Tuesday, December 8, 2009

"May your walls know joy, may every room hold laughter, and every window open to great possibility." --Mary Anne Radmacher

As tacky as this might seem, I am going to repeat my Christmas greeting from last year. No, not because I am lazy nor cheap! I have one very good reason. It means more to me this year than it did the past year when I originally sent it. I have read and reread it through this past year and let it sink deep into my heart. I have tried walk out each phrase and be true to its message, often times failing. However, I believe with all my heart it bears repeating, bears sharing, bears encouraging all to make it part of the road they travel.

"The Greatest Gifts
May we break boundaries, tear down walls, and build on the foundation of goodness inside each of us.

May we look past differences, gain understanding, and embrace acceptance. May we reach out to each other, rather than resist.

May we be better stewards of the earth, protecting, nurturing and replenishing the beauties of nature.

May we practice gratitude for all we have, rather than complain about our needs.

May we seek cures for the sick, help for the hungry, and love for the lonely.

May we share our talents, give our time, and teach our children.

May we hold hope for the future very tenderly in our hearts and do all we can to build for bright tomorrows.

And may we love with our whole hearts, for that's the only way to love."
(Kathy Davis Studios for Portfolio)

From the heart, I wish you all much peace, overflowing joy, and a very blessed Christmas!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

"Autumn, the year's last, loveliest smile."
William Cullen Bryant

There is something hauntingly beautiful and peaceful about November's bare trees. They stand against the cold and driving, late autumnal winds while stripped bare of their leafy attire and they dare winter's sleet and snow to dislodge the life that remains dormant and unseen within... That is pretty much like the retailer facing the economic crisis of the upcoming Christmas season, don't you think? Don't misunderstand, I am hopeful - even determined to survive and prosper. Never say DIE!!! But...I am also a realist and realize that this upcoming Christmas season is the largest mountain to climb I've seen yet!

That is precisely why when Denise Hopkins of Eden Environments hosted a Elements of Harmony workshop presented by Jenna Boyd, a Feng Shui Consultant, I leaped at the opportunity to gain understanding of creating a more balanced environment - and I dragged my husband with me! We, personally and work-wise, were definitely going to need all the help we could get!

Now you might be surprised to find that I really knew very, very, very little about Feng Shui, even though I am in the interior design field. I do feel that I loosely practice a version of balance based on design principals, but the actual understanding of Feng Shui eluded me. Jenna calmly and clearly explained Chi, Yin and Yang, the concept of the Five Principals of Water, Earth, Metal, Wood and Fire, and helping clients find harmonious solutions of design within their living environment - all while I sipped on the most exquisite water mixture of .....yes, water, with cucumber, mint and a hint of rosemary!!! (Denise, that was definitely better than lemon!!!)

By the end of the workshop, after viewing some of the incredible sustainable design materials that Eden Environments carries and how they perfectly partner with Feng Shui principals that Elements of Harmony promote, I was on the road to a more balanced and equipped ability to assist my clients in design decisions. I also knew that I had just acquired "something" that I, personally, could utilize in my own world. In other words, I GOT IT!
I understand that I still have a lot to learn of the Eastern school of thought; after all, I am a Westerner, but I will try my best to empty my mind of preconceived assumptions and embrace a practice that has enabled an ancient culture to continue to survive thousands of years on this earth. Perhaps, just perhaps, it might allow me to survive one more Christmas retail season!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all. - Stanley Horowitz

I have no favorite color scheme! Every Michigan season beckons me to redecorate with the colors that surround me. This October, with its deep hues, earth tones and touches of spice is no exception! Look at this wonderful mix of colors in this picture of autumn leaves. I desire to be surrounded by the warmth of deep woodsy greens, mixes of pumpkin, orange and chocolate, with sprinkles of brick red. Alas, my budget will not allow me to change my decor that often. So this autumn, I guess I'll be content with baking a pumpkin pie, place bittersweet sprigs in my tall glass vase filled with pine cones, and call it "cozy". (There is not much room for anything more in this small apartment!)

By the way, these gorgeous colors shown here are by Valspar Paint, which I whisper, as we were once Benjamin Moore paint dealers. However, I must give due where due is deserved.

September and October have been busy with fabric - drapery panels and bedding. From simple and functional to unusual and detailed, draperies add pattern, texture and personal touch! I liked the way one designer described them to me. "They either hide a sight or accent a view!" Draperies not only provide glamour to a room's decor but insulation value which is a big buzz word this winter. Bedding is extremely easy to transform with duvets and shams! Accent pillows are easy to come by with leftover fabric and trim. I have found a artistic "gem" whose sewing creativity is phenomenal!

This autumn has been inspiring working along side of so many of you in your areas of expertise, getting familiar with your businesses, and sharing different aspects of a client's design project. I have learned much and appreciate so your trust and confidence in our talents. Thank you!

“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” – Meister Eckhart

Sunday, September 6, 2009

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do."

Whoooosh!!! I totally missed August! I pulled my face out from the book I was reading (Learning to Breathe by Alison Wright-an excellent book that I am on my second time through!) to discover September was here and retail was back in full swing. August, notorious for being a slow, low month in retail due to vacations, had collapsed thankfully into the beginnings of autumn and holiday planning. Many of you are hoping along with me that our clients will continue to gain confidence in our economy and allow us to assist them in freshening their interior spaces. Hunter Douglas is sporting new product colors and materials, fabric suppliers are sending out new books of gorgeous colors and coordinates, and seminars have given us the latest trends and sale techniques . We now just need our clients to feel the need, any need, to freshen up, add to, or totally overhaul existing decor.

We have worked along side many of you, in a team approach, to bring the client the best of our individual expertise. Networking has helped all of us support each other, learn from one another, and offer our clients a full array of interior design services. It is always a win-win combination for all concerned. Since our design expertise centers on window decor, we are continually asked by our clients for designer referrals for other areas of their home (i.e. space planning, furniture selection, etc.) I am thankful to many of you who have supplied me with their business cards to hand out and for those of you who have web sites to direct these potential customers to. Please feel free to stop by, drop off new business cards or chat with us if you ever have any questions. Service and knowledge remain our focus to both the designer and the client!

P.S. The flower pictured is the Chrysanthemum, the Flower of Happiness!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Lazy Days of Summer?

"Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit." - Henry David Thoreau

I am amazed that July is so near to being over! It has been a fast and full month of ups and downs, work and play, singing and sadness. Barry (husband) and I are still settling in to our new abode but so very pleased our condo sold so fast, especially in this market. We're experimenting with downtown living and finding we love its walkability and urban appeal. There certainly are many condos on the market downtown to choose from and priced very well right now. However, we found the square footage is much, much, much smaller and that posed a problem for my beautiful Bernhardt Martha Stewart four poster bed. This is from her Seal Harbor collection and has spire-like posts that went wonderfully in our post tray-ceiling bedroom. Alas, we have no tray ceiling now! So, I am offering up my gorgeous bed frame for sale....to the highest bidder, of course. It is queen size which makes its dimensions 68.125"Wx91"Dx90.25"H. Now those spire post do screw off half way down for portability but there is nothing light weight about this bed. It is built to last! It has an antique cherry finish and is only about five years old. Please direct any offers to me (Susan) at the store.

Now I also must let you know that we carry a line of hand blown glass art from local artists that range in objects from jewelry to vases, from beverage glasses to soap dishes. These artists are from the Burning Tree Studio and offer pieces using a variety of techniques including blown, fused, torched and stained. I am fortunate to have talked them into displaying their work here at my store during their off-blowing summer months and between craft shows. Please stop by and see their unique array of glass gifts. Their web site is listed under my favorites things!

Oh, did I mention that these artists are my son, Brett McKey, and his girlfriend, Kyle Tufford? :)

Monday, June 15, 2009


"In the hope of reaching the moon, men fail to see the flowers that blossom at their feet."- Albert Schweitzer

June is peony month! They are blooming in a multitude of colors, drooping heavy on bushes lush with green leaves. Grandmother's yard is overflowing with these fragrant (and ant covered) showy perennials and a visit to her garden is a feast for the eyes and nose!

I am sure that fabric designer Anne Selke's inspiration for her latest line of pattern and color has been born from a walk through Grandmother's garden. (I would dare say that she is a peony lover!) Her vibrant colors are a feast for the eyes and delightful to use in demure dabs or bold statements. Greenhouse Design showcases her many fabrics on line for ease of access while researching.

Another summer inspiration is the new Hunter Douglas Vignette Tiered Roman Shade with a cordless operation in 34 new colors! This "stackable" design does not roll up into a headrail like its predecessor, but actually stacks like a classic roman shade. Best of all, you have the option of no cords! There is a low profile, fabric covered headrail that requires less mounting depth - ideal for shallow windows and french doors.

Smooth, neutral white backing that lends itself to a clean exterior appearance and the exclusive cordless feature is a child safety plus compared to typical roman shades.

June is blooming with flowers, colors and new products. Please stop by for a visit and let us share with you all our summer specials! Look forward to seeing you soon!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Stevie's Room

The Home of the Month in May's issue of Grand Rapids Magazine featured beautiful photos of an East Grand Rapids' home that we had the privilege of supplying window coverings for. Home owner and designer Margaux Drake had prepared to perfection each room of this lovely home, however, not all the photos could be included in the magazine layout. One room in particular that I enjoyed photographing was her son's room, Stevie. Perhaps because I raised two boys of my own, I was drawn to the more masculine elements and colors of this room. Also, I had the opportunity to view this room when it was utilized prior as Margaux's office and studio. The neutral color draperies and textured woven woods of the office decor remained a warm and cozy backdrop for her son's sanctuary. The punch of vibrant color in the striped bed covering was the "icing of the cake". The transformation to Stevie's room is delightful, bright and cheery!

Monday, April 27, 2009

May is just around the corner and I am so excited. It is one of my most favorite months of the year. We will leave April's mainly moist weather and emerse ourselves in May's continuing greening and blooming blossoms. May causes me to throw open the windows, fill the flower pots, and rearrange every room in the house. This May I can also look forward to the Grand Rapids Magazine's Home of the Month feature which we, The Shade Shop, have been laboring all winter to produce with the gracious help of our dear designer friend, Margaux Drake of The M.Drake Co. She generously opened her home and let us share in its gorgeous transformation by supplying all the window coverings pictured in the magazine spread. We are thankful to all the talented hands that were involved in this project. An especially BIG thank you to Jessica Maycroft of Slipcovers Plus Home Decor who waved her magic wand and literally made the elegant taffeta draperies appear overnight. (Pictures will be forthcoming to my site as soon as I purchase rights!) It was an amazing project resulting in amazing pictures by Johnny Quirin and a superb story by Brenda Cook. Such work, such scary deadlines, such fun!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Adios Good Friends

I am sure you all have heard by now that our designer "haven of help", Michigan Design Resources, is closing its doors. Another sad victim of this present economy and a sad loss to our design trade family. We will miss the friendly and inviting atmosphere of their cozy operation and the welcoming smiles that always greeted us from each staff member. Fortunately, it is not disappearing completely, but being absorbed by our giant friend in the industry, Israels Designs For Living, who will combine it with their John Widdicomb Trade Center operation. Fortunate, also, for us is the fact that the staff at MDR will carry on as Design For Living employees and we will continue to enjoy their expert knowledge and friendly, helpful personalities. All of us wish MDR the very best as they morph into their new roll within the trade giant, Israels, and look forward to the new & fresh flavor of assistance and hospitality it will bring to the Design For Living team.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Is it Spring yet?

I don't know about you, but I need a little bit of fun color right about now! It has been rainy and dreary! I have been looking at dirty snow melting on dirty ground and longing for a sprig of "pretty" color to appear. Spring is around the corner but I know it will be just a while before "spring color" arrives. Greenhousedesign.net has fantastic new Lifestyle Collection available for viewing. This picture is their "Bright and Fun" collection and there are twenty-two more collections to view and dream about. Find your favorite and start dreaming and planning your upcoming spring color combinations. Spring will be here before we know it! Yes, it will!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Just one of the many latest trends

I love the way if feels on my skin and I love the way if magically alters my skin tone and physical flaws. Sheer fabrics are making a comeback in women's wear in scarves and tops and these soft translucent fabrics are being used more in home interiors. The trend is migrating from Asia, where sheer textiles have long been favored by fashion and interior designers. Luxurious and sensual sheer materials elevate the style of any room. Hunter Douglas Window Fashions uses hundreds of sheer fabrics across their product lines. Just as they can transform your skin tone when worn, they can transform the light entering a window into a soft glow. This year, add them to your home as well as your wardrobe! (pictured is the Hunter Douglas Silhouette - text courtesy of Sally Morse, Dir. of Creative Services at Hunter Douglas.)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Maiden Posting

I am venturing into unchartered blogging territory and declare our new blogging site to be officially "open" even if under construction. Please bear with me as I discover how it all works and I invite you to continue revisit for the latest in window covering news, creative ideas, and completed projects!


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