The streamlined sofa faces a pair of bergéres
whose graceful, generous curves could only originate at the French source. Loosely patterned pink
and cream ikat upholstery fabric jazzes up their traditionalism. The chairs anchor the living
room seating arrangement and bring a
note of feminine propriety into a room
filled with plants, flowers, reeds, geological specimens, color, and art.
Though Kaplan loves beads, shells, coral, all
antique fabrics (suzanis, in particular), and bright
pinks and purples in upholstery and pillows in her living space, her work space is cleanly Spartan. She and
her assistant, Ali Brown, run Jill Litner Kaplan Interiors
out of the converted attic of the Kaplan home. A model
of sky-lit white efficiency, with copious storage built into
the deep eaves, it is as practical and organized as the
two downstairs floors are happily colorful.
The long, peaked office reveals something of Kaplan’s
kaplan designed the
efficient businesswoman side. With a Harvard master of
business administration degree under her belt, she prides
herself on running a tight ship and says she never for-
gets the ongoing challenge and competition involved in
maintaining a successful enterprise. “People want beauty,
function, creativity,” she says, “but they need the reassur-
ance of businesslike practices and to see exactly where
their money goes.”
Happily, her colorful, creative work lasts long after
the bills have been paid and filed.
table (facing page) and
paired it with vintage
and Art Deco side
chairs. The carpet
reminds her of suzanis
such as the beloved
vintage textile she uses
on her bed (below).
Stitches in Time
Jill Litner Kaplan loves and collects suzanis, a type of
decorative embroidered tribal textile made in Tajikistan,
Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and other Central Asian countries.
The name is derived from the Persian word for needle, and
suzanis are made using chain, satin, and buttonhole stitches
augmented with couching, a method of laying a decorative
thread on fabric as a raised line, which is then stitched in
place with a second thread.
With time, all textiles deteriorate, but Kaplan finds that
can add to their appeal. A slightly frayed coverlet, circa 1900,
brightens the bed in the master bedroom (above). “Originally,
it was probably a Turkish wedding bedspread. I love the bright
colors and bold pattern. It’s just right for the room,” says
Kaplan, who finds textiles an endless source of inspiration.
“There is never a shortage of wonderful fabrics,” she says, nor,
as her work attests, of creative ways to use them.