Window Treatments 101: Hang ’em High!

I was recently asked the following question by a client of Design Monarchy:

Do you think I should take the curtains right up to the ceiling or will this make it look too formal?

And this was my short and simple reply back to her (we know each other well enough to keep it simple):

Yes – I always like to allow the curtains to drop from under the cornice. The pole or rail is generally installed about 1 cm under the cornice, with the curtains falling from below the pole. Not too formal at all.  It is not the height of the pole that makes it too formal, but rather the fabric and yours is lightweight and informal.

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Hanging your curtains from just below the ceiling or cornice and – if space allows – a good deal wider than the window frame will create the illusion of a loftier, airier space.

Naturally I am aware of the ceiling height of that particular house. I mention this since the ceiling height is naturally a factor to take into consideration.  The average ceiling height can range between 2.3 m to 2.5 m. I was replying with this in mind and even if the ceiling is higher than the average, I still advocate having the curtains drop from just below the cornice.  If you are going to the trouble of buying and installing curtains as your window treatment, then why not make it one of the room décor features, instead of merely functional pieces of fabric that can be dragged open & closed as you need it.

Coming out of my many years of working with window treatments, I have come to appreciate the fact that window treatments are one of the critical décor features in a room.  With the right criteria applied to your curtains, you will be able to create a décor feature that is unique to your room setting/home.

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So, if you are ever in doubt just remember – hang them high, hang them wide!

Over the next few weeks, we will take a brief peek into some of these window treatment criteria, since window treatments are attainable to each and every one of us.

Ciao until the next time.


Urban Gardening Solution

Today, I want to share something useful that I discovered on Superbalist yesterday (my daily online shopping experience – not that I buy much, but I so enjoy it).  It’s something for your exterior living and super functional in my books.

Ta-da – I give you the BACSAC Planter Bag – the urban gardening solution. Why would this tickle my fancy so much?  When I saw this practical planter bag, what immediately came to mind were images of the balcony / patio gardens that are found in typical apartment living in Europe.  Since urban living is gaining huge momentum, I think that this product can make it possible for so many urbanites living in apartment blocks or houses with tiny gardens to become very much a part of the green finger community. Why should apartment living rob you of the opportunity of being a gardener?

These bags make it possible to plant colourful blooms, herbs, veggies and anything that takes your fancy. Plus – they have handles, which makes them mobile (granted for the bigger bags you going to have to grow some muscle at the same time). My hubby would love these. Since we have discovered the delight of eating veggies straight out of the garden, he has devoted a great deal of time to his veggie patch. However during the winter months it kinda grinds to a halt, because the patch has too little sun. So, he has taken to potting the herbs and some veggies in pots, which he moves around while following the sun.

I have recently once again come to appreciate the old fashion (or vintage as the politically correct term is lately) practise of potting your herbs and popping them onto the window sill as a decorative extra.  It adds that warm fuzzy feeling to kitchens – and these bags are perfect for that.

Some facts about the bags: UV-resistant, virtually indestructible planter bags. Guaranteed for five years and fashioned from a 100% recyclable geotextile.

So urbanites, to quote Superbalist, lets love our everyday environment by capturing nature in a bag.

Images via Bacsac

Quick Tip #32: Paint-Dipped Furniture

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The following “paint-dipping” Décor Quick Tip is one of our favourites. We recently finished two very cool interior design projects in which we suggested this treatment be applied to some of our client’s new and existing furniture pieces… and it looked totally awesome!

#32  The paint-dipped treatment is one of the easiest and trendiest ways to give plain wooden furniture pieces, whether old or new, a quirky and stylish upgrade. This works wonderfully on any style of furniture – it can even add a fun contemporary eclectic twist to more ornate classical items. 

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Lucy-Made… Beautiful Things

Lucy-MadeI have to confess the Emerging Creatives exhibitors is my favourite part of the Design Indaba Expo each year. I would have no problem skipping the main exhibition space and head straight for the Emerging section. I guess one can easily get tired of seeing the same faces, designs, and product – the Emerging Creatives however always offer something fresh and new.

Part of this year’s Emerging Creative programme was Lucy-Made, a Cape Town-based jewellery and stationery design brand founded by artist and illustrator, Lucy Stuart-Clark.

The stand was a little unassuming and I almost walked straight past without giving it a second glance… then the brooches called to me. Okay-okay, that might be a little dramatic but seriously they were beautiful and like nothing I have ever seen before. The brooches are made using white earthenware clay and decorated with under-glaze ceramic paints with touches of gold luster. I loved the large cameo designs and the gorgeous colour selections – the inky blue looked especially beautiful paired with the gold. My absolute favourite was the brooch featuring a rather stately looking gentleman with a red pinstripe background. The Lucy-Made ceramic collection includes earrings, bracelets, buttons and, of course, the above mentioned brooches.

Lucy also designed a stationery collection which comprises of hand-bound note and sketchbooks made of recycled paper and covered with envelopes and old South African naval stamps.

Be sure to check out Lucy’s website: here.

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Regent Insurance Flagship Office by Inhouse Brand Architects

One of Inhouse Brand Architects‘ latest design projects has left us with a little bit of office envy!

Regent Insurance is in the process of upgrading their corporate branding and appointed Inhouse to give their regional office interiors in KwaZulu-Natal the same transforming treatment. This innovatively designed office will serve as the blueprint for all the company’s offices going forward.

Designing a corporate office can be quite tricky – great importance is usually placed on functionality, branding, and the bottom line (ka-ching) which can very easily leave the space feeling cold and soulless. This is however not the case with the new Regent Insurance offices. Inhouse pulled off a corporate office space that not only met the client’s practical needs but also featured a variety of creative and playful elements to stimulate and impress staff and visiting clients alike.

One of these eye-grabbing elements is the suspended slatted timber ceiling feature in the reception waiting area. Lighting is cleverly incorporated into the solid wood bulkhead slats and the structure follows through to create a floor-to-ceiling “planted wall” which features potted succulents.

We love the bold pops of red introduced into this otherwise neutral space. The red has been used throughout to highlight and frame the glass walls of the individual offices as well as the dividing wall demarcating the pause area. Speaking of the frameless glass walls – they have integrated white boards panels which can be used on both sides of the glass – how clever!

Inhouse also created areas they refer to as “camp sites” – zones that allow staff to breakaway and meet informally. This kind of space creation is really the way to go in contemporary open plan offices.

So what do you guys and gals think? Isn’t this office cool?!

Images & info via Inhouse Brand Architects