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Swank Designs brings locally-made custom panels and pillows to area homes | Arts & Culture

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Swank Designs brings locally-made custom panels and pillows to area homes
Swank Designs brings locally-made custom panels and pillows to area homes


Swank Designs' owners are inspired by world travels to create beautiful window treatments, accent pillows and children's bedding

After searching for decorative panels and accents and finding the available designs were just more of the same, Tabitha Mahaffey and Patricia Ulliman decided to combine their expertise and form Swank Designs, offering custom lines of pillows, panels and children's bedding. Together, they share a passion for using and incorporating fabrics in unexpected ways. 

Mahaffey and Ulliman met while they were both working for a home furnishing and design center and then partnered to start Red Chair & Co., LLC, a full-service residential interior design firm in Virginia. As avid animal lovers, the business partners often name their newest pillow and panel lines after favorite pets, such as the Tucker panel named after a friend’s German Shepherd. This is a casual, cotton grommet panel with bold black accents and a chummy design combination of well-heeled dogs with polka dots. The Tucker panel is pictured on the website with their neighbor’s rescue poodle Pierre in a nature-infused setting, giving the viewer a taste of the beauty it would add to any décor.

The Emily panel, named after Ulliman’s daughter, is a sophisticated ivory silk panel with textured horizontal stripe banding adorned with intricately crocheted flowers. Each panel can be paired with a coordinating pillow. The lines range from the Italian floral print of the Chloe panel to the gray and black Roxy panel with silver metallic skirt to the double-layered Shelby drapery. There’s even a faux fur cuffed Gianna panel in unexpected colors and whimsical Angelica and Mattie lines.

“I believe in a style you call your own,” Mahaffey says. “No two people are alike and your design style should follow suit. Spaces that are rich in life and soul are where people live most comfortably and most beautifully.”

Both owners are world travelers, and find inspiration abroad. Their custom-made panels and pillows are often silk, paired with jewels, satin, embroidery, or flower embellishments. These unexpected pairings of fabrics is what continues to make Swank Designs unique and innovative, while the attention to the homeowners’ needs by providing the panels in three widths and specified lengths gives that personal touch to each piece.

“I love discovering new textiles that inspire unexpected fabric combinations and allow me to push the limits in window design,” Ulliman adds.

Swank Designs has also recently launched a line of children’s bedding including duvets, pillows, and panels. The Ziggy bedding is a zany zebra print with graphics to match, while the Meninas line is a colorful mix of figures, polka dots and vines.

Available online and with an emphasis on incorporating fabrics from around the globe, Swank Designs creates decorative drapery panels and pillows that become the art in any room. Swank Designs’ products can be found at www.swankdesigns.com.