Extreme Makeover: Upholstery Edition

Oh yeah, this chair was far past a race against time. Let's just say that time whooped this chairs'....well, you know.. *&^!

Let me ask, would you give this old beauty a second glance? Would you see the there existed a once-lovely heirloom beyond that tragically abused frame? 

Obviously left in the elements, this poor gal was destroyed by sun, water and temperature. The wood was totalled, paticularly along the framed trim that so beautifully lined the outer edge. 

So happy my client had vision!  She had this gorgeous fabric and all she could see was how fantastic this chair would be newly-dressed in Kravet's Tilbury from Laura Ashley. 

Having trouble seeing it?......

Does this help?

I could see it too and was pretty pumped to bring this beauty back to life.

I admit though that I wasn't so sure the wood along the outer edge could be salvaged. That was my only hesitation. I was sure the legs and base could be revived. On with it, I'd deal with the edging as we got to it.

So it began... Extreme Makeover: Upholstery Edition!

We dug right in, tearing off the old fabric and removing the mildew infested layers of batting.  Yeah, it was pretty nasty!

Clearly it had been quite some time since someone lost their penny. 

No, I didn't keep it.

The beauty of this chair was not just in its shape but moreso, in the intricate detailing of the base and legs.  Refinishing the wood was something I was really looking forward to.

This front detailing was so great...you just don't see this anymore!

The wood is finally stripped! Next, is the additional clean up in the scrolled. fluted and floral areas. 

and some fine sanding and the new finish can be applied.

Finally, the chair is ready to be rebuilt: springs retied, corner joints tightened, wood filled,final finish, all new padding/batting and then finally the new "dress"!

Voila!!! It was time to bring her back home. Don't you love it?

And take a look at the wood edging.... faaabulous!!  A little patience, a little love, and this old beauty is back!

We're happy, the chair is happy, the client is happy.  Welcome Home, old beauty, welcome home!

Color Your Home with Feng Shui

Color and its effect on our mood and well being is one of the most basic tenents of Feng Shui. Each and every color touches us in a different way and makes us feel a different energy and emotion. The principles that come from Feng Shui and Color are perhaps some of the most useful, because they reach beyond our homes to our offices, gardens, and even our clothing choices. Whether you are looking to create a room to inspire creativity or a serene, restful retreat, planning your decor decisions around Feng Shui's color principles can be essential to achieving a succesful space both aesthetically and spiritually.

Feng Shui colors are based on the basic elements of the world: Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and Wood. Each of these elements encompasses different values and emotions and should be used together to create a harmonious home that touches on all of the moods and energy that comprises a person's daily life.  Let's look at each of these more closely, along with some room designs that represent each element as well.

Water elements bring about a refreshing and pure calm. In a room full of water colors, according to Feng Shui principles, you should feel tranquil and at ease. Shades of blue represent water; they are peaceful, healing, and relaxing. When used in more vibrant and deep shades, watery blues can also channel the sea and sky and represent adventure, exploration, and wisdom. Use these hues in bedrooms, bathrooms, nurseries, and as a ceiling color alternative to white. 

Fire elements bring about passion, motion, and energy in the home. Success, action, and hard work are all inspired by colors such as red, orange, pink, and deep yellow. These colors are useful in rooms where you'll be working for career achievement and recognition. Fire colors, patricularly orange, bring a sense of organization, concentration, and purpose. Use reds, oranges, and yellows in your home office or kitchen desk area for a renewed energy and vigor toward work and life. Watch out for using these colors in excess, though. They can cause anxiety and restlessness if used in overabundance or in the incorrect room, such as a bedroom.

Earth elements are strong, stable, and protective. Beiges, sands, and pale yellows are earth colors that nourish the soul and make you feel grounded and balanced. Use these colors in the center of your home; they'll make your kitchen and main living areas feel balanced, warm, and centered.

Metal Elements bring sharpness, precision, and clarity of mind.  The clear energy of metal colors like gray and white is best used in main entryways and home offices. Metals are pure and efficient so they make an excellent accent color to almost any of your Feng Shui color schemes.

Wood elements represent health, prosperity, and growth. Shades of brown are rich, nourishing, and balanced. Green is the color of healing and growth. These elements are best used in libraries, living rooms, and family rooms to bring vitality and well being to the entire family.

Black is not an element of the earth but represents wealth, power, and emotional protection. This is a good accent color in any of the many living or working areas of the home, especially when paired with the Metal colors of white and gray.

Purple is a Feng Shui color of emotional health, spirituality, and creativity.  It is a good choice for bedrooms and any area of the home that might need a burst of creative juices and inspiration.

With the elements of Feng Shui as your guide, decorating your home with color will create a place that meets all of your emotional needs and places your energy correctly in each aspect of your life.

Blog Bites: Think Pink!

Last year, we featured a blog bites post on the 2010 color of the year -- turquoise! Get ready for this year's feature on Pantone's color of 2011 -- honeysuckle! “In times of stress, we need something to lift our spirits. Honeysuckle is a captivating, stimulating color that gets the adrenaline going – perfect to ward off the blues,” explains Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®.

I think most people have an immediate reaction to pink, especially a hue this bold.  While it might be easy to imagine how the color might translate in the world of fashion trends, many of you may take pause at the idea of bringing pink into a kitchen, bath, living or dining room. Take heart, it's a color trend, not a rule.

Personally, I love pink in a girl's room, as many do. I also don't want to dismiss the physiological impact of the color - as the Pantone site explains, "A dynamic reddish pink, Honeysuckle is encouraging and uplifting. It elevates our psyche beyond escape, instilling the confidence, courage and spirit to meet the exhaustive challenges that have become part of everyday life." While true, how willing would you be to incorporate pink into your home? Take a peek at these blog bites from Alicia B., The Decorologist and Good Life of Design to see how they have weighed in on the topic.

Our first post comes from Alicia B. Designs. Although she states that she is excited about the new color and loves it, I found it interesting that her take, based on the inspiration photos she chose, was much more subdued.  Her eye translated the color of the year with a soft and sophisticated appeal.  I love the two room shots Alicia showcased because they show how making a bold statement with shades of pink can also be tempered with neutrals and patterns.

Amanda Nisbet via Alicia B. Designs

In this first room, I was humored by Alicia's not-so-eloquent manner of commending Amanda Nisbet's room: "This looks incredible without looking like a Lilly Pulitzer dress threw up all over a room (not that that would be bad...)." Yes Alicia, I think we would all agree that would be bad!
In the other room, there is just a pop of pink pulled in with the miniscule tiebacks and a throw, both of which can always be swapped out if you lose interest.  This is so subtle to my eye that is isn't working for me as a qualification of adding the color of the year to your space. With the depth of the rug, I would love to see more strength in color on that window to balance the weight.

Deborah Lloyd via Lonny Mag (found on Alicia B. Designs)

Alicia introduced this Kathy Ireland room that definitely demonstrates a more passionate investment in pink.  It's an interesting mix.  I'm intrigued by the decision to minimize the intensity of the colors by going light on the upper wall and softened shades on the windows.

Kathy Ireland via Alicia B. Designs

Our next post comes from Kristie Barnett, The Decorologist.  Kristie says, "I love a good pink, and I’m not going to apologize for it." Good for you, Kristie, stick to your guns! Kristie actually had two posts on the topic, the first a quick announcement of the color release and the second a creative tie-in to turquoise.

Here's a room that really goes for it and with a bold use of color .... in the kitchen.  Who knew how cool a kitchen would look in pink. Kristie and I are on the same page with the sentiment, I admire it, not sure I could live with it though, could you?

LiveBreatheDecor via The Decorologist

I love this bedroom. As you know, custom window treatments are such a huge part of my business, that show me a canopy and bed drapes and I'm all over it. I also love the custom canopies and coordinating bed skirt (check out the bit of skirt peeking out from the bed on the right.). Love. This room has just enough color without going overboard. The brown lampshade grounds and separates the two spaces and the white keeps the room light and airy. I would enjoy this as a guest room -- do you think male guests would find it overdone with feminine touches?
Decor Pad via The Decorologist

The tie in to turquoise was a brilliant adaptation and again, I was struck by our similarities in taste.  Kristie showcased one of my favorite rooms, one that I had shared on my Facebook page several months ago. 

And again, we see a lively mix of the two Pantone picks here.

Just as Kristie doesn't apologize for her love of pink, Kathysue of Good Life of Design makes one thing clear: Her color of the year is definitely not pink! Kathysue loves blue and white, so she has taken a different approach to her "color of the year" post by well, uh, basically ignoring it.  Well, not really, she does show how she will use it - as an accent only - to the scheme that wins for her.... blue:
pantone reflex blue (260x153)

I just had to include this because, as mentioned previously, I know pink isn't for everyone and Kathysue offers up a different perspective. She shares some images of rooms from her own home to show how she likes to use blue and white (and intends to coninue to use more.)
summer dining 2 (800x600)
Good Life Design
Kathysue adds that it's not that she doesn't like honeysuckle; she does plan to add a little throughout her home, but it will be in careful and measured doses. Here's an example of how she might incorporate pink.

chair (450x600)
source unknown 

So what about you? Are you feeling the push toward deep pinks as a foundation color, do you like more subdued tones or are you like Kathysue and only thinking of accents?  Whereever you weigh in, I do have quite a few great fabrics in stock featuring varying shades of honeysuckle...I mean, pink...or, well, reddish. Take a peek!

Want to see more of the fabrics we have to offer? Check out the Storibook Designs Shop!

Think pink might be for you? How would you use it? Excited by it? A little frightened? I'd love to hear your take on this year's color. And if you're not in love, tell me...what would your color of 2011 be?

Are You Looking for Eco-Friendly Fabrics?

The production of textiles is one of the most environmentally devastating manufacturing processes. When it comes to the full life cycle from fiber-to-fabric-to-consumer, there are numerous factors that can lead to unfavorable consequences. On Tuesday, January 18, 2011, I presented a webinar for the Custom Home Furnishings Academy and Drapery and Design Professional Magazine.  Sustainable Fabrics: It's More than a Buzz Word, .
provided a comprehensive overview of sustainable and eco-friendly fabrics.

The webinar being only an hour long, there was not enough time to include this video as part of the presentation.  It is definitely A MUST SEE however, so I urge you all to watch it.  Please keep in mind while watching, that this is an illustration and documentation of what the textile and home furnishings industry is working to eliminate worldwide.  Tremendous strides have been made but as you will see, if this is still happening ANYWHERE then we still have a long way to go. This video, Toxic Textiles, is a little over 25 minutes long. It is as alarming as it is educating, unfortunately.

Give yourself some time to process what you just watched. The video is heavy and, at least for me, had me thinking long and hard about my own efforts toward protecting our planet and the people in it.

There are a many groups and organizations that are working toward change.  It won't be easy and it won't be quick, but then, environmentalism is something groups have been advocating for for many, many years.  I take heart in knowing however, that with every resurgence of effort the determination seems to get stronger.

During the presentation, I talked quite a bit about the needs of people facing chemical sensitivity issues.  If you would like to know more about this from someone who is dealing this every day, please visit the blog of Debra Lynn Dadd: http://debralynndadd.com/. Debra has chemical sensitivty and has dedicated her life to educating and
helping others. She is the author of three books, A Consumer Guide for the Chemically-Sensitve (self-published 1982), Nontoxic and Natural (Tarcher, 1984) and The Nontoxic Home (Tarcher 1986).  Her website is a wealth of information and includes listings of toxic chemicals in our everyday household products and the consequential effects on our health, as well as a listing of nontoxic products.

Here is a partial list of groups and resources to help you in your journey to understand more about the issues, impact and advances within the textile industry.  Please, if there is an amazing organization that I have not listed, please do leave a comment and share so that all my readers can benefit.


Thank you to all who attended the webinar! Please note that the recording of this webinar is available to subscribing members to the Drapery and Design Network.

It has taken me a bit to figure out the best way to embed this file, but alas, I have figured it out.  The slide below contains the embedded links for each company.  During the webinar the question came up regarding notions and supplies. Please note, that I have included two additional resources in the bottom center of the slide. 

Your Best Laid Plans Should Include Window Treatments!

I was watching an episode of House Hunters, An Ohio Family Relocates to Baltimore, Maryland, last week with my husband. When the couple was down to their final decision, they were thinking about what each property had to offer and what additional work they would have to do. I was impressed when the husband said, "There are a lot of things you have to add, like window treatments.."! My husband made me smile because he reacted immediately when he heard that, saying, "Wow, he even used the correct term -- window treatments, not curtains."  (Gotta love that he's paying attention!) I know from experience that this type of forethought is not always the case, though. Very often clients tell me that they "never really thought about a cost associated with the windows."

I posed this question on our Facebook page expecting to get some interesting feedback: While house hunting, did/do you consider the windows in your budget? Most people think about painting, colors, and whether furniture will fit. Maybe you've thought about having hardwoods refinished or new carpet installed. Perhaps you considered custom cabinetry or upgraded appliances. But what about the cost of "dressing" the windows?

With respect to the interesting feedback I expected, well, I was not disappointed. I have to share a response that came in from Tuuli, who commented that when shopping for treatments for her new home, a fellow customer offered some advice: "Why spend money on curtains? Just put t-shirts in your windows." Thanks for the laugh, Tuuli! For the record, I do not recommend t-shirts, even if they are designer ones!

Take a look at this pic of a wonderful condo in Arlington, MA. Looks move-in ready doesn't it? Look a little more closely. Those beautiful windows let in so much natural light -- truly a selling point. But there'll come a time when the proud homeowner will want to cover those glass panes. So easy to overlook budgeting for window treatments in a place like this but those windows could potentially require up to 18 yards of fabric, depending on the treatment style desired.
It can be so tempting to just throw anything up on the windows "for now." But before you know it, you're still looking at that same "temporary solution" for more years than you'd bargained for! Meanwhile, looking at what you don't want for so long can change the way you see your room and prevent you from envisioning a room's possibilities. You don't want this, do you?

Can you sit down to work when your desk or your house is a mess? Do you find yourself cleaning and organizing before you begin a big project? No, that is not procrastination. What you are doing is removing clutter so you can concentrate. The principle is true when it comes to decorating. Filling space with things you don't like just for the sake of filling space just inhibits your creative process. Better to keep a blank slate so you have nothing in your way from envisioning all possibilities and planning for things you love.

My advice? Approach window treatments as a budgeted item and investment, just as you would a new sofa, dining set, or kitchen cabinets. Plan and budget for what you truly want and you'll never regret it.  Those window treatments will be up for a long time and you want to love looking at them!

I'm going to put together a series of posts that will help you to understand custom window treatments -- hardware, good/better/best scenarios, style options, etc. -- so you have the foundation you need to begin thinking and planning for custom window treatments in your home design plans. If you plan for the look you want and budget the finances to get that look, you can't go wrong!

Readers, have you ever thought about getting some friends together for an evening of design? Storibook Designs Wine and Design Events are just the answer with presentations tailored to your group's interests. You get the crew together and provide the wine; we've got the design covered!

Interested? Check out our website for more information or email me at storibookdesigns@verizon.net! Can't wait to hear from you!
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