I am a minimalist by desire.  I seek out designs in home furnishings that are well made of beautiful woods with deep grains and luxurious fabrics.  I want the natural beauty of objects to shine through in my rooms.  I then add high intensity accents through the use of carpeting, fabrics that speak to the sole in my window treatments and thought provoking art work.  These are things that in my eye make a room inviting, interesting and appealing.

I admire in magazines, on Houzz, and in other peoples homes what they believe to be beautiful.  I seek diversity.  I want other people to want something different than what I want, it is what challenges my creativity, to see the beauty in how they see it.  I once had an associate ask me what style my show room was going to be in.  This puzzled me.  I thought, how can I help others bring out their creative souls if my show room is in my style or any particular style?

My show room is a blank page.  When a client walks through the door, I want them to share with me what makes there heart sing!  It brings me joy to assist them through the process of finding the right colors, styles, collection (or eclectic).  I find it odd when my clients want the look they saw in Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware.  I will get it for them, if that truly makes them feel at peace or filled with joy, but I still question why someone would go with what someone else says is the in thing.  I find it frustrating when I am creating and cannot capture my ideas through the ready made market.

I have a wonderful client that likes soothing simplicity.  Her home is designed and decorated in the craftsman style; beautiful woods, simple lines on her furnishings, deep earth tones, with touches of color woven into the fabrics and carpets.  I have worked with her on redecorating two bedrooms.  Both rooms she wanted to feel peaceful in, so she choose tone on tone earth colors.  We made the room interesting by layering colors, rich warm browns and beige.  We added light tones to balance the room in the bedspread and linens.  But, even a peaceful room needs life.  She added a green leafy plant in an antique brass container.

Style is interesting.  I want to be surprised when I walk into a room.  I want my eye to wander through it seeking the parts that speak of it, that make it alive.

Style…make it yours…keep life interesting!

Trending Window Fashion of the Month!

What’s trending in the Window Fashion world this month?  Upgraded motorization from Hunter Douglas!  Rich, my installer/husband, and I attended the roll out of Hunter Douglas’ newest addition to motorization yesterday in Concord, NH.  We are excited we did!  Hunter Douglas truly is an innovative company.  There newest innovation is an upgraded remote control that is EASY to use, fashionable and interactive.  One of the most beneficial features of the new remote is a stop button.  No more holding down the up or down arrow, just press the stop button in the middle of the remote and the blinds stops exactly where you want it.

The other innovation that partners with the new remote is bi-directional communication between Hunter Douglas window shadings and the remote.  This is a fantastic new feature because now when you have used your remote to adjust your windows your wireless device will know the position of the shades too.  This did not happen with the previous version of Hunter Douglas’ motorization.

We are very excited about our partnership with Hunter Douglas and cannot wait to share all the new innovations with our clients.

What should I put in my windows?

“What should I put in my windows?” is a question I hear often from clients.  The choices are endless!  Choice is the fun part about decorating, unlimited choice.  This question begins the elimination process.  This is where my involvement is important, guiding you towards what works best in your individual situation.

I begin my asking what you want to accomplish?  Are you looking to control sunlight?  Do you want insulation?  Do you want your window treatments to make a statement or be invisible?  Once these questions have been answered, I begin to whittle down the options for you.  The last question I ask is budget.

“Budget” makes a big difference as to what I suggest.  Blinds and shades are always the least expensive option, the plainer and simpler the lower the cost.  Not to say you have to go completely plain (white), but most options in the lower price range are limited in color selection.  A standard window of 36 inches wide by 60 inches high will run you between $70 to $200 per window depending upon your window covering choice.  A basic high end spring fiberglass roller shade runs approximately $70 for a 36″ x 60″ window, where a roller shade with a continuous cord loop control and a more decorative look will go for approximately $180 for the same window.

If “budget” is not an issue than your choices increase, but so does the price.  A beautiful Roman shade made from custom ordered fabric, lined and with a continuous cord loop control will run approximately $300 to $400 per 36″ x 60″ window.  A decorative style blind or shade will cost in the $300 to $400 price range for the same window.

With pricing out of the way, lets look at what works best.  If you are looking for sun control, most window treatments will offer it in some form.  If you want UV control then a solar shade, mylar blind, or cellular shade will be the best choices.  Solar shades come as either roller shades or roman shades.  Roller shades, when all the way up, take up much less window space than a roman shade.  Roman shades require space for stacking, so you will loose about 6 to 9 inches at the top of the window.  Cellular shades offer the least exposure when pushed up into the open position.  The header is a very small profile and typically blends with the frame work around the window.  Mylar blinds come only as a roller shade.

When roller shades become the apparent solution, I always recommend some form of valance or cassette to cover the roller shade.  The brackets and hardware are visible and not attractive.  Many roller shades offer a cassette option.  Sometime the cassette is not the best option for the room, so I will suggest a fabric valance to offer a more decorative look to the window.

Drapery adds warmth and a more decorative, finished look to a room.  Drapery also is a space filler and a perfect choice for sound control.  A beautiful look is a combination of draperies with a blind or shade.  Draperies also are the most expensive way to treat a window.  Fabric, although beautiful, is expensive and many yards are required for a properly outfitted window.  If you love fabric, but the cost is prohibitive, than a good choice is a blind or shade with a fabric valance.  This grouping gives the best of both worlds with a fraction of the cost of full drapery.

Whatever your window treatment needs are or your whatever you budget is, I have the perfect solution!





Day Dreaming

I do not know about the rest of New England, but I am definitely ready for warm temperatures, green grass and long sunny days.  One way I bring about the feeling of renewal is to update the colors in one of my rooms or change the look of a room.  I recently made a wonderful find at Good Will of 4 fabulous Lane dining chairs.  They are lower backed and a little more modern than my current ladder back chairs that have rush seats.  My “new” Lane chairs are solid oak with a padded seat, so much more comfortable than the antique ladder backs and they are in excellent condition.

As soon as I put the new chairs up to my dining room table and removed the ladder backs, my room was transformed.  The tall ladder backs took up visual space.  The “new” lower chairs made the room appear much more spacious.  I will be recovering the padded upholstered seats in my “new” lane chairs to add an additional punch to the look of my dining room.  I haven’t decided if I am going to paint the oak or just leave it as a natural wood.  I am very excited to have found a chair that is sturdy, well made and can be easily transformed into an updated look.

I will also be adding bead board to my bathroom.  It is an inexpensive way to update a room that is in desperate need of re-doing.  Once the bead board is in place, I will paint the wall above it to freshen up the look of the bathroom.

If we cannot have beautiful spring colors outside, there is no reason we cannot afford-ably bring spring inside.  What’s your next project?  If you need help, I am available at 207-236-0765.




The Art of Decorating

I am always amazed when people seek my help to decorate their space.  Not amazed that they are asking me because that is my business, but just in general.  I realize that not everyone has an eye for color or placement, but your space is your space and it should be a reflection of who you are and not what a “decorator” wants for you.

I have this conversation with my decorating mother often.  We have very different views on what looks good together and what you can and can not use in a certain space.  I am a rule breaker.  I like to step outside the box and mix colors and patterns that are not “typically” put together.  My mother is much more conservative.  She likes to look back at what worked and update it.  Neither style is wrong!  That is the beauty of decorating.  It is what feels good to you as an individual.

The best way to decorate a space is to start with a piece of art work or rug or fabric or something that catches your eye and you feel you cannot live without.  That piece is your launch pad.  Take the colors and feeling from that piece and start adding other things such as furniture, wall colors, and window treatments that are reflective of that favorite item.  If you cannot bring the item with you shopping than be sure to photograph it so you can compare different items that you find to it and insure that they will be in the same color scheme or in a complimentary color.

I say take the plunge.  If you don’t like what you have started with, then change it, but make your space your own.  Oh, if it still doesn’t feel right, I am always happy to give you my advice…for a fee!

Happy decorating!

What’s up and What’s down? Different control options for blinds and shades.

As I discuss with my clients what their needs are for their window treatments one of the last things we talk about is getting the blind or shade up and down.  There are several different control options available for most window treatments.  The standard control is normally strings with a clamp stop.  This mechanism allows the blind to be stopped anywhere in the window to help with light control.  The draw back is that the string gets longer the higher the window treatment is pulled up.  Dangling strings present a choking hazard to young children and animals.   This can be dealt with by installing cleats to wrap the strings around.  The other problem with strings is with consistent use the strings begin to fray and will give out after several years.  They are also prone to sun rot.  The standard control does have its useful applications such as lower initial cost than any other controls and ease of access in hard to reach areas.

My favorite control is cordless.  This doesn’t mean that the blind or shade does not have strings at all, but simply signifies that the blind/shade can be operated without handling any strings.  The blind is operated up and down by a gentle tug on the bottom of the blind/shade, usually through the use of a handle or the bottom bar of the shade itself.  I particularly like this control for its aesthetics, there are not dangling strings.  This control is the favorite for a household with small children for there is nothing for the child to get caught in.  The blind tends to out live the standard control blinds because there is far less stress on the working parts.  The only draw backs are that the blind does tend to get out of balance easier than the standard controls and the header that houses the workings is deeper than the standard control header.

The other control option I recommend over the standard is the continuous cord loop with clutch control.  This mechanism allows you to easily move the blind/shade up and down the window to where ever you want it without having to touch the blind at all.  The cord never gets longer and is normally held in place on the window with some form of hold down giving the cord a neater appearance against the window frame.  This control also offers longevity over the standard control.

Some of the window treatment companies offer additional operating controls such as a single string that is on a ratchet mechanism.  The string never gets long.  The ratchet control tends to be delicate and difficult for the user to manipulate.  I only recommend this control under very limited conditions.  You can also opt for motorization.  Typically, the blind/shade is controlled using a remote or wall switch.  This option is beneficial  when the application is hard to reach or there are multiple windows in the room.

One thing to remember when choosing a control is that anything other than the standard string control is considered an upgrade for most shades/blinds and therefore will add to the cost of the treatment.  That additional cost can be upwards to $100 or more per blind.  Often, window fashion companies will offer a free control upgrade twice a year, typically in the spring and fall.  When considering your control options, think about the application and how you want to use it.  Consider where the blind/shade will be hung, if you have small children in the home and how often you will be putting the window treatment up and down.  Finally, how much do you want to spend now and in the future.

Solar shades to reduce solar gain

I just finished reading a very informative article in Window Fashion Vision magazine titled “How to Select the Best Solution” from solar shades.  The author, Neil Gordon, made very clear the chart that is on the back of all solar shade fabrics.  Simply stated the lighter the color the less solar gain when the solar shade is hung as an interior shade.  Dark colors absorb more light and therefore transmit that light as heat into the room.  On the flip side, Dark colors absorb more light so cut down on glare better.

I had a customer tell me recently that the darker colors work the best for both protecting against solar gain and glare.  Now I have a deeper knowledge of the charts and will be able to provide my clients proof of what would be their best option based on their needs.