{colors of the day: red, white, and blue}

Celebrate Flag Day with these patriotic inspirations.

How did the iconic red, white, and blue come to be? These shades now synonymous with freedom, equality, and baseball inspire patriotic pride throughout the country. The rich story behind these historic hues may surprise you.

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Let red, white, and blue serve as your color palette.

DIY American flag

Display your patriotic pride year round with a DIY painted flag.

History of the Flag

What is known is that the first unofficial national flag, called the Grand Union Flag or the Continental Colours, was raised at the order of General Washington near his headquarters outside Boston, Mass., on Jan. 1, 1776. The flag had 13 alternating red and white horizontal stripes and the British Union Flag in the canton.

The first official national flag, also known as the Stars and Stripes, was approved by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777. The blue canton contained 13 stars, representing the original 13 colonies.

After Vermont and Kentucky were admitted to the Union in 1791 and 1792, respectively, two more stars and two more stripes were added in 1795. This 15-star, 15-stripe flag was the “star-spangled banner” that inspired lawyer Francis Scott Key to write the poem that later became the U.S. national anthem.

In 1818, after five more states had gained admittance, Congress passed legislation fixing the number of stripes at 13 and requiring that the number of stars equal the number of states. Before 1912 there were no specific guidelines as to how the flag should look. President Taft presented guidelines regarding the configuration of the stars in the 48-star flag. The last new star, bringing the total to 50, was added on July 4, 1960, after Hawaii became a state.

Through the words of the founding father himself, we gain a perspective of the American flag. “We take the stars and blue union from heaven, the red from our mother country, separating it by white stripes, thus showing that we have separated from her, and the white stripes shall go down to posterity representing liberty,” interpreted George Washington in 1777.

Today the flag consists of thirteen horizontal stripes, seven red alternating with six white. The stripes represent the original 13 colonies, the stars represent the 50 states of the Union. The colors of the flag are symbolic as well: Red symbolizes Hardiness and Valor, White symbolizes Purity and Innocence and Blue represents Vigilance, Perseverance and Justice.

Since Frank and Elizabeth Hirshfield opened their first store in 1894, it has been our mission to do the best job possible meeting customer needs and solving customer problems. Hirshfield’s. People and products you can trust.

{friday finds: best of the interior design trade shows in las vegas}

Our Hirshfield’s team recently visited Las Vegas for IWCE-Vision 16 (the annual International Window Covering Expo), along with the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS), and the International Builders Show (IBS).

Our group had the opportunity to visit with vendors, see new products, and participate in seminars and classes.  Those classes ranged from color, digital technology, business ideas as well as new inspiration from window treatments.

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Judy Ciaciura (Hirshfield’s Shop at Home) said a big trend at IWCE was “how trim detail is being used on drapery panels and top treatments. I saw less use of tassels and more flat patterned braid detail on the center lead edges of the panels,” she said, “as well as the bottom and sides of the tailored top treatments.”

Judy also noticed more selections of “bling” at the vendor booths: rhinestone cording, buttons, broaches, and appliques.

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“Bling” for window treatments

A collection of unique and artistic tiles caught Judy’s eye at KBIS. “Pera Tile seemed to be the standout,” she said.

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“The designs have so many pieces allowing for endless possibilities. From very busy and ornate to using small touches for a simple statement. I can just imagine the possibilities in how these tiles could be used as a whole or even as simple accents.”

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Judy also noted the large number of unusually shaped sinks and vanities at KBIS.

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Besides the design inspiration, the Hirshfield’s group also got some time together, according to Shannon Scarella, Manager of Hirshfield’s Window Fashions. “It is always a wonderful trip and allows our employees to build better relationships with one another as well as share their ideas and gain new ideas!’

Since Frank and Elizabeth Hirshfield opened their first store in 1894, it has been our mission to do the best job possible meeting customer needs and solving customer problems. Hirshfield’s. People and products you can trust.

{friday finds: historic christmas letters}

For many people, the holidays are a time for reflection. For others, a time for tradition. At Hirshfield’s, we like to review the following exchange of Christmas-time letters as a symbol of both. We look back at these letters, written during WWII, and see the remarkable bond between our Hirshfield’s family and an employee serving overseas during the war.

The letters — one sent on Christmas Eve, 1943 — were written to a friend and colleague named Gilbert, who was serving in the army’s medical corp, eventually becoming a POW. When the war ended, Gilbert came home and came back to Hirshfield’s — where he continued to work into his 80s.

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These letters give us a glimpse into Hirshfield’s history, and that of our country. When you see a reference to “Mrs. Hirshfield and the Doctor,” they are referring to Hans’ grandfather, who not only ran the business but was also a physician. Apparently this surprised some of his patients who, when they noticed the doctor’s paint-splattered shoes, questioned the validity of his credentials.

Since Frank and Elizabeth Hirshfield opened their first store in 1894, it has been our mission to do the best job possible meeting customer needs and solving customer problems. Hirshfield’s. People and products you can trust.

{design inspiration: home staging gives new life to tired rooms }

Are you tired of the same old, same old? Think your bedroom feels tired, your living room needs life, or your dining room feels drab? You may be ready for a mini makeover. It’s time for some home staging.

Jay Nuhring is an interior designer with a background in home staging. He likes to work with existing furniture, rather than replacing it – and says some rooms can be almost completely transformed by rearranging the furniture.

Living Room that Flows - Jay Nuhring House Styling

Living Room that Flows – Jay Nuhring House Styling

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{choosing colors: going from beige to greige}

I love to decorate my home and it never ceases to amaze me how much color can transform a room – from paint to accessories. For years (seriously, I think for a whole decade), my house was draped in paint from Hirshfield’s with names like Tobacco Road, Accessible Beige and Golden Thread.

Benjamin Moore popular gray paint colors

The best of Benjamin Moore’s grays

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{do i need to use primer?}

Prime Examples: When You Need Primer and When You Don’t

You’ve seen them on the shelves and probably asked the question, now that we sell so many Paint & Primer formulas, do you even need to use primer anymore?

“The short answer to that is, it depends on the situation,” says Ron Clarin, Manager of Hirshfield’s West St. Paul location. “Normally when they ask us that question, we ask questions in return. Depending on the situation, they may or may not need one.”

walls-primer Read the rest of this entry »

{breathing easy with no v.o.c paint}

Friday Finds: Zero Emissions and Zero Sacrifice with Natura Paint

Choosing a No VOC paint used to mean going green at the expense of something else. Maybe the quality wasn’t very good, or you just couldn’t find the perfect shade. Fear not – No VOC paints have vastly improved over the years. Nowadays, it’s a lot easier to enjoy the benefits of a No VOC paint – no odor, better air quality, non-toxic – without losing the great quality of a regular paint.

Unlike other low VOC paints, Natura Paint can be tinted with any of the Benjamin Moore colors, without adding VOCs. This gives you more than 3,000 shades to choose from. Also, Natura not only offers No VOC paint, but takes it one step further with “No Emissions” Paint – a guarantee that there are zero VOC emissions detected from the paint. In other words, you and your family won’t be inhaling emissions from compounds like formaldehyde and acetone – talk about breathing easy!

Check out their latest commercial. This may be the most challenging project we’ve ever seen:

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{friday finds: top drapery designer joins shop at home team}

Hirshfield’s Shop at Home Welcomes Judy Ciaciura

It’s hard to find anybody who enjoys working with draperies and window treatments more than Judy Ciaciura. “I love what I do,” she says. “I love the challenge of solving window treatment challenges.”

Judy Ciaciura

Judy Ciaciura

Judy has been solving those challenges since 1973, when she started her career at Dayton’s in Downtown St. Paul (for those of you who remember that store), and developed quite a reputation for her design work after opening DJ Draperies in Little Canada with her friend Donna in 1988.

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{backyard bungalows: designer sheds and outbuildings}

Friday Finds: Bar Sheds, She Sheds, And So Much More

Remember how the Man Cave gained traction in the 90s? There was a general consensus that men needed a designated place to rest, grunt and watch football. Basements across the Midwest were converted from storage rooms to adult playrooms, accommodating the inner male child – bars, hunting themes and sports memorabilia popped up like wildfire.

Well, I have come upon a new trend – backyard sheds. Nope, not those ugly sheds designed to house your tools and your mower; but rather a separate building designed for relaxation, entertainment and a refuge from the real world.

Sitting room shed in Crail

An avid gardener uses her shed for guests when she hosts garden tours.

Much like casitas (a separate small building next to a home) that are popular in the south, sheds may soon serve the same purpose here in the Midwest. Be it a social gathering point – think a bar building next to a pool (a Bar Shed), or a cozy backyard shed to serve as a personal retreat (yoga sheds, reading rooms and craft rooms have all been called She Sheds) – the idea is gaining interest among suburbanites and urbanites alike.

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{what’s the deal with granny flats?}

Granny Flats: Grandma’s Home That’s Not Away From Home

There are so many dizzying trends highlighted daily in the media. Some are crazy (beaded lips, vampire facials and fish pedicures to mention a few), but when I saw an article on “granny flats,” I was intrigued. Essentially, you can live near your momma without actually living with her. That sounds ideal to me!

Granny Flat Connected To Home – Burlington Architects & Building Designers CULTivation D.S

Basically, builders are starting to recognize the obstacles growing old presents: high cost of living, slow rebound coming out of the recession, and the widening health care costs for aging parents (to name a few). They have coined the phrase “NextGen” living where adding separate (yet attached) living quarters to house an aging parent. They have separate exterior entrances and often their very own single-car garage. The interior has one or two doors to connect to the main home, and the space ranges from 600 square feet to a bit larger, and it includes a single bedroom and a kitchenette along with a main living space.

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