Life is Too Short to Have Ugly Cushions.

The average life expectancy in the UK is 81.1 years. That, all things considered, isn’t that long. That’s 972 months, or 505,544 weeks or 849,139,2 hours. Not long at all.

Life’s too short, and as the saying goes, ‘it’s the little things’. Like piling into clean bedding after a shower. Getting a hill start just right. When your toast is just the right amount of toastiness. When two chocolate bars fall out of the vending machine.  And, of course, the cool side of the pillow.

Life’s too short not to appreciate these little things. And life is definitely, definitely too short for ugly cushions.

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Thankfully, our sister company Custom Curtains have got you covered. Almost any fabric we stock for curtains can be made into cushions. We have a team seamstresses who are responsible for making nearly every curtain and roman blind that we sell. They have honed their skill over a lifetime of practice and refinement. So making cushions for you is no problem at all.

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This means that you can have a perfectly matched interior, coordinating your cushions to your window furnishings.

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Or you can simply have some wonderful cushions, custom made for you by our skilled seamstresses.

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How much is too much?

There are a few interior design styles that encourage a plethora of decoration. Shabby Chic is one, Bohemian another. Both encourage plenty of layers, colours and decoration. When done properly they can create fantastic, cosy and soulful homes.

Shabby Chic Room Bohemian Room

 

 

 

 

 

 

But when does it go from a well thought out interior design style to crazy cat lady?

Well when Mrs Tiddlypuff pops out another 6 kittens and you are so overjoyed you fall over your stack of 8 year old Daily Mail’s, or when you walk into a room three dozen porcelain eyes follow you from the door. Or simply when you feel that the room is too cluttered, and is starting to look unattractive.

Crazy Dolls

The first step is realising you have a problem, so what’s the next step? And how do you go about doing it?

Some people have no issue with clearing things out. They can discard old unwanted items with little to no emotional attachment. Others however, can get a bit more sentimental over things. This is part of the reason their homes turn into a cluttered mess in the first place.

One, rather harsh, bit of advice is to simply be brutal. Do you really need that porcelain Yorkshire Terrier you picked up on that day out four years ago with your friends step-nephew? A quote to keep in mind – ‘Get Rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.’

Yorkshire terrier

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You could also try setting aside a few items that mean the most to you, and have someone else clear out the mess. A friend with fewer attachments to the items will probably have an easier time discarding things.

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One thing to mention, base what you keep not necessarily on cash value, but on personal value. There is nothing wrong with owning something simply for the pleasure of owning it. You will ultimately enjoy the appearance of your home more if it is filled with things borne of love, not money.

Wedding Photos

When you start distributing decorations a factor to consider is: what the room you are decorating is used for. The bathroom, for example, is typically a room you only go in if you have specific need, and subsequently do not spend much time in there. On the other hand you are in the kitchen very frequently, and for long periods of time. But, the kitchen is a practical room. Not only is all the cooking done in there, but more often than not it houses most of the cleaning facilities, such as the washing machine and dishwasher. With this in mind having a lot of decoration in the kitchen will simply be impractical as they will get in the way.

The room that allows for the most decoration is the living room. We spend lots of time in here, enough to make it your own and warrant some very serious thought about decoration. And the time we spend in here is usually in a relaxed state, without frantic movement, therefore we can allow for a bit more decoration than the bathroom and kitchen.

Clean minimalistic living room

So now you’ve trimmed down the odds and sods, and decided on what you really want to keep, how do you then decide where to place them?

In most living rooms, sad to say, the TV is the focal point. Some quick tips for this then: place it near a power socket, try and set the height around eye level when seated (around four feet is usually about there) and if you can, the perfect distance is about 3 times the diagonal width of the screen.

Home Cinema

But as for the decorations, unless it has a significant history and meaning in your life a decoration should add to a room, rather than distracting from it. What is meant by this is that an individual piece should not be the first thing you notice when you walk into the room. Instead you should notice the effect of the room as a whole, then be drawn to key pieces on closer inspection.

Large pieces obviously take up the most space, and so will typically get pride of place on mantelpieces, windowsills or any coffee/small tables you have. Then smaller pieces fill in the nooks and crannies. This can actually be a fun way of doing things. When someone first walks into a room they are impressed with the whole feel of it, then they are drawn to a large piece, before then being drawn into even smaller, intricate things.

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Wood or Metal Curtain Poles?

Don’t beat yourself up, it’s okay. We’ve all been there. We’ve all sat down, scratched our heads, rubbed our eyes and pulled our hair out trying to figure out: wood or metal curtain poles?

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Lucky for you, we have an entire building full of experts on the matter, so sit back and relax while we delve into this conundrum.

Okay, let’s get the basics out of the way first. Wooden poles are made of wood, typically something like pine or oak, but some fancier ones are made of cherry wood or mahogany. They come in stained finishes, which is like a varnish that helps the natural grain of the wood shine through. They also come painted in various colours. Some have effects on them, making them appear antique or distressed etc.

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And metal poles are made of… metal. The most common finishes are silver, brass and chrome. Though there are wrought iron poles available.

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25-28Now we’ve got that out of the way we can concentrate on the tough question of which to choose. Of course a huge amount of this, as with any aspect of design, is subjective to each person. Though there are some guidelines that can help.

Typically wood is a softer, warmer material. So if you are trying to create a warm cosy atmosphere then a nice dark wood would work well. Something like Satin Mahogany of Florentine Oak would work wonderfully.

And on the flip side, a metal pole will lend toward a crisper, more clinical atmosphere. If the room is minimalist or sharper an Allure Stainless Steel or Swish Elements Chrome would accentuate that effect.

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But to completely counter that, the previously mentioned Wrought Iron poles fit perfectly both in a cosy country cottage, and a contemporary industrial setting, depending on the finial.

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Finials almost warrant a blog post unto themselves, the options are endless. But the purpose of this post is to be a rough guide and lend some perspective, so we won’t delve into them too deeply. For now we will just say that the décor you are going for almost determines your finial for you. A florid gold wooden finial would not lend itself well to a minimalist room, for example.

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So how do you know which to choose?

Well, similar to above with the finials, it all depends what you want to the room to feel like. As curtain poles are not a massively obtrusive, like a mirror or a statement wall, they do not necessarily change the appearance of the room directly. Instead, they are almost like a bass guitar, you do not hear each note when the band is playing, but you feel the mood of it. It is the same with poles, they help influence the mood of the room in an unconscious way.1797c502ab77c0f324da0475609c9dc9So with this in mind, the best approach would be to get a solid idea of what you want the majority of the room to look like. Places like Pinterest and Tumblr are fantastic for inspiration and ideas. Then we would probably advise that you chose your curtains next, as these will have a larger effect on the appearance of the room. At this point, when your room and curtains are decided on, the poles will almost choose themselves. This is not to understate the importance of poles, but if we are to choose the best suited poles, then they must come a bit further down the list of priorities.

1601b79b783d88fd78dd22c9bfc563fd b21a3cb1b9b24d697195f410a8bbf722From a technical standpoint wooden and metal poles have some stark differences. The weakest pole, thus the ones you would use with the lightest curtains are narrow metal poles, with too much fabric the pole might start to buckle and look unattractive. The next strongest are wrought iron. Logic would lead you to think they would be the strongest, but they are typically quite narrow and prone to slight bowing. One thing to remember is iron is a heavy material, the pole brackets would need to be mounted to a strong wall, not a plaster wall or architrave. The strongest of the poles are solid wood poles, the thicker the stronger. Wooden poles with ample brackets will be able to support virtually any weight curtain.

 

 

Pallet Furniture

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We have touched on pallet furniture in a previous blog post, but after we dug a little deeper into it we decided they definitely deserved their own post. Furniture and decorations made from pallets can genuinely look astounding, and should … Continue reading

The View from our Windows

At night, if you pull back the curtains and look out, you are greeted by something truly special. But, unfortunately, the heavens are at risk.

 

We have a special relationship with the night sky. Something in its vastness, in its mystery, in its infinite beauty seems to pull us in. It is unifying: all over the world on a clear night we all tip our heads back and wonder. It may not be the same stars we see, but it is the same sky.

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We have had this fascination since we first walked the earth. A huge amount of ancient civilisations used to worship them as deities. Even the name of the days and months come from Gods who we believed lived in the sky.

It is unfortunate but somehow inevitable that light pollution often obscures our views of the stars. They are always there, but light leaking from buildings and street lights dims our view of them. This is why the International Dark-Sky Association, or IDA, was formed. The goal of the IDA is to cut down the environmental damage caused by the growing amount of light pollution. They aim to ‘reclaim the night’ and cut down on waste while improving the night sky for us all.

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They do this informing people of the very real damages of light pollution. Lighting currently uses 22% of all energy generated in the US, and light pollution is growing much faster than the population. They also have what they call the Dark Sky Awards, which are awarded to Parks, Reserves and Communities on a Gold, Silver and Bronze scale. The awards are judged on things like ‘Artificial sky glow’ and ‘Observable Sky Phenomena.’

There are several places in the UK with Dark Sky awards, all of which are silver and above, which is nice.

Exmoor National Park is a Silver-tier International Dark Sky Reserve, and is the first International Silver tier Park in Europe. The silver award means that artificial light does not dominate the night sky, brighter sky phenomena can be viewed easily and the Milky Way is visible in summer and winter.Northumberlannd National ParkNorthumberland At Night

 

Brecon Beacons is also a Silver-tier International Dark Sky Reserve: “The only Dark-Sky reserve in Wales is situated in the Brecon Beacons. You’d be hard pressed to find a community which goes to such great lengths to ensure light pollution is reduced. The hard work is obviously paying off – on a clear night you can see just about everything from anywhere” – Ordnance Survey 2015

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Northumberland National Park is a Gold-tier International Dark Sky Park in England, and at 572 square miles is the largest in Europe. A gold award means there is no distracting unnatural light sources and light domes are only dim and on the horizon. Also a full array of sky phenomena can be viewed, e.g. aurora, airglow, Milky Way, zodiacal light, and faint meteors.

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Galloway Forest Park is a Gold-tier International Dark Sky Park in Scotland, and is one of only 4 parks in the western world with the Gold Award. The Sky Quality Meter (SQM) scale runs from 0 to 25, with 24 being the pitch black of a photographer’s dark room. Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park has an SQM of 21 to 23.6. It has been likened to sitting in a boat in the middle of the Atlantic ocean.

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The Isle of Coll is an International Dark-Sky Community found on the Inner Hebrides, Scotland. It is the first Dark Skies Island in Scotland and the second in the world. A small island off the west Coast of Scotland the locals are so used to the quality of their night sky they didn’t realise it was anything special. It wasn’t until they read about Sark becoming the world’s first Dark Skies Island that the seed was planted and they made their own application. The three Dark Skies locations speak to the… DIY nature of the project, the locations being a car park, a football pitch and a hill.

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Container Houses to Save Humanity

If aliens were to come down and judge us solely by what they saw in the papers then they would judge us humans to be a fairly awful species. Which is somewhat unfair, as occasionally, we can be pretty awesome.

One thing we seem to excel in, other than watching funny cat videos, is building things. Some of our engineering and architectural achievements are staggering. And the fact that we take these monuments in our stride is a testament to our ability to create them.

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Just look at it!

But it is not only the very large and modern that is impressive. When required we can be incredibly creative with the very small. And as our natural resources are running out and space is becoming more and more scarce, we are being forced to get even more imaginative.

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Container homes have been used in developing and less affluent countries for many years, but they are starting to gain a foothold in modern design and architecture too. This could be because they solve two large problems: space and cost. Their footprint starts at 20x8ft but can be as large as you can build. Containers themselves are also incredibly cheap: in the UK they can be picked up for just north of £1000. It’s no surprise they are gaining popularity.

 

 

 

 

In Scotland there is an artist’s retreat known as Cove Park. It is located on Scotland’s west coast in 50 acres of unspoiled hillside overlooking Loch Long. In 2002 Container City were commissioned to build three en-suite ‘Cubes’ directly in front of the Loch. The sliding glass doors open up straight onto the Loch for a seamless transition from inside to out.cove_park_1 Cove_Park_(1)_1_960_390_c1

 

Using ex refrigeration units the Stevens’ abode in Wellington, New Zealand has a very distinctive and contemporary appearance. It is three storeys high and is built into and merges beautifully with the side of a cliff. The alfresco dining bar looks onto the side of the cliff, and while this might sound bleak, you do get your own private waterfall.412077684_6b50b09317_o 412087034_ba60ca3981_o 411990846_904f7ecdd6_o

 

Studio HT built a container house in Nederland, Colorado. Their goal was to actively reduce the average size used in an American home while utilising recycled materials, green roofs and renewable energy. Built into a rock face it offers staggering views and has a wonderful interior. Images courtesy of Branden Gumen.Nederland, exteriorNederland, interior

 

The name the ‘Old Lady House’ is somewhat confusing. The appearance and décor resembles nothing like what you imagine an old lady house would. Nor is the property old, or even a house really. And after some research we don’t even think an old lady lives there. What it is, is a wonderful property, ingeniously built.adam-kalkin-old-lady-house adam-kalkin-old-lady-house-6 adam-kalkin-old-lady-house-3

 

 

Fishy Shades of Cray

Most beautiful things in life have urban legends. Curtains poles are no different.

There was a woman, she had a husband. But not for much longer. She found out he had been cheating on her with his secretary, presumably Swiss, presumably 20 years younger. After much toing and froing it was decided they would divorce. The main reason being: he was a big cheating bastard.

So he went away with Frieda for a few nights and left his broken wife at their broken home to pack up her broken life. She packed what she could, the bits that weren’t tainted with bitter memories, once beautiful, now rotten. On the first night she wept as she decided who got which DVD (she got The Silence of the Lambs, he got 27 Dresses the big cheating git). The second night she cried as she packed her clothes, throwing most of them away as he bought her them. Who could wear clothes born of deceit? On the third night though, she ate. She ate caviar, and garlic shrimps, and sardines and smoked salmon. She ate most of them anyway. With the rest she walked around the house and stuffed them inside the hollow curtain poles.

The next day she was gone, and the husband was back with Frieda. They started together, anew, in the house that held a former love. For a time they were happy. But one particularly warm evening there was something in the air. A certain… wiff. Perhaps an animal had died outside? They closed the windows and thought nothing of it. A few days later the smell was still there, an inspection of the garden turned up no unfortunate critters. No over-turned rubbish. No leaky sewage.

It was around this time they realised the smell must be coming from inside the house, so they cleaned. Frieda and the big cheat scrubbed and bleached and swept and polished. But still, the smell remained. A plumber was called, but the pipes were unblocked and flowing freely. The council were called, but the sewers were spotless. An exterminator was called, and even after he found nothing but performed a three day fumigation anyway, the smell still lingered. Stronger than ever now. Something was definitely rotting. Was it the ex-wives resentment? Probably not. Was it the half a kilo of shrimp inside the bedroom curtain poles? More than likely.

After changing the carpets and tossing his favourite sheepskin rug, they could take no more. They put the house on the market. The estate agent came round, and despite the pong concluded such a house, in such a location would easily sell. Given they knocked a few quid off. He was wrong. A month later they knocked a bit more off. Another month even more. By the end of the third month the estate agent didn’t answer the phone, never mind come round to the property.

At the end of the fourth month, at their wits end and slightly ill from breathing in too much Febreeze they get a call. It’s the ex-wife. Though she can’t stand the big cheating bugger and Frieda with the boobs, she misses the house. It was a good house. Solid walls and warm radiators. Are they perhaps selling it? Yes! Of course they are! And for nearly half the market value! A few days later Philandering Phil and Feckless Frieda are off, counting their blessings and breathing the fresh air. The wife moved in, bringing the lovely new curtain poles she just bought. She opened the windows wide and let the breeze blow through. She sat back in her massive house, and how she laughed.

How to Create a Log Cabin Experience at Home

I think at some point we have all dreamed about running away and living in the woods. A log cabin tucked away in the trees, far away from phones, Facebook, bills, overdrafts… the modern world in general really. Yesterday was national log cabin day. It aimed to celebrate all the serenity a log cabin can give you. The calming and restorative effects of quiet solitude cannot be doubted.

Log Cabin

But, alas, life being what it is we can’t just up and sell the car, the house, the kids… but that doesn’t mean we can’t have our own little corner of tranquility.

Peaceful: Log cabins are synonymous with peace and quiet. With nothing more than the chirping of birds and the wind sighing through the trees we find ourselves unwinding in no time. How can we replicate this in the home? Well, in an inner city home it can be difficult. There is a constant hum of traffic and people, and no matter how well we try to sound proof it always seems to leak through. There are some things we can do however.

Log Cabin Window

If your window furnishings have a low opacity then you can draw them to cover a less than pleasant view while still allowing the room to be bright. The sounds of the forest can be replicated quite easily. On Youtube there are recordings of forest sounds, some as long as 10 hours. Get the volume just high enough to drown out the outside but not so loud as to be overpowering and… breathe.

 

Cosy: It’s funny, but it’s always night time when we picture the inside of a log cabin. No need for blinds or curtains as its pitch black outside, apart from the stars. Just a fire and some candles giving off light as you sink into a book if you’re on your own, or laughing like hyenas if you’re not.

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Thankfully, this is easy to replicate at home. Blackout fabrics will shut out almost all light, mimicking the lack of light pollution. Turn the lights down, or off completely, and use candles or a fire if you’re lucky enough to have one (if you don’t there’s always this). Make sure there are plenty of warm blankets and cosy pillows to melt into. Then call some friends and crack open the wine.

 

Solitude: There is something about being alone that is almost meditative. No pressures or pretending, just you and your thoughts allowed wander and explore. Obviously deep in the forest it is a simple task to feel alone, as you probably will be. But most urban and even rural areas can be quite densely populated.

Lonely Log Cabin

The simplest way to try and achieve this is to escape a little bit. For some this might mean a half an hour drive or train ride to a quieter part of the world, like the local forest or moorland. There are some beautiful places in the UK. The Peak District, The Yorkshire Dales, The Brecon Beacons, The South Downs and The Lake District all provide ample solitude and some true natural beauty. But even a trip to the next town, just wandering around a new place where you know nobody, can be an adventure and give you a calming feeling of solitude.

 

Warm: You’re never cold in your log cabin are you? There is always mounds of blankets, the fire is always roaring and you never take your joggers off unless you’re going outside. There is always some snacks around and a warm cup of tea or cold beer depending on the time of day.

Cosy Log Cabin

It’s a simple job to do this at home. If you have a fire, chuck some logs on. If not, crank the heating up a touch. Pile blankets and quilts generously around the room and make sure the fridge is fully stocked.

 

Beautiful: Obviously, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but our love of log cabins seems to be quite universal. There is something about their simplicity and the way in which they work in harmony with their surrounding that appeals to us all.

Log Cabin

This is hard to replicate, unless you’re willing to bulldoze your home and break out the hammer. Maybe we should just sit back and enjoy them from afar. And if you get really desperate you can always make a blanket tent in your living room and pretend.

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Bringing the Outside, In.

Well, summer is supposed to be nearing, but looking out the window it’s hard to believe that. Summer is the time to be outside. It conjures images of lush green grass, laughter, brightness and frolicking (interpret that how you may…) It’s hardly surprising then, as we are trapped indoors by the rain, that there is an increasing trend of trying to bring the outside indoors.

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Rather than being an interior design style unto itself, it is more of a theme or feature of a few existing styles. It is prominent in minimalist design, a blog talking about this can be found here. It can also be found in rustic interiors, many of which use reclaimed materials for decoration as well as practical purposes. One example of this is a recent trend to use wooden sinks. It can also be seen frequently in beach hut style interiors, often using driftwood for decoration.

woodsinktwiglampThe idea of bringing the outside in can be interpreted in a couple of ways. The first and most obvious interpretation is using materials typically found outside, inside. Wood is of course used all the time in the home, but in this context it is typically left in a more untreated or natural looking state. The same goes for stone and rocks. Wrought Iron and tool steel can also be used for this: old used tools make for interesting decorations with a lot of character.

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The second part of this design idea is the merging of the inside and out. This is achieved by using large windows and big patio doors leading to the garden. This quite literally makes the transition between inside and out less obvious. You can also create this in a subtle illusion by using paint tones and shades often seen outside. Dark greens, light yellows, blues and browns work well for this.

It has been done since before time began, but using plants and flowers as decoration is another aspect of bringing the outside in. When talked about in this context however it is typically envisaged that a large quantity of foliage is used, or perhaps even wood, twigs and branches as opposed to the standard flower-in-vase arrangement.

Here are a few tips to help bring the outside into your home.

Reclaim some driftwood – This can be found all over, and is usually free. Beaches are obviously the ideal location to score a nice piece, but it is a common hunting ground so you’ll have to be quick. Driftwood can be used as either decoration or can even be used as a functional piece of furniture.

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Decorate with Iron – Old tools are easy to reclaim from scrap yards, farmhouses, markets, car boot sales and antique shops. Wrought iron curtain poles and accessories have a similar effect, or can accentuate the existing decorations.

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Use a large amount of plants and foliage – This is a rather obvious and easy way to achieve bringing the outside in. There are even occasions of homes being built around a tree, ingratiating it into the architecture. Or, providing enough light and hydration are available, it is possible to grow trees indoors. There is a growing trend of living green walls: an entire wall that has a carpet of plants and mosses that lives and grows inside the house.

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Use Pallets – Along a similar vein to reclaiming driftwood, pallets can be used as very functional pieces of furniture. There is an entire culture built around pallet furniture. It emphasises upcycling as well as aesthetically pleasing furniture. There is the obvious use of wood here, but also typically pallets are associated with the outside, with work yards and factories, so bringing them inside is an interesting juxtaposition.

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Use softer, more natural materials – Rattan, hemp and wicker are all natural materials that add texture to the home. The good thing about these materials is that they are readily available and not too costly. Natural Wood flooring, depending on the colour of the wood, can have a startling effect on the appearance of your home and it is relatively simple to do.hemp chairfloor2

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Minimalise the transition between inside and out – This obviously requires a bit more building work than the other tips, but large windows and patio doors leading straight onto the garden have a profound effect on the way a house looks and feels.

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The Inventor of Curtain Poles

Who Invented Curtain Poles?

His name is Samuel Scottron, and he is a very interesting man. Least of all for inventing curtain poles. He was a tireless innovator, business man and black rights activist.

Samuel Scottron

Born in 1841 Samuel’s father saw little point in his son pursuing further education, so before the American civil war he took the boy to work with him on a Hudson River steamer. During the war they found work as Sutlers for a Black Union Regiment.

Using the commercial sense he developed while dealing with the army, Scottron moved to Florida and opened several grocery stores. It was around this time that he became interested in politics.

In 1864, he participated in the first general election that allowed the Freedmen to vote. He was duly elected by the local black residents to represent them in the National Coloured Convention. A few years later in 1872 he founded the Cuban Anti-Slavery society with Henry Highland Garnet.

After a while the grocery business stopped being profitable, so Scottron returned to the North and opened a barber shop (is there anything this man couldn’t do?) It was here where he created his first, and probably most important invention (after curtain rods, of course); the Scottron Mirror.

Scottron Mirror

Scottron noticed that his customers could never see their head in its entirety, or ‘see yourself as others do’. So he designed a mirror which had ‘mirrors so arranged opposite each other as to give the view of every side at once’. Apparently the Scottron Mirror is still a sought after antique.

Education was a huge part of Samuel Scottron’s life, both his own and for the development of the black community. Once out of his father’s control he was free to pursue his academic ambitions. At night, when he wasn’t developing multiple business’ and equality campaigns, he studied under a pattern maker and master mechanic, going on to obtain a degree in 1878 from Cooper Union in ‘Superior Ability in Algebra’. He also belonged to the Brooklyn academy of sciences.

Scottron had a keen eye for trends, which lead him to leaving the mirror industry and finding work with a firm manufacturing cornices. In 1880 he invented an extending cornice, earning himself thousands of dollars in the process. But alas, it wasn’t long before cornices started losing popularity, so he put his cornice inventions out on royalties and lived off these until he got a footing in the curtain pole trade.

Before long he was picked up as a manager and salesman. It was at this point that he filed the first ever patent for a curtain rod (wooooooo!) he also invented pole brackets and pole tips! He spent 15 years with this firm travelling all over the US and Canada selling his inventions and products. He is, without a doubt, one of the major contributors to our modern window dressings.

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During this 15 year period he was still an extremely active member of the black equality movement. In 1879 was he was made secretary general of the masons which is a monumental achievement. He also co-founded another equality group in 1884; the Society of the Sons, a group comprised solely of black people born and raised in New York.

But, his most commendable achievement, aside from inventing curtain poles, is probably his work on education. In 1894 he was elected to the Brooklyn Board of Education. He was originally appointed by Mayor Charles A. Schieren, he was reappointed by Mayor F. W. Wurster and again by Mayor Van Wyck. All in all, he served on the board for 8 years. During this time, serving as the boards only black member, he disbanded 4 out of 5 segregated black-only schools, and got the pupils and staff distributed into non-segregated academies.

All that and he was Lena Horne’s granddad too!