Lath and Fascias

On a recent home consultation we were advising our client of the various ways of spanning a 4 metre recess in their drawing room.

Client had recently removed the fussy pelmets they had inherited when they had bought the property – a stunning mansion nestled in the Northamptonshire countryside, and they were keen to replace them with less fussy, less claustrophobic hardware for their new curtains – ideally curtain poles. However beautiful, ornate cornicing running flush with the ceiling of what was a fairly wide recess meant there would be a problem getting a fixing point for the all important central bracket so we were clearly going to have to think beyond your typical “off the shelf” pole kits.

I mentioned lath and fascias as a favourable alternative to the pelmets that had been removed and when client said she had never heard of this application I turned to the tablet to show her some examples – and as a consequence of this discussion, thought it was time to blog about the lath and fascia: a wonderfully understated but supremely tailored and functional application!

bay window curtains chiswick
Bay window curtains in this Chiswick property are hung from a painted lath and fascia

So what is a lath and fascia?

It’s similar to a pelmet system in that it works on a pelmet board which protrudes from the wall and accommodates the track. However the fascia differs from a standard pelmet in that it is only as deep as the track – the purpose of the fascia being to simply conceal the track.

What are the advantages of this application?

painted lath and fascia
The painted lath and fascia blends in seamlessly with the window architrave

The beauty of this system is that it can be designed to compliment the curtains – by being covered in the same fabric as the curtains or perhaps for patterned curtains, a plain fabric. Alternatively, by painting rather than covering it in fabric (see photo, right and main photo above), the lath and fascia simply merges into, or become part of the room, allowing the curtains if desired, to be the main focal point of the room.

Particularly in London, we’re often asked to advise on bay window curtain applications – which in large Edwardian, Victorian and Georgian terraced houses tend to be in the sitting room or master bedroom. In these, grander rooms, lined and interlined curtains are the norm, with deep (at least 8 inch) buckram headings to keep the curtains in proportion with the high ceilings. So for these heavy curtains you need a really good system that supports them whilst allowing smooth operation.

These types of bay window – most typically characterised by two sides angling into a straight, middle section – present a number of challenges. In short the angles in the bay present problems as your lined and interlined curtains will be fairly heavy and will therefore need to be properly supported around the bay by a system that on one hand can be effortlessly and seamlessly operated, and on the other delivers the right aesthetic in your room.

The huge advantage of lath and fascias in bay windows is that they can be made to fit above the window architrave (see right) thereby creating a rock solid tracking system capable of holding up even the heaviest lined and interlined curtains – whilst not obscuring what can sometimes be beautiful, decorative coving. Typically corded from one or both sides (again depending on the size of the bay and the weight of the curtains) the lath and fascia provides a sturdy yet elegant foundation for your curtains – which can be opened and closed with minimal effort.

For my Northamptonshire client, the lath and fascia could be screwed to the ceiling of the recess with a slight projection to allow for curtain stacking space – again providing a strong application on which to hang the heavy lined and interlined curtains.

Ultimate versatility: by slightly increasing the projection of the board (lath) that the fascia is attached to, you can accommodate roller blinds behind the curtains – either for privacy or to protect the curtains from damaging sunlight.

nina campbell sylvana arboretum curtains
The projection of the lath and fascia can be increased to accomodate privacy roller blinds behind the curtains