Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Home owners and their pets

This picture may just prove my theory (unscientific) that people decorate their homes around their pets! I'm sure its not a conscious thing, although some may do so on purpose.

West 3rd Residence modern

I guess pets only really come in a couple of colours, compared to paint colours. Still, what is it about these pictures that make us smile? 

Brian Patrick Flynn

Pets are fairly neutral. Maybe its that when we're picking a neutral colour for our home we subconsciously pick the colour of our pet. Canadians are so safe, that must be part of it.

AllPopArt Custom Artwork

These people picked the wall, couch and pillow colour from their dog... (I'm assuming that's their dog) and Rover even gets to be centre of attention in their choice of artwork.

jenny rausch traditional kitchen

This pooch doesn't even know he blends right in.

mud room storage traditional entry

These 2 are something else, just waiting for the kids to get home from school.

Living proof of my theory at my house. Grey schnauzer, grey walls.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Pillow decisions

Because we work with so many amazing designer fabrics for drapery, we can't help but have some pillow decisions to make too.

The other day I was thinking of how I wanted to change up some pillows on my couch, so in my notes I wrote down "pillow decisions". Sounds silly, but its true.

Save yourself some time and think about what you want before going shopping or meeting with your designer or decorator.

Pillows are a great way to bring some life to your living or family room. Decorative fabrics come in a variety of patterns. Bold graphics and small prints are readily available.

What's the best way to display your pillows and how many are too many? Keep odd numbers of pillows in mind. Too many, is when your family complains that there's nowhere to sit. 

Also keep in mind that the form you use inside the pillow goes a long way in giving you the full, gorgeous look. Down or feather filled pillow forms are best. There are some good hypoallergenic pillow forms available that give you a similar look.

Keep a few basic things in mind. There aren't any hard and fast rules, but if you use some of these samples below, you're much more likely to be successful.

Here are some great ideas for figuring out how to display decorative pillows on your couch. 

Sunburst eclectic living room
eclectic living room design by other metros interior designer Caitlin Wilson

Think symmetrical. Think 5 or 3. This is a great example of how 3 patterns (no solids) work well together. It looks like the bold floral was picked first and then the fun orange (simple) and semi-solid blue were picked from it. Rule: Find a print you love and pick the colours from it.

LaVista Park Renovation & Interiors traditional living room
traditional living room design by atlanta interior designer Niki Papadopoulos

Think solid. In this monochromatic scheme, again, 5 pillows in this picture. 2 in solids and 3 in patterns. Rule: pick the main room/couch colour as the solid and add a graphic print with the same colour.

Glenwood Residence eclectic living room
eclectic living room design by little rock interior designer Tobi Fairley

Think complementary. The solid white couch with the solid orange pillows allow for the fun graphic of the blue pillows. Rule: pick your colours based on their complement. (Orange and blue, purple and yellow, green and red.) The 3 colours in this page jump out. White is about 60% of the room, orange is 30% and blue 10%, good rule to follow. The yellow flowers keep the space from being too matchy.

Upstairs Office modern home office
modern home office design by boston interior designer Kristen Rivoli Interior Design

Think fun. 3 separate colours and patterns. Rule: pick pillow colours from the colours in the carpet. Area carpets that have pattern are a great way to liven up your space. 

San Carlos Residence Two contemporary family room

Think embellishment. Sizes are varied. Trim is added, all the colours in the drapery, roman shade, couch and ottoman are in the pillows. Rule: Add variety to your pillows by adding piping to a solid pillow and trim for interest.

Catalano Residence contemporary bedroom

Think colour. The yellow keeps this space from being boring or cold. 3 pillows, different sizes. Add a pillow with words on it. The thing to keep in mind with 3 different pillows is that they have some relationship to each other. Rule: Add a pop of colour to an otherwise neutral or bland space. The black and white theme tie the 2 pillows together and the yellow and grey pillow piped in black ties them altogether. The yellow pillow is pulled from the art work. 

If you're working alone, have some fun and try different options. If you're working with a designer or decorator, let them know what you like and they'll help you pull it together.

Some of our favourite designer fabric companies are Robert Allen, Kravet and Maxwell.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Benefits of using wool in home decor

My husband bought me this awesome scarf. It's super cozy and soft. Apart from having an ikatish look to it, its a blend of wool and viscose. Heaven help the family member that throws this in the wash... dry clean only!

It got me thinking about the benefits of using wool in home decor. Not just for men's suits anymore, wool used in home decor adds warmth to the look and feel of a room. It drapes well and is flame resitant, resistant to static electricity, wrinkle resistant and eco-friendly. I'm in love already!

Wool in Carpets
Jonathan Adler Lollipop Rug in Rugs eclectic rugs
by Jonothan Adler

People have used wool in carpets for years. A little bit of luxury under the feet makes us happy!

Carpets made of wool will lessen the effect of static electricity, so less of those annoying shocks that you get from your carpet. Your kids may not like this, as I recall, part of the winter indoor fun was walking around shocking each other. (no wool carpets at our house growing up)  Wool carpets are a beautiful thing and can last you for years to come. Read the benefits for yourself.

Wool in throws and bedding
Alpaca Wool Throw traditional throws
by Haus Interior

Wool is a natural insulator which makes for a great fabric in this crazy Ottawa climate. It keeps things warm in the cold weather and cool in the hot weather. Use a wool comforter on your bed for a great night's sleep. Wool used in bedding today isn't as itchy and scratchy as it used to be. 

Wool in drapery

Wool Felt Perforated Panel Set modern curtains
modern curtains design by supermarkethq.com
Don't get scared, these are made of wool felt and are a unique modern design. Even with the holes in them, I imagine they're awesome insulators. For more traditional and contemporary spaces most of our fabric companies have a line of wool fabrics that we use in a drapery panel.

Wool drapes are likely to be less wrinkly than your average drape. If you prefer the wrinkled look, linen maybe be more your style.

Wool that's used in drapery is often in a solid colour, like this Beacon Hill wool sateen. This fabric is 90% wool and 10% nylon. Drapery panels in this fabric add sophistication to a room, are restful and slightly masculine, it does remind you of a suit.

Some wool fabrics have a stripe like this one from Beacon Hill.

You can also get wool drapery fabrics with plaid. Imagine that. This one from Beacon Hill is 100% wool.

Wool fabrics come in lots of colours also, it doesn't have to look drab.

Have fun in your home, enjoying the look and the benefits of wool!

scarf used as a runner

bhg magazine

bhg magazine

Cozy up to wool all year long. Find out more interesting wool benefits.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Top 5 ideas on how to black out a window

Everyone needs their sleep. If your neighbour's lights or the moon itself are keeping you from it, then read on. Other than cardboard on your windows or completely drywalling your windows in.... it can be tricky trying to figure out how to black out a window. 

If you're not getting your sleep because of too much light in your bedroom, you're probably not feeling your best.

Whether you sleep at night or need to sleep during the day, if light is the issue, here are some suggestions for how to black out a window. It may help you have more energy and feel like yourself again.

Suggestions 1, 2, 3 are great for night time sleeping. 

Suggestions 4 and 5 are better for day time sleeping.

1. Fully closing black out drapes

Because drapery is mounted outside the trim, this is one of the best options.

Choose a darker, heavier fabric if it suits, lined with black out lining, not regular or dim out lining.
Take the drapery at least 4" past the trim on both sides.

Take the drapery to the floor.

If using a pair of drapes (instead of 1 panel) make sure they overlap when they meet in the middle, otherwise you can get an annoying light gap down the middle.

Add returns to the drapery to close out any light sneaking in the sides.

Avoid using brackets that extend too far out, the closer to the window the better.

2. Honeycomb blinds with black out backing

Honeycomb blinds come in a variety of ways.

The most popular is Architella from Hunter Douglas.

This blind is made with an inner layer for extra light reduction and makes an amazing insulator for your window.

Choose a honeycomb blind that has a black out backing.

If mounting inside the window, be aware that you will get light gaps down the side. This can be annoying. Although this darkens your room significantly, there's always that annoying gap. This is really only an issue if you're sleeping during the day. Look at number 4 or 5 if day sleeping is the case.

Add drapery side panels that are stationary or functional and this will reduce the light coming in.

3. Roman Shades

These can be made from any type of fabric, preferably dark and a heavier texture.

Line them with blackout lining.

If complete blackout isn't necessary but you want to room darken, then dim out lining works nicely on roman shades.

Because roman shades need rings sewn on the back, for some reason the blackout lining can show through the tiny holes where the rings are sewn on. (black out lining is generally white or light grey)

For best results, mount the roman shade on the outside of the window. Have the shade made so it passes the trim by about 1/2" to 1" (you can go more if you like, but it may look like the shade wasn't made for the window)

Have the blind extend past the trim at the bottom of the window by at least 3-4".

Companies such as Hunter Douglas and Graber have roman shades also. You're limited to certain types of fabric. Having roman shades made from your favourite fabric is a nice way to go.

4. Roller Shade with side channels

If you want the ultimate sleep experience, choose a blind that has side channels down the side, like Altex has. You can find these blinds in hotel rooms, board rooms, anywhere that needs complete black out.

5. Multiple Layering

How to black out a window has to do with layering. Layering your window coverings is good energy efficiency, its also a great way to get really good coverage and minimize light gaps.

Choosing a blind inside your window with drapery panels on the outside is a great combination.

You can add sheer in front of the blind and behind the drapery for an extra layer.

Choose a blind or shade (roller shade) that's opaque. Avoid blinds with slats, these tend to have unavoidable gaps.

Choose to mount the blind inside the frame for a clean look or outside the frame to reduce more light gaps.

Choose side panels or fully closing drapery panels.

Sleep tight!

Visit us for more info.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

how to buy drapes

Guide: How to buy drapes

Save yourself time and frustration by reading our guide on how to buy drapes. Learn what to look for and what information you need before going to the store or ordering online. With a bit of information on how to hang draperies, you'll save yourself some unnecessary agony.

Of course, in our opinion, there's nothing like custom made drapery, but if you're in a hurry because your mom is coming for a visit and you need something on the window, we understand. Your mom might not. If you're staging your home for sale and will leave the drapery behind, we get it.

Start with the end in mind. If you've had a friend that didn't know how to hang draperies and called you in a panic, or you've been there yourself, here are some questions to ask and things to determine.

What will the drapery panels hang on? 

Do you want a decorative rod?

Keep in mind that most store bought drapery rods will be telescopic (will extend to different lengths) This is ok, as long as your panels aren't too heavy or need to move across the window.

Many home decor stores now carry 6 or 8' rods that aren't telescopic. They can be cut down, and they give extra support unlike the telescopic rods. They can also be joined in the middle of a wide window using a bracket. If using heavier drapery panels, choose a rod that's at least 1" diameter, up to 1 3/8" (2" is quite big) Decide if you'll use wood or metal based on the finishes you have in your room.

Do you want a non-decorative rod?

You can choose i-beam which can be cut to size and hide behind the panel. This is good for stationary drapery panels. You can choose a traversing rod which will allow the drapery to move back and forth. When closed its hidden by the drapes, when open, you will see the rod. It's not meant to be decorative. Check the length on the box before purchasing. Traversing rods can extend to different lengths.

 Measure your window.

Width first...

Run a steel tape measure width wise from the outside of the trim on one side of the window to the other side (outside edge of trim) If you have more modern windows without trim, measure the opening of the window and add 4" to each side. (this is a guide, you can eye it up and make a good decision!) This will tell you how long a rod you need.

*Watch out for light switches etc... decide if you want to cover them or not. Go at least 4" each side of the window, if you have the space.

Length second....

*Measure for the length of the drapery panels from the top of the trim above the window to the floor. If you have a heater or prefer a shorter length, then measure to the bottom of the window and add 4".

*Once you determine if your panels will move across the window or stay stationary you can decide on a finished length. (see below) Don't forget to take the bracket length into consideration. It will add some inches (you can figure this out once you have the bracket in hand)

*Determine where your rod brackets will go. Make sure you have enough space for the base of the bracket above the window. Avoid mounting the brackets on the trim.

*If you have more than 12" above your window you can split the difference and mount the rod 6" above the trim. The simplest place to mount the rod is about 3" above the window, this takes into account the bracket.

*The best length for draperies that close is about 1/2" - 1" off the floor so they don't get dirty and worn down too quickly.

*If your window goes to the ceiling you'll want to go with a decorative traversing rod or a non-decorative traversing rod.

*If you live in a house that has lathe and plaster, mounting a bracket will be difficult if there isn't much for the bracket to secure to.

*If your window is wider than 5' you will want a centre bracket, especially if your drapery is heavy.

 Determine if your panels will close across the window or stay stationary.

Store bought panels only come in certain widths so you may need to buy 2 per side or 3 depending on how wide your window is. That's why taking the measurements to the store can save you a trip.

For panels that close across... If your window is 60" wide and you want your drapery panels to close across and have some fullness you will want to use 2 panels (at 48" or however wide the panels come) one on each side of the centre bracket. For fullness take the width of your window plus the 4" each side and multiply it by 2 or 2.5 and then divide it by the width of your panel. You can then round up the number to the nearest whole panel.

*If you want your panels to close across the window, avoid panels with rod pocket tops, you will need to use grommets or pleated drapery with rings for easy movement. For pleated drapery panels choose rings with an eyelet (little groove attached to the ring), not just a clip.

*If you do find a rod pocket drapery panel that you love, you can buy the rings with clips and attach the rings so they move across. (this is instead of putting the rod through the middle of the rod pocket) This is what Restoration Hardware shows in some of their pleats.

For panels that are stationary.... if your window is 60" wide you'll still want one panel on each side. If your window is 96" wide (for example) and you're not going to close the panels, then you can do 1 panel on each side, or for a fuller look, you can have 2 panels on each side stacked back. Fullness in drapery gives a more custom look.

*Key to your panels not sliding around is to put one ring at the end of the rod just before the finial , and then the bracket with the rest of the rings towards the centre.

*Choose finials (end part that goes on the rod and is decorative) that are the right size for the rod. (should tell you on the package)

*Determine if you have enough space for a finial to fit on the end of the rod without hitting the corner of the wall.

*Lots of drapery hardware lines carry end caps (flat finial), which finish the rod off nicely.

*Biggest beware in buying drapery panels that come in a package is matching up colour. You may get your panels home and notice that the dye lots are off, one looks lighter than the other. Take a close look at it in the store, ask a sales person if you can open the package, (or ask forgiveness if you get caught).

*Look for lined drapery panels. Lining protects the panels from sun damage and lengthens the life of the fabric. Lining also gives your drapes a fuller look.

If you've been frustrated because you weren't sure how to buy drapes or how to hang draperies properly, keep these simple tips in mind and you'll do fine.

Come and visit us online anytime.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Jump on the drapery banding wagon!

Do you or your clients have sad looking drapes on your window or in a box in the basement?

Don't throw them out just yet.

Maybe they need an update. Here are some ways to save yourself some money and be green.

Banding is simply adding fabric or trim to your existing drapery in any way you can think of (as long as your seamstress is up for it).

Benefits of drapery banding...

Fix sun fade. If your drapery is looking a little faded, especially on the inside of the panel where the sun hits it, this is a great spot to add vertical banding.

Vertical banding can be done in the same type of fabric or you can take this opportunity to add some texture to your drapes. A general width for vertical banding is 2-4" or whatever looks well proportioned.

Add length. If your drapery has been cleaned lately and you're noticing some shrinkage, this is a great time to add banding to the bottom of your drapes. Choose a different colour or texture for interest.

When adding banding to the bottom, 12-16" is good. You can use the golden ration of 3/8 and 5/8. If your drapery panel needs to be 88" long, add 33" to the bottom and keep the top at 55". This will keep it nicely proportioned. Look for any horizontal lines in the room that you wish to follow.

Moving. If you're going to a new home and love your drapery, take it with you. Measure in your new place to see where it'll fit best and then you can think about adding banding to make your drapery custom fit.

Instant update. By adding banding to your existing drapery you automatically add interest and you'll feel like you've got a whole new pair of drapes.

Is it worthwhile? If the drapes were custom made, then most likely they're good quality and properly lined. If store bought, make sure the fabric isn't too flimsy. Don't waste time on new banding, if the fabric is sun faded all over or won't stand up much longer.

When you want to jump on or off the drapery banding wagon, don't hurt yourself, call a window covering specialist or if you're up for it, try it yourself!

Browse through our ideabook from Houzz

Browse Accessories And Decor on Houzz- For Example:

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Getting your drapery rings and things moving- with jig-a-loo!

Recently we had a client that was having difficulty moving her heavier than usual drapery across the rod to close. The drapes were mounted higher than normal and were made with black out lining.

One spray of jig-a-loo on the rod loosed everything right up. The client emailed us later and said they worked perfectly.

Jig-a-loo is a silicone based lubricant made with no grease, oil, wax, petroleum or detergent. It doesn't stink and won't stain! Sounds perfect!

Works on most things around the house that need unsticking.

Just be careful if you're googling it....and don't use it on people :)

Here, I'll save you the trouble. Visit Jig-a-loo

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Firm is watching us!

Producers of the tv series The Firm, must have seen the pics from our client's home on our facebook page. I found this picture in the Ottawa Citizen today and it looked like something I'd seen before, see bottom pic.

This picture from the Firm, new television series shows drapery that looks like it came from the 80's. The only difference is, it looks great. It's re-designed and re-imagined, not the same, but really close. I think they were going for the retro look, even though the series is set in the early 2000's.
The Firm

The Client (Natalie)
When Faye first started her business in 1987 this bold, floral, big print was really in full use. We're starting to see it come back, a bit.