Windows by Design
BY HOLLIE NIBLETT
A friend of a friend. That’s how it all started for Genia Stenseth about ten years ago, when she was first referred as a designer for a home in Oklahoma City.
Although her degree is in marketing, she always had an eye and a passion for design. Following this passion, Stenseth is now a full-service professional designer and owner of Interior Concepts by Genia.
“People are sometimes reluctant to call a design professional,” says Stenseth. She understands that those on a budget often feel they need to be their own designer, but she stresses how affordable it actually is to hire a professional, even if on a short-term consulting basis. She believes that getting something done right the first time is usually the most affordable in the long-run.
Prior to tackling the design elements of a window or a home, Stenseth first gets to know her client. “Before I determine a design, I get a feel for the homeowner’s personality, interests, aesthetic and how they want to use their home. Are they wanting to evoke a beautiful and orderly look, or one inviting and comfortable? There are so many different functional aspects.”
She takes into consideration four basic elements when approaching a design: functionality, scale, balance and texture. Window treatments have their own practical issues, and these needs must be addressed before the artistry and design elements come into play. For instance, window treatments may need to block the bright sun, provide privacy, absorb sound. Or, are aesthetics the most important? Is street view an issue? Sometimes it’s all of these.
“Sofas, beds and windows are the largest and most dramatic elements in a room,” says Stenseth. Window treatments, accessories and paint are just a few of the tools she uses to create the stage for the overall desired effect.
“High quality fabric is very important and will have the biggest impact on overall effect,” she stresses. “But the fabric has to solve the practical issues of the room first.”
When considering draperies, it’s important to keep in mind the length, width and type of heading. She also looks at the details and construction of the fabric. As a professional designer, she has a workroom at her disposal. For the client, this means they will be getting the perfect fabric, constructed to their unique specifications and needs with details not available in ready-made products. Products constructed in a workroom such as hers are of high quality and last for years.
Because the fabric choice has such a strong visual impact on the room, Stenseth usually recommends a plain, simple fabric for the windows, saving busy fabric for smaller items such as pillows or small pieces of furniture. “Busy fabric can date or dominate a room, so I add color through the trims or tassels because it’s such a small part and can be switched out easily.”
To ensure she chooses the perfect fabric for a window, she will look at it in different lighting. She also pays close attention to how the fabric performs: how it looks when hanging, drawn or pleated. The quality of the hardware is also a consideration. Custom, professional-grade hardware is superior quality and actually not much more than those found in common retail stores.
“Window treatments can also give the impression of height and proportion or make a focal point,” she says. Stenseth hangs curtains higher to make a window appear larger. Or, to give the impression of width, she hangs them beyond the window, giving the illusion of width.
And panels aren’t just for windows. Where a window frames a room, draperies can serve to frame an interior space. “Curtains can create a dramatic effect in the double door openings between rooms inside the house,” she says. In these instances, she drapes the curtains with tie-backs, which adds a look of drama to a room.
Stenseth also frequently utilizes curtains in outdoor living spaces, as the outside surfaces tend to be “hard.” “Drapery can soften the overall effect.” For outdoors, she uses a special indoor/outdoor fabric that is treated and won’t easily fade in the sun in addition to being mildew resistant.
Why all this attention to detail? Simply put, Stenseth operates under the philosophy that quality materials and craftsmanship are beautiful and long-lasting. “That in itself will create a beautiful and inviting home.” We can’t argue with that.
Interior Concepts provides full-service design consulting and services. Genia can be reached at (405) 414-4066 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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