Design No. Five: Making coastal-inspired fabrics luxurious and sustainable

July 29, 2019

Design No. Five: Making coastal-inspired fabrics luxurious and sustainable

“How do you make skate pods look like they belong in a six million dollar home?”

Beth Odence was working with interior design clients all over Cape Cod. They wanted their summer homes to look “beachy,” but didn’t want the typical starfish or anchor design that often signifies coastal living.

Faced with this challenge, Beth sent one of her stylists to the beach to pick up what the retreating tide was leaving on the sand: mermaid’s purses, seaweed, and horseshoe crabs. Within a few hours, she had hand-drawn sketches, and soon after, a unique, coastal fabric collection was materializing. 

Mermaid's Purse in Nantucket Red, available at The Drawing Room, New Bedford, MA
The design that started it all: Mermaid's Purse in Nantucket Red, eco-friendly ink printed on 100% Belgian linen.














With her team ready to start their own design businesses, Beth decided to take a new leap of her own; she closed her successful staging and interior design business, and launched her new venture, Design No. Five, based in Cotuit, MA. 


Beth describes Design No. Five’s fabric line as traditional, with a touch of whimsy. The patterns are simple, depicting local beach items, rendered in bold colors using eco-friendly ink on 100% Belgian linen. The company sells fabric by the yard and down pillows sporting their unique patterns.

Mermaid's Purse in Reverse Black, Pillow by Design No. 5, at The Drawing Room

Currently, Beth’s favorite pattern is the Mermaid’s Purse in “Black Reverse.” The design was an experiment to fill a need in her own home: she wanted something black to anchor her living room. It’s become “the little black dress of the collection.”


Design No. Five sources linen from a family-owned business in Belgium. This linen is considered to be one of the most eco-friendly fabrics available: made from the flax plant, the longer it is used, the softer and stronger it becomes. The fabric looks and feels luxurious, while offering comfort, durability, and sustainability.

Sustainability isn’t just a buzzword for Beth; it’s how she was raised: “I grew up with a very thrifty mother who grew up during World War II. We didn’t recycle, we up-cycled again and again - and that stayed with me. It was ingrained in me.”

Patterns of sustainable fabric by Design No. 5, available at The Drawing RoomBeth brought this culture of sustainability to her business. Not only is the linen eco-friendly, so are her suppliers and manufacturing partners. The ink and ink-disposal process are eco-friendly. And the down in her pillows is responsibly sourced.

“Not many people look at home goods as eco-friendly and really cool. Often sustainability means industrial,” explains Beth. “But this is whimsical. It’s taking something that’s simple and upscale, and turning it into something you can own forever.”

One of the joys of being an independent fabric designer is getting to experiment with ideas - and finding the right combinations that customers will want to bring into their homes.

Beth is working on a larger and bolder seaweed pattern that’s being printed with a new, inverse technique that creates bold and saturated colors in Raspberry Mousse, Richmond Green, and Waterloo Blue.

See the Design No. 5 collection - pillows and cut yardage available.