Sunday, July 15, 2012


French Doors are beautiful in a home, but they often require privacy, light control or simply an extra “touch” to make them function properly and look beautiful too.  

Before!  New French Door with temporary "make-do" treatment!
After! Valance with Remote Control Roller Shades beneath!
One such case was a 3 part French Door; two stationary windows flanking a center opening door.  Lovely to look at but difficult to treat and maintain accessibility to the door. 
Here’s one way to approach the problem:

1.       By installing 3 individual roller shades (as opposed to one large one) above the moldings and on the wall, each shade operates independently of one another giving the homeowner control of the sun and the view. 
Hunter Douglas Designer Roller Shade with Power Rise Motorization

Operate them one at a time or all at once in unison.

2.       We chose a sun screen fabric for the roller shade that allows some visibility of the outdoors, yet blocks out much of the sun rays protecting the furnishings. We additionally had all 3 shades motorized to be controlled by a hand held remote eliminating the shade cords and strings. These motors run quietly on a battery pack making them a joy to operate! 

3.       A beautiful color and style coordinated tailored Valance was added to hide the shade rollers and give a beautiful ambiance to the room’s décor. The Valance placement is crucial to the functioning of the door, too low and the door will disturb it upon opening, too high and it won’t successfully cover the roller shade and its hardware.

There are of course more ways to effectively treat the French Door Dilemma; draperies, roman shades, cellular shades and blinds. Each one of these has a drawback and a plus and each one is specifically suited to the clients’ needs and style.  A decorator will understand the pros and cons and pitfalls to any window treatment dilemma solution so it's best to employ one for a consultation before you make a costly mistake.

If you have a window or door that you need treated call Marie Antoinette Interiors at 925.862.9064 for a solution!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Consignment Store Shopping For Your Home and Your Budget!

I am presently working with a client that is in need of “furnishing” her new home.  She and her husband came to this sizable home with absolutely “NO” furniture at all.  Overwhelmed with the task to do it alone, she called on me to help.  With a realistic budget in mind we set out together to put in place a sensible plan!
Room by room, I made a practical itemized list of what was “needed” with its perspective allocated $ amount total.  She quickly saw for herself how fast it adds up.  So in an effort to work within her budget I decided to pull out my secret weapon; the consignment store.  They offer a wide variety of furniture, and various decorations for the home.
We found this beautiful one at the consignment store for $159.00…
works perfectly with our style, size and budget. Sold!
Shopping for furniture in stores such as these takes a little getting use; you have to know exactly what you’re looking for because the inventory of furnishings offered at these stores isn’t always displayed in an organized fashion but the savings can be enormous.  

Here are a few tips on what you should know when shopping at any consignment store:
ONLY look for items in your style. The best way to find pieces that you will love for a long time is to find items that fit in well with your personal style. Determine first what item, its style, and size and search for it by eliminating everything else you see.   In our case we needed a coffee table, in a French style, and no larger than 45” inches long.  The amount of $ allocated in our budget plan for a coffee table was $800.00.  We found this beautiful one at the consignment store for $159.00…works perfectly with our style, size and budget.  Sold! 

Really examine and test items carefully in the store. Appearance is not the only element to consider when shopping for new home furnishings. Comfort is one of the most common priorities when shopping for furniture. That is why you should always try out items in the store before purchasing them. You can test the comfort level of sofas and other seating options by having a seat in the store to determine if it is comfortable and practical.  In our case we found a perfect little upholster arm chair, but upon closer inspection the chair’s legs were wobbly, and the upholstered arms were a bit worn. So we opted to let that possibility go because by the time we re-upholstered and repaired the legs, its total cost was over the allocated budget amount for an arm chair.
Hurry buy now because it will be gone tomorrow. Unlike traditional retail furniture stores, consignment stores have an inventory that is always changing. That is because they put new consignment pieces on display every day! If you find something you love, you should buy it as soon as possible to make sure you get it before someone else does. Some consignment stores will allow you to test drive the item in your home making your decision even easier.
Consignment buying should be fun….I call it the “thrill of the hunt”! Yes, it’s easier to do with a designer/decorator that has a trained eye and will keep you on course …but anyone can do it by following my tips above!