4 Surprising Upgrades that Leverage Your Home’s Value

The Bay Area’s housing market continues to heat up like Summer temperatures and prudent homeowners are jumping on the most lucrative home improvement projects that are sure to maximize  their selling price when trigger pulling time comes.  The trick is choosing the upgrade that most leverages your final home sale price. Hint: It’s not always expenditure dependent.

den area's new Hunter Douglas window shades upgrade home's value

  • Window Coverings Interior Lighting can have a huge impact on how your home is perceived…and window treatments offer tremendous control as to how light enters your home.  the Positive elements or negative ones are accentuated depending on how light flow is managed.  Sunlight is warm and welcoming, but without ultraviolet protection, over time it can fade and damage a room’s furnishings and décor. Hunter Douglas’s line of products offers ultraviolet protection to help counter the sun’s harmful effects. Their Pirouette window shadings are designed with soft, horizontal fabric vanes attached to a single sheer backing. This innovation allows natural light into your room and it also lets you control the light in an entirely new way.
  • Landscape Architecture –  Regardless of whether you’re planning to sell your home soon… consider landscaping improvements as an investment that offers valuable curb appeal now…and will likely provide a future return in the event of future sale.  Planting a tree is not only more aesthetic…it can also help to save energy. Choose a leaf shedding tree that will provide shade from the summer sun, but will let light in during the winter months to maximize solar warmth and light.
  • Smart Home Technology – Smart homes appeal to buyers because they offer elements that make life easier.  The new Hunter Douglas PowerView motorized operating system lets you customize the perfect combination of light, privacy and warming, keeping your home perfectly in sync with the time of day and your mood. The PowerView Pebble Remote allows you to control exactly how light will play throughout your home from the palm of your hand.

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Ideal Bedroom Window Coverings for Great Sleep

Deep sleep…a “good night’s sleep” is healthy and rejuvenating. It’s never been more sought after and more important.  These tips for creating a bedroom setting that invites a better night’s sleep from interior designer Robin Wilson of Robin Wilson Home …known for her eco-friendly aesthetic and an eco-healthy focus.

window treatments for great sleep

  • Window Coverings (Our Specialty!) – Light pollution is a huge factor that often gets ignored in the quest for healthy, relaxing…good night’s sleep. A well-fitted set of blinds, shades or shutters is a great choice, and it can be a healthier one, too, as draperies can be dust-catchers. Hunter Douglas Silhouette A Deux shadings combine the sheer, light-diffusing beauty of Silhouette shadings with a room-darkening roller shade for increased light control and privacy when desired.
  • Pillow Change – Is it three years old?  Dump it…especially if it hasn’t been washed.  It weighs more now than when you bought it.  Why? Because it’s loaded with dust mites. Use hypoallergenic pillows over down pillows, and use a zippered pillow protector that you wash weekly for a double barrier.   Pillows need to be Washed at least twice a year and replaced every three years.
  • Mattress Cover – Cover your mattress with a hypoallergenic cover and wash it every two months. Make sure your mattress is non-toxic without formaldehyde-based fire retardants.
  • Paints – Use Only non-VOC – Why? They won’t off-gas, leave an obnoxious paint odor and stir up allergies. It looks just as good on the wall as regular paint.
  • Nylon Shower Curtain Liner – Allergy sufferers are told to shower often to remove pollen and pet dander from their bodies. However, the phthalate chemicals in vinyl shower curtains off-gas with humidity and heat, and also attract mold and mildew. This off-gassing can easily spread from the bathroom into the bedroom. Replace your vinyl liner with a nylon shower curtain liner.
  • Stuffed Toys – Wash or freeze them – Teddy Bears, Stuffed animals and dolls are breeding grounds for dust mites. Wash them or put them in the freezer for 24 hours to kill them.
  • Pets – Keep ’em Clean and Off Bedding – Cat and dog allergies are very common, so keep pets bathed regularly to reduce the dander and don’t allow them on your bed.
  • Flooring – Tile and hardwood floors are usually a healthier choice than carpeting, as floor spaces are the largest dust collectors in the home.

 


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Window Coverings – How to Make the Best Choice

Are you a recent new home buyer…wondering how to make the best window coverings choice for each room?  A house usually feels empty when the windows are bare too.  So what are some of the best ways to approach each room and choose the best options?   Window treatments are often finishing touch that can make or break all rooms in a new house.   Usually…it’s a combination of several factors that help you decide…including: style of the house and room functionality required…as dictated by privacy and light control.

Here are a few key common factors:

  1. The Space – Covering all the windows in a home…or even one side of a home…with a single consistent type of treatment…can often be a practical decision.  All blinds or shutters in one color, for example. This affords the same level of light control and privacy to every room…giving your home a uniform look on the exterior.
  2. Style – for example…Contemporary homes may look most attractive with fitted, streamlined, blinds.   Traditional, formal homes often have more ornate window treatment combinations…e.g. Blinds with full-length drapery, or customized roman shades to add pattern and color to each room.
  3. Window Treatment Options – The range of possible window treatments extends from the familiar drapery…to blinds, shades and shutters.  And composition of each window covering can go from wood & faux wood…to fabrics and other more natural .
  4. Drapery vs. blinds – In some rooms, even with a blind, you may want to add drapery to soften the room or add some extra fullness. This might be in a living room or bedroom where you want additional style or decor — you can coordinate fabrics and textiles and really bring a room together. When you have more than one window in a room, like a living room, it’s important to give them the same coverings.

Tip: It’s tough to go wrong with seeking a seasoned professional for advice and installation…especially on more customized window treatment applications.  It can eliminate the usual surprises and heartaches encountered in DIY settings.

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Motorized Shades – 10 Tips

Why spend the energy to swap out your old traditional window coverings for a more contemporary motorized variety?  Here are a few reasons to stimulate your thinking:

  1. Versatility
  2. Style
  3. Convenience

The reality is that Motorized window treatments have become increasingly extremely popular in the past few years.  It has much to do with how home automation manufacturers have provided seamless integration with many well known window window treatment manufacturers like Hunter Douglas, Lutron and Somfy. For example…this integration enables the shades and drapes to move in concert with other subsystems, like lighting, music, and heating and cooling equipment.


Need more stimulation and motivation? Here are 10 more practical reasons to consider motorized shades for your home or office.

  1. Energy efficiency and privacy protection equally achieved.  On sunny Summer days…your home’s air conditioner can operate more efficiently. In fact, the shades can position themselves automatically based on the time of day or the intensity of the sun.
  2. Help protect your home from burglars and vandals. When window treatments move throughout the day, makes you house appear as if someone is at home. In other words, it gives it a “lived-in” look—an effective deterrent against burglars.
  3. Enhanced aesthetics over manual shades and drapes.  Attached to a motorized rod, track, or roller, window treatments lift, lower and traverse left and right without any tugging of a cord necessary.  Minus pull cords, you window treatments evoke a look that’s clean and modern. Moreover, the window treatments can be synchronized to start and stop in unison and to line up perfectly across the window.
  4. Quiet, smooth, and precise operation.  These high tech manufacturers have developed units that are virtually noise-free.
  5. More safe environment for your family.  Manual pull cords…and children & pets often don’t play well together…and can be down right dangerous.

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Allied Drapery Celebrates Small Business Saturday 11/26/16

The Small Business Saturday Story

  • 2010 – Day One –  The first-ever Small Business Saturday took place on Nov 27.  It encouraged people across the country to support small, local businesses.
  • 2011 – The Day Became Official – The United States Senate unanimously passed a resolution of support for Small Business Saturday.
  • 2012 – EVERY STATE IN THE UNION – From Washington D.C., to Washington State, governors, mayors, and even President Obama championed Small Business Saturday.
  • 2013 – Neighborhoods Celebrated The Day – The day continued to grow, with more individuals and local organizations pledging to support the day as Neighborhood Champions.
  • 2014 – SMALL BUSINESSES OWNED THE DAY – American Express encouraged small business owners to take charge of the day, helping them promote their businesses with free personalized ads, which appeared millions of times across the web.
  • 2015 – ONE FOR THE BOOKS – Shoppers supported their neighborhood businesses like never before, continuing to embrace the day as a holiday shopping tradition.

Small businesses create nearly seven out of every ten new private sector jobs and employ half the private sector work force. They represent 99.7% of all U.S. businesses with employees and have created 63% of the net new jobs over the last 20 years. ~ Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH) ~ Forbes

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Roman Shades – When In…When To

While traditional custom-made drapery has a richly renowned reputation for its dramatic flair…each room of your home has its own character and needs appropriate window coverings to match.  Roman shades are often preferred where the desired look is a notch more practical and clean.  Though they’re a fabric based window covering like draperies…Roman shades retract vertically and stack neatly near the upper portion of the frame.

Here’s how  a couple of noted designers describe Roman shades:

“Roman shades are stricter, less fussy, and more modern,” ~ Robert Couturier – AD100 designer

 

“They can provide more of a clean-lined architectural look than full-length drapery in most situations” ~ Abby Rodriguez – VP of New York’s Chelsea Workroom

Roman shades also have a more pragmatic appeal.  Sometimes, when you have customized built-in furniture or shelving…full-length drapery is simply not an option.  Roman shades fulfill such unique needs for windows coverings, when limited wall space specialized structures would otherwise pose limit your options.

But not all Roman shades are created equal. To help determine the best setup for a space, we asked Couturier and Rodriguez to share their thoughts on the many available options.

  • Fabric – this is the most critical choice when you’re in the design phase of creating custom Roman shades.  Aside from color, fabric also affects translucence as well as ease of operation when opening and closing the shade.
  • Relaxed vs Constructed –  Relaxed shades have no rigid supports inside and allow the fabric to sag gently under its own weight, which creates a curve at the bottom of the shades when they’re raised.  Constructed shades have sewn-in horizontal rods, dowels, or battens to create a more rigid appearance.
  • Lining –  Though not necessary  for all shades…but when used…lining can give blinds a more finished, luxurious look.
  • Controls –  There are three types of controls—integrated electric motors, a continuous loop system, or cord and cleat.
  • Placement – Whether to mount them inside or outside the window frames is largely determined by architecture

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Blinds 301 – Smart Gizmo: High Tech, Low Cost & Self-Adjusting

Are you more of a “function first” vs. a form kind of person? If so, you may not be inclined to do cartwheels over this window coverings oriented discovery…but you may find it pretty ingenious.  It’s basically a retrofit for your existing normal window blinds…that converts them to a smarter kind of window covering that adjust automatically based on time of day, temperature or degree of light settngs that you control.

It’s named FlipFlic…and is a small, simple, small device that clicks onto the blinds’ existing tilt mechanism, enabling it to be remotely and automatically controlled by a smartphone app.   Built into the design is a “green energy” option that allows the device to be recharged by a small solar panel that mouns directly to the window. But if you’re a bit old fashioned…it can be manually plugged into a mini-USB cord and re-charged every month or so.

Invented by Ksenia Vinogradova of Estonia (now San Francisco) and her company Jalousier, Inc….she tells us that the idea came into being by her own frustrations of constantly needing to adjust blinds at home and at the office.  Two years later…Jalousier just launched a $50,000 crowd funding campaign on Kickstarter to breathe life into FlipFlic and begin production.  Supporting the new invention can be done in two ways:  1) $60 gets an early release device, or… 2) $85 buys a later model with the solar panel included.


Some Key FlipFlic Features:

  1. Automatic Control – FlipFlic has built in sensors that automatically responds to changing temperature & light.
  2. Both Verticle & Horizontal Blinds – two versions of FlipFlic to fit both blind types.
  3. Solar Powered – built in battery is constantly recharges with a solar panel…or can be manually plugged into a mini-USB cord and re-charged every month or so.
  4. Smart Home Integration – FlipFlic integrates with both BLE and ZigBee hubs


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5 Space Specific Window Treatment Options

Room decor and design often lead many professionals to first consider the larger elements of the room…like larger furniture pieces or area rugs.  Window coverings often receive secondary attention in this inside out approach by many designers.  But the owner of a posh East Coast custom window treatment supplier, Loom Decor, says this about window treatments:

“…they’re often the most complicated decision in a space.” ~ Ashley Gensler, Founder – Loom Decor


Focusing your attention on more pragmatic concerns when selecting your ultimate drapery or window shade for the targeted room’s decor. Make your decision criteria these three needs:

  1. Light
  2. Privacy
  3. Architecture

If the focal point of a room is the window, you want to play it up as much as possible.” ~ Abby Rodriguez, VP of Chelsea Workroom – New York custom drapery atelier

Here are a hand full of specific space types and corresponding window treatment options that might work best for them…with pointers for avoiding common mistakes.

Elegance & Extreme Light Control:
Heavy luxurious drapery is famous for it’s light-blocking qualities…and for offering a feel of extreme elegance. Hence, they are highly appropriate for bedrooms and formal spaces, such as living and dining rooms.

High-traffic room focus:
Roman shades are a popular option here because they have structure…making them more substantial than other window coverings. Examples of high-traffic rooms include bedrooms, offices & powder rooms…but they’re also a practical choice for rooms where you don’t want window coverings that reach the floor…like rooms for kids, pets or radiators.

Minimalist focus:
Roller shades are a great choice for a room where you want the window treatment to be much less noticeable…and functionality takes a higher priority than form.

Custom & Unique focus:
Custom window treatments (as opposed to pre-fabbed) conquer those challenging situations where non-standard window and room sizes just won’t allow for anything ready-made.  Professionals will also ensure that they are installed and hung correctly.

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Window Treatment Alternatives for Victorian Homes

From the “Painted Ladies” of San Francisco’s Alamo Square residential neighborhood and park…to the historic downtown San Jose mansions that still stand tall and proud, the Bay area is full of beautiful Victorian homes that shout out to California’s cultural past. While some new purchasers of these classic homes stay on the traditional path as the redecorating begins…other prefer a more hybrid approach.

For a classic Victorian treatment, use interior wood shutters or blinds that match your woodwork in a way that ties in with the architecture of your house. No need to stay true to the heavy, fussy, layered Victorian style for window treatments. ~ Jennifer Adams

victorian home bedroom window with fauxwood shutters overlooking wooded property

Founder of award-winning interior decorating firm, Jennifer Adams Design Group, Jennifer Adams is an acclaimed author and TV personality on a nationally syndicated daytime TV design program (The Better Show).

In this short Q&A session with a new homeowner who had just purchased a Victorian…and seemed eager for advice on doing window coverings somewhat off the traditional path. Jennifer points out that some of the drawbacks of the original Victorian window treatment style are that it’s dramatic construct tends to block out too much exterior light…while keeping hidden the elaborately beautiful woodwork that these classic homes are renowned for.

Jennifer’s basic answer:

Use interior wood shutters or blinds that match your woodwork in a way that ties in with the architecture of your house.

If you choose Shades, consider ones made of natural materials or fabric that are mounted midway…leaving the top portion exposed to allow more light. may be another solution if you don’t mind the look of the mounting hardware or having a roll of material across the center of your window. Or…only if your windows have deep sills, reverse blinds or shades that stack is another cleaner look.

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Victorian Home Window-Treatment Options: Minimalist View

From the “Painted Ladies” of San Francisco’s Alamo Square residential neighborhood and park…to the historic downtown San Jose mansions that still stand proud and tall, the Bay area is full of beautiful Victorian homes that shout out to our California cultural past.  While some new  purchasers of these classic homes stay on the traditional path as the redecorating begins…other prefer a more hybrid approach.

For a classic Victorian treatment, use interior wood shutters or blinds that match your woodwork in a way that ties in with the architecture of your house. No need to stay true to the heavy, fussy, layered Victorian style for window treatments. ~ Jennifer Adams Inc.

victorian home bedroom window with fauxwood shutters overlooking wooded property

Founder of award-winning interior decorating firm, Jennifer Adams Design Group, Jennifer Adams is an acclaimed author and TV personality on a nationally syndicated daytime TV design program (The Better Show).

In this short Q&A session with a new homeowner who had just purchased a Victorian…and seemed eager for advice on doing window coverings somewhat off the traditional path.  Jennifer points out that some of the drawbacks of the original Victorian window treatment style are that it’s dramatic construct tends to block out too much exterior light…while keeping hidden the elaborately beautiful woodwork that these classic homes are renowned for.

Jennifer’s basic answer:

Use interior wood shutters or blinds that match your woodwork in a way that ties in with the architecture of your house.

If you choose Shades, consider ones made of natural materials or fabric that are mounted midway…leaving the top portion exposed to allow more light. may be another solution if you don’t mind the look of the mounting hardware or having a roll of material across the center of your window.  Or…only if your windows have deep sills, reverse blinds or shades that stack is another cleaner look.

Read More