Sliding Door Options

Q: Do you have any suggestions for window treatments to cover a sliding glass door?

A: I really like panel track which is shown here because it is sleek, simple and can be used with several different styles. When done in woven woods they add a nice organic element and texture to the room. Several of my clients that are covering sliding doors wish they could be replaced with French doors so the panel track gives the doors a fresh look.

Another option I suggest are fabric panels on a traverse rod so they open with ease.  I suggest lighter fabrics for these treatments so they blend in with the environment or to make them a design detail in a colorful fabric, Montgomery Co. is a great source in the UK for made to measure. Shutters are also an option just because I loveeee shutters, Smith & Noble in the US has some nice options. They can be specially designed to open just like a sliding door so they don’t protrude into the room.

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Making It Yours/Home Office


Q. I have paneling in my home office and hate it. Any ideas how to cover it or make it look better? Jacqueline

A: There are three options; take it down, paint it or cover it so let’s explore each. If you take it down there is a possibility that the walls behind maybe be salvageable, this was the case in my family room and I was able to spackle, prime and paint. Depending on how the paneling was installed the sheetrock behind may need to be replaced which then becomes the most costly option.  You may want to remove a small section of paneling to determine if this is an option.


The second option is to paint the paneling, I would recommend special primer for wood and then 2/3 coats of paint. If painted white the feel becomes cottage or shabby chic if painted black or an espresso you can achieve a vintage modern feel depending on your furniture selections.

The last option which the photo features is covering the paneling with wallpaper (also fairly costly if you hire someone). eHow has excellent advice on how to do this, if want to DIY. I love this option because it has the most dramatic effect but you need to make it yours and go with the option that suits your style and budget. Has anyone tackled this DIY project before and can tell us about it?


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Flat Screen Senarios

Q. How can I hide my flat screen in the formal living room? Lydia

A: This is a question I am faced with frequently on projects. The first step is to determine the layout of your furniture. This will determine the orientation of the sofa to the flat screen. I find most people want the sofa adjacent to the flat screen. At the same time you need to decide if you are good with having the flat screen over the mantle. Many of my clients do not want the flat screen over the fireplace because they feel it is too high up for viewing, it can take away from a beautiful mantel or they have a fabulous piece of art that they hoped would go over the mantel. Whatever the reason it is your choice and can work in other areas as well that would not be a focal point.

If over the fireplace my favorite solution is to build the flat screen into the design. One option would be to have raised panels that go from the mantle to the ceiling (with an 8/9’ ceiling), the panels can be hinged and made to open cancelling the built in flat screen behind it. This looks even better when you have room for bookcases on either end and in painted white wood is fabulous. Above designer Julia Blailock created a version of this idea for a Pink Ribbon House with a feeling of rustic elegance. I adore the hinges she chose and how the finish ties in with the cupboard. A flat screen in plain view would definitely distract from the zen feeling I have looking at this room.


Muskoka Living does it right, creating another version of a built-in cabinet with a cottage design aesthetic and farmhouse style doors. Yes, there actually is a flat screen behind those beautiful doors.

If you plan to not install the flat screen over the fireplace and still do not want it to be a focal point in the room than I like to select a secondary wall to put it on over a console. Below is another example of how rustic and elegant design details create a warm inviting atmosphere. The flat screen is on a secondary wall over a console adjacent to the sofa for optimum viewing (I added that line in for my male readers LOL) and you hardly even notice it is there with that beautiful fixture hanging above. Hope this helps.

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Carpets Going Green

Q: Have you heard of corn sugar carpets and where can I find them?

A: Corn sugar carpets are popping up at several carpet mills offering a more organic option to carpets composed of man made materials. At a clients request to have an extremely durable carpet that would be clean and safe for her baby to crawl on I found some nice options at with their Smartstrand product.  The corn kernels are converted into cornstarch, materials are added and then converted into corn polymer. The result is a carpet fiber that has superior wear resistance and permanent built in stain and soil protection. It does cost slightly more but most manufacturers offered lifetime warranties on similar products containing corn sugar.

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