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drapery

Designer Notebook: Drapery Pleat Styles Done the Right Way

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Designer Notebook: Drapery Pleat Styles Done the Right Way

 

From a designer's perspective, drapery is one of those key elements in any rooms that helps the room feel finished. Their presence in a room can dramatically change a room to either be formal or informal, or contemporary or traditional. Often times it is the type of pleat used that plays the crucial role in determining the finished style of the drapery.

Yes, you'll notice that I left out the fabric in the above paragraph. That was completely intentional. There are millions of fabric options and the style of the room often dictates the type of fabric selected for the room. Fabric content, pattern, etc. will all come into play when selecting drapery fabric that fits the particular style of your room.

Moving on the pleat styles...open up any drapery design book and you'll see a huge range of pleat styles and looks, from incredibly ornate to simple, contemporary forms. While every pleat style has its place, we at JBi definitely have our favorites - pinch pleats (euro or regular style), grommets and ripple-fold to name a few. I'll throw in one extra style for good measure, something for the more traditionally minded folks.

The pinch pleat is probably the most well known pleat style. The pleat is made by gathering fabric together at regular intervals along the top of the fabric panel. The number of gathers in the pleat are called "fingers." A two-fingered pleat has two gathers, a three-fingered pleat has three and so on. If the pleat is made by gathering the fabric some distance down from the top of the panel (usually about 2 inches), this is called a pinch pleat. When the pleat is gathered at the top of the panel, the pleat is known as a Euro pleat. 

Two fingered Euro pleat - design by Karen Houghton Interiors

Two fingered Euro pleat - design by Karen Houghton Interiors

Pinch pleat - design by Alluring Window NYC

Pinch pleat - design by Alluring Window NYC

For a distinctly contemporary look, many use either a grommeted look or ripple-fold. These have similar looks but use different methods to create the look. A grommeted panel has large metal rimmed holes punched in the top of the panel through which a rod or taut wire is run. The fabric simply creates an "S" shape along the hanging mechanism. Ripple-fold drapery has the same "S" shape but is created by using a special connection from the top of the drapery to ripple-fold track. The track allows the drapery to easily be moved across the length. A measured string is used inside the track to keep the "ripples" at equal distances along the hardware, thus the name ripple-fold.

Grommeted panels - Design by Tineke Triggs, Artistic Designs For Living

Grommeted panels - Design by Tineke Triggs, Artistic Designs For Living

Ripplefold drapery - Design by Heather Williamson

Ripplefold drapery - Design by Heather Williamson

For good measure, let's look at one more pleat style, something on the more traditional side of things. The reverse box pleat is one of my favorite styles for a more traditional look. Think a pleat but in reverse - the part of the pleat that normally is in the back comes out to the front of the panel and are then connected. Sometimes a button or other decoration is used to connect the pleats in reverse. This type of pleat style is best used for fixed panels.

Box pleat with button detail - Design by RLH Studio

Box pleat with button detail - Design by RLH Studio

I hope this quick primer gives you some ideas on what to do with your next drapery project. Happy drapery-ing! 

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Before & After: Creating an Elegant Traditional Kitchen with Contemporary Flair

Nothing brings interior designers more joy than sharing before and after pictures from a recently completed project. It is our chance to revisit how we truly changed a space for the better. I wanted to take this one step further and provide a little insight into why we made certain changes. The project is one that JBi completed in Wenatchee, WA. When the couple approached JBi, they wanted to create an elegant, traditional kitchen that also felt new and fresh. Let's call this an updated traditional look. The design plan was simple, improve the overall flow of the space, change the configuration to allow for a better entertaining space while maintaining a family-friendly feeling, and create a kitchen that was fitting of the custom nature of the home. 

So, the JBi team set out create a space that was custom, clean and fresh, yet still a sophisticated kitchen. The big changes in the room - streamline the wall planes (get rid of that weird angled wall by the refrigerator location), create a centerpiece range hood, set up the island for large groups and make the entire space feel family friendly. A set of tall orders, but I think once you see the final result, you'll agree that all criteria were met.

BEFORE: Lots of angles, cooktop oddly placed in island and angled wall that makes the kitchen feel smaller than it really is.

BEFORE: Lots of angles, cooktop oddly placed in island and angled wall that makes the kitchen feel smaller than it really is.

And now for the big reveal!

What you'll notice first off is how we amped up the elegance level in the space. Curved mullions in the upper cabinets, beautifully detailed flush-inset cabinetry, a grand island with appropriately-sized turned legs and 6cm marble slab. In terms of layout, by taking out the angled wall part, we were able to incorporate the rest of the kitchen into the space. We created a separate coffee/beverage area with it's own sink.

Now, some may criticize the placement of the refrigerator so far from everything. Well, as a designer of kitchens, we often have to weigh certain decisions against the function and feel of a room. In this case, we opted to place the refrigerator/freezer outside of the "first view" when someone walks into the kitchen. It also allowed us to have a dramatic range/cooktop centerpiece (we also had a perfect wall through which we could run the range hood vent pipe). So, while not optimal, the benefits we gained definitely outweighed the negatives.

jason-ball-interiors-kitchen-view.jpg

Looking back across the reverse angle, you can see how this kitchen is all about the view out the (truly) picture windows. With a view of mountains and the Columbia River valley, we moved the sink over to look out the best view. That left an expanse of counter top to the right of the range - perfect for cooking prep work. 

jason-ball-interiors-kitchen-design.jpg

I'm curious to know, could you live in this kitchen? I know that I certainly wouldn't mind having such a large room in which to create perfect meals for family and friends. Here's to dreaming, right?!

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Before & After - Remodeling A Traditional Home

Tigard-Bull-Mountain-living-dining-room

We all love the Before & After pics of projects. They show what is possible with a space. The story of this one is simple. A couple with school-aged children contacting JASON BALL interiors to update their new home - what they are considering their dream home. The project included completely remodeling the kitchen, opening up a wall between the kitchen and family room for a great room feel, redoing a fireplace in the family room, and new furniture in the living and dining rooms. Because the home is more traditional in nature, we wanted to keep the large brush strokes also more traditional. Contemporary touches were brought in through wall coverings, lighting, fabrics and accessories. The resulting design aesthetic is a perfect marriage of the two styles. Living room - As you can see from the "before" picture, there is nothing structurally wrong with the living room. All it really needed was a fresh coat of paint and new furnishings. The JBi team brought in a nice mix of transitional and contemporary styles for a more collected feel. Accessories range from Phoenician glass pieces to found architectural objects. The mix adds age where appropriate. Fabrics used throughout are neutral based but with bold patterns and textures. The two chairs have an elegant gate work fabric for the outside of the pieces with a mink-colored velvet on the inside for true comfort. A couple of contemporary lights flank the seating area and fireplace.

before-living-room

Tigard-Bull-Mountain-living-room

Dining room - While the "before" picture is set up for staging the home, it is again clear that there is nothing inherently wrong with the space. The JBi designers presented to the clients a bold wall covering for added drama in the space. The black, silver and taupe wall covering from Wolf-Gordon added the necessary drama and provided a perfect backdrop to the clients' colorful art trio. The overall styling is clean, simple and again focuses on the broad strokes of color and texture. An antique granite trough on the table brings in a hard stone element to balance out the softness of the space. There's one small detail to make note of. If you look carefully in the doorway that leads to the kitchen, you'll see another door. That small half-bath was directly off the dining room (a very awkward location). To help improve the flow of the spaces, we converted the bathroom to a wine closet, with access from the kitchen. We also changed the door leading into the kitchen to just an opening with the appropriate millwork to fit the rest of the home.

before-dining-room

Tigard-Bull-Mountain-dining-room

Kitchen - More so than the other rooms, the kitchen of this home had some more serious deficiencies. The layout of the kitchen cut it off from the rest of the room and felt under-sized given the home's grandness. The design team focused on two main elements: flow and style. We wanted to the space to feel contemporary, but with an old-world aesthetic. A beautifully set herringbone floor, traditional backsplash pattern and "stucco" treatment on the range hood canopy all add to the design. By opening up the space, we were able to bring in a nice-sized kitchen table for family meals. Besides the flow within the room, we also opened up the space between the kitchen and the adjoining family room. This small architectural change creates more of a "great room" feel, but without completely changing the traditional flow of the home.

before-kitchen

Tigard-Bull-Mountain-kitchen-family-room

Tigard-Bull-Mountain-kitchen-remodel

Tigard-Bull-Mountain-kitchen-detail

More than anything, these clients wanted their new home to be a reflection of their personal styles, molded by international travel and importance of family, while respecting the traditional nature of the home. Goal accomplished!

About JASON BALL interiors. We are a team of interior designers based in Portland, Oregon serving residential clients throughout Oregon and Washington and beyond. To see examples of our design work, visit the Portfolio page. For an evaluation of your upcoming projects, contact Jason Ball at (503) 267-2352 or via e-mail at jason@jasonballinteriors.com. We look forward to being your interior design team.

 

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The 1920 and 30s Decorating Style Reimagined

I recently found a website describing interior design styles from the 1920s and 1930s. What I like most about the site are the descriptions of certain rooms, complete with color names, fabric descriptions and furniture styles. At the beginning of the article is a great quote from Bernard Jakway, author of The Principles of Interior Decorating published in 1922.

"One who sets out to furnish a given house for the occupancy of a given family faces a three-fold problem. He must select and arrange in the house such things as suit the age, sex and temperament of the individual members, meet their needs, express their tastes and aspirations, and fit their purse. He must, moreover, see that the things so selected and arranged suit the house itself, in scale, coloring and style. Finally, he must see to it that these things are not only suitable but intrinsically good-looking, and that they combine to form a harmonious and beautiful whole."

Isn't this exactly what interior designers today are faced with for each new client? It's nice to know that 90 years later designers are faced with the same design challenges. A little later in the article, there are several descriptions of different rooms. One of these descriptions particularly interesting because of it's similarities to today's trends:

"Dining Room - In the dining-room we have used No.16 Yellow Tint Flat Wall Paint on the walls, with Gray Interior Gloss for the woodwork. Glazed chintz draperies are used with a creamy background pattern in a floral design in red, green, orange and black. The buffet is finished with French Gray Duco, which is extremely interesting against the yellow walls, while the Delft Blue Duco table and chairs complete the quaint and dignified picture."

I thought, wouldn't it be fun to take this design concept and show what it might look like in today's design world? Here's what I came up with.

Yellow walls. I would want something rather buttery in tone, but still with some depth. The yellow in this room would fit the bill rather nicely. 

Glossy Gray Trim. Gray can be a tricky color, especially as a trim color. We would want it too blue or too brown. A nice charcoal or medium gray would pair nicely with the buttery yellow wall color.

Chintz Drapery. Chintz is a printed and glazed cotton fabric typically with a colorful floral print. In true JBi style, we would try to find something a little more up-to-date or maybe even a global style ~ less "your Grandmother's drapes."

Delft Blue Duco Furniture. First off, Duco is basically lacquer. So, we're talking about a table and chairs in a rather bright blue lacquer. That's an amazing image to consider in the early part of the 20th century.

 

Now that we've seen all the pieces, here's what they would like all together. Would this look fly in today's design world? I think so.

portland interior designers show what the 1920s might look like in today's design world

 

 

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Interior Designer Notebook: Drapery

drapery

The interior designers at JASON BALL interiors have been having some serious fun working with drapery in recent months. Drapery is one of those design elements that completes a space. The color, texture, scale and shape all become important finishing details to tie an entire design together. Done correctly, a space immediately becomes more comfortable and elegant. Historically, drapery has been mostly used to reduce the impact of the outside elements on the inside environment. In tropical climates, curtains were used to keep dust and insects out of the home. Native Americans used animal skins as curtain flaps to keep inclement weather out of the tents. In Northern European castles, tapestries and heavy cloth curtains were also used to keep heat in and soften the "hardness" of the castle (since they were made out of stone). It wasn't until the Renaissance period that homes began to look much as they do today with glass windows. Textile manufacturing in the 1800s meant that fabric could be mass produced and the idea of drapery become commonplace. Today we have a broad range of fabrics and hanging hardware at our disposal, allowing interior designers and home owners to come up with distinctly different looks with just simple panels of fabric.

At JBi, drapery is given as much consideration, as a design element, as any other piece in the room. The interplay between the textiles used on furniture and window treatments, and other surfaces is important to pulling together a comprehensive design. In some spaces, depending on need, drapery might only be decorative. In other cases, aesthetics and function are given equal weight. With so many design styles available today, we have pulled examples of some of our favorite looks for this post. You'll notice there are no really ornate and frou-frou looks here - that just wouldn't be the JBi way. Here are some inspirations we use everyday.

Simple, light-filtering. If this were my view, I wouldn't want to block it too much either. Simple sheer, ripple fold drapery is used for privacy and light filtering. Notice the small band of sateen on the bottom edge ~ adds a certain formality to these simple forms.

Fixed panels to soften hard lines. Sometimes drapery are just decorative. In this case, panels are used to soften the architectural lines of the windows. Fixed panels are a great way to bring in pattern and color, without overwhelming a space.

Layer for a richer look. Layering drapery and other window treatments adds richness to a space. Here a heavily patterned Roman shade rests behind simple pleated panels beautifully framing the expansive window.

Drapery can be used to create a "wall." I could be wrong (but doubt I am), the drapery panels behind the bed give the perception that the bed is against a wall. This trick can be useful if you need to furniture to be arranged in a certain way and the structure of the room just doesn't allow it.

Another example of how to use drapery as a furniture backdrop, Here, a large scale gate-work pattern is used on this simple panels to provide color and texture behind two chairs. Without the drapery, the chair might get visually lost against the wall color or outside view.

 

So, what does your drapery do for your overall design?

 

About JASON BALL interiors. We are a team of interior designers based in Portland, Oregon serving residential clients throughout Oregon and Washington and beyond. To see examples of our design work, visit the Portfolio page. For an evaluation of your upcoming projects, contact Jason Ball at (503) 267-2352 or via e-mail at jason@jasonballinteriors.com. We look forward to being your interior design team.

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