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Gigi Lombrano / Steve Toedebusch
It would be understandable to think that all The Curtain Exchange does is—well, curtains. After all, it’s right there in the name. But owner Ellen Ross says the shop is much more than that. “We offer a full design service. That includes window treatments, but we can also help in picking out paint colors, accessories, furniture placement, custom bedding—whatever the demands are from the client.”
Some details have changed through the years, including the attire—yesteryear’s conservative gowns with lengthy trains to today’s strapless, dresses with shorter trains—but the Veiled Prophet Ball still is a longstanding tradition for prominent local families.
The year 2012 was tumultuous in many respects, so perhaps fittingly Wicked is the title of the production that brings down the curtain on the last 12 months. A record drought plagued the St. Louis area, temperatures sweltered in an elongated summer and the area’s economy staggered toward a slow but steady recovery. All of this took place in the face of impending doom predicted centuries ago by the Mayan calendar.
After almost seven years of providing a wide variety of high-quality curtains, Ellen Ross found the next step for her shop, The Curtain Exchange, in a partnership with bedding specialist Peacock Alley. “We think it’s a good addition so we can do the entire bedroom, not just the curtains,” Ross says.
RICK GRAEFE / JOURNAL Ellen Ross of the Curtain Exchange.
From cordless blinds and shades to luxurious layers of natural-colored curtains, window treatments friendly to kids, pets and the environment are on trend.
July 15, 2011 : Ellen Ross, owner of The Curtain Exchange
In 2005, while waiting for a haircut, Ellen Ross flipped through Traditional Home magazine and saw an ad for a New Orleans-based company offering custom and ready-made window treatments. “I remember thinking, They can’t possibly be as beautiful as they look in these pictures, and I forgot about it,” Ross says. “And then, six weeks later—same salon, different magazine—I see the ad again. This time I made note of the website.” When Ross visited the site, she learned that the company wanted to open a franchise in St. Louis. As it happened, Ross herself had been looking for a new venture. “After I inquired, they contacted me immediately, and I flew to New Orleans. It was crazy!” she says. “That was in March, and The Curtain Exchange opened in October.”
Some things that are valuable in and of themselves become even more meaningful when passed down from generation to generation. This is true of heirloom silver, treasured family photographs…and being chosen Queen of Love and Beauty at the Veiled Prophet Ball.
How well do you know Clayton?
WINDOW DRESSING: You’d be amazed at what a difference ornate drapery finials and tie-backs can make in a room! The Curtain Exchange: tie-back, $150.
Beautiful design is usually drawn from inspiration, and something else, be it a favorite piece of artwork, a sentimental fabric or a treasured dining room table. We asked three local designers to suggest a logical starting point for building warm and inviting spaces.
Having anything on your window, whether it’s curtains, blinds or shades, prevents heat from escaping in the winter and cold air in the summer. That makes well-lined curtains or thick blinds or shades more than a matter of aesthetics.
Shopping for a cause! On Sept. 11, WHOLE FOODS MARKET will donate 5 percent of the entire day’s sales to PRISON PERFORMING ARTS, a literacy and performing arts program that serves incarcerated adults and youth. Alumni of the program, teaching artists, staff and volunteers will be at the store throughout the day, and Riddle’s chef ANDY AYERS will host a cooking demonstration from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.