Wednesday, November 24, 2010

An Older Home

I’ve been asked to do a window treatment in an older home. The homeowners are very lovingly restoring this beauty and are taking care to do it with period appropriate designs.  We have a photo to work from; it’s a perfect design for the room and the home. But, it’s a very complicated design - one that isn’t done often and  so I have had to do some homework.  I’m very fortunate to have  access to a network of people like me throughout North America  and I asked for advice. I was directed to a gal in Georgia who had done exactly what we are planning here  and was pleasantly surprised to receive a phone call from her.  She shared invaluable information and suggested I look at another site that was specific to ‘Old World Window Fashions’. ( From that site I was directed to a  gal who actually teaches old world patterning and  I’m going to attend her spring course). 
As I was looking at the older window fashions  I was struck by how similar, in many ways, they were to what we do now with our window treatments. Good fabrics, well considered design; good construction. In his definitive book on the subject, published in 1887; one of the most prominent window drapers in the US; Frank Moreland; states: “In most cases the choice of colors is controlled by the previous treatment of the rooms; for usually the hangings are the last things considered, and the draper the last person called in.” Did you catch that? The window coverings should be the last thing done in a room. Not the first. 
I know I’ve lost sales because I advised potential clients to wait to make the decision on window coverings.  I know the temptation is there to pick fabric and run with it; matching the room furnishings later. Believe me, though, it’s a lot easier to pick fabric to coordinate with the walls and furniture than it is to pick a sofa to match the drapes.  Your windows will have specific requirements, heat and light control, privacy, functionality - and don’t forget budget. You won’t know all of the requirements until you have lived in the room for awhile.
So - back to the older home. We are taking our time; we have fabric to work with that is presenting challenges; the design is a challenge too; but the homeowners have waited and now know what the room needs and what they’d like to see.  I’ll keep you posted

More floor plan

If you want to continue on with your floor plan you have a few choices to make now. You can draw it to scale   and add outlines of furniture; you can go on line and do a computer generated floor plan or you can call a designer and get a floor plan done for you. 
Here is why you should do one of these things:
Your floor plan is the map for the room. It tells you where the furniture will be placed, it shows the size of the furniture.  With the addition of lighting it shows what type of fixtures you will need and where they will be placed. If you are working on a living room, it will now show the shape and size of the coffee table and it will show the size of any area rugs you need. You will have sizes for any occasional furniture or floor accessories. 
The size and type of each piece of furniture, lighting or accessory should be listed on a sidebar of the plan.  This is your room shopping list.  Now, when you are selecting elements for the room, you will know exactly what you need and in what size.  Just like we know that that we should not go grocery shopping when hungry, we should not do room arranging without a plan.  If you have existing pieces that are to be used in the room you will know where they will be positioned and what their intended use is. You won’t buy extras or pieces that won’t fit.
The next step in the process is to decide what style of room you are doing. You could, for example, want to do a Victorian room, or an Art Deco room, or a Retro room. Or you could be doing a Contemporary room  which often incorporates antiques and new pieces; this is the most common style for this area. Look at some magazines, go online, get a feel for what you want. We’ll continue with this in the next floor plan column.
 I can do a floor plan for you - it could be just a floor plan or could be the start of a whole room design; elevation, floor plan and mood board.  See one at; connect to the Gallery via the flashing book and go to the ‘Visualize This’ feature.