Tired of Vertical Blinds???

Window treatments for sliding glass doors and extra wide windows can be difficult to dress. Fortunately the sliding panel track system is now hitting the market and you can create panels in natural fibers, synthetics and fabrics that create a clean, simple, up-to-date window treatment solution. Finally something fresh and new!
Below is an interesting option from JC Penny's. Fun, hip and inexpensive for those on a TIGHT budget. My only warning is you get what you pay for, so know this treatment won't last forever. When choosing your window treatment and brand, keep in mind the level of day-to-day wear and tear on the window treatment. For heavy traffic flow consider investing a little more in a quality brand and quality hardware for everyday use. Having said that this is still a very affordable option.

Another consideration is size. If you buy from a department store you will be limited in height and width. I've just ordered a set for a client's house and we chose to select a version that will got to the ceiling in a typical 8ft ceiling room. This will carry the eye up and create the illusion of more height. Also we are carrying the treatment to the edge of the wall which is about 18" from the window jam. Therefore when the panel system is open the panels will stack to the side without interrupting the backyard view. The panels should be installed in about 3 weeks at which time I'll post a picture.


Public Sample Sales & Trade Only Events

I added two new sections today. Public samples sales and trade only events. Two of the best sample sales for the public are at the SF Design Center and SF Furniture Mart. These two "Trade Only" resources have 1-2 sample sales per year that are open to the public (consumer). Where the consumer can buy at or below wholesale prices (often below wholesale prices). If you go, make a day event out of it. This isn't something you can zip in and out. For example the SF Mart has 5 floors with showrooms. The SF Design Center has quite of few buildings with multiple floors.

Both the SF Design Center and SF Furn Mart have sample sales throughout the year. Usually when a showroom is moving product off their floor to bring in new products. There are amazing deals to be had when product needs to be moved off the floor but you'll have to work with a designer to purchase product (outside of the sample sales).


West Elm Bargain

West Elm has a great candle holder the branch tripod floor pillar standing at about 52" high. It was $69 and can now be found on sale on the website for $49 but the Corte Madera store had it on sale for $19.99! If this one is too big there are a couple smaller branch candle holders that are just as nice. I used it in a bathroom.

Coming this fall you'll be able to find the same form in a table and standing lamp. I'd love to see it as a table leg too. If you are handy you might consider making a plant stand or high table with the candle holder. Let me know if you have any other creative ideas.


Best Bay Area Resources

I added a new section today called Best Bay Area Resouces, which are resources I use regularly or refer clients to for best selections or best deals. I wanted to highlight a couple recommendations.

Tradeway Stores: packed full of furniture some high-end and some ho-hum. This "outlet" gets furniture from lots of manufactures like Thomasville, Broyhill, Lexington, Bassett, Drexel-Heritage and so on. When furniture isn’t delivered to a retailer for whatever reason, the manufacture avoids shipping it back across country by redirecting to Tradeway. Sometimes pieces have minor damage that they will fix (ie. a scratch or ding). 10860 San Pablo Ave, El Cerrito, 510.529.2360.

Z Gallery: always has the best trendy items and very affordable prices. This is the type of store that allows you to easily bring in trendy colors or items without breaking the bank. I'll see a $40 item here that would sell for $500 at the SF Design Center. Granted not the same quality and not a designer name associated but honestly does it really matter?

San Francisco Design Center: You may not know this but the SF Design Center is open to the public. You are welcome to check out furniture and fabric there but you need a designer to buy on your behalf. The Design Center ranges from mid-range to very high-end, so even if it is out of your price range you might consider window shopping for inspiration.


Original Art - Blend the New & Old

I wanted to share a couple shots from a client's house where we very successfully incorporated some contemporary, original art pieces with her charming California ranch house.

We wanted to give this entry way the "wow" factor with a pop of color by pairing a vibrant painting by a local artist with some more traditional pieces from an inherited entry console to a thrift store chair. What initially lacked any "umph" now greeted guests with a powerful welcome.

The Bay Area has a great art community and loads of wonderful artists. It's impossible for me to stay on top of all of this which is why I'm fortunate to have my very own art consultant Shelley Barry of Artful Solutions. She was able to recommend talented and affordable local artists including everything from paintings, mixed media to photography.

From the entry way to the living room we go to the main focal point the fireplace; however, the fireplace it somewhat non-descriptive. We weren't ready to invest in a new mantel or overhaul the fireplace, so the next best thing was to enhance the space around the fireplace. We did this by installing custom window treatments and again by adding unique original art work. These three pieces are very sculptural and clearly not something you would find at a local departments store. Of course the picture doesn't do any of these pieces justice, but clearly you can see how they pull your eye from the fireplace and command their own presences.