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THE ETHEREAL TUNES of BLACK

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Acoustic cordless cellular shades.

As humans, most of us choose the straight and narrow most of the time. Our comfort is of utmost importance, and that means not rocking the boat- go with the flow; follow the rules, and all the accompanying perks follow! The same goes for decor as well if you ask me – there are few homes that you visit that throws you; rarely would you find a house with black walls or a foyer painted with Modigliani look-alikes! Or homes that sport nude paintings or sculpture. It’s not run of the mill, so when you do come across one, you are thrown! I for one wonder, “How do they live with that every day?” So, we are generally careful about colors and prints that go into the ambiance we want to portray. We never tire of extolling safe colors like white, gray, beige, pale blue or green. It takes a bold person to go for purples, reds, and oranges! But the trend is to stay with calm, soothing tones to keep from rocking that boat we were talking about.

Our soon to be sixteen-year-old aspires to play in the Steinway Music Festival in Hamburg, Germany, next year, and while the practice has been on for quite some time now, she feels she’d be up to scratch next year. Training at the Vancouver Academy of Music since she was five, she hopes to teach music in the future. As endlessly proud parents, we have actively encouraged her passion for music. A keen but introverted child, we feel she should socialize with youngsters more, so we fall in with the faculty at the VAM when they suggest camps and group performances. But we see that as a music prodigy, we can push her only so much!

We plan to get her a Steinway Baby Grand for her birthday, and careful plans have been underway to convert a large ground floor room into an acoustic music room for the girl. Living in a quiet Yaletown, Vancouver, British Columbia neighborhood has given the girl opportunities to practice her skills ceaselessly, and she well deserves the treat she’s in for! The only thing we worried about were the massive cathedral window with a central angular peak. Also on my mind was the decor to be used – I wanted to do something different, certainly not the safe and ordinary. As my husband worked with the designers on the acoustic features, I decided to take the color scheme into my hands.

 

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I opted for the bold! After all, the girl had taken a bold step in participating in the international music festival! I decided to go with a dominant black theme to go with the black lacquered wood of the Steinway. And the color that offsets black beautifully is white. So I decided to get the floorboards stripped and have them painted white. I got two walls of the narrower walls that faced each other painted white; the larger wall space was painted with 6-inch stripes of black and white. Then I shopped till I dropped – I got four deep and plush upholstered sofas in a black and white paisley print that you could sink into; I also got three black-stained wooden coffee tables so that I could arrange them in a shallow semi-circle against the striped wall. And as the girl loved horses, I had an artist paint me four 2 by 4 impressions of horses in various kinds of motion and had two of them hung on each of the walls painted white. Then I bought a black service trolley to serve from when we had her friends and teachers over for the occasional recital and had it positioned against one of the white walls.

Now for the lighting. My husband had already decided on track lighting for the room, but I got two floor lamps to flank the sofas – and believe it or not, I got two large black and white stained glass shades that looked so fabulous in the setting. The last thing was how to cover the cathedral windows. We got into a huddle with the designers, who ultimately suggested that we use something called cordless cellular shades blackout, for two reasons –

1. It would add to the acoustic effect as these cellular shades apparently have honeycomb structure that absorbs sound quite efficiently.

2. The insides of the cells are lines with metalized plastic that blocks light from passing through the shades. This is an important feature as the large windows let a lot of the ambient light in, which could cause discoloration of the Steinway over time. Plus, as the predominant color used in the room is black, it could fade fast with any less protection. These blackout shades are also equipped with side tracks that allow for smooth movement of the blinds as they’re raised or lowered, and cut out any light that tends to creep between panels and the walls. And the great thing is that the air pockets insulate the room effectively against the heat and the cold!

What more could one ask for?! We decided to go for the automated option with a timer as it could be programmed to sync with the lights to go down when they were on. They are also enabled with a light sensor, so they are automatically lowered when the sun is too bright. For the angles, we decided to have them cut to size, but they are stationary, which is good as the sound absorption and protection from the sun is even more efficient is better. And by now I’m sure you’ve guessed the colors I chose! That’s right – two panels of black (72 inch each) and three panels of white (48 inch each) to cover the expanse of the windows. It sure does look grand!

Tomorrow’s the big day. Hope the unveiling is an enormous success that underlines the child’s talent!

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