Fit to Be Trimmed

If you’ve ever had custom curtains made for your home you have likely come to understand, on a deep and abiding level, the metaphor “You could have knocked me over with a feather”. The cost of that to-die for fabric, the labor associated with nipping, tucking, pleating, pressing and detailing the curtains in a way that only the top 1 percenters (those with the keenest of design eyes) will recognize, is breath-taking. As in you will be robbed of the very oxygen that keeps you alive, and will be required to find alternative means for funding your children’s higher education.

Prone to hyperbole I am, but in this case, I am NOT. It’ll be curtains for your dream vacation or any vacation for a long time to come if you happen to have a home with many windows that need to be clothed. That is if you go the custom route.

Nobody wants to feel, or for that matter, and perhaps more honestly, others to think, that you cheaped out. That’s the worst, and you need not feel that way at all, if only you are willing to do a little leg work. Off the shelf curtains abound. Stay away from cheap synthetics, seek out natural fibers, backed by heavy cotton so they’ll hang from your fenestration like a Fendi gown on a famous actress. Once the gown has been selected, I like the offerings at Restoration Hardware. They are well made, come in an abundance of lengths and shades, and offer the perfect backdrop for the final flourish – the trim. Here’s where you’ll make a splash. Whether baubles or glass beads are your thing, pom-poms, or the clean classic look of a key fret, you’ll find a wild array of offerings to express your individuality that will be anything but standard.

Longing for Change: a room that needs a new view

A new point of view that is. Sometimes that moment of clarity doesn’t come until after the hammer hits and the dust clears, and enough space has been made to allow room for the possibility of something else, new, fresh….different. Sometimes the hammer need not touch the surface at all. A little spit, and duct tape, and a new age is ushered in.

Top: Benjamin Moore’s Delaware Putty. Bottom left: Million dollar Red. Bottom Middle: Sunrise. Bottom Right: Bridal Rose.

I visited a room like this last week. One that was grand and stately, that important people, with important ideas, and purpose sat and conjured, and slowly became. This room must have felt like a place of significance back in the day, where thoughts could form a movement, and words become songs or poems that uplifted, or compelled people to take action – even if only in a small way. Some spaces are like that. The awe and reverence one feels in the sanctuary of a church, the high court, the stage of a grand opera house. They are designed to inspire.

What happens then when a century passes, and the velvet on the curtains is threadbare, and the fine paneling has lost its luster, and the furnishings are better suited for a Henry VIII theater production than a modern place of learning?

Well I had an idea, if ideas can be owned, which I am not at all certain they can, because the idea in fact came from some wood carvings, which in turn took their inspiration from Alice in Wonderland, and didn’t Lewis Carroll borrow some of his very own ideas from Alice?

However they came to be, this is how I see the transformation of that space, making it’s way into the 21st century. It’s unapologetic of course, as it should be. Creativity must be expressed and beauty unleashed to beat down the dark side. This is how I see it.

Velvet-teen: the real deal with the material

I’m awash with adjectives over this material….whose name is in fact used to describe the same.  That sensual texture, the soft, silkiness that begs to be touched, particularly by a tactile wired gal like myself.  It’s a compulsion, my fingers crawl forward, dying to know, what will it feel like?  The slightest contact transports me.  It’s hypnotic, it’s meditative, it’s calming, like taking deep slow breaths.  It’s no surprise that it reminds me of one of my very favorite childhood stories, and why I find it sneaking it’s way like Easter Eggs tucked away in the grass, into my home.  Some touches are quite obvious to the eager hunter, and others won’t be discovered without careful and systematic observation.

velveteen rabbit

Illustration by William Nicholson

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room.  “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”

“Real isn’t how you’re made,” said the Skin Horse.  “It’s a thing that happens to you when a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become real.”

“Does it hurt?”  asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful.

“When you are real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse.

“You become.  It takes a long time.  That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.  Generally, by the time you are real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out, and you get loose joints and very shabby.

“But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

The Velveteen Rabbit – Margery Williams

There’s a lot of wisdom in those words, and a lot of comfort in a bunny with velveteen ears.  Ironic that Rabbit became real but velveteen is actually imitation velvet.  Still it feels so nice to the touch, does it really matter?  In the world of interiors, I embrace mixing the “mock-off”  my term for knock-off with the genuine article.  If you love it, it’s REAL.

So how did velvet come to be?  Egypt claims the glory for this status statement.  Egyptians new all about opulence.  As far back as 2000BC velvet could be found in a slightly different form than that of it’s popular fabrication today.  Linen fabrics with looped pile created this luxurious wonder.


Restoration Hardware Modern . In Practice

Current fabrication techniques up the ante on luxury by mixing silk and metals to create the lustrous depth, and reflective qualities that are one of the many intriguing qualities of this fabric.  Draped, folded, hung, it takes on different hues, its finish represents as matte or sheen.  It’s as complex and as interesting as we humans.

Keep it REAL…and be Kind.  Happy Easter Weekend.