Electric Mother-in-Law Opened Window to Assisting with New Designer Window Fashions Book

By My Husband, Ross

Designer Window Fashions is the newest book from window treatments expert Charles Randall to help window decorating professionals provide all the information necessary for their clients to make the best possible decisions for their window covering needs.

How I came to be privileged to assist Charles in producing this 448-page book is due in great part to my electric mother-in-law. When I started dating Marie, the girl who became my wife, her mother, Margaret, was the home economist for the Niagara Mohawk Electric Company.  One of her responsibilities in those mid-1960s was to manage the Trend Setter All-Electric house and promote the greater use of electricity. Marie’s following of her Mom’s path was noted in a Buffalo Evening News article (April 4, 1969) “Daughter Joins Mom in Home Ec Field.”

I learned about custom draperies early in our marriage. Marie had been taught about their value. So inside of four years, we had a new home twice and had paid J C Penney twice for custom draperies.

We were now in Pittsburgh with me having begun a career in corporate public relations. Over time, Marie put her special understanding and sewing skills, learned from her mother, to work earning some extra money. It started with slipcovers. Remember them?

One sewing machine led to another and a large model-train table became a work table for Marie to make custom draperies. As the word spread, she sewed for some of Pittsburgh’s well-known designers.

In 1986, I saw an article in the New York Times about a drapery and wall covering franchise called Decorating Den. It seemed like an ideal way to expand Marie’s business, but it was out of reach financially. Marie was floored when I told her I had asked her mother and she agreed to back her.

Thirty-four years later, Marie has won design awards, mentored others, and accomplished much that would make her Mom proud.  Early in her career, she was even featured in an Anderson Fabrics newsletter for a window treatment design they dubbed the “Feltz Fan Valance.”

As my public relations jobs permitted, I attended Decorating Den Interiors conferences and became well acquainted with the Bugg family, company owners. Over the years, Marie and I have helped develop new franchises, and she became a regional manager. Nine years ago, I left my last full-time employment and we moved to Meadville, Pa. to be closer to our daughter and her family.

The late Jim Bugg, Sr., then chairman, asked me if I was willing to do public relations for Decorating Den Interiors. Intending to freelance at the time, that was a good fit. So, after a career writing about various industries, banking, investing, sports and higher education, I write about interior design. As such, I have access to a huge library of room makeovers from our annual Dream Room competition. That meant I could be a significant help to Charles on his book. Nearly 100 photos from more than 30 of our design pros are in Designer Window Fashions.

It was a privilege helping Charles select photos and get accurate information on the various designs.

All thanks to Marie’s electric Mom.

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