What started as a ride-sharing arrangement became a road trip paved with great memories for three of the instructors from Cheryl Stricklandís Custom Home Furnishings Trade School on their way to the Eighth Annual Custom Home Furnishings Educational Conference & Trade Show in Fort Washington, PA (see page 46). Anita Boetsma, Culver, IN, (see D&WC, July 2002, page 20) and Donna Skufis, Florence, KY, met in North Canton, OH, at the home of Jill Stanbro (see D&WC, August 2003, page 24).
A tour of Jillís wholesale workroom was first on the schedule. Started
20 years ago, Stanbro Draperies is located in a light industrial park convenient
to Jillís designers. Anita and Donna loved the amount of space the workroom
had and its high ceilings. Most interesting though, Jill actually has beautiful
custom window treatments in every room of her home!
Early Sunday morning, the trio hit the road for the next leg of the journey in
Donnaís high-top customized ďdisco van.Ē The plan was to spend
the evening with Ori and Ronit Katzin at their home in Oradel, NJ. Ori and Ronit
Katzin are the owners of Interior Art Designs, Hackensack, NJ.
The day was sunny and beautiful with fall colors just beginning to show in the
landscape. Donna and Jill shared the driving and navigating duties. Between extended
naps, Anita was in charge of the cooler of bottled water and the music selection.
Late in the day, Ori called to give directions to Oradel. Following his instructions,
they were treated to a perfect view of the New York City skyline just as they
ORGANIZED AND BUSY
A poolside dinner and tour of the Katzin home rounded out the long day. Donna
and Anita were humbled to find that Ori and Ronit also have beautiful window
treatments in their home. Oriís automation expertise was evident in the
motorized Roman shades that close automatically when the home theatre system
is activated. In fact, it was amazing to note that the lights dim and the screen
lowers at the same time!
The Red Carpet Inn nearby was home for the night where the three amigos experienced
the joys of three women and one bathroom.
Breakfast on Monday was a special treat: Ronit suggested the restaurant where
she met Ori for the first time. The worn, but elegant dťcor and vintage
fixtures were delightful and the food was great. Ronit was encouraged to tell
the story of her romance with Ori, so the meal was entertaining as well.
Next on the agenda was a tour of both the current and future homes of Interior
Art Designs. Last year the Katzins purchased a building across the street from
their current site. It is larger and brighter and will make a perfect home for
their business as it grows. Ori has painted the building his favorite white with
bright red trim to show off the American Flag he always flies proudly.
Interior Artís existing workroom is a highly organized and busy business.
Jill, Anita and Donna were impressed by the entire operation. Each employee has
a station and each has specific types of product that he or she specializes in.
Two workers cut fabric to Oriís exacting instructions. Cornice frames are
built and padded, cushions are cut and wrapped in batting, linings and welt cord
are cut and the separate components are bundled together and moved to a central
table. The finished bundle goes to the person assigned the project.
The workroom tables all have extensions along the sides that fold down when not
in use. As might be expected, Ori has several innovations in place to streamline
the manufacturing process. An electrically powered frame lowers from the ceiling
to hold shades for perfect stringing.
Interior Art Designs employs 20 people on a full-time basis. They are a tight-knit
group, perfectionists and proud of the work they do.
Getting around in Hackensack was tricky. By the time the van headed south toward
Philadelphia, Donna had learned to turn left to go right and right to go left.
After a few wrong turns, the three were on their way again to the sounds of a
BeeGees revival and a western view of The Big Apple.
The ride south was short and in no time they were at the door of Adaptive Textiles
in West Chester, PA. Larry and Jeanelle Dech welcomed the travelers and provided
a tour of their facility. Adaptive Textiles is an exciting new company that digitally
prints custom designed fabrics using a computerized printer and pigments. Fabrics
are printed to the designerís choice of ground cloth, colors, scale and
print direction. Offering a virtually unlimited palette of colors and no minimum
orders, Adaptive supplies a new product at a reasonable price.
The next stop on the agenda was Crabapple Farm Interiors, also owned by the Dechs.
A retail workroom employing five designers, Crabapple Farm has recently moved
to the upper level of an old barn, newly renovated to house a farmerís
market below. The workroom is bright and airy, surrounded by large windows looking
out over the countryside. The original rough plank floors remain in sharp contrast
to the computer terminals and sewing machines.
Space here is at a premium and Jill, Anita and Donna were impressed by the innovative
and practical storage solutions Jeanelle utilizes in the workroom. The showroom
is as organized as the workroom. Samples are stacked neatly on shelves along
a wall. Seating vignettes and worktables make the space cozy and easy to work
The Farmerís Market below was closed, but the staff talked enthusiastically
about the smell of freshly made apple cider doughnuts that wafts up from below.
Jeanelle cagily refused to discuss the window treatment status in the Dech home,
so doughnut-less but happy, the traveling trio headed for the hotel, more friends
and the exciting whirlwind of the 8th Annual Custom Home Furnishings Educational