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The New Kid on the Block – Panel Track Edition

By Darius J.

While plastic vertical blinds are on the decline, Panel track blinds maybe on the rise; with two great styles to choose from (Woven wood, Roller shade) Panel track blinds has tons of options; unlike traditional vertical blinds. As previous stated Panel track blinds has many options, for instance Panel track blinds can come as a translucent shade for privacy but still able to let natural light in once its close; or a transparent blind that will let light filter in while seeing through the actual material.

Equally important Panel track blinds are great if you have a very wide and tall window that you want to cover; but don’t want the hassle of having a lot of little slats like on traditional vertical blinds. Panel track blinds cover more space with limited amount of panels used.

In conclusion Panel track blinds are very easy to operate, when they are opened the panels will stack neatly to the side, all overlapping each other; in the same sense the panel track comes with a continuous cord loop that is mounted on the side to give a safe and clean look.

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The Resimercial Trend

By Gina G.

If you’re new to the resimercial trend, it may, at first seem like a fictional concept.  However, with its growing success, interior designers are utilizing this very real “blended” trend to revitalize shared spaces in corporate offices.  The emergence of resimerical designs stem from an evolving work force wherein diverse groups of employees spend additional time at their offices beyond the traditional eight hour work day.  

The concept includes blending what were two distinct design areas, residential and commerical, together cohesively to create a comfortable and collaborative space wherein employees can congregate and thrive.  It includes deviating from the common white (and often sterile feel) of traditional office spaces to introducing softer, cozier residential elements. Resimericial designs seek to create clean, efficient and organized common areas that are also relaxing and inviting.  

Although there is by no means a uniform approach to achieve this, there are some common elements to creating a resimerical office space.  Having a more open floor plan instead of divisional work spaces is one element. Utilizing wood as common material in your space is another.  It brings a more rustic and homier feel to a space as opposed to the traditional use of metals and plastics in office spaces. Darker-colored hardwood floors, tables, and chairs can also contribute to the design and bring contrast.

The goal is to incorporate residential decor, yet creating true resimerical spaces are a bit more involved than just transplanting home decor to the office.  Vibrant area rugs and brightly colored throw pillows are often present in resimerical spaces to contrast the typical white office walls. Modern multi-person seating with soft cushioning encourages collaboration and gathering.  The seating furniture in resimerical designs should also be comprised of durable materials since it will need to survive consistent use (beyond that of a home) yet be comfortable. Finally, including bold or textured art work and large potted plants can contribute to your resimercial design.

Rollers as Resimercial Essentials       

The successful in implementation of resimercial design to your office space means you probably have a collaborative, open space with plenty of natural lighting, comfortable seating, and vibrant bright colors.  It is probably a space that is both professianal and cozy. However, to ensure that people enjoy spending time in this space without feeling like fish in a fish bowl, you’ll probably need to make a decision regarding covering the windows.  If your space requires privacy, you’ll need to address that without darkening or closing in the space. In the event that you do not require privacy, you may still want to soften the effects of the sun so that people can work comfortably on their electronic devices.  Roller shades, with their versatility, present the perfect window treatment solution to any resimercial space.

Traditionally, when covering office windows, aluminum mini blinds or vinyl vertical blinds were the common choices.  These were useful in that they were relatively inexpensive, very durable, and could cover larger windows. However, these blinds contributed to the now old-fashioned sterile and institutional office atmosphere left spaces void of design.  In an effort to soften up office spaces emerged the resimercial design approach.

Roller shades are consistent with this approach in both design and in function. Functionally, roller shades are user friendly as they simply go up and down whether they’re cordless, with a cord, or motorized.  There are no slats to bend, break, or tilt. Most roller shades have valances that cover the hardware and roll. Their seamless design brings a modern, sleek and clean addition to any room. However, it is really the abundance of fabric options that really make roller shades essential to any resimercial design.  If you haven’t added any artwork to the space, perhaps select a bold pattern to cover the window. If you have a lot of design elements already in the space, a simple roller shade in a linen-like fabric may suffice as it will add a little texture and be simple but not plain. Finally, if you’re attempting to keep the view, select a sun-weave material that will reduce sun glare but still be sheer.  They are available in wide range of colors and prints and contribute to the openness of the resimercial space.

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Small Kitchen, Big Potential

Modern Kitchen Trends

By Gina G.

Having a small kitchen doesn’t necessarily mean you’re limited in your design capacity. Rather, you have the opportunity to really stretch those creative muscles. Here are a few ideas that can make your small kitchen area  that much more functional:
Try bold colored cabinetry. Hands down, colors pop. More commonly we are used to white or wood colored (spanning from maple to espresso) cabinets in the kitchen. However, why limit yourself? Colored cabinetry is definitely gaining traction in the industry and can be a simple way to add some design to your kitchen without taking up space. If you feel like painting your whole cabinetry is just a little too adventurous for you, try painting just the doors of the cabinets in a complimentary tone. Blue tones and pastels are great options for this approach. Either way, color cabinetry pair well with most granites and stainless steel appliances.
Speaking of appliances, if your remodel is bigger in scale and involves large appliances, consider hidden appliances (fridges, microwaves, etc). Hidden appliances provide dual functions: they are both practical and aesthetically pleasing for small kitchen areas as they blend seamlessly into cabinetry without taking up already limited space.
Another idea to maximize the design of your small kitchen is to dress up your windows. You may only have one or two, so utilizing them to add something special to your kitchen is important. Consider a soft roman shade for a simpler kitchen, a bamboo shade for a more rustic style, or a textured roller shade for a more modern approach. Be sure to keep the treatment light filtering to take advantage of the natural light your window brings to your space.
As far as accessories and smaller appliances, if you opted for more traditional colored cabinets, here is an opportunity to bring in that color. And go bold, use warm colors but limit the prints. Fresh flowers are also a simple, yet impactful addition to smaller areas. Finally, avoid tons of knick knacks and non-essential items as they tend to make smaller kitchens appear cluttered.

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Fall Refresh

By Monica B.

With September here and Labor Day behind us, we’re officially started into the fall season. Its time where work and school pick up again, and we move away from the lazy days of summer. While we’re getting back into our routines and potentially a more challenging workload, it can be a great time for a refresh as we enter this new season.

I love the fall. The air has a crisp feel and the smell of the autumn outdoors gives me a happy feeling. If your family is like mine, for much of the summer we have the windows closed and the air conditioning on because its just too hot and humid. Now that fall is here, I love opening the windows to let the cool air circulate and refresh the house naturally. Thinking about window treatments even though I enjoy the open look in the living room. I highly recommend woven shades. They work great with giving me the cottage and warm feeling when enjoying my hot cocoa and my fire place in the fall.  Woven shades not only serve the purpose for the fall but they are also great window treatments for all seasons, for all styles and for all rooms. With a rich selection of dark earth tones to white, bone and gray, the weaves are visually striking.  Woven shades can be versatile even when you combine with fabric drapery or drapery panels. Woven wood shades come in a variety of styles from roman shades to panel tracks. If you need privacy, you can choose a blackout liner or light filtering liner and all kinds options to bring more character to your woven shade. The liner can extend the life of your shade, prevent fading and reduce energy cost.  For the finishing touch your new woven shades, you can frame these shades with edge bonding in a bold color to contrast or a subtle look.

Holiday decorating can help make the season more special and get your guest into the spirit of the seasons changing.  You can enjoy the season without stressing about perfection and still be able to look out your windows to watch the leaves fall and soon the snow falling off the branches.

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Summer Clean-Up

By Delilah C.

How quick is summer ending?? Fall season is approaching us! Here are a few end of summer cleaning tips that I’ve gathered through the last few years.

Scrub outdoor furniture: Throughout the summer, the outdoor chairs accumulate the buildup of dirt, bugs, etc. from the rainy days. Make sure you give them a thorough cleaning so you’re able to reuse them next summer!

Clean outdoor cushions: Similar to the furniture, these cushions can accumulate a great amount of dirt—although you may not see it at the surface.  Different fabrics need different care, but spot cleaning with some dishwashing detergent and warm water can help with the cotton, polyester, and acrylic fabrics. Always make sure to allow time to air dry before storing the cushions away!

Wash beach towels: Swimming and beach season is over, unfortunately! Give your beach towels a much needed bath, using the hottest water the fabric allows. Add a small amount of fabric softener to the load and they’ll be ready for next summer!

Scrub your grill: After all the summer BBQ’s, your grill will most definitely have some cook on grime that isn’t fully gone! Make sure you clean it thoroughly before putting it away for the winter!

Clean gardening tools:  To prevent your tools from rusting, keep your gardening tools looking brand new after months of maintaining your precious gardens. Things you’ll need to get the job done include gardening gloves, a putty knife, steel wool, a 3 ½ gallon plastic bucket, 1 tbsp. dish soap, 2 cups of bleach, 1 cup of vegetable oil, 5 oz. can lighter fluid, all-purpose play sand, bleach-free disinfecting wipes, old towels and a garden hose.

During your cleanup towards this time of you year, you might have waste, or extra stuff in the garage you know you need to throw away. I would clean out the clutter and just get rid of it all to start your fall and winter months clutter free!

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Outdoor Space Décor

By Gina G.

          Whether a screened in porch, a condo balcony, or small patio deck, outdoor spaces can provide a relaxing space to unwind and enjoy the weather.  However, because these spaces require considerations that inside the home do not, decorating them can seem overwhelming.  Here are some tips that will have your outdoor space looking top notch in no time:

Furniture is an essential element to creating an enjoyable outdoor space.  Before purchasing any seating or tables, take measurements of your space.  This will provide tremendous assistance in choosing what type of furniture.  For instance, if you have a condo balcony, you may not have the space for a full loveseat or table.  Instead, a café style table and chairs may be more appropriate.  Conversely, if you have a sizeable screened in porch, a full patio set complete with side tables, love seats and oversized chairs may fill in the space nicely.  And, for a small patio deck, you may consider more creative furnishings such as a hammock.  Be sure to find furniture made from materials (like wicker and vinyl) that will hold up in various weather and that can be easily cleaned if need be.

Another consideration is how to manage your exposure to the elements when enjoying your outdoor space.  Whether you are reading or enjoying a cold beverage, the sun can impact your comfort level.  If you have windows with glass in your space, consider tinting the windows.  More commonly though, these outdoor spaces are just screened in without any glass or actual windows.  If this is your situation, consider sunweaves or solar shades for your porch.  They will reduce sunlight without blocking your view.  They also come on simple roller shades and can easily fit under roofing structure.  Although some of them may require you to roll them up when it is raining or extremely windy, most are made of materials that can withstand exposure to moisture.  Basic awnings that can easily be affixed (and removed from) a wall are another option for small patios or balconies.  Finally, beware of wooden or metallic materials to help reduce the sunlight; these materials do not hold up well outside the home.

Other décor ideas for outdoor spaces include adding plants, lights, wind chimes and bird boxes.  Adding plants can really spruce up an outdoor space.  If you have a smaller space like a balcony or deck, consider hanging plants over potted ones in order to best utilize your limited space.  However, if you have a larger room, than potted plants can be beautiful additions.  Hanging lights, whether on vines or independent bulbs, can be away to brighten up your space for those lovely summer and fall evenings.

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Summertime Here! Don’t Sweat It; Wood Blinds will Save You!

By Darius J.

Summertime can be fun but also be very hot, yikes! If you’re trying to cool down the indoor patio a great way to do so would be to add wood blinds. Wood blinds help to keep the room cool, as well as complement any décor that you have. Once you find your feng shui, your new wood blinds will fall into its rightful place.

On the same side of this equation adding natural wood blinds will bring nature to your home instantly. With different finishes such as golden oak, walnut and maple, along with other selections will add style and color; while the wood blinds insulation technology helps to keep heat out. Amazing right! Hey don’t worry when it start to get a little breezy out the insulation in the wood blinds work its magic again, and will help to keep the porch cozy and warm.

That’s the beauty of nature, the benefits of wood blinds are great; and the best part is that you will see that regardless of the decor in your home. Wood blinds will bring log cabin inspiration to reality, and all you need is a little imagination to make it happen. 

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Designing with Bamboo

By Gina G

Now that you’re aware of the options available to you with bamboo shades, here are some tips for how to design with them in different areas of the home:

Bamboo shades are a great options for kitchen windows because of the usual presence of wood via cabinents, etc. When choosing the color of your bamboo shade, consider where the window is in the kitchen. If it is right over the sink, you may choose to a multicolored bamboo shade which may hide the appearance of small stains, etc. If you already have a lot of print, design, texture etc with your countertops, cabinents, and backsplash, consider a white or neutral shade perhaps with simpler solid colored match sticks instead of various grasses. Often times kitchen windows face an area wherein you don’t need privacy (a deck or back yard area). If this is your case, you have the opportunity to really let the natural bamboo shine and go without a liner on the back of the shade. Not only will this allow additional light in, it will give the shade a uniform look from both the interior and exterior of the home.

For areas that require some dressing up such as living rooms and dining rooms, bamboo shades can certainly fit the bill. Selecting a roman shade fold style and omitting curtains can bring your woven wood shade away from a more casual and relaxed design toward a more formal look. In this instance, you may want to also select the fabric liners to the sides of your shades to soften the look and contrast the hardness of the wood. If you’d like to ultilize curtains with your bamboo shade, soft panels or sheers may be the way to go. They can also contrast the wooden shades and add both softness and elegance. Because most bamboo shades have some sort of valance already, you may not want to add another curtain valance. You may opt for the more common flat panel stye with this set up in order not to make the window appear heavy.

Woven wood shades can also be utilized in smaller areas such as powder rooms, mud rooms and hallways. Since these spaces usually don’t have a lot of design elements, using a bamboo shade for the windows is simple way to add natural texture and beauty to them.

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Much Ado About Bamboo

By Gina G.

Bamboo shades are great options to add texture and a natural vibe to any room.  If you are considering a bamboo shade but unfamiliar with them, here’s a brief snapshot:

Bamboo or woven wood shades are typical comprised of natural woods, bamboo chutes, and grasses. Because of their wooden composition, they provide some insulation, although they are not the best insulation option. These materials are generally held together by color coordinated thin threads (to allow the bamboo to really shine). Most bamboo shades will be sheer due to their composition unless the chutes are layered partially atop each other which would then give privacy. And, they are also usually the same color on the front and back of the shade.

There are a plethora of styles and colors to choose from that range from white to black but the majority of bamboo shades are offered in solid wood colors (usually popular wood tones like oak, mahogany, etc) or multi colored (to coordinate with a variety of wood colors).  The features available for bamboo shades are plentiful too.  You can choose a more formal look by choosing a bamboo style that has folds and bubbles out like a roman shade.  Or, for a more relaxed look, you can choose a more modern flat style resembling a roller shade. Most often, because of the more relaxed nature of bamboo shades, they are presented with a flat panel stlye. 

Although the headrails, brackets, and depth required for bamboo shades are varied, most come with a matching valance that is usually pre-attached to the headrail. The valance covers any hardware and gives the shade a finished look. For the bottom of your bamboo shade, you can choose whether to have it fold up (like a roman shade) or just roll up (these will usually have visible cords at the front of the shade).

Liners are another, more functional, option for bamboo shades that don’t have overlapping sticks or tight weaves. Most woven wood shades are sheer products without a liner. If you’re placing the shade in a room where privacy is necessary, you will need to add a liner to it. Some bamboo shades are offered with a blackout liner option making them viable products for bedrooms.

Finally, some bamboo shades are offered with fabric edges on the sides of the shade. These have dual purpose when utilized: to add pops of color and print and to protect the edges of the shade from damage.

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Summer Outdoor Decorating

By Steve M.

When the temperatures rise during the summer months, barbecues and get togethers at your home are a must. With that in mind, it’s time to start thinking and planning your outdoor summer decor. Outdoor summer decor ideas are a great way to help you make the most of your space throughout the summer months, helping your garden or patio to become welcoming places , where you can spend time with your friends and family enjoying your time together. 

Summer is a time for bright and fun colors that may not fit with your decor the rest of the year. Bright colors allow for an inviting and fun space in which everyone enjoy themselves and feels welcomed. Some good combos of bright colors, such as turquoise, red, and white, create a festive atmosphere and will keep everyone in a party mind-set. All of this allows for a great reason to get fresh new pillows or area rugs featuring these colors. A new table runner or tablecloth will give any patio or garden and brand new appearance. Summer weather allows the opportunity to find new and fresh uses for formal serving pieces. A silver tray can hold glassware, a pitcher can be filled with a delicious summery cocktail, and a champagne bucket makes a great container for an herb plant.

Flowers are a very easy and fun way to celebrate the summer time season. The freshness and vibrant appearance is what defines summer. Using  bright, summery colors in your home with freshly picked flowers make the biggest impact. Arrangements featuring warm colors such as bold oranges, radiant yellows, or vibrant pinks. Small clusters of bright color look cheery and make for the ultimate summertime vibe. Potted succulents are alos a perfect plant for an outdoor, summer gathering. Still offering the freshness and brightness in the form of a plant, while lasting longer and needing less attention.

Summer is an excuse for parties and get togethers, and the space should match this feeling. A fun summer space to share with friends and family doesn’t have to be over-complicated. Bright colors and repurposing of old items help give a fresh look to your patio. Flowers reinforce the bright colors while adding freshness and more life to your space.

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