Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Custom Decorator: Hunter Douglas Panel Discussion

The Custom Decorator: Hunter Douglas Panel Discussion: " Today I went to Waltham to participate in a panel discussion on ways to improve the Hunter Douglas product line. The meeting included me..."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hunter Douglas Panel Discussion

Today I went to Waltham to participate in a panel discussion on ways to improve the Hunter Douglas product line.  The meeting included me and 7 other dealers from all parts of the state.  It was really worthwhile to be able to discuss the advantages and drawbacks of the existing line of blinds and shades with the other dealers, and to share our customers' response to the products.   Additionally, we were given a preview of some of the new items, not yet in production.  We were able to inspect, study and give our opinions as to the functionality and marketability of the new items.  Hunter Douglas really does listen to input from the dealers!  This is the 3rd year that I have had the privilege to participate in this event and it has been interesting seeing the implementation of our suggestions and ideas. 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Custom Decorator: Transitional Fabrics Fall 2010

The Custom Decorator: Transitional Fabrics Fall 2010: "'Transitional' fabrics are the compromise between traditional and contemporary fabrics. Often times, transitional fabrics can go either way...."

Transitional Fabrics Fall 2010

"Transitional" fabrics are the compromise between traditional and contemporary fabrics. Often times, transitional fabrics can go either way. They are conservative enough to blend in with the traditional fabrics, lending a fresh zip to time honored style, yet feel at home also with the contemporaries.

We just received our Fall line of fabrics and it is loaded with these types of versatile prints and solids. The colors are the most striking innovation, as we are seeing color combinations that are truly unique! And most of the patterns that you are about to see come in many other color ways.

The dominant pattern left is called “Entwined” in the color “Tango Mango”. Color is always somewhat distorted on the Internet, but this is a beautiful, soft Salmon color. The fabric top right in that grouping is called “Belvedere” in the color “Sand”. It is a Kasmir exclusive that looks like it is printed on linen and has a wonderfully soft hand. But’s actually embroidered onto 100% polyester greige goods. The viney flowers have varying tones of the “Entwined” fabric and greens matching the paisley below it. The paisley is called “Madurai”. The inner parts of the paisley are varying tints of the Tango Mango.

Now see how the "Entwined" pattern (right) can swing toward contemporary. The fabrics are all drapey polyesters, with a slight sheen. Here I have replaced the floral with a stripe that coordinates with "Entwined. The third print, "Turkana", is still a paisley, but a less traditional one in that it is more open and flowing than the original. Again, the color is a bit distorted, but the darker tones of the stripe are actually repeated in the "Turkana".

This next grouping is a really strong color combination. The main fabric is called “Extravagant”. It offers sharp color contrast and really makes a statement. This fabric would make an awesome cornice board, or perhaps even a drapery; although it would have to be a good sized room to be able to carry it as a drapery. The print itself is fairly traditional, but the color combination really jazzes it up for a more contemporary look. The 2009 color of the year was selected by the CMG to be purple. (It’s interesting to see how long it takes the yearly color selections to infiltrate cross industry, but that’s a future topic of discussion.) There is a lot of purple in this line. The “Glisten” fabric (in Raspberry” bottom right) certainly pulls the purple from this fabric. Try covering the left fabric (“Glisten” in “Marmalade”) with your left hand. See how the purple jumps from the middle fabric! Now reverse it, covering the right fabric. See how the orange jumps! This exercise makes “Extravagant” look like two completely different fabrics, depending on the coordinating fabric selected. A stunning look would be to combine all three colors in the room. The cut velvet “Glisten” fabrics would make ideal seating, as they have a rating of 40,000 on the Martindale scale! I haven’t even told you about the coordinating stripe that brings in all three of these fabrics!

The background prints in the next group vary between a traditional and non traditional floral. The one on the left is called “Spring Garden”. See how, as discussed above, you can focus on either the purple or the green. Each one gives a totally different feel to the fabric. But see what happens (right) when we change out the main fabric (to "Waimea"). All of the sudden, a traditional look becomes contemporary. The geometric is the transitional pattern in these two sequences.

I’ve been discussing some of the new colors, but I would be remiss I didn’t include the following blue and brown selections. This combination became the rage about three or four years ago, and it is still huge. This collection offers several blue/brown choices and these are just a few examples.
The main fabric (left) is a light weight polyester called "Curlique". This fabric would swag beautifully or hang elegantly as a drape. The pattern is nontraditional and the geometric patterns of the companion prints ("Right Angles" and "Diamond Mine")complement it well. Both of the companions would make excellent residential seating. Watch what happens when the contemporary "Curlique" is paired with more traditional prints (right). This traditional main fabric is called "Prestonwood". It surpasses 60,000 double rubs, and would be ideal for upholstery. Here is "Curlique" again, this time with a stripe ("Plaza") paired together to result in a transitional design. Just a thought, a traversing wood pole in a rich mocha would be especially nice with these draperies!

For several years now we've been crying for prints, only to be semi-placated with mostly solids and eventually a few embroideries thrown in for accent. This seems to be the season of revival of patterns! There are old patterns with a new twist, as well as tons of totally new ones! Dare I say that there are actually some florals included in this season's selection? Not quite chintzes, which some day will have their rebirth, but still, nice “pretty” florals. Also, there are many geometrics, and small and large scale prints. There are lots of retro (late 60's to 1970's), but the 70's never saw this combination of colors! There is something here for everyone! When these books came in, Mr. UPS was not out of the door before we declared it was time for a break to drool over the new swatches!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Hunter Douglas Custom Roman Folds

Hunter Douglas is now making custom Roman Fold shades. This product is available exclusively through a limited number of Hunter Douglas dealers, and we are lucky enough to be one of those dealers!

The Roman Fold is similar to the well known Vignette, which Hunter Douglas has been manufacturing for a number of years now. The Vignette has the feel of a roman fold in that soft folds are fixed on the face of the shades. The drawbacks to the Vignette are that it offers only a limited number of fabrics and colors, and the traditional head rail is a little bulky. The tiered Vignette was a move closer to the new Roman Fold in that the head rail became smaller, and the fabric is stacked under the head rail, but the fabrics offered are still from the same limited selection. And there are no prints, other than a few tone-on-tone patterns.

What makes the new Roman Fold different is the way in which it is manufactured. It is made to (and even above) the industry standards for table-made roman folds. As beautiful as it is, the Vignette does not have this type of finish. The new Roman Fold has double turned side hems, weighted bottom hems, and stitched on trims. All shades, excepting those made of a sheer fabric, will be lined with your choice of light filtering or room darkening linings.

The lift control can either be the standard cord pull, or it can be the EasyRise (cord loop) system. The EasyRise is a particularly effective lift system for large shades, although sometimes it is preferred for even the average sized shade. Another benefit to the EasyRise system is that there will never be a cord "puddle", which means that the cord will always be under control. This lift system is better by far than the basic Rollease system offered by traditional workrooms because of the resulting smooth lift movement.

The Roman Folds are made in 4 different styles. These styles are flat (no folds remain when the shade is lowered to the sill), batten front (a rib of sort is sewn to the face of the shade), batten back (rib is in back resulting in a horizontal stitch on the face), and hobbled (folds remain when the shade is lowered to the sill). Offering still more options, a valance is available in 3 different designs- flat, flat with a kick pleat at the corners and an inverted box pleated style. Shown below is a flat Roman Fold with a flat valance.

What really makes the Hunter Douglas Roman Fold great though is the selection of fabrics. Coming from a fabric-aholic (whoever dies with the most fabric wins!), this is a sort of paradise! There are 76 patterns and prints to choose from, in multiple colors, totalling 320 combinations! Better still, the fabrics come 103"-118" wide, which means that there will be no vertical seams on shades up to 96" wide! There are fabric choices for many different tastes. And the fabric books are arranged in color coordinated collections, so finding complemented patterns and solids has been made easy. Whether your preference is traditional, contempory or transitional, there is a fabric here for you!
The fabrics used on the Roman Folds are of cotton, polyester (including blends), and silk. Additionally, there is a wonderful selection of fringes and tapes. Also, we can purchase both fabrics and trims as yard goods to be made into coordinating drapes, bedding, pillows, etc.

We have received all of the fabric and trim samples for the new Roman Fold line by Hunter Douglas and are so thrilled with the options and potential of this program! The icing on the cake is that the Roman folds are manufactured in 10 business days! But don't wait to make your selections!
Enjoy them as soon as it is possible! Roman folds are huge this year and the introduction of this new product has come at a very opportune time!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hunter Douglas Wooden Cornice

We just received a Country Woods Expose Wooden Cornice Board sample from Hunter Douglas. I saw this at the show last year, and loved it, but we didn't have a spot for it in the shop. Now that we are moving stuff around, we saved a special place for it! This piece really needs to be show-cased. It's beautiful!

This window-top treatment looks like a fine piece of furniture. It would go wonderfully over a blind or drapery; a nice, tailored, Ralph Lauren-type design that would be a handsome addition to a library or study. The one we received has the classic "Egg & Dart" carving just under the crown of the board. The finish we ordered is called "Cabernet", which looks like a rich mahogany, but it is available in 15 paint colors and 25 stain colors. And as if that wasn't enough, we can purchase it unfinished (in 4 species of wood) to be painted or stained to match any decor. Furthermore, the top is finished just as professionally as the face, which would be ideal in a loft situation.

Speaking of professional, I had better call Rich to install this one.

Monday, July 19, 2010

New Displays are Arriving!

I just received some of the new Hunter Douglas blinds and shades that will replace the old ones that have been hanging in the shop for altogether too long! I couldn't wait to start replacing.
A shutter was on the front window, which I was never crazy about. I love shutters, but it just didn't work on that window. Maybe I will move it to the outside front wall since it's all vinyl. At any rate, I was thrilled to take it off of the window today and replace it with a new Nantucket shade.
Nantucket is very similar to the well known Silhouette sheer shade, except it's the better priced cousin! Nantucket only comes in the 3" vane (which is the most popular size anyway) and offers all the same lift systems as Silhouette, except TopDown/BottomUp- even motorization with the Platinum 2 technology! Additionally Nantucket now offers 3 fabrics in 51 different colors! The one we chose for the display has the new "screen" backing, called "Sunscreen Privacy Shading" which gives a little more light & privacy control than the standard Nantucket. It looks awesome in the window! And it may even work for a time with the existing banded drapery. It's a completely different feel than the shutter. Soft, but still with the horizontal vanes for privacy control.