Q. My master bedroom has several windows. The focal point is the bay which provides a beautiful view of the lake. In addition, there are windows on either side of the bed and a french door to the right of the bay. What kind of window treatment looks good on all the windows?
Is there a shade that will make the room dark enough? I like traditional draperies, but I don’t want it to look like a hotel lobby. Is there something that will give me privacy and beauty without being overdone?—A.M
A. The long proportion of the room and view of the lake are the first consideration when designing treatments. Since the area for mounting is limited and the trim is beautiful, I would like to drape from poles, allowing space between pole and drape which seems light and reveals trim.
If a traditional top treatment and drapery were made for each window, the draperies would require 95 yards of fabric. Shades provide a lighter touch. However, light reflecting off water adds to the sunlight from above, and the small amount of light gap between shade and window trim multiplied by the numerous windows yields more light than you probably want for sleeping.
I recommend a running treatment along the tops of the windows and functioning draperies working from a hidden traverse rod in the pole. The functioning draperies will block nearly all light and be cost effective. Treat the bay as one unit and the two single windows flanking the bed as a pair. This way you have two designs rather than several. Since the proportions are not standard, we will make a unique pattern for each area in order to have only one swag per window.
The doors could then have shades which are kept raised except at night. Since shades on doors are not actually inside-mounted, the light gap will be very small. The top treatment can be either a cornice or a soft swag. The goal is to provide a decorative frame to the beautiful windows and let the lake have the stage.
Now, some retailers contract directly with manufacturers. New merchandise may be launched by in-house or contract designers. Just as the music industry features songs rather than albums or even the artist, the home decorating industry pushes a look without far reaching commitments. With the internet and inexpensive international travel, the time between product launch and the first knock-off is typically six months, so the key to driving trends is no longer simply innovation; it is the ability to change.
Trendsetters tend to be local design boutiques, celebrities, retailers with powerful advertising ability, and retailers with their own manufacturing. I can describe current trends with one word (for the first time in two decades): novelty. We are no longer fascinated with machined perfection or authentic antiques. We want curiosities, working parts, and things that seem truly new.
Three design themes pervade most new industry offerings: Art Deco, France (high style but simplified in clean lines rather than country cottage), and Industrial (especially mechanics). You may find a mahogany pie table at your local store, but look closely—it probably has artistic inlays, carving, or other detail that make it different from period pieces. If you keep up with magazines, you have probably seen new designs within six months of their release. I think that’s good enough for any home owner. When it comes down to final decisions (especially color), go with things that inspire you or give your home the mood you want it to have.
Q.Can you talk about the current trends in area rugs and the value in area rugs? My husband and I are just beginning to look at area rugs for our new home and I’d like to know what the colors and designs are in today’s market. Are people still buying traditional Oriental rugs or are there other patterns that are growing in popularity?—J.S.
A. Rugs are needed in homes with expanses of hard flooring surfaces to provide warmth especially in our cool, damp seasons. Connecting furniture pieces together is a secondary function which also serves to add style in any grouping, but especially when upholstery is solid, leather, or neutral. Changing a rug is an easy way to alter the mood of a room without replacing key pieces.
There is a growing demand for Art Deco graphics in rugs, however the most popular styles are relaxed versions of familiar, traditional motifs. Borders are less in fashion than in the past. Cutting edge designs utilize computer graphic techniques in manipulating motifs by cropping, overlapping, and fading. Unique designer colors or earth tones have nearly replaced traditional Oriental colorations.
Hand-knotted and -tufted rugs are the most appealing as they complement the general trend toward hand crafted and organic decor. Sustainable materials are readily available in moderately priced rugs. New Zealand wool is the fiber of choice for exacting color and lush pile. Sea grasses are gaining popularity in casual rugs particularly of shaded solids and simple textures.
Available rugs are so beautiful and artistic that I am recommending using them as wall hangings which adds personality, color, style, and sound absorption for large spaces.
Editor’s Note: We welcome all questions related to home design—ask us about color, room arrangement, planning for a new home, selecting furnishings, lighting, flooring, and more. Questions are answered by Tanna Miller, allied member ASID, a well respected designer who has operated her award winning interior design practice, Trends & Traditions, in Nashville for 18 years. Contact Tanna at www.shopdesignnashville.com or call 615-601-0552.