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Textiles history comes alive

Limitless possibilities

Ever growing and ever adapting, the textile industry is a living, breathing creature. Technology, new creations and a world of influence weave together to produce patterns limitless in their possibilities. And, perhaps the greatest catalyst in the industry’s continued evolution and growth is its fascinating history.

Our fall 2015 trip to Paris

Pierre Frey embraces both the history and the future of textiles. And, they captured the hearts of the Custom Drapery Designs team during our fall 2015 trip to Paris.

The Pierre Frey showroom and museum archives houses fragile silk pieces dating to the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. These protected pieces simply took our breath away and fueled our creative side…as they do for the artisans at Pierre Frey!

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Sophie Rouart, Director of Heritage of the Pierre Frey house spent hours sharing her passion for these materials with us during our tour. She showed us each piece and gave us details on the history behind them. Delicious silks are preserved in drawers by century and continue to live through the reproductions they inspire.

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Designers eye antique fabrics and draw the designs to scale on graph paper. They alter thread choices and the patterns’ sizes, giving birth to a modern interpretation of these lovely preservations. As their website declares, “This is an art that imitates life to inspire and delight.”

Pierre Frey proudly preserves more than antique fabrics. They embrace centuries-old techniques in order to reproduce period textiles. The company, which began in 1935, purchases fabric mills which boast a history of mastery in their craft. These mills often still work with their original looms.

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Several houses purchased by Pierre Frey include Braquenié, which was founded in 1824; Fadini Borghi, an Italian-born house specializing in silks; and Boussac, a house with a more modern focus. At the heart of Pierre Frey are the people who work there, and the company values family as well as fine craftsmanship. We visited with Pierre Frey, son of the founding Pierre Frey, during our visit.

Textiles have been a huge part of life since Adam and Eve discovered the need for clothes. But, over time, this need has developed into a passion and a search for the unique while keeping in touch with its origins. Textiles have brought the world together through trade and inspiration. From the Silk Road to the traditions of the fabric mills of North France to the first U.S. factory and the Father of the Industrial Revolution in America, Samuel Slater, textiles have developed over time, layering the rich heritage of the past with the global awareness and new ideas of the present and the technological advancements in production and materials of the future.

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think HANDMADE

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Good design in a room opens up conversation and sets the stage for memories, inspiration and so much more. When that design includes handmade elements, the room becomes a story teller.

At Custom Drapery Designs, we love to tell stories; which is why each design we complete is unique to each home owner and completed with the best quality materials. Any handmade materials used are simply the icing on the cake; but every completed project CDD does is a hands-on process from concept to installation.

Brenda Baxter, owner and principal designer, says: “Custom couture or handmade art alludes delicate details with breathtaking quality and professional craftsmanship. I believe couture quality is the broad scope understanding of both the nature of fabric and confidence in creativity. The value of couture or ‘handmade’ is understood when realizing the value of delicate personalized detail created by an artist. We consider our drapery design as art with individualism and the understanding of the nature of textiles and decorative elements. CDD teams with workrooms who are proven professional craftsmen with outstanding care given to the tiniest of detail. Together, building ‘wow’ factor.”

During Brenda’s September visit to Paris and the MAISON&OBJET Observatoire de la Maison, she spent time examining the materials of two companies that share her passion for these details—STRIGO and Maison Fey. These two companies are different because of their age—one still a young company; the other, more of a historical institution—but both commit themselves to quality in the details.

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STRIGO’s origin comes from two sisters’ journey across the legendary Silk Road and their visits with ancient trade towns along the way. Cathrin and Tina Ott took a trip they will never forget and discovered embroideries that planted the seeds of their very own company. Four short (but full) years ago, these sisters committed to bringing “the richness of the ancient textile technique to a modern and professional level” through STRIGO. One year after its founding, the Munich-based company enjoyed a very successful debut at MAISON&OBJET in 2012. So, early on, the company’s dedication to the details earned them international applause.

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Each material with the STRIGO stamp of approval comes from family-based artisanal workshops in Germany and Uzbekistan. Brenda loved meeting the sisters and found herself surrounded by inspiration while browsing their bedspreads, custom embroidery throws and lovely cushions, which are paired with individually-chosen linings such as alpaca fur, cashmere, goat suede, handwoven silk and linen.

From the beginning of the process, the customer chooses each detail of his or her finished product, including the color and linings. According to STRIGO’s website, “The embroideries for a throw alone take a well-versed artisan three months to make.”

Brenda knows her clients agree that handmade items and custom-designed pieces are well worth the wait. It’s all about the story and the journey of taking quality materials and turning them into a unique masterpiece.

Maison Fey, at more than 105 years old, knows something about that journey. The leather craftsmen at this Paris company complete a five- to seven-year internal training in order to produce leather products that are simply works of art on fine Cordoba leather.

“What caught my eye was the art the craftsmen created with stamped leather,” Brenda said. “They apply a stamped design to a thick cardboard before actually applying to the leather of choice. I was so impressed with the precision and attention to detail even with the cardboard sample that I bought their remnant for myself. I began to think of how this technique could be applied to window treatments. A stamped leather cutting would look outstanding featured as a cornice board with beautiful silk or textured fabrics draping from underneath. Creating a conversation piece!”

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The embossed cardboard piece shown is used by the craftsmen to practice before the actual leather is stamped. Then, this leather can be used as textured wallpaper that can be painted to any chosen color. As we examined in last month’s blog, bringing texture to the walls takes design to another dimension.

Each detail of a design works together to create a completed masterpiece that fits a home and its owner; and, when those details come from such intricate processes, it makes the story one worth sharing from generation to generation.

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Detailed art defines design

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Art and design frequently overlap; and Custom Drapery Designs seeks for ways to make this happen in each room we complete. Bringing intricate artistic aspects into the details of design results in those exquisite couture details that take a design to the next level and make CDD  stand out.

We look for ways to take our clients’ rooms to the next level with the products we use—like this rich material from Fabricut’s French General Collection, Josephine in Rural Red. We paired it with a double row of 5/8″ decorative gimp from another favorite company—Duralee—and added these fabulous wooden tassels from Aidan Gray.

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Patina holdback room

Often, it’s the “little” things that produce the largest impact. Samuel & Sons’ Patina Collection is a grouping of delicious holdbacks inspired by Alexander Calder’s jewelry and is appropriately called “jewelry for the home.” Give your home some shine and glamour with these drapery accessories, like this Zanzibar metal holdback which pairs nicely with lovely, simple chocolate draperies.

Kravet acrylic hardware

Kravet offers more stunning examples of the “little” things in their acrylic drapery hardware collections. The most recent additions come from their Modern Luxe Collection which includes acrylic finials paired with tasteful metal accents. With many options encompassing various styles, Kravet has something for every design.

Art is a world-wide language that can be spoken through many mediums: sculptures, paintings, clothing, home goods, fabrics and home accents.

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Samuel & Sons brings the graceful art of Asia into your home with their Shangri-La Collection of intricately designed, hand-beaded, silk and linen borders. The art in each option could hold an admirer’s eye for many moments and the colors and designs pair perfectly with many beautiful fabrics to create draperies, pillows and furniture that are truly works of art. This is the company’s third collaboration with designer Roger Thomas. He reflected on the inspiration for the collection on his recent blog.

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Fabric can be a canvas itself, as shown in Lee Jofa’s Artisan Collection of hand-blocked fabric. We can thank our friends in China and India for introducing the intricacies and unique results of block printing. In order to produce many lovely repeating patterns, a skilled craftsman precisely carves a wooden block which he then transfers from a particular ink onto the linen he is decorating. The process is long, but the end product is breathtaking and special—no two are alike. Custom Drapery Designs loves the opportunities we get to share our passion for art in design with the wonderful clients who entrust their homes to us.

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Design trends transcend time and space

Make the Old, Fresh!

We’ve glimpsed the future of interior design fashion, and we can’t wait to share it with you! These new trends marry perfectly with Custom Drapery Designs’ approach to each project. Today’s emphasis is a modern interpretation of traditional design—utilizing layers, personalization and mixtures—capped off with exquisite trim and embellishments to bring it all together and to provide our clients with one-of-a-kind exquisite couture details.

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This is what we’re all about—amazing styles. They excite and drive us to create the best spaces for our clients. And, to provide the best in design, we look to the best in the textiles business for inspiration and for show-stopping quality. Brunschwig & Fils certainly believes in quality, and their fabrics bear witness to their commitment to good design. In fact, their mantra—”Good design is forever”—which was first uttered by Zelina Brunschwig (better known by those who loved her as Mrs. B), encapsulates the heart of today’s new design trends.

Long known for color, many of the Brunschwig & Fils fabrics today bring stylish neutrals to the design table as well. The company has actively carried the great designs of the late 1800s and early 1900s throughout the decades while making them fresh all along the way.

Mrs. B, daughter-in-law of the company’s founder, infused her passion for lasting looks into the business when she took the lead in 1941 while her husband, Roger E. Brunschwig, fought in World War II. Her resourcefulness and creativity carried the company through the somber time of war, and the company remains an industry leader today. Their story is one of perseverance and passion and love of lasting style. This video explores the Brunschwig & Fils history and Mrs. B’s influence that is still felt today throughout the design world:

Part of the Brunschwig & Fils family, Jagtar originated in British India and Thailand more than a century ago. Their exquisite silk fabrics have been featured world-wide by leading architects, designers and decorators. The flowing solids, textures, stripes and jacquards grace the cabins of private yachts and jets and welcome weary travelers into luxury resorts and hotels. Custom Drapery Designs delights in using such high-quality fabric to breathe a gentle air of beauty and sophistication into clients’ homes. Silk fabrics have long been the ultimate in style and bring a global feel to any design simply through their creamy touch. Jagtar’s commitment to quality craftsmanship inspires confidence and appreciation for this beautiful fabric. Watching these fabrics take form and come to life is breathtaking. Take a look at the intricate process with this informative video:

Current design trends travel through both time and space. As we explored in our June blog, inspiration comes from all around the world. With the Internet and endless communication possibilities as well as manageable international travel, bringing the world into our homes has never been more achievable. Interior design has embraced these opportunities and gives us a new style: Global Ethnic.

We have clients who are seasoned world travelers and clients who may not have a passport at all; but, either way, the world can live in their homes. Often travelers desire to wrap a room’s designs around a treasure from an adventure…perhaps a tapestry, a rug, a pillow, a piece of art or a bit of fabric. Others choose to welcome home far and exciting places through colors, tones and patterns that reflect the influences of distant regions. Sample the world!

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LIZZO, an infant company with grown-up sophistication and a global palette, hails from Spain; but has already spread throughout Europe. Designers in the United States have taken notice and are bringing LIZZO’S quality and depth to their clients. New 2015 collection offerings include inspiration from 19th century Romanticism, the Roaring Twenties, traditional British styles and the “Paris of America,” New Orleans.

Fabrics include sheers with stunning finishes for a vintage or shabby chic affect and embody fil coupe, the extra floating wefts that lend to use as a delightful fringe effect, and exposed jute yarns, which create great dimension. Fabric like this breathes life into draperies. They lift draperies from lovely to marvelous and add dimension and charm to design. LIZZO offers lovely contrast between sheen and matte textiles, and the company masterfully blends traditional with contemporary. Their fabrics evoke a multitude of emotions.

Join us next month as we further explore old-made-new fashion trends and Global Ethnic touches through more delicious fabrics!

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Manipulating fabric and focusing on details

SUMMER SPARKLE

Next time you’re browsing through fabric, look past the silk, satin and cotton and visualize something different, something uniquely YOU! One of our favorite fellow drapery designers and personal friend with The Wendel Works in Houston, Texas, inspired just that in the stunning gold drapery you see in the right-hand corner of the collage above. She cross-stitched and pleat tucked the rich fabric to create her own fabric, adding mini pearls for that little something extra. This drapery heading is an excellent example of the art of manipulating fabrics to create a brand new style. She took something beautiful in itself and turned it into an extraordinary window adornment with all the elegance of a royal wedding while maintaining the comfort of home.

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Successful manipulation of fabric can be achieved by a multitude of design tricks. You could make a bold block statement by horizontally splicing together yards of color silk fabrics or create multiple layers of horizontal folds.  Design or stencil a custom or Celtic band on your drapery’s hem for another unique option.

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Or, take a tip from the runway: laser cutting. This technique, known well to anyone in metal work, burns away the material leaving a surprisingly high-quality finished edge and a plethora of designs. The endless expanse of your imagination is the only limit when it comes to manipulating fabric!

In design, details don’t just matter; often they make the project. For this reason Custom Drapery Designs, LLC strives to seek out the best and most current trends in design “bling!” Kravet’s new Modern Metal and Crystals hardware collection will add a little pop to the top of your drapery and includes five finial shapes and four finishes: polished nickel, satin nickel, mercury and satin gold. Diamondhead upholstery tack offers a new and exciting way to incorporate some summer sparkle to just about any surface in your home. These aren’t just any nails—they shimmer with genuine Bohemian crystals from the Czech Republic and luster art glass cabochon stones. And, they can be applied to many projects including mirror or art frames, room dividers, walls, cabinets, tables, cornice boxes and—as seen in the collage above—headboards and footboards.

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We look forward to marrying that last use with our new product—bedding! We are excited to offer more options for your home within the windows as we team up with Eastern Accents. They create both traditional and contemporary bedding in addition to Italian fine linens, many styles of pillows and holiday décor. This company gives a great American dream story as they have grown since 1989 from the vision of a husband-and-wife team with one designer and two sewers to a booming 300+ employee business in the heart of Chicago. The Portia Collection, their new 2012 spring look included in our collage, is one example of the details Eastern Accents engages from bedding to pillows to throws to drapery and so much more. Wrap yourself up and snuggle down in new design all around your bedroom this season!

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And last, but certainly not least, showcase watercolor art in your designs with Bluebellgray, a Scottish textile design company. As their website shows, Bluebellgray is “influenced by a love of colour and all things floral; the designs are something unique and special, each design is painted by hand in the Bluebellgray studio before being printed onto natural cottons and linens using state of the art printing technology. The printing methods used by Bluebellgray enable every brushstroke and colour to be captured enhancing the feel of the hand painted design.” To design an art lover’s oasis, check out Bluebellgray’s inspirational line.

Custom Drapery Designs, LLC

Custom Drapery Designs, LLC, serves Dallas and the surrounding metroplex with all aspects of a custom design project. From in-home consultation to project management to exquisite couture details to a perfect installation, we do it all. 

Hours of Operation:

Monday – Friday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

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