Inside Look

Galbraith & Paul reveals its design process during a presentation at DC’s Room & Board

A colorful collection of throw pillows from Galbraith & Paul embellishes a sofa in the Room & Board showroom. ©Yulia Mikhalchuk

As the exclusive retail partner of textile design studio Galbraith & Paul, Room & Board displays its vibrant, modern textiles in the form of rugs, pillows, upholstery, lighting and more. Last night, the 4,000-square-foot showroom in DC’s 14th Street Corridor—with The Textile Museum as a co-sponsor—offered visitors a chance to discover how these colorful, hand-blocked textiles are made.

Home & Design had an opportunity to meet Galbraith & Paul owner and co-founder Liz Galbraith. She and her husband, Ephraim Paul, started the business in 1986 and today have a 7,000-square foot studio with an adjoining showroom and a staff of 15 artisans painstakingly hand-creating their products. “We always hire artists,” Galbraith explained. “We like that everyone is also doing something else—pottery, fashion design, etc. We feel it inspires us.”

She described “an editing process of staying simple and universal” when she creates the company’s textile designs. Among her influences: “William Morris for hand-blocking, Fortuny for textures and Marimekko for colors and designs.”

An artisan at work in Galbraith & Paul’s Philadelphia studio. © Galbraith & Paul Studio

Years ago, Galbraith lit on a surprising method involving “the foam that goes on the bottom of lamps,” which they cut into patterns and adhere to plexiglass for hand-blocking. Galbraith & Paul has recipes for colors that are mixed in-house weekly, and a drying machine that Galbraith’s brother invented and built for her himself.

After the talk, the manager of Room & Board DC showroom, Scott Jussila, commented on the popularity of Galbraith & Paul textiles in the region, where traditional architecture often meets a more contemporary sensibility. “We bridge the styles,” Galbraith responded. “We don’t want to lock into one style or period.” —Julie Sanders

Room & Board’s DC store manager Scott Jussila with Liz Galbraith. © Yulia Mikhalchuk

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