Tuesday, 31 January 2017

The Art Of Beautiful Draperies

There are so many beautiful fabrics around these days, In the 40 years since the first curtains were turned out of Jan's workroom, fabric manufacturing techniques have moved ahead in leaps and bounds. The advances in production technology mean that fabric can be produced in multi layers, interwoven cleverly with different fibres, burnouts, graduated dyes, beautiful and intricate embroidery and beadwork etc etc etc. Fabric is without doubt our first love and we take great pride in treating it with the respect due to it to create beautiful and timeless soft furnishings.

Selecting a fabric in our studio

Because we are at the coal face when our clients select their fabric we can ensure that the fabric is 'fit for purpose'. Roman blinds are at their best made with a fabric that has some structure to it, like cottons, linens and cotton mixes. Soft fabrics drape beautifully for curtains whilst some polyester fabrics hang very stiffly and no matter how much love and attention we give them they will always want to 'skirt' at the bottom. Many of the modern polyesters are beautiful and 'drape' elegantly into pleats. We very quickly learn what looks good when its finished  and learn to avoid the fabrics that don't. And knowing we have a vested interest in making your furnishings and hanging them in your home in the right fabric is perhaps the biggest advantage for you.

Taking advice from a professional also ensures that you get the maximum thermal advantage and that the lining selected will do the job you want it to. We talk to you about how far the curtains need to go past the edge of the window to give you maximum light, how far above the window the tracks should be installed to minimise heat loss, exactly where you want the hems to sit.

And we have literally thousands and thousands of fabrics to choose from, We have a good selection of sampling in-house but draw on the showroom libraries to source the perfect cloth from dozens of international ranges. Matching fabrics to paint and wallpaper, carpets and furniture is our specialty and we offer a full interior design service if required.

Squaring up a roman blind

All our curtains and blinds are made with tender loving care! The fabric is checked for flaws before it sees a pair of scissors and every finished curtain is pressed, hung and carefully folded for transportaion.  If they are pleated the drapes are carefully teased into their pleats so the pleats have time to set before they are installed, and our installer, who more often than not has already visited your house to confirm measures ensures the curtains are sitting beautifully in their pleats before he leaves your home.

Folding the pleat to drape beautifully
Sewing in pleats

All in all we take great pride in doing a job well done, and are keenly aware that most of our work comes from recommenda-tions of previous clients. We have worked for some of our Wellington clients for 20 years and have curtained several houses for them, and for their mothers, children friends etc. We still have a client in Auckland we first worked with 30 years ago. We LOVE to hear from old friends who are ready to re-furbish, or move on, or move into a retirement villa. We feel so privileged to be part of the next 'stage' of their lives.

Give us a ring, talk to Rachel, Feel confident that we are a small family business and we care that you are happy with the job we do for you. We know if you are happy with the first job you will come back to us next time and tell your friends that we care, and that matters to us.

Rachel:  0272214049


Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Presenting Your House for Sale

For most of us our house is the most valuable thing we will ever own. It makes good sense to maximise its value for sale when the time comes to put it on the market. Even the humblest home can come up looking smart with a little forethought and elbow grease. The effort involved will ensure you get the best price you can and give you an encouraging step up when you go to purchase your next house. We have all looked at real estate agent advertisements and thought 'why on earth did they think that photo would help to sell the place?'.... so here's some thoughts on presenting your home to appeal to the buyers.
A welcoming lounge,(picture courtesyof Clarke and Clarke fabrics)

THE BASICS:
1. Walk out to the street and look at your house objectively. Does it look inviting? Can you even see it through the trees and bushes? Is the garden overgrown? A good clean up outside, including hosing down the house and sweeping the driveway after you have cleaned up all those weeds will ensure that first impressions count.

2. Take a trip to the tip with all the clutter and accumulated junk that you will not be taking to a new home. Put what you can on Trade Me to make a few dollars. Be absolutely ruthless. If great grandma's cheese grater has been at the back of the cupboard unused for donkeys years you are not going to use it now. If you have too much furniture or clutter that you don't want to part with, arrange to have it stored while the house is up for sale. You don't want your existing space to look overcrowded.

There is merit too, in de-personalising a space. Big family photos and reams of kids' artwork are perfect for 'your' space but are an intrusion in someone else's, and remember you ARE trying to make this 'someone else's'.  Small photos that add an element to the decor are fine, just not too many of them. Look critically at the artwork and prints that are displayed on your walls. Faded prints, moose's heads, naked bodies and overtly risque images are best put into storage. Confine the kids' toys to an area where they can be easily removed. A lounge room filled with all the paraphernalia that goes with having children will be a turn off for buyers that don't have kids.

3. Use your cell phone to take photos from all angles of each room of the house and see which bits look pleasing, and which parts need attention. For a small fee you can utilise the services of an interior designer who will advise you what to do to give your home the Wow! factor that everyone talks about. Often this is something as small as rearranging a room. Try to avoid having the furniture up against the walls of the room. There is usually a better way of arranging it to make the space look intimate and inviting. Careful placement of a rug, an occasional chair, a lamp, can provide a 'room within a room' type of space. The most inviting homes marry the old and the new together cleverly.
Think about how you can use what you have to combine together to make an inviting vignette. A white bowl of green apples on a polished kitchen bench give a hint of homeliness, a bunch of flowers from the supermarket will cheer up a tired corner.

4. Be prepared to get your hands dirty!  You want your home to look like someone could bring their furniture straight in and it would not look out of place with your decor. Bright orange walls, tired and peeling wallpaper, mildewed and tired curtains that may not be to everyone's taste need to go. You may hate the idea of 'neutral' in your own home but keeping it simple is paramount. Google 'how to paint a wall' and you will see how easy it is to transform a dated room in no time. If there are bright coloured walls that may be too restricting or that look a bit tired, or wallpaper that is hanging off the walls be prepared to put the time in. Mildewed curtain linings tell your potential buyer that the house may be damp. Arrange to have your curtains re-lined or replaced. Resist the urge to have them drycleaned or washed unless they are in very bad condition. Both these processes are likely to shrink your curtains. Try vacuuming them to freshen them up.

5. Take a critical look at any maintenance issues that are likely to be picked up in a builder's report. Leaky taps, rusting roof, overflowing spouting, windows that don't close properly etc and arrange for a professional or a handyman to come in and fix them up. Pay particular attention to the shower stall and tiling and make sure the grouting is in good condition. There is some truth in the saying that bathrooms and kitchens sell a house. Buyers need to be able to at least see the potential if they are not up to scratch.

6. Houses that are currently tenanted can be a problem for landlords to sell. The tenants may not want to be forced to move out and have no personal interest in presenting it nicely for open homes. Have a discussion with the tenants and make sure that all parties know their rights.

7.You no doubt love your pets very much and may not be aware that some animals come with their very own 'doggy smell' that can permeate a house. A carpet that has been continually peed on by your puppy will add its own particular aura to the house. Make sure your carpets are cleaned and that all evidence of your pets dirt box and feeding bowls are, like your pets, out of sight on the day of the open homes.



8. Finally, and MOST IMPORTANT of all is to have it scrupulously CLEAN! The kitchen and bathroom need to be sparkling with clean towels hanging neatly, no dead toilet rolls waiting to be thrown out, no random piles of  washing or ironing, no rubbish bins full to overflowing. Don't forget to clean the windows, mirrors, taps and toilet, and the oven. Serious buyers will open the oven door and won't want to find the remains of last night's dinner stinking it out. All the theories that are out there to make your place smell nice and fresh and inviting (coffee brewing, bread baking etc) are a waste of time if the house dosen't smell beautifully fresh and clean. Make up the beds with fresh clean linen and arrange them invitingly. Check that the outside rubbish bins are around the rear of the property and away from the back door.
Now you are ready for that open home!

If you are thinking about putting your home on the market and would like an an interior designer to advise you or stage it for you give us a call:
Rachel 027221 4049,

Friday, 8 July 2016

Making A Statement with A Chair or Two



Mix and match co-ordinating fabrics for interest
We are so lucky living here as we do in the South Pacific with the clear and clean  colours that nature provides…. No murky smog to water down the sky. Even on a wintry day like today the light is bright, the wind is blowing the cobwebs away and the raindrops on the leaves outside glisten as the sunlight catches them. Perhaps this is why we tend to keep out interiors neutral, so they act as a backdrop to what is going on outside the windows. Fashion comes and goes with interiors as much as with clothing and every so often we have a client that wants to live with a riot of colour, a bright red kitchen, terracotta walls, peppermint green and pink doors etc etc. Of course if that is what they want we will give it to them but it is so much easier to live with a less stimulating framework and use colour to make the space pop! This could be a single coloured wall in a bright and eye-catching colour or pattern, a collection of colour accents played out in cushions, bed coverings, window furnishings and fabulous artwork or it could be by introducing :




THE STATEMENT CHAIR!

This pair of mid-century chairs are covered in Sanderson's
'Dandelion Clocks'. Sanderson do matching wallpapers and fabrics for curtaining and roman blinds in the same pattern in a range of colours.











What a great statement this chair is! If you want to add a real 'talking point' to your house you couldn't go past this!


















This chair is so subtle! The colours graduate across the green/yellow spectrum allowing plenty of latitude to choose accessories that will work together.

















Love this raspberry pink! It pulls the splashes of pink from the artwork and frames theshape of the cabinet in the background.













Here is a project for passionate do-it-yourselfers....
An op shop chair, using an old map,  papier mache
techniques and a coat of sealing varnish.




We can source imaginative and functional fabrics from all over the world and have a wonderful upholsterer who delights in tackling whatever we throw at him.
Let us help you add that 'statement' piece to your home.
Call Rachel on 027 241 7927 and check out our web site: janlambertdesignxtra.co.nz


Friday, 6 May 2016

Privacy With Style





We have come a long way from the old fashioned style of net curtains that Grandma had in her home. There are so many beautiful fabrics available today to give privacy and sunlight control in your home.Take a look at the way these sheers flow evenly across the window. This window looks out onto a neighbouring house and the owners wanted not only to preserve their privacy, but also to make a design statement. The fabric is a woven cotton muslin, leadweighted in the hem to make them fall beautifully and finished with a wave top heading. The tops of the curtains are attached to the curtain track with a unique stud system, are easily removable for laundering, and always look tailored with the pleats spaced perfectly evenly.






You can see in this picture how the folds flow beneath the track. This pleating system looks great on lined curtains too and is a much classier finish than a gathered curtain tape.




 The curtain  on the left is a combination of two colours of sheer that have been joined to create a border. The fabric is Amble white, with the border in Amble sheer, by Villa Nova.



This gorgeous cloth is called Pompom, by Charles Parsons. It is 100% polyester yet looks and feels like linen. It has the added advantage of being 300 cm wide so can usually be made .
continuously, i.e. without seams showing.













A closely woven sheer can also be made in to a roman blind, a very contemporary yet quite soft look to complement any interior.







If you would like to find new and exciting ways to transform your home give Rachel a call on 027 221 4049 or email her at rachel.jldesign@xtra.co.nz











Monday, 11 April 2016

Gorgeous Wallcoverings from Casadeco

Look at these gorgeous wall panels from Casadeco!

Believe it or not these are not blocks of wood attached to the wall.....This is a wallpaper panel that turns what would just be a bare stretch of wall into a sophisticated and very grown-up space. It marries beautifully with understated furniture and is inviting without being fussy.




And how about this one for a bit of fun?...

 In a house where all the other walls are painted in a neutral colour this bright and cheerful wall pops out and makes a funky in-your-face statement.
The mix of bright primary colours gives plenty of scope to draw from when selecting accessories.
There is no need to wallpaper the whole wall, either. One roll of the paper cut into matching strips and pasted to the wall, perhaps in a giant rectangular shape like a large painting, or any shape you like would make a great talking point.


This one is a quiet and restful statement, a piece of art in itself. Again it contains multiple colours to give you plenty of scope to co-ordinate furnishings and it teams beautifully with the green wall. Note too the elegant white curtain with the eyelets set into a contrast band at the top. This is a room you want to come home to.


Casadeco have a great range of wallcoverings and fabrics and are just one of many collections we can access for you. We would love to help you turn your  special space into a warm, welcoming and vibrant home. Give Rachel a call on 0272214049 to set the ball rolling.








Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Simple But Stunning

We love it when a client asks us to create something special to suit their colour scheme. These cushions were made from a heavy linen cloth and finished with contrasting gros-grain ribbon stitched in a simple but striking design. We used feather inners for the cushions as they plump up beautifully and don't go flat over time as polyester fill has a tendency to do. These cushions are to go with a set of white linen curtains with  3 rows of black gros-grain stitched across the top of the curtains. Simple, but stunning. It is so satisfying when the most uncomplicated of designs give the most striking outcome.
Cushions are traditionally used for a practical purpose to make sitting in a chair or sofa more comfortable. These days they are as likely to be used to soften the severe lines of furniture and to add a focal pop of colour or design to a room.
We would love to create something like this for you.
Give Rachel a call on 0272214049 and discuss your ideas with her.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Warming up for winter

The nights are starting to draw in and daylight savings time is nearly at an end for this summer. Another couple of weeks and we will be drawing the drapes early to keep in the heat. Beautiful curtains and blinds are our specialty and we pride ourselves in the process of selecting colours and fabrics with our clients and turning them into beautiful drapes.
 This gorgeous fabric is from Textilia Fabrics, 'Chalet' colour Spring. It drapes into beautiful folds and makes lovely roman blinds too. It is a two tone Jacobean design in a vine pattern on a Jacquard weave cloth.Although it looks like a heavy linen cloth it is in fact, a mixture of linen, polyester and viscose which help to stabilise the linen threads. The curtains were lined with a heavy blackout lining, which not only blocks out the light but adds to the insulating qualities to ensure the heat stays in the room and doesn't disappear through the glass. Don't be fooled into using 'thermal drape' curtains as an insulator, it is about as useful as pasting paper to the window. Air needs to trap between the layers of fabric and lining and often we add an interlining (called bumph) to provide an additional layer of trapped air. An interlining also helps to add substance and weight for light materials like silk.
We selected a Resene paint for the walls, a warm white, 'Merino'  and added a bedspread in white, back cushions with soft shades of aqua and pale yellow and a throw in a soft aqua chenille. It is a beautiful restful room, inviting to come home to.
We begin the process by visiting your home, selecting and sourcing colours and fabrics and seeing the job through to completion in our workroom.New tracks are supplied and fitted when we install your curtains.
We are based in Wellington, New Zealand and can be contacted on:
 027 221 4049, or by email: rachel.jldesign@xtra.co.nz.  
Website: www.janlambertdesign.co.nz