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1  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Discussion and Questions / Re: Red couch confused! What color should I paint the walls? on: February 19, 2010 04:38:36 AM
pull out the color from the background of your artwork- if you want to keep it up. this will frame it nicely. you could also railroad a wide stripe and it would look great. send me a pm if you need more elaboration on these ideas.

Charles
2  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Discussion and Questions / Re: Ideas to decorate my tattooing station?? on: February 12, 2010 02:38:19 AM
While everyone has their own unique style and aesthetics- I think I have an idea that might be interesting. One of my favorite bands was a group called The Cramps. Do a google search for their album artwork. It is devilishly 1950s kitsch- which is exactly what I think about when I think of tattoos.

3  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Discussion and Questions / Suede or Ultrasuede on: February 06, 2010 12:15:41 PM
With so many different products on the market, it's hard to differentiate the difference between types of suede. I know as a fabric retailer that the average consumer does not have time to sort it all out on their own- and even if they wanted to know- there is so much dis-information out there that I feel the subject needs some clarification. Pass this topic on to any of your friends who may be in the market.

Suede

Suede is popular right now. Big surprise, but almost every fabric company offers some variety of suede fabric and every furniture company has some couch, sectional, or chair covered with it.

I am not going to try to direct you to any particular brand or company that offers it (for complete non-disclosure, I'll be up front and tell you that I do sell suede fabrics)- you should always shop around for the best price, colors, or fit for your project.  What I will do, however, is go over a few things that are commonly misunderstood.

1. Not all suedes are created alike

I like to call point number one- there is only one Ultrasuede. Ultrasuede is a patented brand name fabric. It is made in Japan by a company called Toray. They created the process to create Ultrasuede and it involves fusing together millions of microscopic strands of material together to make a virtually indestructible fabric. The wholesale price for Ultrasuede is very steep. Suffice it to say, you probably won't find Ultrasuede for under $80 per yard at very many places. The typical generic suede costs much less- and is almost always made in China. One store that I worked for bought it by the roll and sold it for just under $20 per yard.

2. Durability

Fabric durability is measured in double rubs. A double rub is an abrasion test that is supposed to reproduce normal use. I don't know how much wear your butt will do to a fabric- but if you figure that people tend to move around while sitting, or have hard objects like keys or cell phones or wallets in their pockets- then you will start to see the actual wear and tear involved in sitting down.

Ultrasuede rates at 250,000 double rubs. Your generic suede? Between 30,000 and 50,000. What does that mean? Well, mathematically, Ultrasuede is five times more durable. If you cost average based on use- you will see that you come out slightly ahead using ultrasuede - not to mention the fact you won't have to reupholster your furniture as much. 

3. Colors? Brand name suedes typically are offered in collections of 80-100 colors. Generic suedes- such as Ritz from Showcase Fabrics or Passion Suede from Morgan Fabrics come in much smaller collections. Most generic suede colors are made for sale to lower end furniture manufacturers- so you will find lots of neutrals- colors will tend to be jewel tone. Higher end suedes are too expensive for the furniture trade to buy and use for mass production. Even at wholesale a 20 yard couch of Ultrasuede will cost Baker Furniture or Henredon $1500 or so just in fabric. This is why better fabrics are offered for custom jobs than for mass produced furniture.

4. Quality Control. My former fabric company had a problem. We sold a lipstick colored suede to a customer who upholstered her couch, sat on the couch once it was delivered, got up, and noticed her White Channel Pants had a big red mark on her backside. This issue is called "crocking" and it happens more often than you'd think with low quality fabrics. Obviously, my company did the best we could to make it right- but without an explicit warranty from the manufacturer- you are pretty much on your own if this issue pops up.

5. In closing- there are many high quality suedes out there. Robert Allen, Duralee, Kravet and Schumacher (just to name a few) have their own excellent lines of suede. There is only one Ultrasuede, however- and now that you know the difference you will look at suedes from a completely different perspective.

Charles
4  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Discussion and Questions / Sherman Williams teams up with Robert Allen on: February 02, 2010 11:06:53 PM
This is good news if you are into designer fabrics and want to make the process of getting matching paints! I just read through my designer channels that Robert Allen has signed up with Sherman Williams to launch a collection of paints that match up to some of Robert Allen's most popular new collections.

I've been working on a similar project with a paint colorist and we were having problems getting Sherman Williams to sign off on our request to allow us to fax them our own proprietary formulas. Now I know why!

I think this is really good news overall, Robert Allen is one of America's largest fabric companies.
5  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Discussion and Questions / Re: To reupholster or not to reupholster? That is the question. on: January 20, 2010 02:51:56 AM
I can say with absolute certainty that the fabric is not original so reupholster away.  But make sure you do it right. Pick a beautiful fabric that will last and that you love. and consider refinishing the wood as well. The reupholstering job should cost you no more than $1,000 (if everything needs to be replaced- including down cushions, springs, etc). If you need pointers on which fabrics are right for the period let me know. I have years of experience dealing with this type of furniture.
6  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Discussion and Questions / Some Tips Regarding Outdoor Fabrics on: January 15, 2010 06:29:07 AM
I know it's cold outside, but I figured now is the perfect time to think forward to spring and summer and mention some pointers about outdoor fabrics.

If you are going to redo your outdoor cushions keep a few things in mind:

1. All colors fade
2. The speed at which they fade is measured using a term called: lightfastness
3. Lightfastness is measured in hours: 400 hours typically means one season
4. Sunbrella is not a type of outdoor fabric it is a brand- there are other equally great brands so don't use Sunbrella as a generic term (it's like Kleenex and Tissue or Xerox and Copy)
5. Red colors fade the quickest- avoiding red will be a cost saver in the long run.


With that in mind, I wanted to let you know that most outdoor fabrics really are not. Major brands market polyester fabrics as outdoor fabrics- but what they are are simply polyester fabrics with an added finish that resists things like mildew and stain resistance.  They typically fade over the course of a season or two and will need to be replaced after a year.

Better outdoor fabrics are typically made from a solution dyed acrylic that is specifically made for outdoor use. The better of these have a lightfastness of 1000 hours+. It's possible to find high quality outdoor fabrics for as little as $40 per yard - but they can run up beyond $100 per yard based on the brand and complexity of the weave and color combination.

If you want my opinion on any outdoor fabric- I'm more than happy to give some input. Get samples before you buy if you can and do your research. It will save you big bucks in the long run!

Charles Morgan

7  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Discussion and Questions / Re: Need help picking pet-hair resistant fabric for curtains! on: December 29, 2009 04:05:04 PM
You have several options!

I would recommend you choose the first one, however.

1) Polyester. Poly drapery fabric is very prevalent and can be had for relatively cheap at almost any fabric store (I'd avoid stores like Sears, JC Penny's, or Bed Bath & Beyond because their ready made fabrics are usually on the very low end. A decent poly fabric will run you from $10 - $30 per yard depending on the complexity of the design (is it embroidered, pintucked, or a solid). Designer poly fabrics can get steep - sometimes you are paying for the design, the name brand, or the complexity of the fabric itself. I've seen some national name brand poly fabrics for around $100 a yard (why, I don't know).

The great thing about Poly is that it is washable. It's a synthetic fiber- but the better ones almost feel like silk (thus the common term "faux silk").

2) Cotton Chintz.  I like chintz, personally. There's actually nothing nicer on the print side than a high end glazed fabric. The better chintzes are notably high end on the price scale. Its not uncommon to pony up $100 - $250 a yard for the better ones - but there are plenty of mass market options below $20 a yard. Especially if you can find something you like at a discount store. The problem with cotton prints is that you may have to launder them- and typically home decor fabrics are dry clean only.

3) Silk. Ok, the previous poster mentioned silk. Silk is commonly used for drapes but with your situation I see two issues. Well, the first issue is not specific to your problem- but speaking generally. You have to line silk with and interlining and a lining or the sun will dry rot your curtains. Silk is especially prone to this- although it is typically a strong and resilliant natural fiber. The second problem is that I've never seen a home decor silk that was washable. Again- dry clean only. With pet hair being the issue you may want to go a different direction.

I hope I helped answer your questions, if there's anything you'd like me to add let me know.
8  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Discussion and Questions / Verner Panton's Stacking Chair Turns 50 Years Old on: December 24, 2009 03:30:46 PM
For you furniture lovers out there, Verner Panton's Stacking Chair is 50 years old in 2010. Patton was an incredible Dutch designer and artist. He not only created timeless furniture- but also some inspiring fabric designs. His great Geometri1, also from 1960, is being made in the United States by maharam.

If anybody has one of these great chairs and would like to post a photo, I'd love to see it!

9  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Discussion and Questions / Re: Monkey nursery on: December 20, 2009 07:46:06 PM
There are a number of great monkey fabrics that have come out within the past four or five years. If you are a savvy shopper you may find some discounted.

As a fabric buyer for a store, I chose a pattern called Panama- which was imported. It featured monkeys dressed up in a Chinoiserie design against the backdrop of vegetation. I believe Robert Allen still makes a few monkey designs in their affordable Robert Allen@Home line. In fact, I know they do because I have a few samples of one of their patterns. It's called "Bolo". I've been struggling with the photos I've taken of it- or it would already be available on my designer site.


Charles Morgan
10  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Discussion and Questions / Re: Great Ideas for Interior Decorating Without Painting on: December 15, 2009 03:10:04 PM
You can upholster your walls with fabric. I know it sounds strange- but it looks great. I'd recommend a damask or a silk for fancy spaces- or a microsuede for that modern look.

Charles
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