Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Privacy Made Perfect

Happy Thanksgiving! Here’s a sneak preview of Cooper Lace's newest pattern, Brownstone, and it will be available January 1st, 2013.  

I spend a good amount of my time in Brooklyn’s charming Park Slope neighborhood, (as well as Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and San Francisco) and as I studied all of your beautiful front doors, I realized that they were crying out for a lace pattern that was harmonious with the architectural styles dating from 1850-1900. 

Old house dwellers in urban areas need privacy and light, and Brownstone provides both without sacrificing either! Designed by Steve Bauer of Bradbury &Bradbury wallpapers, it emulates the etched or frosted glass patterns that were found in so many entries during the mid-to-late 19th century.

Brownstone will be sold as a running yardage with side borders that we will custom-cut to your requested length at the time of order.  We will add rod pockets at the top and bottom, if you request them, and then all you need do it slide them onto to your curtain rods.  If desired, we can also make pairs of curtains for your windows.  Brownstone is not only a “city” pattern, it’s perfect for suburban and rural settings as well!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Custom Lace Door Panels and Sidelights

I'm always flattered when clients send me photographs of Cooper Lace's curtains in situ. This one just came in from a delightful customer in Boulder, Colorado, who is obsessed with the work of C. F. A. Voysey. One of her many lace curtain purchases was a front door panel and matching sidelights for her magnificent house's entry.  She selected "Oak & Acorn" and our seamstress carefully cut and hemmed them to her measurements.  Incidentally, Oak and Acorn wallpaper is available from Trustworth Studios, and the coordinating carpet is available through English Wilton, who maintains an exclusive library of Voysey's carpet designs.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

That's Showbiz

photo credit: HBO

Cooper Lace appears frequently on the sets of films and television shows; aside from having the most distinctive lace curtains available, we also keep extra large sizes in stock just in case a film company needs a rush delivery. Last week, we were very proud to ship our Eastlake Panels to the set of HBO's Boardwalk Empire. As the new season unfolds, I'll be able to tell you where and when to watch for them.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

I'm Here To Help!

Photo by Petr Kratochvil
A lot of Cooper Lace's customers ask for assistance in measuring and selecting the appropriate width, length and even pattern of lace curtains for their homes; often, they seem reticent to do so, as if they were bothering me.  Nothing could be further from the truth!  I am always delighted to speak with our clients, and it's a pleasure to put someone's mind at ease, especially when they have a challenging question such as adding bottom rod pockets to a lace panel for a French door or figuring out how to cover a huge arched fanlight with lace sheers.
On countless occasions, frequently during the evening or on weekend mornings, I have listened to clacking of tape measures and the dragging of a kitchen chair towards a bank of windows. So please, if you've got questions or concerns, call me anytime at 888-433-7801 (413-549-1063 for international callers) and I'll speak with you personally. The office phone forwards to my cell in the off hours, but I shut it off when sleeping, so there's no need to worry about disturbing if you're calling from Australia in the middle of your day (it's happened).  Email works as well; I'll respond as quickly as I can, usually within the hour: my address is ceo "at" cooperlace "dot" com.
Photo by Huong Phan


Dan Cooper
President and CEO, Cooper Lace

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

In Situ

Here at Cooper Lace, one of the things that flatters us the most is when a satisfied customer takes the time to send us a photograph of their new lace curtains in place. Without further ado, here are several examples...

Glen's Edge in Prairie Green

Art Deco 
Prairie Sumac

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

William Morris Lace Curtains

 As you may know, Cooper Lace is the first and only firm to create a lace curtain using a design by William Morris. We're very proud of our Morris & Company pattern, Cherwell, for we had felt that this great designer had been ignored for far too long. What you may not know is that lace curtains are one of the most difficult objects to photograph; from inside a room, they look washed out and it's difficult to discern the pattern against the brightness of the outdoors light. 
The secret to Cooper Lace's great images is our photographer friend, Huong Phan. Huong finds the beauty in every vignette, and makes it transcend the mundane product shot.  She was so skilled photographing our Gothic Lace Curtain Panel, that when the opportunity arose to shoot inside a wonderful 1915 English Arts & Crafts house in Amherst, MA, I rang her immediately.  Here are my two favorites from the session, with all thanks and credit going to Ms. Phan.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

From Lace to Carpet

As previously mentioned, I also consult on historic carpeting for museums, capitols and private parties. A project that I've been working on for quite a while, the T. R. R. Cobb House in Athens, Georgia, has just installed two more carpets. Pictured here is Marion's Sitting room, and we used an archival point paper from the 1850s, recreating it in exact detail. The photograph is courtesy Sam Thomas.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Gothic Redux

Here are some more shots from our "Great Expectations" shoot of last week. I had a wonderfultime running around Hills House in Amherst, MA with photographer Huong Phan:

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Hill House Gothic

I spent yesterday in Hill House, a massive Second Empire dwelling in Amherst, MA, with my friend and photographer Huong Phan. We were taking pictures of the new Gothic Panel with a sort of "Great Expectations" theme. The photos are amazing (we've got 350 to choose from), but I wanted to share this one with you, as I'm so smitten by it.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Great Gothic

Yes, it's the moment you've all been waiting for: the release of Cooper Lace's newest lace pattern, The Gothic Panel! From the moment I saw the archival photograph from Arcalus Design of Portland, OR, I knew I had to have this unique Gothic lace curtain design woven. It features all of the distinctive Gothic embellishments including Lancet arches, tracery, crockets, and diamond-paned glass, all combined and woven into a three-dimensional trompe-l'oeil effect and presented as a conservatory window with a potted fern on a tiled floor. Woven from 100% cotton, this lace curtain is perfect for owners of Gothic, Edwardian and Tudor Revival houses and anyone who seeks a unique enhancement to their home. Suitable not only as a window treatment, but also intended to be a striking wall-hanging, tapestry or bed-hanging. This curtain is 58" wide and 10' high; we will custom shorten it for you to your desired length (it can be 8' high without infringing on the finials). We're offering it in three colors: Ivory, Ebony on Frost, and Ebony on Slate. The panels are currently being woven and they will be available April1, 2012.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Too Big For a Cottage

As of March 1st, 2012, Cooper’s Cottage Lace, LLC will be known as Cooper Lace. After five years of rapid growth, “Cottage” was beginning to sound a bit quaint; we started with six Arts and Crafts lace patterns, all of which focused on the 1890-1910 period, and now we have fourteen patterns appropriate for houses dating from 1790 to the present! Our unique approach to selecting distinctive patterns quickly separated us from all of the other lace retailers and won us rave reviews for our quality and beautiful patterns, to say nothing of our consistently providing the best and most personalized customer service. Our patterns are available in more lengths, and more importantly, more widths than any other company. We’ve expanded from a tiny newcomer to the leading provider of the finest 100% Scottish Cotton lace panels, and our products now enhance countless homes, museums and film sets. I’m very proud of our success, and so very grateful to all of you who have supported us over the past five years. Our new website will go online very shortly, and, to celebrate, my next blog entry shall introduce our newest pattern, which I promise you is the most spectacular lace curtain design created in the past century! Its sneak preview at a trade show last week actually stopped attendees in their tracks; in 21 years of selling and designing lace curtains, I've never seen a response like this to a lace curtain panel!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Primer On Lace Design

Old House Interiors magazine has just published a piece of mine on how to design with and measure for lace. Although brief, I hope it's informative...

A Designer’s Guide to Lace Curtains

Helpful advice on pattern, choice, care, and hanging.
By Dan Cooper

Cooper’s Pine Cone pattern is at home in rustic, cottage-style, and Arts & Crafts houses.

My days are often spent on the telephone, guiding clients who I know are standing near a window, atop a ladder (or kitchen chair) with a clacking tape measure in hand. As a designer and merchant of period-inspired lace curtains, I can offer them—and you—help in selecting appropriate window treatments. From 20 years of advice:

Which Pattern?

Many people mistakenly assume that lace curtains are Victorian. Not true: Lace was used at the windows long before Queen Victoria ascended the throne, and lace curtains are still common today, especially in the United Kingdom and Europe.

Although machine-made lace wasn’t available until after the mid-19th century, earlier historical patterns (previously hand-woven) are being reproduced today, suitable for Colonial, Federal, and Greek Revival homes. Down the timeline, Arts & Crafts-era, Art Deco, Elizabethan, and Colonial Revival patterns are being made. Because interior styles evolved, you can choose to coordinate the lace pattern with your furnishings rather than the house.

Shades of Lace

Most lace curtains today are finished in white, natural white (a.k.a. ivory), or ecru. White is bleached, like a new cotton T-shirt. Natural white is unbleached; I tell clients that it looks white until you place it side-by-side with bleached white. Ecru is a darker, almost tan color. All of these, as long as they are cotton, easily can be tea-stained or dyed to a darker shade. Consider that some people find ecru too “yellowy” against white-painted woodwork, while others find white too stark against dark trim.

Which Weave?

Most of your choices have been woven on Madras or Nottingham looms. Richly textured Madras lace is made by an appliqué process wherein a 100-percent cotton scrim is woven, and then the loom passes over it and a pattern is affixed. Finally, the panel is sheared, creating a crisp design. Nottingham is a type of machine-woven lace developed in the 1840s; it’s available in several point sizes that determine the fineness or coarseness of the pattern. Nottingham lace is produced in cotton/polyester blends ranging from 95-percent cotton to all polyester.

Shirred lace panels hung below transom windows lend privacy while admitting plenty of light. (Photo: Carolyn Bates)

Length and Width

There’s no exact formula; still, conventions exist that differ according to era. For Federal, Greek Revival, romantic (i.e., early to mid) Victorian, and some Colonial Revival styles, window treatments were “fuller” and more gathered. Typically, the ratio of lace was 1½ to two times the width of the window opening—say, 54″ to 72″ of lace (flat width) for a 36″-wide window. Lace panels often hung well below the windowsill, sometimes even pooling onto the floor.

For bungalows and most Colonial Revival houses, and for the styles of the 20th century—Craftsman, Deco, mid-century modern—window treatments were hung “flatter” with less gathering. The cloth to window ratio is not more than 1½ times; for many patterns, the preference is one to 1¼ times, or 36″ to 45″ of lace for a 36″ window. By now curtains were shorter, stopping at or near the windowsill or apron. I offer custom shortening, as do some other vendors; the panels can be shortened from the top to preserve an ornamental bottom border.

Cleaning and Care

Unless you have some special (dirty or dusty) circumstance, once a year is more than enough. In the interim, you might shake the curtains out or gently vacuum them (using the soft brush attachment). Manufacturers recommend dry-cleaning, although my clients have found that washing their panels in cold water with a mild detergent, by hand or on the machine’s delicate cycle, works well. High-efficiency washers will deliver the clean curtains to you barely damp. Never put cotton lace curtains in the dryer! Simply hang them up, barely damp, back on their rods. Don’t hang lace by clothespins, and don’t drape it over a clothesline, because, as the rope sags, the lace may become distorted. Straighten them while they are hanging by lightly spritzing them with water, then gently tugging and smoothing the fabric by hand. Cotton lace will shrink slightly after washing. (Damp-ironing may mitigate shrinkage.) You can lower the rod or hang the curtain through the header hem instead of the lower rod pocket.

In a Victorian vignette, lace panels hang to the floor, tied back over a fancy roller shade. (Photo: Paul Rocheleau)

Hanging Curtains

The simplest way to hang a lace curtain is with an adjustable spring-tension rod, readily available at hardware stores. To mount the curtains on the face of the woodwork, you can find inside- or outside-mount café rods in a variety of finishes. Sash rods that fit close to the glass are preferred for door and sidelight curtains, where you might want a bottom rod pocket sewn into the curtains.