drapery Archive



Cheryll Gillespie, Drapery

It never ceases to amaze me how much drapery adds to a room. Last week, we installed two client homes full of drapery and one client house full of blinds and upon completion of each I was awe struck at what a difference a little fabric makes to a space.

In a room, drapery is essential for two main purposes; first is to soften and define the space and the second is to frame a view. Let’s chat about the first. Drapery gives us the opportunity to add another texture to our room, perhaps a soft sheer or rough linen or even a distressed velvet. Ask yourself what atmosphere is desired in the space and choose accordingly. Typically, a soft luxurious sheer will add a feminine touch and even a sense of romance to a room where as conversely a distressed velvet can be more masculine and intimate just as a natural rough line will instill a sense of formality.

We all love a great view and drapery will enhance a good view by drawing the eye into the window. Just as well, you can hide a bad view by using drapery to cover the window and leave it to our imaginations to picture the fabulous view that must be out the window. Well designed drapery can hide off-set or ill-placed windows, elongate a wall and/or heighten a low ceiling. Drapery is a valuable designer tool.

How do we choose the perfect fabric for our windows? Start with colour, typically I keep the drapery in tune with the room’s colour palette, more specifically, the wall colour. If you’re choosing blinds, then choose a colour that matches the window frame or the wall colour if it is a neutral. On feature walls go with the window frame colour. When your are selecting the fabric for blinds or drapery start with the function of the window coverings, do you need them to be room darkening? Are they required to block out or soften strong UV rays? Or are they desired simply for aesthetic reasons? This will help you to decide. Now choose the fabric, that best suits the ambiance of the room.

Now the rods, finials and brackets, have fun here there are so many fabulous decorative choices. Whimsical finials such as birds or monkey brackets to hold up the rod. Luxurious crystal finials or handsome caved wood and marble motif.

How far off the floor do we want the drapery- typically one half of an inch to one quarter of an inch off the floor is perfect unless you want a casual puddle of fabric. Fall is the perfect time to take your rooms to the next level and hang some window coverings. Well made drapery is a true luxury and all part of living fabulously.



Cheryll Gillespie Media Group, Silk

I’m all about silk in home design these days, literally ‘worming’ my way to creating fabulous spaces: silk wallpapers, drapery, upholstery and rugs. I just can’t get enough of this incredible textile. There truly is nothing like silk, if you want to create a room that looks and feels like luxury, then nothing compares to the “silky smooth” yet simultaneously rough texture of silk. The way its prism shaped fibers reflect the light is unbeatable, lately, it is my go to textile for fabulous spaces.

Silk is one of the many inventions that we thank the Chinese for. The legend of silk gives credit to Yuen Fei, a concubine of an emperor nearly 5000 years ago who accidently dropped a cocoon into her tea and after watching it unravel, discovered the silk thread. This queen of fibers is versatile and decadecant. Silk is a protein fiber, as is wool. It is natural for silks to have some irregularities – sometimes called “slubs”. This is the nature of the 100% silk fabric if you are looking at silk fabric samples and you see tiny black specs these are not flaws but actually part of the original cocoon. The most expensive silks are made from cocoons of the Bombyx moth who feeds from mulberry leaves. Other silks are made from moths that feed on oak leaves. Amazingly, the average coon contains three to four hundred meters of silk.

Cherylll Gillespie Media Group, SilkHow can we use silk at home? Let’s start with the simple ways: elegant drapery panels for your window, this is my go to window dressing. Simply hung or tied back with a beautiful tassel, the iridescent quality of silk will dazzle in the sun while providing great light control if closed. Being a natural fiber, silk is prone to colour fading, so draperies must be lined and interfaced. Include a silk-upholstered pair of chairs or add some DIY silk cushions made from vintage silk scarves to an existing upholstered piece in the room. Consider hand-painted silk or embroidery on the pillows or even on the back of the chairs for a truly custom look.

Since my first trip to the silk factories of Suzhou, China, I have been hooked on silk wallpapers of all kinds; hand painted, embroidered and left au natural. The look and feel of silk on the walls is irresistible elegance and I can’t think of a space that would not benefit from this wall treatment. We have wallpapered dining rooms, living rooms, bedrooms and even water closets with silk. I just can’t get enough of this textile in design. I guess we could say that the Silk Road is the way to fabulous spaces. Consider this natural, ancient textile for your next design project- five thousand years of being the most luxurious textile made can’t be wrong and if you haven’t all ready embraced the silk worm – isn’t time you did?


Room Swoon

Room Swoon

Do you swoon over your room when you walk in door? February is the month of love, so this week, let’s get right to the heart of the matter and address how much or how little we love our rooms. I’m away from home a lot as I have to travel for work, shooting TV, designing around the globe and as exciting as that sounds, the best part of travel for me, is always coming home. When I arrive home from a trip I just can’t help but look around and note how much I love my house. Treasures I have collected from around the world, colours I adore envelop me, textures that seduce the hand and the eye, art work that always captures your eye and great spots to curl up with a puppy and read a book or enjoy a cup of tea with a friend or glass of wine with my husband.

If you don’t have a similar reaction to your rooms then our goal this month will be to change that. It’s a gift of love that you can give to yourself. There’s no excuse for not having rooms you love, it’s not about budget and it’s not about time (if we are honest with ourselves, we can always make the time) it’s about designing for ourselves and caring enough about ourselves to take the time and make the effort to design for us. It’s imperative that we love our home; we spend so much of our valuable time there and with our most valuable people.

Before we divulge a recipe to love your home, let’s be perfectly clear about how great rooms are achieved. A room will never be finished-always be open to change, you find a new treasure, you add a new photo, a new piece of art, buy a new duvet; bring home a vintage piece of furniture. Embrace change and never settle in a space, rooms like ourselves should keep evolving and improving upon themselves. Rooms we love and that others love as well appear timeless. You also need to live your rooms (need to work and function as well as they look) as much as you love your rooms

Start with a palette that you adore and that is appropriate for the room’s main purpose. Colours you love to wear, colours that make you feel sexy or creative. A colour palette moves beyond the paint on the walls and includes fabulous textures brought into the room in the way of drapery, pillows, upholstery, flooring, throws, and wallpaper. Texture is has important as colour when it comes to creating fabulous rooms.

Arrange your furniture creatively and not simply lined up along the walls, have furniture with purpose and include unique and interesting pieces. Include art in every room. Art does not have to ‘match’ your space, hang and display pieces that catch your eye and that you want to see every day. Every room should include mementoes from your life, heirlooms from your family, collectables from your travels, treasured finds from a estate sale you attended with a girlfriend, and framed black and white photos of you and the family. Lighting is the most often missed design element. Hunt for great fixtures, spray a brass chandelier peacock blue and rehang it, be creative mix and match your table lamps, run rope lighting under a platform bed or even the sofa, add spotlights to your potted plants and art lights to wall art. Be sure to add life to every space, a potted plant and pair of gold fish housed in a fabulous vintage vase (be creative), rescue a pet. Now that fabulous living!

I love coconut oil and keep a bottle of oil in my bathroom for conditioning my hair and my skin but I also use it to polish the wood furniture. Mix equal parts coconut oil and lemon juice into a spritzer bottle and use as you would a commercial furniture polish-spray on and wipe off with a lint free cloth.


Inspired Window Fashion

inspired window fashion

One of our workrooms in Asia truly inspired me this past trip with great ideas for valances and drapery. Every designer knows the value of great window treatments. Dress the windows and suddenly the room feels complete, like icing on a cake, they are the sweet topping that make a piece irresistible. Drapery softens the edges of a space, frames the view and confirms a focal point. But often window coverings can have that ‘same old same old’ feel to them. Its imperative that we find the perfect fabrics for our windows but trimming them is just as important. Swag, boxed, ruffled valances and drapery panels all take one a youthful edgy feel when swathed with chain, fabric flowers, feathers, pearls and zippers, yes zippers. I loved what I saw and can’t wait to bring some of these ideas home.

Inspired Window Dressing 2For a modern space, how about simply hanging strips of chain instead of fabric for drapery? If you want a moveable drape hang individual chains from a traverse rod, if the ability to slide the chain to one side or the other is unimportant then cup hooks hung from the underside of the drapery box at evenly spaced intervals will do the trick. Still loving the embellished chain-feel, you can loop chain across the top of your billowing white sheers or even between your damask swags. If chain is a little to edgy for your room how about strands of pearls or glass beads instead? Fine jewelry chain is available by the spool at crafts stores and can also be used to create stunning valances or even drapery tiebacks, so many possibilities!

When I was in art school some of my favorite projects were of mixed media so I’m still drawn to the use of un-conventional and the mixing of materials in design applications. The valance sewn from silver zippers is brilliant perfect for a kitchen, family room or even a super modern great room. I can also envision fabulous white sheer drapery panels with a single large scale zipper sewn vertically on the center split of the drape-not quite as hard edged as a valance made from zippers but still edgy and super sexy. Speaking of sexy, you will also find stands of rhinestones at the craft store in varying width, these also work magically as trimming for drapery panels and valances or maybe even on a lampshade.

Inspired Window Dressing 3On a softer note I loved the addition of peacock feathers to drapery panels and also the use of the ruffled flowers. Sewn onto table linens or drapery panels this is a fabulous idea for a Hollywood regency styled feminine space. Imagine tone on tone or sheer drapery panels heavily weighted with the sexy flowers at the base of the panels and then a much lighter smattering of flowers as the panels reach the ceiling.

I love it when we get create and start to think outside the box or I guess outside the traditional valance box-pun intended, it is this thinking that makes our rooms fabulous and uniquely our own.

Love is in the air as Valentines Day approaches, so this weekend lets add a few designer touches of love to your rooms. In the kitchen fill a glass urn or canister with candy hearts (did you know that you can customize and custom color your own M&Ms-imagine the possibilities). On the sofa add a heart inspired pillow and in the bottom of the powder room sink lay three glass hearts.


Gone Tribal

Gpne Tribal

This summer fashion went tribal. The exotic bold and earthy motifs were the most wearable trend-we saw tribal patterned caftans adorning sexy sirens at the beach and the night clubs, hand beaded and braided leather sandals and oversized exotic metal and stone jewelry draped from model bodies. This Fall, tribal inspired textiles, rugs and accessories bring the worldly adventure home as we embrace these exotic patterns and colour in our home decor.

Even the most neutral of spaces appear unique and well traveled when we add a few thoughtfully collected and designed toss cushions made from fabrics that feel as if they have traveled straight into our rooms from an African bazaar or we trim our draperies with feather and bead tie backs that appear as if they where hand made from a Bedouin tribes man. Tribal defines a space when we lay down a hand knotted carpet.

If your rooms are feeling less than inspired, adding a little tribal into the mix will definitely ramp up your room’s chic status. It doesn’t take much – a few cushions or perhaps some trims or even hammered metal accessories such as vases or picture frames. One or two touches is all it takes for a room to embrace this well-traveled trend. So pack your bags for a trip to your favorite décor haunts and stock up on a few on trend tribal pieces and ship them straight home. If you love the look and are ready to embrace this trend then consider upholstering a fab chair in the living room, bedroom or a bench in the front hallway in a cheetah or tribal inspired fabric or a vintage Berber area rug. I love the look of sewing bands of exotic trimmings onto drapery panels. When I travel to souks and markets around the world, I always stock up on yards of trimmings that make there way onto upholstered pieces, pillows, lamp shades and draperies, even pinned onto candles!

Don’t worry if you can’t take the time away from home and work to travel the world looking for fabulous pieces to pack home. Shop the world on line , it is truly amazing what you can find out there, designers are eBay addicts and aren’t afraid to place an order sight unseen. Enlist your friends and ask them to pick you up something exotic for your home when they travel, hunt vintage and estate sales for the treasures that someone else no longer wants and you’ll find some truly unique pieces for a fraction of the cost of travel and the price of an airline ticket. Stop by your local fabric store and look in the dress fabric aisles for tribal inspired materials. Dress fabrics can be used for drapery, pillows, bed skirts and light wear upholstery.

As always we want you to think creatively when it comes to designing your rooms. Consider framing a vintage or exotic tribal vest, jacket, robe, head piece or necklace. Putting a piece in a frame elevates it status within the room and can turn the otherwise ordinary into expensive looking art! Small embroidery pieces perhaps from head scarves or small mats can be repurposed for pillows or art pieces also.

Designers love wall hooks which not only act as wall art but will help to keep you and your home organized. Hooks are the perfect solution for back packs left on the floor, leashes by the back door, towels on the floor and clothes on the chair. Give everyone their own hooks right where they need them most and just watch how much cleaner and more organized you feel at home.