One of the things you really need to consider when you move house, is how are the windows dressed currently – unless it’s a new build. What is the view immediately outside and can anyone see directly in? My best pal lives on a quiet estate and opposite are the sides of houses only – no overlooking windows or any problem. Therefore she has never felt the need to put up blinds or tulles or nets at all, just has some gorgeously coloured curtains that pull across at night to keep out draughts. Now though, she has thought that a fresh approach is needed – updating her decor, she has changed colourways quite dramatically. Instead of thick curtains hanging each side of the window, she’s now got shutters which open fully in the daytime but shut firmly of an evening and look very smart from both inside and outside.
I have connections with two or three community groups nearby – we meet regularly, at least monthly for two of them. Our choice of venue is very limited so it is very dissapointing that the one we are expected to use is so dreadfully grubby and has a permanently unkempt air about it. I dread to wonder what our speakers think when we welcome them. All they see is a rather ugly squat single storey place with a few parking places. When somewhere is rented out for hire, and this is the purpose of its existence, it should really be kept along other commercial property lines. Decent decor, clean and functioning washroom facilities, and top here – a decent fresh and well equipped kitchen. Our hall was built with public subscription so it isn’t going anywhere soon – but it’s not good enough for wedding receptions or anything that really matters anymore. Very sadly.
I was leafing through our small local trader booklet the other day – trying to locate information about pub walks that I’d spied. I didn’t find the original article but I did notice two or three new advertisers had ventured into the world of advertising in the ‘locally yours’ brochure. This is a good sign – confidence in being able to quote and supply in a quiet market is to be encouraged. The ones I had in mind are for blinds, window dressings – curtains and that sort of thing. They really do make a room feel totally finished and I know of a young couple who moved into their dream barn conversion – couldn’t actually afford to do the windows until near winter. What a difference this has made – they booked a consultation online and the visit was very helpful. The results are magnificent – stylish and really set off the splendour of each room.
It has become very much the norm these days that as soon as a couple know they’re expecting a baby, all kinds of changes and special preparations have to be put in place. Take the nursery for example – at once time there would be a tiled or wooden floor with a nice colourful rug. There would be a crib for the first few months and then the cot for another couple of years. The curtains and bedding would be yellows and lilacs or green pastel shades and generally baby would be left to its own devices when sleep was concerned. Now though with the rise in technology and lowering of costs, it’s very on trend to have black out blinds installed in nurseries and any bedroom in fact. These cut out excess light, often some exterior noise and also help to exclude drafts. They really do work too especially when combined with modern shutters.
A good chum of mine lives in a big house that was built to look older than it is. I know not why the previous owner wanted it to look like a 1920s villa, but it does and it has beautifully proportioned sash windows throughout – very in keeping with the design ethos. The problem with big windows is the need for a lot of curtaining. If you don’t have those, then the space can look really cold and uninviting. So after going through their rosey fabric with swags period, followed by start minimalist roller blinds, the family have settled on wooden slatted shutters inside – they fold back in the daytime and very adequately and efficiently cover the vast glazed expanse at night. They have the little cane down the middle to turn the slats up or down according to the sun direction. They are stunning – minimal fuss but totally adequate reduction in cold air off the windows.
I have fairly recently started visiting a very aged relative – I’ve made annual visits all my life, but now she has need of more care – she still lives at home. I am always amazed how she manages to get around her rather over furnished 1950s semi – the three piece suite is far too big for the space and the dining table with matching wall dresser are also massive – more suited to a large open plan affair that families have now. The one area I do find satisfactory is the window dressing – this year, because of the extreme heat and sunlight, she has invested in slatted blinds. They are very attractive and work a treat to let sunlight in when wanted but definitely shut it out when not. The way they seem to cut off the extreme heat is incredible. They are also easy to operate for arthritic hands – a massive deal maker or breaker!
We live in a world where clothing and furnishing fashions change very rapidly – the fads for certain colour schemes come and go and each series of hues comes around perioically. To keep up with many and not have to pay a fortune for new venetion blinds or other window dressings, it is best to keep to a neutral palette. With the windows, they are an essential part of a room but you don’t want the colour of blinds of curtains to completely draw the eye away from other pleasing aspects of the room when visitors arrive. The most recent trend had been for grey – for some 5 years now, grey has been the predominant choice for many families moving into a new home, or refurbishing an older one. It can be a cool, relaxing shade if used wisely, but in the wrong space, grey can look to business like and miss the mark completely.
years ago I worked in one particular office in what had started life as a factory unit but somehow our boss had secured and made into a large office and stock holding area. Because it was never designed to have lots of folk sat working at computers or typewriters, there was no air conditioning or really effective cooling system for the heat generated in summer. There were windows down the length of each side and the glass attracted and reflected the heat to an unbearable level. We used to try to get relief as best we could, with limited success, until a jolly chap from Glasgow came visiting and showed me the better way to set the venetion blinds on the very sunniest days. By golly he was right too. Fancy someone from one of the least sunny cities knowing the secret to success with the office window blinds. Astounding!
I recently visit the house of a young couple who have had the chance to move out to the country – their dream property. They’ve furnished it in real style – nothing over the top but so perfectly appropriate for the style, era and placement of their house. They went to a local furnishing warehouse that has been supplying the locality for many years – totally independent and the supplier of british oak furniture of the highest standards. They only change their range twice a year – winter into spring and summer into autumn. The couple bought the last of the winter range – sofas, cabinets, huge sideboard, dining table, beds, the whole lot. Then very wisely, they had a curtain and blind supplier come and custom make and fit the most perfectly matching items – you couldn’t have made them better if you’d gone to that well known store in Knightsbridge. They have achieved sheer perfection.
Having the artistic eye to see past all the junk in an old house and imagine how you can get it to look – modern, vibrant, classy and worth taking on. Now that is really not a challenge for the faint hearted. Making the most of a room’s location is best served with the curtains, blinds or other window dressing. These can be matched effortlessly with the wall coverings and carpet – plain if necessary, so as not to detract from any spectacular art work on the walls. The doyenne of the English country house look was of course Nancy Treet, or Lancaster as she later became – her ideas were so popular in the late 1920s onwards, there isn’t a magazine or book about the subject that doesn’t have her as the go to reference. She like a calm warm look and was fussy about curtaining and room decor. Always had to be the very best that money could buy.