The Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC) and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) are urging parents and caregivers during October to check their window coverings for exposed or dangling cords that can pose a strangulation hazard to infants and young children, and to retrofit or replace them with today’s safer products. These organizations recommend that only cordless window coverings, or those with inaccessible cords be used in homes with young children.
For more information, here’s a link to the Consumer Product Safety Commission “Kids and Cords Don’t Mix” page:
Center Stage has many cordless options for cellular, roller, and sheer shades, wood blinds, and roman shades, including MOTORIZED control, and my vendors are offering significant sales in October and through the 4th quarter for cordless products.
You will be amazed at all the new products out there and the low prices for motorization. It’s now mainstream, just like most consumer electronics. And you can even recharge the batteries with a USB connector, which need to be done only about once a year, …how cool is that?
Call Barbara to get more info on all the promotions! Imagine the convenience of motorization and the peace of mind for your kids’ safety too.
Last week I was invited to a special open house and production facility tour at one of my favorite vendors, Comfortex, at their main plant in Watervliet, NY. I am a big fan of Comfortex for their quality, innovation, customer service, and their “made in USA” production. Plus, with their plant so close to Sudbury, they are practically local, with fast shipping times and turnaround.
The tour of the production floor was terrific! As an engineer, I just love seeing how things are made, and the Comfortex plant was a technical marvel. The thing to remember about this plant is that every item (very shade and blind) is CUSTOM MADE, with its own specifications, material, dimensions, and destination. So, it was fascinating to see how a factory (where you typically think of mass production runs turning out identical units) produces unique custom pieces in a timely manner and gets everything right and shipped out the door.
Here are some photos that show the Comfortex plant’s production line in action.
In addition to the tour, the Comfortex management personnel and their teams gave us an incredible showcase of their new products and fabrics - and their latest innovations in motorization. Below you see Nobina Preston, Senior Product Manager at Comfortex, demonstrate their new “wand” operated roller shade. It has a bit of a “Harry Potter” touch in addition to a cordless, child-safe operation. Touch the telescoping wand to the headrail, and you can control up, down, and stop. Combined with Comfortex’s ability to put any photo you like on a roller shade, I can see lots of possibilities for custom window solutions for the younger crowd! I was very impressed with the Comfortex custom photo printing capability, one that we typically see used to display company logos at coffee shops and other retail vendors. But how about shades for your child’s room with photos of your favorite vacation beach?
Although I really enjoyed seeing their new products, I was most impressed with the Comfortex production facility, their whole management, sales, and production team, and their dedication to producing a top-quality product made in the USA. Thanks, Comfortex, for inviting me (and lots of other professionals in the interior design business) to see your operations in action.
“Are you on Houzz?” This is a common question I ask my interior design clients during our first meeting. And, sometimes, they ask me the exact same question. Well, if this seems like Greek to you (what is a “Houzz” anyway, it sounds like a Dr. Seuss character!?), then hopefully this blog post will introduce you to the fabulous and free Houzz application and website which has MILLIONS of inspirational and SEARCHABLE photos (actually 14,690,857 photos the last time I checked) from which you can draw design inspiration. (Sorry for the shouting…but I LOVE Houzz…….there I go again).
First, some background. Houzz is the largest, most popular website that’s specifically designed for home interior remodeling projects. It consists of photos of interiors and products which are contributed by industry professionals (interior designers, like me, architects, and other trade professionals) who have their own pages on Houzz and post high-quality photographs of their projects. So, yes, Center Stage Interior Designs is “on Houzz” in the “Window Treatment” Professional area at:
When you go to Houzz here is my CSID page that you will see:
So what do I mean when I ask my clients, “Are you on Houzz?” I’m asking if you have already found Houzz as an on-line resource since you can register on Houzz for free and browse all the inspirational photos - even though you’re not in the design industry. You can look at sites like mine, look at the “Stories and Advice” area, post your own questions, shop, and best of all, collect all your favorite photos into “Ideabooks”. I have done this same sort of “inspiration mining” on Houzz, and in addition to photos of my own work that I’ve collected into my “Project” folders, I have also categorized interesting photos found on Houzz into a set of “Ideabooks”. Anyone can assemble photos into Ideabooks (similar to the Pinterest model) and then you can invite others to share and collaborate on your Ideabooks. Because of the way it is setup it’s a perfect platform for a client and designer to share ideas!
So, where did Houzz come from anyway? According to Wikipedia, “Houzz co-founders Adi Tatarko and Alon Cohen launched the site in February 2009 as a result of their own remodeling projects. In addition to finding it difficult to communicate their vision for their home, they found it difficult to find the right professionals for their projects. What started as a side project to help with their own home remodel soon spread by word-of-mouth, and they began to receive emails from homeowners and home professionals outside the San Francisco Bay Area asking them to open more categories on Houzz and to expand to other areas. Houzz became a company in the fall of 2010.”
I first heard about Houzz in early 2011, and having lived in Silicon Valley in California until 2001, I saw why these tech guys would turn to the power of computing and the internet to squeeze every bit of decorating utility out of every square inch of the expensive real estate in northern California. It is incredible how Houzz has expanded over the years. In 2014 they “only” had about 4 million photos. Now, they have over 14 million photos and you can even buy furniture and home décor products directly from them. But let’s discuss the best part about Houzz for you: a searchable database of inspirational photos.
How to Search on Houzz:
2. For a more targeted search, I put in the following search criteria on the top search bar within the Dining area:
“Buckland Blue” “wing chair” traditional grasscloth
I’ve found that using a very particular name for a Benjamin Moore or Sherwin-Williams color (like BM Buckland Blue) will really zero in on rooms with a general color scheme that you are searching for, like teal. If you just put in “blue,” well, that will help a bit, but Houzz will still return thousands of photos. And voila, using this set of search terms here is the result below, down to 177 photos.
Look at that gorgeous color…would you be surprised if I told you my own dining room is teal (Benjamin Moore 2123-20 Caribbean Teal)? Just so soothing in a dining room, and a bit unexpected, and goes nicely with wood tones. Anyways, I digress, back to navigating Houzz…
So, how do you sign up to start poking around on Houzz?
Go to: https://www.houzz.com/ - and here's the home page that you should initially see:
There are so many features, you will just have to explore the site a bit.
Personally, I think that the real strength of Houzz is in connecting you with designers (like me) and local home improvement contractors. See the “Find Professionals” button on the bar across the top, right under the search bar. You can see samples of past projects to learn about the company’s skills and capabilities, ask questions, and read reviews from clients to find a home professional that is right for you.
If you are experienced using Houzz, you might wonder why you seem to get “outliers” in your targeted searches, inexplicably different than the style you are searching for. Well, like facebook and most other “free” websites Houzz has to have a sound business model to remain economically viable while serving the design community, and the insertion of additional “hits” is akin to advertising and the “adword” concept on Google. These “outliers” are generally paid placement ads that are on-target geographically (meaning that they will present additional local designers and home professionals to you from your area).
My 5 Tips for Using Houzz
Here are my top 5 tips to make the most of using Houzz for your home remodeling project:
I really encourage you to check out Houzz and all that it has to offer. Let me know if you have any questions……… and I look forward to connecting with you on Houzz!
Barbara Phillips, interior designer and owner of Center Stage Interior Designs, has delivered impeccable window treatments and design services to both residential and commercial clients in Massachusetts since 2001.