We are thrilled to welcome Varnish Collection as our Spring Pop-Up. A collection of handwoven pieces by artisans in India using all natural materials. Varnish Collection furniture and accessories are unique pieces of art that add warmth and texture to any room. We spoke with Mary Lovett and Anna, the two sisters behind the Varnish Collection, about everything from where the name comes from to the best design advice they received.
Meet the Varnish Girls
Born and raised in Columbus, GA, sisters Anna and Mary Lovett, spent their childhood making memories with their huge family. In fact, many of those memories were on their back porch, which was furnished with a full set of painted wicker. Through a love for interior design and family tradition, these two sister founded Varnish Collection.
1. Three Words to Describe Varnish Collection?
Unexpected, Authentic, Artistic.
2. Tell us about the name.
The name of our company is a reference to one of the most important priorities in our lives, our family. Our maiden name is Varner. We group up as a large family of five sisters, commonly known as the “Varner Girls” so we felt like this was a fun way to honor our family as well as give a nod to collected interiors.
3. Why Wicker?
We always knew that we were going to start an interiors focused business and actually tossed around ideas for several products that interested us before landing on this one. But then one day Mary Lovett randomly met the contact who would eventually become our manufacturing liaison. Once he introduced us to the artisan community and this beautiful product, we had no doubts that we’d found our business. The connection to unique furniture and specifically our memories of heirloom wicker sets from childhood created made this a natural choice. We want to help create spaces of beauty, art and meaningful community. Rattan and wicker furniture patinas, ages and lives many different lives. Whether you paint it or leave it alone, it will always be something that can be passed down and used in many different ways.
4. What were the most important design elements you wanted to achieve when designing the collection?
While we absolutely love the classic wicker weave that we grew up with, like our Ruth Table, we felt like we needed a diverse collection to speak to several different design aesthetics. Also, we found that our weavers were capable of doing such unique, beautiful work that we had never seen before. Wicker and rattan is definitely having a moment right now and while we would like to support that, we’d also like to provide something that will outlast trends. Something that will having staying power based on its unique beauty and quality.
5. What is the best gift someone could give?
A (Anna): A trip to a remote island. ML (Mary Lovett): A personal chef.
6. We love envisioning these pieces in all types of spaces, what design style are you most drawn to?
A: I am drawn to rooms that don't look cookie cutter or like something you've seen a million times. To me, the best designers are the ones who find those one-of-a-kind eclectic or vintage pieces and make it look tailored and planned. Chenault James out of Kentucky and Henry & Co Design out of Connecticut create truly magnificent spaces that are completely timeless.
ML: I am drawn to rooms that have a balance of color, texture and layering. And well-edited, which is much harder than it appears. I also love when rooms include pieces that have a story, whether it’s a family heirloom, or from a special trip or a meaningful gift.
7. Best design advice you've received?
A: Always add something black to a room. ML: Don’t look for something to fill a space; buy something you love and you will find a space for it.
8. There are so many unique pieces within this collection, which is your favorite?
A: Hamilton Sofa because it is unlike anything I have ever seen before. It also can be used in so many different ways- as a bench in the foyer, a sofa in the sunroom, or a bench at the end of the bed! ML: Penelope Game Table because its perfect for cocktails, rummikub, or a puzzle! Plus, it’s a stunner!
9. Where do you find inspiration?
We find inspiration from our favorite designers, historical pieces, interesting trips and from other companies who are doing things just a little bit different.
10. One thing you'd want someone using your pieces to know?
We would want them to know that your home should be a reflection of who your are. We want you to use our pieces to fill your space with an unexpected dose of personality and warmth.