For the Love of Cornice Boards

They can be solutions that are decorative, minimal and functional. Cornices can define a space, hide less attractive hardware, also be the room's focal point.

They can be solutions that are decorative, minimal and functional. Cornices can define a space, hide less attractive hardware, and also be the room’s focal point. from


There is no wonder that I am officially obsessed with cornice boards right now.  This time of year, clients are making changes that are practical. They are anticipating the hot temperatures and want to keep their homes cool and comfy. So now is when I design the correct solution for energy savings. Be it blinds, shutters or shades, the goal is to cover the windows when they want thermal control. But just as important, the window covering should allow them to be able to see out and enjoy the view whenever they want.

 When it comes to cornice boards, a little dab will do ya!  This fabric frames the window and allows for rhythm in the room.

When it comes to cornice boards, a little dab will do ya! This treatment by Caitlin Wilson frames the window and allows for rhythm in the room.

The cornice boards shown here, are smart solutions that these designers knew would allow for color, texture, and a view.  They can define a space, hide less attractive hardware, or can be the room’s focal point.

Cornices are decorative, minimal and functional.

Decorative, minimal and functional.

They are economical custom alternatives, as cornices require less fabric than most other top treatments.  Call Mary Etta Designs and let us help you frame your window beautifully and keep your view.

Summer Window Coverings Now!

Shutters Provide Excellent Solar Heat Control

Shutters Provide Excellent Solar Heat Control



Honeycomb Shades help keep heat outside in summer.

Many of you are starting to think of those lazy summer days.  In southern California, that can be pretty hot.  And you will need to pump up that air conditioning.  Do you see dollar bills flying out the window?

Save energy and money by investing in smart window coverings.  It’s a known fact that heat is attracted to the glass surface of windows.  And the best way to keep heat inside or outside of windows is with an innovative window covering.  This time of year,  Mary Etta Designs clients ask about  Hunter Douglas Shutters. Shutters have long been known to “shut” out the heat or cold and help lower you energy bill.

But, have you considered honeycomb shades?  Hunter Douglas touts it’s line of Duette Architella shades as the most energy efficient shades on the market.  Duette Architella shades reduce energy loss at the window by up to 40% with the cell within a cell design.  And you can even claim them for an energy tax credit.  Just in time for tax season.

This year, Hunter Douglas  introduced Trielle Architella Shades.  Dare I say there are six layers of protection against the heat. That’s right: a cell within a cell within a lightweight cell. That’s 20% more energy savings than the original Duette Architella honeycomb shade.   Savings and beauty.  Call Mary Etta Designs for all of your summer energy savings in window fashions.

We’ve Got Your Windows Covered! (TM)







Design 2013 – Blue’s the Hue

Design 2013 – Blue’s the Hue

Even though though Emerald Green is the color of the year in 2013, have you noticed that blue is everywhere?  It seems that the cool, calming properties of blue have taken over the  home decor palettes.  Furniture, draperies, pillows, linens and rugs are using blue as the primary color.
Kravet BluesMabley Handler Interior Design4c8328bcdee281147ce571d9bfd07976

Spring Market 2013

Alexa Hampton signing her latest book, "The Language of Interiors".

Alexa Hampton signing her latest book, “The Language of Interiors”.

It’s not every day that we interior decorators take a break from creating beautiful spaces for others and actually get to go “back to school” and learn from the masters.

Spring Market at Laguna Design Center was an opportunity to do just that.  Not only were the show rooms ready with the designs trending this year, but there were also featured speakers.

And as you can see, I was thrilled to meet Alexa Hampton, designer and owner of         Mark Hampton, LLC.  The firm, founded by her late father (also world renowned) is internationally and nationally acclaimed.  So the chance to see and hear about some of her designs that she features in her new book, “The Language of Interiors”, proved to be am education and fun as she is quite humorous.  In the book she covers contrast, proportion, color and balance; all very important in design.  I highly recommend it as a great resource as you design your living spaces.


Getting to the Bottom of Top Window Treatments

Why use Top Treatments your windows?  Well, for one, they are decorative and soften the hard edges where wall meets glass.  It gives the eyes a place to alight with delight  on decorative designer fabrics.   But usually, a top treatment is there to mask an awkward or unsightly part of a window.  So, the old adage of “form follows function” definitely applies in this instance.  Have a clerestory window that lets in light near the ceiling, but otherwise is just a small, squat  gaping hole?  Soften it with a valance in a designer fabric.  The beauty of it is you won’t need much fabric! Sliding doors – by nature a large expanse of glass – need thermal treatments in the form of shades or verticals to keep the heat or cold on the other side of the window.  A valance or swag will serve beautifully as a cover for the top of the shades, hiding the functional head rails with a topper that can be elegant, casual or whimsical.Oneal Install0001

This mock Roman shade connects two very different types of windows.

This mock Roman shade connects two very different types of windows. Mary Etta Designs 

This swag top treatment adds interest to a sliding glass door and shade.

This swag top treatment adds interest to a sliding glass door and shade.left.letterhead



Drapes in Black & White Always Right!

Black and white Faux Bois fabric from my Tobi Fairley Home Collection.  Grosgrain ribbon trim, applique and embroidery on the drapery panels.  Wall coverings by Phillip Jeffries.

Black and white panels, faux bois fabric from Tobi Fairley Home Collection. Wall coverings by Phillip Jeffries.

Just in time for you to set your clocks forward, I stumbled upon a classic spring color scheme that Tobi Fairley, an acclaimed interior designer who excels in the use and balance of color, used this past holiday season in New York City’s Holiday House with Traditional Home Magazine.

The Holiday House Showhouse features iconic designers who each design rooms based on traditional and non traditional holiday themes.  What struck me about this design (aside from how gorgeous it is) was that even Tobi knows that the “trending now” black and white craze (that seems to “trend” every spring) is really a classic of which we never tire.  You just can’t go wrong with black and white.  Whether you use it in your wardrobe, draperies, wall paper or furniture – Black and White is Always Right!

Click hereTo see Tobi Fairley’s “Spring Forward” design from the New York City Holiday House with Traditional Home Magazine.  And don’t forget to set your clocks ahead by one hour on Saturday evening, March 10!


Make Your Windows A Focal Point

Tomassi Focal PointDo you wonder if your window treatments should match the paint on the surrounding walls? I always tell my clients that it all depends on what you want to achieve at the window.

If you want to create a focal point at the window, consider using a contrasting color on your draperies than you have used on wall surfaces.  That will create a sense of movement as your eyes hone in on the details of the fabric’s texture and trims.  You will have a backdrop that allows for those features to stand out.

Notice in the window treatments above that the wall is a deep wine color but the draperies, in a gold pulled from trim on the bedding, create a cocoon for the beautiful bed.  Who wouldn’t want to retreat to this inviting space at day’s end?   Say “ahhhh” !



Choose Paint or Curtains First?

Choose Paint or Curtains First?



Paint or Fabric? Which would you start with for inspiration for your home’s color choices.? I, of course, recommend the fabric!  Window Treatments are my jumping off point for deciding what color a room needs to be in home design.  And why not?  It is a lot easier to color match your paint to a room’s fabric choices than the other way around.  Even if you fall madly in love with a beautiful designer fabric within your budget, it won’t matter if its the wrong color once you’ve painted the entire room that color you “thought” would work with any thing.  So stick to the inspiration of the fabric first.  Use one of the colors in your window designs for clues on what paint color should be on the walls.left.letterhead

Window Treatments “Perk” to Sell Homes

Window Treatments “Perk” to Sell Homes

A Hunter Douglas Duette Shade with the battery powered Power Rise system is a plus for selling a home with a window that is not easy to reach.[/caption]

Often when I am working with clients on custom window coverings, they hesitate to make the investment of what could be a couple thousand dollars for the whole home in blinds or shades because they might move in five years.  That’s when the investment will really pay off!  When selling my own home in Ohio before moving to California, one of the things that set my home apart from all the others on the market was the interior designed custom window treatments!  We are talking about a few thousand dollars of beautiful draperies that I had enjoyed for about seven years.  Was I sad to leave them behind?  Yes.  Do I regret the investment?  Definitely not! We had a bidding war on our home for sale that tickled my husband and I to death.  So enjoy your window treatments now and let the investment pay off when you sell your home!.

Click Here to see how  Centruy 21 speaks to that same investment in an article published in “Home Matters”.left.letterhead

All About the Swag ~ Window Coverings

All About the Swag ~ Window Coverings

Do you have swag window treatments?  Out dated?

You don’t say?  No really.  Don’t say that swags are out dated. Look at the example below of a modern swag treatment that I designed for a teen room not too long ago.  What makes this window covering  modern (and relatable to a young adolescent) is the fabric.

No flowery chintz for this modern Swag Cornice window treatment.  The harlequin pattern on the cornice board gives it a bit of whimsy and makes it hard to take this treatment too seriously.  That equals fun.  The swag in front in the same designer faux silk fabric, gives the window treatment a softening touch.  Finally, the side panels are a beautiful sheer embellished with real Swarovski Crystals!

And underneath it all is the Hunter Douglas Vignette Modern Roman Shade for sleeping in on Saturdays of course.


This Swag Cornice has just the right glamour for this teen's bedroom.