Walking the exhibit hall floor it was obvious the variety of hardware designs is widening immensely. Designers and decorators have countless choices now to alter the look of window treatments, whether they are going for the solidity of wood, the detail of intricate designs, or the strength of finished metals.
CUTTING EDGE COLLECTIONS
Countless companies have created new designs for their hardware since they were last exhibited. Window treatment professionals can benefit from their innovation by using these products to fabricate cutting edge looks.
Amoré Decorative Drapery Hardware was one of the most innovative companies at this year's expo. Specializing in decorative hardware, Amoré continued to impress with its Ivy series. These pressed metal rod sets, made of copper, are fashioned to look like ivy vines and leaves both intertwining with and supporting your custom drapery fashions.
Adjustable and custom length rods are available. A rod will support one panel, up to a single fabric width, of tab-top or spaghetti string draperies. The rods themselves are available in verdigris and several other special finishes. Amoré carries a series of extraordinary hand-painted finishes. After undergoing a multi-layer application process, the finish gains the appearance of weathered iron. Its new finishes include gilded moss, burnished copper and silver leaf.
Once an Ivy rod and finish has been chosen, try adding an Ivy holdback. With a similar appearance as the Ivy rod, the holdback can be twisted into interesting positions to simulate an actual ivy vine intertwining, and holding back, the draperies. It's a great way to make a simple design elegant.
Kirsch also was highly active at the expo. It unveiled several new hardware products including new rod sets, new poles and finials and a new hardware collection. The Continental II curtain rod combination set promises to make installation much easier. For use when creating a layered look, this rod reduces the number of mounting holes needed, therefore saving time and trouble.
Its new decorative café rod comes in five new finishes: brushed pewter, antique brass, mahogany, sage and crème-de-la-crème. These rods would best be used with tab tops and shirred curtains such as sheers and lace. Another invention Kirsch exhibited was its new Over-the-Top Master Carrier. It's intended to be used with the architectural baton draw system. It allows the baton to be visible without having to alter the draperies. In short, it is another time and convenience saver.
Kirsch also unveiled the Design Trends Pendant Collection and the Fashion Trends Collection. These creative concepts give decorators a variety of new options when designing window treatments. The Pendant Collection uses pendants suspended from metal loops at the ends of the rods to create an original look. In essence you have finials pointed down rather than out or up.
Made of metal and glass, the pendants come in a variety of styles. Some of the styles include a Ginkgo leaf, a Celtic heart and a crystal. The Pendant Collection can be used in tight spaces such as a close-fitting window frame. The pendants also can be used for easy and quick alteration of the window treatment. With them you can accessorize almost any window treatment.
Marmelstein has a striking new hardware collection called Millennia. This collection consists of rods, brackets, finials and holdbacks made of stainless steel with matte nickel and matte brass accents. This is not just another hardware collection, either. According to Kathy Edwards, vice president of sales and marketing, when you use the Millennia collection, you get all the specialty parts you need to make it functional.
Not just for small projects, the Millennia collection is suitable for entire rooms of window treatments and accessories. One of the neatest features was the new swivel joint. This joint enables the designer or decorator to do bay windows affordably. Whereas previously you might have had to cut the rods on-site, the swivel joint can be easily assembled to fit the window. It's stainless steel and half an inch in diameter and extremely useful. If you're in search of a sharp, adaptable look for the 21st century, this might be the answer.
Another new collection from Marmelstein is the Harlequin series of finials, brackets, rings and pole sections. Made from British hardwood, this hardware is stocked unfinished. You can custom-finish the wood by special order only. The poles consist of 75-cm and 90-cm sections joined by an internal machine-threaded fitting. The elegance of this collection lies in its simplicity. The basic wood design will not detract from your draperies. At the same time the poles and ball finials add a sense of refinement to the window treatment.
Another new and unique design from Kirsch is the Soft Twist Wood program. Part of the Wood Trends collection, this twisted pole and finial combination creates a stunning wood design. Soft Twist Wood can be used as a showcase piece with tab top or scarf drapery treatments. You can get the wood pole and finials in vintage white, mahogany, oak and unfinished wood. Kirsch has found an increase in the popularity of wood products and believes people want their drapery hardware to coordinate with other wood furnishings in the home.
The Fashion Trends program offers decorative pole and finial sets. With looks that include natural stone, ceramic, antiqued metals and wood, this collection can fit many needs. Finished rods can be coupled with a variety of finials ranging from the ceramic Crackle Ball to the wood Honeydipper. There's no limit to the possible combinations.
Rainbow Woods Inc., a manufacturer of wood cornices and moldings, also had some new products on display. These included the Tiara II Collection. This collection consists of hand-carved, solid hardwood cornices and embossed solid hardwood cornices. Rainbow Woods custom builds each cornice, so no two are exactly alike. In choosing a cornice from the Tiara II Collection, you have the option of cherry, oak or white hardwood. Profiles of up to 12 inches high can be selected and finishes include crackled, pickled or faux.
The hand-carved details are what truly make this collection unique, though. The hand-carved motifs include an oak leaf with groupings of acorns and grape leaves with clusters of grapes. Carved on cherry wood with a red mahogany stain, the grape design is stunning. Also included in the Tiara II Collection is a variety of decoratively designed onlays and moldings. Motifs that are available include acanthus, sea shell and the aforementioned oak leaf and acorn.
Deborah Halvorson, owner, described the state-of-the-art techniques used to create these works of art. Computer controlled carving machines craft the accents, which then are detailed by hand. Though these cornices are created with modern devices, they would fit in with any 18th-century interior.
Boulet is offering a couple of new hardware designs. They have taken African tribal motifs to form wood and resin poles, finials and rosettes. Choose from a variety of motifs including crocodile head, crocodile paws, shield, and chief pole design. This hardware comes in five different finishes: natural varnish, ebony, ivory, cherry and terra cotta. Also available are adjustable wooden brackets, including a square-headed bracket for the crocodile, shield and paws rosettes. So, if you're into the increasingly popular African themes, look to Boulet's Ethnique Collection.
Boulet's other new design is the Vulcan collection. This sturdy wrought iron hardware consists of a series of intricate finials, holdbacks, tiebacks and steel rods. Available in three different finishes, graphite, rust patina and matte black, this hardware is striking. The finials range from the basic Santorin style, with a simple hook, to the key signature-like Taurus style. The finials also vary in size from the 2 1/2-inch Santorin to the nine-inch Etna. As its name implies, this collection seems wrought from the fires of the blacksmith and would be an excellent choice for any home.
So there you have it. A look at some of the new hardware designs as seen at this year's International Window Coverings Expo. Now, get out and start adding spark to your drapery designs with these new innovations. Just remember, with these new products, hardware isn't as hard as it seems.
Cheryl Strickland is owner of Professional Drapery School, Swannanoa, NC, and is an internationally acclaimed speaker with 20 years experience in the window coverings industry. She is the publisher and editor of Sew WHAT?, an international monthly newsletter for professional drapery workrooms. Strickland also is the author of A Practical Guide to Soft Window Coverings and the Designer's Sketch Pad, which are available through Draperies & Window Coverings magazine.