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Designing Woman

Joan Peters Osterville

The vivid impressionistic oil paintings painted by Peters take center stage.

Peters’ demeanor is as fresh and warm as a welcome spring breeze, and she is always reconsidering and reinventing her creative endeavors. She credits her beloved husband, Al Manning, who passed away in 2015, for one of her most successful and unique creations. In 2001 they were having dinner, and, as Peters tells it, “‘He said, ‘Joan, why don’t you do a Cape Cod Toile?’ I thought, why don’t I? So I turned over my placemat right then and there and started to sketch it out.” Derived from the French word for canvas, a toile often depicts pastoral scenes of local life. Peters applied her spin on her line of toile fabrics by including scenes of sailboats, lighthouses, windmills and, of course, hydrangeas. The Cape Cod Toile has spawned other styles with the introduction of the Mermaid Toile, the Sea Shell Toile, commemorative lines for Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard and Boston, and most recently, in 2018, the Nautical and Florida Toile. All of the lines come in both fabric and wall coverings and in a variety of color-ways to satisfy almost any décor.

“People love the toile,” she says. “It allows them not only to put a pattern they love in their home, but also get lost in the various scenes. The wallpaper is very popular in bathrooms, dining rooms but also laundry rooms. What better way to make a household chore more fun?” The application of the fun and interesting pattern is not left to the walls and windows of bespoke homes. In 2017, when Peters joined forces with Boston-based clothing designer Sara Campbell, the dynamic duo introduced the Cape Cod Toile Dress and soon followed with versions in the other destination designs. The popularity of the dress for summer cocktail parties and wedding party coordination can now be accented with silk ties, hand-painted by Peters, to match the dresses.

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