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Around Our Town...If These Walls Could Talk

What's New in Home Decorating

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05/01/2006 - by Julie York, Window and Wall Gallery

Billowing clouds of chiffon, crisp rustling taffeta, soft supple suede, delicate embroidered silk, nubby textured tweed, thick plush velvet, deep rich tapestry, polished chintz, glistening satin, Intricate brocade, sparkling metalics— in the realm of home decorating, fabrics are back in a powerful way. Upholstered furniture, multiple accent pillows, fabricated accessories, and opulent draperies enrich our Interiors.

As Karta Nielson, professor of design at BYU, pointed out "Fabric can be manipulated in more ways than any other design element". Fabric flows and drapes. It can appear crisply tailored or soft and unstructured. Various colors and textures can be combined, and there are almost infinite ways of embellishing it.

Fabric has several physical properties which contribute to Its' functional appeal. It absorbs sound, filtering outside noise, and quieting inside sounds from household appliances. Fabric also acts as temperature insulation, warming in winter, and shading in summer by interrupting the convection loop and blocking radiant heat.

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Fabrics are found throughout the home, but one of Its' most obvious applications is in window treatments.

Fabric is frequently used to construct a blind or shade itself It can be made into a traditional roller shade with scalloped or other interesting hem details, or it can be made into roman or balloon shades. Roman shades with their strong horizontal folds appear more tailored, whereas the poufy curving balloon shade adds softness. Another option is the stagecoach blind. It rolls up from the bottom, and is tied at the desired height in a variety of decorative ways.

Top treatments such as valances and cornices add a unique designer look when combined with either hard or soft blinds, even when curtains or draperies are absent. Top treatments finish and personalize a window. Many see this as the best possible combination of style and function.

Swags, valances, and upholstered cornice boards are some top treatment options. As with curtains and draperies, half the fun and style of top treatments is in the way in which they are suspended. They can be hung from rings or hooks, tied to knobs, threaded through sconces, or wound around curtain rods. Fabric tabs can be created to go over the rod, and these tabs can be made in many stylish ways. The addition of braids and ribbons, beads and fringe, leather, conchos, or jewelry offers other avenues of creativity. It all combines into individual style.

Individual style is becoming a priority for most homeowners. Kathy Obrien, VP of FSC wall coverings notes, "People have learned to make their homes a reflection of themselves" Beverly Kostel of Levelor-Kirsch said, "People want something unique to them, that is not going to look like what somebody else in the neighborhood has on their windows".

For a totally unique look, custom made draperies and fabric accessories are one's best option. What exactly can the custom professional do? "We can do anything," says interior designer Garijo Brieriey of Casper's Window and Wall Gallery. After spending some time with her, I'm seeing the truth of that statement. I happened upon a pretty embroidered fabric among the hundreds of sample books In her showroom. While I liked the fabric, I was concerned that it would have too little surface texture to look good as a bedspread. Not when Garijo was finished designing the spread. The spread was design quilted (a technique which outlines the fabric pattern), a banding of shirred fabric in a coordinating fabric was added, curtains and throw pillows which combined the fabrics were made, chairs in the room upholstered, and the result was... stunning.

Garijo frequently goes to a client's home to take measurements, observe colors in the ambient light, and gain understanding of her client's taste and style Whereas two windows in a room may look identical in size, they usually differ slightly. Tailoring to the exact dimensions of each window is one feature, which marks a window treatment as custom. Colors also change depending upon the type of light cast on them. A hue, which appears as blue under fluorescent light, can change to turquoise under incandescent, Observing samples under the light In which they will be used is vital to good design work. Good unique design work is the heart of custom treatments. Beautiful design does not have to be costly. Garijo's home consultations are free, and she emphasizes, "Custom does not necessarily mean expensive. We can work within a customer's budget".

What's new in the world of home decorating? Fabric is important once again, especially in window treatments, and unique style tailored to the individual is in demand.

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