Friday, May 28, 2010

Dining Room Draperies provide added elegance

Our latest before and after has all the offerings of a classic dining room: a classic dark stained table and hutch, tone-on-tone upholstered dining chairs, a tone-on-tone wallpaper, great moldings, and a perfect traditional brass chandelier. The previous window treatment was a huge, white swag which had seen better days. After it's removal, the client called us to see if we could replace it with something similar. Our idea was much different than the swagged treatment (sorry, no pic). The addition of panels for a nice vertical line on each side of the window seemed to be just what the room needed. Here's the rendering we sent the client to explain what we were talking about:

The wide window and the pale walls really needed something to anchor the treatments and tie in the dark furnishings. We suggested a walnut color hardware with gold highlights. It would also blend the brass chandelier into the color scheme. This sounded good to the client, and now we were down to choosing a fabric. We suggested a pale fabric, but something with a vine type of pattern. We ordered three swatches to be sent to the client. Because of the strong sun, it was suggested to not use a silk fabric, but to use polyester (or a faux silk as they like to call them). This window does not have blinds, and looks out into a beautiful flower garden.

Here's the before picture on the day of installation:

Now you still notice the lovely furnishings and the beautiful view, but the hard edges of the dining room have been softened with the addition of the window treatment. Also, the vertical line obtained by adding panels helps balance the hutch on the adjacent wall.
The client chose the more colorful embroidered faux silk: the gold and red small floral buds and the green vines were just enough color to blend in the adjoining living room and add a little extra that can really be accented throughout the different seasons.

Here's the result:

We opted for two smaller rods and four finials for a little more punch and a little less rod! Another thing we did was to mix the wood hardware with iron hardware. We wanted the pale drapes to be the focal point, so we ordered the brackets and rings in iron. This made for smaller, skinnier rings, and lower profile brackets. This room just didn't need the heft of the wooden rings and brackets, and the panels were able to take center stage.

Here's a close-up of the hardware and pleats:

We do want to give credit to The Finial Company for the hardware, and Kasmir for the fabric and the great work from their workroom. We like to upgrade the lining to a premium quality for added fullness and structure. Note the nice rounded pleats it gives to these panels. As we tell our customers: the undergarments can really make a difference! If you need the support, you need to order the proper lining. Of course, the exceptions are for a lighter weight style of drapery---then it may be appropriate to use a less "weighty" lining. Yes, there is more to learn about window treatments than you thought!

Whether you need a bold focal point or just something to add to the elegance of your dining room, let MLI help you make your decision.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Outdoor decorating: Your need our Firelites!

They finally arrived and it's well into Spring! We probably mentioned that we had some cool Spring items coming in, and the Firelights are what we have been looking forward to. Now you're asking, "what the heck is a firelite? Well, here's the cut and paste version from our vendor, Napa Home and Garden:

There is something about fire that people find fascinating. First it was chimaeras, then fire pits, and now the rage is gel burners, which we call NAPA FireLites. The new generation burners use a pourable fuel gel that is easy and economical to use and are made in a wide range of shapes and colorful glazes. When in use they are more interesting than a candle. When not in use, they are an attractive item of home d├ęcor. We started shipping our FireLites in December and they were an instant success. Our NapaFireLites takes pourable gel fuel to a new level. It is the first fuel made from recycled waste material, which makes it greener and less toxic than fuels
made from carbon based products. And it is made in the USA.

They will be a great addition to your patio tables, the deck, or around the pool area. The gel comes in 32 oz bottles and is priced at $9.00/bottle. Pricing on the Firelights start at $14.50. We have at least a couple of each color in the shop now if you want to coordinate them for your outdoor decorating. The reorders may be late in arriving due to their overwhelming sales (which is why they were late in arriving).

Hurry in before your Memorial Day Weekend cookout!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The newest jewelry, pillows, and furniture--only at Madison Lane

We are still waiting for some of our orders to be completed from our January Market trip. In the meantime, we've ordered some additional pieces of furniture, added more jewelry, and thrown in some bright new pillows.

Speaking of those new pillows---you'll find them next to the Dash and Albert Rugs. You won't find these particular fabrics for the mass market. This company employs their own artists to design their fabrics. The pillows have a zipper on the backside so you can remove the form for cleaning. They come with the polyester form, but if you like the karate-chop style of pillows, we have some down/feather forms for sale. You'll have to ask about them, we just don't have the space to display them in the shop!

One of our favorite jewelry makers has several new soldered pendants and glass tiles. We also ordered more of her ribbon necklaces in a large variety of colors. You won't have any trouble finding one to coordinate with a pendant.

The glass tiles and scrabble tiles are one-sided, but the soldered pieces are two-sided and have an inspirational "saying" on the reverse side.

We have a few new smaller furniture pieces around the shop, too. The woven seat footstool could serve as a table, along with extra seating. This style of furniture would fit in with a variety of decor, and the ebony finish would compliment other stained wood in the room.

We also purchased two of the bentwood chairs. Believe it or not, they are really comfortable! You can see these and more on their website, Furniture Classics, Ltd. Let us know if you see something interesting.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Gift Certificates for Goods and Services

Just in case you have too many weddings and special occasions on your calendar and not enough time to choose a gift, don't forget about Gift Certificates. They aren't just for the items in the shop, but also good towards a room redesign, paint consultation, furniture placement, and window treatment design.
You'll still find a great selection of unique jewelry, beautiful blown glass, tabletop items, baby gifts and many other items to choose from. Take advantage of our storefront parking! It doesn't get any easier than shopping at MLI!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Career Day at East Middle School

My neighbor had so kindly asked me to talk about what I do to a few groups of kids at the middle school. She knows I make curtains, and that can be a career, right? But along with that, Pam and I have this store we run and a few other hats we wear on any given day. Writing an actual speech is not me, so I rambled on about what we do, what I do, what I have done, and how I got there.

I showed them the storyboards for the MSSU Alumni Center (the mansion) and talked about the process of doing that as a non-college educated decorator (we have degrees, but not in design). I explained the use of the various computer programs we utilized to get the floorplans drawn and show the window treatments we have planned.

I finally went back to the beginning and encouraged any of them that felt they had an eye for design or a desire to create something to buy a few books and actually read the good information that is out there before they get too far along in their endeavors. It's all about being self-educated in this field, at least to begin with, then find the other education out there that is being offered for those who love to create. We need more upholsterers, drapery makers, and small business owners in this world. If not, we'll all end up with homes that look exactly alike---and all purchased from the big box store!

I guess that's my rant for the weekend, boys and girls of East Middle School, if you are reading this. Just create something for yourself, and if you loved the process, try perfecting it. You might just wind up with something unique.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Kansas City's 41st Symphony Designers' Showhouse

We had a good reason to be in Kansas City this past Thursday---we were attending the annual Hunter Douglas seminar. Of course that was finished in record time, so we ran over to Ward Parkway and found this years Showhouse.

This probably makes only the third one I've been to in KC, but so far this was the favorite. I think the fact that they remodeled the kitchen so completely made it even more interesting. It was contracted by Madden-Macfarland Interiors, with Connie Church-Fey being the designer.

As soon as you walk in you see the oval shaped island. The curved counter gives room for at least three chairs and also makes it very comfortable for moving around in a kitchen that's not particularly large. Although, for most older homes, it did seem roomy. I believe some of the extra room came from an old laundry room which was moved upstairs (and you should see that space!) We though the bright colored chairs and accessories really made the space.

Across the room was a long wall of counter space, this was just to the right of the stove. Note the cornice and sheers and I'll give you my personal take on those a little later.

Moving on to the right you can see the stained cabinet that was built in to break up the monotony of the white, and looks like a piece of furniture. They even used different hardware to make it look more unique. To the right of it was a shallow cabinet, which covered the radiator. It was also taller and really received a lot of sunlight. I'm sure they'll keep some plants on there, it would be perfect for that. Now my comment of the window treatments. The top cornices added some nice color, but since the repeat of the fabric was so large, they needed to make the cornices large. It really cut out some of the light, and you were not able to see the beautiful trees in the backyard. I also thought the patterned sheers would have been prettier as pleated cafes on iron rods, rather than shirred on spring rods. But they didn't call, or I would have definitely given them my opinion! One can dream, right?

Something they did do a lot of in this house was to mix modern fixtures with some more vintage pieces. We loved this light fixture over the island. It was so clean and fresh, and not the heavy iron chandeliers we've seen so much of lately. The designers used a lot of the polished nickel throughout the house.
Barely peaking out through the corner in the upper right, is the wall color. It was such a nice, light green, and looked so nice with all the accessories. According to the catalog, it is Sherwin Williams 7727 Koi Pond, just in case you were wondering.

Oh yeah, here's the link for the showhouse: 41st Symphony Designers' Showhouse, Kansas City
The history of the house is a lot of fun to read, and they show some good "before" pictures. Hope you get a chance to go.


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