New / Now: Vacanza by Benjamin Johnston

S. Harris

11 May 2023

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After years of travel restrictions and delayed get-aways, celebrated Houston designer Benjamin Johnston couldn’t stop daydreaming about Italy. His tours of the countryside, the coastline, and the cities bubbled up from his memories, and he began to see the rich colors and decadent textures of the art, architecture, and landscapes everywhere. He had to admit: The Italian art of living had taken hold of his imagination.

A chance meeting with S. Harris Creative Director Jodi Finer transformed Johnston’s daydreams into possibility. That first conversation led to a string of emails and phone calls, then a summit at the S. Harris studio in Tulsa. As talks progressed, Johnston realized he was writing a love letter to Italy, and that it would take the form of a line of luxury textiles bursting with color, pattern, and story. He knew the name had to be Vacanza, Italian for “vacation,” capturing the spirit of travel as the spark of inspiration for the collection.

“Exploring the Italian coastline, countryside and cityscape has always inspired a sense of awe and adventure,” Johnston said. “My goal was to capture that sensation.”


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Photo courtesy of Chaddock Home 


Johnston created each piece of fabric, wallcovering, and trim in the Vacanza collection as both a statement pattern—a signature of the S. Harris brand—as well as a reference to the others in the assemblage. The motifs echo across the assortment, rendered in five color stories inspired by the Italian seasons: saturated blues, verdant greens, lively coral, Amarone-hued red-violets, and sophisticated neutrals. The result is the ease of layering pieces from every part of the collection in a space, from pillows and upholstery to wallcoverings and drapery.

“The design process was a joy,” Johnston said. “I got to experience a different side of making things in a way that I found to be thrilling and filled with passion.”


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Vacanza revels in the pageantry of Italian culture. It plays on the contrasts for which Italy is known and loved, with its ancient monuments and modern architecture set like jewels into a shared, rugged landscape.

Strong, neo-classical forms like the Greek Key and dentil molding are set against soft surfaces reminiscent of vintage denim and Chanel-inspired tweed, plus silky jacquards and sumptuous cut velvets. Some of the fabrics, like Libera (a satin jacquard emblazoned with a diagonal stripe), recall glamorous Italian fashion; others, such as the epingle cut velvet Olivetti, pay homage to the olive trees dotting the dusty countryside.


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Midcentury influences wink out from both pattern and color in Vacanza, true to Johnston’s classic, curated, cool approach.

“Decadent textures and beautiful, fresh colors are never going to go out of style,” Johnston said. “I enjoyed re-interpreting inspiration from the 50s and 60s in a fresh, new way—everything from some of my favorite movies all the way to more contemporary references, including fashion."


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Johnston’s work as a designer, artist, teacher, and tastemaker has made him oft-featured in the shelter press, where he and his work are regularly featured in top design magazines and television shows. His lifestyle brand of home furnishings with Chaddock Furniture is still turning heads, and editors sing the praises of his hand-knotted rug collection with Madison Lily Rugs.

Johnston’s work on Vacanza with S. Harris is his first foray into fabric design. Business of Home called the collection one of the hottest collaborations at the spring 2023 High Point Market—which draws more than 75,000 interior designers, architects, and home-furnishings buyers each season—and the debut has already been lauded by ADAC and multiple times in AD PRO.

“I hope that the Vacanza collection takes designers on a journey of their very own,” Johnston said.


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What are your favorite pieces from Vacanza? We’d love to hear from you—tag us on social to join the conversation. #sharris


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S. Harris

From Warsaw to San Francisco to Los Angeles and, now, Tulsa— The S. Harris journey is one of rich tradition and heritage met with creative resilience and progress. The story of this brand begins with one man: Founder, Sol Harris, and continues today through the ingenuity of one woman: Creative Director, Jodi Finer. Follow our journey through Textured and on our website at

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