Holiday Table

When I was a little girl, my Gram always made the holidays magical. It didn't matter whether it was Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving or a birthday, Gram went all out. At Christmas, she turned her home into her own version of the North Pole. Animated dolls adorned the mantel along with carousel horses and twinkle lights in every color imaginable. But what I liked the best were her holiday tables. A beautiful tablecloth served as the backdrop to china that matched the holiday. If it was Christmas, there was a red ceramic pitcher of old St. Nick himself filled with freshly squeezed orange juice. In addition to the wonderful food, there were tiny trinkets hidden among the candles, bowls of sweets and sparkling glasses.

A few years ago her brother hand made a sled for our daughter. Each year, I unload the sled with all the other holiday decorations and the girls pull their dolls around it until Christmas. This year, I decided to use it as the centerpiece on our dining room table. Although this table doesn't come close to what Gram could put together, it reminds me of the wonderful childhood memories she created.

A Place Called Northfield

I just returned from another weekend at the Northfield Plantation in Cumberland, MD. The story of Northfield is quite amazing...

A few years ago, one of my fellow "curtain ladies", Christine Shephard, fell in love with Northfield. She had driven by the property many times and always thought the home was beautiful. One day she saw some people gathered around a tree in the front yard praying. She soon learned the home was being turned into a safe, Christian environment for young girls with eating disorders and unexpected pregnancies. The dreams for Northfield were great, but the house needed an entire renovation before it could be opened.

Christine introduced herself to the owners and offered her assistance, but she didn't know how she could help. After several days trying to think of how she could make a difference, she realized something, she knew how to make window treatments and she had lots of friends in the industry. That was 3 years ago and since then, Christine has reached out to all of us in the industry to help. She organized 3 work weekends in the last 3 years. Women from all over the country came together over those weekends to make window treatments, bedding, head boards and even built upholstered furniture for the entire house! I had the pleasure of being involved in the upholstery weekend last spring. The experience was truly heart warming. Many of us didn't have any idea how to upholster furniture. But with the help of a few industry experts, we were able to make about 20 pieces of upholstered furniture.

The Northfield Foundation still needs to raise $450,000 before they can open. Stepping up to the plate once again, Christine organized a learning weekend at Northfield to raise money. Last weekend, about 30 of us showed up from all over the United States with our air mattresses and sleeping bags. Only this time, we left our tools and staple guns at home. Some of the top industry experts donated their time and knowledge and we all came to the house to learn. All the money that was raised will go to Northfield.

I feel blessed and privileged to share the Northfield experience with so many wonderful people. Christine Shephard is a true pioneer, her commitment to Northfield is unwavering, she has a heart of gold and she is a true inspiration to all of us.

If you are interested in learning more or donating money to Northfield, go to The Northfield Foundation. To see more pictures from my 2 trips to Northfield, go to my Facebook page under Madella's Decorating

Get Federal Tax Credit for New Window Coverings!

If you are in the market for new window coverings, now is the time to buy! You could be eligible for a $1,500 tax credit on your purchase of Hunter Douglas Architella shades.

"Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, federal tax credits for energy-efficient products are available for 30 percent of the cost of most Duette Architella shades, up to a maximum of $1,500 in total, when purchased and installed through December 31, 2010, provided the expense meets the tax guidelines. Highly insulating Duette Architella shades, which can more than double the energy efficiency of a window, are the first and only window shades to qualify for the tax credit without add-on insulation systems." Hunter Douglas

This is a great incentive to purchase these energy saving shades for your home!
Learn more here: Hunter Douglas Tax Credit

The Fall Ritual

It's that time of year again. The warm days of summer are officially over and the cold days of fall take over. For our family, that means I have the dreaded task of switching out all the summer clothing in our closets and drawers for winter wear. I hate this grueling task because I have to do it for Madi, Ella and myself. I don't seem to mind it so much in the spring when I'm pulling out flip flops and bathing suit tops knowing we are only a few weeks away from vacation at the beach. But in the fall, its not fun. The kids try on all the clothes I've put away the year before just to be absolutely sure I can't squeeze one more year out of them. They both complain the entire time as I pull sweaters over their heads and try to convince them they not only fit, but look great too. I typically loose that battle. Despite the fact that I really don't like the whole clothing transition, it forces me to clean out closets and drawers. This is a good opportunity to edit clothing that doesn't fit or is out of style.

I try to teach my clients the art of editing. You can't decorate a space until it has been cleaned, cleared and organized. That task is more difficult for some of us as we tend to hang on to items. This year when you are pulling out your cold weather clothes, pay attention to each piece. If you didn't wear it last season, you won't wear it this one.....let it go and give it to someone who needs it. The same rule applies for your summer pieces, before you even pack them away for next year, think about how many times you wore it this season.

And while your at it, take a look at the inside of the closet. Are there other items that can be donated? Clean it out and then consider painting it; give it a fresh look. There is no reason for your closet to be white. If it is a walk-in closet, think about installing a nice looking light fixture instead of the standard boring ceiling mounted globe.

Yes, it is true I always wait until the last minute to move the clothes, but I always feel so much better about the closets and drawers once its finished!

If you are ambitious enough to decorate inside your closet, please send pictures. I'd love to see them!

Design Your Space Class!

I'm teaching a class on October 17th from 10-12 at the Glenwoood Community Center through Howard County Parks and Recs. The subject is designing your space; learn how to plan furniture arrangements, select colors and solve window treatment dilemmas. This will be a hands on class where participants can bring questions about their own homes and we'll answer them in class. This class will be lots of fun, hope you can join us! Click on the link below for more information or go to Howard County Parks and Recreation website and look for class 3407.501.

Picture Power

I can't believe the summer is already over. We were really busy as a family and Madella's was really busy working on several new jobs. The most exciting (and challenging) of all has been working on motorized window treatments for an entire house. Some of the motorized rods have been installed already and we are waiting for the decorative motorized rods to be delivered so we can install the rest. I will post pictures when the whole job is finished, but for now here is a sneak peak at the office. The motorization here will be in the Silhouette shades by Hunter Douglas. They will be hidden under the valance when they are installed.

Before RenderingFinished Treatment

This fabric is from a company called Texture. It is 100% embroidered silk with 6" wrinkled sections running vertical. Not the easiest fabric to work with....but it is stunning in person!

About Madella....

I love it when sales people call my office and ask to speak to Madella. If I were a little quicker on my feet, I'd ask, "Which one?" and then hand the phone to either "Mad" or "Ella". I would love to listen in on the call while a credit card processing vendor tries to convince Ella to switch providers.

You see, I named this business after my two daughters, Madison and Ella. Madison is 7 and Ella is 5. They give me so much inspiration; I can only hope one day they will join me in the business. For now, I'm proud just to call them my daughters.

Owning and operating a business is such a fulfilling gift, but my girls bring the most joy and happiness. And on this Mother's Day, I am honored to have their names on my business cards.

Final touches on office project

I have a very special client who I've been working with for almost 3 years. We've done window treatments in every room on the first floor of her home so you can imagine my excitement when she asked me to help tackle her home office windows. Here are the before and after photos.

We used the same fabric with a different treatment in the joining conference room to give continuity between the 2 spaces.
Here is a close up of the valance in the office with the trim detail.
And here is the conference room close up of the decorative details. It is important to add a cord at the top of ceiling mounted treatments to eliminate the light gap between the ceiling and the window treatment. This cord matched the fabric perfectly.

Thread Art

There are so many talented people in this world and I continue to be inspired by their talents. In window treatments, I work with thread every day and never really think much about it. Other than the fact that as I get older, it is more difficult to get that little piece of thread into an unbelievably small hole of the needle. Check out the creative work of these artists. The designs are all created from spools of thread!

Confessions from an addict....

I have a confession...I am obsessed with fabric and I can't get enough of it. My studio is filled with books from some of my favorite fabric vendors and when I get a new shipment of fabric samples; I'm like a little kid at Christmas. I immediately rip open the box, plop myself on the floor and pour over the new samples. Oooing and ahhing at all the new colors and designs. When I am finished, my floor and I are covered in lint from the new books.

You have to understand, I am not the type of decorator who flies to London and New York to check out the latest industry designs. I spend most of my research time paging through magazines, researching on the Internet and talking to my peers. I offer design solutions for "normal people". Although I certainly respect the designers who travel the world and have their work published in magazines, most of my clients want REALISTIC design solutions. And, just for the record, realistic can still be beautiful.

Although I pride myself on providing reasonably priced products and services to my clients, I also feel the need to offer something extraordinary, something really special. So when I met with one of my favorite fabric representatives a few weeks ago, I asked her if she had anything really stunning in her samples. And that is when she showed me these silk fabrics from TEXTURE. Oh....they are so, so gorgeous and yes, so very expensive. HOWEVER, placed in the right room, this fabric is worth every single penny.

This first fabric is made from 100% linen with crewel embroidery.

Here is a close up of some of the other color offerings.

This one is studded with Swarovksi crystals, this is breathtaking. I'd love to see it in a candlelit dining room at night.

There are just enough crystals to add shimmer,
but no so much that it looks overdone.
And a few more colors...............

Here is another masterpiece with embroidered silk:

And I saved my favorite for last......

This fabric has just the right amount of shimmer and what makes it really special is it picks up so many different colors depending on the light and the angle. At one angle it looks like a spa blue and another it looks like a lagoon green.

This is the same piece of fabric. The picture on the left was taken from the left angle and the picture on the right was taken from the right angle. Look at the difference in colors.

Fresh and White

I absolutely LOVE the look of a white bed. There is something so fresh and clean about it; especially against colorful walls. The accent colors in the bedroom below are part of the palette we are seeing in the 2009 spring line of fabrics.
Techno Color Bed

Although all these beds are white, they all have a very different look.

This set is from Eastern Accents, I love the pleated detail on the bottom edge.
Eastern Accents Bed
This one is from Mystic Valley Traders with clean dark lines, this bedding reminds me of something found in an upscale hotel room. Maybe Manhattan?

Mystic Valley Traders White Bed
This one is from Mario & Marielena, the subtle addition of silvery softens the white palette and I'm not sure that is a true white on the bed...
tMariomarielena White Bed

Stencil Glam

I have always been a fan of changing a room using paint. Color can instantly change the look of a room either for the good or sometimes not so good....ask me how I know that one! A few years ago, I had a client who introduced me to a company called Modello Designs. This company makes custom stencils for designers and professional faux finishers. There are some really beautiful designs available and with a little creativity, they can be used just about anywhere. We have some wonderfully talented faux painters in Maryland. Brynne Lincoln of Paint Design Studio and I have worked together for many years. Brynne specializes in faux finishes. In addition to faux finishing walls, she also paints cabinetry. You can see more of her work at Painteddoordesigncompany. Another talented local artist is Dee Cunningham of Deelite Design. Although she also does faux painting, her murals are gorgeous! Her work is so realistic, you feel like you have to touch it to prove it isn't real.
Here are a few of my favorite M
odello stencil designs from the Modello website:

Decorative Artist: Norman Goodwin
Altamonte Springs, FL

Talk ab
out WOW factor! I think this ceiling is stunning, however doesn't the chandelier look too small? Maybe it is larger than it appears in the photo, but I think that ceiling needs something really large to live up to the design.

Decorative Artist: Debbie Hayes
Greensboro, NC

This stencil was cut exactly to fit on the stair risers. The combination of graphic design and black paint turn an ordinary wooden step into a beautiful work of art.

Decorative Artist: Jeff Raum
Moorpark, CA

Decorative Artist: Sheri Zeman
Addison, IL

This headboard was created for an HGTV show called New Spaces. The faux finish is on the headboard and what you can't see is the glass beads that were added to the paint to create shimmer and shine.

Decorative Artist: Jeff Raum
Moorpark, CA

This picture is my favorite but not because of the stenciling, but because of those awesome window treatments! After all, I am a window treatment girl! Look at the new look of "shutters". And the nail head trim...I sure would love to see this one in person!

My hands tell the story

I noticed the other day as I was working in my workroom my hands are beginning to show their age. I knew this day would come...many have told me it would. But I didn't really think I'd see the wear and tear so soon. There is a scar from my very first iron burn. It happened when I was about 12 years old. I wasn't even allowed to use the iron then, but I did any way...couldn't wait to grow up and iron clothes. (Little did I know I'd grow up and iron every day)

Then there is the glue that gets stuck under my finger nails from various window treatment projects and the latest war wound....I was gathering sticks in the back yard for an afternoon fire recently (shouldn't I be cleaning the yard for spring instead?) and a pointy stick got me good right on my knuckle. That scab is really pretty.

I used to take pride in my hands in my early 20's. Those were the pre-kid, working in an office days. I had beautifully manicured finger nails...those perfect acrylic french manicured nails. It used to make me feel so good to have my nails done.

These days, there is little time to sit in a salon waiting to get my nails "filled". Besides...they would be foreign to me today and I'm sure they'd get in they way of my work.

Today, there are remnants of paint stuck between my nails and fingers from painting a new chalk board in the play room for my girls. My hands are dry from the cold weather, my nail polish is peeling from a bad attempt at a self-manicure last week, and there are many scars from my battles with that damn iron. Yes, my hands tell the story of my life. It is a good one, but I yern for the day when I can sit on the beach with perfectly manicured nails, a nice cold drink in one hand and a trashy book in the other.

Painted Furniture

I love the look of hand painted furniture and although I've often tried to find my inner artist in painting desks for my girls, I'm really not good at it. So, I rely on the experts when it comes to true works of art. I found this wonderful company, Brighton Pavilion, at market in High Point, NC several years ago. Each piece of furniture is custom made and painted. They are based in Nashville, Tennessee. These are a few of my favorite pieces..
You'll be seeing a lot more of this green this year. It is all over in the spring line of fabrics.

I love the surprise of the blue and white stripes inside this armoire.

What I love most about this bed are the wooden bouquets of flowers at the top of each post. Each flower is painted a different color.

This table would add character to any room. I love all of the colors in the map.

The armoire below was featured as one of their
pieces of the week. It is so beautiful inside and check out the addition of the monogram on the door. I think the detail is too pretty to hide inside the cabinet.

The Power of a Picture

Here is another job I just completed. We talked about several options for these french doors, but in the end we decided on this simple design. A pointed banded valance using a beautiful embroidered linen as the face fabric. The rendering helped the client make a decision on the design. Aren't computers wonderful?

A little background...

Based on some recent suggestions from readers, I thought I'd share some of my personal background with you. I started this business 5 years ago after my second daughter, Ella was born. I had spent many years in "corporate America" and just couldn't find the right balance between my career and the family life I wanted for us. So, after some convincing from several close friends, I started Madellas. Named after our 2 girls, Madison and Ella. Madison is my oldest and is just finishing 1st grade and dear little Ella is going to Kindergarten next fall.

I have a studio in my home filled with fabric books, trims, and catalogs galore! I also have a workroom where I create my window treatment designs. I belong to the WCAA, Window Coverings Association of America. This organization has been an incredible resource for Madellas and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be where I am now without the help and guidance of the WCAA. I am also a student member of ASID. I love our Maryland chapter. We have monthly lunch and learn sessions at different industry partners....there is always something new to learn.

I always knew I wanted to own a business one day, I just didn't know WHAT business. Looking back I probably could have figured it out sooner. When I was little, I used to change the furniture around in my room all the time. When my parents would take me to their friends homes, I would sit and imagine what their homes would look like if I moved their furniture around.

Thing haven't changed much....last summer my in-laws rented a house for a week in Ocean Isle, North Carolina. The house was lovely, but the furniture placement in the living room was terrible. I lived with it for the first day and by the second day, my mother-in-law and I were moving the sofas around after everyone else went to bed. There were instructions not to move the furniture around, but I couldn't help myself. We left it that way for the week and then changed it back right before we left. We're renting that same house this year and I'm pretty sure moving those sofas will be our first task before we open a bottle of wine and enjoy the ocean view!

So here I am 6 years later...I figured out what I want to be "when I grow up" and I love what I do for a living. And this blogging is new to me....I'm giving it a shot and hope it will create some good dialogue for us!

Are you out there?

Dear friends,

I want your feedback. If you are following my blog and reading the content, please feel free to comment on my posts. I want to hear from you and I really want this to be an interactive blog. If you add your email address on the right, you will receive emails each time I place a new post on this blog. I want your input! Tell me what you think.......


Wall Candy

Wallpaper is not what it used to be my friends. It is making a come back in a new and fantastic way. Check out this custom mural....yes, it is a custom mural. You can change the proportions to fit on your wall. I found it on

There are so many other wonderful options available including these square inlaid shell tiles.

And I love this wallpaper that has picture frames already printed on it....all you have to do is add the photos. It would be great in a hallway or stairwell. What about a college room?

I'm sure most of you have seen those vinyl quotes you can stick on your walls. (For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, you can buy ready made quotes that will stick to your walls and they look like they've been painted right on the wall.) There are lots of stores who sell them like Michaels and JoAnn fabrics, but there is a website that has some really incredible quotes. You can make your own and they even have them in 3D....very cool. The 3D letters are available in lucite and brushed aluminum.

I wish I had the time to do this in my home......maybe I can live vicariously through you. Please share your pictures.