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.
From 22 September through 22 October I will be having a special 20% off sale from one of my favorite vendors; Greenhouse Fabrics.
Greenhouse Fabrics features an unsurpassed inventory of over 10,000 beautiful fabrics, and they never stop searching for magnificent new additions for their collection. Whether you're looking for leading colors, stunning patterns, or intriguing new styles, you'll never be short of inspiration at Greenhouse. From deep berry-red to the ghost of last year's lavender, you'll find every imaginable hue and style in their fabrics which have an endless array of solids, patterns and textures — you'll be sure to find some new glimpse of possibility.
Although Greenhouse only sells to designers, you can take a look at their website to see all of their beautiful fabrics. I especially like the "Open up the color spectrum" feature on their home page since it allows you to click on a color to see all of the solids, patterns and textures in that hue. Their website is located at:
This is a fabulous sale on some stunning fabrics, so call Barbara to get all the information.
Shiplap! These days I hear this term frequently from my clients and nationally known designers like Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper; you know that hot HGTV show from Waco, Texas that’s all the rage for great style, warm personalities (Joanna and Chip seem so nice and happy!) and a cottage but “today” kind of look. Shiplap is a dominant theme in this look, especially great for farmhouse, rustic, urban industrial and coastal settings. So let’s see what shiplap is all about, starting with a favorite look of mine from Joanna’s vast repertoire of shiplap: over a fireplace mantel.
What is shiplap anyway? As you can see in the photo above, the horizontal boards above the mantel are shiplap, painted out in white. In some pre-1950 homes, shiplap boards were used for structural integrity of walls and insulation as a layer underneath plaster or drywall. That’s why in many of the older home renovations, you will hear them say, “we exposed the shiplap underneath and decided to paint it.” Apparently cheesecloth was sometimes applied on top of the shiplap, to smooth things out, so your own “unearthing” process might be several layers deep.
But, what about if you have a newer home, or one with a different construction method, which requires you to apply shiplap on top of your existing walls? Well, your local Home Depot store can come to the rescue. Below you can see, the rough pine shiplap boards that I found at my local Home Depot store in Marlborough, MA in the lumber aisle…yes you can get it yourself easily, and don’t have to pray to “discover it” during your renovation!
As you can see, the shiplap boards are cut with a notch so that they can be overlapped one on top of each other. Sort of like tongue-and-groove, but a little bit different. When the boards are run horizontally for shiplap (a difference from beadboard paneling that is vertical, and lots of tongue and groove panels that are also vertical), one can’t see the wall underneath. So, this shiplap can go over anything…lathe, framing, brick, etc.
Shiplap in New England Interiors
Have I seen shiplap around Boston? Yes, in many coastal homes, and now the look is trending away from the shore in the suburbs. It’s a bit of a casual look, great for a family room, and I prefer it whitewashed (painted white) over stained. I particularly like shiplap over a mantel to really define a focal point, especially if your fireplace wall is long, and needs some architectural interest to break things up a bit. It’s a bonus if your family room already has some white millwork and crown molding to carry on the crisp look and make the shiplap cohesive in color. There are many excellent DIY sites on the internet to show you how to build-out your own shiplap over-mantel area. And, there are loads of inspirational photos out there for this look…Google “shiplap mantel” and you will see some beautiful projects.
Here is the link to Joanna Gaines’ shiplap projects:
And, for more great information, read the funny and interesting blog of carpenter Scott Sidler at
Scott Sidler is a general contractor who specializes in old houses and his site and blog are great…I always learn something. In this post Scott and his readers debate the “is that real shiplap, or fake shiplap, or something else” and it’s a very informative post. Scott blogs every week like me, and posts on Mondays.
Hopefully you enjoyed this short introductory post on shiplap and consider it for your next fireplace or family room renovation. And…yes…if you want to put your flat-screen TV over your fireplace, and you need a place to hide the wires because there’s masonry behind that wall, because, well it’s a fireplace with a chimney, then building out with shiplap can be just the ticket!
With fall on our doorstep, and the kids already back-to-school here in Sudbury, our thoughts are shifting to preparing for the colder days ahead, and to getting our kids in a good frame of mind for some serious learning at school. And what’s essential to a good learning environment and happy days for everyone - a good night’s sleep!
For good sleep, many people want their bedroom as close to blackout as they can get it, and room-darkening cellular shade with cordless control are one of my favorite solutions for the privacy layer in these bedrooms. Especially for kids! Comfortex Window Fashions makes one of my favorite cellular shade offerings in their NY plant - the Linen Weave cordless shade with ColorLux custom color, in both room-darkening and light-filtering fabrics.
Two weeks ago I wrote a blog about my tour of the Comfortex Window Fashions plant (“Comfortex Shade Production Facility Tour” - 8/23/2017) in Watervliet, NY. In an odd twist of fate, while I was at their plant discussing their products Comfortex interviewed me (and some of the other designers) about their ColorLux program. Here’s their short video: “Color Lux: ThinkColor. ThinkGreen”.
Since I find their product so good at controlling light I recently suggested a Comfortex Linen Weave shade in a room-darkening configuration for a client’s son’s room. As you can see in the picture, the shade fits nicely inside the window frame, and we put a crisp striped faux roman cornice on top for impact. The shade is perfect for a good nap or night’s rest for this most adorable and fun toddler, and the parents can rest comfortably knowing the cordless control is child-safe.
If you want to learn more about the shades and the colors it comes in, here’s a link to the ColorLux program which offers cellular and roller shades in over 800 colors. Wow, talk about custom!
ColorLux Designer Cellular & Roller Shades
I hope you’re ready for a wonderful crisp Fall, my favorite time of year!
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.