Feb 29, 2008

A Crash Course in Window Treatments

Material Girls are very passionate about our window treatments! We believe every window should be "addressed." Whether you decide that it is beautiful with or without curtains, it should be a well thought out decision based on the integrity of the room.

But where to start?? A house full of blank windows is certainly overwhelming and cha-ching expensive. I do wish I could grab every newlywed couple buying their first house before they pay money for white "wood" blinds just to get their windows covered and say, "WAIT, you DO have other options!"

Pre-made curtains are available anywhere, from big box retailers to home furnishing chains and can be priced from $9.99-$399+/ panel. Custom window treatments jump more in price due to purchasing fabric by the yard as well as the labor for design and the workroom that actually makes them. However, this investment can be well worth it.

A favorite option from retail giants...bamboo/woven blinds. Very chic and very affordable.
Kona Roman Shade from Target $21.99 - $59.99

Bamboo Roman Shade from Target ranges in price from $25.99 - $69.99.

{photo credit: Tria Giovan} {design: Suzanne Kasler}

If your window is not a "standard size" custom sizes may be available, I know you can special order through Lowe's.

With so many panel options out there, how do you know what size? We believe that you should hang the curtains as close as you can to the ceiling. We normally bring the rod down from the ceiling a couple of inches to clear the crown moulding and allow adequate space for the brackets and finials. Buyer Beware: check the height of the window treatment panel. If you have a 9' ceiling, 84" high panels will be too short. For example, this linen curtain with rings is only $29.99 BUT it is only 84" high by 44" wide.

This brings me to another integral aspect of window treatments...FULLNESS. This is what creates the drama. A 44" wide panel on a 6' wide window is simply too skimpy. A designer can help you determine to proper fullness for you window, usually 2.5 to 3 times the width of the window. If you are working with a large window and using ready made panels, Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware offer "double width panels." If a double width panel is not available, I would use two panels per side.

Peyton linen drape from Pottery Barn is available in a "double width" which is really what we recommend. { photo credit: Tia Giovan}

A favorite photo of ours that shows a combination of bamboo shades and full curtain panels.

{photo credit: Jeff McNamara} {design: Jan Showers}

Great "designer" trick that is elegant and chic: match your curtain panel with the wall color. This makes for a beautiful backdrop that allows other elements in the room to the focal point.

{photo: William Waldron} {design: Ann Holden}

"Ballgown Curtains" are a favorite of Material Girls!

Roman shades have classic simplicity with modern sensibility! They range is style and function but are always in good taste.

Tory Burch's sons' room with great Greek-Key detailing on the shades and slipcovers...eek I don't remember where I got this picture!

{photo credit: Jean Allsopp}

Shades with a twist, love the graphic punch!

{photo: Van Chaplin}

Fringe, banding, decorative tape, grosgrain ribbon, pleating, etc. can be used to give dressmaker detailing to an otherwise plain curtain panel.

When in doubt, or for complicated windows call a professional! Custom window treatments are well worth the investment and can often be a very strong selling point for a potential buyer. Don't ignore those windows, but take your time and get it right! It makes all the difference in the world.

Kim Parker Home

I did a post on the fabulous Kim Parker not too long ago and since I adore her art work and home decor so much, I try to keep up with her and all her new products. I wanted to share the most recent exciting news- Kim's new book, Kim Parker Home, will be hitting the shelves in May!

I know what you are thinking- that's too long to wait to see the gorgeous photos of some of her newest products- but the good news is that Amazon is taking pre-orders for the book now- click here to reserve your copy today: Kim Parker Home (and get an extra 5% off!)

I had a chance to sit down and chat with Kim- someone whose work I have admired for a long time now- it was truly a joy to hear her life story and get to know the woman behind all those beautiful paintings. Her story is such an interesting one and I know you will be captivated by Kim also and how her creativity, hard work, and persistance is what made her into such an internationally well known and successful artist today.
Tell us a little bit about your background growing up. Were you always so creative and interested in art? When did you know painting was your calling?

KP: Ever since I was very little it was easy for me to spend hours immersed in drawing. I loved to draw flowers and butterflies and birds in vivid colors.
My parents were both gifted classical musicians as well as artists. By the time I was eight years old I joined the family quartet with the flute, and for many years, pursued a serious early career as a classical flutist. I spent memorable summers playing in an orchestra in residence at Tanglewood, and graduated from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music with a degree in Flute Performance. My musical life was extremely rich. However, during the years I pursued a career in music, I always kept a small box of gouache paints and brushes with me wherever I went, filling books with literally hundreds of small floral and geometric patterns.

It wasn’t until I was in my mid twenties that I realized painting was perhaps my true calling. A family friend who had seen the book of textiles I had created over the years, pointed me in the direction of the fashion industry where she felt I should try and sell my designs. I had no idea there was such an industry. I never imagined I could make a living doing what I loved so much. The very first job I held was working with a freelance design studio that sold my textile designs to various fashion companies. In the years that followed, I held numerous full time positions painting in studios throughout the fashion industry.

All of your art is so vibrant, energetic, and leans more towards the feminine side. Have you ever painted in a different style or have the bright colored flowers and bold geometric patterns always been your signature style?

KP: Painting flowers and bold geometrics in rich color has always been a source of healing for me. I have never been drawn to quiet, minimalist palettes. They kind of put me to sleep. I understand why people opt for them in their homes, but they don’t excite me. Succulent color makes me feel alive and it fills me with good energy.

I grew up looking at art books with my mother, and was drawn to painters like Matisse, Bonnard, Vuillard, Nolde. Their rich color palettes and ability to combine pattern really inspired me. In my teens I used to hide away in my bedroom for hours (instead of doing homework) and paint dozens of bookmarks on white cardboard strips in very dense patterns at my desk. Most of these designs were floral, with a few geometrics and stripes sprinkled in. This has become a major part of my design aesthetic –to layer patterns in rich hues.

I do however also paint non-objective works on canvas, which I call “Color Essays”. I enjoy working in abstraction, and sometimes feel a need to move away from “form”, from representation. A few of these paintings are featured in my new design book. It’s a space where I am face to face with my love for color and color only.

What made you decide to go into designing home decor for Kim Parker Home?

KP: During the years I sold my original hand painted textile designs to the fashion industry on my own, selling them to the top design houses such as DVF, Anna Sui, Donna Karan, Jill Stuart, Calvin Klein etc. I also sold my work to Garnet Hill and Pottery Barn, Anthropologie and Crate and Barrel.

After a few years of seeing the success these interior design companies were having with my prints, I started thinking about the home interior design world. I remember Jill Stuart once telling me in a print appointment, “Kim, you really belong in the D&D Building.” I realized soon after there were so many applications for my textiles in the interior design world. It just felt like a natural direction for me to move in.

I have a few of your prints in my home that I purchased at World Market. Where are some other places that our readers can purchase your art and other products?
KP: Dinnerware and Giftware collections (Kim Parker Home for Spode) are sold at such retailers as Macys, Belk, and online at Bed, Bath and Beyond and Amazon.com

Designer rugs are sold at The Rug Company whose two US stores are in Soho, New York, and Los Angeles, and throughout Europe. Their website is: http://www.therugcompany.info/

Fine Art painting reproductions are sold at World Market, Target, Art.com and Amazon.com

Decorative pillows are sold through our website, http://www.kimparker.tv/

Children’s book, “Counting in the Garden”, and plush toys, backpacks and puppets are at Barnes and Noble, and BN.com

Stationery collections are carried at Anthropologie as well as BN.com and Galison.com

++Visit http://www.kimparker.tv/ for all links to retailers

All of your vases, dinnerware, rugs, bedding, and pillows are all so lovely. We can't wait to see what's up your sleeve next! What might we see in the future of Kim Parker Home?

KP: My first book on Art & Design is coming out (Harry N Abrams) this Spring 08, which I am really excited about. We have the Kim Parker Home brand that focuses on my home interior products, and the Kim Parker Kids label, which is represented by Scholastic Media. Both brands are growing strong, and it’s really exciting. Spode is launching my third collection of tableware called “Buttercup Faire.” There will be an art calendar, art cards, paintings, and a stationery and gift wrap program for my children’s label, Kim Parker Kids launching this Spring as well. I am currently researching companies for fabrics and wallpapers as well as fashion accessories.

I am literally counting down until your exciting new design book, Kim Parker Home: A Life in Design, comes out on the shelves May '08. We hear that it is part memoir and part design book. What inspired you to write your first home decor book (after publishing a children's book) and what will be featured in your new book?

KP: I actually spend as much time writing as I do painting. It has been a passion of mine since I was young. I have been an avid journal keeper my whole life. I didn’t want my first book on design to simply be another “How to Decorate” book. I felt that my journey in design, which was extremely challenging and unique was worth sharing. I knew I had more to offer readers than to tell them how to hang a curtain. I really think it’s inspiring to read about someone’s creative process and the difficult path that led to their success. I read a lot of biographies, and am always moved and fascinated by the hardships and triumphs that artists endured in pursuit of their dreams. This is what inspired me to tell my story.

It took two years to write and assemble the book. I had a wonderful time running around Manhattan with my digital camera snapping pictures of urban gardens, flower markets and flea market inspirations and then coming home to the computer to write the text. Many publishers wanted to publish my book as a “How to Decorate” book, featuring my collections photographed amid interiors- the way they had done for many of my designer colleagues in the industry. I held out though until the right publisher appeared who understood my vision for the book. After some time, I met up with a wonderful editor at Harry N. Abrams who said, “Kim, I love your work. I have been waiting for a book like this to come along. Your story and your work will inspire other women to follow their dreams.”

The book features my collections of home furnishings which include my designer rugs, dinnerware and giftware, decorative pillows, fabrics and bedding, photographed in rich interiors, as well as my paintings, original textiles, and the creative inspirations I find living in New York City. Kim's third collection of tableware for Spode- Buttercup Faire- it alludes to one of Kim's favorite flowers

I love this photograph. It's featured in her new design book and depicts her Manhattan Rug from The Rug Company

Feb 27, 2008

Prints Charming

I saw an ad for the new Spring collection at Banana and there was one dress in particular that I would die to have the fabric for to put on a pillow. With a little more researching on their website, I found a ton of their new Spring prints that I wish I could use somehow in home decor. Don't you just hate when you find great geometric prints but they just so happen to be on a dress! So I am using these photos as inspiration- as I always say, what's in style now in fashion will soon follow in home decor!

Feb 24, 2008

A Tale of Two Chairs

About nine months ago, I acquired the above chair from my family. It's a very old chair that has been passed between a few relatives, been upholstered a few different times and then was passed onto me when I moved from one apartment to another. The chair was just too dark, dreary, and traditional for my taste. I wanted something more young, fun, bright, and trendy to match my existing pink and green scheme I had going on. I found some really nice pink, green, and cream floral fabric for both sides of its back. The seat and arms I wanted to do in a different but correlating fabric. I chose a soft green and cream print (almost looks like some kind of animal print) for the seat and arms to mix it up a bit. The chair ended up turning out a lot more like "me" and although I was happy to have my family's donation, the chair needed to reflect my personal style. I was very pleased with the outcome.

I came across another chair today (I am always on the hunt for abused, dilapidated furniture that I can fix up). I thought to myself- this chair has real potential! It was an old vintage cane chair that no one wanted anymore. But I am not the type to look the other way when someone is giving away furniture! If I hadn't of taken the chair it would have been thrown in the dumpster- every chair deserves a second chance, don't ya think? I remember seeing a similar chair on the blog, Jordan Cappella that he fixed up- the end results are fabulous! It just looks so much more up to date and crisp. So I thought- this cane chair does have hope! I could attempt to do it myself but let's be realistic- with the demands of every day life, and with me taking on more clients by the day, this chair would be sitting in a corner of my Living Room (dusty and unfinished) for months. Trust me, I have a pair of old windows that I've been meaning to refinish since early January and they just haven't happened yet!

Anyways, I digress...What I really need is for someone to take my chair and transform it for me! That is when I stumbled upon Again and Again- a consignment furniture store in Dallas that not only sells furniture on consignment but will also take your old furniture and refinish it! This quaint little white house off of Henderson Avenue, started by Leslie Pritchard, is a shop full of treasures Leslie has merchandised. A team of craftsmen also work there to transform your existing furniture through repainting, reupholstering, and refinishing- to your specifications! I have heard rave reviews about this place and I'm not going to lie, it would be nice to have someone else recreate my chairs for a change!
Hopefully my cane chair will come out as beautiful as these below...

What is your vote on how the cane chair should look after its transformation?

Feb 22, 2008

Layla Grayce- Stylish Decor

Recently I discovered Layla Grayce, an online boutique with the motto "Love your life, express your style". Since there are so many websites out there these days, for every good home website, along comes five bad ones! I was ecstatic when I found the charming and unique Layla Grayce on a random home decor google search. I knew I had to contact them right away to find out more about their company and products. I was so excited that now I have a website to go to that has all my favorite finds in one place! That doesn't happen very often. Here's a little history on Layla Grayce: Wendy and Tiffany began the company three years ago- it's a collection of finds from their travels- products for the home, women, and children. Bringing style and quality to their decor, their exquisite finds are on the top of my must haves for 2008! Graceful, feminine, and always chic, Layla Grayce makes any home complete.

High back settee- on sale now!

Sea Oats Aqua Dhurrie Rug- only $52 for an adorable 2x3 rug

I am loving blue and pink together lately, this pillow is a perfect example of my new favorite look!

These silver leaf mirrors look gorgeous in a series as the picture shows here

Maybe this isn't home decor, but I had to post this cute Jessie Steele hostess apron! I came to find out that this line of aprons was seen on Oprah's wildest dreams show (the episode that I wait for all year long- as I'm sure most of you do too) I think I am going to need to pick myself up one of these flirty aprons (disregarding the fact that I don't ever cook) but I still need one of these in case I do decide to whip up something one of these days! One size fits all..would make an adorable gift.

The Harlow 7 drawer chest is a gorgeous addition to any bedroom. It would fit in a small nook in a bedroom or even in a luxurious bathroom! I love how this antiqued mirror piece is outlined in a silver leaf bamboo trim. In my bedroom I don't even have a standard size dresser- I use one of these narrow and tall chests for all of my smaller items and hang up the rest of my clothes in my closet. It's always nice to eliminate the clutter and just stick with gorgeous pieces you really love! If you don't have the need for a large dresser like in my case, might as well pick up one of these chests to make your bedroom feel a bit larger!

The Bergamo lamp is one of my favorites from their collection. The rich brown makes this lamp look so classy and sophisticated. The added geometric gold base only makes it that much more stylish!

This gorgeous Ava Circle Mirrored Buffet in white brings classic Hollywood Regency style to your home!

And how can we forget Shabby Chic? The style is so comforting and homey. Rachel Ashwell has outdone herself again with this plush tufted chair. It's so versatile and neutral that it could fit into any room's color scheme. If you want something with a bit more color, there are tons of fabric choices to choose from- how about icy blue? Bring a tinge of color in without going too bold!
This tray brings style right to your coffee table. The brown and blue color epidemic is still going strong and with this fanciful and fun girly print, how could you resist this lovely tray- by the Macbeth Collection! $66

Feb 21, 2008

Daily Candy

Just thought I'd share this bookcase from Ballard...I can't quite find a spot for it...maybe you can!

I love a touch of bamboo, it reminds me of Schuyler Samperton.

Feb 20, 2008

Back to black...and white!

Are you a Mary Kate or more of an Ashley? Can’t decide which color scheme you lean more towards- light and airy white or dark mysterious black? Why can’t you be both?! Black and white is the perfect backdrop for Spring’s bright and colorful accessories. Both black and white are individually such timeless and classic colors. Pairing them together in interesting patterns makes a room even more intriguing than siding with one or the other.

When I design in black and white, my first thought is usually- wow this needs some extra punches of color! I usually opt to pair black and white with either bright pink, red, teal/turquoise, lime green, orange, or yellow. Pretty much any bright color will work well as your accent- just stay far away from chocolate brown (unless you use it in some kind of a wood piece accent) Brown and black have been known to clash. Yellow is the most trendy color to use with black and white right now. Adding cool grays to your black and white scheme will look striking. One of the nicest things about decorating a room in black and white is that you can always switch out your accent colors from time to time to change your room up a bit. Tired of pink? All you have to do is switch out those vases and flowers for another color and...voila! You have a whole new room. Black and white room with bright yellow accents featured in Elle Decor

Black and white bedroom with zebra and mustard yellow accents featured in Elle Decor

Black and white Living Room- here they chose to also use cool gray, purple, green, and silver accents. This is the Living Room of fashion designer Monique Lhuillier featured in Elle Decor. Just lovely!

Powder Bath featured in Met Home. Simply stunning!

Another black and white home with lots of fun prints!
This Living Room was featured in Domino. Not everything in your room has to be gray, silver, black, and white. How about adding in some gold? A surprising element but it really warms up the room a bit. Zebra print seems to be the popular choice among b/w rooms! Notice the teal accessories in here. This is probably my favorite color to pair with black and white.

This photo was featured on Point Click Home. Even the dog is black and white! Some people like to match everything in a house...well, whatever suits your fancy! This is a more traditional black and white scheme- very soft and more homey than some of the others. The paint color in the background warms up the scheme.
Where do you get black and white accessories you ask? Well I know of some great places where you can shop on any budget for these!
We love these tailored and whimsical William Sonoma Home bath towels- made for the queen in you!

I saw these on the West Elm website. I am in love with their mirrored tops and baroque style. Placing a few around a room would be spectacular.

I have been infatuated with this chair ever since I saw it on the cover of one of my college coursebooks, 1000 Chairs. This Verner Panton chair is a furniture design classic. Was created back in 1960 and was the very first fully plastic chair made from a single section. The panton chair has such a memorable slinky shape-especially in black- it practically seduces the eye! This chair I must say is truly a 20th century design icon! There are tons of them online, but DWR is your best bet.

On to black glassware...I did a post on these mysterious looking glasses back when I first started blogging. Since then I have been seeing white opaque glasses too! How fun would it be to get a set that you can mix and match of both colors! Available at Horchow- called "Shade drinkware"
This pillow I saw on the CB2 website- mod and abstract- leaf design perhaps? This pillow really struck a chord with me when I saw it. Inexpensive, chic, and trendy!

Another CB2 find, this Morocco rug contains a very unique quatrefoil pattern.

Ansel Adams, one of the most widely known black and white photographer in the world produced this image. We love this simple and elegant flower print. Ansel was an amazing photographer- you should check out some of his work at his website- Ansel Adams

A sleek wall clock from Lamps Plus

Last but not least (because these are probably our favorite finds) are these Z Gallerie vases. What a way to make a statement! Place them together or separately. Buy them here- Z Gallerie