls and wood slat ceilings throughout impart a cabin-like coziness. The primary bedroom is secluded on the main floor overlooking a wooded area that surrounds the property. The front office duals as an additional main floor bedroom adjacent to a 3-piece bathroom. The upper level includes two additional bedrooms that provide enhanced privacy for guests. One of the bedrooms functions as a seating area with a Murphy bed and small kitchenette. It has been designed as a secure space for future rental opportunity.
Located in the charming lakeside village of Bayfield, this property is a stone-throw away from Lake Huron, a short walk to town, the fishing pier and marina, Pioneer Park and the Community playground. This spectacular property backs on to a designated environmental area and surrounded by trees makes it an ideal retreat for entertaining family and friends.
It’s no secret that green has been trending in a major way lately. Not only does the leafy shade conjure the sensation of being outdoors after two years cooped up at home, it also is a versatile (and welcome) alternative to traditional colors like white and gray.
Sweet 3 bedroom home that has a light and airy feel to the interior. Vaulted ceiling with open concept design creates a welcoming feel with plenty of natural sunlight all afternoon. Hardwood floors in bedrooms. Updated interior ready to be moved in to. It is a special place to call home or cottage.
Large wrap-around deck features West-facing views of 2-acre park of which you would be a 1/10th owner. Private dock for all park owners. Deeded Lake Simcoe access is rare to find. Very private setting with mature trees.
Message us today for more information or to book private showing.
staging by @chateau_designandstaging
photography by @ishutterphoto
20 Quiet Heights Lane, Georgina provides views of the lake from all spaces on the west side of them home, including the great room, kitchen, dining area, and primary bedroom.
You will enjoy the morning sunrise from the front covered porch and of course, sunset views from the lakeside. The natural sunlight fills the home with warmth and light all day long. It’s tranquil, serene, and welcoming.
In the design stages, the current owner had some important “must-have’s” including a Muskoka like feel, spaciousness, sun-filled rooms, and an “understated elegance“ carried throughout the home.
Some of the interior features include:
– 3 bedrooms on main level and 2 additional bedrooms on the lower level
– 3 full bathrooms plus powder room
– 10.9 ft ceiling height on the main level and 9 ft ceiling height on the lower level
– Great room includes custom millwork and 13 ft vaulted coffered ceiling
– Gourmet kitchen with upgraded appliances
– Spectacular light fixtures including ceiling fans in each bedroom
– Custom drapery and blinds
– Radiant heated floors in kitchen, primary ensuite and the entire lower level
– Surround sound system both indoors and outdoors
A full list of room features, additional images, virtual tour, and more can be found on our website (link in bio).
This listing is also available on realtor.ca (MLS# N5657656)
When you combine the attention to detail of a quality builder with the owner’s vision to create a sanctuary home, the result is spectacular.
This home offers a “Zen” feel immediately upon your arrival.
The landscaping is wonderfully appointed with a collection of perennial gardens, shrubs, mature trees and privacy hedges on both sides, which is home to many birds. There are several seating areas promote great conversation with family and friends or a place to enjoy some quiet time when you want to be alone and enjoy nature all around you.
This is a wonderful home to entertain in both indoors and outdoors. The raised balcony includes a covered area where you can enjoy a summer rain shower. The open area provides lots of space for your chaise loungers to get some sun and watch an array of boats on the lake.
The lower deck is covered and a perfect location for the 7-seater plus lounger hot tub along with another separate seating area to enjoy the lake views.
Listing Price: $1,935,000
DM us to book a private viewing.
The full listing can be found on our site & on realtor.ca (MLS# N5657656)