Category Archives: Design Tips & Ideas

How do I properly insulate a Brooklyn Brownstone against draft ?

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Winter of 2014 will definitely remembered. So many snow showers, shoveling twice a week, -50 degrees, now that is extremely cold.

Living in Brooklyn in a Brownstone you have another issue, draft. There is not a single Brownstone owner who can say their house is perfectly insulated. Even if you gutted it  there is allays a crack where a little bit of draft is coming in. (like under the doors)

When temperatures are in the 30’s the heating systems is just working a bit harder but when temperature drops to the teens cold just creeps in.

Naturally most of the draft comes through windows and doors and there are many ways to deal with it.

You can start with caulking but when the holes are over 1/4″ its gets messy.

You can put plastic over the window but then you cannot open the window all winter long.

what you really need is to replace the window itself. Well… now you have a real project! you have to research what types of windows are best for your house, find an installer not to mention the mess of construction and the cost. If you have a 20 foot wide house those windows are quite big.

A middle ground between all those options would be to use Window Treatments.

Keeping your house warm is all about having some air caged in, between the window and  the shade. Just like waring a sweater. The air acts as an insulator keeping cold out and warm in. (It actually works the same way in the summer too)

The trick with draft is not to let the cold air pass through, so whichever Window Treatment you choose must be air tight around the edges.

Surprisingly enough even a simple roller shade can help. Though it works much better with a double layer. You can use a combination of sun shade and blackout shade. Those can work well to control the light and the air enclosed between them will insulate the room.

A step up from Rollers are honeycomb shades also called cellular shades. They have enclosed air built into  the shade itself. And they come with one, two or even three cells. They work better than Roller shades because the gaps on the sides can be very tight up to 1/8″ (as oppose to 1/4 – 1/2″ with roller shades)

The best way to solve draft issue is to use thick insulating curtains. They are made of three layers lining, interlining and decorative fabric. The lining acts as a protection for the fabric from harsh sun and can be use to darken the room. (blackout lining vs translucent lining).

Using interlining is the key here. Interlining is typically made of thick cotton. It is sewn in between the lining and the front fabric. Since it is a thick material it helps lock the air inside the curtain.

Custom Curtains would be superior to most other window treatments in solving draft issues since there are made of flexible fabric that can compensate if the window,floor or ceiling is a bit crooked. You can always make the curtain to overlap the wall (a good idea also when you wish to have a clear window and let the curtain gather on the wall) to block draft around the windows.

What is also nice about curtains is that you can use them in the summer too to cut the heat. If you are tiered of the fabric you choose, you can replace the front fabric reusing the lining and interlining. People may also choose to remove the curtains in the summer clean and store them for the next winter.

There are two drawbacks to having curtains made.

One is cleaning them. Most often fabrics are dry clean only. You can take them down yourself or have a professional company come to take them down and re hang them. To keep the curtains in good shape this should be done once a year.

And the second is that you have to like them.

I really hope this winter ends soon and that we would have a winter like this once in a blue moon and not every year.

The College Dorm Room -Trendy and Chic Means Perfect for Study and Style

The college dorm room is often drab and boring. Lacking color, it is often nothing at all about style or trendy chic looks. Yet, if you want to be successful in that space, it makes sense to invest in the right type of décor. Consider the style that is you. Then, create a space that is exactly that. Whether you are after bright colors or fun prints, the goal is to make this space more like your tastes. That way, you will fit right in and studying will not seem nearly as boring as it used to.

Typical Dorm – curtsey of

Must Haves in Your Stylish Space

What is in your dorm room this year? Are you going with frills and fuss or simple and contemporary? Every element of this space should speak to your style. Here are some must have ideas to get you started.

  • Fabrics do matter, which is why your comforter or duvet cover needs to be fabulous. It will set the entire tone for the space. Select a vibrant color or pattern to give your space a burst of style.
  • Fabulous fabrics continue on the drapery for your windows. Privacy is often an issue, but you can get plenty of style from blackout shades (for all of those who plan to spend mornings sleeping in after late nights out). Or, check out those fabrics that add a second pop of color to the space.

Slik Dorm Room Design – curtsey of


  • A fantastic rug is necessary. When you wake up in the morning, you want your feet to instantly be comforted by a stylish and trendy rug under them. Shag is still in but you may want to pick up on the colors in the comforter or drapes by selecting something too cute to avoid.


Set your town with colors – curtsey of


Set the tone for the space with fabrics and then accessorize with the right details. For example, use the color in the comforter to add a few fun, matching pillows. Add in a bit of girly charm with some ruffles. On the other hand, check out the options in more down to earth options, such as neutral tones accented by the colors on your windows. Find your style and make it happen.


Patriotic Themed Decor for Labor Day?

If you are hosting an event this Labor Day, it’s time to pull out the stars and stripes and get to planning a fantastic event. The décor itself needs to sing the tune of the celebration. Labor Day is a day meant to thank those who work hard the rest of the year. This year, make it special by actually decorating the space in a patriotic, fun-loving theme.

Outdoor Options

Sometimes, the outdoors is where the party is happening because of the common BBQ theme. However, you can make this special with a few decorative pieces.

  • Select a fabric in the red, white, and blue tone for your tablecloths.
  • Invest in a flag-themed drape hanging from the doorway that people will enter and exit. This will keep the insects out while offering a stylish piece of décor.
  • Layer the colors instead of just focusing on items that are striped. For example, your plates may be white while your tablecloth is blue and the napkins red.


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What About Indoors?

For the indoor celebration, take down those curtains and put up something that is more patriotic themed, perhaps some soft pastel colors of blue and red. Let a white sheer drape hang in the center. Be sure to have plenty of small things that make a big difference:



  • Sand pails in red filled with some sand and a blue candle can make a nice centerpiece.
  • Add a few flowers in the right colors to each table setting.
  • Set up the space with a white theme then add pops of blue and red in the décor.


It is easy to get patriotic and fun with this theme. To make it count, though, you will need to think about the total layout and design. Do not just focus on the area where you will be eating. Rather, add a new shower curtain in an appropriate themed design or throw a blanket or a piece of cloth with the color scheme onto the couch for flare and even more style.

Have fun with this theme. Labor Day is a time to celebrate a day off work. Put a bit of time into this design and it will pay off.

What Makes the Perfect Kitchen Window Treatments?

Let’s face it. In Brooklyn and most of New York, apartments are small. If you are lucky enough to have a window in the kitchen, the last thing you want to do is to cover up this great source of sunlight. Nevertheless, there is the risk of not having privacy. Moreover, there is the grime and cleanliness factor in the kitchen that makes it important to choose window treatments that are easy to clean and maintain. Style, that is another consideration altogether. So, what goes into selecting the perfect window treatments for your kitchen in the heart of Brooklyn?

Manhattan Skyline - Source:

Big Light Small Space

If the kitchen is tiny like many of the apartments throughout the Manhattan area are, it is a good idea to allow the sunlight to pour in. Use light colors fabrics and even sheer drapery for these windows. This allows the light easily to shine through, opening up your small space to make it look larger.

Out of the Sink

For trendy and classic looks, you may want to avoid that valance look. For example, the chic apartments in the city do not need floral print, dark colored valances over the top of the window in the kitchen. It can be an eyesore even. Rather, choose shorter designs, made to fit your window. It is a good idea to select items that fit your window’s shape and size so that they do not extend too low, especially if the window is over the kitchen sink.

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The Privacy Factor

In some areas of the city, you are sure to find yourself lacking the desire to even look out of the window. At the same time, you may not want the guy across from you peering in. Using eco-friendly products, consider privacy shades. These can be just as cute and easy to use but at the same time totally blocking out of anyone’s ability to look in on you.

Kitchens often require more attention to detail. Select materials that are easy to clean, such as those that are washable. Avoid slotted shades, as they can be difficult to maintain. Keep the look trendy and stylish, not to mention modern by using color to your advantage. You can do plenty.

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Bold and Bright and Brave

What is it about decorating with color that sends home owners into a panic? Bold color decisions can be difficult, but remember, it’s not permanent! Using color at home can be intimidating but there are a few things to consider when using color in interior decorating projects. We asked a couple professionals in architecture, construction and design their opinion on color, and why it can be so scary to some.


Source: Vandamn Interiors

Some believe the intimidation behind color is for personal reasons. Jeffrey Driver, who is a designer and marketer from the UK, says that bold colors can be too dominating if not used correctly. Some may fear being stuck with a bright color they’re unhappy with, or having to repaint. Most are too busy to have to repaint and hiring a professional once is costly enough.

In addition to cost, Driver brings up another great point about seasonal effects on decorating.

“When do people usually redecorate? In my experience it seems to be spring or summer,” Driver explains. “I can imagine that the time of year plays a huge part in this. Depending where you live, at that time of year you want cool, fresh colors. You’re not thinking about warm colors for the winter months.”

Bright colors in the home can be overwhelming when you want to relax. Tom Kearney, President of Chicago-based residential construction company Building Dreams, believes it is not only the physical process of painting, but also selecting color that can be equally intimidating.

Solar shades and striped curtain panels


Kearney says a good compromise could be to paint just one wall of a room an accent color. This way it is a small commitment but also a small job. All the furniture doesn’t have to be moved out.

“Mistakes or misuse of colors are easily adjusted on this smaller scale,” Kearney says. “Most people will be so ‘wowed’ at their results, that they’ll continue with other colors in other rooms.”

Another great option is taking advantage of less permanent decorative accents in your home. Using bold curtains or roller shades with a pattern can feel a lot less of a commitment than paint. You could also switch up throw pillows or accessories for a splash of color.


Custom silk curtains in peach color

Pablo Maida, AIA is an architect in Los Angeles but he also does interiors on all of his projects. Maida believes that while color is one of the most difficult things to do well, trying to pick a nice white is equally challenging.

“There are hundreds of them,” Maida says.

Maida says strong color can really make a space sing, if done well.

“Every time I have suggested a bold move, either a color or a vibrant wall covering or both, it has been a challenge getting the client to trust me,” explains Maida. “In the end they usually are blown away, as are all their guests.”

Do you use color in your home?

Go West

I’ve noticed a growing trend with the Western theme in interior design lately, but this isn’t your grandmother’s rustic country house.

The key is to incorporate it with contemporary themes for an eclectic mixture of interior design ideas. In typical Western-themed homes, it is not uncommon for items to seem a bit out of place. Things such as old shutters are hung like artwork, or a cowhide rug is paired with modern draperies. Western-themed rooms normally are filled with an abundance of vibrant colors and patterns on furniture, rugs and other accessories. It’s about balancing imperfection.

Here are some inspiring rooms that have combined western and modern themes:

1. Wood panel attic bedroom with orange rug and chandelier (Trublisschic)

2. Cabin bedroom with antler wall collage and industrial chair
(The Handmade Home)

3. Rustic log table with sheers and orange patterned rug (Apartment Therapy)

4. Cowhide rug with traditional furniture and patterned draperies and wallpaper (Decor Pad)

5. Gold and sepia glass cabinets and leather furniture (Interior Design)

6. Distressed country cabinet (Country Living)

7. Plaid chairs and vintage lamps with a modern kitchen (Darsheel)

8. Buckets turned into pots for plants and a rustic door used as art for the wall (Cootattooo)

9. Four-post bed and country cabinet with cowhide bench

10. Vibrant patterned couch (Interior Ideaz)