Win­dow of op­por­tu­nity

These days, cur­tains, shut­ters and blinds are con­sid­ered as im­por­tant as fur­ni­ture and floor­ing, says Colleen Hawkes, who asks de­sign ex­perts about what works best where.

The Dominion Post - Your Weekend (Dominion Post) - - At Home -

Win­dow treat­ments have come of age. No longer the last item to con­sider when you are re­dec­o­rat­ing, they have be­come an in­te­gral el­e­ment of an in­te­rior de­sign.

And just like paint colours, fur­ni­ture and floor­ing, win­dow treat­ments are sub­ject to chang­ing trends.

White shut­ters have be­come a pop­u­lar op­tion for vil­las and older bun­ga­lows, largely be­cause they pro­vide a crisp, un­fussy look. Lucy Wilkie, se­nior in­te­rior de­signer for Fro­bisher In­te­ri­ors in Christchurch, says shut­ters are es­pe­cially in de­mand for bath­rooms and bed­rooms, where they pro­vide a “very prac­ti­cal, yet el­e­gant so­lu­tion”.

For a sim­i­lar rea­son, white tim­ber Vene­tian blinds are find­ing favour. “Both shut­ters and the tim­ber blinds also of­fer flex­i­bil­ity with their op­er­a­ble tilt,” says Wilkie. “The light can be di­rected where you want it at dif­fer­ent times of the day. They can also help with ven­ti­la­tion.”

But for many home­own­ers, it has to be cur­tains, which brings up the ques­tion of tex­tiles.

Wilkie says 10 years ago the favoured colour pal­ette was very neu­tral and lim­ited.

“Cur­tains are now trend­ing to­wards metal­lic fab­rics, geo­met­rics, mi­cro pat­terns, mid-cen­tury re­vival and botan­i­cal mo­tifs.”

Wilkie re­cently spec­i­fied un­lined cur­tains with a bor­der for a master suite. “The cur­tains add a ro­man­tic,

yet so­phis­ti­cated look to the bed­room,” she says. “The con­trast­ing bor­der colour was se­lected to tie in with the soft fur­nish­ings on the bed and the other fur­ni­ture in the room.

“The bor­der and the sheer height of the cur­tains en­sure they make a strong but sub­tle state­ment, and frame the bed beau­ti­fully.”

Kate Rogan of Rogan Nash Ar­chi­tects in Auckland says when de­cid­ing whether cur­tains should be neu­tral or a state­ment piece it pays to stick to the gen­eral rule that there should be no more than three things go­ing on in a room at once.

“Us­ing this guide­line, if there are al­ready three sig­na­ture items in a room, cur­tains should be a neu­tral colour.”

How­ever, Rogan does note this is a gen­eral rule and some spa­ces are able to take a myr­iad of state­ment pieces with­out look­ing over­done.

To give the im­pres­sion the room is larger, the ar­chi­tect rec­om­mends tak­ing the cur­tains all the way up to the ceil­ing, or above the height of the win­dow frame. “This tech­nique lessens the vis­ual chop­pi­ness of the decor.”

Then there’s the ques­tion of where they should sit on the floor. Ate­lier Tex­tiles man­ag­ing direc­tor Rebecca Bow­er­ing Fitzpatrick says she likes to al­low an ex­tra 3-5cm of fab­ric, so that the cur­tains “stand”.

“Those ex­tra few cen­time­tres will help block out any lin­ger­ing light, es­pe­cially in the sum­mer months.”

Bow­er­ing Fitzpatrick also says it’s im­por­tant to think about sun­light when choos­ing fab­ric for cur­tains.

“Silk and other nat­u­ral fi­bres can rot, and move up and down. If there is a great deal of sun then a man-made fi­bre may be the best op­tion.

“If you are us­ing silk it is of­ten a good idea to al­low a lit­tle more full­ness so if the edges de­te­ri­o­rate a cur­tain maker can easily cut them down to ex­tend their life.”

Blinds are an­other pop­u­lar al­ter­na­tive, es­pe­cially if you have pri­vacy con­cerns.

“Sun­screen roller blinds are a ver­sa­tile op­tion be­cause they block out heat, pro­tect fur­ni­ture and of­fer pri­vacy,” Wilkie says. “The weaves dif­fer in den­sity so you can se­lect the level of translu­cency you re­quire which changes the amount of light the blind al­lows in, and the level of pri­vacy.”

Vene­tian blinds are a peren­nial favourite, with the slim­line ver­sions be­ing the most pop­u­lar.

Other al­ter­na­tives for pri­vacy in­clude us­ing frosted film on win­dows, which is cheaper than frosted glass. Film makes it easy to screen the lower part of a win­dow, while al­low­ing the sun­light to en­ter at the top.

Many ar­chi­tects are now in­tro­duc­ing ex­te­rior pat­terned steel screens, in­clud­ing fil­i­gree ver­sions, to pro­vide pri­vacy, es­pe­cially in apart­ment build­ings. These screens let in the light, cre­at­ing in­ter­est­ing shadow pat­terns, but still pro­vide pri­vacy.

And are there any win­dow treat­ments not in favour? Wilkie says ver­ti­cal blinds are not so pop­u­lar at the mo­ment, “prob­a­bly be­cause there are so many other op­tions avail­able to­day”.

This bed­room, by Fro­bisher In­te­ri­ors in Christchurch, fea­tures bor­der cur­tains that go right up to the dou­ble-height ceil­ing.

Welling­ton de­signer De­bra Delorenzo used fil­i­gree screens to pro­vide pri­vacy for this tra­di­tion­ally styled bed­room. Cur­tains in this home were made to gently brush the car­pet.

Leuschke Group Ar­chi­tects de­signed metal shut­ters to screen this apart­ment bed­room.

This room suc­cess­fully mixes cur­tains and a Ro­man blind in a wide-striped fab­ric.

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