John Robshaw Opens Shop in Connecticut

January 24, 2022

John Robshaw weaves himself into the fabric of Falls Village, Connecticut.

Text by Tovah Martin     Photography by Kindra Clineff

Textile designer John Robshaw’s new Falls Village shop transforms the rooms of an old New England home. The decorative arts of the Mughal Empire inspired the shape of the headboard in this bedroom.

Maybe it’s no surprise that John Robshaw settled in the Litchfield Hills; after all, the designer loves layers of all kinds, even geographical ones. Give him a room, and he will stack it with mountains of nubby hand-stitched voile throws, chambray coverlets, and cotton slub quilts. Plush hand-blocked pillows in saffron, amber, ochre, indigo, peacock, and similar vibrant hues will be piled high. Paisleys, arabesques, medallions, and floral motifs will hang as wallcoverings and curtains.

Robshaw’s attraction to textiles began after he earned his fine art degree from Pratt Institute and started selling print designs to fashion houses. He frequently traveled to the Far East to study and practice textile techniques at legacy workshops and immerse himself in block-printing projects inspired by Mughal gardens and tribal patterns.

By the late 1990s, though, he hit a roadblock when the workshops gave him an ultimatum: pack up or increase orders to make textile print runs profitable. Reluctant to call it a day, Robshaw had to decide what to do with all those ikats, chinoiseries, toiles, and stylized floral prints he was producing. A bedding line made sense. From there, it was an easy segue into upholstered furniture, curtains, shades, and printed jute rugs. Creative juices continued to flow into upholstered headboards and beds with an Asian flair. And harkening back to his fashion roots, Robshaw couldn’t resist whipping up some percale pajamas and robes. By 2001, Robshaw had officially started his eponymous company.

In 2021, it all came to Connecticut where the exotic patterns fit tongue and groove into the region’s historic homes. Robshaw and his family had been weekending in Sharon for years, and though Robshaw’s company still maintains a studio in New York City, rather than investing in pricey New York shop space, the designer opted to open a showroom (with a studio on the second floor) in Falls Village. The neighborhood was Robshaw ready. “This is a hotbed of interior design,” he quickly realized of the tiny town that also boasts the artisanal collective 100 Main. “There’s so much energy and versatility running around here. It’s a testing ground for ideas.”

Turning out seventy-five to 100 new prints every six months, John Robshaw’s shop serves casual shoppers and design professionals alike. Aside from the fabrics, a slew of bone-inlay cabinets, sculptural pieces, and tribal vessels from Pakistan, India, Turkey, and Uzbekistan abound. It all feels so comfortable.

John Robshaw, Falls Village, johnrobshaw.com