Tag Archives: tips for designers

4 Favorite Summer Color Trends to Liven Up Your Home

Summer has arrived!  With summer comes the daunting nature of preparing for family gatherings. Stress a little less about your interior design skills by following simple summertime color trends to help you create the perfect place to be the host. By constructing an inviting color and texture pallet in your home using furniture, window treatments, paint, and décor essentials, you can highlight your personal style effortlessly.

1. Yellow

Nothing says summer time like a popping yellow! Use it sparingly or as a base to any room to add a touch of excitement to your home. While a bright yellow may not be for every season, tone it down to a pale yellow or rich gold to suit your seasonal style. Yellow is even cordial enough to mix and match perfectly with other hues. You are able to make a statement by adding small accents throughout a room without overdoing it.

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2. Neutrals

Others prefer colors that never go out of style such as textured neutrals. Linen or powdered whites can not only help to create a sharp and modern vibe, but can also set the stage for a softer, shabby chic look. According to Shelley Little in her article, “Why Neutral Colors Are Best“, neutral colors allow for attention to be paid to the textural items added to the room. Notice how your eye is drawn to the details of the floors, plants and wooded textures, rather than the neutral colors themselves.

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3. Versatile Gray

Interior designers are raving about versatile gray hues. Dark charcoal to soft dove, gray is the ultimate backdrop to create a clean and crisp foundation to your home. Stephanie Hepburn of The Times-Picayune says “kitchens are great spaces to use gray paired with white, a classic combination that always looks clean and open.” Easily mix and match accents and patterns to contrast or highlight certain textiles and tones.

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4. Slate Blue

What better way to combat the heat of summer with a splash of calming, slate blue? Interior designers recommend combining blues with textures found in nature, such as wooden textiles or woven natural materials. Slate blue is also easily paired with warm metals and defined lines to create a smooth modern or industrial tone to any room.

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Why not combine both, slate blue and a hint of yellow to demonstrate the ultimate trending color combo?  Source: Pinterest

5. Bonus Tip

Keep in mind, when choosing a fabric for your window treatments, the timeless colors and textures that will frame the decor of the room. Use your window treatments as accents or as foundation pieces to structure the rest of your masterpiece.

A living room Sweden.

This lightly textured, semi sheer, colored fabric acts as the perfect accent feature in this Swedish living room, complementing the dark floors and bright throw pillows. White walls allow for the shades to standout.


Interior of modern living room

All white with a touch of versatile gray fabric sets the stage for any additional color to really pop. The scenic view is not lost with a slightly darker solar shade fabric.


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The Comeback Curtain: Roller Shades

Some interior designers are looking for inspiration to women’s fashion—specifically to the wispy, sheer blouses and pullovers more women are layering over camisoles and tank tops. The result is a layered, see-through window treatment, whether sheer curtains over half-opened shades, or textured curtains over sheer shades. One legacy of the real estate boom in many suburban homes has proven hard to live with – dramatic floor-to-ceiling window. Created to maximize light, these windows are a tough interior-design assignment. Anne-Marie Chaker explains on Lunch Break.

The window look? “Sexy,” says New York-based interior designer Mindy Miles Greenberg. Ms. Greenberg recently helped Alyssa Kallenos with window treatments for the master bedroom in her 5,500-square-foot Mediterranean-style house in Hewlett Harbor, N.Y. The 42-year-old physical therapist wanted her bedroom, with three 7-foot windows and a fireplace, to feel “glamorous.” “I don’t want it to look like a kitchen,” Ms. Kallenos says. Ms. Greenberg steered her to a moss-colored Hunter Douglas Silhouette semi-sheer shade for privacy, with an overlay of sheer, iridescent silk panels that just touch the floor.

“It’s like a bra peeking through a shirt,” Ms. Greenberg says. Make that a designer bra: The total cost of the bedroom window treatments was $7,500, Ms. Kallenos says. Translucent, softly layered window treatments are showing up in urban and suburban homes as energy- and cost-efficient alternatives to old-fashioned drapes and blinds. These neutral-toned window treatments feature clean lines and literally no frills—and no puddles, swags, jabots (cascade of ruffles) or lambrequins (decorative valances), either. The simplified silhouette and color palette mean the look can be executed beautifully without custom fabrics, which is appealing to clients, even in luxury homes, who are still keeping a tight rein on costs, designers say.

“Custom drapery is extremely expensive,” says Kim Chapman, whose Chicago firm, Urban Environments, recently designed a bedroom bay window with four roller shades and panels of a sheer polyester for about $4,500. The client could easily have spent twice that much using more-conventional drapery fabric, Ms. Chapman says. “People are staying as minimalist and as cost-effective as they can.”

The Comeback Curtain
The layered look has evolved alongside a broad trend in home design toward emphasizing windows. “The thinking is all about bringing the outside in, and ‘outside living,’ ” says Laura Larkin, an interior designer in San Rafael, Calif. “You’re able to do that with big windows.” Floor-to-ceiling windows can, though, make a room too bright, too hot, too cold or too exposed to nosy neighbors and passersby. Sheer layers as window treatments can provide privacy and energy efficiency yet also preserve the panoramic view or wide-open feel. The look has few elements to collect dust. But window fabrics, no matter what kind, require dry-cleaning every two-to-five years, says Linda Farahnik, showroom director for Distinctive Window Treatment Plus, a custom fabricator in New York. Periodic light vacuuming helps with dust control.

Smith + Noble
Retailer Smith and Noble says it added more texture and color to its solar-shade offerings as they became more common in residences. These are some of the considerations Nancy Crabill, 39, had in mind when addressing the bay window in the master bedroom of the home she and her 8-year-old son moved into last May. Working with Ms. Chapman, the Chicago designer, she placed a cream-colored Juliette sofa next to the window, made up of four 6-foot panes overlooking big trees on a sunny sidewalk. She enjoys reading and sipping coffee there one morning a week. “It’s my most uninterrupted time,” she says. Ms. Crabill wanted a sheer layer of drapes overlaying roller shades in a pearl color; she wanted blackout shades for maximum light-control at night. When the shades are up, the drapes filter the daylight softly and billow pleasantly if the windows are open. They look like “a flowy, sexy dress that always makes a woman look amazing,” Ms. Crabill says. Many sheer window treatments incorporate a high-tech layer of protection from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays, which can penetrate regular window glass and damage skin, discolor fabrics and overheat rooms.

A layer of protective film, like the kind once found mainly in cars, is mounted onto the glass window panes. High-performance window film typically is cut to size and professionally installed by a dealer-representative affiliated with a manufacturer such as 3M Corp. or Solar Gard. The total cost for a 2,500-square-foot home with 30 windows near New York City is approximately $1,500 to $3,000, or $50 to $100 per window, with an estimated 15% annual savings in cooling costs of about $186, according to 3M’s online cooling-savings calculator.
Window films generally can cut down glare by more than half and block up to 99.9% of UV rays, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation in New York. (The foundation vets products that claim to be UV-protective and recommends those it believes pass muster, including window films.)

A “solar shade” is frequently used as a sleek second layer of UV protection, even in a traditional window design. Semitransparent when pulled down, solar shades filter UV rays and heat, creating an effect something like putting sunglasses on a window. Drapes layered over shades ‘are like a bra peeking through a shirt,’ says designer Mindy Miles Greenberg. Popular for a while in commercial buildings and industrial-looking condos, the shades have been showing up in mainstream residential designs, says Brooke Traeger, associate chair of interior design at the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington, D.C. “They replace the old look of vertical blinds with a very clean aesthetic,” says Ms. Traeger. Or “you can use them in addition to a soft drapery and you don’t even know it’s there.”

Catalog retailer Smith & Noble last year more than doubled its solar-shade offerings, adding more textures, colors and styles. Solar shades “started very techie-looking and didn’t fit into every residential application,” says JoEllen Ropele, merchandising manager. Now, though, they are available in soft, fashionable fabrics “that are more acceptable in the residential market,” she says. The final layer is often panels of loose-weave or sheer fabric hanging in soft drapes to the floor. Panels of metallic-link drapes, which have been common in sophisticated restaurants and hotels, were until recently rarely used in residences. One reason may be price: Metal-link drapes on one standard-size window recently cost one of her clients $1,300, Ms. Greenberg says.

Alene Workman, an interior designer in Hollywood, Fla., is using solar shades on the 10-foot floor-to-ceiling windows found in every room of a 10,000-square-foot, 26th-floor penthouse in an ocean-front building in Bal Harbour, Fla. “You can see Cuba on one side and New York on the other,” she says. Her assignment was to design windows with protection from bright light and baking sun while preserving the clean décor, including off-white fabrics, marble floors and contemporary furniture made of stone and honey-toned wood.

The owner had window film applied, followed by white “sheer-weave” motorized solar shades to filter light but leave the view intact. Shades operating by wall-mounted controls disappear into a recessed ceiling pocket when not in use. Sheer, white-wool side panels hang in room corners and “soften the overall effect,” Ms. Workman says. In traditional drapery, the rule of thumb is to measure fabric at three times the window width, resulting in folds of excess fabric known as the “stack.” Once, the stack might have covered up to a third of the entire window. “Now, I want to get all the fabric off,” says Ms. Larkin, the California designer. Instead of measuring fabric at three times the width, she measures the sheer outer layer at 1½ times the width. Designers warn that sheer layers can look chintzy if relying solely on inexpensive fabrics. The look can also skew industrial if done with just sleek solar shades and no softening layers, says Ms. Larkin. The trick is to take a little sleek and a little soft, and coordinate, she says.

Qmotion Shades also offers of full line of sheer fabrics and their shades are compatible with all Phifer “sheer weave” products. They also offer a level of integrated motorization never before seen in the roller shade industry. With no external battery packs the simplistic look of Qmotion is a great option for the functionality of motorization combined with beauty of sheer shades. To check out more visit www.qmotionshades.com or call 877-849-6070.

A version of this article appeared March 28, 2012, on page D1 in some U.S. editions of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: The Comeback Curtain. Qmotion Shades does not take credit for this article or media contained in this post. Full credit goes to the author ANNE MARIE CHAKER.

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Check out Interior Design Trends for summer 2012

Take a look at: Interior Design Trends for summer 2012

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Catch Qmotion at a Trade Show

Want to learn more about Qmotion? Wanna see the product in person? Catch us at one of the eight interior design trade shows this year. Coming up soon is the R+T International trade show in Stuttgart, Germany, February 27-March 3rd.

“The R+T Show will feature around 800 exhibitors from all over the world present at the R + T 2012, the entire spectrum from the fields of roller shutters, gates and sun protection. But the world’s leading trade fair R + T is not only the presentation platform for an industry that has become highly technologized and makes an important contribution to efficiency, comfort and safety of buildings. She is also the rhythm of innovation before, the first presentation takes place almost exclusively on the three-yearly international trade fair. Experience on more than 100,000 square meters in nine halls five days pure innovation . Enjoy a dozen side events and special exhibitions on various topics.”

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European Window Fashions for 2012: What’s hot in Germany

Qmotion shades recently hosted an international guest from Stuttgart, Germany, to check out our new motorized roller shade technology. He enjoyed his trip here and was able to educate us on what window fashions are popular in Europe this year. He shared with me the following pictures recently and I thought they were very interesting. The things to look for on the horizon are primary colors, floral prints, and the use of blackout fabrics. In Europe, this year “panel track” systems are also trendy, they combine bold colors and floral prints to make a major statement in a room. Unlike American window fashions that are meant to complement the style of a room; German window fashions are meant to be the focal point and accentuate the simple modern styling.


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Ultra Modern

A great take on sustainable, modern architecture.


In our technology driven society today, we are constantly bombarded with various forms of media, whether it be social, news, advertising, etc. Our world has become so much larger (or smaller, depending on how you look at it) with relation to the time before the internet.

For architecture, and our built environment, in general, this allows us to build with an endless network of building products is at our disposal.  As designers, it is our responsibility to cull through this information and set standards for our individual practices as to what’s really important and relevant for our clients.  They are looking to us for guidance, as we are seen as experts in the field of building.  It is our responsibility, then, to use our influence in a positive light, to recommend products and materials that are socially and environmentally responsible for the life-cycle of the material. (Lifecycle building is the…

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10 Tips on drafting better design contracts

10 Tips on Drafting Better Contracts
The days of the handshake deal are far gone and it is imperative that the design professional be armed with a written agreement that clearly delineates the nature and extent of each party’s roles, rights and responsibilities. Below are several important tips on drafting a well versed agreement:
  • Be clear as to the scope of your services. The contract should clearly state the nature and extent of each service being performed by the design professional during both the design and construction phases of the project. Further, if the contract provides that the design professional will perform additional services over and above basic services, the agreement should clearly state that any such services will only be provided if requested and expressly agreed to in writing.
  • Identify specific exclusions. Services that the parties agree will not be performed by the design professional should be specifically delineated in the contract. An example is that the design professional will not be responsible for the contractor’s means, methods, techniques or sequencing of construction, or for site safety.
  • If appropriate, indicate that there are no third-party beneficiaries to the contract. If it is agreed between the parties that the services being performed by the design professional are to benefit someone who is not a party to the agreement, make certain the contract clearly identifies that party. If not, make sure the agreement provides that no relationship, contractual or otherwise, is being created between the architect and any third-party.
  • Include a copyright protection provision. Unless agreed otherwise, the contract should include language that provides that the design professional retains all copyright protection and ownership to the plans and drawings. It should also be stated that the design professional is granting the owner a nonexclusive license to the plans and drawings solely for construction and use with respect to the subject project.
  • Be Cautious With Indemnification Language. Many owners request design professionals sign agreements which contain indemnification language which requires the design professional to defend indemnify and/or hold harmless the owner in the event of a claim. Be careful when agreeing to any contracts with such language, as such provisions often result in significant legal ramifications.
  • Include Payment language. Include a provision that clearly states when and how the parties may terminate the contract.
  • Add Termination Language. Include a provision that clearly states when and how the parties may terminate the contract.
  • Include Limitation of Liability Language. In certain circumstances, the Courts of the State of New York have enforced limitation of liability clauses. Therefore, consider adding language limiting the amount of damages for which the design professional will be responsible.
  • Consider Alternative Dispute Resolution. In anticipation of a dispute between the parties, consider including a provision setting forth a mechanism (i.e., arbitration or mediation) for resolving such a dispute. Such language can be helpful to stave off full-blown litigation should be conflict between the parties arise.
  • Get A Fully Signed And Dated Contract. It is difficult, and sometimes impossible, to enforce a contract that is not dated and signed by all parties.
While having an appropriate contract is no guarantee against a claim, the absence of one certainly impedes the professional’s ability to extricate themselves from such claims. The paramount rule is to be cautious when entering into professional service agreements. The professional must be careful to review and understand all of the terms and conditions of the agreement, which set forth the rights and responsibilities of the parties, prior to executing the agreement. In this regard, the professional should strongly consider consulting with an attorney qualified to assist in drafting and agreement which with fully protect the design professional’s interest.
By Steven Goldstein, Esq
Co-Author: Michael J Hall
Photography © Alexandr Denisenko

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