It’s never nice having to critique other peoples’ work, but we were faced with no alternative last week, when we were called to a house in Bath’s stunning Great Pulteney Street, to offer some advice on some bedroom roman blinds.
The blind pictured above was one of two blinds fitted in the master bedroom of a basement (garden) flat, and the occupant of the flat was unhappy for a number of reasons. The window, as is so typical of these fabulous, Georgian properties has two stepped recesses, which can present a dilemna when choosing the correct window dressing.
Unfortunately the local curtain company had visited the property only briefly, and shown little interest in the location or, for that matter the size of the blind. As a consequence a poor choice had been made on locating the blind on the outer most part of the recess (see screw marks in the picture below), within the framed architrave. A poor choice, because the blind would not prevent light streaming in over the window seat (pictured above) even if the blind stretched down to the floor, and in this case, it didn’t even stretch down to the sill, falling a good 5cms (2 inches) short.
So we came up with a creative solution to save our host any further heartache or cost. We removed the mechanism from its position outside the inner recess (see screw holes in the top, foreground of the photo above), and reinstalled it up close to the window. This solves two issues – the blind is no longer too short, as the window finishes a foot or so above the window seat. It is actually a little too long, which is not ideal but can be managed by only lowering it to the bottom of the window. Secondly, it is no longer hanging in mid air a distance away from the sill, meaning it is more efficient at keeping out the light.
Hints and tips:
You’re investing a lot of money in your soft furnishings. Think really carefully about what you’re trying to achieve, and ask lots of questions if you feel your curtain consultant isn’t addressing all your concerns. Sometimes designers have a firm grasp of the aesthetics, but don’t think about the practical implications of what they’re suggesting.
If you’re going for lined and interlined roman blinds of a decent width and drop, you really need a chain driven mechanism, as traditional cord and cleat mechanism may be too difficult (and exhausting!) to operate. Don’t settle for anything other than a continuous chain mechanism that has cords and cassettes (such as the Evans RBS system). If you get offered a tape system, reject it (and call us to ask why if necessary)!
In this particular case study our host had chosen a gorgeous embroidered silk fabric. To keep the price manageable they had been advised to place two small panels of this fabric at the top and bottom of the blind. Aesthetically this didn’t work, as there was a large plain panel in the middle. We have not documented this particular issue to spare any further blushes. It’s a shame this didn’t work, because the basic principle was right. If you want to use an expensive fabric, you can save money by only using one width of the fabric. So if the blind is wider than one width (typically 140cms) put a border around the blind to bring it to the required width. If you are going to cut your expensive fabric into panels, ensure there is a symmetry to their placement, so it looks like a stylistic, not cost cutting statement.
For a true blackout / energy saving solution, you might consider curtains rather than blinds. Roman blinds are a fabulous, versatile window treatment, but as I say to customers time and again, they are not a very efficient blackout solution – particularly when located outside the window reveal.
Written by Louise Ball , Moghul’s Bath Consultant.