Three Simple Questions to Design Success
By Kip Meyer & Tim Tanner
Tim Tanner and I have owned a drapery, bedding and blind store in Memphis for nearly a decade; first under a franchise name and now as our own, TannerMeyer. Throughout the years we have dressed thousands of windows and beds and have been blessed with thousands of happy clients! Working with so man creative, wonderful clients and designers has taught us many lessons along the way.
Two things we’ve learned is that most homeowners want to fill their spaces with products that are beautiful- but also affordable. In the interior design world, it is easy to get lost in the world of $300+ per yard fabric and trims and over design yourself right out of most people’s pocketbooks. Though just about anyone can appreciate beautiful design, the most common feedback we have received from our customers is that they want the design process to be EASY while still achieving their desired look. We have also learned that the majority of customers shop two ways: by color and by price.
A third category that we focus on (which is often overlooked) is functionality. This often means light control issues. Will the afternoon sun fade the window treatment fabrics on the west side of the house? If not lined properly, the answer if definitely “yes.” Will light gaps appear where we least expect them? They certainly can if obstacles are not addressed before the purchase and installation.
This past summer, Tim and I visited the huge International Textile Market in High Point, North Carolina. We attended seminars on new and exciting fabrics, learned how to combine existing styles with new and innovative designs, as well as attended multiple seminars on color trends. We took the knowledge we gained from that experience and applied those tips and trends to our selections for the most recent VESTA Show Home and The James Lee House.
In the VESTA Show Home “The Maple,” we wanted to not only focus on the design of the home, but also on the products that offer great functionality and reliability. After all, these products affect the way we live our everyday lives. That is why in the kitchen, and the master bedroom we selected products never seen before in a VESTA Show. The “Silhouettes” and “Pirouettes” shades by Hunter-Douglas are not only beautiful, but they also protect wood floors, furnishings, and art work from fading by the way they filter light into a room. In addition to the function of these shades, they still allow you to have a view outside when the shades are open! When you want total privacy, the vanes of these products completely close, and when you want a full, unobstructed view, the shades completely disappear into their own head rail.
While cream and taupe have been common staples for the past five years, this staple neutral is changing. It is all about color, color and more color. In addition to more color, big & bold patterns are also making resurgence. The combination of a large scale and colorful print in an updated design keeps the Southern home traditional yet modern.
Another home we did was The James Lee House (www.jamesleehouse.com). This historic mansion sits in the middle of Memphis’ Victorian Village and owner Jose Velazquez has transformed this estate into a world class Bed & Breakfast. The window challenges we faced here were many: a. create fabulous window treatments that not only portrayed the period the house was built but also create something more fresh and transitional, b. create window treatments that were fabulous but within the owners budget, & c. make window treatments that were 14 feet long that blocked light and drafts. In the picture you will see the living room and dining room. We got our inspiration from an actual picture of this fabulous room from the mid 1800s. However, we did not want to hang heavy Victorian velvet patterned drapes. The solution was to install natural free flowing silk drapes in a current neutral blue solid, and add lace sheers reminiscent of the “old south”. Not only did we achieve a fresh look but we combined it with period sheers. At the same time we played with linings and interlinings to achieve the thermal, light, and noise control necessary for the needs of this establishment.
Whenever you are entering into any design or renovation project, ask yourself the three simple questions. What is my vision or design? What kind of functionality do I want to achieve? And what is my budget? If you are honest, one of these will outweigh the others. Either way, answering these three simple questions will lead you on your path to design success!