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Features > Spring Homes > Architectural Homes > Tillett
CR034: Tillett
Photos: Claire Richardson / Narratives
Text & Styling: Clare Weatherall / Narratives

Kathleen Tillett lives ‘over the shop’ at her family’s hand-printed textile business in Sheffield, Massachusetts. Her British father-in-law, Leslie Tillett, started the company in England in the 1930s, before emigrating to Mexico, where the company’s colour-splashed signature designs were conceived.
Leslie and his bohemian wife DD moved their HQ to Manhattan in 1946, and by the 1960s Tillett designs were favoured by Billy Baldwin and Parrish-Hadley: Jacqueline Kennedy had their fabrics made into her signature frocks. Kathleen went to work in the business in the Seventies when she met her husband Dek (Leslie and DD’s son), and when Dek left five years ago Kathleen took over as MD. She now runs the company with her son Patrick McBride. The factory is surrounded by beautiful countryside (the Appalachian trail runs past the door), and when her marriage broke up Kathleen sold the family home and designed and built a new top floor, to create a loft-style apartment for her new life. It’s city-style living in the midst of the country, with a very modern live-work ethos. Tillett Designs print to order for interior designers all over America, often adapting from their extensive screen archive, which dates back to the Forties. The company’s star is on the rise once again thanks to a recent retrospective at the Museum of the City of New York (the V&A have expressed interest in showing the exhibit).
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