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.

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7 Ways to Increase Your Home’s Value for $1000 or Less

Selling your home and want to maximize the final price?  It’s all about leverage.  What are some lower cost upgrades that yield the highest rewards when it comes to closing time?

Obviously, everyone wants a home that looks clean and well-maintained…and so do prospective buyers.  The question is…what can a seller do to primp and window dress on a practial level…without taking out a second mortgage for a major remodel?  Here are several cost effective strategies you can implement…each for under $1,000 that will have a line of competitive offers leading to your front door.  Speaking of front doors and window coverings…they just happen to be the first few items on our list:

  1. New Walkway – Remember your dating days and the expression, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”? It also works here with #1 and #2 on the list.  You can create positive expectancy for buyers with a new front door pathway that elevates their anticipation of “Eureka!” (I have found it…the search is over).  Whether it’s brick pavers, stone, concrete, or just rocks — the trick is to be sure the pathway’s look and feel matches your home’s style. It creates a welcoming feeling that invites newcomers to crave a closer look at your home.
  2. New Front Door – Just as the eyes are the windows to the soul…your home’s front door and entry way is where your home’s curb appeal creates impact and comes into focus. Whether you replace or just repaint it, the front door has built in emotional buttons that affect thoughts of safety and security.  A new door should have practical appeal (new hardware is important also)…using color to subtly conjure up emotion and add some style to your home’s introduction is great way to make a statement.
  3. New Blinds or Plantation Shutters Ahh…our specialty!  That ‘windows to the soul’ thing applies to your home’s window too!  New window coverings can dramatically impact and modernize a room. If your windows are a standard width, you can try the DIY route and purchase basic wood blinds at a home improvement store (and most allow you to customize the length). If you have irregular window sizes special-ordering them is the only smart choice. Plantation shutters often add dramatic appeal…and can be a final tipping point with your home’s next owners.high angle view of downtown San Jose, California residential housing area with a variety of neighborhood buildings.
  4. Water Filtration System – Who doesn’t have a positive response to the idea of ultra clean and pure water on a daily basis?  The addition of an entire-home water filtration system is just plain smart at a fundamental level.  The notion of filtering to remove pollutants and chemicals from our drinking water has become a necessity in most major metropolitan areas of the U.S.  The bandaid approach of dealing with the issue by using clunky, refillable 5- gallon bottles or even purchasing drinking water in environmentally unfriendly plastic bottles…is just not pragmatic.  Increase your home’s value and impress buyers with filtered water directly from any faucet in the house — it’s pure luxury, and this amenity will pay off now and in the future when it’s time to sell.
  5. Programmable Thermostat – A truly cost effective home upgrade is a programmable thermostat (even a Wi-Fi–enabled type that allows smartphone control) that allows you to customize a temperature profile throughout the day. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating your home accounts for more than 40% of its total energy usage.  Reducing the temperature inside your home by a degree or two while you sleep can lead to huge savings on a monthly basis.

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New Drapes? Think Functionality First

Las Vegas veteran interior designer Jackie Von Tobel knows drapery and curtains so well that she wrote the  book: “The Design Directory of Window Treatments” (Gibbs Smith).  She also knows that homeowners are often overwhelmed at the idea and process of choosing them for their residence or business.

Because drapery is “a very personal item,” and is often expensive…it sometimes scares would be buyers, said Von Tobel.  Custom-made drapes produced by professional window-treatment designers and manufacturers can cost thousands of dollars. Even those that are ready-made and available for purchase at retail stores — with the hardware required to hang them — can prove pricey.

Draperies are “definitely something (people) should invest in because it’s really the first thing you see when you walk in a house,” … “You look at what’s on the walls and its draperies, and it can set the tone for the whole room.”  ~ Jackie Von Tobel

Several measurements must be taken before selecting and hanging draperies. Window-covering companies typically provide in-home consultations that include taking measurements as part of their services.

For do-it-yourselfers, Von Tobel said there are “plenty of (websites) that will give you sort of guidelines on how to measure for your draperies.” She also recommends watching instructional videos on YouTube.  The measurement process can be tedious all by itself.

But of utmost importance…the available drapery fabric and design options are tremendously large and varied.

“Just by the fact that it is (made of) fabric, you’re going to have multiple choices to be made, and a lot of people are very uncomfortable making those choices for themselves,” said Von Tobel, who is also an interior-product designer.  She advises homeowners to begin the drapery selection process by considering how they will function in the home: “What do you need on that window? Is it just that you’re putting up something pretty to make it look nice, or do you need light-blocking? Do you need sun-blocking?”

When hung on a window with an accompanying pair of heavy, interlined curtains or drapes (into which an extra layer of lining material has been sewn between the ordinary lining and decorative fabric), blackouts can also effectively reduce sound.

Marlies Zieman, owner of Interior Visions, a Las Vegas-based wholesale drapery manufacturing company…agrees.  Working with local interior designers to create custom window coverings for high-end homes and other projects…for over 20 years…makes her perspective highly sought after.

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2016 Window Treatment Trends

Home decorating trends come, go and evolve…like so many other fashion oriented trends.  2016 is projected by home design experts to favor window treatments that will lean heavily toward the natural, organic, green and luxurious side of decorating.  Instead of acting as an accessory that adds to an overall flavor…windows will become the focal points in the design of the living area, as described by HGTV:

…let’s face it: If you neglect your windows in favor of a different design focus, you’ll be left with a bare view…Nothing says elegance like floor-to-ceiling window treatments in a neutral tone. [HGTV]

Organic materials like bamboo and matchsticks will be a favorite this coming new year. Smith+Noble’s product development manager Cindy O’Reilly shares that this type of window covering will allow light to enter homes but will offer considerable privacy, making home owners enjoy a balance in the two different environments.

Victorian SF Home - Traditional Drapery

Natural colors will also be a trend this 2016, paired with bold and dramatic colors like black and navy. Bright and beautiful colors will highlight the windows a home. Old World Interiors believes that bright and contrasting colors will play a big role in creating a statement for homes.

Fashionable fabrics and luxurious materials for window curtains will also return on the spotlight of home design this 2016. Fur, leather, silk, suede and velvet will be among the favorite materials for curtains and coverings. Simplicity will remain to be the main keyword for home designs this year, but a little luxury and intricate choices for accessories in homes will go a long way as well.

Promise of an even more stunning and visually appealing windows can be expected in the coming years…beginning with industry adaptations to technology and other new market offerings for 2016. Bold dramatic colors, green materials and even cutting edge technology will be the highlights of the coming year for window coverings.

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Choosing New Window Coverings – 10 Key Questions

One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make when choosing new window coverings is not considering the actual functionality they are needed to perform.  Getting guidance from a window coverings professional is never a bad idea…but a little self education can go a long way in helping to avoid costly mistakes.

Here are 10 key questions to as yourself when choosing the right window coverings for your home:

Choosing New Window Coverings - 10 Key Questions

  1. Architecture of the home? Do you have an obligation to decorate according to a certain historical period?  Also consider what your window coverings will look like from outside.
  2. Existing colors/décor in the home? Will these be changed in the future? All white is highly not recommended…humans are designed to crave color.  Also, many white window coverings show dirt easily and can be harder to keep clean.
  3. Window Size? Some window treatments, such as timber venetians, have a maximum width, so this needs to be taken into account. Small windows can be given the illusion of largesse if the right window treatment is selected. If you have space around the window to extend the size of the window coverings, this can make the proportions larger.
  4. Window Shape? Unusual shapes such as arches, angles and circles greatly limit the window covering choices. Plantation shutters are a great option in many cases.
  5. Thermal Protection Needed? Do you need extra warmth in winter or coolness in summer without increasing your energy consumption? This is where fully lined curtains and pelmets do their best work.
  6. Privacy Needed? Is your window overlooking an ugly view or do you have nosy neighbours? No one likes living in a goldfish bowl! Please put something appropriate on your windows, as sometimes we don’t want to see into your house!

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