Decorative Trims: Beaded Bedazzlements

Can you tell I had trouble coming up with a great title for this post? Got you this far though, so I guess I did pretty well. Now, the trick is to have you keep reading. Please, let me bedazzle you with a bit about beads.

Is it just me or do you agree, that beads add something special and have a way of captivating the eye? Wherever you find them, beaded trims add softness and feminine, elegant appeal. I had a young client in not long ago and she immediately walked over to a treatment and said, "I really love this... is that tacky?" Absolutely not! Another very young client was too cute, as I showed her fabrics she kept turning around and looking behind her in the studio. Finally, after I was done she said, "can I have one of those with the beads on it?" From the minute she walked in, it had captured her attention.

If you've been following the blog, you already know that yes, I love trim, and in that category is beaded trim. If you go through my shop, you'll see many, but in case you have not I pulled some pretties on over here.

When done up to the nines on grand scale, beading can be flashy and glamorous. Lucky for you, you don't have to don the beading and fringe a la 1920s fashion if it's not your thing. Your home is a great place to take some risks -- small or large -- and try out some jewelry-like design elements to suit your style, that can be anywhere from quiet to ostentatious, you decide.

The trim on these pillows fits the "quiet" appeal, I think, especially so as done in subtle tonal hues. They create such a soft, almost ethereal, and definitely feminine look. They'd be pretty plain-Jane without the trim, don't you agree?

Samuel & Sons (Lori Weitzner)

I love, love, love beaded trim on the lead-edge of drapes [yes, that is the lingo for the edge of the drapery that faces the center of the window... lead edge]! They provide an excellent contrast to the visual weight of the tassel tieback and add a little brightness and lightness. This photo is another image from one of the most delightful showrooms in New York: Samuel and Sons. For you non-sewing readers, their showroom brings to me, the equivalent of a "kid in a candy store" feeling! Take away the trim changes the whole feel, in my opinion, immediately making the drapes more masculine and weighty. And I am absolutely in love with the trim that the Canadian, Studio La Beaute used on the ivory panel below. Elegance defined!

I can hear your "Wowww" over here, as you scroll your eyes over this next image. It's fantastic, isn't it? I can immediately think of about seven clients who are going crazy over this right now. It's a fabulous creation from Sonya Hamilton Interiors. The flat braid trim paired with the beading adds the perfect complement to the fabric [awesome on its own; beyond awesome with the contrast!]. This wouldn't work as well if it weren't for the solid chocolate fabric above the trim. What feels whimsical and fun would probably feel a lot busier with all pattern.

Here's a space designed by Phoebe Howard in a waterfront home. I love the addition of wooden bead trim on the bottom edge of the valance to add an earthy appeal. I know its difficult to see it clearly, but I think you can tell enough that the trim is just enough to break all that pattern.

So what do you think? Is it high time we bedazzle some goodies in your home with beaded trim? Is it something you'd like to try? The great thing about beading is that it can added to treatments or pillows you already have, whether custom or ready-made, creating a truly unique look. Let's go for it! I'd love to help you jazz things up a bit!

Get a group of your friends together to see trims up close and personal, by hosting one of our Wine & Design Events. We can focus your W&D event specifically on "transformations with trim", if you so desire. Send me a note, or call me at 978-230-2239, and we can set a date!

Elle Decor Modern Life Concept House

Day one of Blogfest 2011 finished with a sneak peek of the Elle Decor Modern Life Concept House. What is that exactly? Located at 540 West 28th Street in Manhattan, the Modern Life Concept House features designs by five of Elle Decor's designers to watch from last year, as well as five who were recently announced for this year. Each designer paired with a leading brand to design modern indoor and outdoor spaces for two condo units. And while you know my personal aesthetic leans to the more traditional (I am a New Englander, after all), these spaces were downright amazing.

Image: Elle Decor

To get your own sneak peek, take a tour of the house by Editor in Chief, Michael Boodro.

First let me start by saying that this is New York, readers, so it should come as no surprise that the spaces were small. With about 100 of us milling about saying "Excuse me, excuse me" on a particularly and unusually humid day in May, I couldn't possibly take it all in. And as a result, there's no way this post can even do justice to these incredible spaces. This is definitely not meant to be a comprehensive overview, but rather a "big picture" look. You can bet I'd love to visit again on a less crowded (and hot!) day.

That being said, I was still able to take in enough to leave me thoroughly impressed with the designers' ability to maximize the space. Each room used every ounce of space and the eye was never left without something to occupy its attention.

When I think back to my visit, one thing above all comes to mind -- texture... from the draperies to the Venetian plaster, what brought each space alive for me was the dramatic use of textures and finishes. Sara Story of Sara Story Design (who partnered with The New Traditionalists) "really wanted to do a woman's salon." While I can't exactly bring you to see it, I did find this video featuring the room on NBC New York. Check it out!

This rich, hand-painted door opens right into the room. This does not even come close to doing this justice and shame, shame on me that I did not get a closeup of the draperies in this room because they were to die for. Talk about making a grand statement to set the tone for an elegant space!

Image: Mochatini

Image: Attic Mag

If you watched the video, you know that Sara started the project by adding Venetian plaster to the walls and the ceiling, which, in her own words, adds texture and reflective qualities that - in a small space - will create a larger feeling to the room. The walls were literally the first thing that caught my gaze; they were unreal. The effect was like that of lacquer -- shiny and sleek. And the hand-painted work? Amazing. I was not able to get any great photos of my own, but fortunately, others attending did. I share these with you now and hope that you will take the time to visit their amazing blogs as well.

Image: Attic Mag

Is this nothing short of incredible?

Here's a great close-up of the gorgeous bedding. Again, I love the richness! A mix of pattern and texture adds playfulness, too. I also love the geometric repetition in the circles and squares in the fabric, decorative finishes, light fixture, and tables. They're subtle and really unify the room.

Image: Mochatini

Speaking of playful, note the portrait of Sara herself above the vanity! And take note of all of the details - both under and on the desk and chair. Each room was designed and styled so that it really seemed like someone was living there. In this photo, you can also catch the tiniest of glimpses at one of my hands-down favorite elements in this room. I'll give you one guess.

Yup. The drapes. The fabric and body were amazing -- construction perfect. It was truly love at first sight! It was brushed with gold - if my memory serves me correctly, the fabric was Italian - and were finished with a beautiful weight lining and interlining. I have yet to see a photo that truly captures their beauty, so my words and these images will have to do.

Image: Attic Mag

One thing is entirely obvious to me as I share this highlight with you: I would so love to go back! I wish I lived closer to New York! To really appreciate this space -- and all of the spaces in the Elle Decor Modern Life Concept House -- I'd love to just sit in the center of the room and soak it all in. Only then could I truly give these spaces the attention they so rightly deserve. And what an honor to have been a part of this preview!

Thank you to Quintessence [an incredible journalist ~ I promise you will love her blog] and Mochatini [who I had the pleasure of sitting next to during the panel discussions ~ so sweet and talented], for taking such great photos. Please be sure to pop over to their blogs and read about - and see - more of what caught their eye at the MLC House.

Can you believe these first two posts were just of my first day at Blogfest? Me neither! My next post on the Kips Bay Decorator Show House kicks off day two! Hope you'll join me!

The Child in Me: Blogfest 2011 Day One!

You can't help but be struck by the incredible architecture of the Hearst Tower in Manhattan, home of the Hearst publications, including Town & Country, Veranda, House Beautiful, and Elle Decor (a few of my favorite things)! Isn't it amazing? How'd you like to show up to work here every morning?

It's a little hard for me to believe that this is where I showed up for work (well, sort of) on Monday, May 16th to participate in Blogfest 2011. To say it was a whirlwind experience is an understatement. What an opportunity I feel so fortunate to have been a part of! And I'm just as excited to share my experience with you! With such a packed agenda, Blogfest can't be summed up right here, so you can look forward to a several posts in the weeks ahead.

Our first day started with a luncheon hosted by House Beautiful on the 44th floor. Check out this view!

 View of Central Park from the 44th floor
Image courtesy of: Mike Lee via flickr

Okay, I confess. It was totally foggy and we couldn't see a thing. I have to look on the bright side (no pun intended), though, because if we had views like this, I don't know how easy it would've been to pay attention!

About the "child in me" reference in my title. Do you remember how you felt on your first day of grade school? Overwhelmed...excited...inquisitive...awe-filled? Who do I talk to first? Where do I sit? Yup. That was me. There I was on the 44th floor of the Hearst Tower surrounded by all these people I've heard about, read about, seen on blogs, twitter, and facebook -- amazingly talented people I was meeting in real life! Add the editorial staff and key members of the Kravet team. It took me right back to those feelings from first grade; a little bit overwhelming.

From L to R: Ann Feldstein, Cary Kravet, Jennifer Powell, Beth Greene [Kravet]
and Newell Turner [House Beautiful]
Photo Courtesy of Kravet

One of the first people I saw and wanted to say hello to was Linda Merrill from Surroundings. Although we're both in Massachusetts, it took a trip to New York for us to meet up in person! I also had the opportunity to speak with Ellen Kravet -- I laughingly admit, I thought I was speaking with Ellen from Kravet, not Ellen Kravet - as in owner of the company, Kravet - who I found to be welcoming and down-to-earth!  And I found that to be true of all the Kravets I met - like long-time friends. [A highlight for me during Blogfest was meeting Uta Kravet, mother to the fourth-generation Kravet's that now head the company -- but more on that in a later post!]

Beth Greene, VP of Communications and Marketing at Kravet, welcomed us. She was really the reason any of us were there in the first place. Beth conceived of Blogfest-- it's her "baby" as you'll hear in the video -- and brought her idea to the magazines;all of them immediately jumping on board.
Watch live streaming video from blogfest2011 at

In her welcome, Beth said, "As bloggers, you are quickly being recognized as tastemakers and trendsetters. The group gathered here represents the brightest stars and the best of the best in the design blogging world. You have the creativity, passion, and talent that will usher our industry into a new era." I must say, I was so honored to be among the small audience to whom these words were spoken.  [We all enjoy a little pat on the back now and then, right?].

A panel discussion, "The Importance of Blogs to the Print Magazine Today," with the Hearst editors followed lunch, as well as inside looks at Veranda and House Beautiful from their respective editors. One message that came across loud and clear (and one that made me oh-so-happy) is that print magazines are here to stay! In case you may have been fooled to think otherwise, they're not going anywhere. For those of us who love to turn the page - many of my customers falling to this category - we don't have to say goodbye.

From L to R: Mark Rozzo, Newell Turner, Dara Caponigro

I have to say that throughout the day, I was incredibly impressed with the level of respect these consummate professionals had for each other. I enjoyed meeting their teams and hearing about their individual journeys. It was evident that they are clearly working toward the same vision and we are a part of that vision! For me, I left the panel discussions feeling inspired, validated and respected. Working as a solo-entreprenuer, it was incredibly rewarding to hear from these "big players" that they recognize, watch and read the content that we produce. "You, bloggers, are our beat reporters; you are our eyes and ears to seeing what's going on about the country."

And for my readers who are also bloggers, you will be interested to hear some of the advice that was given. Talking about what makes for a great blog, the editors seemed in agreement. Having and staying true to your own point of view is key, as is writing well and holding yourself to the level of a journalist. And a point that really rang true for me was: Have a mission! Know who you're writing for and stay focused on them. In my case, Storibook Designs Open Studio is for my customers. I aim to educate and serve as a resource for what the decorating and design world has to offer so you, my clients and readers, can make the best decisions for your home.

My mission mirrors something that Dara Caponigro (Editor in Chief at Veranda) said when describing her magazine: "Our emphasis is on beauty and quality. 'Buy less and buy well.' So many people are so quick to buy things just to buy them." Yes! I love that! That's exactly what I strive for when working with clients. I strive to provide answers to the questions, here on my blog, that I am asked so often in order to guide my clients in "buying well".

Each of the panelists shared so much with us, from their respective missions and vision to what they have planned for the future. From magazines to brands, they are reaching out and finding new ways to bring us their content. In addition to the beautiful glossy print magazines we're accustomed to, we will continue to find many new ways to read, search and experience their content. Just one example -- Architectural Digest just released an app called AD Amazing Kitchens available for download on iTunes, which will soon be followed by others. House Beautiful will also be launching apps, putting fun, interactive design literally at our fingertips.

Image: iTunes

There is so much more for me to share with you, too much for this one post, so I hope you'll continue to join me as I share my Blogfest experiences!

My highlights of the 3-day tour include a "meet-the-designers" event at Mayo Studios, a delightful afternoon with Barbara Barry, exclusive tour of the Kravet Design Studios and so much more!

Decorative Trims: Strike a Cord!

Next on our tour of trims comes decorative cord. (I'm starting to feel like a tour guide. Someone get me a bus and a microphone!) Cord trim is...well...a cord. I've pulled small samples from the Storibook Designs gallery to show you the interesting patterns that can be created, from traditional to funky!

I pretty much always use some type of cord trim, because it finishes the treatment and emphasizes its shape. But as you surely know, these trims aren't just for window treatments, so let's strike a cord and take a look at some other possibilities!

In this image, the trim perfectly accents a chair cushion, giving it a polished, finished look. You do want to be careful when using in this fashion if it is a piece that will get a lot of use. A corded edge on a cushion if you have a cat, for instance, can sometimes be an irresistible invitation for play.

Michael Whaley Interiors via Samuel & Sons

But if gentleness is the use your piece will be cared with, its a look I highly recommend. In this bathroom designed by Charlotte Moss, I love the cord trim on the chair cushion because it frames the boxing detail so nicely. Of course, the room itself gives much for the eye to land on (chandelier over your tub, anyone?)!
 Charlotte Moss via Veranda

Can you say, Wow! I love using contrast trim in upholstery and this shows you exactly why! This banquette in the showroom of Lora Piana Interiors is a total stunner. How lifeless it would be without cord trim. It is the perfect example of using cord trim to emphasize shape and/or add drama to an otherwise simple silhouette!
 Loro Piana Interiors via Veranda
In this room by Phoebe Howard, the scalloped valance trimmed with welting (custom-made cord covered with fabric) finishes the look and provides just enough of a break from all the blue. I bet you're not surprised to learn that this space is in a waterfront home!

Layering trims is always an interesting option too. This combination of trims -- two rows of bobble fringe with cording between -- adds amazing dimension and texture to these draperies.


Well, that's the stop on this leg of the tour. Oh...and don't worry -- there won't be a quiz on trims at the end of the road. So as your planning your next design project, I hope this travel through trims will cause you to consider adding some fabulous details when you're working on your next project. 

Next up? Beading! Hope you'll come along! Before that though, I'm going to give you a break from trims and take you on another journey. Look forward to tomorrow when I share my first post with you about my 3-day Inspired Design Tour -- Blogfest 2011, sponsored by Kravet and Lee Jofa.
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Craftsmanship: custom artistry by hand

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