Arlington’s Best-Kept Fabric Store Secret
Looking to reupholster a chair or bring an old sofa back to life? Check out the discount designer fabrics at Haute Fabrics in Ballston.
Haute Fabrics owner Roxy Hill. Photo by Amy Moore.
ROXY HILL KNOWS that her store, Haute Fabrics, can be overwhelming. The warehouse-style space in Ballston is crammed with high-end and designer fabrics that she sells at a deep discount. “I probably give people too many choices,” laughs the graduate of New York’s Pratt Institute who has been in the fabric business for 16 years.
A veritable trove for the design-savvy, the space is organized by color in deep, claustrophobic rows. Thousands of bolts of fabric and large piles of remnants (textiles that normally retail for $60-$300 a yard) sell here for a fraction of the cost. There are no price tags, but pretty much everything goes for about $20-$30 a yard. Brands include names such as Beacon Hill, Cowtan & Tout, Vervain, Kravet and Brunschwig & Fils. There are plenty of indoor/outdoor choices, including the popular label Sunbrella and Italian manufacturer Para. The upstairs is devoted to silks, velvets, leather, fur, vinyl and trims.
For the uninitiated, it helps to bring a designer in tow, or at least pictures of rooms and pieces that inspire you so that Hill can offer guidance. If you’re on a specific mission, be sure you have precise measurements for whatever it is you are hoping to decorate, design or cover. On one visit, I bring my friend Danielle Sigwalt (the talent behind freshquince.blogspot.com) to help dig through the aisles. Unintimidated by the massive sea of options, she immediately zeroes in on a spectacular Chinese-dragon-print fabric—“a Schumacher knockoff,” she informs me, but a dead ringer for the real thing, and the kind of pattern that would revive a pair of vintage wingbacks or a set of upholstered dining chairs.
The shop has its own workrooms, where tailors and upholsterers who work exclusively with Haute Fabrics custom-make items such as drapes, table linens, pillows, slipcovers and bedding. They also reupholster furniture.“Sometimes it takes two or three visits before you can wrap your head around this store,” Hill admits. But that’s part of the fun.