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30-Minutes with Workroom Tech / Episode 30: the Best of 2019

Updated: Dec 30, 2019

For the final episode of 2019, Ceil DiGuglielmo and Susan Woodcock take a look back at the topics covered on the podcast over the past year.

You can listen to this episode here: Episode 30: The Best of 2019

In 2019, a lot of topics were covered including cord safety, roman shades, pillows, bed skirts, valances, cornice boards, slipcovers, banding and trims. Rodger Walker joined the podcast for episodes on fire safety, building a worktable, staple guns and air compressors.

A transcript of Ceil and Susan's conversation is below, with links to the episodes mentioned.

Ceil: If you were to pick one favorite episode from last year, what would it be?

Susan: Episode 7 on cord safety testing results is a favorite because of the important information shared.

What was your favorite episode of the year?

Ceil: My favorite was the episode on building relationships.

The most downloaded episode of 2019 was episode 10, Essential Tools and Workroom Layout. The most dowloaded episode ever, was from 2018 "Smiling Drapes", episode 6. What are some of the other episodes that stand out for you?

Susan: Episode 8 on applying trims, episode 16 and fabric banding, and episode 17 on shaped banding. The techniques are something that people ask about often, so it’s good to have this to share with people asking for help.

Another episode that I share a lot with students at Workroom Tech is episode 18, building a worktable. I have said many, many times – the worktable is one of the most important tools in the workroom.

Ceil: Did you learn anything new while preparing for the podcasts?

Susan: I have been learning about podcasting from the very first episode! There is so much that you do behind the scenes. I have no idea how it all works. Writing a companion blog for each episode has forced me to schedule time to write and share, and think of topics that are relevant and helpful. That is a learning experience, too. There have been times when we were talking where an idea pops up. It might be an ah-ha moment, or a “what if”, like the flange on the round pillow. I am inspired to try something new.

Ceil: What are some of your favorite workroom methods from the past year?

Susan: I really enjoyed the episode on board mounted window treatments (episode 20). I think the tips shared in that episode are something that people outside of the workroom would never know about.

I was also really excited to share the buckram fold roman shade method. It’s fun to have something new to try and to see how other workrooms adopt, and adapt the techniques.

Ceil: Were there any disappointments? Did you listen to any of the podcasts and then think… “I would like a do-over”?

Susan: It’s always hard to listen to yourself on a recording. I hear everything that bother me about myself like “ummm’s” and other things like that. As far as episode topics and content, I have been very pleased. Even after an episode that I thought wasn’t that strong when we did it, I felt differently after listening to it.

One of the challenges is keeping up to date with the technology and innovations in the industry. We did an episode on shade lift system Q&A (Episode 11) and now I feel like it’s incomplete because so many new systems are available now that were not included.

I have to point out that ONE episode that went too long. We successfully recorded 26 episodes that were 30-minutes long and then went over the time limit with episode 27 when we talked about workroom myths and misconceptions.

Ceil: Have there been any surprises after listening to the podcast?

Susan: How much we laugh! I didn’t realize this until listening to the recordings and heard that we laugh... a lot! I think that’s good. I did worry a little bit that people would think that we don’t take our work seriously.

You know we have podcast fans? I have received so many kind comments about the podcast. When we were at Custom Workroom Conference, attendees would come of and tell me they listened and that they love “Workroom Wednesday” when a new episode will be aired.

Ceil: Let’s talk about some of your favorite things from the workroom industry in general, and not just from the podcast.

Susan: One thing that really stands out is lithium battery motorization. That’s a game changer. Motorization is easier and more affordable. We use motors in the Level I shade class at Workroom Tech.

Another thing I am seeing more that ever is pleating to pattern. A few years ago it was something you would see only from a UK based workroom. We were pleating to pattern in the US, but it wasn’t as dominate as it is now. I think that’s due in part to the amount of geometric fabrics being used. Geometrics are really a stand-out when pleated to pattern and disjointed if not pleated to pattern. It’s a technique that’s not required for all fabrics, but there is certainly more of an awareness than there has ever been before.

Ceil: Do you have any favorite hardware style or trends from this past year?

Susan: I am still using small scale, hammered iron rods in bronze finish for my clients. French returns have been really popular. The soft or warm brass finish is something I really like, too. One thing I saw recently that someone posted on Instagram was a café curtain with a Lucite rod and brass rings. It was stunning! Once again I will mention motorization – it’s becoming so much more “normal” for draperies and shades.

Ceil: What are some of the top design trends from this year that stand out?

Susan: Sophisticated nursery design. You can’t tell it’s a nursery until you see the crib! I think some of the babies are sleeping in better-designed rooms than the parents.

For draperies, the neutral fabric with flat tape is still very popular. I don’t think it will go away anytime soon. A neutral, solid drapery is so easy to decorate around. You can change out pillows or rugs, and the drapery will still work. You could even change the trim from a flat tape, to a fringe, and get a completely different look.

Ceil: Looking back at the podcast and blog over this past year is there anything you would like to do differently?

Susan: It does take a lot of time on your end to record and edit the podcasts. It takes a lot of time on my end to write and publish the blog content. But I wouldn’t do anything differently. I think it’s been a great success.

Ceil: Looking forward to 2020 – do you have anything to share?

Susan: Yes! Rodger and I have purchased a commercial building for Workroom Tech! We will be doing some renovations and then start holding classes there in the spring. The next Custom Workroom Conference will be in Hampton, Virginia, October 5-7, 2020.

The podcast and blog has become a great resource for the workroom industry. That’s something we should be very proud of!

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