Tag Archives: Set Design Free


Design is a Journey of Discovery

When designing, there often seems to be more involved than when you first start or plan out the project. Your original intention may be swayed due to a complication that you didn’t see coming. Any preconceived notions that existed about the end goal could be literally tossed away, all because you discovered something! Whether from a mistake, intuition, or just pure impulse, some of the best designs and products in history have been brought about because of these things. Design truly is a journey of discovery, and it’s a different journey every time.Design-is-a-Journey-of-Discovery2

One of the most memorable discoveries was when a 3M researcher was attempting to create a stronger adhesive, when in fact he ended up creating a weaker one that is perfect for temporary notes, which we now know as Post-it notes! The design certainly didn’t come out as planned, but through that discovery the end product – although it turned out different – still turned out to be a success!

An important thing to remember about your journey is to take its lessons to heart. The only way to discovery is if you do not repeat the same mistakes as earlier in your journey. Knowing what does and does not work, and when to start over, is a very important trait to have as a designer. Taking different paths on your journey is what will help shape not only your designs, but yourself as a designer.

If you find yourself at a fork in the path of creativity or even an enormous hurdle, have faith in knowing that discovery is all around you. Observe your surroundings and gain knowledge from a new culture. Share your ideas with a trusted source and get feedback that you can really immerse yourself in and use on your journey. Design-is-a-Journey-of-DiscoveryFinally, make sure to respect your journey and the path you are on in design. Not everything will be as easy as it should be, but knowing this will make sure you don’t miss the discoveries that right around every corner.


Design Inspiration: Color Blocking

Making a statement is a major factor in our industry and there are many ways to go about it. Interior designers and manufacturers are constantly being inundated with information about trends, new products and new processes every day. Choosing the best option for your project or design is an entirely separate process in and of itself, but one style that is very easy to work with and has been around for some time now is Color Blocking.smaller_bigstock-Modern-Drawing-Room-4978740

If you were to define color blocking, a simple explanation would be using two or more solid colors, which can be from the same palette or not, in one design…that is pretty much it! The only other rule to remember, but not necessarily live by, is that color blocking does not employ the use of patterns very often, if at all. A pattern incorporated into a color blocked design would pull away from the overall effect of showing off the large expanses of expertly coordinated colors. If you need help establishing your color story or palette, take a look at our post with tips on creating one.smaller_Chanson-Chenille

While a lot of color blocked designs typically embody bright and often primary hues, that doesn’t mean it is the only way to integrate this style into your design. The key to color blocking is contrast. It is okay to have different shades of the same color next to each other, as long as they are distinct enough to not give the illusion of it being all one color or a gradient.

Wondering about ways you can use color blocking without it overwhelming your entire design? As mentioned before, don’t be afraid to mix up the colors you are using. They can be all bright primaries or soft and muted. Sometimes these colors even look great together, like a bright cheery yellow mixed with soothing tonal grays. Color_Blocking_blog-600x600You can also pick a specific place in the room to show off some color blocking. Make a sitting area with color blocked fabrics and furniture and pillows, a tabletop with colorful plates and utensils, or try arranging books and magazines based on the colors of their covers or spines. If color blocking still sounds a little too over the top, try painting just one wall in a room with a bright accent color and see how everything else in the area instantly pops! Color is literally everywhere and it is up to you to decide how to use it in the best way to make your statement.

resized IMG_6469

A Round of Applause! A BDNY Re-Cap

“The glamour of it all! New York! America!” This quote from the great entertainer himself Charlie Chaplin says what this country is made of: Glamour, glitz, and all that jazz.

A paragon of this is the Boutique Design New York Trade Show that was held this past weekend at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York. With surprises around every corner, BDNY was a spectacular show that amazed not only one but all that were in attendance. The overall show was a great success and surely deserved a standing ovation.

resized IMG_6469

Exhibitors near and far joined in Midtown Manhattan to showcase what new and exciting innovations they have to offer to the Hospitality Industry. The ambiance was electric. Fresh new ideas and collaboration was happening everywhere. There was a sense of family that covered the show floor as people said hello to each other like it was a Boutique Design family reunion. The crowd was sincere and welcoming to new friends as well. There were so many new faces with eager eyes to find out what accomplishments were achieved throughout the past year to reach these great heights of design.

An illustration of collaboration lied within the Inspired Spaces. Each one offered a completely different complex design, yet all of them had the end result of expressing exuberant design and art. It was almost as if each one had taken inspiration from little parts of New York itself: strong bars acting as walls to create a sense of intimacy, artwork creating a theme, and textiles telling a story. Multiple companies from across our industry are able to work together to create these unbelievable settings – all in a matter of months!

Though these companies work together to create beautiful spaces, the only way they truly come to life is by the passion that these individuals have for their work which shines through their products. The attention to detail that all of the exhibitors have is what makes each booth worthy of admiration and taking a second look.

Live exhibitions of creative interaction are an ongoing theme at tradeshows, and they certainly worked quite well at BDNY. Live artists, dancers and even interactive games set the mood and prove that inspiration can truly come from anywhere.


Valley Forge Fabrics would like to give a special thanks to our co-sponsors Meyer Davis, Aqua, Hubbardton Forge, Cheng Meng Furniture, RayDoor, Artline Group, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, and Bang and Olfsen for an amazing display of hard work and dedication to the Bar at BDNY. A huge round of applause for Boutique Design for an amazing show once again; and to all of the other show contributors, your hard work was very well represented and we look forward to doing it all again next year. See you all very soon at BDwest…Cheers!


Color Inspiration: Maize

When you think of the color yellow, what comes to mind? Depending on your experiences with the hue, it could bring forth feelings of optimism and warmth, or scream out “Caution!” Shades of yellow are found in so many places throughout nature and all over the world from flowers to sunsets and fast food chains to gas stations, it can be hard to miss.

It might look like we are referring to the third color of the spectrum yellow, but it’s not just any yellow. This month our color is a gorgeous and unique shade of yellow called Maize!

Maize is more sophisticated and refined than its typical yellow counterpart and is on the verge of becoming golden. It has a long history steeped in culture which begins in Latin America, where life has always been sustained by Maize, or corn.

Maize is an ancient color that brings forth symbolism of strong roots and a well-founded future.


We were instantly drawn to this attractive color because of how accepted it is across the globe. Besides corn, Maize is inspired by structures and antiquities that have stood the test of time, cuisines and unique spices from far off places, and even the many different creatures that inhabit these far off places. The earth itself shows off a beautiful range of Maize colors in its rivers and deltas that are filled with sediment and sand that has traveled many miles.

So, we know that Maize is derived from many distinct places and objects, but how do you go about using it? In its original shade, Maize coordinates with a wide range of hues in the Blue family, from navy to turquoise. Bounce off of these bold colors with light and dark neutrals like off-white and woodsy brown and you have yourself a serene and sophisticated pallet. Other ways to incorporate Maize into your designs is to soften it down just a bit and use it as an accent color throughout the room. The easy pops of color sprinkled about will energize with its positive characteristics.


New Collection: Safi

Wow! 20 years ago Valley Forge first introduced the International Specifier series with one book, and we can’t believe we are now on the 33rd!

Inspired by Morocco’s pottery capital of the same name, Safi has two smooth yet textural patterns that are reminiscent of the various compositions of the ceramics they create there.

First we have Chesney, a heathered texture with a sophisticated mottling effect. The small glimmer evident in Chesney’s weave brings to mind the glint of lightly glazed earthenware with a freshly crackled appearance. Clement, the second pattern in the set is a
natural canvas textile that enhances any design scheme with its subtlety smooth, tight weaves evocative of fresh clay spun from the pottery wheel.HG-IS33-SAFI

Between the two patterns, Safi has over 40 glorious colors to choose from, including a variety of deep and sophisticated hues like merlot to aubergine and cobalt to sapphire. On the lighter end of the spectrum, choose from chartreuse greens, goldenrods, and ochres or greige taupes and ashy greys. The medley of bold, dark colors in this collection mixed with the light help bring the energy and spirit of Safi, Morocco to life; from its vast deserts to lush forests and coasts.

In addition to its beautiful and bold colors, Safi is extremely durable and reaches 100,000 double rubs with a knit backing, as well as passing the Cal 117 fire rating. Use Chesney and Clement for any upholstery spec like a beautiful sofa, luscious headboard, or even a colorful variety of throw pillows.


Refined Filth

Think inside the box this time: How many products do you think can be made out of a card board box?  Typically, a box’s lifecycle begins when someone has to ship something. They make a box, fill it up, and send it on its way. Once it is received and disposed of, what happens next? Did you know that items like a laptop stand, a desk lamp, a phone case or even a clock can be transformed out of a simple cardboard box? There are so many items that are deemed as “one time use” but can be transformed into other products; we just need to come up with new and creative ways to do so!

The difficult part is finding practical ways to showcase these concepts in a more appealing way. Expanding the mind to discover ways to reduce waste can be easy but how does one know the worth of the water before the well is dry? One theory is to bring luxury to the art of trash – bring deco to eco!  As designers, we are the creators of change and we design to inspire ourselves and others. Natural resources are a perfect place to gather fresh inspiration, and if we stay conscious of the consequences of not taking care of our environment, they will be there for us throughout time.

Many companies around the world have discovered ways to bring ethics to aesthetics. It has finally started to make an impression on mass markets across the globe and this is just the beginning! Product_PAge-Sheet_462x272Tencel+Plus™ Lyocell Fibers from Eucalyptus is a prime example of luxury, comfort, and sustainability. The eucalyptus trees come from forests as opposed to farms which require certain levels of pesticides. Eucalyptus trees are known for their quick growth and grow back to full size within just 5 to 8 years. An added benefit is that the actual production process requires 100 times less water than more traditional products like cotton. The use of Eucalyptus trees as a reliable and sustainable fiber source shows us how it is possible to really make a difference by thinking creatively.

The story of Eucalyptus products and Tencel+Plus™ is just one example of how creative thinking can solve almost any problem. Anyone can tell you their own story of what is best for the environment but the truth is, we really need to keep mindful of what resources we are using. Think about what will be disposed of the product after it is used, and how long it will be there.

A Chinese Proverb once said, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now.” Let’s think about tomorrow today, together.


New Release: Ikat Origami

Imagine you’re in Santa Fe, New Mexico gazing out across the desert dunes. What do you see – a lot of sand or something else? What seems like a desolate and obscure place on the surface is really a complex and wild corner of our world. The combination of mountains and canyons; oases and sand dunes, and the hidden wildlife folds into itself like a paper crane that creates a hidden world bursting with color, pattern, and life.

Our latest printed collection was curated based on the imagery and feelings that are generated by the Southwest. Ikat Origami is an updated version of the typical Ikat style, combined with a
layer of intricacy not found in most Ikat patterns.

Reminiscent of desert rock formations like plateaus and canyons, the pattern of Ikat Origami undulates across a large repeat creating somewhat of a kaleidoscopic or mirrored effect. Because there are about 15 shades within the pattern, Ikat Origami appears to be a mirage of colors, each one melting into the next.Ikat_Origami-1_72dpi

This collection is perfectly at home in a rustic setting surrounded with mixed wood grains, chunky and textural upholsteries, and tribal patterns. Because of its sophisticated appearance, Ikat Origami is also well suited for any modern, contemporary settings that can use the extra pop of color and energy that this collection provides.

Be on the look-out for more bohemian and indigenously influenced patterns and styles as we move towards the end of the year. These designs are evolving into a more mature nature as they are being utilized more often in upscale boutique and chain hotels.


Set Design Free™

The legendary Bruce Lee once said, “There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”

Have you ever felt that way before? If you have experimented with something that you felt was beyond your personal limitations, you probably have. As part of the learning process, we should let ourselves feel a little discomfort every now and then. The unknown can be a scary place but you have to keep going!

In order to Set Design Free™, you must first set yourself free from failure by letting your imagination run wild. Entertain the possibilities that you would normally stray away from and you will be amazed at the creativity that flows out of you! Assess your objective without restricting it to any past associations, allowing a full range of creativity to explode into a masterpiece of passion and zeal.

Setting Design Free can also happen in small ways such as being artsy with your cappuccino in the morning or finding a vintage chair to add character to a rather modern setting. This can make a world of difference to anyone trying to find something a little more inspiring than the day-to-day. Every day try to do something to Set Design Free™ – whether for yourself or someone else. Change the perception of what we see as the ‘norm’ and see what kind of response you get. Follow the words of Bruce Lee and go beyond your personal plateaus! There is a new horizon of design and freedom waiting for all of us once we Set Design Free™!