Dreaming of Custom Draperies? In Love with Kravet Fabrics? ...What a Deal!

We've had a long, long winter - unbelievably, we are expecting a Nor'easter here on Friday too - so I think we all need a lift to joyfully welcome (and maybe, coax) in spring!

What better way to do that than with custom draperies? I know how many of you readers love Kravet fabrics, so in addition to promotional pricing on our drapery panels, we decided to pair this offering with promotional pricing on special-order Kravet fabrics as well. .... (applause)

Take a closer look: Promotion

Well what are you waiting for? Take a hop on over to Kravet site and figure out which fabric you can't live without... once you've got that settled, give me a jingle and we can get you one-step closer to gorgeous custom draperies !! 

Looking forward to the happy smiles once the new drapes go up!

Decorative Trims: Have You Considered the Fringe Benefits?

To continue with my focus on window treatments, I thought I'd take the time to go through some of the options you have in decorative trims -- and you will see throughout this series, the options are endless!  It is very common when clients think of window treatments, to limit those thoughts to fabric and style, as well they should. But often overlooked are the trims and embellishments that can infuse a major "wow" factor. 

Trims on window treatments can have a great effect on the overall impact of a room. In some cases, it can truly complete the room. Different decorative trims can, of course, create different effects -- classic, traditional, glamorous, bold -- you name it!

To get us started on this trip through trims, I thought I'd start with fringe -- a place where options abound! Many of my clients cringe when I mention fringe. They think they don't like it; for most, it's because it conjures up images of an old great aunt's home. But once I show them some of our amazing trim collections, we begin to open up the imagination; they can see it on lampshades, window treatments, pillows...you get the idea!

While it's true that fringe isn't for everyone, I'd like to show you fringe in a whole new light! Tassel fringe, shown in these next images, is the category I sell most often, because the range of offerings is so broad. Take a look at the white tassels on the lead edge of these drapery panels. Do you see how it softens the look and makes these panels so much more interesting than if finished without that detail?

A simple solid is given an entirely different look by breaking the panel horizontally. Gorgeous and elegant.

A brush fringe is a cut fringe that forms a flat skirt comprised of thin yarns. Here's a great close-up!

Samuel and Sons brush fringe

In this next image, I love the brush fringe on the draperies. While they certainly complement the bedding and headboard (which I love, don't you?), they also add a sense of warmth, comfort, and softness in what could have been a too stark, white room. Picture the draperies without that trim; it just wouldn't cut it... it would have been boring... a word we never want associate with our design and decor!

I love the incorporation of fringe along the hem of these relaxed shades. It softens the look and makes these shades a bit more relaxed and certainly more fun.

(we'll be talking about this hardware in a future post too!!

What do you think? Do you cringe at the thought of fringe? [hmm, sounds like a bit like a Dr. Suess line.. definitely not intended]. Let me know if you're feeling fringe love right now.

Blogfest: Why I'm Totally Excited? It's like Christmas in May!

Yes, yes, April showers bring May flowers. All of this New England snow will have melted and spring will be in the air. All of this is very exciting, especially with the winter we've been having around here! But no, it gets better!

I am so looking forward for May because I'll be attending BlogFest 2011 in New York City from the 16th to the 18th! Yes! May can't get here fast enough. When I first saw the posting for the event, I knew I had to jump on such an amazing opportunity, even in the midst of an already packed schedule that lies ahead.

So what exactly is BlogFest 2011? Its subtitle tells it all: "Access to Inspired Design." The design world clearly recognizes the influence that bloggers have, see bloggers as on their side, and are embracing the blogging community. That is what is behind this weekend in May.

Kravet and Lee Jofa are teaming up to invite interior design bloggers from across the country to join them in a "whirlwind tour" of New York City's design world. How cool is that?! Talk about access! (Sorry for all the exclamation points. Can you tell I'm just a little over the moon with anticipation?)

We are going to be treated as design VIP's, given access to so many different design venues at once. On the BlogFest 2011 website, ninety-two blogs/bloggers are currently listed as attendees. In the conference world, that's small....very VIP-like. With events featuring editors from House Beautiful, Veranda, Town & Country, Elle Decor, and Architectural Digest, I'm feeling quite priveleged and honored for this opportunity.

Hey Margaret, see you there! 
photo via bravotv.com

We'll get an insider's look at some of these top design mags, tour the Elle Decor Concept House, be treated to a cocktail parties and a champagne reception -- what's not to love? I'm really looking forward to the panel discussion on "The Importance of Blogs to the Print Media Industry Today" too, as I am all for the longevity of my favorite magazines. Digital is nice, but nothing can replace my stack of design magazines and inspiration pages in my list of favorite things!

What is most amazing about all this, that I haven't made emphatic enough up to this point, is that this opportunity is a direct result of social media. That's right; you know those tweets I've been sending out and those "friends" I've been talking to and about on Facebook? Well, without those connections and without that network I would never have been privy to this event. So in addition to the fabulous agenda and industry icons, I'm pretty darn stoked to that I will be meeting IRL (in real life) so many people I have only known online up to now! I'll be able to not just meet them, but also have some quality time enjoying all of this with people who inspire me on a daily basis. Long list of folks I can't wait to meet: Ellen from Nouveau Stitch, the ladies behind Material Girls, Tobi Fairley, Janell of Isabella & Max Rooms, Leslie Fine, BKLYN Contessa, Leslie Carothers - famously known as @tkpleslie on Twitter - Faith Sheridan, Gretchen Aubuchon, Sharon Laxon and Yvonne Vanderkooy from Layers and Layers, Katy Elliott, the folks behind Design Blahg, Emily Anderson, Tamara Matthews-Stephenson, Linda Merrill, Juliann from CreateGirl, Jen from Made By Girl, and so many more. Told you it was a long list! I hope you'll check out some of their blogs, too!

The agenda keeps getting better too so I can't help but wonder -- will there be surprises as well? [I can't help it...that's the kid in me I guess.]  I feel like I've won the lottery and I've only had the luxury of something like that once before, so I'm so glad I was "tweeting" when Kravet made the announcement; I think I had that application filled out within an hour of the announcement... hah!  didn't let anything stop me from jumping at this tremendous opportunity.
And for those unable to attend, not to worry, we're bloggers remember?  We'll be sure to keep you in the know and you can attend vicariously through us.  Follow-up posts for sure! And for those of you attending BlogFest, I'm looking forward to meeting you all!

Decorating and Design: What's Your Man's Perspective?

Would the man in your life make a comparison that undergoing a root canal--even without anesthesia--would be less painful than having to think about paint colors, carpet swatches, sofa fabrics, and window treatments?

Have you been able to push aside his objections like “What’s wrong with the old ones? These keep the light out and our private lives in, what more do we need?" to let them fall on deaf ears?

My husband used to cringe when he would come home to find our table covered with torn-out pages from my “inspiration file”. He’d have that look that said, “Oh boy, this can’t be good!”

A client told me he knew he was in trouble when his then-girlfriend-now-wife said to him, “We have an appointment on Saturday with a designer."


He said, “I didn’t even know what window treatments were, so you can be sure I definitely had no thoughts about calling a designer."

One of my funniest memories, though, is with my husband. I was at the workroom one night finishing up a treatment. Ed had stopped by so I asked his opinion, to which he quickly replied, “I think you should put the welting under the jabots but leave it on top over the swag.” It was good advice and I was impressed, but he immediately dropped his head in his hands, elbows on the worktable, and shook his head. I said, “What’s the matter?” and he responded with an exaggerated, “What is happening to me? Not only do I know the words, but I understand them. It’s your fault!” Maybe you had to be there but believe me, it was hysterical! I will forever remember it as one of my funniest moments in business and life.

What about the man in your life? Is he into the process of design and decorating or completely tuned out? I find that with most of my younger couples, the husbands really want to have a say, and although they may not be talking about it to their buddies when watching a game, shhhh, between you and me, I think they really enjoy it.

Another common scenario I see is that guys surprise themselves. They start to get antsy until they see it; they see something they like. That's it. Then they have an opinion and before I know it, they are totally involved, moving fabrics around, being verbal with their choices and preferences. It's almost like when a child suddenly realizes he can ride a bike on his own. Okay, maybe they don't get that excited. But suddenly their silence is a thing of the past and then the real magic happens:
Hey, she agrees with me! The ones I chose are perfect! And while the price did make me do a double-take (or two) and take a couple of deep breaths, I know after seeing the other options, I just had to commit to this choice. I'm convinced, and it’s not just because I'm ready to get it over with. I'm into it; I actually enjoy it.
Okay, maybe a guy doesn't say all that. But I can tell; he's thinking it!

I love it when a once reticent client says to me after a completed project, “I almost hate to admit it, but this really makes a difference. What's the plan for the rest of the house?" Yup, that's right. Suddenly the man of the house is leading the charge to decorate the house.

Ahhhh, how nice…a convert! I love that!

What Color is Your "Happy Place"?

Did you know that I guest posted over at Authentic Living Interiors? About a year ago I met Randi DeStefano through Twitter...then Facebook...you know how all that goes, right? Well, I was delighted when Randi asked if I would guest post on her blog.

So please, hop on over and check it out and be sure to take the time to get to know Randi while you're there!

My post is about making sure your home is your "happy place." One of the most critical elements to make that happen is knowing what colors work for you by identifying your color comfort zone.

Is Mardi Gras your thing?

Spring Fling?


or Horizon?

Where do you fall? Please, stop on over at Randi's to read the full post and let us know your thoughts! It was a delight to prepare this post for Randi and stay tuned, I do believe we have another one in the works!

The Designer in You: Creating Custom Textiles

Do you love the idea of a one-of-the kind look? Then you will LOVE this!

Did you know that you can design your own textiles to use in your home? Afraid you can't handle this on your own? No problem, that's where your designer comes in. With the help of your decorator or designer, you have the option of having custom designs printed on fabrics. Even if you're pretty convinced you don't have a creative bone in your body, you can create YOUR OWN fabric.. that's right, your design, your fabric! Awesome.
A child's artwork, a family crest, or reproduction vintage textiles can all be done pretty easily these days to create truly unique designs. I've put together a list of some exciting companies that are taking "one-of-a-kind" to a whole new level!

first2print has a very large selection of fabrics your designs can be printed on. And with low minimum orders (as little as ½ yard), there's no need for a huge commitment. Pricing is approximately $150 yard plus set-up design fees, and turnaround time is about 3-5 business days. Checking out the company's website, this room caught my eye! Very funky repeated soda can tab in the bedding, pillow, window treatments, and backdrop! And look closely at the pillow tuck where the tabs repeat. Nice touch. Playful and yet grown-up! Imagine the possibilities in your home; a seemingly mundane, possibly overlooked object can take on a whole new life. Start looking at things with new eyes. Is there anything you'd love to see on custom textiles?
Dream Fabric Printing has a very large selection of fabrics your designs can be printed on, including poly, silk, cotton (and eco-cotton) and nylon. It appears that the minimum is 5 yards. Pricing is available upon calling and the turnaround time depends on complexity of job. Have an artistic significant other, child, or friend? Consider how artwork translates into textile design like this one here. 

hand-painted art by Christina Mekjian, textile artist

KarmaKraft prices range from $20 to $32 per yard with no minimum order. While time frame information is unavailable on the website, I can only assume it depends on job size and complexity. KarmaKraft features tons of images of customer designs, including this serene fabric.
"The Clouds" by DeAnna Claudette, image via KarmaKraft

Spoonflower uses quality quilting-weight and upholstery-weight cottons. Once again, there's no minimum order with prices ranging from $18 to $32 per yard. The website also has a "shop" feature for purchasing other customers' designs. Though that's obviously not the point of this blog post, I couldn't help but lose myself in a little browsing. Spoonflower also hosts customer contests, and this week focuses on paisley. Check out some of my cute finds!

 Paisley Two by Nikki Robb

Tweet Paisley by Antonia Manda

Fabric on Demand prints on cotton, poly/cotton, duck, fleece, and suede. Prices appear to range between $17 and $26 per yard with minimums as low as one yard. Look at these cool chairs from the site's customer gallery; you certainly can't take them too seriously with that upholstery! I am in love with them! What a great way to give a new life and personality to chairs that might otherwise feel too formal.

Have you ever considered using custom textiles for storage bins or liners, hamper liners, or even ironing board covers? How cute are these? Get creative!

Adaptive Textiles has a broad market coverage, including home furnishings, apparel, and soft signage. I first saw this line at the trade show for the Custom Home Furnishings Academy back in 2004.  As many of you know, I do teach for the Academy and I do know the founder of this company.  My teaching and our relationship however have no relation to their inclusion in this listing.  I would be remiss if I excluded them, as they are leaders in the industry. If you've been in my workroom, you have seen some of Adaptives' work.  My gridded table cover was printed by them.

Gridded Tablecover by Adaptive Textiles
The company uses direct pigment printing supported by the world-class DuPont™ Artistri® service operation. A prime feature of theirs is that there's no minimum order! Standard turnaround time is approximately 3 weeks after strike-off approval, but express orders can be accommodated with fees applied. The website itself also has interactive designer feature that lets you  use stock patterns and color palettes to create your own look; easy to lose track of time with all the playing around!

Have you ever created custom fabrics like these with your decorator or designer? Feel free to share links with pictures of your finished fabrics too!

If I am introducing you to a totally new concept, have your wheels started turning? What might you like to see in your own home?

In case I haven't told you enough, I love hearing your feedback and receiving your comments! So please, let me know what you think! If you're not convinced you want to tackle this on your own, no worries, I'm here and I'd love to facilitate the process and help turn your vision into reality!

CLASS: Create a Strategic Marketing Plan

The other day, I received an inquiry about the upcoming CHFA Marketing Course I am teaching. If you too are like this business owner and feel "you need to wrap your head around marketing" this 8-week program will help you do that!!

As a business owner myself, I know that one of the challenges we (business owner's) face, lies in translating marketing concepts to an actionable plan for their individual business. Marketing to YOUR Model steps away from a one-size-fits-all approach and mentors business owners in developing a marketing plan that is specific to their company model.

Beginning March 25th at 9am, and for eight weeks following, you have the unique opportunity to participate in this series of small group sessions, incorporating questioning, virtual role-play, group dialogue and homework, so that each student is able to develop plans to their specific business needs. As your PERSONAL MARKETING COACH, I will keep you on task and hold you accountable. With shared support, knowledge and encouragement, you will experience the undeniable POWER of a personal mastermind group.

To answer some questions as to what will be covered, here is a partial list of content areas:
  • Defining YOUR distinct value proposition
  • Traditional and Social media marketing strategies
  • Direct and face-to-face marketing strategies
  • Websites, blogs and newsletters
  • Logo, Branding and Collateral
  • Contracts, Correspondence and Communication
  • Reaching out: Resources and Strategic Partners
  • Continuous Content Creation
  • Creating an editorial calendar
  • SEO and tagging tricks to increase your exposure on the web
  • Creating YOUR strategic marketing checklist and action plan
Remember, its 8 weeks X 2 hour classes (+ follow-up coaching calls). In a word: ..... INTENSIVE!

You will be guided through a process that allows you to dissect your business model and use this to create a simplified and actionable strategic plan. The end result: Your marketing plan will be about reaching YOUR ideal client base, with messaging and imaging that is unique to your individual business.

There is a reason why Pepsi and Coco-cola have their own marketing strategy, branding and messaging: they are unique businesses with unique value propositions. A consumer may initially think they are interchangeable.... but their marketing tells a different story. You are not just another small business, it is much more than your business name that differentiates you from your competition. You don't want to be singing the same song or branding the same jersey as your competition either then, do you?

To coin a phrase from American Idol, "Make it your own."

Differentiate your business from your competition and/or colleagues business in everything you do. Say it and Show it! Tell your own story. Have your own look, your own message,your own brand. Stand out above the crowd!

Sign-up and mark your calender! I guarantee you will be blown away by all you will learn and I'd love to have you join us.

If you have any questions about course content, scheduling, access to recordings, etc., please do not hesitate to ask.

Boys Wanna Have Fun, Too: Bedroom Designs for Teens

As promised in our blog bites post featuring fabulous rooms for teen girls, we're featuring some pretty amazing rooms for teen boys! We can't guarantee the kids will keep their rooms neat and clean, but maybe, just maybe, designs like these will inspire and motivate young men of style to at least maintain!

I love this first grouping for their cool, sophisticated style. They're not overdone and are suitable for a teen transitioning into adulthood. Black, gray, and white never go out of style and serve as the perfect neutral backdrop for any pops of color. Swapping out accessories, artwork, or accent pieces can give these rooms a new look when the time comes. The upholstered headboards work perfectly here, adding height and contrast that makes an otherwise cramped space appear larger. Handsome! 

Here's another room that uses a neutral palette. Adding in metals (like in the lamp and table above), this room features a sleek ceiling fan and bold initial! It also adds another neutral in brown and ivory tones. If you are one that would like to see a little more color, it would be easy enough to add an accent along the narrow wall stripe, with pillows and possibly with a minimal window treatment.  Of course all the teen boys I know would be perfectly content in this space, particularly since it includes the flat screen above the desk! Mmmh, would that make it tough to get homework done?

This next space looks more like a studio apartment to me (and maybe it is). With plenty of seating for friends, a workspace, a comfy bed, and a fabulous television, what teen would want to leave his room? Hmmm...might not want to make it this nice or his parents may never see him again!

I swear it's not just the Star Wars posters that draw me to this room, though they are pretty cool and add, I think, some needed color to the neutral walls. Still, I can't take my eyes off that daybed. Again we've got gray, but that pop of orange and varied pillow textures add life and energy. And who can beat the storage underneath? We can't see the window, but I'm envisioning a Hunter Douglas solar shade.... maybe even with remote control. You know how those boys love technology!

Okay, I'm bringing on the color now. Hello, bold! Great use of pattern here in paint, bedding, and pillows. So fun! I really appreciate this room because it was designed for a nine-year-old. Cassie from Hi Sugar Plum set out to take the "baby" out of her little boy's room. I love that upon the room's reveal, he exclaimed, "I feel like I'm 10!" How cute is that? And what a great reward for mom's hard work! That quote reminds me of my young 9-y.o. male client, who, when returning the bureau I refinished, asked, "is that a new bureau or did you just dust it off?" How old are they when, "out of the mouth's of babes" no longer applies?

This room definitely says younger to me, but the choices Cassie made were spot on. Some very simple changes to decor and accents would take this room to another level as her "little" boy enters the teen years!

Okay, you want bold? Here you go! Primaries are where it's at in this room! Definitely a boy's room, but I wavered on the age. What's your best guess? The color choices and some accessories lead me to think young, but other selections convince me that an older boy lives here. I kind of like that I'm not sure! And, I love the choice of banded roman shade, tailored cornice and the carpet! The banding on the shade seems to play off the patter in that rug. Smart. So fun!

I love this next one by Jessica Ralph. Classic and playful -- a great combination in my book! With blue and white, you can never go wrong and if you follow me for some time, you'll easily pick up on the fact that stripes ALWAYS catch my eye. This room is bold (stripes), mature (leather headboards), whimsical (Jonathan Adler lamp), crisp (linens), slick (fabulous pillows), and earthy (area rug). How could this seemingly minimal room pack so much of a design punch? Awesome.

This room might not be classic in the traditional sense, but it's adorable and bunk beds (even in modern styles) bring me back. So many patterns, textures, and colors make this room a standout. And hello? There are those polka dots again (you know I love those)! I love the rug, walls, and artwork. I'd be inclined to do a wide brown stripe on the chair though to make it feel more masculine. I think a wide stripe would balance well with the geometric pattern of the rug, which I love!

A nautical inspired theme can go overboard (pardon the pun), but not here. The wall-mounted ships are beautiful and really grab the eye. Keeping colors simple here allow those ships to really stand out. And tied in with the drapery colors (love the stripes to offset the bedding), they really bring the room together.

I'd love to hear what you think of these picks for boys' rooms. What do you like to see in designs, especially for teen boys? While young women tend to jump right into the process, young men are a little slower to warm up. But they definitely have strong opinions, likes and dislikes. It's all a matter of helping him articulate his vision. So tell me, would your boy be happy with designs like these?

Thanks for reading; look forward to hearing your thoughts!

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Craftsmanship: custom artistry by hand

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At Storibook Designs we create custom designs by hand; here it is not just sewing, it is art!