Window Treatments- A Worthy Splurge!

Some windows are commanding enough to stand alone, but most need window treatments for privacy, light diffusion, and the added softness it lends to the interior.

Costs are often a concern and rightly so, as window treatments, like most home improvements run the gamut!  For a 36” wide window you can look to a $200-$600 range, for more custom treatments $600-$1,200.  With windows larger than 36” wide and customized to make a statement, you can estimate between $1,200-$3,000 per window!  Still, in most cases, window treatments are a worthy splurge!

It can be exhausting trying to choose from an endless array of materials, fabrics, and styles.  It can also be confusing trying to envision treatment for small, tall or oddly shaped windows.  Here are the broad strokes of one of the most intimidating interior design subjects.

First step when determining the design, is to consider how the windows need to function.  Does the room have ample light?  Does it need air?  Will the window be opened?  Is there a nice view?  Is outside noise a problem?  What direction does it face?  If South & West- do you need to reduce heat gain & glare, if North & East- do you need to reduce heat loss?  Do you need complete privacy or darkness?

After you’ve answered the basic questions measure the windows or have a professional window installer measure for you.  Fabric gets expensive so you want to make sure you order the absolute least amount you need to achieve the desired fullness effect.  After this all-important step you can move on to the fun stuff.

Drapery/Curtains

If you have taller and larger doors and windows, drapery is often the best solution.  You can decide whether to treat a bank of windows as a single entity or to individually treat them.

(Does anyone else immediately picture the resplendent drapery of the Oval Office when thinking about window treatments?  Here, as to not be controversial, is a photo of Claire Underwood’s Oval Office, plus it’s the prettiest in my humble opinion.)

(Image: Modsy)

Hardware

Where possible drapery hardware should extend 4”-8” beyond the window casing.  The wider the window treatment the larger the window will appear and the more impact the window treatments will have.

Similarly consider mounting the hardware as high as possible, especially in a low ceiling room and when you have smaller windows, to create maximum impact.

Traversing versus Stationery- this is fairly obvious- traversing moves, stationery stays put.

If you choose traversing and have especially large rods with many rings and brackets, it’s a good idea to invest in actual traversing hardware.  The carriers are built-into the drapery hardware, and it tends to be less clunky on the window.  If it’s a standard size window regular rings and brackets work well.

Height & Width

For the fabric width it’s best to estimate about 1.5 – 2x’s the width of the window for the right fabric fullness. Quantity needed will depend on the pleat style as well as the return (back to the wall).

Floor Length refers to kissing the floor (1/2” of fabric on floor), and this works well particularly for traversing drapes.  (It’s a nice middle ground between “geeky flood pants,” and dust mop.)  Trouser Break is about 1”-2” on the floor, and that works well for stationery drapes.  Puddle Length is not quite as popular, 6”-12” resting on the floor, but adds lots of drama to living and dining rooms.

 

Fabric

The best fabrics to choose for drapery are cotton, linen and occasionally synthetics.  Silk works in a North facing window but must be lined.  Wool works as well but should also avoid Southern exposure.  Most fabrics are generally okay to use for window treatments, but you’ll almost always want to get the fabric lined to protect the material from solar rays, dirt and condensation.  This also adds insulation.  Blackout liners are great for nurseries and bedrooms.  If diffusing light or letting the breeze blow is a priority you can skip the lining. 

Shades

Shades tend to cost less than drapery, and there are tons of great options to suit most styles.  From simple roller or solar shades, to honeycomb shades, to beautiful wovens and Roman shades, these options work best to create simple, modern luxury.  Woven natural materials add a lot of warmth to the room.  Roman shades add a tailored look and you have limitless options in terms of fabric pattern.

Inside or Outside Mounts

Inside is the cleanest look and it allows moldings to show.  If you want to hide ugly or non-existing molding outside mount is the best route.  This also serves to make the window appear larger and grants the most privacy.

If you’re going to really splurge on window treatments it seems the best place to plunk down is a formal dining room, living room or a bedroom.  If you want to add drama to the space, soften the room and invite celebration, this all can be accomplished by adding drapery.  To keep it tidy, and more modern, shades are the way to go.

There is loads to think about when it comes to window treatments.  We’ve only scratched the surface here (haven’t even gotten into gussying up with passementerie, cords, tassels gimps and fringes!) but perhaps you now have a bit more confidence to start really considering that pretty valance or café curtain over the kitchen sink or adding some dramatic drapery to your bedroom.

Take our breakfast nook- the windows and trim are attractive enough but when the blinding mid-afternoon Southern sun comes blasting through it is just begging for some slouchy Roman shades!

Window Treatments need not be an intimidating endeavor, call me to set up a consultation and we can get into the nitty gritty!

 

 

Interim Decorating

Rushing to renovate often leads to taking generic “builder basic” recommendations from general contractors.  It may work, but is it what you really want?  While being all moved into a newly renovated house feels great, hasty decisions made during construction mean things will get overlooked, mistakes will be made, and the outcome may not be ideal.

Often times it is invaluable to live in your new home for a while before you renovate, even if you absolutely hate it and are desperate to “fix-er upper!”  Assuming you don’t have concrete ideas going in, give yourself plenty of time to ease into the space and see how you (…your family and your pets) live there.

Converting an as-is home into a dream home is complicated business.  While you may be quite clear on the major updates- like completely renovating the master bathroom, the minor things like where you want an extra bath robe hook may reveal themselves in time, or perhaps you’ll find you love eating outdoors in summer and realize you would love easier access from the kitchen to the BBQ.  Not every design decision is obvious upon move-in.

In the meantime, load up a Pinterest board with inspiration, then seek design assistance if compiling those ideas into a concrete plan seems overwhelming.

Inspiration Page

In fact, hiring a designer is always helpful for speeding up the design & decorating process as we are here to guide you in crafting your vision, and navigating you through the limitless number of possibilities.

During this interim period, don’t spend too much on anything you’re not certain will survive the renovation, but also don’t starve yourselves of what would make your space work, perhaps swap out old faucets and fixtures with new ones you love, or buy some new patio furniture and outdoor lighting.

Don’t neglect the easy magic of fresh paint, a good deep clean, and an uncluttered house!  Settle into your home with your things but don’t necessarily unpack every single item.  Determine what you need, what is useful, and what is beautiful…and then determine what exactly you want!

Interim decorating is for renters too.  Certainly, you’ll want to limit investing in other people’s investment, but don’t deny yourself a pleasant home!  Maximize the fun updates that you can take with you when you go; layer large area rugs over ugly floors, perhaps swap out dated lighting fixtures or hardware (hang on to the old ones to them swap back upon move-out), or if the architectural elements aren’t very interesting paint them to make them more special.  Consider painting the trim and doors a vibrant fun color.  Another dramatic short-term option is temporary wall-coverings like this beauty from Tempaper Designs.

Whatever your housing situation is, you’re always safe if you follow the Golden Rule-

 

 

 

Summer Clothes For Your Home

Your home wants summer clothes too! Just because you don’t necessarily own waterfront property or a summer cottage, doesn’t mean you can’t brighten up your home and dwell in the coming long summer days.  Here are some simple summer spruce ups for less than you spend on Christmas decor.

Fold and stow away the heavy stuff just as you would stow your sweaters for winter.

  • Swap out bedding & blankets– think lightweight cotton throw not luxe faux fur blanket.
  • Roll up the heavy rugs for summer. Choose natural fiber rugs like sisal or jute, or just go bare!
  • Similarly, for window treatments, consider swapping out heavy drapery for natural woven shades or simple sheers. Let there be light!
  • A white slip-cover for the sofa may sound like a splurge, but depending on what you choose these can run less than $100.

Rattan chairs have become immensely popular year round and now come in all sorts of fabulous shapes and sizes.  They work well both indoors and out.  This high back patio chair is darling!

Crank open the weather loving umbrellas!  Indestructible Sunbrella fabric now comes in plenty of summery options like mint, blueberry and pink lemonade.  Coordinate it with piped outdoor pillows. Sunbrella resists fading and mildew so you can enjoy for many summers to come.

Another option synonymous with good weather is the classic yellow & white stripe fabric; besides canopies, it’s lovely on throw pillows and seat cushions.

Bring some greenery inside by putting a flower box of lavender in the window and filling a vase with fragrant white summer lilies.

String a few strands of weatherproof bistro lights for inviting alfresco dining!

No picnic table is complete without gingham– the ultimate summer fabric!

Or re-dress an entire table for less than a tank of gas with these Opalhouse beauties from Target (they really are ingenious at luring us in for the impulse buy, aren’t they!?!)

Put a fresh batch of lemonade (or margaritas) in a beautiful pitcher to liven up your table.  Also when dressing the table, never forget your classic unscented white candles- loads of them!

Need a fresh coat of paint? These cool summertime favorites are always in season- Benjamin Moore- Glass Slipper or Sherwin Williams- Sea Salt.

Give in to your patriotic side and show off some Americana, because no one does summer better than the good old USA!

 

Tips for Maximizing Sale Price (or Simply Tarting Up)

If you close your eyes and imagine walking through a model home, you’re probably envisioning a whistle clean, attractively furnished and thoughtfully accessorized house. Now look around your own home. Hopefully, it is pleasantly tidy yet thoroughly loved and lived in. Perhaps it is packed to the gills and could use some Ajax. Whatever the condition, there is likely room for improvement! Every homeowner wants to impress buyers, garner the best offers and reap top dollar from their sale but most don’t necessarily want to hire an expensive staging company, rent furniture and evacuate their belongings. You can achieve much of that staged and perfect look, while still living comfortably “on set.” Here are a few tips that anyone can employ.

DE-CLUTTER

Unless you are a pro at spartan living this is one of the most important steps. Besides creating the illusion of more square footage, “clearing the decks” (including the closets, pantry & garage) creates more highly desirable storage space. If your stuff is piled up in corners or spilling out of closet doors it signals to the buyer that there is not ample storage in the home.

I highly suggest employing the KonMari method. Spend an evening binge-watching Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up on Netflix and get to it! Summarily, her method spells out the following:

Organize your belongings by category – 1.) Clothes 2.) Books* 3.) Papers 4.) Komono (miscellaneous stuff) 5.) Sentimental**

Remove all items that don’t “Spark Joy.” First, remember to thank them for their service, literally say, “Goodbye,” and donate them (or trash).

Quick KonMari guide here- https://www.livible.com/blog/ultimate-konmari-guide/

*I don’t necessarily agree with the mass purging of “Books” and I personally horde many in the attic a.) because I love them and b.) they’re great on bookshelves (!) and table-top vignettes.

**“Sentimental” may overwhelm you if you’re already in an emotional state about selling a home, so perhaps save this step and store these items until after the move.

REMOVE

Consider storing all religious relics, personal photographs, kid’s artwork and bric a brac. People want to picture themselves in your home and your stuff is a distraction (in addition to making your home seem smaller). Once you have reduced the overall volume of items, your home will appear more airy and more spacious. The focus will return to the great flow and away from the personal possessions inside the home.

CLEAN

Now for the most obvious piece of advice – clean clean clean!!! Spend a weekend deep cleaning (or better yet hire professional cleaners to do it in a matter of hours) and clean every square inch of your home, including the windows, the garage, and the inside of the cabinets (people will open them).

PAINT

Re-paint your home if necessary. There’s more mass appeal in a pleasant neutral color throughout then a specific room by room color scheme.

Check out these winners!

Benjamin Moore- Balboa Mist, Gray Wisp, Revere Pewter

Behr- Vintage Linen, Perfect Taupe, Seagull Grey, Shoreline

Sherwin Williams- Eider White, Agreeable Grey & Alabaster

Always paint a swatch on your walls!  The internet photo, paint chip and wall sample often look vastly different in your space’s unique light.

FIX-IT!

DIY or HIRE- oil the door and window hinges, fix loose handles and knobs, re-grout the tub, remove that dated wallpaper border, consider replacing old fashioned looking light fixtures or extremely old faucets.

FLOORING

Consider replacing extremely worn carpeting. Often buyers prefer to choose their own new flooring, so you can potentially save here by starting with a deep clean and seeing if that doesn’t alleviate the eyesore.

ENTRY

Welcome to your house! Make sure all the plants are alive and thriving, cut the grass, pull the weeds! Shine (and repaint if necessary) the front door then crown it with a wreath! Place a fragrant bouquet in the entryway to set a lovely tone.

Pamela Day Designs - Interior Designer - Foyer

STYLE IT!

Well placed accessories can work magic. A few smartly arranged vignettes might help sell your home!

LET THERE BE LIGHT!

Lighting is inviting! Darkened rooms not so much.

DON’T FORGET!

BAD SMELLS- Do your absolute best to reduce odors. Our strongest sense tied to memory is smell, so make sure when people walk through the door they are not assaulted by the unpleasant odor of pets, smoking or cooking. Never cook curry, garlic or onions the night before showing your home. Think about taking Fido out for a walk during showings.

GOOD SMELLS– Realtors are always enticing buyers with warmly baked cookies fresh from the oven because it conjures a nostalgia for home. Some other universally good smells include lime, cinnamon, orange, peppermint, and of course- nothing!

FLOWERS– Add them! Super easy and so important. Don’t go crazy arrangement-wise, but don’t be shy with placement!

FENG SHUI– Put away the knife block (it’s bad Feng Shui) and hide the Kleenex box (because no one wants to see it).

CLEAN AGAIN!- Keep it up through the whole process.

These few ideas alone can magically transform a home for a quick and profitable sale.

Need more help? Hire an interior “re”designer by the hour. We can make suggestions for furniture placement to maximize flow and impact, and help you create a cohesive design statement using only your existing furniture and accessories. Table top vignettes are my specialty!

Practical Feng Shui

Did you know we spend about 90% of our time indoors?  Thus, it is critical to our health and happiness that we live in interiors that make us feel good!  Feng Shui is not just about Eastern superstitions or well-placed totems, but rather making your home flow and feel comfortable. Here are a Four Basic Feng Shui Principles & some Quick Tips (in no particular order) for creating an optimal home environment that we can all understand and apply immediately.

Feng Shui Principle #1 – Incorporate Plants  Humans relax and feel nurtured when surrounded by images & materials from nature.  In this man-made world we inhabit we still long for the natural world.  The solution is to incorporate plants.  Hearty houseplants are great, but even good silk plants have come a long way.  My personal favorite solution is bringing in fresh flowers.  They need not cost a fortune; I generally pick up a few stems at Trader Joe’s as part of my weekly grocery haul and place them in a small vase next to my bed, on the kitchen table, the island, and in the entryway to instantly spruce up the home.

  • Healthy plants and flowers uplift spirits, and specific plants will even help purify the air, e.g. bamboo, snake plants, spider plants, Gerber daisies and orchids.  Incorporating natural images in art & accessories also helps to lower the antenna.

 

  • Feng Shui Principle #2- Watch your back!  With our back protected we feel an increased sense of security and relaxation. Imagine entering a restaurant in front of your friend and being led to the seating banquet.  Which seat do you choose- the booth side facing the action, or the individual seat facing the wall with your back to the crowded restaurant?  Most will choose the booth seat, this is known as the “command position,” and when you have your back “protected” you will generally want to stay longer than the other person who can’t necessarily discern why, but isn’t quite as comfortable.
    •  In your own home try to organize seating to maximize the number of people that have a view out and a protected back.  High back chairs work well.
    • Also try to avoid placing beds under windows and arrange them to face the door but not be in line with the door.  Solid headboards (wood and upholstered) feel best, and also work wonderfully to add a feeling of security.

 

  • Feng Shui Principle #3  Don’t point!  It’s rude in almost all cultures.  We put our guard up when things are pointed at us.
    • While I personally love crisp clean moldings, walls & trim, I do attempt to minimize sharp pointy objects by opting for furniture with rounded lines rather than sharp angles, circular tables (where it makes sense), framing windows with soft drapes, stowing the knife block away, and avoiding spiky plants (choose succulents that don’t have a lot of spikes) particularly in the front of your home.
    • Straight lines do not exist in nature, organic shapes are for more interesting and they add a sense of adventure.  If a new landscaping project is in your future remember to integrate meandering curves.

 

  • Feng Shui Principle #4 – Create a balance between extremes.  This is the basic Yin/Yang Theory.  Feng Shui helps to make things feel “Just Right.”  And create balance in one’s life and one’s space.
    • Whenever you use the word “too” to describe a space you need to do the opposite word to fix it.  For example, the living room is described “too dark,” “too dated,” “too cluttered,” and “too small,” so make it feel lighter, updated, organized, and bigger by adding windows, removing the brick around the fireplace, using white to bring in light, updating with more contemporary furnishings, etc.

Quick Feng Shui Tips for your Home

Wayfinding– Make sure your house number is visible!  You want people to arrive calm, happy, relaxed and feel cared for, not stressed out.  You cannot over-give directions.  If people can’t find your house emergency services won’t know where your house is either.  Make sure people can see where they’re going (if that’s the goal).

Full Spectrum Lighting Our bodies are engineered to respond to nature.  Our endocrine system utilizes sunlight to produce melatonin (sleep), serotonin (mood), and all of these hormones are hardwired to thrive in sunlight.  Under full spectrum light we get an accurate depiction of light and  color.  Full Spectrum comes in LED, energy efficient bulbs.  Important- Never put on make-up without a full spectrum light source!

Artwork Art should always portray something positive, as the subliminal message can be very powerful.  Artwork can be used as a visual affirmation for what a person wants to achieve in their life, thus images of pairs, are better than images of singles.  Artwork shouldn’t have too many sharp angles or points.  Art for walls should always fit the size of the wall on which it is to be placed (not too big or too small, scale-wise) and should be hung so that the center of the piece is at eye level for an average height adult (roughly 60” to center).

 

Kid-Free Zones- It has been said that couples don’t get along as well when the kid’s stuff takes over the house because symbolically complete power in the house has gone to the children.  One of the biggest mistakes is giving the main room of the house over to the children.  Kids can always bring the toys out and play with them, but they shouldn’t reside there.  Make it easy for your child to clean up with reachable storage.  Children need boundaries.

Healthy Home- Remember this simple fact- nothing smells better than nothing!  A home can’t have good Feng Shui if the house isn’t healthy.  Reduce artificial scents from air fresheners & candles.  Many of these plug-ins and candles contain toxic phthalates which are linked to cancers and reproductive issues.  When you breathe it goes into your lungs and your bloodstream = not healthy!

Hopefully, I’ve helped simplify Feng Shui.  It can be useful to all if you just consider the basic human responses we have to shelter and always remember “Ugly Bad, Pretty Good” because it takes just as much money to make an ugly home as it does to make a pretty one!

  • For a lot more information on the subject I refer you to, “Feng Shui That Makes Sense,” by Cathleen McCandless.  This book covers everything you’d ever want to know about Feng Shui including the Five Elements of Feng Shui – how to energize and balance rooms with introduction of color and specific elements (Water, Wood, Fire, Earth & Metal) as related to the location of the home.  Feng Shui can get really complicated but this book breaks it down nicely in terms we can all understand.

You’ll have a lovely home

Years ago on a yoga trip around India I had a palm reader point out a square on my hand.  He said it meant I would have a lovely home and travel extensively (he was sure he couldn’t be 100% wrong as I was a few miles from home already).  The “lovely home” part I locked away in my mind.  I had a great apartment and career already but it never quite felt like home. Years later- one new career , one new husband, and two gremlins, we bought the worst house on the best block and all but knocked it down and began anew.  We didn’t add a ton of space (just an additional 500 s.f.) but provided a desperately needed updated, created a good flow, added ample storage and imparted a serene vibe.  It’s not palatial, but it is perfect for us, and most importantly all of the inhabitants are happy.   Front of House 4
Before Front of HouseLong View Kitchen

Before Kitchen One

Fireplace Me and the kids