CHALLENGE: There is one challenge that is giving me a little trouble as I work with many of my clients on custom window treatments. When it comes to high-end custom treatments, I am troubled at asking clients to spend lots of money on new fabrics that really do not seem to last a long time. My clients often become disappointed with some fabrics that do not hold up to the elements, such as harmful sunrays and heavy use from children and pets.
To stabilize and “bulk up” fabrics I often use lining, which adds to the expense, and some clients say they do not like the look from the outside of their homes.
I would like to find a way to spend not quite as much on fabric and possibly reuse materials, which would contribute to recycling efforts that many of my clients are interested in. Any suggestions?
SOLUTION: I am so excited to answer questions in regards to making our environment a better place for the future generations. You may have read about or heard phrases such as gently used, vintage, reclaimed, green, recycled, sustainable and sustainability.
In reference to all of these words there is a solution when it comes to designing custom window treatments! Designers now and in the future will be asked to search out the unexpected in order to find green or sustainable solutions for their clients. Often, this means reusing. One of my favorite assignments is to scour the estate sales, garage sales, flea markets, open air markets, city and county “green” warehouses . . . and the list goes on . . . in order to gather found objects and materials that can be put to new use.
Some of my favorite online sources are Craigslist.com, KiJiJi.com. and Pennysaverusa.com. These are great sites where you can post a classified ad free in your area. You are able to find just about anything on these sites—just remember to browse safely and verify the authenticity of any ad before you contact the individual.
And do not forget local drapery workrooms that sell their excess fabric left from previous jobs. One of my favorite sources is Off the Bolt. This is a retail store here in California that sells fabric in their retail showroom that has been discontinued. I usually can find beautiful fabrics at a great price.
I’ve often observed when a home in a neighborhood is remodeling and I politely ask the homeowners what they will be doing with the window treatments they are taking down. Many times their answer is “Just having the installer haul them away,” or the homeowner disposes of them. That is my cue to ask if I can recycle them for the homeowner. It also offers me a chance to meet them and offer them my business card.
I will never forget one of my favorite clients from about 15 years ago. I designed a beautiful wall of windows for her using a beautiful Greff fabric with massive flowers in happy colors. The client moved about two years after that to beautiful Coronado Island near San Diego, CA. Well, she called me and insisted I have the window treatments carefully taken down so she could have them remade into new window treatments for her new home right on the beach!
Recycling, reuse and sustainability are much on the minds of many of our clients these days. So with that said, approach the homeowner with this in mind. They can be very savvy when it comes to redesign and reuse. I hope this information encourages you to recycle and reuse!
Editor’s note: This is a continuing series of articles written by Sharon L. Anderson that will answer some of the many questions we receive at Draperies & Window Coverings as well as questions Anderson has encountered in her own business. If you have a question you would like Anderson to address, please send it to:
c/o Draperies & Window Coverings
1724 E. Grand Ave.
Lindenhurst, IL 60046
Fax: (847) 356-9013
Sharon L. Anderson has more than 20 years experience in the residential and commercial areas of interior design. She is currently a faculty member at two Southern California colleges. Anderson has been featured in numerous books and publications.