There is something about the '80s that makes people go to all extremes for comfort, or at least the look of comfort: acid-washed denims that have the look and feel of age, a lingering romance with the sometimes messy, always soothing "English country look," a penchant for just about anything old, worn and established.
It's no surprise that tapestries -- old and new, handworked and machine-made -- should turn up in this mix. They've been around since the 14th century B.C., though not in any form a modern decorator would recognize. Today's adaptations and resurrections focus more on 17th-century Flemish and French designs, the kinds that turn up in Dutch genre paintings from the same era -- especially those of Jan Vermeer.
There are tapestry pillows, furniture and hangings -- new and antique, and all for sale at area stores. And what better way to showcase the rich comfort of tapestry than to re-create for the camera that quiet corner of a 17th-century Delft home -- with its checkerboard floor, stained-glass window and tapestry-draped table -- that Vermeer painted as the epitome of domestic comfort. After all, if you're going to borrow from the past, borrow from the best.