How remote control blinds can allow you to relax in your home

So you’re curled up on the couch with your favourite drink and your snuggle buddy (mine is my dog, Zoe) – ready to watch that highly-anticipated movie, ready to truly relax, when you suddenly realize that the glare on your screen means you need to close the window coverings! You could get up, ruining the comfortable little nest you’ve made for yourself on the couch. Or… you could close your motorized, remote control blinds without even leaving your seat! Wouldn’t that be nice?

Couple-Watching-UP-TV1

Automated motorized window covering products include drapery tracks (that roll from left to right across the window), solar screen or fabric pleated shades (that move up from the bottom), and even shades that move from the top down.

remote control blinds

Any motorized blind can respond to your command by the push of a button on a wall switch or a remote control.You can even move the shades with your favourite mobile device! For example, Hunter Douglas provides an app for Apple products that allows full control from your iPhone or iPad. hd_app_1_0

Some manufacturer’s automated shades can have a timer that can be set to respond to the time of day, a pre-set room temperature, or even the position of the sun. This means the blinds can:

  • automatically close to stop the sun’s glare from damaging or discolouring furniture and artwork
  • open in cold weather to keep your heating bills down
  • close in warm weather to keep your cooling bills down
  • open in the morning to provide a pleasant wake-up call
  • close when you’re away to prevent anyone from seeing in

The possibilities are endless. Just imagine if you have a motorized shade in your children’s rooms… While you are in the kitchen enjoying your morning coffee, you realize it’s late and you still can’t hear your kids getting up for school. To help them wake up, you pick up your iPad, and with a single swipe of your finger, voila!, their blinds are opened without you even having to step foot in their room!

In all of these great explanations why motorized shades are so convenient and easy to operate, the number one reason why most of my clients ask about motorized shades is that their furniture, or their teenager’s pile of clothes, is blocking the access to the blind’s pull cords.

Remote control blinds

In spite of all these benefits, you might think that the cost of automatic blinds would outweigh the practical application. However, over the years they have become more and more affordable, as well as user-friendly. Furthermore, their cost can be off-set by the long-term energy savings from decreasing both your heating and cooling bills. There are numerous companies that provide excellent automatic systems, including:

Whole-Home Integration

Along with controlling your Hunter Douglas PowerView® shades through the PowerView App and Pebble® Control, PowerView® Motorization also seamlessly integrates with other sophisticated whole-home automation systems. Synchronize your ‘Scenes’ to automatically activate in coordination with your other smart home devices to create picture-perfect settings throughout the day, every day.

With the right motorized blinds, you can make sure your home gets the light—or shade—it needs in a way most convenient for you.

If you would like an estimate on motorizing your window coverings, contact me at info@urbanaesthetics.ca

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Winning Gold for decorating a 398 square foot micro-suite.

An important professional challenge of mine earlier this year was figuring out how to decorate and furnish a 398 square foot show suite inside a new development in Surrey, BC.  I was hired by the developer’s marketing company to decorate and set up a display suite for their micro-suite. They wanted to show a small space with maximum style for maximum affordability.

My purpose in staging the 398 sq ft display suite was to show potential buyers how they could have a complete living space within a single 398 square foot room. My reward at the end of that exciting and challenging process was winning the Gold Award for decorating a 398 square foot micro-suite through the Decorators and Designers Association of Canada (formerly CDECA). 

CDECA is a national organization of accredited interior decorators and their Decorating and Design Competition’s awards luncheon was held in Toronto on April 14, 2014. I was able to fly to Toronto to attend the ceremony and receive my gold award from a representative of the “Homestaging” category’s sponsor, Speers Flooring.

Gold award win in CDECA decorating competition

Receiving design award from award sponsor Speers Flooring representative.

The Planning Process

It took about three months to plan, connect with local vendors, source furniture, and implement my idea in order to show potential future homeowners that they could have their bedroom, living space, dining table, workspace and kitchen all in one room.  No “small” task!

Gold award win in CDECA decorating competition

Ultra 398 sq ft bachelor suite furnished by Urban Aesthetics

My style idea for the suite involved an overall neutral palette of white and grey with trendy shades of turquoise and orange as accent colours.

The geometric pattern wallpaper in a darker grey colour helps to define the living area and is a great backdrop for the neutral coloured apartment sized sofa from IKEA.  

I’m proud to say this small space was furnished and styled within the real estate developer’s budget, which was under $12,000.

Gold award win in CDECA decorating competition

Instant Bedrooms wallbed

Instant Bedrooms wall bed ~ Queen bed or table.

Furniture for living in small spaces

I sourced the living area furniture and accessories at Ikea, Crate and Barrel, and CB2 The awesome multi-functional wall bed and drop down table combination is made by Instant Bedrooms Manufacturing in Yaletown.

Gold award win in CDECA decorating competition

Interior design by Nancy DeVries of Urban Aesthetics

I’m very excited to have won this award as all the winners in the competition were selected by my peers in the organization and I’m proud of my achievement in a profession that I love. I’m also excited to be able to use my experience winning this award to highlight that people can have affordable and stylish design, including hiring a professional such as myself, without having to pay a fortune.

Style doesn’t have to break the bank to be good!

If you would like to know more about this project or if you would like to create a new look for a room in your home, connect with me here.

Related posts:

Finding Your Decorating Starting Line

‘Couchsourcing’: The Search For the Perfect Sofa Explained

 

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Top trends in window coverings

The following blog post is taken from the Decorators & Designers Association of Canada blog website which features decorating tips, how-to’s and advice from experts who are accredited members of this association. This blog post features yours truly as one of the experts answering questions about the top trends in window coverings.

There are plenty of trends out there right now for people looking to spice up their windows. From textured sheers to roller shades, here are some of the top trends in the window treatment market right now.

Roller shades and screens

Roller shades, which are a straight piece of fabric attached to a roller that pulls it up and down, have come a long way from the vinyl fabrics of the past.

Coordinating fabrics on roller shades and gliding panels

Roller shade and Gliding panels in the same fabric.

“The industry has come up with trendier colours and patterns and made these window coverings affordable and less bulky-looking with improved function and operational hardware,” says Nancy DeVries of Urban Aesthetics in North Vancouver.

Modernized sheers

DeVries says that sheer-looking shades, such as the Pirouette blind from Hunter Douglas, are big sellers right now. “Clients love the function of the sheer shade when the vanes are open for sun protection and daytime privacy,” she says. “When the soft fabric folds are in the closed position, it gives the look of a roman shade and clients are attracted to the dual function of this type of shade.”

Pirouette sheer shades by Hunter Douglas

Pirouette Shades by Hunter Douglas

 Ana Gomes of Personal Touch Interiors in Ottawa says she’s seen sheers updated with interwoven materials and patterns, which creates an added texture and interest. “Embossed or printed patterns, with more colour choices, are also a trend right now,” she says.

Green window coverings

Gomes says that she’s found an increased focus on green design as more and more people are concerned about the chemicals found in traditional window shading and fabrics. “Some performance fabrics have gone green with anti-microbial, anti-fungal traits woven into the yarn,” she says. “Another option is to have it done as a top spray, added after.”

Woven wood shades by Hunter Douglas

 Provenance Woven Wood Shades by Hunter Douglas

Other green trends in window coverings include linen and cotton fabrics and bamboo blinds.

Delicate detailing and plenty of patterns

Fancy details such as ribbon, beaded trim and luxury fabrics are also a big trend right now, says Gomes. Similarly, strong patterns are making their way into the market, with large-scale florals, bold stripes and graphic geometric designs creating some eye-catching options.

pleated shades in fun patterns by Hunter Douglas

Pleated shades with fun patterns to dress up your windows.

However, despite this move to flashy patterns, clean, sleek, crisp lines remain the preferred choice for most window treatments.

If you would like to know more about any of these top window covering trends, click here to contact Nancy.

Have you signed up for the Urban Aesthetics’ newsletter where you can find out more about decorating and what’s currently trending? Click here for the link to the UA website where you can subscribe.

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Finding your decorating starting line.

For the past few months I’ve been working on several decorating projects with both new and previous clients. One of these jobs involved helping a client find new fabric to reupholster her living room furniture. Other clients purchased all new furniture –– their first time doing so in a couple of decades –– along with flooring for a new condo. The third client was a condo developer with a new studio suite that needed to be styled and furnished so potential buyers could visualize how they could live in the 400 sq. ft. space.

Gold Award winning display
Gold Award winning display

 

The common theme among these clients was a blank space (or fresh palette, in the case of the reupholstering job), and what they needed help with was finding their decorating starting line. Where do you start when you have a whole room that needs to be furnished and decorated? Most people will begin by going to the paint store and looking at paint chips to find their new wall colour, which they feel will help them in choosing their flooring or new furniture. After they have looked at 50 tiny paint samples and painted five or more sample colours on the walls (as in the picture below), they will call a colour consultant such as myself to come to their home because they are unsure which colour would best go with their yet-to-be-selected flooring or sofa or drapes (which usually is the reason why they are changing the wall colour in the first place).

Where do you start when decorating your home

Pinterest

So my question is, why let the paint colour, which will be the least expensive cost of the decorating budget, dictate what the flooring, drapes or sofa fabric colours will be? All of these big ticket décor items are going to have a longer lifetime in your home, which also means that they will more than likely eat up most of the decorating budget. It’s these items that need to be selected first before you dash off to the paint store to pick out possible paint colours.

My guess for why people think choosing a paint colour is the starting point is that the walls are the “outside” of a room. Rationally that’s how we work, from the outside to the inside –– with our dinner forks, our donuts, and our redecorating. But I’m here to tell you that where you should really start is the inside. Your inside…

Tap into your artistic “eye”. That means finding out what decorating styles you are instinctually attracted to. You may not know why you like a particular design, you just feel it. So allow your instincts to guide you. Start by going through décor magazines and tearing out photos of rooms that you’re drawn to, even if you don’t know why; just go with your gut reaction. Make a pile of these photos and when you’re done, go through all of them again. If it helps, circle the items that you really like about a room. You will start to see your design style in the highlighted items.

Centsationalgirl.com

Now you’re on your way to creating your dream design “visual board”. These photos will also help a design professional or sales associate see what your style is, which in turn will help them serve you more efficiently. You can also do the same thing digitally on websites like Pinterest.

Pinterest

Finally, with your completed visual board, you will have a clearer vision of your design concept, so you can start shopping. You’ll be more focused on what you’re looking for because you’ve already found it in print! There’s less of a chance you’ll be distracted by trendy items that you might see featured in the stores or showrooms when you have a design plan that you really want to follow. You’ve found your starting line, now go get the look you want for your home!

Happy shopping!

If you are struggling to find your starting line in your decorating project, why not hire a professional?

Did you enjoy my article? Then why not like me on Facebook to stay in touch!

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From concept to completion: How custom drapes for a nursery meets the due date.

A fresh update for a client’s master bedroom.

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From concept to completion: How custom drapes for a nursery meets the due date.

Back in the fall of last year, I received a call from a new client (a referral from a past client – the best compliment!) who was looking for help with decorating the spare bedroom with custom drapes and wall paint colour to become a nursery for her yet-to-be-born baby. How exciting!

We started with looking at her existing furniture and area rug to see what she thought she would keep in the room and what she should remove. Loveseat – remove; desk – remove; chair – remove; area rug – keep; bookcase – keep. As it was a white painted bookcase, we knew we could work with that. From this point, she would purchase the nursery furniture that would coordinate with the style of the bookcase.

That left the area rug as our jumping off palette for colour and pattern design style.

Selecting the wall paint colour

We started looking at paint colours to see what colours she liked with the rug and we settled on a fresh green Benjamin Moore’s AF 455 Croquet. Since we still needed to select the fabric for the drapery, this was just a tentative colour. I always suggest that the final wall colour be chosen after you have selected all of other materials with colour and pattern on them.

It’s easier to change the paint colour than it is to find the right fabric or bedding to match one particular colour.

colours

Selecting fabrics for custom drapes

Our next consultation was to look at fabrics for the drapes. I brought over two bags of fabric books and we looked at all the fabrics, bookmarking the ones that we liked on the first flip through. Once we went through all the books, we reviewed our bookmarked options and narrowed down our preferences.

Next, I ordered larger fabric samples so we could see the individual swatches and then review our choices again. However, once the samples arrived a few days later, we still felt like we were missing our statement fabric.

The client went to various fabric stores and found a few options, but again, nothing was really speaking to her. We then met up at Fabricland in Richmond and went through what felt like every bolt of fabric only to come up with an option that was a sample of a fabric that needed to be ordered. When we asked for the information and a sample, we found out that it had just been discontinued! How disappointing!

A week or so later, I was at a “to-the-trade” furniture and fabric showroom to see a new furniture line that they were showcasing. While I was waiting to speak with the visiting furniture sales rep,  I thought I would ask the showroom staff to show me some fabrics that might work for my client. In about 10 minutes, we had found the fabric that I thought would be perfect! I got a sample, snapped a photo of it and emailed it to the client.

She instantly loved it! I then found coordinating solid coloured fabrics that we wanted to use as banding and we finalized our decision.

Here is the “Before” photo of the window:

And here are the curtains on the area carpet, waiting for the rod to be installed:

  And here are the curtains installed:

custom nursery drapes

custom colour banded nursery drapes

Colour banded drapes using 3 different fabrics

Custom baseboard heater cover

Underneath the window was a baseboard heater, so for safety reasons, we couldn’t have the length of the drapes go to the floor and rest on the heater. The only option was for the bottom of the curtains to go to line up with the bottom of the window ledge, which in the end made the window look like it was wearing a dress that was too short. This look really bothered me, so I mentioned to the client that I would like to come up with a design for a baseboard cover that would the cover the heater and match the width of the curtain panels. Instead of having a wooden cover made — again not a safe choice when covering a heater — I found the company Arsco Manufacturing in Cincinnati, Ohio that manufactures steel baseboard covers. I immediately called them to see if they would ship to Canada and was so excited to know that they could — plus they would be able to have it made in about 2.5 weeks. We were working with a “deadline” after all! My issues were solved and the end result is fantastic.

custom nursery drapes over top of a custom baseboard heater cover

Close up of custom baseboard heater cover

 

custom nursery drapes over top of a custom baseboard heater cover

 Photos by Nancy DeVries

Is there a room in your home that needs a custom touch?

Related posts:

A Fresh Update for a Client’s Master Bedroom

7 Tips to personalize your bathroom

If you have a room in your home that needs window coverings and are feeling overwhelmed with the multitude of choices, consider hiring a professional to help you with your planning and design.

Contact me here for my fee schedule and design services.

 

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