Seven Stylish Treatments for your Kitchen Sink Window

In my childhood house, the kitchen sink had no window over it, only a mirror. Even at a young age, I imagined how much better it would be to have a window with a view, providing distraction from the daily drudgery that is dish washing.

Clients usually ask me for ideas for their kitchen window coverings that have unpleasant aspects or a lack of privacy. Happily, the house I live in now does have a window over the sink and I love looking out to my back garden. This window doesn’t need a covering for sun protection or privacy, but I sometimes find myself thinking of how I would dress it if I needed to.

Here are seven stylish treatments for your kitchen sink window to make it not only functional, but stylish:

1. Valances: padded, awning and swag styles.

A valance is a window dressing that covers the top portion of the window. Styles range from fabric-covered padded boards to dressy swags to flat straight-cut valances. A valance is usually mounted on the outside frame of the window, allowing for a privacy blind or shade to be mounted underneath.

 

Valance photo collage

Pinterest and Urban Aesthetics

2. Roman shades

Roman shades can be made as a valance (decorative) or as an operable shade. This classic design works well in both traditional and modern kitchens. Custom Roman shades can be made with your choice of fabric to bring colour and elegance to your kitchen.

Maria Killam's roman shade

Maria Killam’s roman shade

3. Bamboo/woven grass shades

This is a great way to add a natural woven texture to your kitchen décor. A bamboo or woven grass shade filters the light and provides privacy. It can roll up under a valance or fold up like a Roman shade. Made from natural woods, reeds, bamboo and grasses, they are unique in that over time they attain a one-of-a-kind finish, like other wood features in your home.

Hunter Douglas Woven Woods

Woven woods roller shades

graber-woven woods

Roman shade woven woods

 

4. Stained glass window panel

This idea is practical and beautiful.  Stained glass windows have been used as decorative accents for hundreds of years. Choose the panel in a size to cover as much or as little of the window as required to hide the view or provide privacy, and in a design that provides the colour and style that complements your kitchen. As my friend who provided this photo of her window says, “While I love the view of my neighbour’s yard, this allows them some privacy. I don’t feel like a Peeping Tom, and I still get beauty and natural light.”

Photo by Sheilah H.

Photo by Sheilah H.

5. Shutters

Vinyl shutters are one the best options for window coverings in high moisture areas. They can be wiped clean and are incredibly durable in a kitchen environment. The second image below shows how this style of shutter can provide privacy when the bottom half is left closed, while still allowing light in by leaving the top half open.

shutters on kitchen sink window

Hunter Douglas Palm Beach shutters

 

Luxaflex shutters

Luxaflex shutters

6. Light filtering shades

While you may want privacy, you likely don’t want to block out all the light that comes through the kitchen window. This is where I recommend a light filtering polyester roller shade or honeycomb shade. They are easy to clean, easy to operate, and the honeycomb shades can be ordered with the top down/bottom up feature so you can lower just the top of the shade, allowing you still to see out your window.

Top down/ bottom up honeycomb shades

Top down/ bottom up shades

Sheer screen roller shade

Sheer screen roller shade

7. Shelves and plants

What I like about this option is that you can have plants do what they do best: grow in a moist area, provide shade and give you nourishment. Glass shelves secured to ledges in the window frame give you the perfect area to grow herbs or your plant of choice. And the best part is that you won’t forget to water them!

 kitchen-window-herb-garden orchids as window dressing

What is YOUR kitchen window wearing?

If you would like more information or even an free estimate regarding a treatment for your kitchen sink window, give me a call.

For more inspiration, check out my pinterest board.

 

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Hire a professional to help you deal with an unexpected mishap in your home

There’s no such thing as a good time for a burst pipe or any other unexpected disastrous mishap in your home, but when you hire a professional decorator to help and assist in the recovery process, you can save time and stress! Let me give you an example:

Recently, a long-time client of mine woke up to flooding caused by a burst water pipe in an upstairs guest room. Although much of the damage was confined to the guest room, water also flooded into the rooms below, affecting family room, living room, dining room and kitchen.

Before_during

Family Room before and during the restoration process

I have worked with this client since 2005, assisting her to choose paint colours for her whole home, and select and purchase custom furniture, window treatments, light fixtures and other décor accents. Our professional relationship proved very useful during this stressful event.

Below is the redecorated family room with new silver drapery hardware from JF Fabrics, drapery panels made with fabric from Maxwell Fabrics, and new wall colour from Benjamin Moore Paints CSP 830 Peaceful Garden.

Drapery panels on FR windows

Drapery panels and window bench cushion after renovation. Photo by Tracey Ayton Photography

Insurance and restoration companies often aren’t staffed with decorators who are experts in design, fabric, paint, and how to oversee the making of custom pieces that reflect a homeowner’s style. My client suggested to her restoration company that they bring me on board because she knew I could make sure that the items that needed to be replaced would be of the same quality as those we had originally installed. She also knew I had her information on hand, had her style in mind, and could supply the original purchase paperwork to make this process faster and smoother.

For example, years earlier we had chosen a beautiful light fixture with a lovely amber shade, and my client wanted to replace it when it was ruined in the flood. I still had the product code and contacted the light company to reorder the same style and the same colour. The salesperson confirmed the product via catalog photo and model number. I was assured the same fixture was on its way.

However, after almost six weeks of waiting, the fixture arrived and the “amber” shade was actually a reddish colour! Also, the size of the crystals was different (see photo below – original crystals on the right). The numbers matched, but the product had been revised and the original amber colour was no longer available.

chandelier mismatch crystals

I handled the situation by returning the fixture and taking my client shopping to find a new light that she loves.

Chandelier

 

Situations such as the light fixture can be hard to for a homeowner to handle on their own. It can be difficult and stressful to deal with wholesale companies or manufacturers when something goes wrong. I can handle the stress and deal with the bumps in the road for the homeowner.

I have professional relationships with furniture and design companies and their salespeople. I’ll visit the workrooms, check on the fabric, re-order and re-do things on behalf of my client. I can help speed the restoration and redecoration process so that a client isn’t living with dust and grime for what can feel like forever. It comes down to having a history of experience with my clients and connections in the decorating business that representatives from a restoration or insurance company just won’t have.

Working with the same professional decorator over time also assures that when something is redesigned, due to a change in preference or an unexpected problem such as a burst pipe, it’s easy to keep elements of the previous design and refresh other parts, such as paint colours or window treatments, to update a room. We were able to do that in the guest bedroom. Originally the walls were yellow and had no drapery panels. Now the walls are BM AF 515 Exhale (ironic don’t you think?) and match the drapery panels that were moved there from the master bedroom.

Drapery by UA1

When designs are classic and true to the style of the home, updating here and there is much simpler. And it’s exciting for me as a decorator to see how a client’s style can change over time.

If mishap does happen, be sure you know your insurance contacts, and consider hiring a professional like myself to save you time and stress in the recovery period.

I wish you a happy and prosperous 2015, and may all your renovations be planned!

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Top trends in window coverings

The following blog post is taken from the Canadian Decorators Association (CDECA) 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 on 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 boring shades and screens of the past.

Top trends in window coverings

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.”

Top trends in window coverings

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 windows

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 taits woven into the yarn,” she says. “Another option is to have it done as a top spray, added after.”

Top trends in window coverings

 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 pattern

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 strips and graphic geometric designs creating some eye-catching options.

Top trends in window coverings

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 homepage and enter your email in the box at the bottom of the page.

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Nancy’s pick of Design Apps for your mobile devices.

With technology and the accessibility of mobile devices, the selection of information that is available through apps is overwhelming, but also very exciting. App, a short form for “application”, typically refers to software used on a smartphone or mobile device such as the Android, iPhone, iPad or BlackBerry.

And in the vast world of apps, there are countless categories and options available. So I thought I would give you a short description of some design apps for your mobile devices that will fully digitize your honey-do list. And these apps might just provide the incentive your gadget-loving partner could use to tackle that list!

Nancy's pick of Design Apps for your mobile devices.

Color Capture Benjamin Moore – Free

I’m going to start off this list with one of my favourites — even though it does have the potential to put me out of a job!

This iPhone/iPad app gives you the ability to match up colours from anything that you can snap a photo of. Simply take a picture with your device within this app and it will create a colour palette from Benjamin Moore paint colours. In the image below, you can see the photo I took of the Joan Miró print that is in my office, along with some perfect colour matches that were selected for it.

Nancy's pick of Design Apps for your mobile devices.

 

Nancy's pick of Design Apps for your mobile devices.

Home Depot – Free

When it comes to finding what you need, the Home Depot app will help you locate the items you need at a store nearby. So now instead of asking someone in the orange apron, you can just ask your mobile device. Too bad this app can’t mix up your can of paint.

 

Nancy's pick of Design Apps for your mobile devices. I.D. Wood  – $4.99

This is perfect for those who work with wood in various applications. The app will help you identify 200 different wood species (like an wood identification book would have) with full screen photos and detailed description of the uses and look of the wood, all on your smartphone. It also gives you information such as wood origin, hardness, durability and common uses.

 

Nancy's pick of Design Apps for your mobile devices. Houzz Interior Design Ideas — Free

I love this website! While I use it for my own inspiration, it also allows me to create digital ideabooks that I can share with my clients who are looking for photos that will help bring their ideas to life. With over 1,000,000 high-quality interior design images, Houzz is a one-stop shop for design inspiration. Here’s the link to my Houzz ideabook.

 

Nancy's pick of Design Apps for your mobile devices. Home Improvement Calcs — $1.99

This app has over 115 calculations and unit conversions that you can use for any sort of do-it-yourself home improvements. For example, it will help you calculate the amount of materials that you need to frame a house, insulate your attic, wallpaper an accent wall in your bedroom or build a straight staircase. And more! It’s the perfect thing for the weekend warrior in your life.

 

Nancy's pick of Design Apps for your mobile devices.

MagicPlan — Free

The MagicPlan app measures your room just by you taking photos of that room. You can adjust and edit the plans and the measurements can be in metres or feet. You can save your layouts and email them to yourself for your records. It takes a little time to learn how to use, but for the price — free — it’s well worth the time.

 

Nancy's pick of Design Apps for your mobile devices.

Sketch Arm – 3D Closet Designer — Free

Sketch Arm is a tool that lets you create a fully customized closet — every organized person’s dream come true! You can create compartments for your hanging items, organize your shoes and add accessories. It did take me some time to figure out how to organize the closet, but after looking at photos of other closet designs, I was able to design my dream closet.

Below is a photo of my first attempt. What features do you want in your dream closet?

Nancy's pick of Design Apps for your mobile devices.

 

Nancy's pick of Design Apps for your mobile devices.

iHandy Level — Free

And now that you’ve designed your latest DIY project with your home design apps, this level app will make sure you start your home project on the level.

 

 

In addition to these apps, there are countless apps from furniture companies that feature catalogues of their collections such as  Restoration Hardware, Ikea, Norwalk Furniture, Design Within Reach, Bo Concept, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, just to name a few.

I’d love to hear from you what apps you like to use, whether they’re tools you use every day, or fun apps that help you dream. Share your favourites by leaving a comment below.

 

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‘Couchsourcing’: The Search For the Perfect Sofa Explained.

When searching for the perfect sofa, people often get stuck on colour and fabric choices and miss the most important aspects of all: size and shape.

The critical first step that’s easy to miss is knowing the measurements of your entry doors or elevator openings. The most stylish sofa imaginable won’t look as cool on your lawn as it will in your living room. So be prepared before going to the showroom or warehouse by writing down your room size and entry point measurements.

Step two is to think about how your sofa will be used. Will two people lounge on it or four? Do you like your sofas firm or plushy soft? Will the dog or cat claim a seat each night, or will this sofa only be used during that much-loved annual visit from your in-laws?

The third step is to look at how the sofa will work within the layout of the room. You need to consider the style and size of all the other furniture pieces in your space to know if the sofa you want will fit in there too. The famous architect and designer Frank Lloyd Wright was once quoted as saying some part of his body had been black or blue all of his life from too much intimate contact with his furniture.

Step four is the fun one: researching what kind of styles you like! Here’s my current list of available styles that you might like for your home:

The Chesterfield sofa (yes, this is an actual style description, not just another word for couch that your grandmother would use) involves tight tailoring and tufting with a high back and arms. This particular style is making a modern comeback. Whichever material you choose to use, go with a solid colour instead of a pattern.

'Couchsourcing': The Search For the Perfect Sofa Explained.

Steven & Chris – Decor-Rest

The English Classic Three Seater Sofa has low arms and a deep seat with comfy back cushions. It is perfect for lounging around and feeling like an British country-living aristocrat. This style is also suitable for the all-important Man Cave. Just remember the importance of measurements again if this will be a frequent napping spot.

'Couchsourcing': The Search For the Perfect Sofa Explained.

 Barbara Barry

The Tuxedo sofa’s style is luxurious without the frills. The square, straight-line profile gives it a masculine feel. This style suits both modern and traditional settings. It works well with wood edges (as shown below) or upholstered arms and sides with back cushions.

'Couchsourcing': The Search For the Perfect Sofa Explained.

Oly

 

The Camelback sofa, aptly named for its definitive curved back, has an old-world and sophisticated look. Many versions of this style have been made, making it a classic that can be used in both a modern or vintage room.

'Couchsourcing': The Search For the Perfect Sofa Explained.

 Cameo – Decor Rest

The Slipper sofa is an option that works best for entertaining rather than lounging. With its lack of arms, lean shape, and direct access to the glass of wine on the end table, the slipper will be ideal if you live in a small space but still want to throw a good party.

'Couchsourcing': The Search For the Perfect Sofa Explained.

Ethan Allen – Baldwin

The Regency sofa has rolled arms and a rolled back and, even more than the camelback, says retro to the point of royal. This style is formal and architectural, so you can dress it down for a modern approach with a solid colour in linen fabric or go dramatic with a large patterned print. Beware that the rolled back can make this style wider than just the area where you sit, so be sure to measure your entrance points.

'Couchsourcing': The Search For the Perfect Sofa Explained.

  Regency – Restoration Hardware

The Sectional sofa is a staple of family and TV rooms everywhere. Sectionals come in many configurations and designs, and they can establish a designated sitting area in a large room.

'Couchsourcing': The Search For the Perfect Sofa Explained.

 Stylus – Simone

The Modern sofa is often sculptural in design and can stand alone in an open plan layout. It can be a cool piece of art inside a contemporary living space.

'Couchsourcing': The Search For the Perfect Sofa Explained.

 Roche Bobois – Arobase

Follow my steps and you’ll get the sofa that fits your room, works with your style, allows you to indulge in your relaxing, and looks fabulous in your home.

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