So, I popped in Interiors$ by Michele, Queen of Decorating On a Budget, A Before-and-After Guide to Transforming Your Home Into a Palace With Custom Window Treatments, Volume One [sic] with some trepidation. After all, the cover of this DVD was somewhat off-putting, showing a dolled up hostess, Michele Caprio, bedecked with tiara and royal scepter.
Not that everything has to be serious, mind you. In fact, I watched the whole program wearing my purple Happy New Year crown in homage to her unabashed cover campiness, much to my daughter’s chagrin.
Most of my problems with this DVD relate to the lack of production values (slow camera panning, jerky close-ups), the stiff cue-card delivery of her Royal Highness and the boring, sleepy music that relentlessly pervaded each segment. My suggestion: Push the mute button and leave it there—that will solve two of the problems with this DVD. OK. I shall continue my review, now, in a more positive light.
QUEEN OF SWAGS
As with most decorating programs on television today, the host or hostess focuses on one or two rooms in the same home within a single, half-hour segment. For this 37-minute DVD, then, to show eight beautiful suburban homes, exhibiting at least three rooms each, both in a “before” format (typically a bland, vanilla room with blank windows) to the lush “after”—that’s a lot of inspiration in a very short period of time.
While there was a heavy emphasis on swags of all kinds, I couldn’t help but marvel over their beauty. Her soft treatment fabricator, noted in the end credits as Norma Kees, is a magician. Kees’ work, from what I could tell in the close up segments, is impeccable. Crisp jabots, softly draping swags, perfectly placed bead trim and lovely rosettes were entirely professional. Just magnificent!
Caprio also creates pause between certain segments to offer helpful “Decorating Tips from the Queen”—mostly unrelated to window treatments but helpful nonetheless. For example, she suggests looking to the fashion industry to get ideas on what’s hot in interior design; using bold colors to enhance small rooms; and to only redecorate one room per year so that a sense of accomplishment is achieved and that one doesn’t get frustrated by spreading finances—and emotions—too thin.
Each room also comes with a breakdown of both materials and fabrication. Most treatments ran in about the $2,000 range, up to $6,000, which may cause some consumers to question what Queen Michele considers “budget.” There was also no mention of cost to install, which should always be addressed. Additionally, one room in the Casual & Elegant section displayed the same cost of materials and fabrication as the room previous, even citing “beaded trim”—which was not evident on the treatment. My assumption is that this was a production company typo.
Another segue—a quick talk with muralist “Sir” James McLaughlin, one of her “Royal Subjects”—was informative. Interestingly, Sir James seemed more at ease in front of the camera than Her Highness. Don’t get me wrong—camera work is daunting, so props to Caprio for putting herself out there. Indeed, a recent e-mail from Caprio informed me that she was taking a workshop, with hopes of being able to appear on QVC. More power to you!
Michele Caprio’s design credentials are impressive. Interiors by Michele, based in Medford, NJ, has been serving the greater Philadelphia are since 1990 and Caprio was recently named one of the 24 “People to Watch” by South Jersey magazine. Her designs are frequently featured in DesignNJ magazine and she is obviously very talented with an eye to not just window treatments, but also paint, wall covering and today’s fashion trends. She has just completed her second DVD with hopes that a series will be ahead.
Should you wish to purchase a copy of this DVD, visit www.interiorsbymichele.com.
Kathleen Stoehr is president of Chemistry Creative, based in Minneapolis, MN. She is a former editor-in-chief of Window Fashions magazine and is the author of the recently published Dream Floors, Hundreds of Ideas for Every Type of Floor, and the upcoming Dream Windows: Historical Perspectives, Classic Designs, Contemporary Creations. Stoehr can be contacted for comments, queries and trend information at firstname.lastname@example.org.