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May 08, 2014

Everyday Luxury: Five Questions with Linens Designer Jane Scott Hodges

Jane Scott Hodges, founder of the couture linens company Leontine Linens, believes in lived-in luxury. Here, she talks about choosing fine linens that you can (and should!) use every day -- and keeping them in top-drawer condition for the long haul. 

Kayla Alewel
Editorial Assistant
leotine-linens-portrait-0414.jpg Photography by: Geovanni Velasquez

Jane Scott Hodges understands that style is personal. That's why she founded Leontine Linens, a couture fine-linens company that goes the extra mile to make sure clients come away with products they love -- even conducting in-home consultations. Leontine Linens designs custom items for bedrooms, bathrooms, dining rooms, and more. Each made-to-order piece -- from bath towels and bed sheets to napkins and nightshirts -- is crafted individually and meant to add a bit of luxury to everyday life.  

How did Leontine Linens start?

It all started with monogrammed linens. I wanted to put a fresh twist on [traditional] monogramming. I thought it would be fun to blow the designs up and make [them pop], so you can swap formal white linen napkins for a more [playful] color version.

I think it’s a shame to only have nice dinners out, where it can be loud and distracting. People worry about getting everything perfect for at-home dinner parties. If you have 14 people and a china set of 12, mix in something else. Use what you have. No one is judging your decor; everyone is grateful to spend time together in your home. My goal was to make linens approachable in that way, something to use in everyday life.

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Why should someone invest in quality linens for their home?

These are all our intimate items –- we bathe with them, sleep with them, dine with them. If we are exposed to these finer things and understand them, they stick with us. If we remember setting the table at Easter with our mother, we share that with our family and friends. It then becomes an intimate part of who we are. I give my son a cute linen napkin with his Cap'n Crunch. It’s something he might remember, and then it becomes ingrained in his routine. I think it’s important to impart these traditions.

leotine-linens-bed-0414.jpg Photography by: Eric Piasecki Photography LLC

Should I be sending my linens out for dry cleaning?

Linen loves to be washed. Textiles want to be used, loved, laundered, and reused. Don’t be afraid to wash things yourself. If you have a dinner party and someone gets lipstick or wine on the linens, don’t panic. Don’t let them sit overnight, but it can wait until the end of the dinner party. Put them in the washer on the cold cycle. White linens are dyed white so don’t ever use bleach on them. It might require a couple cycles to get the stain out, but it will disappear.

How should I care for my linens so they last longer?

To avoid replacing your linens, rotate sets seasonally. If you are washing the same duvet every week for a year, it’s going to be shot. As long as you mix up your linens, they will last forever. When you store a set, it’s best not to starch them. Starching before long storage can cause the fabric to yellow over time. People sometimes ask if they should iron their sheets. I tell them no one knows but you, so it’s your call. If you don’t care, you don’t care. With towels, I stick to white or ivory because it doesn’t fade like other colors. Towels are hard to dye, so the colors tend to fade faster. Also, avoid using fabric softeners with towels.

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How do you help customers figure out what they want in their linens?

Linens are not an impulse buy, so people tend to overthink it. We might spend the same amount of money on a handbag, but it’s a different kind of purchase. You aren’t committing to your bedding for life; it’s not drapery. You can change it every season and give your room a whole new look. We ask clients to bring in a picture of their bedroom or bathroom. It’s like a cheat sheet to their style. There is no wrong answer with linens. It’s whatever you love and what works for your life. How do you make your bed? Do you make your bed? Do you like extra pillows? It’s about practicality. If you hate taking a ton of pillows off your bed at night, don't invest in too many accent pillows. If you have two bathrooms, you can pick towels that work with both rooms, and rotate to refresh the looks. It’s about the individual, what will best suit your needs. 

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