Monday, July 30, 2012

Opulent Window Dressing: Modern-Day Lace

Current and upcoming trends in textiles across the fashion industry include one keyword: Texture.  And, the way we are choosing to bring texture into our designs is expanding every day.  One of the most popular forecasted textures in fashion is the adaptation of historical lace designs.

Lace creates opulence within a space or design.  History reminds us of its value and extravagance dating back to Queen Elizabeth in the 16thC. It is important to note that the current trend does not include "vintage" references, but rather, specific historical references from such eras as Rococo, Renaissance, and Baroque.  How we are choosing to adapt them into our designs is left to artistic license.  The above prints by F. Shumacher show entire lace patterns arranged into a detailed graphic print.

Instead of taking entire lace patterns and creating a motif, one of the most beautiful textures comes from an up-close look at the open-work construction of lace design.  The fabrics above are wonderful examples of a suggestive lace motif.  If you look at the fabric print on the left-hand side, it almost appears to be snake skin which creates even more interest and textural appeal.

A more modern pattern of lace is looser in its historical translation and becomes a suggested outline of open-work lace.  These patterns are unlike the traditional soft and delicate feel, but rather, a bold, hard-lined translation often resembling a mosaic.

Outside of prints, layering lace on top of fabrics creates luxurious details. These details are emphasized when hues of gray, copper, and brass are woven into lace for modern-day appeal.

Are you using lace details in your designs?  How do you bring opulence into your space?

Fabric prints by F.Shumacher, Lace trim and overlays by Mariocuccheti Tessuti and Solstiss Lace

Monday, July 2, 2012

Interiors: Patriotic Design

Star Hold Backs shown by Finestra Decorative Hardware

The week of July 4th is upon us and many of us will be spending time with friends and family to celebrate our great nation.   What a perfect time to reflect on Patriotism and how it is used in interior design not only to reflect long standing traditions, but also, the latest trends! 

Americana encompasses the folklore and heritage of the United States.  In many cases, Americana refers to a more rustic view on interior design being used mainly in country settings, cabins, and frontier homes.  This is not always the case...

Guest Suite 2012 HGTV, Chairs from Guild Master
The room shown above demonstrates a more modern Americana design.  It does incorporate the American Flag; however, the design motif is translated, not so obviously, through pattern and texture.  Here, the designer has pulled the "Stripes" out of the "Stars and Stripes" to create a play on words in the form of texture and pattern.  The pillows, flooring and drapery fabric are "striped" in keeping with the theme.  Different hues of blue and white are used in the room with small accents in red.  Bold graphic prints cover the bed and the modern metal drapery hardware anchors the crisp drapery panels within the design.

Fabrics and custom upholstered pieces are another great way to show Patriotism through design.  The two chairs shown above are created with modern color ways and an artistic graphic layout.  These designs create both nostalgia and a modern focal point within a space.

Patriotism is also brought out in design through global events like the upcoming London Olympics.  As many of us are glued to the television watching Olympic trials this week and feeling great pride in our athletes, a new design trend is "jumping the pond".  Not only is Americana showing up in our designs, but also, the Union Jack.  We can easily identify with Britain through language, intertwined history, and patriotic colors.  Therefore, this year, it only seems fitting that these two Patriotic symbols are woven into our designs and in may cases, within the same spaces.

Room by Moghul Interiors, Pillows by Horchow, Ottoman by Restoration Hardware

The silk color block draperies shown above create a bold accent for any Americana or British design combination.

Feeling Patriotic this summer?  The best way to infuse a Patriotic theme into a space without a complete re-design is through small accents like pillows, throw rugs and ottomans.  If nothing else, they will create a wonderful backdrop for watching the upcoming Olympics!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Ombré Design Trend

Finish selection shown from Aria Metal Hardware

As trends cycle throughout history, ombré is one that has been a domineering force in the new millennium.  Today's strong resurgence is seen in hair styles, fashion, upholstery, wall treatments, draperies and just about anything you can put a finish on.  It falls under the Eclectic genre of design and pairs well with metals, cool tones, and new-found objects.

The word ombré is a French term meaning shaded and is used to describe color that is graduated from light to dark and often into stripes of varying shades.  It is interesting that the first recorded use of the term was used to describe a dyeing technique with fabric in 1841.  However, the word was not entered into the Oxford English Dictionary until 2005.

top:, bottom: glamlamb.

Ombré draperies can be achieved with a Bohemian tie-dye of sorts or color-blocking, with finite attention to detail in the graduation of color within the fabric or finish.  Draperies are the most dramatic way to use an ombré finish in a room.  These treatments define the height in a room, create a cohesive design and direct the eye to the room's focal point or main motif.  Pairing metal drapery hardware with natural tones of satin nickel, brushed nickel and matte black with an ombré design creates a fluid and smooth transition from ceiling to floor or floor to ceiling.

The photos above create an ombré pattern using the entire space and draw the eye into the heart of the design.  The top photo defines the architectural focal point of the bay window and draws the eye down into the design while washing down and out through the floor.  The bottom photo does the opposite.  It washes down from the light ceiling and grounds the eye into the deep blues in the furniture and floor covering as the focal point in the room.

Wallpaper by Pierre Frey, Paris

Wall coverings and paint finishes are another dramatic way to add ombré to a space.  It can be accomplished with a sophisticated graduation of one color or many as shown above.

                                    Pillows by, Pouf by Surya

Accessories are an easy and subtle way to add ombré into a design. 

glamlamb, House Beautiful

There are many ways to add ombré both big and small into your design.  It can rejuvenate a tired old design or create Pop art in a new modern space.  Before you break out the Rit Dye, how will you choose to use ombré in your next design project?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

High Point Market: Resurgence of Color

Color is beginning to bloom back into our designs this Spring!  Even though hues of gray and burlap continue to appear on our design boards, we are breathing new life into the doldrums of tonal textures. The number one take-away from the Spring High Point Furniture Market: accents of color in Plum and pink.  We were surprised to see so much pink as Honeysuckle was Pantone's color of the year in 2011.  It did appear with a new coral twist and was used mainly as piping on upholstered furniture.  

We would be remiss not to mention this year's color, Tangerine Tango, which was well-represented.  However, plum, lavender, eggplant and every shade in between took center stage in almost every showroom as an accent piece.

In the Fall, we noticed some color mixing of a 70's throw-back, mustard yellow.  It has re-appeared in a brighter form this market and brings life to the neutrals that have become the basis for most of our design work.  Let the sun shine in!

Color was also well-represented in the abundance of hand painted furniture.  Bold graphic prints were mainly used on the individual pieces.  The most unique aspect of the hand painted furniture was adding/adhering a thick woven canvas on top of the wood structure.  Not only did this give it a fabulous texture and depth, it appeared as if it was wrapped in an artist's canvas.  They, themselves, seem to tell a story and would make for great conversation pieces in a any design setting.

Upholstered furniture and decorative nail heads continued as a trend this Spring.  Many of the designs used the burlap fabric motif, but we saw a mixing of brightly colored leathers and appliques into each new design. 

One new upholstered application did catch our eye.  We were intrigued by the use of fabric adhered (without batting) to wood furniture for texture and pattern.  Each fabric patchwork like the design above was outlined with small upholstery nails.  This handmade artisan detail transforms ordinary case goods into extraordinary ones.

Nautical has been around for several seasons as a popular design trend.   Crisp colors of royal and navy blue donned most of the designs, but we saw a cooler aqua and cornflower blue mixed in with deep coral shades.  It is apparent that this trend is here to stay for a while and with good reason.  They, too, bring life to even the most land-locked design and color to the doldrums of tonal textures.  

Texture continues to dominate interior design.  It is amazing that every market brings a new take on how to mix texture into design elements.  We saw new ways to tie off wool and felt to create sculptural pillows and rugs.  Sisal and jute were used as an old texture on new silk drapery panels.  This not only adds texture, but also, creates a malleable design style.  And, notice the Color in the drapery panels above: pink, coral, plum and straw.

We are excited by what we saw in High Point last month!  We cannot wait to see how you interpret and incorporate this Spring's design style into your treatments.  Injecting color into our designs no matter how slight, brings new energy and fuels our passion to add interest and zest into every creation.  

You now have permission to go Plum crazy!

Credits: Surya Rugs, Karen Robertson Nautical line, Guild Master, HP Furniture Market 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Pinterest for Design Professionals

If you haven't caught onto the craze of Pinning, you may be missing out on an important business tool as a professional designer or workroom.  This is no ordinary digital mood board; it is a powerful social platform for sharing ideas, products and photos from around the world.  For those of you familiar with Pinterest and are already in the throws of a late night Pinning addiction, you know about its magnetism.

How It Works
It is free to join and you can request an invite from  The "pins" are organized on Boards that you create to show your interests, hobbies, "wants", and anything that inspires you.  You can add a Pin It button to your Bookmarks Bar at the top of your web browser.  Simply click the Pin It button when you run across anything online that inspires you.  The social aspect is that you can also Pin other peoples pins, follow them or their boards.

Use It For Inspiration
Pinterest is a great website to visit for inspiration on any project.  You can search by Topic such as Draperies, Drapery Hardware, Interior Design, Sun Room, etc.  Or, you can search by product, company, website or source.  You can see what people are Pinning about Finestra here.

Create Boards for your Business
Organize business tools around the web, company resources, etc onto a Board.  This is a great bookmark and reference that you can revisit at anytime and access from anywhere with an Internet connection. 

Create a Board for How-To Videos and Webinars.  You can Pin directly from YouTube or Vimeo and choose the ones that are pertinent to your business or ones that you would like to catalog for later viewing.    We have pinned a Rowley video below on Sew-On Tapes.  Click to view a complete list of Rowley Videos, How-To's, and Webinars that you can add to your arsenal of business information.   

When you click on a blog or website such as, all of the photos will pop up on your screen.  We have chosen to reference the Sales Tools to Go on our Pinterest Board and have added a description to remind us why we pinned it.

Create a Board as a Portfolio
It is important to follow some rules of etiquette when posting on Pinterest.  It is not a site to solely promote your business and spam everyone with only your creations.  This is a community and needs to be respected.  That being said, adding photos and links of your favorite projects or How-To's onto a Board is a great idea to round out your inspirations and Brand Yourself as a professional. 


Share Boards with Clients
This is one of the newest tools on Pinterest and one of the most exciting business tools!  

Clients depend on us to translate their emotions and needs into a cohesive design.  You cannot only point a client to look at your Pinterest Boards, but you can also share them.  What if you had your Boards organized into different design genres: Traditional, Eclectic, Mediterranean, Urban Loft, etc?  Or, by color?  Either email your Pinterest link to your client or review the Boards with them.  This may give them a better feel for your design style and help define theirs in the process.

A favorite way to interact with a client is to make them a Contributor.  You can edit an existing Board and add them as a Contributor or create a new one as we have done above.  We have titled it Jan's Garden Room.  Now both the designer and Jan can Pin to the same Board about inspirations that move them.  This is a great way to communicate with clients, define a style quickly and/or involve a hands-on client.

Share Boards with Co-workers or Industry Groups
Boards can also be used in collaboration with other design professionals about a joint project.  This would be a great way to communicate between a designer and a workroom for example.  They could share inspirations and even specific industry techniques that would help them work together to create the best end result.

Industry groups could also share a Board for designing and fabricating group projects for the community or even design ideas about an industry trade show booth.  

Whether you are a Pinterest veteran or an interested on-looker, now is the time to get Pinning!  This platform was made for our industry.  What inspires us, what we create and what our clients are drawn to are larger than words can describe, but a Photo on Pinterest can!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sales Tools on the Go!

Technology plays an important role in our everyday activities.  We schedule our business meetings, dentist appointments, kid's soccer games, birthday reminders and even store vacation photos on our smart phones, computers and tablets.  All in all, our lives have become accessible and cataloged through the smart devices that we carry.  They also make our lives more transparent around the clock in the way that we interact with people personally and professionally.

Are you using your smart device to the best of its ability?  Are you ready for business on the go?

The key to balancing it all: Organization!

  1. Separate your business photos, apps, etc from your personal ones.  Create separate folders on your tablet or smart phone for supplier catalogs, price lists, portfolio renderings, photos, industry publications, social media and design applications like ColorSnap , Color Capture, and myPantone.    
  2. Add live web links in a folder for suppliers, designers, workrooms, trade shows, etc that you favor. Obviously, these will only be accessible if you have an Internet connection.
  3. The most important!  Download current pdf catalogs, price lists, renderings, etc onto your device.  There are times when you will not have access to an Internet connection or a very slow connection while presenting to a potential client.  Downloading these files will save you time and keep you on top of your game for a fluid and professional presentation.  

Do you have all of the Finestra catalogs downloaded to your tablet or iPad?  Here is a list to add to your organized folders:

Post Live Web Links
Click on the topics below on your tablet which will take you to the link and Add them to your Home Screen.  From there, you can drag them in the appropriate folder.

Download Catalogs
Click on the topics below which link to the pdf files.  Either save the pdf file onto your computer and email or sync it to your device/saving it to your iBooks, or use a downloading tool like
By using some of these easy tips, your tablet or smart device will become your most valuable sales tool on the job, not to mention a fabulous personal assistant.  With measurements, catalogs, renderings, web links, price lists and even color swatches, you will be one step closer to having all of your business resources at your fingertips and on to the eyes of potential clients.  

Friday, January 13, 2012

Awaken your Window Designs

Trend dictates much of the way we design our spaces and window treatments. Our clients look to us for a"current" vision and a cohesive pattern in design.  In keeping current with today's trend, Finestra has developed 7 new distinct finishes to add modern pizazz to your next project.

Harvest Gold creates an element of subtle glamour and lustrous matte gold detail.  It's deep gold leaf base is antiqued with a light gray wash to create a matte finish and define the hand carved detail within the pieces.

Linen combines an off-white base with textural accents in ochre and buff.  It adds a light textural layer to any window design.

Matte Black is a contemporary classic with clean lines and a low luster.  It is a wonderful companion to rod iron architectural accents and lighting as well as bold graphic prints.

Rustic Taupe features a natural taupe with pearl gray overtones and subtle highlights of platinum to give depth to the smallest of carved details.  This finish combines two of the hottest trends in color: tone on tone and the color gray.

Urban Bronze is a metropolitan mixture of deep russet tones, sunset gold and antique bronze.  This metallic finish blends with both rustic and refined environments.

Weathered Wood features a walnut wood tone with a gray antique wash.  It is naturally distressed to show its timeworn character and compliments both heirloom and modern-day decor.

Walnut is a classic wood stain applied by hand to give depth and texture to any window treatment.  Its chocolate colored attributes make it a delicious accent to pull wood tones, leathers and browns out of fabric and furniture alike.

In addition to these 7 trend setting new colors, Finestra has 18 more hand finishes in its repertoire.  Which finish will you choose for your next design project?

Sources in photos: Greenhouse Fabrics, Fabricut, Restoration Hardware, Trina Turk Fabrics, Schumacher, High Point Furniture Market