Friday, January 25, 2008

Curtain Calls

This was a good week. I was able to concentrate and catch up on a lot of work, both paperwork and project work. There's something to be said for getting caught up and leaving the office late on a Friday night knowing that you've made some major accomplishments. Especially when you know you are leaving the office for another week of trade show shopping.

The most marvelous part of my week occurred yesterday. Yesterday was the day I have been waiting for for the past couple of months. Are you in deep suspense now? Most unlikely but I'll go on...

One of the projects Moving Designz has had on the go was the completion of custom window treatments for an entire house. Yes, every single room. Half of this project was ready just before Christmas and the remainder was finished early this week. With everything complete we did the installation on Thursday. Installing always worries me. Why? Really it shouldn't but as I've come to learn nothing goes as smoothly as you assume it will. One of my personal mantras is, everything always takes longer than you think it will and always expect the unexpected. The other part of the worry equation is ... when you are working with hundreds or in this case thousands of dollars you want it(need it) to be perfect for your clients. Happy clients and making people happy is what it's all about.

In this case I need not have worried, everything went great. Our installer did a wonderful job of hanging all the rods to the perfect size and the perfect height. Our seamstress, as usual, did an amazing job. The fabrics looked oh so perfect.... there's just something about custom windows. I guess the word custom speaks for itself.

I really like using draperies as they add that final dimension of style, panache and texture. Drapery and window treatments should be considered the finishing touches to any room. They are just as important as your artwork, furniture and accessories as they set the tone of the room. No doubt they can be expensive but it's always well worth the money. Custom window treatments are always an important investment pieces in your living space.

There are quite a few things to carefully consider when choosing window treatments; privacy, light control, the architecture of your windows and the overall feel of your space. Do you want formal, graceful, or light and airy perhaps? It's all about enhancing what you already have.

It always depends on the space when I am helping clients choose what will look best. A few of my favorite options are french pleated side panels at full length. I like the curtains to hang an inch off the floor and I like to have the rods hung midway between the ceiling and the top of the molding. There is just something so polished about having nice panels hanging gracefully. Some people like to have the excess fabric dragging or puddling on the floor but not me I like to have them just grazing the floor. I find it a much cleaner look.

Another of my favorite window treatments are custom roller blinds. These are especially great in rooms where you need to control light, privacy and the heat of the sun. They can be measured to fit inside most any general window frame and can be customized with so many choices of fabric. They are especially great in bathrooms and sunrooms.

I've used custom fitted lined bamboo roman style blinds in quite a few of the more casual spaces we've decorated. I love the texture and the natual element of nature they bring to a space. I also love the fact that they are lined. This allows complete privacy and light control.

While I like roman blinds I only really use them when they are to be up most of the time. They tend to be a bit fussy and take time to train them to sit properly so lowering them on a regular basis can be work.

In more modern spaces I like using grommeted panels. They slide wonderfully across the rod and when opened take up very little stacking space. In designer speak stacking is the width of fabric you are left with when the drapes are opened fully.

I know my next comments may offend some people but I couldn't end this post without addressing some of my least liked window treatments and I'm using the term "least liked" loosely here. Sorry people.

Top of list: Scarf valances- you know those lengths of fabric people hang on poles and rods and even worse over drapes. They don't look good EVER. Next on chopping block, netted curtains, lace curtains, etc... - maybe (and I prefer not) at grammas place, they are so old school. White flat metal curtain rods, you know the kind. Cheap, cheap, cheap, 'nough said. Coloured, plastic mini blinds- when you can get white 2" faux wood slats for pennies more, why would anyone?

I am sure I could go on but I feel I've covered the most offensive of the bunch. Tomorrow I am off to the CGTA show in Toronto and looking forward to shopping 'til I drop and bringing back all kinds of goodies for the store. My next post should be a good one.


Monday, January 21, 2008

What's Hot

Well, it certainly isn't the weather. Today we suffered through another bitterly cold day here on PEI. Last week it was snow storms and this week it is too cold to snow. In fact, it's too cold to do much of anything except bolt from house to car, car to work and then car to house. Hopefully it won't last too much longer...

I'm getting in the spring mode now even though it doesn't feel like spring I know it's coming. This weekend I'm off to Toronto to buy spring and summer accessories and home decor for the store. I'm really excited about this show and crossing my fingers that this year we will find colourful accessories. If you read my blog after last years show you'll know most booths were filled with black and white. I love black and white but I also like things in moderation.

I've already had the chance to preview some of the 2008 spring lines with some of our reps and they're looking pretty good. I thought I might list some of the what's hot in home accessories for 2008.


Green everything

Useful luxury items

Sophisticated ethnic accessories




Large scale accessories

Candles - they never seem to leave any list

Brown plus any colour for accenting

Blue, Yellow

Spheres and balls


Architectural mirrors/oversize mirrors/mirrored surfaces

Seashells and coastal inspired accessories

Reeds and willow

Natural fibres


Feather throw pillows

Large scale and graphic prints

Tone on tone wallpaper mixing matt with flat

Consoles for flat screen TV's

Glass objets and pretty containers

Spicy reds and burnished gold tones

Clean lined small scale furniture

Round tables

Aged, comfortable upholstery

Exposed wood legs


Pretty bedside clocks

Clear glass lamps and fixtures

Functional and good looking storage containers

Canvas prints

Dimensional artwork

Ahhhh, five days of shopping bliss. And with any luck the weather might be a tad warmer. One can always hope.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Furnishing your Nest

I am in a very good mood today. Although I am housebound due to another PEI snowstorm it is allowing me time to post another blog entry.

I'm recently back from the yearly Canadian Home Furnishings Show held in Toronto. I did see plenty of lovely things. The product selection is enormous to say the least and a delight for your eyes and senses. Display after display of lovely furnishings for your home. From carefully crafted solid wood pieces to lighting dripping with crystals to modern sleek furniture to comfy sofas and chairs and pretty accessories.

Does it get overwhelming? Yes, when you are faced with so many choices it can be difficult to stay focused but as mentioned in previous entries a good plan is essential. I had a wish list which included pieces needed to enhance our spring inventory and, as well, to complete current and upcoming design projects. A second set of eyes is also important. Stacy was with me for this trip which was awesome. Having her experience from being at many of these shows in the past was helpful and besides who likes to travel alone?

Shopping for store inventory is not a lot different than completing your home or even shopping for wardrobe pieces. You have to make sure you get the basics first. These are your investment pieces. Once these are purchased you can start mixing other pieces that work well with them. I would guess that this would be why they hold the furniture show first and then follow it up a few weeks later with the gift and accessory show.

Here are a few tips I've come up with to help you when furnishing your homes.

Define your project. It's important to do this so your spaces will come out as you like. The reward will be a more consistent and cohesive look and feel to your home.

Identify your personal style. Know what you like and what is beautiful to you. Consider the function of your lifestyle and keep in mind the overall aesthetic of your home. What might look nice in a 10th floor condominium may not necessarily work in a century home. The best interiors are those which capture a mix of various styles resulting in a look which is far more pleasing to the eye.

Invest in quality over quantity. Don't be tempted to purchase from stores that offer poor quality goods at bargain basement prices. Everybody likes to stay on budget but investing in good pieces pays off in the long run. This may cost you a bit more in the beginning but will repay itself in longer lasting furnishings. The old adage you get what you pay for is so true.

Don't settle. In any well designed space accessories and decorative elements are just as important as furniture. Don't ever buy something that doesn't convince you or you don't love just because it's the right size or you can afford it. If you can't afford to buy the objects you love, it's worthwhile to wait. Temporarily empty walls or rooms are a small price to pay for obtaining the ideal living spaces.

Be colourful. If you love colour inject it in your house through your wall colours, furnishings and accessories. Think about colours that you look good in and that make you happy. Afterall if you look good in them they are bound to be just as great when you surround yourself with them. If you can't commit to colour on your walls go neutral and use it boldly in your accessories.

Get the lighting right. Great spaces need great lighting. In fact, in many projects it's the lighting that makes all the difference. Overhead lighting is harsh. Use a variety of lighting fixtures, table lamps, floor lamps, sconces and pot lights in conjunction with your main lighting source. And don't forget to add dimmers to your overheads this will allow you to control the intensity of light.

Window treatments. They don't call them treatments for nothing. Consider your privacy needs first and then follow through with coverings to meet those needs. Adding drapery is a great way to add interest and depth to your space. Keeping them in a classic style will allow them to look great for years.

Think texture. Nothing makes a room more livable and pulled together than mixing various elements of texture. Use various sheens and fabrics, surface finishes, and natural elements throughout your rooms to add texture.

Go with the flow. Keeping to one colour scheme and using different variations of those colours throughout your home will result in a harmonious and well designed home. Nobody wants their rooms to clash so carefully consider the overall look and feel of your home and stick with it.

Thanks for reading. Happy 2008.