Going for the Gold

The Olympics are over and I miss them terribly!  I wonder what I am going to do with all my time now that it is over.  I know I am still suffering from Olympic withdrawal; for two solid weeks I was glued to the television set watching every heat, match, and race that my schedule would allow. I will have to admit to being an Olympic junkie. I had read all the magazines and gone online to find out all I could about my favorite athletes.  I am proud to be an Olympic supporter.  I would cheer on the US Olympians like they were my family.  It has had an effect on me!

First I am sleep deprived, staying up late to watch events that I am only interested in watching every 4 years, but at the time they seem so important.  Second, I have found myself doing things as a result of watching the Olympics.  My bed is a tall  and I now wish I had a pole to pole vault into it. When I hop out of bed, I also think about sticking my landing and I even raise my arms over my head like an Olympian.  Then, when I get out of the bathtub I am aware that my movements are much more precise and I find I am pointing my toes (note: I do not have an Ester Williams cap or nose plug).  When the neighbor’s ball came into my yard I realized I threw it back to him like I was Hope Solo defending a goal.  I also march around the house like I am getting ready to mount the balance beam.

I know that I am not the only one who is affected by the Olympics.  At the local pool a young man in a swimming cap, nose clips and ear plugs soaked me while flailing around trying to do the butterfly stroke.  To be honest I think his butterfly was still more of a caterpillar in the cocoon, but in his mind he probably thought he looked like Michael Phelps going for a new world record.  Who knows, maybe with lots of practice and a few years you will see him in a national event!

Hunter Douglas Silhouette® window shadings with LiteRise®

I love the team spirit and the individual’s competitive efforts to be the best they can be.  It is with the best products that help them to go for the gold.  Think about the special swim suits and the beautifully made gymnast’s outfits and the technically advanced bikes just to name a few.  It is with that competitive spirit that I look for the best products for my home, including window coverings. Why settle for a bronze when I can go for the gold with Hunter Douglas window coverings?  Did you know that this year, 2012, Hunter Douglas won “Product of the Year” from the Window Coverings Manufacturers Association (WCMA) with the introduction of Silhouette® with LiteRise®? It’s like the gold medal in window fashions!

At my age I will never be an Olympic athlete but I go for the gold every time I open my window coverings!

Be a “Good Sport” with Your Child’s Room Décor

If you have a child I am sure you have asked yourself: “how can I decorate their bedroom on a budget in a style they can live with without it being too ‘cutsey’?”

If your child is in to sports I have some suggestions for you to “run” with (sorry about that pun!):

  • If your child is a runner or into cross country or track, use a long peg board hung up high on the wall.  Tie shoe laces together and hang shoes on rack with a label to which race they were running in.  Hang any ribbons they might have won next to the shoes.
  • If your young one is into biking, hang a bike tire over the bed and use chip clips or clothes pins to clip stories, metals, or photo’s to the spokes of the wheels.
  • If you have a ping pong player in your family, hang paddles in groupings to create patterns (and therefore, art work). You could also glue ping pong balls around an inexpensive mirror.
  • If your child loves tennis, use a net as a valance over any Hunter Douglas product!  Tennis rackets also make great art for the walls so don’t forget those too.
  • If their sport is golf, use woods or irons to hang side panels of draperies over a wood blind.  You could also use old woods or irons as architectural elements over a grouping of photos or art work or have golf balls drilled to use as drawer pulls for the dresser.  A putting green flag combined with green felt hung on the wall would resemble a golfing green and add that drama!
  • If they are football fans, open up one end on two footballs and insert large diameter wood pole for draperies; the footballs become the finials!
  • If dribbling a basketball is their forte, hang a basketball hoop above a dirty clothes basket to make a “slam-dunk” for cleaning their room.
  • If baseball is their passion, hang pennants over the headboard or multiple pennants as a border around the room.  Use a peg board to hang their favorite baseball hats on.  To display baseballs, use clear cubes and a baseball bat on a shelf.
  • If your child seems to live in the water and loved watching the Olympics, line up several kick boards and use them as a headboard.  These kick boards can also be used as bulletin boards. You can also add their medals to a drapery rod either at the end of the panels or hang between panels as if it was a valance.  Don’t forget to hang up goggles too!
  • If they love to sail, try hanging an old sail from the ceiling over a bed as a canopy. It’s a dramatic statement!
  •  If canoeing or kayaking is their sport, paint oars in their favorite colors and hand them on the wall. You can also add hooks on them to hang medals.
  • If they are a surfer; a surf board makes a wonderful piece of artwork! Palm Beach™ Polysatin Shutters can also help bring the beach feel into the beadroom.
  • For multi-sport loving children, hang a shelf over a window to hold trophies (this especially looks great over a wood blind).  You could also stitch favorite sports t-shirts or sweatshirts together to create a soft blanket or a pillow sham. To create a sweatshirt sized pillow, close off all openings to a sweatshirt and stuff it! These are wonderful to hug and will become a true keepsake.

Vignette® Tiered™ Modern Roman Shades with LiteRise® cordless operation

Whatever your child’s sports theme, make sure your window covering is child safe.  Here are a couple of suggestions available on multiple Hunter Douglas products:

– The Hunter Douglas UltraGlide® operating system has a single retractable cord, which means there are never any long, dangling cords.

– The LiteRise® cordless system takes safety to a new level; simple push up your window coverings to raise them and pull down to lower; no cords means no chance of your child getting tangled.

For a few dollars more you will have some peace of mind.  Aren’t your children worth it?!  If your Hunter Douglas dealer doesn’t suggest it, make sure you ask them about child safety!  Too many children get hurt or die from double cords.  You can make a difference one window at a time!

The Fabrics of the Season

I love everything about summer and also love just about anything that reminds me of warm days, summer fun, and my favorite time of the year.  I just cleaned out my closet and put my wool and heavy clothes in my storage closets and exchanged them with my light cottons and linens. I am not alone, just look at any fashion magazine and find apparel for men and women in these seasonal fabrics now being featured.  I love these natural look fabrics, not only to wear them, but also to live with.

Luminette® Privacy Sheers and Vignette® Modern Roman Shades in Linen

Natural fabrics can be used year round in the home.  Love linen?  Get the look of linen in upholstery, drapery, wallpaper, and window coverings; try the new linen texture from our Vignette® Modern Roman Shades, Duette® Honeycomb Shades, and Luminette® Privacy Sheers.  You get the look of linen without the wrinkling of real linen. :-)

I also love seersucker. I have a favorite seersucker suit that is crisp and fresh and is a timeless classic.  The great thing about seersucker, like linen, you can wear it or live with it. This pattern looks great in bedding, drapery, upholstery, and window coverings and, unlike my suit, seersucker home goods are season-less!

Read all about it! Fashion to Home Décor

I sit on an airplane for hours and hours each week; luckily I love to read.  Sometimes I read magazines on design or fashion and sometimes the latest spy thriller, whatever fills in the time!  I am always looking for interesting design or the latest fashion trends in the publications I purchase.

I recently bought a fashion magazine which entertained me for hours with over the top fashion from the latest catwalks.  Both the editorial articles and advertisements in the magazine were unbelievable. The colors were scrumptious in hues of coral, tangerine, fuchsia, and the best seller- black.  Surprisingly, these colors are also popular for the home.

We in the design industry always follow fashion, knowing that many times if we are comfortable wearing a color, we will be comfortable living with that color in our home. Many times we just use these trendy colors in accessories, but they can be lovely paint colors too.  Many consumers are more comfortable with more neutral colors for the major purchases and choose to use these more saturated colors in pillows, floral arrangements and accessories.  That’s fine! White and off-white window coverings are still the best sellers, just don’t forget to add some additional color to your room!

What color should you add?  It doesn’t matter if its trendy, classic, or fun- that is up to you!  The point is to make sure you are comfortable with it. You might even browse the fashion magazines to see what colors might inspire you and what you might want to try adding next…

Pare Down

For some people less is more. After my recent move I have realized that I am not one of them.  I like my “stuff;” the mementos from my travels, odd ball trinkets, books, or my collections of silver serving pieces and crystal stemware.  For me, “stuff” is some of the things I love, for others it’s clutter. Still, as I unpack boxes I have to ask myself those big questions “do I love it, do I need it, when was the last time I used it and where is it going?” If I can’t remember when I last used it, I probably don’t need it; it can go to a garage sale, consignment shop, or a charity.  If I want to keep it, I have to ask myself, “does it have a home and is it something I want to artfully display?”

Spring cleaning is a good time to reuse, rethink, or repurpose things.  Pare down, if you must, or just redo a grouping or two. Paring down can be useful with your “stuff” and also with the design of your room. Paring down the furniture in your room might be useful…  Can you walk through easily? What doesn’t need to be there and what pieces might hinder a good flow.  Safety is also a consideration here.

Hunter Douglas Skyline® Gliding Window Panels and Designer Roller Shades

It is easy to pare down at the window too.  First think of the function of the window and how much privacy you need, then think about a window covering that gives you both.  Think about a single layer treatment.  No need to add a valance or side drapery;  If the look you are going for is clean, simple, and pared down, try Hunter Douglas Skyline® Gliding Window Panels, or Designer Roller Shades.

Do you need to organize, display, or pare down? Now is the time to start; you will feel so much better once it’s done!

What’s Your Style?

I am always being asked, what is your style?  That is easy for me to answer because I understand what to look at in order to define what we are-  it has to do with how we dress, your hairstyle, our furniture choices, even what kind of car we drive- let’s look at three styles and see what style you fit into.

The first is classic.  Classic wardrobes are made up of blues, blacks, grays, and browns. Classic styled-people like tailored pieces- for furniture it might be traditional or soft contemporary. The classic color palette would be neutrals with punches of color in accessories. If you are classic, your furniture might be multipurpose like a beautiful bow front chest-  It could be in the bedroom as a nightstand, or in the dining room for linens and silver, or in the foyer for hats, scarves, and gloves.  Your hairstyle might be a short tailored pixie or an ever popular bob style or long and sleek.  For window coverings, classics love the tailored look of the Hunter Douglas Silhouette® or Pirouette® window shadings. Perhaps even Shutter’s!  Style and purpose are important to you.

Are you a romantic?  If you are, you might love antique’s, especially ones that tell a story. Shapes and colors might be soft and layered; the bed couldn’t have enough pillows on it. If you are a romantic, your rooms might display collections. Your hairstyle is long with soft curls (or you wish it were), you can wear that long scarf or a ruffled shirt in such a “fashionista” way.  Your window covering wouldn’t be complete without a drapery or valance.  Silhouette® window shadings, Duette® honeycomb shades, and Vignette® Modern Roman Shades would look great- with a top treatment or side panels for softness.

Alustra Vignette Tailored Hunter Douglas

Alustra® Vignette® Tailored™ Modern Roman Shades with PowerRise®

The third style is the free-spirited style. Your style in clothing is what suits your mood at the time.  You look for pieces that command attention in color, texture, and style.  Your hairstyle, too, is your own; not following any trend but setting them.  Your eclectic style shows through in your furniture. Your pieces might not be of the same style, but you have the style that pulls it all together- it might be some pillows, a unique rug, or wonderful art work that sets the tone in your room. At the window you might love the simplistic look of Skyline® Gliding Window Panels to grace your window or a Designer Screen Shade in a great texture.  Or maybe you are at the other end of the spectrum with a layered look.  Either way, your style is unique to only you.

Going back to my original question, what style am I?  I am definitely classic, but I can appreciate any and all styles!

What style are you, a classic, romantic, or a free spirit or possibly a mix of two styles?  Either way, make it your own!

Never a Dull Moment… My Townhouse Update

As I mentioned previously, I recently bought a townhouse. I finally started to move into a new house right around the New Year this January. My house, like many new houses, required a little personalization and work previous to move in day. I had the house painted in some great colors, trending this season, and had to order a shower door for the master bath and have it installed (the master bath had a beautiful tiled double shower, but no door!).

Move-in day came and we worked hard. Tom and Jen (my son-in-law and daughter) helped me with the move. Finally, at 11:30pm we were done and I needed a shower!  I was excited to take my first shower in the beautiful master shower, complete with the new door. I got the water to the perfect temperature and started to shampoo my hair when I hear footsteps running up the stairway. Whoever it was were running fast!  Then I heard Jen yell “MOM TURN OFF THE SHOWER, IT IS LEAKING DOWNSTAIRS!!!”

Unbeknownst to me the shower hadn’t been caulked or graded properly; it was leaking down into the basement bedroom where Tom and Jen were sleeping! A fast moving Tom shoved the mattress aside and put buckets down to contain the leaks, preventing a bigger disaster.

After the leak and clean-up, the shower had to be redone. The floor and walls of my beautiful shower had to be torn out! Since then, I have ordered some tiles that I can’t wait to get installed; I am hopeful the shower will be even more beautiful than it originally was.

In the end, no one was hurt and we all had a good laugh out of this one. Jokes about the “water bed” ensued. I know projects or moves don’t always go smooth and things happen! I prefer to meet them with humor! Life will go on…

Stay tuned for more townhouse fun and remodeling projects in the future!

Sheer Magic

In January, as mentioned in my last post, I attend two major shows in Europe: Heimtextil in Frankfurt, Germany and Maison & Object in Paris, France. After having time to reflect on the shows, I have another trend I would like to share with you…

Pirouette® Window Shading

While at these shows I noticed, what I will call, the transparence or “sheer” trend.  This trend was relevant in not only fabrics for the home but also in the fashion world!

I saw beautiful sheers for the window- like the Hunter Douglas products: Silhouette®, Pirouette®, and Luminette® Privacy Sheers- fashioned from beautiful transparent sheer fabrics.  I love this look!  It teases you with what might be behind it and, when you think about it, these products have a plus to them:  not only do they give you this beautiful sheer look, but they can also give you privacy!  I personally love how the light radiates through a Pirouette Window Shade, it throws beautiful light and shadow into a room.

As far as fashion goes, European companies like Prada and Dior have shown spring clothing lines featuring sheer fabrics, adding pieces and details like a sheer skirts with liners or just simple add-on sheer hemlines. Louis Vuitton has a new handbag that, yes, you guessed it, is transparent with their logo on it (I’m not sure I want everyone to see what is in my handbag, it’s not pretty, but it would make my trips through security easier!). I also expect to see blouses- and other products- that are also transparent; sheers in housewares also seems to be on the rise.

I am now seeing housewares, like plastic glasses and dishware, and other products that are also transparent, but not crystal-clear make their way into retail stores. There are beautiful colored transparent items now on the shelves. I was surprised to see lighting with transparent lamp shades that show off the bare light bulb, providing more light in a room.

I do have to say I love this trend! It’s sheer magic!

Is it Spring Yet?

Maison d'Objet, Paris

Maison d'Objet, Paris

Spring can’t come fast enough for me! I am looking forward to it and the new design trends it brings with it. I have kept my eyes open for color trends in the gardening catalogs I receive almost every day (I love gardening and can’t wait to make my new house “me” with all my gardening ideas) and have taken trend cues from the home furnishings and textile shows I had the opportunity to see: Heimtextil (Frankfurt, Germany) and Maison d’Objet (Paris, France). After seeing all the new ideas and products soon-to-be-released, I have decided that this Spring, real color is on the way!

Some of the color combinations I have seen include bright, bold punches of lime and granny smith apple green. I have also seen the mixture of fuchsia and orange. Both make wonderful color combinations. I have seen them in apparel fashion and in the home. Another exciting trend I have seen is cobalt blue and sunny yellow, both statement colors, mixed together they create excitement!

In addition to these colors, I think we will still see last year’s neutral color greige (a mix of taupe and gray), blacks, browns, as well as true gray tints. These neutral colors can be mixed with some bold statement colors for an exciting new look for today. I use the bold color in home accessories and items you can mix in and out easily; when you are tired of these heavily saturated colors you can easily remove them and change your color palette instantaneously! Look to use these colors in pillows, bed sheets, artwork, and dishes as well as any decorative item.

Heimtextil, Frankfurt

Heimtextil, Frankfurt

Look for these colors in fashion too. I was drawn into the Jimmy Choo store in Paris- here were high-heel peep toe pumps in those bright, saturated, Spring colors of lemon yellow, tangerine, and cobalt- just to name a few. Just like those shoes would kick up your favorite black dress or even a pair of jeans, those colors will also add pizzazz in your home!

Seeing all this color, in home and fashion, leads me to one question: is it Spring yet?!?!

Technicolor Jeans

As I read the fashion magazines, I see a new trend in jeans. You can’t call them “blue jeans” anymore because they are now available in every color of the spectrum. There is fuchsia, canary, bright red, violet, cobalt, turquoise, and chartreuse green. They say the blue jeans are “old standbys;” they are comfortable and expected, but are not fashion forward. As one article said: if you don’t own at least one pair of colored jeans you are in a fashion slump! I like some of the new colored jeans and I do have to admit they catch my eye.

Blue and colored jeans make me think about window coverings: what is our blue jeans? I relate blue jeans to white or cream window coverings. They are our best sellers because they are neutral, can be casual or elegant, and can look fresh and exciting. But, like the new colored jeans there are new fashionable colors and some super prints that might catch your eye at the window too! Could your room need some pizzazz, fun, or maybe some drama? Then check out the colors and prints available in many of our Hunter Douglas Window Fashions products; it might be just the new look you have been wanting.

As for me I am off to try on some of the technicolor jeans!