|The Neurotic Perfectionists' Blog
(Totally Passionate about Shutters, Shades, Blinds & Shojis)
Our Largest Motorized Blind Goes to School
The Match School. Take a look at the size of those windows!
Shades come in all different sizes and textures. We thought we had seen them all, but then along came the Match School, an innovative charter school on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston.
For those of you who like local Boston history, the building is an interesting one. It was originally home to Ellis the Rim Man, one of the largest auto parts and accessories companies in the area, part of Boston's Auto Mile (check out this link for a full story on the auto mile--it's fascinating). Its sign, reading "Home of Ellis the Rim Man" in 3D letters almost 70 feet above the building, was visible from the Mass Pike, appeared in the background of both movies and television shows, and was an icon to locals, much like the Citgo sign.
The building was sold to Match in 2001 and was renovated and re-designed by Hill Miller Friedlaender Hollander, known for its thoughtful and award-winning school designs. They've done an impressive job inside and out.
But back to our shade story. The shade they needed was for a very oversized window, and it had to block out light when necessary. The size prohibited a battery operated shade, so we set them up with the largest room darkening, Somfy motorized roller shade we've ever created! At a whopping 100 pounds, the shade is 15 feet in width and 14 feet in height! It took three installers and two electricians to install it.
In fact, it was so large, we quickly realized our Back Bay Shutter Company van couldn't accommodate this behemoth shade. What to do? Middlesex Movers to the rescue. These guys not only meticulously packaged the shade to prevent it from getting hurt during transit, they also transported it to the Match School for a happy ending! Proving once again that Back Bay Shutter Company can create any size, shape or color interior wood shutter, shade or blind for any size, shape or color window!
|Back Bay Shutter Company Sponsors 5 Under 40 & Magic Carpets, Too!
Here we are with our giveaway cookies in front of our Booth, and Amy Adinis Hirsch's
gorgeous custom rug.
We were happy and proud to be a Signature Sponsor of New England Home's 5 Under 40 event last week. We had a great time celebrating alongside the winners and so many of our friends in the business. Focusing on emerging talent in residential design, including architecture, furniture, home design products and accessories, some of the hottest talent in New England enjoyed the endless array of fabulous food from Davio's while mingling with the best of the best. The winners were a truly awe-inspiring group. For Interiors and Architecture, John Day from LDa Architecture & Interiors, Cambridge, MA and Elizabeth Stiving-Nichols from Martha's Vineyard Interiors, Vineyard Haven, MA. For Interiors, Amy Adinis Hirsch for Aidin for Amy Adinis Hirsch Interior Design, Greenwich, CT and Kelly Taylor of Kelly Taylor Interior Design, Providence, RI. And for Furniture and Home Accessories, Asher Dunn, Studio Dunn, Providence, RI. These are members of the New England design world who care deeply about what they do in the same way Back Bay Shutter Company, Inc. cares about how we create our interior wood shutters. We hope to have the chance to work with all of them in the future. We believe we share the same commitment and sensibility. And speaking of people who take their work seriously, a shout out to our friends at Woodmeister, who crafted the awards.
In an effort to raise money for Barakat, the winners designed custom carpets that were auctioned off. We lusted after every one of them!
An exciting part of the event was the rug auction. These really were some magical carpets. Our booth was right under Amy Adinis Hirsch's original work of art. We all found ourselves wishing we could take it home. All proceeds went to a truly worthy cause--Barakat, a Cambridge, MA charity promoting educational opportunities for woman and children in central and south Asia. We had a terrific night and tip our hats to the winners, sponsors, Landry & Arcari, and of course, New England Home. See you next year.
Nancy Sorensen, Bill Morton, Leann Donahue, Steve Kontoff, Angela Kontoff, Deb Bishop, & Stephanie Zelman.
Steve & Bill watching the winners accept their awards.
The Award Ceremony was packed at Landry & Arcari's beautiful showroom.
There was bellydancing!
And there was cookies. In the shape of shutters, no less. Because you know, Back Bay shutters are always in good taste.
|Back Bay Shutter Company Makes History at The Lyman Estate.
The Lyman Estate, Waltham, MA
It can be a challenge for a client to choose the type of window treatments they want for their home, but when it's a historic home and the owner is Historic New England, the oldest, largest, and most comprehensive regional heritage organization in the nation, it's a matter of history.
Founded in 1910 to preserve and present the cultural and architectural heritage of New England, Historic New England hired us to create window treatments for their ballroom and several other spaces in the palatial and grand Lyman Estate in Waltham, MA. Thrilled to be part of such an exciting project, we did a little research on the Estate.
The Lyman Estate, also known as "The Vale," is a country estate built using the principles of eighteenth-century English naturalistic design. Because of it's expansive land and proximity to Boston, Waltham was a popular location for country estates during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Designed as a Federal-style house by famed architect Samuel McIntire for shipping merchant Theodore Lyman in 1793, The Lyman Estate was the warm-weather retreat for four generations of the Lyman family. The home was enlarged in 1882 in the Victoria style, and remodeled in 1917 in the Colonial Revival style. Residing on 37 acres, it boasts beautifully preserved gardens and historic greenhouses. Today it's used for weddings, meetings and private parties. It's also a tourist site, where visitors can explore the elegant home, and hear about the story of the Lyman family.
But back to our task at hand--window treatments. An old home can be challenging to work on, because often the windows are damaged due to age, but not in the case of the Lyman Estate. Having been recently renovated, as part of the Estate's weatherization and energy efficiency project, we were lucky to be working with windows in excellent condition. Since historic accuracy is everything with a job like this, we did our homework. While Nancy Barnard of H-K Designs created the beautiful swags, jobots, valances, and sheer curtains for several of the rooms, we were given the task of creating the shades. Nancy is a respected colleague whose company H-K Designs specializes in period appropriate interiors. Talk about an interesting job! Nancy works all over the country in private homes, and museums creating and re-creating historically accurate interiors, from wallpaper and paint colors to carpet, draperies and bed hangings. And this lady knows her history. She can be reached at 508-358-7843, or you can email her at NJBarnard@NJBarnard.com. She is a wizard.
Anyway, our own research lead us to choose a combination of Spring Roller Shades and Clutch Shades for the project. We chose a historic tiffany green fabric for the shade's exterior and interior. In some rooms, we chose to use white fabric for the interior and the historic tiffany green fabric for the exterior. This was especially apropos in both the bride and groom's rooms, as well as their baths. Grommets and Victorian tassels completed the look.
In the butler's pantry, we used clutch roller shades, because being near the sink, we knew that having wet hands on the shades could damage them. We also used valance to hide the shade's hardware.
The shades were an important choice for the Estate. As Julie Stolz, of Historic New England told us, "They protect the interior fabrics and textiles and finsihses from fading. Having the shades pulled down when there isn't a funciton going on, reduces solar gain in the rooms during the summer months, making it less costly to cool the house. Having the shades down in the winter also helps with heat loss."
Everybody at Back Bay Shutter Company is very proud to have worked on this property. And we're grateful that places like Historic New England exist, to keep examples of old New England, like the Lyman Estate, alive and well.
|Design Imaginations: Going Beyond Motorized Roller Shades
When it comes to cutting-edge design technology, motorized roller shades are right at the top. Now, you may think that only custom built houses can enjoy motorized shades, but the truth is, with a little creativity, practically any window and shade option can be motorized. At Back Bay Shutter Company, we specialize in creating functional, hands-free motorized shades and are dedicated to ensuring they blend seamlessly into your home with the easiest, hassle-free installation you’ll ever experience.
Motorized Shades: The Facts
Motorized roller shades operate using systems that allow you to control your shades from wall mounted key pads, hand held remotes or sensors, depending on your wants and needs. Shades can be programmed to automatically go up or down at a certain time, and radio controls use simple up, down and stop buttons for individual shade control. Back Bay Shutter Company works with small family run workrooms and motorization companies such as LutronTM and SomfyTM to bring you the highest quality motorized shades&trade available.
What kind of Shades Can be Motorized?
With some imagination, creativity and the right team, just about any type of shade, blind, curtain or drapery can be motorized. That’s right! You name it: woven, accordion, match stick, bamboo, roman, pleated, comfort screen, roller shades, custom draperies, blackout shades and more. (Yes, even more.) We welcome a challenge, no matter how unique or demanding your windows are. We pay attention to every detail -- from door handles to molding protrusions -- and provide the best option for you, making sure that each shade is easy to operate and is made of the highest quality materials.
Your Partner in Motorized Roller Shades
Because our motorized shades are so popular, we’ve often wondered if we should’ve named ourselves Back Bay Shades. Apart from the wide selection of motorized shades, the industry knows that we provide professional, hassle-free installations. As problem-solvers and challenge-accepters, it’s our job to make sure that you are completely satisfied with each and every aspect of your motorized shades, including the installation process.
Challenge our creativity and ingenuity! Back Bay Shutter Company will put our team to work on creating flawless, hands-free motorized shades for your home. After all, when it comes to shades and shutters, we’ve got perfection on our side.
|How Minimum Window Treatments Deliver Maximum Quality
High quality window treatments are both practical and purposeful while still retaining their beauty and refinement. At Back Bay Shutter, each and every element is of the highest quality without concession.
No foo-foo, unnecessary additions, no just-for-show aspects – just flawless shutters made to the highest standard.
Many window treatment companies use plastic and flimsy parts and create cookie-cutter, factory made shades and shutters that are destined to fall apart. (And chances are, the manufacturers of these types of corner-cutting window treatments are probably not going to repair them for you.) Alternatively, Back Bay Shutter uses only the finest parts and hardware, made by high-end companies such as Von Morris™, Baldwin™, and Merit Metal Products™. Stylish, quality hardware is a Back Bay Shutter signature of all their custom work.
Back Bay Shutter's minimal window treatments come straight from unique, family-run workrooms and mills and are made to the highest standards and not main-stream. And any issues you may experience are taken care of quickly and efficiently because they always stand behind their installations.
In minimal design, every detail matters. Hand-crafted window treatments from Back Bay Shutter Company have solidity of character and problem-free construction. The result is minimal window treatments that blend with the interior design of the home and enhance its overall beauty and value.
|Telltale Signs Your Interior Designer is a Perfectionist
Neurotic perfectionism is a rare and useful condition that has been the powerhouse behind many high quality pieces of design. Some have even described it as the ability to see things about design that mere mortals can’t.
Can you tell if your designer has this extraordinary condition?
Here are a few telltale signs that indicate whether or not your designer is hopelessly unable to create something that isn’t, well, perfect.
Are your designers detailed oriented?
Actually, you should ask yourself, “Are they beyond detail oriented?” The neurotic perfectionist will notice everything, from the smallest grain of wood, to the exact way the sunlight hits your room at every hour of the day. They’ll be sure every product they create is immaculate. If they could, these purists would examine their pieces under a microscope to make sure everything is exactly the way it should be.
Do they have medium-like design skills?
Neurotic perfectionists are like the horse whisperers of design, they see things no mortal can see and have the ability to predict exactly what you want from your design piece. Ever the masters of anticipating your needs, they can even tell what you want before you’re aware of it. Say you want your shutters delivered by 8:00? They’ll arrive by 7:45. Want a color that’s somewhere between, say, Breezy Turquoise and Ocean Turquoise? They’ll create a whole new shade and name it after you. Naturally, neurotic perfectionists are also incredible listeners — they actually pick up the phone and answer your questions.
Are they inspired by a challenge?
What really gets a neurotic perfectionist going is the challenge. They don’t take shortcuts, skimp on materials, go the “cheap route”, and (being the quality-snobs that they are) never use cookie-cutter, factory-made pieces. Every new commission is an invitation to beat their previous records of perfection. They love it when you throw a new angle at them, they love it when you aren’t satisfied at first — because they know, beyond a doubt, that they can create a design piece that you will be completely satisfied with.
Caution: being around neurotic perfectionists can make you experience feelings of satisfaction, emotional attachment to your design, the desire to drop your jaw and redesign the rest of your house.
There’s something special about having your designer be more picky about your home than you are. Between their incredible attention to detail, otherworldly skills of “design-whispering”, and a unquenchable desire to tackle a challenge; neurotic perfectionists are in high demand. Fortunately for shutter-less windows worldwide, Back Bay Shutter Company has them in spades (especially if you’re looking for furniture-grade wood shutters, custom colors and unsurpassed quality.)
The real question is: are your designers this neurotically detail oriented?
|Interior Wood Shutters: Painted or Stained?
A question that frequently comes up at Back Bay Shutter Co. is whether we recommend painting or staining our interior wood shutters. As neurotic perfectionists, you’d think we have an unambiguous answer for you. The truth is: there are advantages to both options. Although it is largely a stylistic preference, there are some things you should consider when you choose whether to paint or stain your wood shutters.
Many people choose stained shutters because it allows the natural glow, warmth and beauty of wood to permeate the room. Wood shutters are usually found in homes that have stained wood trim or wood panels. However, in order to make a striking statement, stained shutters have been used to contrast cream trim and alternatively match the wood floor or furniture already used in the room.
The unassuming elegance of a painted shutter is one of the many reasons it is a popular choice. Painted shutters provide a classic, clean, crisp look that typically matches the color of the trim in your room. Paint protects the wood from harmful UV rays more effectively than a wood stain, and is also more efficient at blocking out light in the room.
Things to Consider
As you delve into the pros and cons of stains and paints there are a few things to consider when settling on interior wood shutters.
If your home has warm woods in your trim, furniture, or flooring, you may want to consider stained wood. If your aesthetic is light and airy, painted shutters that match your trim will enhance the overall feel.
Contrast vs blending
Shutters can be a powerful way to make a statement. If you want your shutters to pop, contrast to the trim and matching them to wood floor stain will make your rooms look modern and chic. However, fusing them with your trim and decor will make the room look seamlessly classic.
In five years time...
Good advice for any decorating installment, choosing something you know you’ll love in five years time is a sure way to know you’ve made the right decision.
In the end, the choice is up to you and your unique taste. Whether you are looking to use your shutters as a bold accent, or blend them to your existing decor, Back Bay Shutter Co.’s interior wood shutters will increase the beauty and value of your home.
|Adventures in New York. Winner tells All!
Our brand new friend Cynthia Crescenzo, winner of the Back Bay Shutter New York Weekend Sweepstakes has written a blog post about her weekend for her terrific knitting blog. (If you haven't checked it out yet, get on over there at http://knittingcentral.com!) We're glad you had fun, Cynthia! We wish you lived closer, so you could teach us to knit. Here's her post.
"Knit Watch"- Finally home from a great sweepsteaks weekend...
posted 2012 Mar by Knitting Central Blog
We are not the type that usually fill out offers to win vacations. When we saw one from Back Bay Shutters, we knew it was a great company that offered high quality shutters and various window treatments because we have used their product, so we figured why not? And... we won!!
The weekend started off at the Architectural Digest Home Design Show with a lecture run by Margaret Russell, editor in chief of Architectural Digest. Her guest speakers were Peter Estercen and Joshua Maque, two of her top photographers. Even though I don't photograph interiors as my main focus, our photo shoots are often done inside and I knew I would learn a lot from the lecture. It was so informative. Not only did I learn a lot about interior shots, styling, lighting, etc, I learned a lot about Architectural Digest and how they have gotten to where they are today, in terms of what they feature and the direction they are hoping to move towards. It is one of the most collected magazines and the only "shelter" magazine that is on the stands monthly.
Next stop-- checking into the Gramercy Hotel for the weekend. We had a one bedroom suite. The picture above was the living room area. The hotel was beautiful. It was a great marriage of an old look with a new feel.
Loved the bathroom!
The sweepstakes packaged continued with tickets to MOMA (the Museum of Modern Art) on Saturday. I really enjoyed the Cindy Sherman exhibit. We took advantage of being there and tried to see as many exhibits as we could. One of my favorites was Martha Rosler (above). It was a black and white photo study of alcohol and its effects, yet there weren't any pictures of people in the study. It was all shot down in the Bowery and was quite powerful.
We grabbed a quick lunch at the cafe and spent the rest of the day relaxing. We were supposed to have dinner at the very elegant restaurant, The Modern (which is also part of MOMA), but was able to change the date until our whole family could join us.
Today was brunch at Maialino, connected to the Gramarcy Hotel. As much as we tried, we could not eat the entire gift amount Back Bay Shutters had included in the package. So, I will bring my family back for a brunch again very soon. The food was incredible and I highly recommend it.
To top off this perfect weekend, we went back the Architectural Digest Home Design Show to walk the floor. It was so inspirational. The vignette above was created by Ralph Lauren Home. It was spectacular! The photo below was one of many companies that showed incredibly inventive and very beautiful ways to set a table.
All in all, it was quite a magical weekend. If EVER you see those sweepstakes offers and you trust the company sponsoring it, go for it and fill it out. You never know where it may take you. Thank you Back Bay Shutters for a very, very special experience...
Ok, back to work and catching up on my knitting tomorrow....
|And the NYC Trip Sweepstakes Winners are...
Rick & Cynthia Crescenzo of Westport, CT won our New York Weekend Sweepstakes!
Rick Crescenzo, was having a stressful day at work when he picked up the phone to find out he'd won our New York Weekend Sweepstakes. "It took a few seconds to sink in," he says, "but then I just felt so much better about my day." He continues, "I'm not a big contest-entering person, but I have to admit it was thrilling to win and I just might enter a few more in the future!" His wife, Cynthia says, "I have literally never won anything, except a pink stuffed dog when I was 6 years old. I'm not kidding. So it was a complete shock." Good answers guys — that's what we were going for! We were also hoping the winners would appreciate the "design" elements of the weekend, and these two clearly will.
Cynthia, a knitwear designer with a fabulous online knitting store and blog, (Check her out at www.knittingcentral.com) thinks the whole weekend is "an incredibly special treat." She loves The Gramercy and The Modern, and like Rick, who is a bond salesman on a trading floor, ("Yes, I am one of those Wall Street Guys," says Rick. "That said I have been in the business for over 30 yrs which says a lot about the way I treat my clients.") is particularly excited to attend the Architectural Digest Show. The couple loves the magazine and have found a lot of inspiration from it throughout the years. They both agree that the photography is exceptional. Something Cynthia particularly values, since she spends a lot of time with her camera, taking photographs to inspire her knitwear designs.
And speaking of inspiration, the weekend itinerary includes, a two night stay at The Gramercy, brunch at Maialino, the winner of the 2011 Zagat Survey's Best New Restaurant in New York, tickets to the Museum of Modern Art, dinner at The Modern, the winner of The 2011 Outstanding Wine Service from the James Beard Foundation, as well two tickets to The Architectural Digest Show.
While Cynthia is the professional when it comes to knitting, we were surprised and impressed to find that Rick also knits! "It's a stressful atmosphere," says Rick of his bond salesman. "I knit, but more for the therapeutic results after a long week on the floor. I am proficient enough to have done design work on original patterns which become heirloom gifts for friends, family, and clients." OK, Rick, next time we have a big project, we're going to get some yarn and give it a shot.
Aside from being a bond salesman and knitter, Rick, also really enjoys landscaping and carpentry. He says "Cynthia and I both have an eye for color, fabrics and the coordination of these things within the entire design process, right through to the finishing phases, including window treatments. Back Bay will be in our thoughts when our next project comes up!"
Congratulations to Rick & Cynthia! We hope it's a great weekend in the Big Apple. Send us a postcard!
|Romancing Luxury at the Famed Gramercy Park Hotel
A great hotel should be more than just a building: it should exude originality, romance, art, luxury and have a personality of its own. When the Back Bay Shutter Co. started looking for a hotel for its NYC Sweepstakes, they discovered that the Gramercy Park Hotel would be more than a great hotel, it would enrich the entire experience with its history, luxury and individuality.
From the time it was built in 1925, the Gramercy Park Hotel gained notoriety for its luxurious and unique style, attracting tourists and celebrities alike. Had you visited in the late 1920s or early 1930s, you could have attended Humphrey Bogart’s marriage to Helen Menken, or had a drink with Babe Ruth at the famous hotel bar. In the 1970s, the hotel became such a hub for rockstars that Cameron Crowe demanded Almost Famous be shot in the lobby.
In 2006 the hotel was renovated by boutique-style hotel mastermind, Ian Schrager, making it what it is today: a veritable masterpiece of a hotel.
Bohemian Boutique meets Modern Luxury
All you have to do is walk through the front door to realize that a stay at the Gramercy Park Hotel will be unforgettable. The lobby exudes a modern elegance that suggests such bohemians as Edith Wharton and O. Henry would’ve been at home there. Each hotel room is decorated in warm jewel tones accented with velvet-upholstered headboards, tapestry-covered chairs and custom designed furniture. The adjacent Jade and Rose bars combine fine art and cocktails by displaying one of the finest hotel collections of art, including pieces by Warhol and Basquiat.
Forbes calls Gramercy Park Hotel’s restaurant, Maialino, “An ode to a Roman Trattoria… perfect.” It’s easy to see why. From the moment you walk in, you feel like you’ve taken a step into Italy. Every detail exudes Italy right down to the blue-check tablecloths -- just wait till you’ve tasted the food. Whether you have the roast suckling pig for dinner (Maialino translates to “Little Pig”), or ricotta pancakes for breakfast, Maialino will seduce your mouth with the best flavors of Italy.
Personality abounds at the Gramercy Park Hotel. From discussing a Warhol painting while having a drink, to dining at Maialino or simply relaxing in your room, your stay will be an out-of-this-world experience you’ll never forget.
Enter the Back Bay Shutter Co.'s NYC Sweepstakes to win a two-night stay at this hotel and more!
More articles on the destination points and activities included in the NYC Sweepstakes:
|A Preview of the Architectural Digest Home Design Show for 2012
Can anything prepare you for the kind of remarkable experience the annual Architectural Digest Home Design Show will give you this March? Probably not.
This prestigious design show has established itself as one of the best in the nation. However, you might ask, “Do I have to be an architect to attend and enjoy this design show?”
Home designers, homeowners, trade professionals, retailers and anyone who is passionate about design will delight in the Architectural Digest Home Design Show for its enormous representation of design brands and custom-made, unique pieces that can’t be found elsewhere. Among other magnificent attractions, The New York Times sponsors a fascinating Designer Seminar Series that makes this design show unforgettable.
Exemplary Collection of Home Design Brands
The Architectural Digest Home Design Show four-day event features hundreds of manufacturers, galleries, designers and artists, and showcases services and products for the luxury design market. New and established brands show off their choicest work -- from design styles to one-of-a-kind objects and furnishings. Don’t be surprised if you hear yourself saying, “I simply have to have that!
Already in its fourth year, the MADE section has quickly become a, if not the, highlight of the Architectural Digest Home Design Show. MADE provides individual artists and designers of limited edition, exclusive, handcrafted, collectable objects and furnishings with an occasion to promote themselves at the design show. Instead of being lost among corporate production brands, MADE exhibitors show their phenomenal work with a voice entirely their own, making them impossible to miss.
New York Times Designer Seminar Series
If you can manage some time away from the unbelievable booths and galleries at the Architectural Digest Home Design Show you'd find The New York Times seminars more than worthwhile. Attend the “Future of the Home” seminar, which takes an in-depth look at the major trends the industry sees for homes in 2020; or learn about using colors to create personality, incorporating art skillfully, or how to manage small-space interiors effectively.
Whether you're an architect, designer, retailer or homeowner looking for fresh inspiration or a unique centerpiece, the Architectural Digest Home Design Show will not only introduce you to the finest array of designs, items and furnishings, but will equip you with the best tricks, tips and trends to further your design aspirations.
But wait, there's more...
We asked Troy Hanson of the AD Show what stands out from his perspective this year and this is what he had to say:
"Attendees at the 11th annual Architectural Digest Home Design Show will find thousands of products from more than 400 exhibitors including the latest in furniture, lighting, kitchens & bathrooms, fabrics, floor coverings and more. The MADE section, in its largest configuration to date, welcomes independent designers and artisans of original, handmade, fine art objects and furnishings. New at the Show this year is 'reFRESH', a section dedicated to high-end manufacturers of luxury kitchen, bath and building products, and a Fabric Exhibition which highlights major textile brands showing their latest lines.
In addition to product exhibits, attendees can enjoy complimentary design seminars, consultations with members of The New AD100 list, wine and food tastings, book signings, special events and more. While at Pier 94, don't miss DIFFA's DINING BY DESIGN NY, an extravaganza of creative and awe-inspiring dining installations created by the industry's most iconic influencers. For full details, visit ADHomeDesignShow.com."
Don’t miss your chance to attend this show and more by entering Back Bay Shutter’s New York City Sweepstakes!