Image: Stacey Brandford / Projects: Tonic Living
Chic hammam towels leave the bathroom behind to star in these crafty DIY accents.
When we saw lifestyle blogger Lynne Knowlton’s super-cute country bunkie, we thought it would be the ideal location to showcase the summery projects we’d asked Toronto home decor fabric store Tonic Living to create using hammam towels. With their soft weave, whimsical tassels and simple patterns, these pretty, practical pieces are perfectly suited for cottage style decorating, and with a little imagination, they can be transformed into indispensable accessories for every room.
DRY GOODS: HAMMAMS 101
Long revered for their stylish blend of form and function, these flat-woven bathroom staples have a history dating back more than 600 years. Also known as foutas or peshtemals, hammam towels originated in Anatolia, Turkey, and were used as wraps in bathhouses (or hammams, hence the common name). They’re traditionally made with strong, extra-long cotton fibres to give the fabric softness and durability, while the thin weave contributes to their lightweight composition. Because they’re less bulky – a hammam towel weighs about one-third of a standard terry version – they’re often used as scarves or throws. To keep a hammam at its best, don’t wash it with fabric softener or bleach, and allow it to air-dry.
Folded hammams are draped over a bit of foam padding on antique wooden chairs to create quick and easy seat cushions that are as stylish as they are useful. On Lynne’s pair of utilitarian pressed-back chairs, the fringes trail down to add a feminine touch.
BEACH BLANKET BINGO
Simple toss cushion covers are formed by sewing up hammam towels, making sure the fringes are displayed on the outer edges. Experiment with different colours and patterns to suit your furniture, and don’t be afraid to take them outside – towelling can weather a summer shower or two.
Cupboard “doors” are effortlessly fashioned with hammams and tacks or wire to conceal unsightly under-counter items. The towels are available in a variety of sizes, and their lightweight construction means they hang nicely.
Carefully fold a hammam to fit inside a basket or box and turn the sides over the top so that the fringes form a neat decorative edge. The treatment is perfect for transporting picnic fare to the park and back, as the absorbent fabric will handle any inadvertent spills.