Saturday, December 11, 2010


Life is rich, beauty is everywhere, every personal connection has meaning and laughter is life's sweetest creation and gift to share!

By H. Jackson Brown Jr., Rosemary Brown, and Kathy Peel
  • Be the first to wish everyone you meet Merry Christmas.

  • Take a basket of goodies to a notoriously grumpy neighbor.

  • Be nice to sale personnel. They are ofter wearier than you are.

  • Sprinkle confetti in your Christmas card envelopes.

  • Take a basket of goodies to your local fire and police stations.

  • Never write the word Christmas as X-mas.

  • Don't give anyone a fruitcake!

  • Tip someone who doesn't expect it.

  • Remember that the best solution for holiday blues is to do something special for someone else.

  • Watch It's a Wonderful Life.

  • Cut off the fronts of attractive Christmas cards to use as gift tags.

  • Give an anonymous gift of money to someone who is laid off.

  • Be ready with a smile or hug.

  • Compliment at least three people every day....and not just in December!

  • Make your family feel just as important as your holiday company.

  • Pay a debt for someone.

  • Remember that peace on earth begins with peace in our homes and in our hearts.

  • Don't forget whose birthday we are celebrating.

To all, whatever holiday you celebrate, however you celebrate, with whom ever you celebrate, may you enjoy peace, share peace and take peace with you into each day ahead in this coming year!

Saturday, October 23, 2010


"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns."
By George Elliot

Autumn is perhaps my most favorite time of year (but I might have said that about spring also!) That is why I love Michigan, I get to experience so many different wonderful aspects of all the seasons! Autumn, by one definition I read recently is "a period of maturity verging on decline." Reminded me of the age I find myself at these days!! I'd rather refer to autumn (and my age) as a time of respite, reflection, reorganization & renewal. "Change" is the buzz word appropriate for this time of year and we have certainly seen it occur in the life of our friends at Israel's! People erroneously surmise that this news of a competitor's collapse makes me happy, however, I want to declare that indeed it does not! With the closing of Israel's doors also closes a long-standing chapter on Grand Rapids' design history, closes a chapter on a family's generous philanthropic outpouring into a community that is very beholding, and closes the doors on yet another empty building with the rippling effect of lost jobs, lost incomes, and lost hopes for many people. No one likes to see a noble giant fall, crippled and humbled. It breaks my heart for their loss and ours as a community. I can only hope the their years of longevity has produced enough maturation and wisdom to spring forth from this rubbled respite with reflection, reorganization & renewal!

"Change" is also the buzzword this autumn for Hunter Douglas with the unveiling of Design Studio Roman Shades. "Custom. Redefined" to quote them directly! Four distinctive shades styles, 320 timeless fabrics from around the world include woven with blends of cottons, linens, silks and synthetic fibers. The best is that ALL fabrics are sourced in wide widths so shades can be made up to 96" with NO vertical seams!!! Yes! You read that correctly! 96" wide and no seams!! And fabrics are available by the yard for additional design opportunities. Coordinating valances complement Design Studio Roman shades, as well as being available for other Hunter Douglas window fashions. Personalize any design by adding distinctive decorative tapes and trims. Their innovative cording system reduces access to the rear cords for enhanced child and pet safety. The double-turned side and bottom hems provide a custom finished look, while stiff battens add structure and support. Discover the soft side of Hunter Douglas!
Changes have taken place in the column just to the right in the addition of a new blog to watch called One of my favorite fabric suppliers, Greenhouse Design, lists this blog as one of the five up and coming blogspots to watch this year. Enthusiastic and inspirational! Also, added to the column on the right is, a sister company to Hunter Douglas,

Carole Fabrics has served the design community for over 50 years, offering exceptional quality and customer assistance. Available 24/7, CaroleNet .com offers more than 10,000 designer fabrics, trims and hardware. Let Carole Fabrics bring your decorating dreams and ideas to life!!
(Pictures courtesy of Carole Fabrics)

"Change is a measure of time and, in the autumn, time seems speeded up. What was is not and never again will be; what change." author unknown

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Plum, Chocolate, and Technology?????

"But up in that tree sits a chocolate cat,
And a ginger bread dog prowls below-
And this is the way you contrive to get at
Those sugar-plums tempting you so...."
By Eugene Field

Now that September has arrived, we all know what follows next.....and quickly. Yes, the HOLIDAYS! I find myself mentioning that often to my clients, and not as subtly as I probably should..... but I do not feel like encountering the last minute, need-it-next-week deadlines this season. Therefore, I am preparing my clients ahead of time that decorating "times-a-currently-wasting!"

One of the more popular color trend we've been seeing this year in our drapery projects is the varying degrees of purple and its deeper "plum" cousin. I do believe this wonderful plum delight will follow us right into the holiday season of Christmas with it's also popular companions of chocolate brown, warm grays, and red-cast blues. (photo to the left courtesy

I see pink/plum and gray/silver sparkles adorning ornaments, smell plum puddings being baked, hear the lilting music of the "Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy", and have "visions of sugar plums dancing in my head"! Well, at least at my house that is what will be happening! My granddaughters will see to that!!

Another very popular trend we've been encountering in 2010 is the demand for motorization options in window treatments. This is an issue we find that people tend to shy away from due to the technical knowledge that is required. After all, who keeps abreast of which intelligent motor control will be needed for remote, keypad, or automated operations???? Well....we do! From the simplest of Hunter Douglas PowerRise battery operated shades to the more intricate control options of sun sensor controls that integrate with your home's automation system , we will assist you with educating your client and acquaint them with the working displays in our showroom for better visualization. Technology need not be avoided! "Technology is everywhere!" says Jamie Robinson, The Chic Geek. "It's in your garden. It's in your home. It's in your kitchen. It's in your car. There really isn't anywhere that technology isn't!" We heartily agree with Jamie and join with her in making technology approachable, fashionable, and fun. Fully automated homes and businesses are on the rise, even in the tight economy of the West Michigan area. Leed-certified homes & businesses are demanding integration of all systems; lighting, air conditioning, heating, audio-visual, windows, and security. Please don't hesitate to contact us and allow us to help you use this new technology to your benefit.

And before you know it, we will be plunging into 2011 with coral, turquoise, fushsia and orange, with royal purples and yellow greens and, yes.......with technology.

It is all around us... just as color is and is becoming as important in our projects. We will incorporate this new aspect of design into our presentation boards along with the texture, color, floor plans, and sketches....with our usual flair and confidence!

"Some people worry that artificial intelligence will make us feel inferior, but then, anybody in his right mind should have an inferiority complex every time he looks at a flower!" Alan C. Kay

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Beach, Babies & Summer Sunsets!

"Beach sand, perfect tans. Day walks, night talks. Sleepless nights, pillow fights & spending every day with those who matter most!"

I am positive that I will not be alone when I say, "Where has this summer gone?" Next week will hail in the beginning of August and mark the close of our Michigan summer season. I've been immersed in slow, lazy summer living and haven't even bothered blogging (as I have noticed has been the case with many of my blogger friends). It is break time, after, change in the usual routines, time to enjoy the opportunity of Michigan's out-of -doors in warmth and sunshine and we sure have had plenty of that, haven't we?

Hopefully, you have had a chance to view at least one or two of the gorgeous northern Michigan sunsets this season or at least stayed at the Lake Michigan shoreline until the day's end to drink in the beauty of the magnificent and dramatic display the sun provides as it disappears below the horizon.

Frankly, I haven't had the chance to do many of the pastimes I treasure most as business has claimed much of my attention. I have seen many of you in my store and have heard similar comments, yet we are all grateful for the business our clients bring us during these tight times. Cottages, vacations, grandchildren, parades, fireworks, ice cream and watermelon still have managed to squeeze themselves in thankfully and there is still some time left for those of us who haven't quite had our fill.

So, forgive me if I don't have anything design-worthy to say at this time as the summer has claimed my brain and pulled my attentions else-where and this wonderful dilema will continue at least for a month I hope it will for you! See you in September!

"Summer love - midnight kisses - shooting stars - secret wishes! The tans will fade, but the memories will last forever!"

Friday, May 14, 2010


"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The other day as my husband and I were out driving through our fair city, we saw the car in front of us throw some form of litter out their car window. Disgust was my immediate reaction! As we pulled into our store's parking lot, we noticed some adults lingering outside the back entry of a neighboring business smoking and flicking their butts to the ground. Are they mindless? Who in our society these days, with the knowledge of our human impact on earth, can do such a thing?

Well, fortunately, once into work, my first opened e-mail was Rapid Growth Media (an e-publication that keeps me up to date on current Grand Rapids' events) and there, countering the ugliness of the human spirit I had just seen, was a wonderful and inspiring article on Eden Environments. For those of you who don't know yet (and I can hardly believe there are many) Denise Hopkins, founder of this sustainable building design center, cares! From what she does, what she sells, who she is....this woman cares about making our environments healthy and our earth whole! I have been impressed with her genuine quest for the best sustainable solutions for her clients and have enjoyed thoroughly working with her on various projects. Denise also had an article in May's Women's Lifestyle (another media piece I love to read cover to cover) and I hope she continues her focus on educating each one of us on the alternatives in design that are at our fingertips.

She has recently moved her business to a renovated warehouse on Grand Rapids' south side which, as author Deb Johnson Wood of Rapid Growth stated perfectly, "exemplifies the eco-friendly mindset that she and her business are all about". "Hats off, Denise! Well done!" say I.

You can find her link to the right under My Favorite Things and I dare you to peek. Her enthusiam is beware! You might find yourself unable to settle for anything less than green.

Before I knew it, I began searching our window covering products for Green stylish solutions. They were there all the time but just not in the fore front of my mind! Hunter Douglas has an alternative wood blind called First Edition which is PVC free, certified Greenguard (indoor air quality safe) and stills performs well in heat and sun with quality construction and all backed by Hunter Douglas' Lifetime Guarantee! Who knew?

We are all aware as well (if not, please call me!) that the Duette Architella cellular shade does qualify for a possible $1500 tax credit for 2010. These shades are well known for being top of the line in energy efficiency and void of off-gassing (for you air quality control green police out there). The patented honeycomb within a honeycomb construction form three air pockets for superior insulation between the window and the room.

This season, Hunter Douglas, has also produced a new cellular shade in their Applause line (in their spectacular new sample book) called Vintage. This fabric is 40% post-consumer recycled materials! I love it! You can have fashion choices, pricing options and be earth friendly!

Opportunities are there for us to present more earth friendly and people friendly products to our clients. It doesn't take much effort these days as these products are making such a loud impact in our marketplace. Consumers are becoming more educated and are demanding smarter products as well. Don't hesitate to stop by our Hunter Douglas Gallery showroom or Eden Environments' new showroom to learn more. We're all in this (and on this earth) together!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


"For oft, when on my couch I lie in vacant or in pensive mood, they flash upon that inward eye which is the bliss of solitude; and then my heart with pleasure fills, and dances with the daffodils"
Williams Wordsworth (1770-1850)

We surely didn't need to conjure the sight of daffodils in our mind's eye this month, did we? Everywhere I looked, yellow was blooming; from daffodils to forsythia - another "happy" flower of spring! Even tulips were on the verge of popping their petals open!

Yellow is also my four year old granddaughter's favorite color - at least this month it is. Favorites can change on a whim at four years old. However, yellow does seem to be a favorite in this year's color scheme, and all shades of yellow as well. "Yellow is the color of flowers, lemons, and sunshine. Envision also, ears of corn and vanilla pudding hues offering fresh appeal in each of its many variations," states a Martha Stewart columnist. According to Benjamin Moore experts, depending on the amount of red or blue it contains, yellow can have different personalities. Yellow with a red undertone are warm and welcoming, so they're great on large pieces of furniture and walls - "especially in north-facing rooms that might otherwise feel stark," says New York City decorator Thomas Jayne. Yellows with a hint of blue can come off as cold, so they're best used sparingly, on accessories or small furnishings. Jayne suggests keeping bright yellows out of bedrooms and offices, because they can disrupt sleep and concentration. But pale, buttery yellows "function as neutrals," he explains and can work just about anywhere.

Photo courtesy of Interiors by Thomas Jayne Studio, Inc.
In this space, golden yellow wallpaper, hand painted with botanical motifs that evoke this house's Low country setting, envelops the entry. The color immediately sets a genial welcoming tone for the rest of the house.

"I think yellow is a fundamental color to decoration because it's the basis of a warm palette," says designer Thomas Jayne. "Most people respond to rooms painted in warm colors."

Jayne feels that with yellow's versatile nature and sunny-side-up appeal, it is little wonder that yellow is a perennially popular choice for interiors.

"I like a buoyant, light-filled house, so I usually use all warm or yellow-based colors. This ocher is really a contemporary yellow shade with an antique resonance. It doesn't draw attention to itself as, say, bold yellow or even white would. The ocher walls provide support for the exceptional paintings and furniture. Bright-colored walls would visually compete. This shade flatters everyone -- it complements every skin tone." designer Thomas Jayne

Hunter Douglas has introduced some gorgeous yellows into their window covering line. The Silhouette line carries fabrics with luscious names as Vanilla Blossom, Champagne, and Buttercup. The Duette and Applause cellular shades tempt us with Iced Lemon, Honey Maple, and Lemon Meringue. You must stop by to see these gorgeous shades!

I must admit that yellow has never been a color that I have been drawn to except as its use in accents, however, this year I seem more attracted to its sunny personalities and softer sides........or maybe it's because it is my granddaughter's favorite color this month and I find myself loving anything she does.

Vincent van Gogh himself termed yellow "a color capable of charming God." That's exactly what my granddaughter does to me!!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Le mois gelé de février !

"Away in a meadow all covered with snow the little groundhog looks for his shadow. The clouds in the sky determine our fate if winter will leave us all early or late." Roy R. Gibson

So the "little groundhog" has determined six more weeks of winter , eh! That's not the determination I was hoping for! February is notoriously referred to as "frozen", "dreary", or "bleak". (However, notice that in french the title "The frozen month of February" sounds absolutely delicious!)

I guess that is why in February I begin to look for the new colors that have been predicted to appear in 2010. I look forward to the new fabric sample books that will be arriving in my showroom with the latest textures and color combination. Greenhouse Fabrics books should be arriving any day with this year's latest and greatest colors and Carole Fabrics (a Hunter Douglas company) has just posted their gorgeous new web site,, which is definitely worth a look.

Color predictions for textiles in 2010, I am happy to say, are bold and bright, and will incorporate the use of environmentally friendly, organic fabrics. Geometric prints in bold patterns - herringbone, ikats and bargello - will take the spotlight according to Robyn Griggs Lawrence, editor-in-chief, of Natural Home. Bargello, you say? I had to look that unfamiliar one up. Bargello is a needlepoint embroidery stitch that produces zigzag lines.

Purple is remaining in the palette and gray will also continue to figure largely. Color authority Pantone has named turquoise its color of the year for 2010. "Turquoise combines blue's serenity with green's invigoration, soothing us and restoring our sense of well-being." Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute says it this way:
"In many cultures, turquoise occupies a very special position in the world of color. It is believed to be a protective talisman, a color of deep compassion and healing, and a color of faith and truth, inspired by water and sky. Through years of color word-association studies, we also find that turquoise represents an escape to many - taking them to a tropical paradise that is pleasant and inviting, even it only a fantasy."

Makes me want to head straight for Mexico! Si?

Even Hunter Douglas window fashions have introduced rich and unexpected color combinations in their product lineups. Names like, rich mocha, shiraz, spice, and cumin describe the Duette palette, while parisian summer, french roast, and fired clay draw our attention to the Silhouette line.

One trend that has fluctuated over the years but is back in 2010 are antiques. Old is new again! "Antiques and vintage pieces add soul to any space, " explains interior designer Jay Jeffers. I love that description! It's like another whole spiritual dimension comes with an antique piece!

So February is beginning to hold some promise - color is on our horizon - even for the landscape and definitely for interior design! Roy R. Gibson says it best: "Keep your faith in beautiful things; in the sun when it is hidden, in the Spring when it is gone."


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