Saturday, November 15

Shopping on Saturday: SFERRA and Paul Hooker

One of my very favorite patterns, Saxon, in chocolate embroidery showcases exquisite stitching.

With the weather turning colder I have been thinking about blankets and bedding. Some of you may remember my blog post on bedding and thread count earlier in the year. I stated in that post that I have always been perfectly happy with my soft jersey knit sheets and was not certain that some linens and bedding warranted such high price tags.

Well, you all weighted in on the issue and I was proven wrong. Over the summer I received a beautiful set of SFERRA sheets (great gift!) and now I must confess that I am a believer. Not only do I love my SFERRA linens, but I love the history of the company too. It has to be said that I also like the SFERRA price point.

SFERRA began as a purveyor of fine Italian lace in 1891. As the turn-of-the-century approached, the company's industrious founder, Gennaro Sferra, left Italy for the United States in hopes of attracting a market for his intricate Venetian lace cuffs and collars. He found his clientele in the well-heeled guests who frequented the grand seaside resorts that once dotted the East Coast from Maine to Palm Beach, and traveled regularly to sell his goods.

The beautiful Bristol throw blends pima cotton and alpaca in a soft, lustrous weave.

Recognizing the growing demand for delicate hand embroideries, Gennaro decided to take the next step in building his business. In 1905, he opened Factory 5007 San Severo, located in the shadow of the Rialto Bridge in Venice. Twice a year, Gennaro returned to his homeland by steamer to create a new collection of the most luxurious linens, handmade laces and embroideries.

A generation later, in the 1940s and 1950s, Gennaro's two sons, Enrico and Albert, expanded their father's collection to include the most luxurious European linens of the day—Ireland's renowned double damask, France's refined Alençon Laces and the beautiful embroideries from Belgium and Switzerland.

SFERRA changed hands in 1977 when Paul Hooker and his partner George Matouk purchased the company from the Sferra family. Through the power of email I have gotten to know Paul Hooker and his commitment to excellence. I can honestly tell you that he is truly the best.

The luxurious Cortland Herringbone, woven from the finest 2-ply cashmere in a subtle herringbone weave.

Profile - Paul Hooker:

What is your most prized possession?
Well, since I can’t consider my wife and children “possessions” it would be the family picture of them taken at the Jersey Shore. It hangs in our living room at home.

Who are your style icons?
Not any particular person; rather, any gentleman wearing a navy Hickey Freeman suit…Cole Haan wing tips saddle color…belt to match….Faconnable French-cuff striped shirt and Faconnable stripe tie…the key would be the colors in the shirt and tie, and the varied stripes in both, working perfectly together to pop the suit.Pocket silk to set it off of course.

What books are currently on your bedside table?
The Post American World by Fareed Zakaria
The Fog of War: Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara by James G. Blight
Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution--and How It Can Renew America by Thomas L. Friedman

What is your favorite luxury in life?
Forced time off so I can relax without feeling that I should be doing something else. That would mean a 17 hour First Class flight to Shanghai. There is nothing else that I can do (I can’t even check emails!!) so why not read...thus, the forced relaxation.

What is the only other occupation you would consider?
Professional baseball pitcher. Period.

What do you love most about owning your own company?
The autonomy, and knowing that the buck stops here, and that’s right where I want it to stop.

What makes your sheets so wonderfully luxurious?
I could tell you but then I would have to...OK, I will anyway...we’ve been working on that special combination since 1891 with the best weavers in Italy. It is that perfect combination of the best Egyptian Cotton yarns and the most time-tested weaving technique followed by the world’s best bleach/dye house that uses our special formula. It gives the fabric that wonderful feel of luxury. And finally, the very skilled Italian seamstresses, sewing the finished product to perfection. Leave out any of these, and it just wouldn’t be SFERRA.

Who would you most like to meet and how would you spend the day?
My first choice would be Jesus Christ, but I wouldn’t want to have to die just yet to do it! So, we’ll go with Warren Buffet. Spending the day with him, soaking up as much as I could learn from the most successful investor in America.


Ms. Katee/e-polishblog said...

Thanks so much Ronda for stopping by my blog too! I am also adding you to my blog roll :) Katee

Christopher said...


with the cool weather starting i now may have to revise my 'wish list' to include the Sferra Bristol throw - that, along with a good book, a Bill Evans CD and a glass of port (in a comfy chair near a fire, of course) would just about make for a perfect fall evening. i love the look of the Bristol's weave - it just screams cozy (if that is possible).

thanks again for another great post.

Anonymous said...

Nice profile and the blankets look perfect. I could use one right about now.

Anonymous said...

The colours are so lovely.

ALL THE BEST said...

Sferra Bristol throw, a good book, a Bill Evans CD and a glass of you are talking my language Christopher!

ALL THE BEST said...

Anne and Fiona I agree with you both!!

Joyce said...

I want every color of the Sferra Bristol throw and the linen looks heavenly.

Anonymous said...


Next time you are in Texas, check to see if there is a Horchow Finale Outlet in Houston. Frankly, I wouldn't have half the tuscan crap they offer in their catalog, as Mr. Stanley Marcus would roll over in his grave if he saw the faux luxury that Neiman Marcus now co-opts, but one thing they DO have is glorious Sferra linens at great prices. We bought a gorgeous cutwork lace tablecloth for our large oval table (when extended) and we use it at Easter and Thanksgiving. It is beautiful and we got it for less than half price. It's very hit and miss, and you sometimes have to go back several times. I am currently searching for pieces to make a complete set. The great thing is that patterned tone on tone pillow slips are compatible with plain sheets. Enjoy those sheets!

ALL THE BEST said...

...'Frankly, I wouldn't have half the tuscan crap they offer in their catalog, as Mr. Stanley Marcus would roll over in his grave if he saw the faux luxury that Neiman Marcus now co-opts...'

OMG Kevin you have my husband and I rolling with laughter!

Anonymous said...

Oh, Ronda, you KNOW it's true. Being a Texan...if he weren't already dead, he'd Kill Roger Horchow! He'd run though Neimans like Jesus in the temple.

I had to come back and see what I said that's so funny! That's just the way I talk. I got in BIG trouble for just such a remark on the well. Not everyone hates Faux Tuscan Barge Sofas!

Glad I got you laughing!

ALL THE BEST said...

Kevin I am right there with you!!

The saving grace, as you pointed out, is that they DO have glorious Sferra linens at great prices.

Anonymous said...

lovely colors and great post

Anonymous said...

Well, Ronda...Tonight we were Christmas shopping, and picked up our annual sterling ornament at Neimans, and stopped by Cantina Laredo for some tasty Mexican fare. As we walked out, we saw the new BLOWCHOW store and went in. I swear to god, my retinas have seared over from so much ugliness at one time! We were playing "I could live with this" since they had no interesting linens this time, and found a great pair of square reeded sterling I turn them over to find I am in luck! They are marked down from $3600 to $1600. If I ever spend that kind of money on a candlestick, I hope someone will put me into the Rusk State Hospital. Can you imagine? THEN, as we go to leave they had this monstrosity near the door that looked like it had to have been in Ike Turner's Tuscan villa. And two great looking leather tub chairs, until you see this shaggy erzatz zebra fur sticking up fromt he back of the chair. I am never going in that store again. I've learned my lesson! My Eyes!!!