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Coloring Cotton Her Way

A deadline is looming for Lulu de Kwiatkowski. The charge: to assemble her design inspirations for an oversize coffee-table book called, appropriately enough, Trail of Inspiration, soon to be published by HarperCollins. "It's been a real hunting and gathering operation," reports Lulu, founder of LULU DK, a fabrics and wallpaper design company, from her office in Manhattan. "The book is supposed to show where I get my ideas." Lulu is not optimistic that she'll have everything collected by the fall to show her editor. It's no wonder. How to depict in one book the way the sun plays on whitewashed walls in Egypt; the light in Italy at dawn; sunset in Paris; geometric patterns in Morocco; fish and flowers in Bali; the striking white hair of legendary interior designer Sister Parish; gothic and gold building tops in New York City; the earthy brown and green splendor of her late father's beloved Kennelot Stables in Greenwich, where Lulu spent so many holidays.

Lulu fingers a new fabric design lying on the round, tulipwood table in her bright fourth-floor office. The quarters are filled with contemporary furnishings that Lulu bought on eBay and feature prominently four paintings by Lulu's brother, Stephan. The design Lulu holds, called Paradiso, draws from oceans of inspiration. It features an oversize blue fish that swam out of Lulu's imagination, surrounded by equally imagined feathery leaves. The motif is typical of Lulu's works: whimsical and colorful and smile-inducing, yet printed on classic and high-quality cotton and linen ground cloth, making the product appeal across contemporary and traditional lines.