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Victorian Elegance

Although Queen Victoria died in 1901, her influence in the design world was still felt well into the 20th century. Victorian style is known for being detailed, high-spirited and busy with ornamentation. However, in the kitchen, a more subdued and practical approach needs to be taken to window treatments in order to keep the room as a functional space. It is possible to create custom-looking, Victorian-style window treatments for your kitchen and still maintain modern practicality.

The valance is the standard Victorian window treatment. Typically they are box shaped, with variations in embellishment, edging style and accessories. A valance is a scarf for the window top, mooring it to the room. Victorian valances were known to integrate various clothing styles of the day: the festoon and the cascade. The festoon detail was comprised of a ribbon of fabric, draped or scooped to create a folded, teardrop affect. A Victorian kitchen curtain may have two or more festoons across the front to give fullness to the valance and show off rich fabric. The cascade, a panel placed on the sides of the valance, was a tapered, gathered piece that went down the sides of the window. It’s particularly good for the kitchen because it is up out of the way, and lets in natural light while adding color and texture to the décor. The valance will also hide the curtain rod or top of the blinds .A valance can be detailed with fringe, tassels or beading for an even more ornate Victorian flair.

 
Another practical kitchen window design element is the wooden or bamboo window blind. In the late 1800s a variety of window coverings made from coated hardwood or bamboo made for sturdy, functional shades to darken a room. In the kitchen, blinds are practical and lend a modern link between traditional Victorian decor and contemporary design. Pair your blinds with a stenciled curtain or tasseled valance and your kitchen window treatment will look authentically Victorian.

Another window “treatment” that was extremely popular during the Victorian period was stained glass. The late Victorian era was influenced by Tiffany’s fluid, organic designs. Purchasing and installing a stained glass window can be prohibitive. Etch Art Stained Glass design has an easy way to transform any window into beautiful stained glass that will look like it cost hundreds of dollars. The privacy design obscures visibility through the glass during the day and night. The film adheres to smooth glass using static electricity instead of glue or adhesives and is completely reusable. In fact, Etch Art window films incorporate real glass for an authentic sparkle and shimmer and filters 95 percent of the sun’s harmful UV rays. Add a lace valance and your kitchen is on its way to Victorian elegance.

Staging your Windows

 

Low lit rooms may seem cozy to you, but if you are in the process of selling your home, brighten it up! Dimly lit spaces look small and dingy especially during the day. Most people are drawn to natural light. Natural light elevates your mood, illuminates a room and can even add a dramatic effect as the sun casts rays in different corners of the room. Take a walk through your house and reassess your windows and their treatments.

 

Installing window treatments us really quite easy depending on the type of hardware you are installing. The most important tip I can share with you is to measure, then measure again. The easiest installation is the drapery rod, which requires a few screws in select locations. Do be sure to have proper tools – screwdrivers, a drill, level, pencil, measuring tape, (see The Right Tool for the Right Job). Sure, you can do this on your own, but it’s much easier to do it with a friend helping. Of course, If you’re uncomfortable doing the job yourself, call in a professional.

 

Window treatments are the best way to introduce color and style to a room. Use accessories to make a room to pop with color rather than the paint on the walls. Balance the color and texture choices carefully, drawing the attention of buyers to the windows, yet don’t overwhelm them with curtains and draperies. Window treatments are not usually permanent and you can take them with you when you sell your home, but many buyers may ask for the treatments to be included with the sale of the house when they put in an offer. Keep the price of the treatments in mind so that you can part with them, or that you don’t lose the sale because you didn’t want to let them go.

 

When you showing your home, don’t forget to maximize the natural light in every room. Open the blinds and shades up and push the curtains or drapes to the side. For drapery you could use tiebacks, but the best way to show off your windows is with the installation of the drapery rods. Install the rod six inches or so outside the edge of the window and two or three inches above the frame. This will make your window appear larger than it actually is and will also maximize the amount of light coming through. By installing the rods outside the frame, you will get a lot more light and a better view of the wood trim that might bear showing off.

For Sale.

 

When potential homeowners are looking for a new house, one of the most important things on their ‘must have’ list is how much natural light comes into the various rooms. Whether or not your home is lacking a great deal of windows or if your home is flooded with light, window treatments will draw the right kind of attention to your windows if you do it correctly.

 

Where do you start? What’s in and what’s out in today’s décor? Vertical blinds – out. Take them done right away or risk giving your home a stifling 80’s feel. You’re better off with no window treatments at all. Get rid of those old plastic roll-down shades too.

 

Look at the windows throughout your house and determine a couple of things. Will the room or the particular window in question look better without any window treatments or are there issues of privacy in the evening hours if you don’t have window treatments up?  There are lots of choices to help you get started, and they all provide different features and benefits.

 

Blinds

We threw away the plastic ones, but  wood or bamboo blinds are fine. Put them in the bedrooms or home office. Bamboo blinds are a good choice because they provide some color and texture.

 

Roman Shades

Just like the blinds, Roman shades are installed inside the frame of the window and they tuck up upon themselves as they are raised. They are perfect for smaller windows or in kitchens or baths.

 
Valances & Cornice Boxes

A valance runs along the top of a window giving it a finished look. It may be used alone, or with another window treatment. A cornice box is similar, but it is typically used as decoration and to hide the drapery rod.

Drapery/Curtains

Draperies can be sheer, allowing light in but still maintain privacy, or they can be the blackout variety to keep the light and heat from penetrating the room. The type of fabric you choose will help determine how rich and lavish a room feels. Even the type of drapery rods and hardware will significantly add to the overall look of the window. Draperies can be puddled at the bottom, knotted at the middle, or tied at the sides for any number of different looks.
Tired? Change your mind yet about putting your home up for sale? Don’t despair. We’ll stop here for now and let you take a breath. Have a cup of tea and rest up because tomorrow we will install the window treatments!

New Year, New Home

 

It’s a new year, time to make some changes. If one of them is a relocation, then it’s time to put your best foot forward in your home. The most important thing to do when preparing your home for sale is to get rid of clutter. Come up with a house rule that for every new item that comes in, an old one has to go. One of the major contributors to the cluttered look is too much furniture. When a professional stager arrives at a home they often take away almost half of the owner’s furnishings, making the house look much bigger. You don’t have to pare down that drastically, but do take a hard look at what you have and ask yourself what you can live without.

 

There’s a common belief that a room will feel larger and be easier to use when all of the furniture is pushed against the walls, but that really isn’t the case. Furnish your space by floating furniture away from the perimeter. Move sofas and chairs into cozy conversation groups, and set up the pieces so the traffic flow is obvious. This will not only make the space more user-friendly, it will also open up the room making it seem larger.

 

If you have a room that is a place that just gathers junk, repurpose it into something that will add value to your home. The simple addition of a comfortable chair, a small table with a lamp in a stairwell will convert it into a cozy reading spot. Or lay inexpensive rubber padding or a carpet remnant on the floor of the basement and toss in a few cushy pillows. You now have a new meditation room!

 

One of the things that make a staged home look so warm and inviting is great lighting. Did you know that many homes are improperly lit? To fix this problem, increase the wattage in the lamps and fixtures. Strive for a total of 100 watts for every 50 square feet. It’s best to have at least three types of lighting: ambient), task and accent.

 

Window treatments are another part of the lighting equation. They should be kept simple to allow lots of light in and to brighten up a room. Lighting has the power to make a room feel brighter and conversely appear much larger. When it comes to staging less is always the best option and clean lines is what buyers want to see. The more  light you are able to bring in the more spacious the room will appear. Neutral tones work best for staging. Cream or white roman shades are also a good choice and you can add a dash of color with a ribbon trim you sew or glue onto the shade.

 

This is a lot of direction for one day. Go through your home today and start moving the furniture and getting rid of the clutter. Think about the curtains, and we’ll talk again later.

Happy New Year!

 

Happy New Year from your friends at Continental Window Fashions! Who knew there were so many things you could do with drapery hardware aside from hanging beautiful curtains and draperies.

Throughout this past year we’ve build party rooms outside, created seperate spaces in dorm rooms,built playspaces and doors out of curtains. We even learned how to properly make a bed and paint a bathroom.

Who knew curtain rods and finials could not only hang curtains, they could hang christmas stockings and wrapping paper, even become holiday decorations themselves! We’ve attached hardware to plaster and lath, a canopy to the ceiling and even made a door and one room into two with curtains!

Join us in the new year and see what else drapery hardware can do for your home.

Attach a Curtain Rail Above the Window

Curtain rails are usually installed directly to a window frame, an arrangement that can hamper the opening and closing of the curtain, and reducing the amount of light that shines into the room. Another way to do it, and enable sufficient light into the room is is to mount the track on the outside of the window recess so the curtains can be drawn well back from the recess and admit the maximum amount of sunshine. To provide a secure place for the brackets, it’s best to install a wooden furring strip on which to mount the rail. A furring strip mounting is an especially good idea if the wall surface is lath-and-plaster (see the October 29 blog post for working with plasters and lath walls).

* Use a level to place the furring strip horizontally above the recess, then draw a guide line with a pencil.
*Drill the pilot holes and secure the furring strip to the wall surface.
*Draw another guide line along the center of the furring strip
*Position brackets on the screws.
*Position the required number of gliders on the rail and attach the end support to keep the gliders from slipping.
*Clip the rail onto the brackets.

Vesta Window Hardware makes all the hardware you will need for this project. Visit them at Continentalwindowfashions.com and let the sun shine in!

The Right Tool for the Job

Where ever you live, be it your own or a rental, sooner or later you are going to have to install something, or fix something. You may have to put up a shelf, fix a leaky faucet, attach drapery hardware, whatever the job; you’ll need a well-stocked tool box. A few essentials are as follows:
The number one hand tool must-have is the hammer. It comes in handy for everything from hanging a mirror to installing a curtain rod. A Claw hammer is the one with the recognizable steel head, that’s made up of a peen (the nail-driving face), and the claw (the crowbar-like nail-pulling lever) on the other. Claw hammers come with either rounded or flat peens. The choice is all yours, but the flat variety has a driving faces that is straight instead of curved, and tend to strike nails more evenly, with less likelihood of missing the nail and getting your finger instead.

 

You can’t put a price on accuracy, especially when it comes to improvement projects. The next essential tool in your box should be a tape measure. Estimates can end up costing you both time and money. Save yourself the trouble by using a tape measure for things like cabinets, are rugs, and window treatments.

 

Your children actually  behaved and sat still for a beautiful family portrait. Is the picture hanging straight? You may need a level. A torpedo level is the one with the air bubbles in three clear, liquid-filled vials that gives you visible proof of a surface’s level. If the bubble is between the lines the vial, the surface is level.

 

It’s a good idea to have a few screwdrivers on hand so you can be ready for all situations. The type of screwdriver is defined by the shape of the head of the blade. It can be straight or X shaped (a Phillips screwdriver). The type and size you need depends on the screw you are about to confront.
Pliers and wrenches allow you to have a good grip and extra leverage. Pliers are good for pulling out nails or bending wires. Wrenches are what you reach for when a grip and extra torque for tightening and loosening is called for.

 

Keep these basic supplies handy, and just about any repair job or curtain hardware job that arises will be covered!

Create a Retreat with Color

What’s your fantasy master bath? Is it pristine, simple and straightforward? Or s something more luxurious, a spa-like setting? It doesn’t really matter which amenities you choose, it’s your color choice that will be vital in setting the right mood. Most people choose a space that is as restful and relaxing as a warm bubble bath. This usually means a calming color palette filled with greens and blues, soft hues and subtle neutrals.

 
Some color schemes are more soothing than others, more natural if you will. Greens and blues, from the cooler side of the color palette, are evocative of the variegated colors of the Caribbean. The bathroom isn’t a place for electric blues or bright greens but rather, use softer tints like sea foam greens and aqua blues. Not only are these tones refreshing, they also visually drop the temperature a few degrees, isn’t that nice in a room associated with hot baths and steamy showers?
When choosing fixtures, pick those in the neutral hues like white and biscuit, and add in more color with the flooring, accessories and wall treatments. Blues and greens are very soothing, just like the ocean and sky. To warm them up use brown wood tones, those are chocolate in hue.
You may want to bring color into the bathroom in less expected ways, too. Light blue could come from a piece of granite or a pale green from textured glass tiles. To incorporate extra color is important but you should also have texture and interesting surfaces, too.

 
You can create a feminine atmosphere with peaches and pinks, or a fresh look by using lemony yellow. Try surrounding your space with lavender tones, then go one step further with some aromatherapy in the guise of lavender-scented candles.

 
If a spa-like experience is what you are looking for, wrap the whole room in white — white tiled walls, floors, fixtures and cabinetry, marble countertops, and even white towels and robes. Be careful though, white can become sterile looking. To make things interesting, use elements that aren’t all the same shade of white. Warm things up a bit with soft yellows or creams and some touches of gold or warm sage greens.

 
Remember, a soothing scheme is in the eye of the beholder. There aren’t really any bad colors, just be careful where you use them. Visit Continental Window Fashions at Continentalwindowfashions.com to see some beautiful accent mirrors. To add to your newly decorated room.  Decorative mirrors can provide the finishing touch to your room. Continental can offer you a decorative mirror to fit any décor. Iron Art by Orion’s Diamante Reflections has a wide variety with both wrought iron mirrors and wooden framed mirrors .Many of their products look like antique mirrors and come in several shapes from small round mirrors to large decorative mirrors. Howard Elliott also offers unique round wall mirrors and intricate ornate mirrors.

A Color Adventure


Color is a powerful tool that can be used to create the illusion of space, inspire emotions, and set the mood or atmosphere for any room. When used with interior or exterior painting, color psychology is a wonderful way to create a healthy and beautiful home.

*Yellow is often thought of in terms of happiness and optimism. It activates memory, stimulates your nervous system and promotes creativity. Try implementing a sunshine yellow and toning it down with white accents.

*If a bright yellow isn’t your style, try a neutral pale shade. It is airy and relaxing, and as a bonus, gives the appearance of a larger room.

*Red immediately suggests passion and romance. It adds drama when used generously or warms up a space when used with a slight hand. At the same time, red-orange balances cool blue and instantly warms up a space.

*Pink isn’t only for little girls. This pithy color is much more adaptable than you may think. A vibrant pink-orange color combination will to bring a playful touch to any room without making it feel too youthful. However, if you want to add pink to a girl’s room while keeping a sophisticated look, try a saturated peony shade. It will add energy yet still keep a feminine look.

*Not many people choose orange because picking the right shade can be overwhelming. Try a deep orange, or terra-cotta in a home office to keep it energized by day and comfy by night.

If you are not sure where to begin on your color journey, pick a favorite color from a piece of artwork, a rug, some dishes or an accessory or furniture piece as a main color or accent. Try experimenting t in a powder room, a small hall or on an accent wall. Chose an area that’s quick to do so you can see your results quickly and be able to proceed, or change it. See this process as an adventure with a wonderful prize at the end.

Color Psychology 1.0

We often look at the home décor process as a simple matter of what looks attractive. However, advocates of the feelings evoked by color  believe that the colors you use choose for your home can have a profound effect on the emotional welfare of you and your family.
Color is a universal language. The color you chose for your walls isn’t just a matter of artistic perception. It’s a tool that can influence behavior and emotion. If you like the idea of using color to create an emotionally healthy home, first consider the primary function of each room. Then pick a base color. Although it can’t be scientifically proven, some shades work better than others at inspiring certain activities.
In the living room and foyer warm colors such as yellows, and oranges, and the earth tones like brown and beige work well because they’re thought to stimulate conversation, to encourage people to sit around and talk. Because they invoke warmth, they encourage the connection with other people. Cassidy West curtain panels come in calming shades of chocolate, blue-brown and wheat, and come in cotton, polyester and flannel, giving you a good jumping point for your warm and encouraging space.
If you have fond memories of hanging out in the kitchen when you were a child, it might make sense to recreate that color scheme in your own kitchen. If there’s no particular color scheme (gold and avocado don’t count) that you remember fondly, reds and yellows can be great colors in the kitchen. But beware if you’re s keeping tabs on your food intake, as well as  stimulating conversation, reds may prompt you to eat more!, Think about your favorite fast food  restaurants; the restaurant industry has long recognized the appetite-stimulating power of a red decor. However, since it’s stimulating to the appetite, red is great for a formal dining room. Not only will it encouraging conversation, it sharpens the appetites of your guests and may even make them think you are a better cook.
The bedroom is the sanctuary where you go to relax and reconnect. Cool colors found in the blue, green and lavender families are thought to have a calming effect. The darker the shade, the more pronounced the. For a serene environment, a glacier blue with mixed with chrome accents is just the ticket.