By Liesel Schmidt
Women are notorious for piling on copious amounts of decorative pillows, artfully arranging them on everything from occasional chairs to window seats and anywhere else we can find an excuse to put them. And when it comes to fluffing out our beds, well…more’s the is better. For Polish-born Malgorzata Hoffman, that incurable passion for pillows became the basis of a business, and for more than past a few decades she’s been whipping up handmade pieces of paradise that would make even the most practically-minded pillow skeptic toss aside their sensible side and feel the need for some serious pillow talk.
More commonly known to her adoring public as Margaret, which makes her tongue-tripping name far easier to take on, Hoffman has had a love of making things since she was a child, trying her hand at everything from sewing to painting and even jewelry making. All of which she seems to have flair for, as anyone would easily see from visiting the shop she owns in DeFuniak Springs, a kitchzy little boutique neatly inserted into an old bank building with a vault inside. Appropriately named Vault46, the store also bears reference to its street address at 46 8th Street, giving it an almost offbeat feel that alludes to the trove of unique treasures that lay just behind its doors. Among the many treasures to be found are, of course, her pillows—a cache of cushions that take Hoffman anywhere from three hours to three days to make, depending on the complexity of the design. “It’s a long process to make each pillow unique and special, but I enjoy the process enough that I lose track of time while I’m working on them,” Hoffman says. “Most of my pillows are custom order, so I work closely with my clients until the whole process of design is completed and we have all of the details chosen. Once all of that is in place, I make the stencil, hand cut the linen, and then sew all of the pieces together,” she explains. “Seeing everything take shape is really exciting for me—I appreciate things that are made with quality, and I love details. Those are the elements that show all the work and time that goes into making something, and I’m very proud of the attention to detail and craftsmanship that shows in my finished work. They stand out, and I think that’s one of the things that people love most about them.”
And love them, they do. In fact, Hoffman’s little linen luxuries have brought her big business, going from a hobby she started back when she took on the project of decorating her daughter’s bedroom to a full-on following as her friends and family fell for her fluffy creations. Four years after moving with her husband to DeFuniak when his career as a colonel in the Air Force came to a close, Hoffman is now enjoying life as a shop owner—a long-held dream she’s brought to fruition with Vault46—and a pillow princess, though her beautiful jewelry pieces certainly command their own corner of the store. Whether she’s sewing the final details of a custom cushion or hammering out a necklace, Hoffman takes on her projects with the same desire to make something special, to create something that will be treasured and enjoyed. “I want people to love their pieces, to look at them and see something unique. For me, it’s a joy to think of my clients and all of the wonderful pillow talks they might have,” she says with a laugh. That’s a beautiful thing indeed, and well worth piling on with abandon.
For more information on Hoffman’s pillows, visit the Vault46 Facebook page. Pillows are also available locally at Vault46, located at 46 8th Street, DeFuniak Springs, Florida 32435 and An Apartment in Paris, located at 210 Ruskin Place,
Santa Rosa Beach, Florida 32459.