Textures, Textiles, and Textbooks

All of us at Alexandria Stylebook have been talking about Back to School this month for good reason. It’s coming up fast and furious. Before you know it, the kids will be in full homework and study mode and we will be hoarse from reminding them to do their work. At least that’s what it’s like at my house. In order to avoid the inevitable homework struggles, I thought it would be fun to dream up a couple of beautiful homework – or any work – spaces using Tulu Textiles, the latest addition to our interior design arsenal.

Tulu Textiles is designed by world traveler and antique textile collector Elizabeth Hewitt. As described on their website, “Tulu is like a well-kept secret, or a well-told story, that gets richer with every retelling.” Based on Hewitt’s travels and the people she meets, her designs are influenced by the colors, sights, flavors, and objects of far off places like Burma, India, Morocco, and Spain. The collection is rich in color and interest and we are so thrilled to offer them to you.


The first room uses Tulu’s Inez fabric. Between the linen fabric, the chunky jute rug from Dash & Albert, the gold-leafed lamp by Suzanne Kasler, and the lacquered grass cloth desk, this study space has a lot of gorgeous texture. The organic feel allows for a lot of creativity.


The second study space uses Tulu’s Mariposa Red fabric. It has a vintage feel, so I pulled a reference or two from days gone by. The mirror from Jamie Young, the lamp by Kelly Wearstler, and the desk feel decidedly vintage, and touches of brass – even the nailheads on the back of the chair (not pictured but trust me!) – create cohesion in the design.

When setting up your study space follow these few tips:

  • First, evaluate how your child works (or how you work!). Do you need quiet to focus or does music help? Do you need to get up and move in between tasks or do you power through when you’re in the flow?
  • The answer to that question will inform the location. For instance, if you need quiet, then don’t set up in the family room.
  • Make sure you are comfortable. Having a comfortable chair is key, as is having the right lighting. Overhead and ambient light give you options for the type of task you are doing.
  • Keep your space organized. If you’re like me and organized chaos works, then create your piles, but if you’re like everyone else, then look for tools that can keep your desk neat and tidy. Penny Post has plenty to offer in that category.


I know these rooms are a little unrealistic for a twelve year old, but I hope they inspire you to create a beautiful space that makes study and work easy for everyone. If you need a little help, we have design partners that are available to make your homework dreams a reality. Just reach out to us at hello@redbarnmercantile.com and we will introduce you to the right person for the job.

In other good news, our upholstery sale continues through August 31, which means the two chairs featured here, among many other beautiful pieces, are marked down even more than usual.  Also…all in-stock and special-order Dash & Albert rugs will be on sale over Labor Day weekend, so start planning now.

Happy studying!!


  • The latest from Amy
Owner Amy Rutherford started Red Barn because she wanted to deliver a service — to provide both old and new in one place. No longer will busy shoppers be limited to reproductions or forced to shop multiple flea markets for the look or gifts they want. The trick in blending old and new, vintage and modern, classic and quirky, is balance. And Amy’s knack for mixing rustic antiques with urban chic has created a look that is both fresh and familiar.

Red Barn Mercantile opened its doors in September 2007 with a single vision in mind: providing old and new to offer our customers signature whole-room designs at great prices.

We’re more than a furniture boutique and provide more personalized service than a big box retailer. We work hard to bring you the highest quality furniture and gifts, the most unique conversation starters, wall hangings and accent pieces, whether they come from off-the-beaten-track flea markets, or the latest designers.


1117 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get your daily dose of all things fashion, beauty, fitness, and design. Locally sourced and locally styled!