• Pause for Thought!

    Posted on 9th January 2012 by Jules.

    Once all the frivolity of the festive season has died down, if you are anything like me, you will be sitting there thinking of all the New Years resolutions you will be making, and most likely breaking! If you have a busy life, as most of us do these days, then generally Christmas time is the only time of year we may be at home, allegedly relaxing!  Historically, it as this point we start to make plans for the year ahead, whether it is holidays or home improvements. If you have a home improvement project planned for 2012, then it is never too early to start contemplating the types of furniture and finishes you intend to incorporate.  As an Interior Designer, I see the same mistakes made time and time again, where Clients have not planned early enough in advance. When designing a lighting scheme, it is vital that you know what you will be lighting and where it will be positioned.  For instance, in a Dining Room, usually one would position the decorative and task lighting directly over the dining table, then the decorative and mood lighting positioned accordingly.  If little thought goes in to this aspect early on, the electrician will automatically position the lighting cable at first fix stage, in the centre of the ceiling.  The table may not require a central position once the storage and other furniture are included, so floor layouts play a huge part in design, even at first fix electrical stage. We encounter this kind of oversight on a daily basis at Controliss blinds.  Our 240v remote control blinds require a switched fuse spur to be installed remotely, from the window.  The feed from the spur then runs up to the top of the window reveal, for connection to the roller blind motor on installation.  The introduction of this fuse spur and feed should be done pre-plaster stage to avoid consequential damage by having to install retrospectively. If you have the facility within your project, it is well worth considering how you can conceal the roller tube and brackets.  Many of our customers, particularly Architects and Designers will make provision to recess the blind tubes within the ceiling recess, or within a stud wall cavity. If you are fitting our 240V electric blinds at a later stage in your project, we are able to offer a very stylish concealed headrail system, called a Contour Cassette system.  This system houses the roller blind, and conceals the fixings within, so the result is streamlined and sophisticated, the epitome of design finesse! Our customer service team are always available to offer advice on fabric choices and methods of integration. So if you are currently sitting back, full to the brim with turkey, contemplating your interior projects for 2012, spare a thought for not simply what you wish to achieve, but how!

    This Post was posted in Interior Design and was tagged with blinds, cassette, contour, control, electric, interior, remote, roller blind

  • Pink in Sync

    Posted on 5th December 2011 by Chris.

    For most people, using the colour pink in the home would only seem appropriate for a girl or woman's room, but pink has positive psychological effects that make it well worth incorporating into a home for any gender. In the early 1900s, pink was actually considered to be the preferred colour to dress young boys because of it being a tint of red, which was regarded as an aggressive and, therefore, more masculine colour. Blue was believed to be the suitable colour in which to dress young girls, but, since the 1940s, this practice has been inverted. While pink can be used to create an amazing bedroom or other space intended for use, in the main, by a young girl/girls, it could equally be used to establish a powerfully soothing area in the home. The colour's advantageous influences are that of physical tranquillity, nurture, warmth and love. It has even been proven to be capable of encouraging friendless and discouraging aggression, with numerous uses in prison holding cells – including the inmates' clothing - generating positive results. When used with creams and hints of charcoal or black, a pastel pink can impart a more opulent character, instead of giving a room a more effeminate look. Controliss remote control Roller blinds are available with varying shades and textures of pink and cream coloured fabrics, that would provide the ideal finish in the continuation of a cream-based décor and also as a luxuriously convenient accessory to grant more privacy in the room.

    Harlequin's Vine Pink Rug or the Sultana Table Lamp by Currey & Company are just two examples of products that would subtly incorporate the necessary pink colour into a more classically themed room without being too overpowering. If the room you wish to introduce the colour into has a more contemporary trend, the Ligne Roset Confluences Sofa Group is available as a 4-seat settee, in assorted shades of pink, that can be disassembled and put back together in an utterly original, puzzle-like style. This design could prove more functional than a standard settee, and of course, it is unlikely that you know anyone who has anything similar. For those who cherish all things pink, there are innumerable home wares and accessories that are available to bring all hues of the colour into your home, from the soft, baby pinks to the bright and sickly. Whereas, for those who have aspiration to make use of the colour, but do not want it to be overwhelming, products can be bought that blend it with more neutral colours to allow the pink to modestly sweeten the mood created within a room.

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    This Post was posted in Colour & Design and was tagged with accessories, blinds, colour, controliss, home, interior, pink, roller, room

  • All Work and No Play

    Posted on 18th October 2011 by Jules.

    As resident Interior Designer here at Controliss Blinds, I dutifully volunteered to attend the UK's premier Interior design Show a couple of weeks ago!  Obviously I would rather have stayed in the office, but somebody needed to go to Decorex 2011, held at the Royal Hospital in Chelsea from 25-28th September, to take in all of the exciting new trends for the coming season! Decorex  is an exclusive interior design show for professionals and hails the annual pilgrimage for Retail Buyers, Interior Designers and Contractors alike. The Shows foyer was designed by renowned Interior designer Nicky Haslam; the theme was based around a mythological theatre set, and what a spectacular it was!  It was like a fantastical dreamland that merely alluded to the delights within!! There was such a broad spectrum of both inspirational and aspirational products being exhibited, but I was particularly taken with the lighting displays. One Company that particularly stood out for me was Serip, a Portugese company.  Their display of contemporary chandeliers was so dramatic, visitors were stopping to take photographs. Another stand that was particularly eye-catching was the Peneplope Batly Jewellery collection of lighting; giant, oversized illuminated pieces of jewellery, I felt like Alice in Wonderland, or was that just the champagne!! When I finally dragged myself out of Martin Hulberts Champagne Bar, (I was only there for research purposes!) I found my way in to the realms of Home Automation.  Now there is a topic at the forefront of design and technology.  I won't pretend to know all about it, but I do know that it is the way forward for all of us!  I think it will become as accessible and natural to us as the iPod is! Currently, many high-end projects incorporate Smart Home Technology; where a single 'operating system' such as Control 4, Lutron, Crestron, Rako and KNX controls multi media systems, lighting schemes, security and of course motorised blinds and curtain track operation.  It is an ongoing race to keep up to speed with this kind of technology, I am fortunate in that the Technical Support Team at Controliss can decipher all the jargon for me. At Controliss we have had remote control blinds for some time, both battery operated and 240V mains powered.  If you aren't aware already, we supply many different types of Remote Control options, from the simple Air 1 which is single channel remote control that can be programmed to control a number of roller blinds simultaneously as a group while for the ultimate in wireless control, with the benefit of advanced security features, we offer a programmable 7 day digital timer to operate individual, or groups of blinds at your chosen times of day, entirely automatically. The invaluable timer feature provides peace of mind, as it re-creates the illusion of occupancy in a vacant property. Our Controliss Technicians are now able to offer tailor-made solutions to ensure total integration of our motorised blinds and curtain tracks into any of the major home automation companies, which as a Designer is brilliant for me.  The more streamlined and automated, the various systems within a property have the potential to be,  the more our clients strive to incorporate them within their property, the possibilities are endless! Having extolled the virtues of technology, discretely integrating these wonderful systems and appliances can be trying to say the least!  My goodness, how much 'hardware' do we now have to accommodate, whilst still attempting to retain 'the look' within any given scheme! It is a constant challenge as an Interior Designer to conceal, sub-woofers, sky boxes, speakers and the like, but getting back to the Decorex Show, I came across an exhibitor presenting invisible speakers. Eureka!  I have seen them advertised, but have always doubted their sound quality and consequently dismissed them.  The Company exhibiting these revolutionary speakers was Kensington Home Technology, I have to say that I was impressed with their sound quality almost as much as their discretion, well worth considering! In terms of concealing the mechanism of our Controliss motorised blinds, there are several options worth mentioning.  There is no need to worry about where to install the motor, as the whisper quiet motors are already integrated within the blinds core tube. If you have the facility to introduce remote control blinds, it is even more impressive if the source is hidden, and the blind simply appears from a decorative pelmet which co-ordinates with the room scheme.  Even more impressive is if the ceiling is lowered or a stud wall cavity is created, the blind cassette then becomes totally invisible! Basically, we need not be intimidated by technology; as it is inherent in our lives today, whether we embrace it or not.  I suggest we trust in technology and enjoy the benefits and convenience of all that we can achieve with it. We should be mindful of the overall aesthetics of what we are creating, if it detracts from the 'wow' that is created by remote controlled devices, then it can't also be called beautiful!!

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    This Post was posted in Interior Design and was tagged with blinds, control, Decorex, designer, Home Automation, interior, Motorised Blinds, remote, technology

  • What Will You Add When You Use CAD?

    Posted on 12th June 2011 by Chris.

    If you're thinking about remodelling your home or even just an individual room, it is widely recommended that you have a floor plan drawn up before you make any drastic changes. In the past, whenever you wanted to make major changes to your rooms, such as, knocking some walls through or adding an extension and deciding where items like bookcases, tables, seating, maybe even window blinds will go; you would have had to take out a pencil, ruler and eraser to sketch your plan on graph paper in order to get an idea of how it will look. Or you could have enlisted a professional architect or engineer, who, for decades, have been using computer-aided design (CAD) software to draw up accurate floor plans. Early CAD programs were designed for professional, large scale projects and so would have been difficult for non-professionals to access and, not to mention, expensive if it was only to be used for a single house. Today, however, you can purchase and download software to your PC that is designed to be easy to use by anyone wanting to transform their home or rooms. These programs are available in the form of a CD-ROM or downloadable from a publisher's website, many of which will offer a free demo to give you a limited trial of the program to help you decide whether you want to purchase a full floor plan design suite. The advantage of using a CAD software package to plan your renovation, as opposed to on paper, is that the latest programs can all show a 2D and 3D model of your design and offer a choice of 1000s of furnishings, designs and textures to apply to the room. This presents the most ideal view of your ideas, and will let you play around with colours and styles, without implementing any physical changes to your actual house. Software developers offer various subscriptions for their design tools to allow customers to choose the version that will fulfil their needs without spending more for features that they will never need. For many simple projects, the free online programs, despite the limits placed on them, may suffice in creating a design for your space and choosing the best possible layout; without making any payments for a professional or a full design suite. For example, at, there is a version of their design product available that will allow you to create one plan without charge. Once you have established the style and colours you want for your interior, don't forget that Controliss blinds offers free samples of wood, roller, venetian and vertical blinds. While CAD software can be used to produce a wonderful overall virtual design, our free samples will allow you to get a genuine feel for the physical texture and properties of our materials. For instance, if you order a fabric sample, you can hold it up to the sun light to comprehend how it will look when the sun is shining through your windows, something no design program is currently capable of showing you.

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    This Post was posted in Interior Design and was tagged with blinds, CAD, controliss, design, home, interior, interior design, plan, window

  • Italian Quirk and Design

    Posted on 19th May 2011 by Andy.

    Staying at a friend’s house over the weekend, I noticed they had a few pieces from Alessi, the contemporary Italian design company, which really caught my eye, mainly because of the colour and shapes and the amusement of me trying to work out what exactly they did. When you think of Italian design you might think of beautiful flowing lines, bright colours, luxury and of course passion and that is exactly what Alessi achieve with a post-modern eye.  Alessi have been creating designer kitchen utensils and other products since the 1980’s. Making something simple like a spoon, something of beauty and high end design.  If you had a keen eye for design you were probably the proud owner of the Whistling Bird Kettle or the Juicy Salif Orange Juicer on legs. These were and still are iconic pieces that everyone recognises.

    Alessi started in the 1920's making eating and drinking utensils out of metal. More and more of the Alessi family joined as designers and architects joining the company to produce some of the most iconic pieces of design in history, which have now become collectors items. Today Alessi produce items for the kitchen, bar and café, electrical items and other quirky pieces.  Strange and beautiful and almost a toy like quality to play with, like this Bird Soy Sauce Bottle.

    So I finally discovered what the pieces that my friend owned are, one was the Anna Cheese Grater, and then there is the Parrot Cork Screw which is brilliant and quite obvious what it does. And finally I find this…

    It took me ages to work out exactly what it is, well it’s the Stefano Giovannoni designed Lilliput salt and pepper set! The little orange guys have magnetic feet and the salt or pepper comes out of their eyes! So random but so great. What I love about Alessi is that you can have just a few key pieces in the home, they are incredibly clever design and great talking points, because of their sleek design and bright colours.  Now I’ve worked out what these pieces did exactly I think I might invest in some Alessi bits, they’re a great gift for someone who appreciates quirky pieces and good design.

    This Post was posted in Designers and was tagged with Alessi, design, home, iconic, interior, interior design, Italian

  • British Design Icon: Christopher Guy

    Posted on 24th February 2011 by yasmin.

    Christopher Guy Harrison is a British furniture designer icon of whom was born on September 3rd 1960 in Britain, raised in Spain and France and now resides in Singapore. This change in cultures early on in his life and to this day is perhaps where his design inspirations come from, Harrison is world famous for combining modernism with classicism in his designs, creating luxury pieces of furniture that transcend international boundaries. Originally known for designing a vast collection of decorative mirrors, the Christopher Guy Harrison brand now incorporates upholstery, tables, chairs, sofas, office furniture and headboards.

    Perhaps one of Harrison’s most famous designs is the Patented Chris-X (pronounced as Kris-Kros) leg design. According to Harrison himself, the inspiration for this piece of furniture was inspired by the corseted waist-line of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind as well as the crossed legs of a classically poised ballerina. This leg design really is a modern day marvel which also oozes classicism and is very popular in the USA, China and across Europe. This unique design is widely seen throughout his collections as he believes it is ‘simple, sophisticated and flexible’. In 2004 Christopher Guy Harrison was applauded for his stunning designs when he received the ‘Outstanding Design’ award by the British Interior Design Association in 2004. As well as this British Award, in 2011 The World Market Centre in Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Design Centre named Christopher Guy Harrison as the ‘2011 Design Icon’. Christopher has designed interiors for some of the most famous hotels in the world, his portfolio of clients include The Mayfair Hotel in London, The Trump Plaza in New York, The Four Seasons Worldwide and even Harrods. Perhaps even more impressive than this, he has designed interiors for such movie sets as; The Mummy, Casino Royal and the Thomas Crown Affair. With such an impressive portfolio, as well as uniquely designed masterpieces, it’s no wonder that Christopher Guy Harrison has become the British design icon that he is. Sir, we salute you!

    This Post was posted in Best of British and was tagged with British Design, Chistopher Guy, design icon, furniture, interior

  • Lighten Up Your Interior Space

    Posted on 9th January 2011 by yasmin.

    Ever wanted a bigger living space? Well stop wanting and start getting, if a bigger house just is not an option then why not transform the living space that you already have. You really can elongate a space by using clever tactics to deceive your room into looking bigger. Here I've outlined for you a number of small cost effective steps you can take in order to make your living space appear bigger than it actually is! Flooring - By using light wooden flooring consistently throughout a downstairs space creates a sense of continuity and makes a space appear more open-plan. Alternatively you could use a light coloured subtle carpet as this may create the same effect, but not to the same extent. Walls - If you only have a small downstairs living space then it would be advisable to stay away from dark coloured walls  and busily patterned wallpapers all over, as this will only make your room appear darker and more boxed in. Instead go for a light palette of soft pastel colours. Mirror image - Add width to a small room with the strategic placement of mirrors. The most cost efficient and conveneient way to change the appearance of a room is to add a mirror. Whether it be a dramatically framed, classically cut mirror or a abstract shaped contemporary mirror, it really will change the shape and appearance of your chosen room. You see, the thing with mirrors is that they make a space appear bigger than it actually is, changing your room in an instant. Let there be light - As with your wallpaper, your windows should not be dressed too darkly. The lighter you dress your window, the lighter your room will be and so the bigger the space will appear. Using contemporary light plain roller blinds fabrics like the Controliss Oscuro Cream roller blind, this will block out the street lamps at night, but will appear bright enough in the day. Alternatively you could go for our Textura roller fabrics for a cooler effect. So there you have it, four simple ways to make your living space appear bigger, good luck!

    This Post was posted in Interior Design and was tagged with blinds, design, fabrics, interior, light, roller, room, space, window

  • Introduce Some Vintage Sheek

    Posted on 8th January 2011 by yasmin.

    Has your home forever been screaming out for that vintage touch? But maybe you don’t quite know how to adopt the look? Well don’t fear, just simply take note of these little ideas that will be sure to add a touch of vintage to your home, without breaking the bank! Adding vintage touches doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to trawl pretty little boutiques and stores looking for the perfect accessories. No instead I would first advise you to look closer to home; after all vintage sheek is exactly that ‘vintage’. Why not take a sneaky rummage through your parent’s old treasures; you never know what you might find, a cool old print or a vintage tin cup that would look perfect holding your toothbrush. Or why not take inspiration from your own house and sand down and paint that old dusty mirror that has been in the garage for close to ten years! If you are lucky enough to be in possession of a large bedroom or bathroom then an ornate dressing table is the ultimate in traditional vintage chic. This doesn’t have to be expensive; however, you don’t have to order a nineteenth century dressing table. No instead why not seek out your nearest auction room or furniture flea market; there are definite bargains to be had in these places and you will be sure that the pieces will be vintage. If you already have the furniture, but what to add a vintage touch to your upholstery’s then fear not.  Vintage chick can be whatever you want it to be, however, when I personally think vintage I think of pastel colours. If this idea matches your palette then why not add that cottage vintage look to your home via our Liso Petal Bloom roller blinds , or alternatively our less girly textured woven roller fabric; Textura Myth. Both will create the perfect back drop for that vintage-esque home. Besides from window dressing why not add vintage touches via materials, textures, patterns and fabrics? The rose print has always been a vintage favourite as has lace and frills. The choices are endless, so why not add a touch of vintage to your home?

    This Post was posted in Interior Design and was tagged with bathroom, home, interior, roller blinds, room, vintage

  • Punk Pretty

    Posted on 16th December 2010 by yasmin.

    Want your house/apartment to be pretty yet still have an edge about it. Well why not try the punk look? It’s original, fun-loving, free-spirited, pretty and feminine with that added edge all rolled into one! This for me is one of the most exciting aspects of decor, creating something totally unique that has your very own stamp on it, so why not read on and give it a go? Simple yet naughty are the staple keys to this uber stylish look. You need to make sure that your original decor such as your walls, floors, curtains and blinds are simple and feminine and then the extra edge is added with the cool accessories and furniture of which you can then add into the mix at a later stage. You don’t have to go for an entirely white/neutral coloured space here, aim for simplicity but don’t over-aim for it, punk is a free- spirited creation, so remember it’s based on the notion of ‘each to their own’. I would choose a white backdrop with maybe a contrasting coloured carpet, or even wooden flooring. I would use the same principal for the blinds, perhaps our electric Roller blinds in one colour to proceed the edge but not overtake it as you want your accessories to do the talking.  Or you could always match your blind to your wooden flooring with our great range of wood blinds. And now for the added edge. As I have previously stated punk is all about self-creation. However, the best properties that I have seen of which I believe have that added edge are those who have centred their rooms around funky accessories such as artwork, strange furniture and other ‘out there’ accessories. Or you could even add vintage to the mix. It is your creation so go for it. So go on, punk it up, I dare you!

    This Post was posted in Interior Design and was tagged with accessories, blinds, Colour & Design, colours, interior, interior design

  • How to Organise Your Kitchen

    Posted on 6th December 2010 by jenny.

    The kitchen has been called the heart of the home for a good reason. Pierre-Charles Monselet touched on a truth when he said, "Ponder well on this point: the pleasant hours of our life are all connected by a more or less tangible link, with some memory of the table." Since almost all household activities are centred in this area, it’s no wonder that the kitchen can be the repository for clutter and other items. How many times have you spent precious minutes rummaging for a measuring cup or a filleting knife? An organised kitchen will save you more time for the finer things in life, such as cooking and dining with family and friends. Before you head to the shops to get all kinds of fancy storage containers and shelves, it’s better to declutter your kitchen and remove any unnecessary kitchen appliance or utensil. Be drastic and be brutally honest about which items you use most often. Remove anything that you have rarely used, no matter how expensive they are. You may have a family member or friend who can put that pasta maker to good use. Sometimes, you may find you have more than two of everything and these have to go, too. If you have thoroughly decluttered, you will reduce the need for more storage. After you have decluttered, divide your kitchen into activity centres. You can have an area for food storage, food preparation, cooking, baking, serving, cleaning, and waste disposal. You can keep items in the areas where they are needed or used. For example, the food preparation area could have a drawer with knives and a chopping board. The cooking area is where the pots and pans are found. The waste disposal area should be near the food preparation and cleaning areas. After you have designated the areas and arranged the related kitchen items on each, you can tackle the paperwork that almost always collect in every kitchen. First, decide on whether you want to designate a paper-sorting centre away from the kitchen. If you decide to keep the area in the kitchen, make a place for it and make it as tidy as possible. When you have already arranged your kitchen, make sure to clean as you go about your work. A little cleaning here and there is more manageable than a major cleanup done once a week. Make every effort to keep things in place and to declutter once in a while. Then you’ll a kitchen where you can cook and clean and have wonderful meals with your family without frustration or stress.

    This Post was posted in General Posts and was tagged with home, interior, kitchen

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