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How To Measure For Custom Blinds

Gina from Atlanta wrote in asking for advice on how to measure for custom blinds. I’ve pulled together a few easy steps below that may help you based on my own personal experience measuring for for clients.

“I am hoping that you can give me some help me on a small project that my husband and I are about to embark on this weekend. We are renovating part of our new condo and plan to install blinds in two rooms. My question is, how the heck do you measure for these things? I don’t want to order custom blinds and have them arrive not fitting properly. Any quick advice? Oh and do you know of places online that I can check out blinds and maybe even order them?” -Gina

Sure Gina. Here’s a little guide I’ve written just for you!

How to Measure for Custom Blinds

1) First of all, look at the type of window casing you have and also notice the architectural details that surround that window. This may dictate whether or not you want to mount the blinds on the inside or on the outside of the frame. You wouldn’t want to hide arch details with a shade. In this case, I’m guessing your windows are pretty basic since it’s a condo…

2) If you plan to mount on the inside, measure the width of the window from one edge to the other (outside of the casing). It’s a good idea to measure the top part of the window, the middle, and then towards the bottom since some windows (especially in older homes) are not always uniform in width. To measure the height of the window, start at the top inside edge of the window and extend the measuring tape all the way to the top of your window sill.

3) If you’ve decided to mount your blinds on the outside, measure the width from one side of the outer most edge of the window casing to the other side. You may want to add 1/2″ on each side of this measurement because if you don’t, you may have gaps which certainly won’t allow for much privacy! Next step is to measure the height. Start at the top edge of the casing and measure to the lowest point that you’d like to see the blinds cover. Keep in mind that most blind manufacturers already compensate for all the various window lengths out there by adding extra materials (like wood) or fabric into the design of the blinds at either the top or the bottom.

In addition, here are a few places online that I suggest shopping for blinds:

American Blinds + Wallpaper

Just Blinds

Smith + Noble- my favorite, although in some cases, a little more expensive but worth it if you want something different. They also send you lots of free samples and offer beautiful shades and blinds trimmed in modern fabrics. They also have the best fashion solar roman shades out there.

Thanks for writing in, Lisa!

If anyone else would like some quick design advice, please send me an email at decor8blog[at]yahoo[dot]com.

(images from smith + noble)

Posted in reader questions, textiles, tips on April 14, 2006

Amy Butler – New Fabric for Spring 2006!

If you’ve been following my blog for a few months now, you may have discovered that I like to sew (geek), enjoy making patchwork quilts (super geek), design and stitch pillows and window treatments for myself (uber geek) and well… I absolutely love fabric (okay, that part is cool). You also may have heard me rave about Amy Butler Designs. I posted about her in early March, but now that it’s officially Spring and her new collection just released, I had to mention her again.Amy’s stunning collections, Belle and Forest, feature dozens of new prints inspired by nature, oozing with pure happiness in fresh vibrant prints. These super-yum fabrics can be used in many of your creative projects from seat cushions to making fun Barbie clothes for your little girls collection. If you have a daughter, you could ask her to work on a sewing project with you, she could help select some pretty fabric and together, you could stitch up new duvets and panels for her dollhouse.

As I write this, I’m transported back in time to when I had this super deluxe handmade dollhouse that my aunt and uncle crafted for me out of wood. I remember the day the package arrived and how excited I was as I stood in my living room in awe, clutching my cookie monster, gazing at all the rooms in my new dollhouse wide-eyed and amazed. My aunt took the time to also design and build every single piece of furniture inside – none of it was plastic – only teak, pine and birch was used to construct this mid-century modern Barbie townhouse. My aunt even installed funky wallpaper in each of the rooms and hand-painted the artwork that ‘hung’ from the walls. My mother then embellished the place with duvets (well, we called them bedspreads back then) and fancy window treatments. We worked on sewing projects for Barbie fashion and decor for hours and many, many years after that little house arrived. Sewing with my mother made for many bonding moments. I think fabrics draw women together. Little girls with moms, friends with other friends. Maybe that’s why I’m so inspired to create things, often in a workshop environment with other women. Sewing can be so much more than a creative hobby, especially if you pull together your children or a few friends and enjoy it with some good music, homemade iced tea (I’m really going back to my southern upbringing now) and a basket of sweet rolls.

If you don’t know how to sew, no need to feel left out. To get a feel for using fabric in creative ways, start small. I’m barely past the basics myself, so don’t worry, it takes time and patience with yourself. For now, take it in baby steps. You can quickly add some of Amy’s fabric to a vase: read this article about a no-sew DIY project. You can also invest in a great electric staple gun, sold at your local hardware store, and make everything from inspiration boards to display over your desk to padded headboards and new dining room chair pads.

If you truly love home design and yearn to stretch your dollar, I suggest taking a few sewing lessons at your local fabric store and then, invest in a basic sewing machine. I own a Bernina that I’m very happy with, and it cost only $350 USD. When you think of how much you’d have to pay a seamstress for two simple rod pocket panels, the machine pays for itself after you’ve completed only one or two projects for your home. My seamstress charges $150-200 for one window valance. (this fee does not include the cost of fabric, lining, trim, rods or installation fees.) See what I mean?

If you do sew, or plan to get started soon, Amy carries easy to follow patterns for creating everything from pillows to handbags, available at many fabric stores and on various websites. Just google “Amy Butler Patterns” to locate them. She even posts free patterns that you can download from her website. I’m loving her birdie the cat download – it’s just toooo sweet, don’t you think?

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing Belle and Forest, and if you would like to talk about your current sewing project, or if you have questions about getting started, post a comment below and I’m sure you’ll find others that will reply and inspire!

(photos from amy butler)

Posted in textiles on April 13, 2006

Mod Green Pod

Okay so I was researching eco-friendly textiles for a project I’m working on and came across Mod Green Pod over at the wonderful Treehugger. For those of you that shy away from “green” products because you think they’re more hippie than hipster, think again.

Green products can be quite colorful and fun, especially when you consider the designs at Mod Green Pod based right here in lovely Boston. Using 100% organic cotton fabrics and creating only vinyl-free wallpaper, you can’t help but adore their products and their cause. Going green never looked so, well, exciting…

(photos from mod green pod)

Posted in shopping, textiles, travel, walls on April 12, 2006


Just when you think life can’t get any sweeter, you stumble across the most fantastic Mibo wallpaper and suddenly, you slip into a shopping spiral that leads you blissed out and amazingly broke. But, you know what, the house looks good and sometimes that’s all we design junkies really care about.

So, I’m sure you’ve all seen Mibo lighting, gosh they’re cute and they’re being plugged all over town. I haven’t seen the wallpaper get much press, so I figured I’d step up to the plate and let you know that it does exist, it’s real pretty, and it is totally worth checking out. If wallpaper isn’t enough, Mibo had to go and make more cute stuff for us to freak out over. Look at these throw pillows and ceramic mugs, will ya? I heart Mibo…

I checked out their stocklists (store locations), they seem to be available in stores located in the UK, Europe, New Zealand as well as online at Design Public, 2Jane, and Velocity Art + Design.

Since I’m experiencing sensory overload, I need to go get some fresh air and try to stare at some white space for a moment. Don’t worry, the candy is still coming. I’ll be back with more yummy things soon…

(photos from mibo)

Posted in lighting, textiles, walls on April 12, 2006


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