The talented American interior designer, Billy Baldwin (not related to the acting family) covered the London living room walls of Mrs. Gilbert Miller entirely in light colored horsehair. Horsehair is woven from the tail of horses and is an unconventional choice and certainly an expensive one, but the effect must have been effervescent. The beauty of horsehair textiles is in the texture of the weave. Light travels over the surface of horsehair with the same luminescence as silk.

Only the most fortunate can cover their walls in this amazing material, but certainly most of us will find it within our budget to cover a chair or ottoman in horsehair, especially in rooms where children rule the day. The celebrated British architect, Sir Edwin Lutyens, known for his economy as well as his visionary designs, always covered his domestic furniture in black horsehair. It never wore out, never had to be cleaned and could be sponged when dirty. Horsehair is an extraordinary material for ordinary living.