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We’ve Got Streetlight Covered

February 29, 2016

Last year we had the pleasure of working with a Calgary agency doing amazing work within our community. Youth Unlimited Calgary assists teens and families as they move through difficult life situations. They help to address social needs, teen issues, health and well-being, employment and spiritual needs

Youth Unlimited Calgary operates a program called Streetlight. The goal of Streetlight is to reach street oriented and sexually exploited youth (ages 12-24) and assist them in making the best decisions for their lives. By working with other street oriented agencies the community, they are able to help them make positive life choices.

In May of 2015, after a call for help on Facebook from Maria Friesen, the People and Program Development Director of Youth Unlimited Calgary, we began working with them to rejuvenate the bus they use for this outreach program. Over the years, because of all the work they do, the fifth wheel trailer had begun to show its age. The seats were worn and dated and the window coverings were the same. It wasn’t the type of space that felt modern or relaxing for the youth and staff who use it every day.

To help the youth find a space that felt inviting, we worked the Youth Unlimited Calgary team to choose durable, beautiful fabrics. Creative Interiors donated our time, labour and materials to reupholster the benches and booths they use for their inspiring work. Over the course of a few weeks the space was transformed and we couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.

If this is one thing we can do to allow you to help these kids and show them a love they have never known then it’s the least we can do
– Roy, Owner of Creative interiors

While most Calgarians are likely to never see the inside of the Streetlight trailer, the youth and staff who use it now have a space they can call their sanctuary.

We can’t say enough about the important work they do for our community so being able to offer them this gift was the least our family and Creative Interiors could do.

The Benefits of Custom Window Treatments

December 4, 2015

It’s pretty easy to go into a big box store or home décor shop today and find a selection of ready-made curtains and a handful of rods and hooks with which to hang them.  They are generally inexpensive, convenient as you can hang them the day you buy them and usually they come in a few trendy colours and patterns. Going with a custom window treatment though opens up so many more options.  Here are a few things to consider when planning your next purchase.


Custom window treatments are made to measure, meaning you get a perfect fit every time.   There are no ‘standard-sized windows’ so why limit yourself to off-the-shelf window treatments that come in standard widths and lengths.   Oversized windows and unusually shaped windows don’t need to stay bare but can get a beautiful bespoke look as well.

You also have the ability to determine the fullness of your drapes.  This means that when they are drawn closed they don’t need to lay flat.  Instead, additional fabric is used in the width so the fabric continues to gather and pleat even when pulled across the window.  With custom window treatments you know that the pattern will match perfectly and seams won’t show when additional fabric is added to create a fuller look.

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Going custom means you have access to hundreds of fabric options.  There are walls of fabric books at Creative Interiors full of swatches representing different types of fabric, patterns and colour combinations.

Drapery Headings

When designing your window treatment you can choose a heading that suits your home. A grommet heading might work for a more modern décor while a formal dining room may need a goblet pleat.  You can also choose from hidden tab, pole pocket, pinch pleat, box pleat, inverted box pleat, tab top and on and on.

Trim and Lining

A trend right now is to add a thick trim to the leading edge of your drapery (i.e. the inside edge where the two panels meet when fully closed).  You can also include fringe, tassels, coordinating ribbon and much more when creating a unique look for your own home.

When choosing custom window treatments, you have greater ability to select something that suits your needs.  For example, if you are designing drapes for your bedroom, you can use a blackout lining to keep out the morning sun.


You can find virtually any style of hardware to suit your home.  Poles, brackets, finials and rings all come in a variety of material and finishes.  The options and combinations are endless when you go custom.  As well, you have more choices for windows that are oddly shaped or have space restrictions that limit traditional rod-style treatments.

Now that you’ve read about how great going custom can be, feel free to stop by Creative Interiors and let one of their talented staff help you wade through the many options and create a window treatment for your home that is truly one of a kind.

How to Decipher Fabric Labels

September 2, 2015

Have you ever flipped over the tab while searching for fabric and wondered what “railroaded”, or “double rubs” meant or even which types of fabric are better suited for certain applications?  Well, here is a quick summary of some of the more common terms you may come across and some insight on the best materials to work with.

Width – this is the width that the fabric comes in.  You’ll typically find it anywhere from 48” to 58“ but it may be up to 130” (referred to as “double-width”).

Why is this important? This will help you decide if a type of fabric will work for certain applications.  It’s easy to hide a seam when you need two panels of fabric for curtains but it might not work for a larger piece of furniture you want to re-upholster.


Repeat – the repeat is the size of the pattern as it appears once on a piece of fabric

Why is this important?  Quality workmanship means the pattern will match.  This appears along seam lines and other breaks so when you look at a sofa, the pattern will match along the arms, the cushions, the back, etc. The larger the repeat, the more fabric that’s needed which will ultimately increase the cost of the project.

Abrasion – defined as the average number of double-rubs.  This is a mechanized test where the fabric is rubbed until it shows noticeable signs of wear.

Why is this important?  The furniture you use most often should have a higher number while occasional pieces that aren’t used on a daily basis can have a lower number. For example, the sofa the children use as a play fort should have 15,000+ double rubs while the furniture in a formal living room might have between 3,000 -9,000.  Anything less than 3,000 double rubs is best for decorative use such as drapes or accent pillows.

Railroaded – the directional feature of the fabric pattern and repeat determines whether a fabric should be cut up the bolt or railroaded, which is at 90 degrees.  In more simple terms, the pattern dictates that the fabric is either placed vertically or horizontally.  For example, a fabric with a pattern of growing flowers could not be cut to railroad since the flowers would appear to be growing sideways and not upward.

Why is this important?  If you’re upholstering a piece of furniture, you actually use less fabric if the pattern is railroaded.

Contents – this is the material or combination of materials that make up the fabric.

Why is this important?  You need to consider where and how the fabric is being used in order to choose the material that best suits that application.   This is the same concept as when shopping for clothes.  For example, a 100% cotton t-shirt requires very different care than a silk blouse and is typically worn more often and in more casual settings.

If you are looking for some help in deciphering which fabric works best to reupholster your sofa, to use for accent pillows, or for any other project around your home, stop by Creative Interiors to speak with one of their very knowledgeable staff.

Getting Your Home Summer Ready

July 28, 2015

Summer in Calgary can be short, so once it arrives you really need to embrace it.  Here are a few easy ways you can take advantage of these long, lazy days in your own home.


Pack up your area rugs and enjoy the feel of cool hardwood floors.  Bare floors add a casualness to a space which is exactly what you want for summer.  Before you pack away any rugs, take them outside to be cleaned or send them to a professional.


Swap out dark accent cushions for ones in bright, summer colours.  Right now, saffron and teal are popular choices and these can be mixed with existing cushions for a fresh, new look. 

Replace heavy duvets and woolen blankets with crisp cotton sheets and blankets in your bedroom.  A percale blend will feel cooler at night and select a light colour, which will absorb less heat from the sun through your bedroom window.


Add another room to your home by creating a second family room on your deck, in your yard or even a small balcony.  There are so many great options for comfortable outdoor furniture today.  You can also create a look that is uniquely yours with custom cushions using outdoor fabrics.  The colours won’t fade and sticky messes from ice cream cones and popsicles can be easily wiped up.

If you are looking to refresh your home for summer, stop by Creative Interiors and speak with one of the designers there.

Pelmets, and Valances, and Lambrequins! Oh, my!

May 5, 2015

When speaking with someone that specializes in window treatments, you quickly understand that there are a lot of different terms used.  Some are interchangeable while others are not.  As styles and trends come into and out of fashion, so do the names used to describe them.  When thinking of adding further drama or decorative interest to your drapes or curtains, here are a few distinctions:


ValancesA horizontal decorative fabric treatment used at the top of draperies used to enhance the window treatment or hide the hardware.  The style of valance can be simple or elaborate.   A contemporary room might use a flat fabric while an ornate one may be more suited to a swag valance. 

Padded Valance

A stiff valance, usually fabric covered hardboard that is typically rectangular in shape that frames the window.  These may be upholstered or not and have several different names.  You may hear someone refer to them as a cornice or a box valance or even a Pelmet.  This term easily distinguishes it from some types of cornices that are made entirely of wood.


This is similar to a padded valance but comes down further on either side of the window.  They often have a curvy or sculptural shape and sometimes these can be used as a stand-alone feature without the use of curtains or blinds beneath it. They have a tailored appearance and may even add an architectural element to a room depending on their size and shape. 

Regardless, of which term you use or which style you choose, these additions to your window treatment are great for incorporating colour and pattern to a space.  You can use the same fabric as the drapes or something in a complementary hue.  Adding decorative trim such as fringe, ribbon or nailheads will further enhance the look. 

If you’re looking for a valance or any other window treatment, then come into Creative Interiors to discuss your decorative options. 

Reduce, Reuse or Reupholster?

February 8, 2015

It seems like we’ve become a throwaway world and many times it really is better to spend on quality and think long-term about the pieces you incorporate into your home.  As we’ve flipped the calendar over to 2015, perhaps one of your resolutions was to update your home and one great way is to refresh a piece of furniture you already own with new fabric.

A lot of furniture on the market today isn’t meant for a second life.  The materials used just aren’t worth the investment to have them reupholstered. When you’re considering this, you’re really thinking about furniture that has “good bones”.  So what does that mean?

Reupholstered-ChairTo determine if your furniture has “good bones”, consider the following:

  • look at the bottom frame to make sure it’s hardwood and kiln-dried.  This means that it isn’t prone to cracking which is definitely a concern in our dry Calgary climate;
  • look for strong, intact braces and stable construction.  We’re talking about furniture that you can’t put together with just an allen key;
  • and most importantly, do you love it?  It’s not worth the investment to reupholster a sofa that you don’t like the shape or feel of, although there are some options discussed below that can help with that.

When a piece of furniture is reupholstered, it’s completely taken apart, so you have the opportunity to change the material used under the fabric as well.  Perhaps, you want to sink into your chair and would prefer a down mixture used in the seat cushion.  Or maybe you feel that the rounded arms just aren’t your style.  You might be able to add a cleaner look by having those arms squared out. 

Once you’ve determined if there are any changes to be made to the actual piece of furniture, there are still additional options rather than just swapping out the fabric.   Piping in a complementary colour can add further interest or can tie the piece to other colours in the room. You could have the skirt removed from a sofa or chair to make it look less formal or add tufting to give it a completely different look. 

Whatever look you’re going for, the staff at Creative Interiors can help you find the perfect fabric to refresh a piece of furniture and discuss other upholstering options with you.

Trends for 2015

January 16, 2015

Now that the calendar has turned over to a new year, it’s time to start thinking about how we can refresh our homes and incorporate the latest trends for 2015.

Two of my favourite trends, as showcased by House and Home magazine (Jan 2015), are Modern Farmhouse and British Eclectic.  I think both looks are easily translated into homes here in Calgary.

Modern Farmhouse

Artisan_WhiteThis look is updated by using a more neutral palette and spare architectural details.  Continuing with one of the trends from last year is the ample use of rustic wood.  Now, you don’t need to cover your walls in barn board but instead try incorporating a few pieces of furniture that show a bit of wear and age.

A great hue for the walls is Artisan White (CA013 – Cloverdale Paint) that lets the spare design breathe and showcases the lovely patina of the well-loved furniture.

A trend in the fashion world that works with this look is the resurgence of gingham.  I’m not talking about your great granny’s apron with rick rack trim but a fresh take on the pattern using a neutral colour, like a light grey.   This could be used on pillows, a café curtain or if you’re willing to commit, recover a chair or sofa in this pattern.


British Eclectic

Pink_GroundBy taking a traditional look and adding a bit of whimsy you can arrive at this trend.  Faded pink is a soft colour for the walls and you can try Pink Ground (202 – Farrow & Ball).  The addition of the muddy tone keeps the colour from being too saccharine and sweet.  If you don’t want to paint the walls pink, you can always incorporate this colour in your accessories or bravely update a piece of furniture in this hue.

Botanical prints are also an easy way to get this look.  I love the choices from Restoration Hardware like these framed specimens from the 19th century.

Finally, pull those old books off your shelves and show off their beautiful, faded covers and yellowed pages.  You can create a small stack of books to use as a base to display a pretty Wedgwood teacup and saucer.


Closing your Blinds – There’s an app for that

December 11, 2014

Imagine you’re spending a snowy day on the sofa enjoying a great book when you decide that the afternoon would be even better with a little nap.  You tap a few icons on the tablet you’re reading from and down come the blinds, cocooning you in darkness perfect for sleeping.  Sounds great? Well, it’s reality as even window treatments have gone high tech.

Hunter Douglas introduced the Platinum ™ App that can control your motorized window treatments throughout your home.  It’s available for Apple®, Android™, Kindle Fire mobile devices and is free to download.  The app works with the Platinum App Bridge, a small hardware unit that stores your settings and sends out the operating signal.  You can also extend that signal throughout your home by installing Platinum Repeaters, which are just plugged into wall outlets.  The Platinum™ App works with some of the most popular Hunter Douglas lines like Duette® honeycomb shades, Designer Roller Shades, Silhouette ® window shadings and many more.

iphone-platinumA great feature of this app is that you can program various “Scenes” in your home.  For example, “Movie Night” may close all the shades on the main floor for the nights you stay in with a bowl of popcorn and a DVD.  You can also control the window treatments in each room and have different settings for “Nursery”, “Master Bedroom”, etc. You just use the slider bar on your device and the vanes can tilt from completely open all the way to closed to create varying levels of light and privacy.

This app is also smart and if you set it for Sunrise/Sunset, it’ll actually access the GPS and internal clock from your device to determine the exact sunrise and sunset times for your area.

Another use is setting up timed events.  For example, when you’re traveling you can have your window treatments automatically open and close at varying times of the day even when you or your device aren’t there.  This is perfect for security reasons and in the cold winter, helps keep down energy costs.

Download the Platinum App.

Come visits us at Creative Interiors where our staff who are specifically trained in the platinum app will be able to walk you through the details


Sarah Style by Sarah Richardson

December 5, 2014

Sarah Richardson, a designer and star of HGTV, can add author to her resume.  She released her very first book, Sarah Style, last month and the photos inside are just as lovely as the striped binding of the book (I think she realized many of us use books as décor).

Flipping through the pages, you get lost in one beautiful room after another. It is full of great design ideas and tips and is certainly a wonderful resource.  I also loved seeing some of my favourite rooms from her shows as it allows you more time to pause and really appreciate them.

IMG_5770It’s easy to identify that “Sarah Richardson” look as her designs are usually centered around fabric.  It’s not just one or two pieces but layers and layers of expertly mixed patterns and colours.

Her love of fabric was further realized this year when she released a line for Kravet.  The influences for that line can be seen throughout her book and is even distinguished by being included in a photo on the cover.  The traditional geometric, paisley and floral designs are modernly updated with a muted but fresh palette.  Every piece in the line can be mixed and matched with another to create a cohesive look.

Sarah Richardson for Kravet Collections can be found at Creative Interiors along with a huge assortment of other collections to inspire you.

Window Treatments for Unusually Shaped Windows

November 17, 2014

While walking in my neighbourhood this summer, I popped by an open house and toured a stunning modern in-fill.  The windows were cased in metal and extended from the floor to ceiling in unusual, asymmetrical shapes.  I immediately noticed that there weren’t any window treatments and wondered what could be hung given their odd shape.  Walking by the house again after it had sold, I saw that the current owners hadn’t figured out that problem either and had taped brown craft paper up for privacy.  Not really a beautiful option for a beautiful home.

As architects have become more and more adventuresome given the flexibility available with new materials, we as homeowners are faced with a new set of problems in trying to manage light and privacy.  Some solutions to consider:

Keep the Windows Bare

This is a bold choice and really only available to the few that live in areas where light and privacy aren’t a huge concern, for example those homes perched in isolated areas overlooking the sea or tucked away in a secluded woodland.  Not exactly a solution for the rest of us living in the suburbs or more urban areas.

Window Film

This is really only a viable option for smaller windows.  I have a tall, narrow window beside my front door, which keeps my entryway bright but does showcase my collection of shoes to the neighbourhood.  By installing a frosted film that clings to the window, I didn’t block the light but did block prying eyes.

A very big downside for the use of window film is that it will void the glass portion warranty of your window.  This option is not recommended for newer windows but older windows where you might be looking for an inexpensive and temporary solution.

Custom Window Treatments

This is really the only option available when you’re trying to minimize light and maximize privacy.  Hunter Douglas has really cornered the market on options for homes that don’t have your typical rectangle or square windows.  Their sheers, blinds and shades have a clean aesthetic that is perfect for a modern interior.

For angled (like my neighbours) or arched windows, Nantucket ™ window shadings are a sophisticated sheer.  The vanes can be rotated to achieve various amounts of light and privacy for a room.   With 60 swatches to choose from, it’s easy to find a colour that suits the décor of your home.

silquartette_easyrise_kitchenWhen you’re dealing with a window in the shape of a trapezoid, circle, or even octagon, then the classic Silhouette® window shading is a perfect choice.  It can be configuredfor several specialty shaped windows and the Signature S-Vane ™ diffuses light and allows for privacy.  Motorization options are also available for those harder-to-reach windows.  Choosing the perfect colour may be a little more difficult as there are over 240 swatches to select from but I would consider that a pro rather than a con when considering this product.