After the Reno: The power of custom drapery

I’ve been an interior decorator for 20 years, and I’ve installed my share of custom drapery for clients.  Yet, somehow, I never cease to be amazed at the transformation that  happens when a simple window is fully dressed.  I’ve never been a shutter fan because they rob us of the opportunity to add drapery.   Yes, they add architectural interest to a space, but most people who install them are putting them in rooms that would be better served with drapery.  Having said this, I lived with ‘naked’ blinds in several rooms in my own home, prior to our renovation.

When we moved in 16 years ago, we installed top-quality custom blinds on all windows.  That’s a quality decision we have never regretted.  I believe in that saying, “Buy quality and you only cry once!”

These Hunter Douglas 2" wood blinds in Cherry have withstood a 2 year-old banging on them, and lots of other wear and tear, over the past 15 years.

These Hunter Douglas 2″ wood blinds in Cherry have withstood a 2 year-old banging on them, and lots of other wear and tear, over the past 16 years.

When we renovated, we replaced the windows, but we didn’t change the blinds, because they are still as good as new.  Yes, I could have opted for a lighter, trendier finish but since I still had lots of wood furniture in the room, I thought I could make these work.

Step One: install the valance.  Some clients would stop here, but I wanted the elegance of something more complete.

Step One: install the valance. Some clients would stop here, but I wanted the elegance of something more complete.  

Now that's better!  These windows are too narrow to have panels on both sides, so I created an asymmetrical treatment that is mirrored on the other window.

Now that’s better! These windows are too narrow to have panels on both sides, so I created an asymmetrical treatment that is mirrored on the other window.  

One of my favourite reasons to add drapery to a room is the opportunity to use fabric to add pattern, colour, and texture to a space.  In my case, this Kravet fabric pulls together the old colours (navy, burgundy, green) with the new neutrals (taupe, gray).    It also adds a pretty pattern that I love, in a space that has too many solids and geometrics for my liking.  Although this fabric came along after all the furniture, it has become the ‘road map’ that pulls all the other elements together in the room.  As I change out the furniture and replace it with new pieces, this fabric has lots of colours to work with.

My kitchen windows also received an upgrade.  I don’t like fussy treatments in the kitchen as a general rule.  In my small galley kitchen, the windows are too close to the work area and sink to avoid being splattered.  So, this is one of the few rooms where a valance is enough.

For years, my kitchen windows have been dressed only in mesh roller shades, to cut the glare of the sun in this southern exposure.  During the renovation, we did have the windows framed, which required that the existing blinds were cut down.

For years, my kitchen windows have been dressed only in mesh roller shades, to cut the glare of the sun in this southern exposure. During the renovation, we did have the windows framed, which required that the existing blinds were cut down.  The small fee to have this done was worth it, since the blinds were only a few years old and the colour worked.

New striped valances in a Kravet fabric, with beaded trim, are a simple way to add height to the windows, while camouflaging the awkward bit of wall above the window frame.

New striped valances in a Kravet fabric are a simple way to add height to the windows, while camouflaging the awkward bit of wall above the window frame.  I love the luxury of having a pretty beaded trim on such a simple treatment.  It sparkles in the sun and makes the simplest of treatments truly custom.

Now that the drapery and valances are installed, I finally feel like I live in a ‘grown-up’ house.  At 50, it’s about time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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