Karin Conn has been fabricating drapes, curtains, valances, and other soft furnishings for over 25 years. After living aboard a sailboat for four years, she returned to her home in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1992, and began sewing what she called ‘custom home furnishings’. She initially created drapes and shades for her own home, but when friends started commenting on how much they liked what she’d .done, she turned her dining room into a sewing room, and found herself with an active home business that operated for several years. Karin took a hiatus from fabricating for clients in the late 90’s so she could raise her children, but continued to make window treatments for her personal use.
In 2004, a friend asked Karin if she could make some draperies for her home, and it was at that time that Karin decided to get back into the fabricating business and began her company “Windows on the Lake”. At that point, Karin was living in Moultonborough NH, and her children were in elementary school, so it was a perfect time to reestablish herself as one of the Lakes Regions premier fabricators.
Combining her love for fabric, design and fabrication, she found that creating window treatments that served her client’s needs was the kind of challenge she enjoyed. “I realized early on that a window treatment is so much more than a decorative element here in the Lakes Region or any area where the windows look out onto so much natural beauty. So many of my clients have said ‘don’t block my view’ and yet need something on the windows to control temperature, sun damage, light and privacy.” I have been able to create treatments using beautiful fabrics and decorative hardware that bring a sense of warmth and coziness to a room while also functioning in the way the client wants. Adding touches like cushions, pillows, bedding, table runners etc. brings a custom look to any interior.
“I’ve worked with many of my clients for over a decade and have worked together to marry their sense of style with their lifestyle. It’s been a pleasant process getting to know people in their homes and helping them to bring richness and comfort into their space. Fabric has that magical, sensate quality that softens a room in a way that makes an interior space feel comforting and beautiful.”
Over the years, more attention has been paid to outdoor spaces as well. Fabrics that can withstand the elements such as Sunbrella allow us to create cushions and pillows, as well as outdoor curtains that bring style and comfort to patios and decks.
Rod Ladman began his career in the home improvement field in the 1970’s hanging specialty wallpaper (Foils, Mylars, Grasscloth, hand-screened, et al) down in Connecticut. He became the go-to person for this type of work and was always busy with new customers. One customer suggested he become an interior designer and expand his business to include window coverings, which he decided to pursue. Initially installing just Levolor blinds, mini-blinds and Louverdrape Vertical Blinds. He found a whole new audience of interested homeowners who appreciated his craftsmanship, artistry, and attention-to-detail
New construction was growing exponentially in the 1980’s, not only in New Hampshire, but all across New England. To meet the tremendous demand for window treatments to be used during this building boom, Rod began working with other interior designers and got involved in several long term projects. This included work in condominiums, single family homes, Inns, and Timeshare Lodges. He says of that period, “I was hanging draperies 3 or 4 times a week for years in places like Provincetown, Killington, Watervillle Valley, and Lincoln” .
Rod operated his own retail store from 1988 until 2002 offering both retail products, custom design fabrication and expert installation. He estimates that his Meredith Main Street store, which was called ‘Window Design Showcase’, offered about 500,000 fabric samples! Rod recalls”the business was just growing hand over fist for many years It was a lot of fun!”
In explaining his philosophy of working with clients, Rod offers “I’ve worked with interior designers who want to choose things for their clients. and I get that, because sometimes people want the designer to present ideas, or to present the finished product, but I personally really like knowing that the people that we work with are very intimately involved in the process, so they’re getting things, that THEY like, and not what someone else likes”
“Sometimes a client is looking for value, or staying within a budget, or looking for a degree of exclusivity in the design, but in all those situations, Rod feels it still makes sense that the homeowner has an “emotional connection to the fabric”
Rod says “I don’t want to do a job that is just ‘okay’, I want to do something that makes you feel good. I want it so that when the homeowner goes into the room, she thinks ‘Wow, I get to have these things, I get to touch these things!’.
“I want Draperies to feel good, I want them to work well, and not be a struggle. I want homeowners to feel warmer when they close them, I want them to feel more secure. Those are the parts of the job that I feel are really important.”
“It’s also very gratifying because we’re really helping the client to express THEIR taste. I don’t consider myself to be the artist…. I’m just the one who holds the brush”
DRAPERIES NH Meredith, NH 03253 (603)630-5469