When your filing your 2013 taxes, don’t forget to ask your accountant about smart energy savings for energy efficient products. Like changing your air conditioner, boiler, furnace and more, switching your window treatments can lead to big savings on your heating and cooling bills. We’re proud to carry the complete Hunter Douglas line of energy smart blinds, shades and shutters, some of which are eligible for up to $500 tax credit for energy efficiency.
Not only will these products help you save on your energy bills, but they can also help you save on your tax bills. Ask us about Alustra® Duette® Architella® honeycomb shades and Duette® Architella® honeycomb shades with the LiteRise TrimKit for beautiful, functional and efficient window treatments!!
Want custom drapery but don’t love the price? Consider a stationary panel.
What is your goal for drapery? If your intent to open and close the panels for privacy and to block light, then this post is not for you, but if you’re simply looking to dress your windows, soften the edge of the frame and hard treatment and add color to your room, we love a stationary panel!
Let’s start by discussing the purpose of drapery. The goal of drapery is to provide softer lines around a window; to take something hard and square and make it feel warmer and softer. Hard treatments like blinds and shades provide privacy and light blocking. Drapery is usually complementary to the hard treatments. A stationary panel will not open and close like traditional drapes, but it does provide the softening effect and a splash of color around your windows.
A stationary panel frames a functional blind or shade perfectly, dressing the window, while using less fabric than traditional drapery, thus bringing down costs. We love a stationary panel because it blocks very little light coming into the room. Less hardware also keeps the window feeling open.
Lately, I have been filling my down time watching HGTV’s “Love It or List It.” It’s great seeing design dilemmas get solved for client’s who think their home is a lost cause. Secretly (or not so secretly), I’m always rooting for Hilary and waiting for the client to say, “We’re going to love it.”
Have you ever noticed that the windows in the finished home all look like the picture to the left? That’s because Hunter Douglas donates gorgeous Silhouettes to the show for the remodels.
Silhouettes are one of our favorite Hunter Douglas products. They are beautiful yet functional which is what we look for in a window fashion. We consider it a crossover product because it provides the functionality of both a shade and a blind. The name “Silhouette” tells you a little bit about how the product works. When closed, the figures behind the sheer look like a silhouette, meaning that you can make out a figure but can’t tell anything about it. Therefore, the sheer provides privacy; however, it does not block light from entering the way a traditional shade or blind does. Note in the external view how you can make out the indoor lighting, but nothing else. Yet when the vanes are open, light is diffused. This allows the sunlight to be distributed through the room still providing up to 87% UV protection preventing fading and discoloration of your furniture.
On Love It or List It, the Silhouettes are usually the sole window treatment, and by themselves, they look great! But I usually like to pair a Silhouette with drapery. The Silhouette acts as a sheer panel that is then framed by the fabric. You could use stationary panels since the Silhouette already provides functionality and privacy so you don’t need the drapery to be functional, just beautiful.
It is our philosophy that custom product is where beauty meets function, and Hunter Douglas Silhouettes are the epitome of that philosophy.
Look for them the next time you’re watching HGTV!
Memorial Day has come and gone, and despite the unseasonably cold weather, the unofficial start of summer is here. Its hard to believe that this season is upon us, but its time to get outside and enjoy the reprieve from a long New England winter. As the weather warms up, and we head outside, unfortunately bugs begin to do the same. If you’re anything like me, you find yourself debating: “enjoy an outdoor dinner on your patio or not deal with mosquitoes and just stay inside?” Citronella helps, but only so much which is why this kind of weather has me thinking about adding a three season room or a screened in porch.
There’s a few things to consider when deciding to build a three seasons addition or to screen in your porch. The first is how you will use you space. A screened in porch is a great addition to living space in the summer months, but it provides very little to no additional insulation. A three seasons room, while usually lacking HVAC, provides insulation from the elements which will give you a longer season of use, particularly in New England. The second consideration, of course, is budget as screening in your porch is much less costly than creating a new room.
Once you’ve decided the direction you want to go in, its time to plan the space. For me, an outdoor living space should have two types of seating: dining and lounging. I like to see a balance of the two because it provides functionality for the room in several different situations. While the items on your porch will be protected from the elements, you want to choose indoor/outdoor furniture and fabrics to prevent mildew and fading over time. Consider including screen shades in your budget to control the sunlight in the space. They will allow you to sit on your porch, even when the setting sun it pouring in, without completely blocking all of the natural light.
Treat the design of your porch as you would any other room in your home. We always start from the bottom up by following these steps:
1)Conceptualize how you want to use the space.
2)Draw the room.
3)Choose your floor.
4)Find your large items (usually furniture).
5)Choose your color palette based off the floor and larger items.
6)Choose your paint.
7)Choose your accessories.
8)Enjoy your space.
Many people use the terms “interior designer” and “interior decorator” interchangeably, and while there are similarities in these professions, they differ in critical ways. As we have been working to develop our brand and focus our company’s mission, we have found it necessary to clearly distinguish the two for ourselves and for our clientele.
“Interior design is the art and science of understanding people’s behavior to create functional spaces within a building. Decoration is the furnishing or adorning of a space with fashionable or beautiful things. In short, interior designers may decorate, but decorators do not design.” (NCIDQ, 2012)
It is through this concept that we have developed out slogan: Beautiful. Functional. Custom. As an interior design firm, our focus is on functionality as well as aesthetics. We take into account our client’s lifestyles and choose creative solutions that are beautiful yet functional. Though custom products, we can focus on the design and functionality elements without sacrificing beauty.
There are a few words that no designer wants to hear, “I really like the look in the Pottery Barn catalog.” Don’t get me wrong, those room colors are nice and understated, but they are so vanilla, so safe. For me this quote sums about how I think about design:
“Life is about using the whole box of crayons.”
Color! Pattern! They’re what take a room from plain and ordinary to extraordinary. Yes, sometimes when you take a risk, it might fail, but its worth the chance. Try a bold color. Pick a new pattern. Use the whole box of crayons, and don’t be afraid to color outside the lines. Life is too short to live in a beige house with a beige sofa with white walls. That’s not to say we like to mix every color in the rainbow on a project. We find that one strong color in varying tones provides a bold fresh look while remaining classic and understated. See the room pictured below. We chose orange (yes, orange) as a pop of color in an otherwise neutral palate. The orange is complimented nicely by a soft blue chair with a strong pattern. Note most of the other pieces in the room are neutrals which allows the orange to make a statement without being too “in your face.”
As an interior design firm, we wanted to incorporate what we do into our site. We started with the idea of windows, since dressing windows is what we do best. The different boxes in our site layout, particularly the homepage, are inspired by windows framed by fabric.
We gave the guys at cdeVision the fabrics pictured below as inspiration. They said they’ve never worked with something like that before, but loved it. Check out the background of our new site; the pattern and texture is pulled straight from one of the fabrics.
We chose a neutral palette that will allow bright and colorful pictures to pop. We love greys and taupes right now and so the color scheme is timely yet classic. We found that the principles of design don’t change much whether it’s a room, graphic art or a website. While the site is launched, it still needs finessing, but we we’re just too eager to share.
Thanks to Bill and Antonio at cdeVision in Holyoke for making our vision come to life.
It’s always a tough thing for a designer to hear. A client wants to keep a favorite piece that they love in a room, but we wouldn’t have chose it. Maybe its a family heirloom, a comfortable chair or child’s favorite blanket, have no fear, you can make it work in your room.
The principle to consider is minimize. When the piece matches the atmosphere and color palette of the room, it no longer looks out of place, but fades into the rest of the room. Instead of the piece standing out on its own, its becomes part of a larger look.
Take the quilt below for example. We designed this entire bedroom around the quilt and existing furniture in the room. The colors we chose were inspired by the floral fabric in the trim of the quilt. We chose to incorporate a solid blue in the pillow to tone down the pattern in the quilt, while adding a floral, pink bolster and valances to add a feminine touch.
The sconces behind the bed add functionality and symmetry to the space.
Window treatments finish a room, which is why we always urge our clients to “dress those naked windows.”
However, the wrong window treatment or and outdated design can leave a room feeling dark, heavy and out of date. Updating your window treatments can make a world of difference in a room. Consider these ideas when planning your window treatments to keep your home feeling fresh and bright.
1) Think minimal. The idea of a drapery is to soften the woodwork, but not to block all the light.
2) Mount it high. Make your windows feel larger, and let in as much light as possible by mounting your drapery and valances significantly above the top casing while still covering the casing with the bottom on the treatment. Its an optical illusion.
3)Consider your hard treatment carefully. You want to let light in while maintaining privacy. Don’t choose something so heavy that it blocks all of your natural light. We love Hunter Douglas Silhouettes because they filter the light and provide sheer privacy while open, but close to provide privacy for any room.
4) Pick a current color or pattern, but think about how long you will keep these treatments. If you are spending a lot of money on custom window treatments, choose colors and patterns that will age well. You don’t want to look at your windows in 10 years and think, “That’s so 2013,” the way we see pink bathrooms and say, “that’s so 1980!!!” If you plan to change your treatments in a few years, then its the place to go crazy with the hot colors and patterns like grey, turquoise and yellow!
5) Consider some curves. The point of the treatment is to soften the window casings, so try to avoid more hard lines.
Often accessories and art work are the hardest and most time consuming part of creating a coherent look in a room. This guest bedroom has a gold and chocolate color scheme. The bedding is fabulous, and we wanted the art to be as well.
While the scale of the picture makes it took small, we needed to cover quite a bit of wall in this room. We love our guests, of course, but the guest room is not where we wanted to invest in expensive artwork. SOLUTION: canvases covered in a great fabric.
The photograph doesn’t do this fabric justice. It has too much dimension for my iPhone to catch. This could be DIY project, or you could pay an upholsterer to build the size and shape canvases that you want. We prefer the latter because they will be uniform and the fabric will be taught. What do you think?