Archive for April, 2011

Investing in Fine Antique Persian Rugs

Monday, April 18th, 2011

More than simply beautiful decorative elements, antique Persian rugs can also be a wise investment.  Persian rugs are handmade in Iran, formerly Persia.

A fine antique rug will last more than a lifetime.  Like all antiques, the rug must be at least 100 years old to be a true antique.  Beware of “antiqued” rugs that are chemically washed to give an older appearance but are not true antique Persian rugs.

What makes antique Persian rugs expensive is as much about quality as it is about age.  Antique Persian rugs are hand-woven on a loom, which distinguishes them from modern copies that are machine made.  Weaving consists of weft, the long vertical threads, the horizontal threads called warp and the knots that make up the color and pattern of the rug.  In antique Persian rugs, the warp and weft can be wool, cotton or silk while the knots are usually made of wool. Remember, the higher the number of knots, the higher the quality of a rug.

The best wool is handspun and has a sheen or gloss to it.  Good quality wool is another factor that adds to the expense of a Persian rug. Color is traditionally achieved with vegetable dyes. Modern rugs use chemical dyes which do not have the same depth as vegetable dyes.

Ask questions and always buy from a trusted dealer. You do get what you pay for when it comes to fine antique rugs, so beware if the price seems too good to be true.  A pleasing pattern, high knot count and good quality wool will help make your Persian rug a great investment.

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Magic of Custom Murals

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Custom murals can add magic to any room of your home. We all know that paint is one of the simplest ways to transform a space. With imagination and skill, simple paint can be used to create a custom mural to transport the room into another world or era.  If you are creative, you might paint the mural yourself or hire a professional mural and faux-painting expert. A custom mural can work in almost every room in the house.

Trompe l’oeil, which literally means “trick the eye” in French, is a mural technique that dates back to the Greeks and Romans. Trompe l’oeil is a painting technique that creates the illusion of three dimensions on a two dimensional wall. Trompe l’oeil became popular in the Baroque period where it was used on ceilings and walls as well as in paintings.

Custom murals in the kitchen can range from a pastoral scene to a trompe l’oeil still life of vegetables and fruit. Murals can also be used to add visual interest in a breakfast nook or dining room.

A customized mural is a wonderful way to make a nursery or child’s room feel magical. Designs are only limited by your imagination. Popular mural themes for a nursery or kid’s room include safari, garden, space, racing cars, sports, circus, princess castles, enchanted forest and underwater themes. Murals can be as complicated as an entire landscape or as simple as a single animal.

These are just a few places in the house to add a mural. Others include an entry hall or bedroom. A mural can wrap around the room or cover just one wall for a focal point.  Murals can be used in place of wallpaper as well.  All you need is your imagination and paint to create magic.

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6 Steps To Hosting A Holiday Dinner Party In Your Home

Friday, April 8th, 2011

Herend Fine China Collection- Haleh Design, Inc.

Are you planning a Holiday Dinner Party in your home?

Holiday Dinner parties are meant to be filled with excitement.  The goal for those of us that like entertaining is to gather our family & friends in our homes to share a beautiful meal and create lasting memories.   Here is a checklist to help assist you during your party planning:

Step 1: Before your dinner party

  • Decide whether you wish to host a casual dinner party or a formal dinner
  • Who is the dinner party for? ( work, friends, family, etc..)
  • Establish your budget
  • Create guest list/dinner invitations (digital or print format)
  • Establish a time & theme

Step 2: A Couple of weeks prior to your dinner party

  • Create a menu, ( has great holiday recipes, especially for Easter & Passover)
  • Book caterers and bartenders, if necessary
  • Buy serverware and dinnerware pieces and accessories (for fine china, check our Herend collection)
  • Make a grocery list
  • Plan a cooking schedule (what can be made ahead of time, what needs to be made they day of)
  • Decide on the table setting and place orders with a rental company, if needed
  • Purchase or create dinner party favors if desired
  • Select music
  • Purchase candles (Agraria has a glamorous collection that you can use in every room) or other outdoor lighting if needed. Candle light creates an elegant ambiance

Step 3: One week prior to your dinner party

  • Decide on the types of drinks to be served. (If you hired a bartender, finalize your order)
  • Consult with a florist or check out your local farmers market for great seasonal blooms.
  • Place special orders with the butcher, fish market or grocery store.
  • Confirm plans with all the staff you have hired to help
  • Confirm the sitter to watch children & pets during the party
  • Pick out a party outfit!

Step 4: Two to three days before your dinner party:

  • Clean serving ware and home
  • Purchase remaining grocery items
  • Check recipes for how far in advance food can be prepared
  • Start prepping the items for the menu
  • Create a party-day game plan
  • Determine seating arrangements- if needed and print place cards, if using them

Step 5: One day before your dinner party

  • Set your table
  • Continue housecleaning- make sure the powder room is stocked with plenty of all the essentials
  • Continue food preparation for those dishes that can be made in advance
  • Set your table

Step 6: Finally, things to do the day of your dinner party

  • Pick up party orders
  • Pick up desserts
  • Decorate your home and dinner table with flowers
  • Prepare your bar area with clear pitchers of water with fruit slices and all the drinks you are serving
  • Finish cooking
  • Organize the kitchen for the final countdown
  • Get in party mode- the fruits of your labor are about to pay off!

Post Party
After your smashing dinner party, post all of your pictures online and share on your social network so that your family & friends have access to the images. Enjoy & Happy Holidays!

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