Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Covering arched windows

Yes, the elusive arch window. So pretty, so frustrating to cover, for most homeowners and some designers too! Here are some ideas to keep in mind when covering arched windows. Consider if you need sun protection, privacy or want something completely decorative that doesn't need to function.

Options to consider are nothing, drapery, shutters, blinds and cafe style.

Nothing is an option, if you don't need sun protection or privacy and your arched window is a piece of art itself. Look at this picture and think about what you might do. Would you choose a blind and if so where would you mount it? Would you choose a fabric shade or drapery?

Cottage 52 Foyer & Stair Hall mediterranean hall

Classic Coastal Colonial Renovation - Breakfast Nook contemporary kitchen
contemporary kitchen design by new york
 general contractor 
Michael Robert Construction

Draperies are a great option. Mount the rod above the arch or at an obvious break in the window. Keeping your budget in mind, the higher you go, the more fabric that's required.

Sherry Hart traditional family room
living room contemporary living room

Shutters are a custom option for sure. Templates required! If you have a local craftsman, like we do (James Hill of Shutters Direct) wood shutters are a gorgeous option. James' shutters come with a 10 year warranty. Take shutters part way up (see bottom shutter picture) and leave natural light coming in. Shutters are a great option for this window because they're mounted on the sides with hinges, no worries about where to put the brackets.

Master Bathroom traditional bathroom
Blinds like silhouettes (Hunter Douglas style) part way up, don't need a center bracket if the window isn't too wide so you can mount with end brackets at the height that works best. If you're window is really wide, another consideration would need to be made. Woven shades, bamboo style look great also, depending on your style. Most blind companies will make specialty shaped blinds that fit exactly.

Owners Bath traditional bathroom
traditional bathroom design by philadelphia 
design-build Echelon Custom Homes

Cafe style is a good option if you have a fabric that you want to display, need a bit of privacy and want to add some interest. You can use a tension rod inside the window or take a decorative rod across to the outside as long as your fabric's not too heavy to be supported by 2 outside brackets. (not always a place for a center bracket).

Kathleen Kedigh traditional living room
traditional living room design

Arch windows don't have to be so elusive, take some time and think about your options, style and function.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Inspiration for house and home decorating....Houzz!

houzz interior design ideas

Home owners: If you're looking for amazing interior pictures and ideas to use for your house and home decorating. I'd like to suggest Houzz! Pronounced House.

Professionals: This includes anyone that works in the residential interior or exterior field. Home stagers, architects, interior decorators, window covering specialists, general contractors, landscape designers, closet and home storage designers and photographers. These are only to name a few. If you're looking to make connections in your local area, promote your services and showcase your work, I'd like to suggest Houzz to you too!

Jenkins Baer Associates traditional living room
Houzz is kind of like the Pinterest of the residential interior and exterior design world. On Pinterest you'll see lots of pictures that came from Houzz.

What can you do on Houzz? Lots! Glad you asked.

Create Ideabooks: Like Pinterest you can create ideabooks. When you come across something you like, you add it to your own ideabooks. You can create multiple books and comment on what you like about the picture. Keep them for projects you plan to work on and get your creativity flowing!

Ask Questions: You can ask questions of professionals that upload their pictures. This is a great way to learn about projects you can do yourself.

Tag items: If you see a picture and know where an item came from, you can tag it.

Create Profile: If you're a professional you can create a profile for your location, upload your professional pictures and show what you have to offer.

Browse pictures: There are thousands of pictures to see for every room in the house and outside the house.
You can also search pictures of products. There are different styles to choose from depending on your taste.

Embed pictures: If you have a blog or website, you can embed photos and ideabooks into it. This makes blogging really easy.

There's lots to see and do on, try it, it's free.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Manuel Canovas, pinning and blogging!

I recently discovered Manuel Canovas, a fabric design company from London, I also recently discovered Pinterest, a time sucking awesome adventure that is making blogging so much easier!

Thanks to Pinterest my family may never have another hot meal. No, it's not that bad, I need to set a timer for myself though, seriously getting carried away. At this moment, I have the house to myself and what am I doing?.... Pinning and blogging.

Sometimes it's hard to image what a certain fabric would look like when used in your home. What is it about the combination of these fabrics and colours that are so inspiring? 

In the above picture they used the stripe fabric from the first picture as drapery.

You may wonder how this would look, check out the chair below.

Ok, maybe we say "no" to the wallpaper, the chair is really sweet!

Sweet chair!

More fun fabrics from Manuel Canovas.

Daring, yet it looks so fun!

Find more inspiration from Manuel Canovas!

Check us out on 

Follow Me on Pinterest

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Backwards pinch pleat, call it what you like!

Backwards pinch pleat doesn't sound as elegant as an inverted pinch pleat does it?

Recently we had a sample drapery panel made up to show an alternative pleat style. Most people call it an inverted pleat.

The idea is that its a backwards pinch pleat. I've never met a home owner, designer or work room that called it the same thing.

You can call it what you like, as long as your seamstress knows what you mean.

Inverted pinch pleat
Pinch pleat at the back sewn across the top and bottom
Up close inverted pinch pleat

This drapery pleat is suitable for panels that will be stacked back.

Not to be confused with an inverted box pleat. An inverted box pleat is flat at the back and doesn't stack back nicely. Use an inverted box pleat for side panels that can stay open.

Have a look at some other drapery pleat inspirations.

Visit our website for more ideas.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Is there such a thing as a happy chair?

Of course not, but a favourite, reupholstered chair can bring some happiness to its owner. Happy looking chairs exist.

Extend the life of your furniture by updating it with new fabric. When you think about the cost of reupholstering a chair versus buying a new one, you may be further ahead to change it up. If you have a piece of furniture you can't part with, the obvious solution may be to update the fabric. 

This is a sad looking little slipper chair. No nice fabric, no piping.....the only thing it had going was that it was comfy. Sometimes that's enough, but Faye was hoping to enjoy looking at it also.

Sad but comfy!
This is a fabric from Clarence House that's available through Lee Jofa's Chicago showroom.
It's not a new fabric, but it is timeless. It came from a friend that loves fabrics and we loved it too.

Clarence House Arts and Crafts 
Happy and comfy chair with self-piping.
This is a happy looking chair!

How do I know? Faye is smiling and Roy (Faye's hubby) even likes it too. Now that's something!

Read our guide on choosing fabrics.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Give your windows a wave...featured on

Here's an ideabook from that features one of our pics. Ripplefold drapery is becoming an excellent way to hang drapery. It has an elegant contemporary look to it. Enjoy!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Confidence to choose fabrics

Style at Home Magazine June 2011

The high school I went to had the most intimidating hallway ever. Benches on both sides where kids would sit and watch as you walked by. Recently on Facebook an old friend made mention of the BENCHES! It still brings horror to anyone who ever felt the intimidation.

What were they thinking about me?  What does my hair look like today? Am I wearing cool enough clothes? Quite often it was the fear of being judged and ridiculed that made the walk so painful. Every once in a while I'd get brave and go it alone.

If you're a brave home owner, choosing fabric can be intimidating. If you're making fabric choices alone, you may be thinking, "What if I choose the wrong fabric? What if the colour is out of date or the pattern is too old fashioned? What if people come to my house and laugh at my choices? Can I trust myself?"

Ask yourself a few questions: 

Who am I doing this for? If this is your house, it needs to reflect you. 
What do I like? You'll get tired of looking at someone else's choices.

Whether you're choosing fabrics to reupholster a sofa or chair, for new cushions, window coverings or  bedding, keep a few things in mind to lessen the intimidation and give you confidence in your choices.

Think first impression. If you see a fabric that you really like, chances are you will end up using it or something close to it somehow. If it's not the one, tuck it away for another time and another place.

Think long term, this is Canada for heaven sakes.... we like safe don't we? For bigger items choose neutrals or solids that will last a long time, then add some fun and funky with pillows or accents. Bedding in neutrals are great because you can still add colour with pillows and throws. Neutrals tend to ground the room.

Think about your favourite piece of clothing. Why is it your favourite? The colour, pattern, texture? What you wear, either in colour or texture, can help you narrow down the decisions. Cotton is a great fabric that stays crisp and hangs well,

Think style of your house. Certain fabrics work in certain places. This doesn't mean you can't use what you fell in love with, but think about it in the bigger scheme of things. Decor magazines are great, they showcase the latest trends and styles. Don't feel the pressure to have to have everything you see.

Think durability. Most fabrics from design stores or designer fabric companies will tell you the abrasion rate or the double rub. The fabric is tested to see how well it will stand up. Any fabric that's at least 15,000 double rubs is good for upholstery and considered HD (heavy duty)

To get through those benches, every once in a while, I'd grab a friend to walk with me. This gave me confidence too. Using a designer or decorator can be a great way to navigate the intimidation of choosing fabrics.

For more friend support and inspiration visit a list of helpful Canadian design bloggers.

Visit our guide on buying designer fabric online.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Stuff! Designing for good!

People don't often realise that their physical surroundings play a huge role in their every day level of satisfaction. Changing a person's physical surroundings can bring inspiration, motivation, a sense of pride and the idea that someone else sees value in them.

Reveal from 2011 Extreme Makeover Kindness Edition
When you get engrossed in the world of design and decor, it can seem like it's all about the stuff!

Sometimes stuff (choosing fabrics, furniture, the latest decor items) can be overwhelming. Stuff certainly doesn't satisfy but the end result of what the stuff can do, can bring great results.

Take the Ottawa Extreme Makeover Kindness Edition for example. Here's a great opportunity to make designing and decorating about enhancing someone's life.

The design team partnered up with the United Way and is setting out to enhance the surroundings of a community that can benefit from it greatly.

The Foster Family Farm House Homework club is in need of repair. With some new construction, paint, furniture, window coverings and time, this homework club is going to be inspired to get their homework done!

By choosing certain finishes and colours, Sonya Kinkade is helping inspire these young minds with a space that causes them to want to be there.

Generous people and companies have donated new furniture and needed items for the rooms, these kids will be motivated to do their work and put forth their best.

Have you ever had someone else do something for you that you couldn't do yourself? Designing a space for someone else is a gift that designers and decorators can share with others.

Having someone else see value in you is without a doubt the best feeling in the world! Stuff helps accomplish this, people bring it to life!

It's not too late to get involved and see what you can do too. Visit Ottawa Extreme Makeover Kindness Edition.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

When is red drapery ok?

If you ask my husband, he may say "never". There was once this fabric I liked ...that's another story.

With Valentine's Day on it's way, it made me think about using red in home decor, especially drapery.

Heart Pillow Cushion Red Love by Sewn Natural modern holiday decorations

I had red drapes in my bedroom as a kid, they were ugly then and still would be as they were a horrid colour and a nasty texture. Sorry Mom! (That was long before she started the business!)

People tend to stay away from red in drapery because it can be a little overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be.

Take a look at some different ways to tastefully incorporate red into window coverings.

It makes a difference where you use red in your home decor. If you're considering red in your bedroom, be careful of using too much, keep it as an accent if you want to use it. Red is energizing and lively. Even though red is considered passionate, it's not the greatest for a restful sleep.

Study sitting area contemporary home office
This is an excellent way to use red as an accent colour. The grey and white break it up, so its not too much. Choosing a fabric with red in it is a great way to stay safe.

Lullwater eclectic living room
These red drapes blend in with the rest of the room, so they don't jump out at you. This is a lively, energizing room. If your whole room is red, the drapes support the decor.

PlantAsian asian living room

These drapes go with the asian theme of the room and add the home owner's personal touch. Maybe they're world travellers.

Betsy Burnham  living room
Heather Garrett Design contemporary living room

Banding is a great way to use red in drapery if you don't want too much. 

Baby Boys Urban Cool Nursery eclectic kids

Choosing a classic geometric fabric in red is another great way to use red. There isn't a lot of red in the room, so these drapes become a fun focal point. This is used in a kid's room, but we've used this fabric elsewhere also with great results.

Mercer House traditional living room

If you're brave enough to paint your ceiling red, instead of the town, then choosing red drapery is a nice way to bring the room together. This looks like a big space and it can support the drama that red brings.

Maybe adding some red candy hearts in a dish is about as red as you'll get, that's ok too! Happy Valentine's Day!

For more ideas on red decor check out Style at Home magazine online.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Window covering for patio doors? Sunbrella's a good choice.

The name "Sunbrella" probably makes you think of outdoor fabric. Rightly so, that's what they're known for. They also make a great line of fabrics that work just as well for interior decor. Known for its amazing protection from the sun, fade resistance and environmental friendliness, Sunbrella is a good choice.

Sunbrella Drapery Fabrics

Speaking of "sun", it's been a while since I took science but apparantly the sun is at different heights during the year. You forget these things.

With spring on its way to Ottawa (hopefully), March means the sun starts rising higher and this means home owners find it annoying when trying to watch tv or eat supper without the sun getting in their eyes.

Quite often we get calls around this time of year. One particular place that needs extra covering is the patio door. Finding a window covering for a patio door can be a challenge. Verticals work great, but aren't everyone's taste.

One of the most decorative ways to cover a patio door is to use a drapery on a decorative traversing rod (that's one of those ugly white rods made pretty)

tribal familyroom traditional
(decorative traversing rod on patio door, not sunbrella fabric)

Sunbrella fabrics are recognized by the Skin Cancer Foundation as an aid in the prevention of sun-induced damage to skin. 

Although its made with the look and feel of cotton, their unique fabric resists fading and is a great choice for indoor drapery and upholstery use.

Sunbrella fabrics are Greenguard certified for indoor air quality and offer a recycling service for customers.

Learn more about Sunbrella.

Get more ideas about window coverings for patio doors.

Here's to an early spring!