How to undress and dress and drool over …

..your windows! 😉

Its easy! Here is how you do it in “NKOTB meets Madonna meets Natasha Beddingfield” steps.

Step 1– Undress your existing window dressing. Take it away.. to a secret place….

Step 2 – Select dress – The Shade Store There’s so much you can do…

Step 3 – Dress them up in your love!

Step 4 – Start drooling

Even if you have fabulous floor to ceiling windows on the 30th floor with awesome views, you are going to need some sort of window treatment. I love the look of naked 15ft windows overlooking the city skyline, the river…… But I also need privacy. Blinds to keep the peeping Toms away but leave the view intact.

Most people I talk to when decorating, say they find selecting window treatments painful. I can see how selecting from the wide range of fabrics, drapery, blinds, shades and accessories can be overwhelming to some. I would advise if you feel shady about blinds, go with simple, clean treatments.


A few tips to keep in mind when selecting window treatments.

1. Purpose of the room. Busy and high traffic rooms, study, living and dining rooms work best with plenty of natural light and light blinds for privacy. Bedroom windows need heavy privacy and also treatments give you the option to block the weekend sun out :)For the study and library, the solar blinds are practical options.

2. Size of windows and number of windows in each room: Depending on the size of the window, there are so many options to chose from. Tiny windows look elegant in textured blinds or shades. Combination of blinds and drapes work best for large windows.

3. Distance between each window in the room: Think about the space between each window. If they are too close to each other you might not want to cover the entire all with drapes, blinds or shades might work best.

4. Overall deco theme of room: duh!

5. Ease in cleaning

6. And last but not least- you have to like them!!

I have been doing a lot of research on window treatments. When you have over 15 windows to cover in a house, doing your homework is pretty important. You will be surprised to see that sometimes it IS possible to get what you want in a tiny budget. Key is allocation of the budget (but you knew that).

I investigated the usual suspects – like Pottery Barn, West Elm, Ikea, Home Depot, Next Day Blinds, even treatments by Kravet and Schumacher (tongue in cheek). But I found a great source in The Shade Store. They have a much better selection than Ikea, HD and NDB and more affordable than Kravet and Schumacher.

The Shade Store also offers helpful tools to measure and install window treatments. Here’s some eye candy that you might think about introducing to your home.

The Shade Store

The Shade Store

The Shade Store

The Shade Store

The Shade Store

The Shade Store

The Shade Store

While they have been online retailers for a while now, they are expanding beyond online stores. They just opened their second store in Manhattan – The Design Pod, 989 Third Avenue — between 58th & 59th St., next to the D&D Building.

The DESIGN POD is an efficient design center where shoppers and designers can get instant access to The Shade Store’s complete, exclusive window treatment collections including the latest designer introductions from Chilewich and DwellStudio. Wall-to-wall, ceiling-to-floor installations showcase custom window shades, blinds, drapery, panel systems and accessories. On-site design consultations, a full library of take-away fabric/material swatches, and order-ready computer stations carefully choreograph the modern consumer’s efficient, design-savvy shopping experience.

They also opened their first flagship store in San Francisco to cater to the prominent west coast market. The Shade Store San Francisco, is located at 1932 Fillmore Street.

SF shade store

Oh and here is the surprise. Mochatini readers get free shipping and 10% off the treatments at The Shade Store.

You can click on the link on the right or type in code mochatini when you check out. Now dress those windows up!! Repeat steps 1-4.

What kind of window treatments do you have? Do you prefer blinds over shades, shades over drapes, draper over both? How long have you had the same window treatments?

I’m off to the big bad Dubai for a week. I’m looking forward to spending much needed time with parents. Can’t promise to post while I’m there but certainly will bring tons to post about back with me.

images courtesy The Shade Store

Habitat – Store Spotted – On the Other Side of the Pond

A friend and Mochatini reader, Sparrow recently sent me the link to Habitat. And I’m so glad she did because I found the perfect light fixture that I was looking for!!! I was on the hunt for a modern chandelier / ceiling light fixture for my house for a really long time. It was an like an irrational craving for something like this which started even before we decided to look for a house. What can I say?

Their Autumn/Fall collection had me drooling over the keyboard. Cool and Groovy is what a young furniture designer and restaurateur, Terence Conran, was trying to bring in while kicking heavy, dark furniture out.

He had created a revolutionary concept, offering to the ‘young moderns’ a democratic ideal of contemporary design at affordable prices. Shopping as entertainment, furniture and home accessories from all over the world, mixing the love of ones home with the joy of colour, food, art and all the good things in life – Habitat had invented the thing we now call Lifestyle.



Notice the gorgeous chandelier like light fixture? How can you not? Isn’t it gorgeous?? Its called Verona and its an absolute Manvi – “must have”! They have them in a couple of styles. The one I want (44 lights) is like 2300pounds, so it will have to wait for it. 🙁 But the single and 12 light ones are very affordable.









Habitat has stores all over the UK and France and affiliates in other European countries. Another store they will have to pull me out of when I’m in England next. Thanks Sparrow for the link and introducing Habitat to Mochatini readers.

Project: Basement Kitchen – The Story Thus Far

The project outline: Kitchen face-lift to create a more open, attractive and functional kitchen space.

Tasks: Painting, countertop, backsplash, cabinets……….

I am really enjoying redoing the basement kitchen. I love designing, creating, working with my hands and it is a fun team activity. ( Paul and me) You would think that finding the energy for a project like this, would be hard. What with full days of work, blogging, social commitments, chores (umm, I do some chores, I think) and a zillion other tasks, it is next to impossible to stay on course. But you know, so far I love it. Despite it being physical in nature, I find remodeling and decorating relaxing.

I want this space to be one of those efficiency kitchens that also doubles as a bar and buffet area for parties. Clean, defined, welcoming

The budget for this project is very limited (under 350$) and we are doing a good job so far keeping it well under that.


I wanted to paint the cabinets to a shade of white. I used a spray paint shade called heirloom white. It has a nice antique white look. I was quite happy with the contrast and softness this shade of paint added to the cabinets. I couldn’t wait to see how these would look with my new countertop. I had my heart set on a butcher’s block but the real deal is far too expensive and I wanted to keep the entire cost for the countertop under $100.


I found the perfect one I was looking for at Ikea. PRAGEL laminate countertops that are moisture, stain and heat resistant. In Walnut finish for only $39 for a 49″ slab.

Yanking out the old countertop using a crowbar was such a fun and liberating activity. I was amazed at how easily I was able to remove the old countertop. After sawing and sizing the new PRAGEL, I wanted to see how they looked before doing anything more. So we placed the new countertops on the cabinets.

Basement Kitchen

Basement Kitchen

Guess what? It didn’t quite go with the cabinets. While I liked the softness and contrast the heirloom white added, together the look was just not happening for me. To complete the look that I have in mind, I decided to paint the entire cabinets in heirloom white. The electric stove in this kitchen is also white and the hood is creamish yellow (yuk!). I am researching how to paint the hood to match the stove.

When redesigning and remodeling, I tend to take time outs to look at the space and progress thus far. I think it helps me evaluate if I am going in the right direction. A lot of times, it all works beautifully on paper, but looks very different in reality. In one of those time-outs, something about the space was still bothering me. I felt it was not as airy and open with the wall cabinets. The room appeared to be dominated by them.

A few minutes of power drill action later I was really glad with the outcome. The room looked more open and welcoming sans wall cabinets. I plan to install floating shelves and some hanging organizers from Ikea like these.

Hanging Rods and S-hooks

hanging dish rack

The funnest part so far was creating the backsplash.

Basement Kitchen

I found the perfect 2″ ceramic tiles at Home Depot for under 3$ a sq. ft. I highly recommend using the premixed mortar and grout. They make tiling more efficient and easy.

Basement Kitchen


This is how the kitchen looks as of last night. What do you think?

Pending tasks:

  • We ran out of the tiles to complete the border around the countertop. Item on Home Depot list.
  • Grouting. We have to wait 24-36 hours before grouting.
  • Painting entire cabinets
  • Painting the wall
  • Paint the hood
  • Find hood vent cover. I am looking for something acrylic or stainless steel to cover the top portion of the hood
  • Installing shelves and rods for organizing
  • Find appropriate photograph to use as art in this space
  • Install countertop ( we have placed them on the cabinets to help design the room, but it is one of the last things to install)
  • Lighting. I need to find small accent lights to complete the makeover

Posts on Mochatini to be on the look out for:

Entire kitchen makeover costs and break down – along with techniques and tips.

How to plan highly economic upgrades to kitchens.

How to install tiles and you can’t believe how easy it is.

Creative organizing using Ikea rod/Shook combos around the house

And: Reader questions on kitchen makeovers.


2008 AIA|DC Chapter Awards – Sustainable Features in Boundary Waters Cabin

AIA | DC 2008 Awards

The American Institute of Architects, DC chapter selected 37 projects for design awards on September 19, 2008. The award ceremony will be held on October 30, 3008. This event will honor the winners of the 2008 AIA/DC Chapter Design Awards; the 2008 Glenn Brown Award; the 2008 Pro Bono Publico Design Award; the 2008 John Wiebenson Award for Architecture in the Public Interest; and the 2008 AIA Fellows. More details on the event can be found here.

I am impressed with most of the entries and want to introduce them to you, my lovely Mochatini readers. As much as I would like to feature all the winners, that might not be possible. I decided to feature as many as I can leading up to the awards gala.

Here is the first of many – Presidential Citation for Sustainable Design: Boundary Waters Cabin, Minnesota

Boundary Waters Cabin

Boundary Waters Cabin

Boundary Waters Cabin

Some interesting facts about this winning design:

Ecology and Site Planning
From the out set the design and site planning were geared toward retaining and preserving the wildness of the property. Careful analysis of the plantings, trees, root systems, rock formations and fissures strongly influenced the placement of the cabin. Of the slow growing vegetation only one moderate sized healthy Red Pine needed clearing. The builder restricted his staging area and cordoned off drip lines to protect other trees on the property, a very unusual practice in northern Minnesota that earned the owner’s the moniker “the environmentalists.” In the end the cabin looked like it was air lifted into place with minimal site disturbance.

The Structure

  • Though not following the LEED certification process the cabin structure itself contains many sustainable features.
  • Windows are Loewen’s HP3 triple glazed clad wood with an average u-factor of .21 and are built 350 miles from the site. They are suitable for Canadian arctic zone 3 and are fitting where average January temperatures are a high of 14°F and a low —9°F and where 300 is not uncommon.
  • Hyper efficient Icynene spray foam insulation is in the walls, ceilings and floors.
  • The Birch trim was milled locally.
  • The carpenter built all the Birch cabinetry.
  • The beams supporting the cantilevered screen porch are from Duluth Timber a wood salvage company 100 miles away in Duluth.
  • 70% of the floor area is colored concrete with embedded radiant heat. The remainder of the floor is Bamboo with a sub-floor attached radiant system.
  • The seven-zone radiant heat system allows the cabin to be kept at a lower overall temperature.
  • The efficient Scan wood stove takes the chill out on cool days and reduces the heating need during the shoulder seasons. Wood burning is carbon neutral.
  • All household appliances are energy star including the gas boiler for heat and hot water.
  • The variable speed air exchanger keeps the interior air fresh and healthy when the cabin is sealed tight.
  • All plumbing fixtures are low flow reducing the septic field impact on the site. All of these features are unobtrusive, add to the comfort of the cabin, and required no extraordinary measures. It shows how the move toward sustainability can be easy and not necessitate perceived compromises in life style.

Watch this space for more award winners.

Happy Columbus Day!