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It's curtains up for Gayle's Decorating

Wins Readers' Choice Awards for blinds and window coverings
2710 RC-Gayle's ab CC
Laurie Campbell, owner of Gayle's Decorating Ltd., flips through curtain fabric samples. ANNA BOROWIECKI/St. Albert Gazette

Tucked in a quiet corner of Riel Park is Gayle’s Decorating Ltd., an unassuming business packed with window coverings, blinds, drapes, and upholstery fabrics of every style, colour, and texture. 

Although the exterior is modest, the interior showroom is elegant, tasteful, cozy, and most of all inviting. 

Located just off Riel Drive, it has minimal foot traffic. Yet, as a St. Albert staple since 1987, Gayle’s Decorating has prospered building on two pillars of success: personal service and attention to detail. 

Up to this point, word-of-mouth has been the outlet’s main source of advertising. However, 195 entries in the St. Albert Gazette's Readers’ Choice Awards voted Gayle’s Decorating as the favourite place to shop for blinds and window coverings. 

“Being nominated is great because we’ve been here forever. We don’t get a lot of walk-in traffic. A lot of people don't know we're here. But’s nice to hear people like our work and nominated us,” said owner Laurie Campbell. 

The St. Albert resident opened Gayle’s Decorating in partnership with her mother, Gayle Jones, 34 years ago. Although Jones is retired, the goal remains the same — provide high-quality manufactured and custom-made window treatments on site. 

Through the decades, the shop added more services, ranging from custom-made cushions, duvet and pillow covers, to upholstery for sofas and chairs. Soon recreational and sports enthusiasts were requesting re-upholstery on golf-cart seats, quads, motorcycles, and boat seats. 

“We’ve adapted really well, and upholstery is a nice part of the business. There are not many upholsterers out there. It’s a dying art,” Campbell said. 

She noted that although inquiries are widespread, 70 per cent of the business is from St. Albert, while the remaining 30 per cent comes from surrounding municipalities. 

One of the shop’s biggest assets is knowledgeable and skilled staff who sew custom-made drapes on site.  

“We like things that way. We have more control over the work we do." 

While the showroom is a product showcase, the back workshop is where the heavy lifting happens. It is here fabric is transformed into the client’s personal sense of style, whether it’s traditional or modern, formal or casual, visually warm or cool. 

In addition to machine work, the workshop’s 4.5-metre-high ceiling is a necessary tool to hang custom-made, two-storey drapes while steaming. 

Through her orders, Campbell has noticed two big trends. One is basic blinds creating a minimalist look that come in a range of materials from plastic, wood, and faux wood to fabric, synthetic fabric, and metal. 

“The other trend is full-closing lined drapes. The sheers are very popular at the moment. Some people like the softness. It’s a warmer, cozier feel. In the last six months, I can’t tell you how many full-closing long drapes for bedrooms and living room areas we’ve done.” 

For large, open-concept houses now in high demand, Campbell recommends drapes and valances to soften noises and echoes. 

“You really need drapes and area rugs to cut down the noise level. It makes a different sound as well as feeling and looking good and being comfortable.”