Tech for the Home

Technologies enable us to control and customize all aspects of our home from lighting to security, creating an ideal environment to live. There are a slew of products, devices and appliances that improve our daily lives and help us make better decisions about everything from to do with our homes. Here’s a few of our favorite new products coming to market.

Luna

Activity tracking is a hot tech topic, but you have to be up to access it. So how do you monitor when you’re asleep? Luna is a smart mattress cover that integrates personal tracking and wearable technology with the smart home experience and serves as a hub for a connected home- connecting to devices such as smart lights, thermostats, locks, and even coffee machines.

The number one reason for insomnia, according to Luna is a cluttered mind and mental worries, so they took that out of the equation by making sure your home is taken care of. Luna’s Customer Discovery team also found that people repeat about four to six activities every night before going to bed. Activities such as locking doors, turning off the light, and setting the alarm could all be automated. So they’ve partnered with Lockitron, Beep, Emberlight, and Nest, to make this a reality.

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MYQ Garage

A steady stream of products are coming to market following the success of Nest and the idea to redesign common household products and make them seamlessly functional as well as beautiful. Now comes MyQ Garage. The MyQ Garage allows you to control and monitor your garage door from anywhere, at any time. Regardless of manufacturer, the MyQ Garage works with the majority of garage door openers manufactured after 1993. You can:

•Control your garage door and your house lights using your smartphone

•Get notified if your garage door opens or if you forgot to close your garage door

•Know if your garage door opened while you were away

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LED Closet rods.

Genius! This is one of those simple ideas that you say” Why didn’t I think of that?” They are the ultimate solution to dark closets, The metal clothing rods are equipped with built in LED bulbs, which shine down on your wardrobe.

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Soundwall

Can your art sing? Tell stories? Or bring the artist into your home? Ours can. Soundwall is part of the Connected Art movement- the evolution of the canvas to become part of the modern, connected world. Soundwall is a beautiful work of art – (with no computer screen) – that is also a wireless speaker. Special audio exciters are mounted to the back of each piece that cause the surface of the artwork to vibrate, similar to a cymbal or guitar string. Unlike traditional cone speakers which have crossovers and “sweet spots,” Soundwall fills the room evenly with a consistently clear, natural, articulate sound. The company currently offers limited-editions like a Bruce Springsteen print that features an exclusive audio interview with the photographer and a Springsteen playlist he curated himself.

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The Talking Heads by Richard Corman includes a 8-song playlist of the Talking Heads curated for this image and a 35-minute interview with Richard Corman about his photography and creating this historic photograph.

Koolblack

KoolBlack promises to make the task of controlling the sun’s rays a little easier. Developed by Mermet, KoolBlack technology enhances heat management by reflecting light in the near-infrared spectrum, which represents over half the heat energy contained in solar radiation. Before its introduction, shading systems required light-colored or metalized fabrics to optimize control of heat gain; dark E-Screen fabrics with KoolBlack can provide up to a 25 percent improvement in Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC), while still providing clear views through the shade and superior exterior aesthetics—as well as lower fabric costs in many cases. How’s that for progress?

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Smart Vent

Heating vents are another unsexy home accessory to get “smart. “ Smart Vent is new high-tech option that lets you control each room individually The Keen Home smart vent keeps you from wasting energy—and money—on areas of your house that don’t need as much attention. It retrofits into existing air vents, then wirelessly connects to your home network. The vents communicate with each other to regulate airflow in rooms too hot, too cold or not in use for most of the day.

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Sony Life Space UX smart home concept

It actually debuted at last year’s show, but Sony’s Life Space UX gets a big upgrade at CES 2015. This sooo much more than internet-connected power outlets. The Life Space makes the smart home look good. It starts with the Symphonic light, an elegant but hip LED-bulb speaker, video projectors that turn walls into screens, and an interactive tabletop- LOVE!. I’m not quite sure how it all works , but it’s very sci-fi cool. If you won’t buy into a smart home until you can actually see the ideas and concepts as products, then Life Space is for you.

 

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Whirlpool Kitchen of the Future

From CES- Whirlpool put together an innovative “kitchen of the future” concept where countertops act like touchscreens. You’ll be able to put a pot or skillet anywhere on the surface, which will detect it and start heating up. It integrates with video conferencing and can show alerts from your networks, too. But wait- don’t know what to cook tonight? The kitchen will recommend recipes based on ingredients you already have thanks to “smart vessels” i.e. food containers that keep track of the freshness and weight of what’s inside them.

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The Language of Drapery Hardware: Measuring

Understanding the Language of Drapery Hardware: Measuring

When beginning your custom window treatment project, it’s not only about measuring; its also about learning the terminology for all the component parts – drapery hardware, fabrics, fabrication and more.  And it’s also about assessing the potential project’s situation.Designers should know everything about drapery hardware in order to better design window treatments. That way you’ll never design something that can’t be installed.  Make sure you leave enough time to access the window and the space around it before you even start to measure. After all, you have to make sure that you can actually install the window fashion in your head. Your eye is drawn to the windows first when you walk into a room. So, study the bare window to assess its shape and merits/needs.

First, ask yourself what type of window am I dealing with? Are the windows square? Inspect window and note obstacles, ducts, cranks, screens, etc.

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Second, consider the space around the window. Are there security systems? Is the window centered on the wall? Are there obstructions? Vents? Cranks? Can I mount my drapery hardware where I want to? The bottom line-Is there space to do what you want to do?

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Third, is your design intent congruent with the room it will be in? What kind of treatment are you using? Can the Design be executed the way you intend?  Does my drapery hardware choice match my treatment style? Once you noted your answers on your measuring notes; you’re ready to start measuring the window.

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When you are measuring the window for soft window coverings, regardless of finished length, width, drapery hardware choices, etc. it is important to understand the measurements that will need to be taken and the terminology that will be used. Let’s tackle some of the terminology before we get into the nuts and bolts.

 

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Rod Face is the measurement from one end of drapery rod to the other; excluding finials. Sometimes it’s called Bracket to Bracket. The Bracket to Bracket Maximum, sometimes called span is the point where the rod will sag or bow without a center support. So, with a one way draw drapery on a 2” wood pole; the maximum is 72” Where and how you place the rod and brackets could be critical.

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Projection is the distance from wall to face of bracket or the center of drapery rod. This measurement comes into play when doing more than one layer. The rule of thumb is to add 3” every time you add a layer to your window treatment design.

Rod Clearance is the distance from back of the drapery rod to the wall. The larger the rod; the smaller the clearance. Why should you be familiar with rod clearance?  Deep woodwork and hard treatments under the soft treatment can present problems. For example, a 2-1/4” rod with 3-1/2” clearance has rod clearance of 2-1/2”. Knowing your rod clearance will help you specify the correct brackets.  You can deduct ½ of rod diameter from the return measurement to get the clearance.

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Once you know what the rod clearances will be for your window treatment design, you can decide if there is enough room to do all the layers you would like to use and specify the returns. The Return is the end of the heading on a panel that wraps around to the wall and hides the bracket and rod projection. A return is a fabric measurement totaling the rod projection + ½”.

 

It is important for you to take the measures so that you are intimately familiar with the window as you design and specify and that you can talk intelligently to members of your team if questions or issues come up. It is important to be focused on measuring when you measure. If you are more worried about making the sale or uncomfortable with taking the measure during your sales call; make sure you add a remeasure into your  pricing and time as you move forward.

Sometimes it is also a good idea to schedule your installer to take measurements and to you accompany him for more intricate projects. This saves time, mistakes and helps define the final design details and installation.

Measuring

Taking time to take even the non-essential measures will assure a successful end result.

  • Never assume that windows that look identical are.
  • Always use a steel tape
  • Measure in sequential manner left to right
  • Measure to nearest 1/8”- draperies
  • Measure every window
  • Measure width first; then length
  • Measure from the glass out
  • Use standard measuring forms

Take all the measures no matter if they are needed for each window or not. Some frequently missed items are:

  • Details are not spelled out. You know them, but you must make sure your team knows them
  • Finish
  • Bracket to Bracket measurement

Finally, here are the Bakers Dozen must-have measures to design and specify custom window treatments.

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Ten Drapery Hardware Mistakes You Should Avoid

Join Orion for our next month’s complimentary webinar:

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The Top 10 Drapery Hardware Mistakes to Avoid
Thursday, March 12, 2015
1pm EST/ 12pm CST/ 10am PST

You’ll see and hear some interesting stories about inappropriate choices, bad installations and drapery hardware no-no’s and you’ll come away with some great tips on what to avoid on future projects.
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Drapery Hardware by Design Art

“What do you want in a drapery hardware line?”

That’s what we asked designers and then we took their answers and we created Design Art. From elegantly simple to exquisitely detailed, Design Art by Orion presents gorgeous drapery hardware designs. At Design Art, customization is our specialty, and every order is carefully created by Orion’s artisans. Whether you want traversing poles (manual or motorized), or great, originally styled finials, poles, rings, brackets, centerpieces or medallions, Design Art – proudly made in the USA – is just for you. Here are some of the wishes the designers we surveyed expressed.

“Sophisticated.” “Simple.” “Design originality & flexibility.”

What better way to create sophisticated drapery hardware then with finials and Rod-Enders. Ours are all original designs with styles ranging from simple & petite; to sophisticated & grand. Each finial fits at least 2 pole sizes to increase your design options.

RodEnders

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“Distinctive, gorgeous designs.” “Multi-functional.”

Design Art has SwissCrystal Finials for wood poles & iron rods, medallions, holdbacks and even stair newels. You have the design freedom to mix & match. Design Art has 16 styles of SwissCrystal with 28 SwissCrystal Bases and 4 SwissCrystal Medallions Bases. Plus, 16 Bohemia Crystal finial designs for wood poles & holdbacks.

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“Really unique and unusual designs.”

We took that to heart and shaped Design Art inlays. There are 10 original Inlay Design patterns for 2-1/4” and 3” poles. Add matching or coordinating finials, rings, brackets, SwissCrystal bases. Plus, we created inlay decals.

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“More than just the basics. New pieces with special features.”

Check out our brackets – simple to magnificent. Holdbacks – Iron U-Bends and Posts in Iron or Wood and rings– smooth to ornate.

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“The finishing touches.”

Decorative drapery hardware is window fashion’s finishing touch. We went the extra mile and added Centerpieces for our poles, medallions in 3 designs and multiple projections, even SwissCrystal Stair Newels.

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“Manual, traversing and motorized.” “In all sizes & in long lengths.”

That’s what you’ll get with our poles, finials and all accessories in 1-3/8”, 2”, 2-1/4”, 3” diameters.

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 “Lots and lots of choices in finishes…with finish combinations you can choose yourself.” “Every finish offered on every item.”

Select from 685 possible hand-painted finish combinations, plus Custom Colors… all hand-painted just for you in the USA.Choose a color from Benjamin Moore or Sherwin Williams. Send us a fabric or other color swatch we’ll match your color and add Accents with any of our 11 Accent Finishes or add Highlights in Gold, Silver or Bronze.

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Finally…

“I want to be able to create my own individual look for clients.”

We heard that time and time again…And we created Design Art by Orion so that you have the freedom to… Combine finials, poles, brackets, rings & other unique design products to create your own individual look.

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DIY Trends You Should Know About

Darby Smart, DIY website extraordinaire, just released its Spring  DIY Trend Report and it caught our eye. Why you ask? Well, for starters  total DIY sales is predicted to be  338.3 billion dollars in 2015. We know there is a thriving and market out there of DIYers and crafters and as design entrepreneurs we want to reach that market.

Second, we live in an era where the consumer is empowered and encouraged to design their own products to renovate, to repurpose castoffs into functional and creative art, and even design and construct personalized objects out of recycled materials. The appeal of the DIY lifestyle is not just about frugality or politics: it’s about a deeper connection with authentic craftsmanship and the heart of the artisan through the consumer co- creating. Last, as Makers ourselves, Orion is inspired by other Makers and Creatives. We love to see what they are getting jazzed about . So here’s a DIY take on what trends will be created and constructed this Spring.  See how DIY trends can inspire your decorative drapery hardware choices. I am a bit obsessed with Lovely Lace. Wouldn’t decorative drapery poles look stunning with a lace overlay?  Pearl studded rings?  Which one is your favorite?

Prim and Pearl

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 Lovely Lace

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Get Personalpersonal-11

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State of Mind

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Orion Hardware Used by Design Comp Winners

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Congratulations to Decorating Den Interiors – Pamela Ryalls-Boyd for winning Second Place, Decorative Hardware in the 2015 Envision Design Competition held by WF Vision magazine.. This charming breakfast room in a historic home deserved equally charming window treatments. She selected pale green sheers to filter the morning light, but the hardware chosen to complement the handpainted mural is clearly a star feature. We are honored that she chose our hardware. Our Iron Art medallions of grapes and leaves decorate the arch; while the side panels hang from rods and rings and a bird perches on our branch finials.
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Congrats to Deziner Tonie and Associates – Interior Design for winning Second Place in Soft Shades in the 2015 Envision Design Competition. Thanks Tonie for using Orion’s hardwareTonieVanderHulst-217!

 

Orion Invites You to Enter the Design Art Selfie Contest

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Orion will be introducing their new Design Art Collection, a premier drapery hardware collection at IWCE January 20-22, 2015 in Las Vegas. Orion will be hosting attendees at booth 615.  We invite pros to view the new products. While you are in the booth show off your social media skills and participate in our Design Art Selfie Contest.

To enter the social media photo contest, buyers can take photos using their favorite social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter using the hashtag #WinOrion. Who knows… you might win some pocket money for the slots?

There is no limit to the number of photos a single contestant can post. Make sure to use the hashtag on each entry. Only posts with the hashtag #WinOrion will be accepted.  Winners will be awarded an Orion Voucher in the following three categories:

  • Best  Design Art Collection Selfie Photo – $200 Orion Voucher
  • Best Product Photo – $150 Orion Voucher
  • Best Selfie with Product Photo – $100 Orion Voucher

Show off your social media skills and join in the fun! Contest runs during IWCE/ Vision15 from January 20- 22, 2015. Winners will be judged by Orion’s team. The winners will be announced on Orion’s social media channels or before January 29th, 2015.

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