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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