Wednesday, April 20, 2011


colfax & fowler Interior Inspirations (218x257) (2)

My copy of designer Roger Banks-Pye’s book, Interior Inspirations is tattered and worn, binding is splitting, pages creased from earmarks, and years of design comments written on every page.  In other words….it is well used!!

No one does cozy elegant better than the British.

“The rooms are a bit eccentric with some hodge-podge thrown in, but they look like they evolved over time. These homes are not the American, brand-spanking new look.” as Jennifer Boles of  BiblioStyle writes and I agree!

colfax & fowler book 3

Roger’s sketches, complete with water color accents, detailed his imaginative designs and he never stopped experimenting with fresh ideas.

colfax & fowler book

He detailed exactly every element of his project’s design, from color, fabric, measurements, method of construction….every degree of the plan was technically planned to produce the grand finale.

Colfax & Fowler book2

If you don’t own a copy of this marvelous book, you must add it to your library.

Do you have a favorite design book you always refer to?  Please let me know!

Monday, April 18, 2011



Yes, we were all sad this morning in Grand Rapids to wake up to snow falling…..especially after last week’s 80o   weather!!!!  I don’t know who said that “April is the cruelest month” but they were certainly right.  It is a teaser!


Oh, by the way, welcome back home, Corie, to Michigan from that warm, sunny cruise in the Caribbean that you were on!!! 

"April's rare capricious loveliness."
-  Julia Dorr

Thursday, April 14, 2011



Isn’t this lovely??   Wouldn’t you love to be aboard that cruise ship lounging in the warm sun, sipping your wine (or whatever), throwing all cares overboard, slowly meandering toward Cozumel?


Yes!  Me too!!!!  However, I am not……. but my “right-hand woman”, my “assistant extraordinaire”,  my “go to”, my “can do everything" ,  the "smiles & greets of the store”  IS ON THAT BOAT!!    Everyone who knows our business, knows Corie and her quick flash of a smile and extensive knowledge of every window treatment we have!  She’s been with us……well…..forever and I miss her but hope she is having just a superbly relaxing and enjoyable week with the “girls” (mom, sister, aunts)!  And I know she is thinking, “wish you were here Sue”.   Yeah!  Me too!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

THE ROLLER SHADE……redefined!

I am continuing from my last post with this seemingly boring subject as this is the time of year when we are inundated with roller shade questions, orders and repairs….and I thought maybe I would just share a few tidbits on this subject……then I’ll move on to something more interesting and beautiful!!!!!


The saying, “you’ve come along way, baby”, fits this product aptly.  I spoke in my last post about the quirky attributes of the “original” roller shade apparatus – the spring tension roller.  Yes, it can drive you mad but some people still somehow choose to  buy and use it despite the warning labels of possible insanity!


However, crafty engineers have enabled us to progress far from the threat of straightjackets by developing a continuous cord clutch mechanism that raises and lowers the shade with such sumptuous ease! 


Now I realize that I am not telling you something that you don’t already know as these have been on the market for quite some time.  They have revolutionized the popularity of roller shades and new fabric options are exploding off the design table into the marketplace (and puhleeeze, I am not talking about the shade fabric with the imprint of your favorite sport’s team logo!)

shade fabric

These new fabrics being introduced each year are classy, with a variety of designs, colors, textures, and opacities.


Here is where I insert the big BUT……….not all roller shades clutches are made alike.  Buyer beware……some manufacturers like to skimp on quality and will make you once again look in the attic for that straightjacket if you "”chose poorly.”   Of course, if it is made by Hunter Douglas, you are wise and “chose well.”

Three bits of advice from someone who has held the tissue box for many a weepy client that  bought cheap less expensive roller shades…..  and I will say no more:

1.  Wide shades, larger than 48” in width, should be put on large diameter rollers (more than 1 1/8”) and don’t let anyone tell you different!

2.  Small or narrow shades should be put on large diameter rollers.   Believe me…they roll straighter….even with a clutch.  (I can see the nods of approval of those that have watched a narrow shade on a “skinny roller” track off center as they raise it.  You know what I mean!)

3.  Inexpensive fabrics on those  inexpensive shades you purchased can stretch and warp….thus waving and fraying…..thus the weeping and gnashing of your teeth as you try to operate them.   You get what you pay for!

Please feel free to send me any questions regarding your rascal shade or better yet….stop by with it…..I have the tissue box waiting!!

“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.”

William A. Foster

Monday, April 4, 2011


No, I am not going psychological on you.  I wouldn’t touch the human psychic with a ten foot pole!  I am talking about our relationship with the spring tension roller shade………….we all know it!  Its been around long enough that all of us, even the great ol’ wise designing wizards, will bow their shaking heads and sigh. 

Margaux3 photo

We love it for its simplicity and hate it for its temperamental operation.   We love it’s clean lines. We hate that it won’t stop where we want.  We love no pull cords.  We hate bumping the spring and  trying to wind it with a fork.   See this picture above….how evenly they line up?   …….one chance in a million!! !! I should have played the lotto that day!

Margaux 4 photo-shade

I have seen this seemingly innocent apparatus unleash the wildest fury in men and bring women weeping and sobbing into my store.  Its touchy spring and lightening quick release has scared the beegeebees out of people in the middle of the night and provided countless hours of entertainment for little hands who delight in seeing how long they can pull it down and how quickly it retracts once they let go!  I don’t know who invented the roller shade spring but I guarantee he/she is still rolling in their grave with laughter!


I for one love the roller shade (as well I had better) because it is simple, has clean lines, makes a statements with or without the accompaniment of a drapery or valance, and most importantly, I am not particular as to where it stops on the window, which extricates most of the aggravation with this product.  We ol’ wise ones (those of us who have worked through the “beating them on the ground” stage) have acquired a Zen-like understanding of the inner workings of these critters…….the secret lies with “the dogs”!  The little “paws” that drop onto the pinwheel of a spring to stop or release its erratic motion.  Stop in sometime and I’ll give you a glimpse into my crystal ball of roller shade secrets.  You’ll be amazed at how easy they are to conquer!

Saturday, April 2, 2011



Whether square, triangle, round, large, small, medium, plastic, metal, or any color under the sun, this trendy drapery statement can be found in just about every design magazine on the market.


Grommet drapery closeup

This grommet craze, of course, didn’t begin with draperies!  The first record of a “ring or wreath of rope” from the French “gromette” dates back to 1626.  However the first recorded “metal eyelet” dates to 1769.   Grommets today are used all over the world from shoes and clothes to electrical and nautical applications, and….wonderfully…..for draperies! 

grommet outdoor draperies

Now with the application of outdoor finishes to drapery hardware, this grommet trend has “moved” its clean look and simplistic flare to porches, patios, gazebos and all types of sunrooms.  


It’s a style that lends itself well to a variety of decors and its natural wave-like pattern is soothing aesthetically and displays fabric beautifully. 


The latest for interior use of this ringed drapery has been the invention of a new drapery rod which enables traversing of a grommet drapery!



Isn’t this cool????  No more “flinging” the drapery across the rod and eventually tearing that front grommet loose from the fabric!    It uses a beaded cord pull system but comes only split draw (which is its only draw back – no pun intended!)



See how cleverly it mounts into each clip for the seemingly easiest “movement” of a grommet drapery you’ll ever have.

Confession time………I have never used this product!

However, in my defense of writing about something I know nothing about, I have used many contraptions  drapery rods and it does appear for some applications this clip rod would traverse a grommet drapery smoothly and evenly with virtually no fabric contact!  It seems like an excellent answer to problems encountered when using grommets draperies on tall windows or covering large expanses……

Question time……… Has anyone ever used this or something like it?  Feedback is always appreciate and I would love to hear about your experiences, good or bad, and pass it along so we can all benefit from it’s use or save ourselves from calamity!!

Anyway….it seems like one answer, but as H.L. Mencken said, “for every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple,……and wrong!”


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