Modern Draperies

The client’s style is modern. She likes simplicity and strives to find unique items for her home. The Baker dining set was purchased years ago for a modern urban home. The challenge was to create contemporary-style window coverings to complement a space with traditional touches – such as the crystal chandelier that came with the house – which she was not ready to change.

The client wanted privacy at night and semi-privacy during the day, to diffuse a less-than-desirable view of a brick wall. She wanted formality and said she loves metallic, sparkly fabrics and décor.

Allure from Lafayette provided the privacy and semi-privacy she was after. Several of its fabrics have shimmery, metallic characteristics. One nice discovery was that the mounting space was perfect for an inside mount, the client’s preference.

The depth and texture of the drapery fabric were a perfect choice. The cut-outs gave it a unique look, and the color provided enough contrast full Dining roomDining roomClose upAllur shades and brimar finialsto be interesting but not so much as to distract from the room’s other focal points.

The client absolutely loves the fluttering effect the draperies have whenever the air conditioning is on. (I had noticed air registers on each side of the windows, and I knew the fabric cut-outs would move when air circulated around the fabric. So happy the client appreciates my vision!)

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Creative cornice window treatment

A custom cornice was designed for a young artist! She is very creative, artistic not only in painting, she is an amazing dancer, she loves animals, and she has a collection of masks displayed on the wall that represents Central America’s culture.

The room was painted in deep blue, and the room backs to a yard with many trees.

Here was the challenge: The room is dark and has no definition, and the design has to appeal to my young client to reflect her artistic personality, her love of animals and birds, and her love of the culture of Central America.

 

The design included a cornice that was made from three sections, the sides on the left and write projected a bit forward, more than the middle section that almost resembled two columns.

 

A light blue fabric was used for the cornice to create a definition to the window, the two sides were embellished with real feathers that were inserted in the center. The color of the feathers was deep red that popped out to draw the attention and a printed linen panels were installed under the side cornices to provide further definition to the window. The fabric was printed with feathers in different sizes and various colors of blues and aqua. The finished product was unique in design and material selection. Our young artist was very happy. I am sharing what testimonial I have received from her mom.

Her mom wrote a testimonial on Houzz:

I asked Susan to create a window treatment for my teenage daughter’s bonus room. The room lacked direction and theme. Susan took the time to really get to know my daughter and interviewed her to get a sense of her interests and desires. My daughter’s love of animals and art inspired
Susan to create a window treatment that is an art piece in itself. She incorporated beautiful feathers on a 3D valence! This room was once without direction, but now is personalized and inspirational- exactly what my daughter wanted. Thank you Susan!

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For more information and a free consultation and an estimate call (630) 854-9082 or (630)420-0800.

 

 

 

Award Wining Draperies,

These Custom draperies had won the 2nd place International award at the Vision annual design competition!

The category of the competition was the creative use of drapery hardware and trim.

 

Imagine my surprise when I saw this window for the first time! My first thought was, “It is going to be a challenge installing any treatment for this window!”

The client expressed her desire to have the window treatment as “open” as possible since her family likes the light and the beautiful view of the lake. She also said she likes swags. Her third request was to design the window treatment with the chandelier in mind. And she also requested that the color of the fabric complement her existing furnishings and the beautiful Persian rug in the room.

A textured sheer fabric was selected for the cascading swags in order to keep the window open, as the client requested. Layered side panels sweep down from the second tier of the window to the floor, with a slight break to give definition to the window and visually support the swags. The first layer is interlined silk, and the textured sheer used for the swag comes over as a second layer to create a visual connection. The soft mango color of the fabric was selected because it beautifully complements the client’s furnishings.

The hardware was created by connecting several wrought iron pieces from the Helser Brothers Artigiani collection. The pieces selected resemble the chandelier; the crystal pieces were carefully selected and added to create a unique design which looks perfect with the chandelier!

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top swag well photo shopped

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The Illuminated Room! Burr Ridge IL

The Illuminated Room

A new client in Burr Ridge, Illinois, asked me to design his living room and said he wanted a unique design. He further said he wanted me to create “the WOW! factor” with a design that I’ve never done for another client.

An exciting challenge for a designer, right? Well, after giving it some thought, I decided to create “sculptural” window treatments for the five windows in the room.

The room has a curved wall with a faux finish with honey, gold, gray and a hint of golden green. That was my base for a color scheme.

We selected furniture with contemporary styling, in black and gray with a hint of rust/copper. The coffee table was very interesting! It’s oval-shaped and finished in copper, resembling a smooth pebble.

Deep thought was given to the design of the five tall, slender all windows. I needed to create a design to enhance the overall look of the room and the play up the height of the windows.

I found this amazing fabric that was perfect in terms of colors and texture. The background was in blackened, antiqued silver with woven lines of copper that stretched up and down across the length of the fabric. Perfect choice! I also found an amazing trim with diamond stones woven in rows across the band, which added amazing elegance and style.

So, I thought to myself, “Why not create curved cornices to echo the curved wall?” I imagined covering the cornices with that perfect metallic fabric and using the diamond-covered trim as a decorative element to add sparkle and draw the eyes up to enhance the height. Another thought: “Why not install  LED lights within the cornices to illuminate the ceiling, and install drapery sheers under the cornices?”

Voila! Unique idea, I hadn’t done this before, and I was positive that my client would love it!

As expected, the client approved. Construction and installation took 12 weeks, a little longer than average; the delay was because I had to find the perfect electrician to make my design come to life.

I found the perfect light fixture for the narrow wall that one sees when entering the room. It looks Like a shield with the light right in the center. A unique choice for a unique room! The room is not quite complete. We need an area rug, side tables, and accessories. I will post photos of the room when we have selected the right elements to complete the look. The following photos show the room as it is now:

Call (630) 420-0800 For free consultation and estimate!

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Roman Shades!

In addition to classic and hobbled, there are other styles of Roman shades. We have the London shade, relaxed Roman, Austrian shade, balloon shades, and the mock Roman.

 

London shade: There are several styles of London shades (sometimes they’re called dog ear shades), as you can see in the illustration below. The shade is strange on the sides, leaving few inches on each side, which will cause the sides to stay loosely hung, resembling a dog’s ears.

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london-shade

 

Austrian shades:

This type of shade has fabric “falling” in a series of puffy swags that are created by vertical rows of shirring.

Take a look at these videos for dramatic demonstrations of beautiful “fabric in motion.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T30nhNHRPr4&t=210s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4vkPlVeVPs

 

Austrian shades are formal, traditional, and expensive to create because they are laborious to construct. They represent a combination of two popular types of window covering – swags (or festoons) combined with the Roman shade style, to enable the shade to be lifted.

Note: One point I would like to make is that the sides of the shade have the tendency to cave in, creating bowing on each side of the window. To remedy that situation, side panels are often used to hide the not-so-pleasant look of the caved-in sides.

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The image below is by Key Decorators.

It illustrates how the sides of the shade can cave in.

 

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The image above is by Key Decorators.

It illustrates how the caved sides of the shade was remedied by installing side panels to cover the sides.

The relaxed Roman shade: 

Relaxed Roman shades look very similar to the flat Roman shade, except the lower edge has about three pleats and a bar is inserted to allow the pleats to hang in a relaxed manner. The top remains flat and it will lift up and down easily, leaving the pleated bottom to bow and creating a valance-like effect.

One can be creative with these shades by adding fabric trims, beaded trims, and fringes of many different types to enhance the décor and reflect the homeowner’s personal taste.

Note: If banding is used, one must make sure it does not disappear in the folds. Personally, I might add the bands to the sides and leave the lower edge without any banding.

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A final note for all shades:

Most fabrics are 54 inches wide. If the window is wider than 52 inches, the shade will have a seam. To remedy that, here are two tricks of the trade that I can share with you:

  • Add banding, tapes, or braids on the seams to hide them.
  • “Railroad” the fabric (use the width of the fabric for the length). That will give about 52 inches for the length. If the window is longer than 52 inches, an additional fabric can be added and seamed together. That will work with hobbled Roman shades and the flat Roman shades.

For more information or to book a free consultation and an estimate call (630)420-0800 or (630)854-9082.

 

 

 

Hobbled roman shades

Hobbled (also called “Waterfall”) Roman Shades

  • “Hobbled” and “waterfall” describe the look exactly. These shades sort of fold over each other to create a look similar to cascading water.

 

  • These shades can be interlined to enhance the look, or sometimes interlining is used to conserve energy. In bedrooms and media rooms, shades with black-out lining are often used to keep the room dark. Among the disadvantages of hobbled Roman shades is that they are pricey, especially compared to flat Roman shades, and that might put them out of reach to some customers.

 

  • As for Roman shade lifting systems, the simple cord-lock system or a continuous cord loop is often used. However, we’ve seen growing use of cordless Roman shades, which provide a “cleaner” look that is also safe for children and pets.

 

  • The luxury and convenience of motorized shades has been well-accepted by homeowners and business owners alike. (We have been using a lot of shades with Somofy motors, but there are many other motorized brands.)

 

  • At the lower edge, one can add special touches by using vertical and horizontal bands, braid tapes, various trims, beads, or other types of embellishments.

 

  • Shades can be mounted inside the window to expose the window trim. The space needed for these shades can be as little as one inch for a cord-lock system or two and a half inches for rollease or cordless systems.

 

  • For this or any other style of Roman shade, it’s important to avoid patterns with horizontal repeats, such as checkered designs or other patterns that have horizontal lines, because if the pattern happens to be printed even a tiny bit off, it can result in a shade that looks crooked (when, really, it’s the way the pattern was printed on the fabric). Plain or solid fabrics, vertical stripes, and random patterns will be more appropriate in designing Roman shades.

 

  • Cotton are among the best fabrics for Roman shades. Silks, some polyesters, and other synthetic textiles can be used; however, they typically appear wrinkled, which may not appeal to everyone. Personally, I avoid the use of extra-wrinkled linens and sheers. Some linens do look very elegant, especially the ones that looks like raw silk. As for sheers, personally and from hearing about the experiences of my colleagues, using them for Roman shades can be problematic. That’s because all the cords, the lifting system, and the bars (if any) will be visible on the front, which tends to take away from the graceful appearance that Roman shades are typically designed to create.

 

Let us help you make a stunning statement with your window treatments and other home furnishings. Call or email or leave a comment.

Call (630)854-9082 or (630)420-0800.

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Types of Roman Shades

Types of Roman Shades,

In addition to classic and hobbled, there are other styles of Roman shades. We have the London shade, relaxed Roman, Austrian shade, balloon shades, and the mock Roman.

 

London shade: There are several styles of London shades (sometimes they’re called dog ear shades), as you can see in the illustration below. The shade is strange on the sides, leaving few inches on each side, which will cause the sides to stay loosely hung, resembling a dog’s ears.

 

london-shade

 

londonshadeb9827691c1f042bcb0472540e95f0f19rs_pleatedlondonshade

Austrian shades:

This type of shade has fabric “falling” in a series of puffy swags that are created by vertical rows of shirring.

Austrian shades are formal, traditional, and expensive to create because they are laborious to construct. They represent a combination of two popular types of window covering – swags (or festoons) combined with the Roman shade style, to enable the shade to be lifted.

Note: One point I would like to make is that the sides of the shade have the tendency to cave in, creating bowing on each side of the window. To remedy that situation, side panels are often used to hide the not-so-pleasant look of the caved-in sides.

austrian-shades-20

The Image above is by Bay Decorators.

The relaxed Roman shade: 

Relaxed Roman shades look very similar to the flat Roman shade, except the lower edge has about three pleats and a bar is inserted to allow the pleats to hang in a relaxed manner. The top remains flat and it will lift up and down easily, leaving the pleated bottom to bow and creating a valance-like effect.

One can be creative with these shades by adding fabric trims, beaded trims, and fringes of many different types to enhance the décor and reflect the homeowner’s personal taste.

Note: If banding is used, one must make sure it does not disappear in the folds. Personally, I might add the bands to the sides and leave the lower edge without any banding.

bathroom_2a-004

 

A final note for all shades:

Most fabrics are 54 inches wide. If the window is wider than 52 inches, the shade will have a seam. To remedy that, here are two tricks of the trade that I can share with you:

  • Add banding, tapes, or braids on the seams to hide them.
  • “Railroad” the fabric (use the width of the fabric for the length). That will give about 52 inches for the length. If the window is longer than 52 inches, an additional fabric can be added and seamed together. That will work with hobbled Roman shades and the flat Roman shades with bar inserts. In this case, the seams can be easily hidden and the finished product will look clean and elegant.

 

 

 

The power of pillows!

During the course of an interior design project, when it is time to consider pillows, there is often no money left in the budget and the pillow project is canceled.

This is an unfortunate occurrence.

Pillows are important elements in establishing the “feel” and “comfort” of a home. Personally, when I enter a room and the sofa has a bunch of pillows, I feel welcomed. Sometimes, I am amused or impressed with the creativity expressed by the homeowner. Other times, I see pillows playing a special role from a design and esthetics standpoint. Pillows can also be primarily functional, providing support or making a sofa more comfortable.

Adding a pillow or two to a chair can help the room achieve balance. Pillows can also add the element of rhythm. Having a row of pillows, in the same size and color, will draw the eye to the display and create a sense of order, allowing the eye to feel comfortable looking at the larger space. By creating a focal point or by adding an accent color, pillows can effectively complete a room.

As far as function, pillows are helpful on a chair or sofa with a deep seat. A bunch of pillows in various colors and patterns will add not only a splash of color or textural depth, but will also provide the comfort one needs to sit for extended periods.

And consider this: large pillows with dense stuffing can provide extra seating, when, for example, there is not enough furniture for the number of guests at a party or family gathering. (The Ottomans Turks used pillows for this function – and so do many of my clients. When not in use, they can be artfully stacked in a corner.)

Pillows can dress any bed and can complement other fabrics in the bedroom with a variety of awesome colors and textures. How about outdoor living furniture? Or dining room chairs? Be creative about using pillows to add depth and texture to a room, especially when they work with the color scheme of the table during a special holiday, birthday or anniversary celebrations.

Pillows can be so fabulous that they should be considered works of art! Create your own special piece of art by designing an unusually shaped pillow or by using special textiles, opulent trims, and unique bells and whistles. A whole wide world of wonderful pillow options awaits you!

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Winner: Best of Houzz 2014, 2015, 2016,2017

Rated at the highest level for client satisfaction by the Houzz community.

Sheer Draperies!

Sheers Only?

Sheer draperies (“sheers” is the shortened version) could be the most dynamic, impact creating, and statement-making window treatment!

Sometimes when I suggest sheers only, I get this look from the client (REALLY?). Many clients think that having only sheer treatments for their windows will not be enough to finish the room or to create an impact on the room.

Well, it all depends on what type of sheers! Sometimes the uniqueness of the sheer and the beauty of the fabric is enough to make a statement in a room. I have even seen sheers that have an unexpected “WOW factor.”

In selecting the type of sheer, one must consider the opacity needed, the color, the pattern, and the texture – all of which are factors that can affect how the room will feel and what the sheers say about the room. (For example, do the sheers convey a light and airy feeling? Do they suggest whimsical fun? Do they complement the artwork? Or do they set a tone of elegant simplicity?)

There are so many amazing sheer fabrics on the market and so many ways they can be used. Sometimes combining sheers with other fabrics can produce a unique look that creates depth and visual interest in the room.

Take a look at the cut-out sheers we have used in the room below. The reason we used this particular fabric is because the room has a curved wall and the home has a unique floor plan. The breakfast area is a perfect circle, and it is adjacent to the kitchen and the formal dining room. The curved wall in the dining room is part of the circle that is shared in the breakfast area. The idea was to base our selections on the circular theme when it came to furnishings and window coverings.

The fabric is made of cut-out circles; the fabric is called “Cufflinks” and the color is “Copper” (Larry Laslo collection from Robert Allen Textiles). The sheers were lined in black plain sheer voile. Have you noticed how the circle theme has been repeated? Check out the wall sculpture of hand blown glass trees, the sheer fabric, and the chandelier crystals. Notice another interesting feature that connects the sheer to the chandelier and the circle theme: see how the shadows of the sphere-shaped crystals that appear on the inside of the drum shade of the chandelier form circles that are the same size of the circle in the sheer?

The client and I wanted the sheers to make an impact on the room by supporting the overall theme of the space. I think it worked … happy client, happy designer!

If you would like to schedule a free, no-obligation appointment to tell me your design ideas or challenges and hear some feedback, please call 630-854-9082 or send me an email (susan@gailanidesigns.com. Let’s make your room happy!

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Sheer Draperies For A Dining Room In Burr Ridge IL

 

Plantation shutters

Considering Plantation Shutters?

Plantation shutters not only add beauty, elegance, poise, and dignity to any home, but they also represent great value!

Here are six reasons why you should consider plantation shutters for your home:

  • Rich-looking wooden shutters can complement any style of interior space – regardless of whether the style is traditional, transitional, eclectic, or contemporary.
  • In the past, it was typically only affluent homeowners who were able to afford them. Now, shutters have the look and feel of affluence without the overwhelming price tag.
  • Interior shutters are a great way to save energy because you can regulate how much sunlight enters the room through the windows, helping keep the room cool in summer and warm in winter.
  • They require very little maintenance and are easy to clean.
  • Shutters are more permanent than other window treatments and much less reflective of personal style and taste than, say, draperies. So when it comes time to sell your home, the vast majority of potential home buyers will find plantation shutters very appealing. In fact, plantation shutters are considered a home upgrade, and they will help you sell your home faster – especially in a market like the one we have today.

Although the initial cost might be higher for plantation shutters than for other types of window treatments, in the long run, you will be happy you made the initial investment because shutters really will provide long-term enjoyment for you and be an appealing upgrade that potential home buyers will appreciate.

For a free window treatment consultation and an estimate, call (630)420-0800.

 

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Shutters with valance and side panels, Hinsdale Illinois

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Doors with shutters

Bay with shutters