What’s the next appliance finish going to be?

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Yesterday I attended a meeting with my peeps of the Alliance of Interior Designers to hear presentations about current kitchen design trends.  It was hosted by emma delon and CKS Kitchens and Design in Durham, NC and a great time was had by all.  We toured the CKS cabinetry fabrication facility, which was fascinating.  I’ll tell you more about that another time.  I do want to mention, though, that Caroline Shillito of emma delon has a blog that’s fun to read: designlesstraveled.com

I asked what the next trend for appliance finishes looks like.  The stainless finish is still popular and for good cause, but we all know that something new is always on the horizon.  So here’s a look at a new finish that we all thought looked really nice

GE’s Slate finish on kitchen appliances

It’s called “Slate.”  Just a darker hue than stainless, and a bit softer looking to me.  I like it!  How about you?

Ciao,

Anne

More collections!

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I voted!  Had to say that right off as it’s always such a thrill and worth taking a moment to remember how lucky we are to participate in the democratic process.

On to collections.  Yesterday I wrote about my much loved collection of vintage bracelets.  My more visible collections are natural elements (shells, rocks, pine cones–sometimes even acorns), artwork and teacups.

Shells make me feel connected to the ocean.

These granite “eggs” make me feel connected to my childhood home state of Maine.

These fine bone china teacups make me feel connected to another time and much loved people who are no longer here. See the dust on the glass shelves? Just avert your eyes.

Artwork makes me feel connected to the creative possibilities in every day.

That piece of art was created by Lori Easterlin of Durham, NC.  She’s a fantastic artist, accomplished in all sorts of media, and a good friend of mine.  I have a varied art collection by both local and nationally known artists, and have to say it makes me extra happy when the art hanging on my walls has been done by a friend.

Obviously the bottom line of my collections is that they make me feel connected to something I hold dear.  That’s the point of a collection; not amassing a lot of stuff, but rather having and displaying items in my home that are touchstones–they make me smile and remind me that life is good.

What do you collect?

Ciao,

Anne

Collections

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It’s Monday, so I’m full of energy, big plans and resolutions.  One resolution is that I’m going to do a Blog Blitz this week–a fresh post every day between now and Friday!  We’ll see how I fare.  There’s no real reason (or need) for this, except that it’s Monday and I’m full of energy, big plans and resolutions (but you already know that).

Collections is our topic for the day.  Being originally from New England, collecting is in  my blood.  However, my personal style, whether it be in home decor or fashion,  tends toward clean lines and simplicity, causing me to fight the urge to collect.  My brain is always going full speed ahead, so I don’t need lots of stuff and fuss around me or on me.  But I do have a couple of carefully curated collections that speak to my heart and make me smile.  Take my bracelets for example:

Some very sparkly party girls!

I have a modest collection of vintage costume jewelry.  A couple of pins and necklaces, but mostly bracelets.  Here are some of the divas that occasionally take a turn on my wrist.  They’re great fun to wear, except that the prongs holding all those flashy stones tend to grab at clothing and furnishings, so they don’t get out much.  But they are a joy to behold and some are absolute works or art (to me).

My favorite one, really, is this one:

My everyday buddy.

This one goes with everything and the prongs aren’t sharp.  A dear friend gave it to me.  Actually, friends have given me many of my bracelets!

Quieter members of the collection, but just as treasured.

Now these are a different bunch.  Not so flashy, but very important. The 2 large silver bracelets on the top row were my mom’s, as was the Timex watch with the big face on the bottom.  I wear them when I really need her presence at my side.  The Mickey Mouse watch was given to me by my children one year for Christmas and I bought the turtle bracelet at the Supreme Court Gift Shop in DC (everyone has a gift shop in DC!)–they symbolize the slow pace of justice.  I was working in family court at the time and could really relate. All of these pieces have a story.

What bracelet am I wearing today?

The colors of Fall!

With my orange cord jacket and ombre silk scarf, I’m adding this amazing piece.  It’s small, but full of sharp prongs and loaded with sparkle.  So watch out!

Ciao,

Anne

Drapery panels warm up a space.

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Today I made this little “before and after” picture to illustrate how drapery panels can make a really nice difference in a room.  The “before” photo was taken with my old digital camera and the “after” was taken with my iPhone, using the panoramic feature (that I’m madly in love with) and cropped.  That feature is a BOON to designers everywhere.  We can get the whole wall in, even if it does warp a tiny bit!

Before and after

The photos are small, but if you click on one, they will enlarge for you.   Sweet!

Ciao,

Anne

Let’s all find a way to help.

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cold, wet and dark

It’s been hard to wrap my mind around the devastation caused by  Superstorm Sandy. I’ve got lots of family and many friends who have been affected by this storm, but they’re all okay.  Not happy, but okay.

Too many people are not okay–they’re in desperate situations and we need to do whatever we can to help. Some opportunities I ran across yesterday:

I LOVE the way the Red Cross is using smartphones to gather easy donations.  Just text 90999 into your phone and hit Send to make a $10 donation to the Red Cross, billed on your next phone bill!  Go on their website to donate more please–they’ve been very upfront that cash is the best donation you can make right now. But that quick and easy $10 from your smartphone is perfect for anyone who thinks they can’t make a difference.

Click on Catholic Charities to support their relief efforts or look up trustworthy disaster relief organizations by state by clicking here. There will be more opportunities to assist.

Click on Zaarly to send gifts of meals or helpful services from local small businesses  to loved ones in NYC. I think this will be more appropriate down the road a bit, but the idea is a good one.

For most of us, today is Friday–the end of a hard week.  For those in Sandy’s path, the hard week continues.  Let’s all find a way to reach out and help.

Ciao,

Anne

Who we are at DeCocco Design Drapes

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Have I properly introduced you all to the other half of DeCocco Design Drapes?  Gail Healy is an expert seamstress who runs an amazing workroom (It’s Curtains) that produces high end, fully custom window treatments for area interior designers and customers all over the eastern half of the United States.  I was one of those designers working with Gail and we always had FUN coming up with gorgeous drapes, valances, roman shades, etc. for my clients.  We would often say that we wanted to find a way to work together more often.

Here’s Gail’s picture from our website, looking calm and composed.

Well, be careful what you wish for!  Back in January of this year, I called Gail with the idea to start up DeCocco Design Drapes.  She jumped on board with both feet and became a full partner in this new endeavor.  Gail isn’t making our drapes–she’d have to clone herself many times over.  We now have our own workroom  to manage that task.

Gail’s enthusiasm, vast workroom  knowledge, kindness, sense of humor and love of popcorn are evident every single day.  On top of all that, Gail is into organization, research, record-keeping and financial responsibility.  OMG!  It was hard for me to even type that last sentence–I’m not saying I don’t share in those tasks, I’m just sayin’ I hate them.

The real Gail, with hammer in hand, working at a recent installation!

Most of all, Gail loves her husband and kids, her boat and water skis, eating chocolate and popcorn (office staples) and to have fun.  And to laugh. We laugh all the time, mostly at ourselves.  Learning how to get an eCommerce site up has been quite the education and our brains are in flames by the end of many days, but it also has it’s share of hysterical moments.

Here I am–same picture on the website. All neat and ladylike with the pearls.

And the real Anne, at my desk, feet up, goofing off. Fuzzy picture–I’m a woman of a certain (yet fabulous) age. I love fuzzy pictures!

Here’s us again.  I was playing on the iPhone with the Aviary app, trying to be hip, but yet again achieving great fuzziness:

half a Gail

half an Anne

Put those two halves together and you get DeCocco Design Drapes!  Your online source to make your windows sparkle with style.

Ciao,

Anne

How to measure for drapery panels

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The best tools to use for measuring window and ceiling heights are one of these metal tape measures and a pencil or piece of chalk.  These directions are for full length drapes.

1. Measure from the top of your window trim to the floor and also from the ceiling to the floor.  In many houses, the top of the window is 84″ and the ceiling height is 96,” so we’ll use those numbers as our example.  This means you’ve got 12 inches between the top of the window and the ceiling.  There might be crown molding taking up some of those inches–that’s lovely and makes no difference right now.

2.  It’s an everyday designer trick to hang window treatments high–NOT in line with the window trim.  Longer drapes have a bigger impact and make the room feel taller.  Our 88″ length will work well in rooms with 8′ ceilings and give an updated look.  If you want to add a couple more inches to the length–whether to go up higher or to have some puddling at the floor–go for it.  Just shoot us an email and we’ll tell you how to customize your order (it’s very easy).

Here’s an example of the difference between hanging an 84″ drape and an 88″ drape on a window in a room with 8 foot ceilings.

The window is the same size in both pictures. On the right side, not only did we use an 88″ length pair of drapes, but we also used a wider rod. Can you see how these changes make the window look bigger?

Moving on to 9 foot ceilings: that’s 108″ to play with.  Even if 6-12 inches is taken up with crown moldings, you’ve still got plenty of room to hang our 96″ length and flank your windows with style.

Higher ceilings need longer lengths!

And even higher ceilings need even longer length drapes to keep drawing the eye up.  Otherwise, the space above the window starts to look bare and cold:

A warm, polished look for a taller window in a room with higher ceilings.

A mention about where the bottom of the drapes should hit: it’s really personal preference: they can sit 1/4″ above the floor, barely touch the floor, do a trouser break or even puddle on the floor like a messy diva.  Whatever makes you think, “there, that’s perfect!” is the right answer on that issue.

The illustrations in this post were created using our Boxes fabric in Apple Green.  This modern graphic pattern also comes in 5 other colors. Look for them on the website!

Ciao,

Anne

What does “custom quality” mean in a drapery panel?

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This is an educational post.  I’ll keep it as short as I can and will try to entertain you with pictures when possible.  You will be a better person for reading this, so do your best.

When we work with our clients at DeCocco Design, we spend a lot of time searching for the right fabric in the best color, and then some fabulous trim and finally the right design (considering header style, length, fullness, etc.).  Then we get a deposit, place orders for all the materials and have it shipped off to our professional workroom.  That’s the start of a truly custom window treatment and all that time spent is billed to the client at an hourly rate (or packaged into the price).

Chocolate tones

When we work with our customers ordering draperies online from DeCocco Design Drapes, the above mentioned work has already been done.  You get to skip the hourly rate part.  Your fabric and trim choices are on the webpage for your perusal and selection with a click, click, click.  Ordering swatches ensures that the colors you see on your screen will work in your home.  We’ll talk more about swatches in another post.

So now we proceed with the process, but from this point on it’s the same whether you’re buying truly custom curtains from an interior designer or ordering from our website–the only difference is in price (and it’s a big difference) and time spent (another big savings).   We left off at the workroom: they receive the materials and get to work with their very sharp scissors and very cool commercial sewing machines to make the window treatments.  Here’s a picture:

Well, the machines are cool to me.  Not pretty, but workhorses.   Nothing needs to be very high-tech in a sewing machine that’s connected to a person, not to a computer.  What it needs to be is precise AND used at the hands of experienced people.  Of course, different machines do different things.  Don’t ask me what this machine does.  I’m the designer and smart enough (and fortunate enough)  to work with this 2nd generation workroom here in North Carolina and they know which machine does what.  But I digress, as usual.

Love this color combination!

So now the workroom has received your stunning, carefully selected fabric, trim and lining to make the drapery panels.  A quick word about the linings we use in every panel we sell: they are premium weight linings.  We haven’t seen this gorgeous  product used outside of custom work by any other provider of window treatments, both online or in stores, UNLESS they add a substantial up-charge for the privilege.   This is not an add-on for DeCocco Design Drapes.  Great lining is an integral part of luxurious, custom drapes. They feel better, hang better, last longer.

This is what happens when I cook… You didn’t want a picture of white lining, did you?

Focus Anne!  Wait–did I tell you that our workroom only does custom work?  Nothing is ready to go, sitting on the shelf.  Each order is a custom job.  Every drapery panel gets the same fine details: double fullness, 4″ double hem with weighted corners, 4″ buckram headers with pleats, 3 1/2″ returns and finally careful, loving handling while being placed in an appropriate sized box to be shipped to your door.

A happy customer just sent us this photo to share.

It’s a lovely, civilized process.  It starts with an order and results in your windows looking fabulous.  Proudly made in the U.S.A. and created by two women who love both their customers and their product.

Ciao,

Anne