Inspiring Blog Award – Interior Design

Inspiring Blog 2013
Interior Design 2013

A big thank you to Kiki for our nomination for the Inspiring Blog Award. It’s always great to know that we are reaching out to new generations of Interior Designers.

Following the rules of this award, I have to tell you a little bit about myself.

1. Many years ago I danced with Brad Pitt. Well; I was in the same nightclub and I sort of manoeuvred myself into his general vicinity. That counts right?

2. One of my scariest moments is travelling at over 230kmh in a sports car. I wasn’t driving (luckily someone else was) and you will be relieved to know that we were on a race track.

3. I inadvertently inherited a collection of 1980s vinyl ‘LP’ covers. After years of sitting in a box, I discovered that when framed then made a great art installation next to my work area at home.

4. The first paint I chose was for my own bedroom. Dark green. Hmmm.

5. I like people, dogs and cats. In that order.

6. Most interesting party venues: On a rooftop in Manhattan and some bizarre, mostly uninhabited, island somewhere near Comodo that even now I can’t quite remember the name of.

7. Most stupid question, “Do you like chocolate?”

Inspirational Blogs (I’d like to nominate!): Here are some that I enjoy:

Pippa Jameson

Kelly Hoppen

The Style Files

Anne Sage

Design Geek

Apartment Therapy

Tevami

There are a few rules to accepting this blog award…

1. Display the award image on your blog page.

2. Link back to the person who nominated you and ‘like’ the post

3. State seven facts about yourself.

4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award.

5. Notify your bloggers of their nomination and link to their posts.

Pink Linen For Upholstery & Curtains

LinenPinksPink linen is a rather rare and unusual flower. Not often specified in your average interior designer’s scheme. I found this scan that we had emailed someone recently for the client to choose for some curtains. We were even able to introduce different pinks into the warp and weft of the linen for an unusual effect. (We can do that with most of our linen colours).

Anyway, I just thought the pink linen image looked nice and I wanted to share it with you!

Silk Velvet – What makes a great upholstery velvet

Decorex Logo
Silk Velvet Upholstery with Fine Italian Silk

Silk Velvet really is one of the great upholstery velvets. It looks great, it feels great and it can be up to the job if your upholstery velvet is chosen wisely.

If your last and only experience of a velvet was sitting on one in the cinema then you really haven’t lived!

Firstly let’s look at silk velvet’s suitability for upholstery. It can have a Martindale Rub Test result of over 20,000 – so it CAN be readily suitable for many upholstery uses.

Composition. Just because it is sold as 100% silk can be misleading and not necessarily relevant. Is this 90% silk velvet better than that 100% silk velvet? You just can’t answer that by simply looking at the composition.

A silk velvet that is sold as being 100% silk may in fact be a 100% silk velvet pile and 100% cotton backcloth. There is nothing inherently wrong with that. If it is the look and feel of the silk that you are looking for then maybe it’s best to just consider the pile (assuming the backcloth is up to the job of course). One of our fine silk velvets has a 100% pile and then a backcloth of silk and cotton – with the cotton being added for strength and the overall silk content being 90%. Compare this to our Italian Silk & Cashmere Velvet which has a 70% silk + 30% cashmere pile.

Next look at the silkiness or the shininess. If you are looking for a silk velvet you will usually want a shine.

Consider too the length of the pile. Again, there is nothing inherently good or bad about a long or short pile. A shorter pile may be more rigid and upright and that could be a characteristic that you are looking for. Alternatively, a longer pile will probably lay better in one direction – and you may well want that characteristic.

The weight of the fabric in grams per metre is often used as a measure of quality. That is not always true and could, for example, easily be distorted by a heavy and poor quality backcloth.

My personal preference would be to get my hand on a sample; feel it and look at it. What I look for and prefer is a slightly more rigid and consistent pile with a very dense weave. I would look carefully at the country of manufacture. I prefer an Italian velvet (mainly because it sounds better!) but if not Italian then I would certainly only consider a velvet produced in mainland western Europe. But don’t copy me, have the confidence to choose what you like – you are going to have to live with it. I would now choose my upholsterer carefully; many years ago a velvet-covered chair came back for me from a local upholsterer and the pile was not running in a consistent direction…it didn’t look great (read ‘awful’). So don’t, like me, assume that all upholsters know what they are doing with velvets, they patently don’t all know. I would then read our guide to upholstering with velvet – a designer’s worksheet and armed with a bit of knowledge quiz your upholsterer carefully.

Interior Designers: Must Blog Better – But How?

Content Mix: Content Marketing Institute
Content Mix: Content Marketing Institute

The content Marketing Institute created that nice little image up there that  shows what a content mix might be.

This image has been bandied about on various websites as THE correct mix. It isn’t THE correct mix but it’s a good starter to make you think. It might make you think you are entertaining your potential clients too much or it might make you think you are being a bit boring talking about kitchen worksurfaces a little too much.

Click To Read More Interior Design Articles
Click To Read More Interior Design Articles

For a start it’s saying that you should blog 6 times a week or at least create content 6 times a week. For small businesses that just ain’t gonna happen in the real world.

However it certainly DOES give you ideas about what to write next.

Provide relevant information: Perhaps contribute to a thread somewhere telling people about some of the great things you learnt with a particular product on your last project.

Teach: Show you really know what you are talking about. Share some knowledge in an authoritative way on how you do your job.

Start a conversation: Perhaps on a LinkedIn group or your Facebook business page.

Inspire: others to do better. This could be on a forum or your could write something.

Entertain: Never hurts to make someone laugh.

More Black Faux Leather Upholstery

Faux Leather is great for upholstery. Here is a time lapse video of the full process if you want to know how it is done. We would be happy to point you to a local upholsterer but please remember that we only sell the faux leather upholstery fabric. If you would like samples please drop us an email request <here> (trade only). We have several collections of faux leather in most colourways including base colours (black, brown, green, blue, red, yellow, gold) muted neutrals and metallic finishes.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/E333E2nRke4]

Interior Designers in 2012 – How Do People Find You On The Web?

English: Chester Square, Belgravia.
Image via Wikipedia

The interior design world moves on and so does the way your clients use the internet to find you. Sometimes for the better and sometimes not.

Just after we have spent ages (days! weeks! months!…years?!) trying to figure out what search terms our clients might type into Mr Google, and then incorporate that into our online presences(s), we find they are morphing how they search into something new and far more sinister.

Would you believe it? In the design world, a place based on aesthetics, those darned potential customers are using images to find us. How annoying is that? It seems like only yesterday when we ignored images because we knew that google can’t really ‘see’ them and we balanced that by putting all the right words everywhere. We even got the odd first page google listing for some odd convoluted phrase that one client a year might potentially type!!

So now it seems that we have to go back to what we naively thought was right all along. All we have to do is just put lots of pretty pictures onto our site and the whole world will come flocking to our door.

Click To Read More Interior Design Articles
Click To Read More Interior Design Articles

Well, maybe! I’ll backtrack a little and explain where I’m coming from before everyone gets a little too excited!

I’ll come from one simple factoid. One of my interior design industry based web sites has about 500 hits a day. Not bad, I suppose. I looked into some of the stats a bit more last week and found that by far the most number of hits came from google. Fine. About 85% of the hits in fact. Nothing new there then? No.

But; there’s always a “but”.

When I delved deeper I found that 19% of the google hits were coming from the GOOGLE IMAGES part of the google search site. IE the bit where you type in ‘mohair velvet fabric’ (or whatever) and then find you have loads of pages returned to you, so you click on the images bit on the left hand side and it only shows you (in theory) lots of pretty pictures of mohair velvet fabrics. (As well as lots of other junk of course, but on the whole it’s not too bad).

19%. that’s quite a lot.

So I looked at different time frames and, yes, that 19% was pretty consistent over at least the last 6 months. Maybe 17%, maybe 23%, it varied. That’s still enough of a trend for me to believe it and I’m sure it would hold true if I  had bothered to look further back in time.

So what’s going on here then?

Well firstly it showed that I am doing some things right. I am putting images alongside my musings. It makes it easier to read, pretty pictures – some perhaps even relevant – just like a magazine. Also for the images to have been recognised by google then I must also have tagged them (the ALT tag if you want to be more precise in HTML terms). So yes I had images in my musing and they were correctly tagged images. That is, the images had a bit of text manually put on them by me. To make matters better I had also called the images the same thing (broadly) as the tags I intended to use.

Google looks at:

1. The name of your JPEG;

2. The image size;

3. The alt tags you give to the image; and peripherally at

4. The physical colour scale of the image (it can recognise it is mostly green, for example).

The first three of these are very important the 3rd much less so.

So you’ve just done a great design job for one of your better clients. You upload some pics of the rooms to your online portfolio and voila! 100s of people will beat their way to your internet door!…er no.

Let’s say you had this great picture of the main room. So you upload img_1325.jpg to your site and you cleverly ALT-TAG it as “main-room-31-randomstreet-localtown”.

Not good. Assuming it was not a tiny thumbnail image here is something along the lines of what you should have done:

1. Called it “contemporary-modern-home-belgravia.jpg” – or something similarly appropriate; and

2. Tagged it as “contemporary, modern, home, Belgravia” – or something similarly appropriate.

You get the idea? The keywords you have already discovered that work in the text of your writings now also need to be judiciously applied to your images. Get cracking!

1. How to get links to your web site 

2. Interior Designers: Why does no-one visit your web site 

3. Interior Design Marketing Strategies 

4. Effective Ad Writing For Interior Designers on Facebook

5. Five Crucial Bits For Your Facebook Business Page

6. Seven Facebook Mistakes Interior Designers Make

Luxury Cashmere Throws

Luxury Cashmere Throw
Luxury Cashmere Throw

We’ve added some new designs and qualities to our luxury cashmere throw range. If you click on the main image to the right you will get taken to our main website where there are further designers’ resources for specifying cashmere throws.

We also have downloadable pdfs on the same site giving scanned colourways of our luxury cashmere throws as well as detailed images of  each design and fringe options.

All our cashmere throws are 100% pure cashmere. They are the best quality and most luxurious you can buy. You should specifically look at our higher ply cashmere throws which almost all other UK based cashmere throw companies are unable to source and sell. The higher ply gives a thicker and more luxurious feel. when combined with the quality of the yarn and the attention to detail of our weavers the difference in quality can be very easily seen and felt.

Please <click here> to email us for further information. 

Please note that we only sell to the trade.

Fabric Awards 2011 – Homes & Gardens

Alpaca-wool.
Image via Wikipedia

23 September 2011, Decorex and Homes & Garden Magazine will be looking for the most inspirational fabrics and wallpapers that are launched in Spring or Autumn 2011.

There are several awards that may interest readers including

Here is a link to the 2010 winners. See if  you are inspired. On the whole we weren’t.

Wyzenbeek – Martindale – Abrasion Testing

Nähzwirn 3-fach
Image via Wikipedia

I would be rich if I were to be given one pound for every time we are asked, “What is the best upholstery fabric to use on my sofa?” Typically the questioner means ‘most durable’ rather than ‘best’.  You could buy a near bullet-proof fabric with a Martindale score of several hundred thousand but could you live with it!

‘Simple’ measures of durability such as Martindale and Wyzenbeek overlay complex structures of the fabric. This covers the construction of the yarns and design of the weave weave as well as the fibre chosen. Furthermore, finishes, sofa/furniture design, maintenance regimes and usage are variables that very significantly affect the life of your fabric.

More Martindale links here and here and here

There is a close link between fiber strength and yarn strength. Yarns are twisted to add strength – generally a tighter twist gives a stronger yarn. This is measured in Twists Per Inch or Meter (TPI or TPM). Tightly twisted yarns are generally smooth and dense. This brings us to weave design. Weaves can be extremely complicated and difficult to structurally model and understand. Just knowing the fibers, yarn and weave construction still doesn’t answer the basic question – an objective measurement is needed. Test were developed to determine wear. They are better known as abrasion tests and many Interior Designers today refer to these test results as THE way to measure fabric durability. Abrasion test are supposed to forecast how well a fabric will wear in upholstery applications.

There are two tests: Martindale in Europe and Wyzenbeek in the USA. The tests are different and there is no correlation between the two. With Wyzenbeek (ASTM D4157-02): a piece of cotton duck fabric or wire mesh is rubbed in a straight back and forth motion on a piece of fabric until “noticeable wear” or thread break is evident. One back and forth motion is called a “double rub” (dbl rub). Whereas with Martindale (ASTM D4966-98): the abradant in this test is worsted wool or wire screen, the fabric specimen is a circle or round shape and the rubbing is undertaken in a figure 8, unlike the straight line of the Wyzenbeek. One figure 8 is a cycle – hence the terms Martindale cycles.

Contract fabrics would normally meet these criteria:

General contract: Wyzenbeek 15,000 Martindale 20,000

Heavy duty contract Wyzenbeek 30,000 Martindale 40,000

Whereas for domestic applications:

Light residential Wyzenbeek 6,000, Martindale 9,000

Medium use residential Wyzenbeek 9,000 Martindale 15,000

Heavy use residential 15,000 Martindale 30,000 or higher

The higher the result the more likely the fabric is to be more durable. (Source of the above figures can be provided on request to the author)

With figures over 100,000 then there may be an issue with the applicability of the results and certainly how the fabrics’ care regime is implemented will have more of an influence on its longevity.

Some commentators question the validity of test results. In my experience in the UK, test houses are independent and are strictly monitored by British Standards and no one fabric company is big enough to be able to ‘ask for’ results to be skewed. Nor, I’m sure, would any fabric company want to put a supplier in that position if only for the reason that it is in no-one’s interests to undermine the authority of independent industry bodies that, in general, regulate for the greater good of all.

Black Velvet – Even Better Italian Silk Velvet In Black

Black Velvet – only to be enjoyed by those who appreciate that black is the new black! KOTHEA have a range of velvets with shades of black colourways in most of those velvet collections.

Black Diamond” is the colourway name for the Italian Silk Velvet (100% Silk Pile) with the code 777-108-900.

You can get black silk velvet samples here from KOTHEA if you are a trade professional. Just click the link.

KOTHEA velvets are the best in the market. We only sell top market fabrics, mostly to top European Interior Designers and Architects. Here are some more bits of technical information on our black Italian Silk velvet fabric:

Width: 140cm

Composition: 100% Silk Pile

No repeat, plain.

Abrasion: Martindale 20,000.

Available from stock, normal delivery within 5 days.

Minimum Order length: 2m