New appreciation of color and textural values have revolutionized art the of window decoration
F. LIONEL DE N. SCOTTAugust11930
Curtains and Draperies
New appreciation of color and textural values have revolutionized art the of window decoration
F. LIONEL DE N. SCOTT
FOR periodic rejuvenation of the home nothing can compare with new-and different-curtains. New curtains made from a different kind of fabric, in a different style from that to which we have been accus tomed, almost produce a new interior. With the new aece~sories for window, treatments which have been appearing on the market during the last two years, varied and charming schemes for the window can be evolved and carried out at a minimum of expense.
Among curtain rods alone the array of new devices makes possible the successful hanging of curtains which were formerly thought to require professional services. The greatly admired “draw curtains” on traverse rods which could be pulled back and forth across a window, and which are almost necessary for certain types of windows—the casement, for example—were quite beyond the amateur curtainmaker until rods with traverse equipment were made to be sold over the counter instead of being made to order for professionals. These rods can be bought in standard sizes to extend up to nearly fifty inches, or can be ordered in special sizes. It is a simple matter to make the curtains and attach them to the rod with rings which may be sewed on, or simply hooked on with a sort of safety pin arrangement, and can easily be removed when the curtains are cleaned.
Another arrangement for window treatments which demanded professional services was the cornice board. We used to have a man come and measure the window and have these boards made and painted for special windows, usually at a high price. The enterprising manufacturer, seeing a need for standard sizes and finishes in cornices, has made it possible for the average householder to purchase various kinds of cornice boards at very reasonable figures. Certain improvements have recently been made which enable one to fit the board to any type of window and any size. These are “adjustable” cornice boards.
The inswinging crane, though not particularly new, seems to be little known. It is a boon to the housekeeper who launders her curtains frequently, and hates the arduous task of climbing on chairs and finally pushing the curtains in place with the broom. This device is useful for the casement which opens inside, that is, with inward swinging windows.
That bugaboo, the arched window, can be conquered vith rods which can be ordered through any welliquipped curtain department. You can have these rods n any size, curved to fit any arc, with the necessary looks and supports wherever you prefer them; then you hang the curtains on rings or in any way you choose.
Do you remember the old-fashioned wooden poles on which people used to hang heavy velvet curtains, and the portières between the front and back parlors or between the living and dining rooms? Some people are bringing them back. The only difference is that the ones used today have ornamental ends, whereas the old ones used to fit in sockets. With the new sort we buy all the equipment at one time: pole, ornamental ends, brackets, and wooden rings to which we attach the curtains. Sometimes there is included a tie-back to match the ends or carved into a wooden rosette.
noon sun. In a cool room where we feel the need for privacy, true Venetian red gives a happy result.
Ironworkers have added another method of decorative treatment for the window. Today wrought iron rods can be supplied in all sizes, designs and shapes. In line with the ensemble idea which has pervaded every phase of decoration for the last three years, the designers offer curtain accessories—rod, tie-backs, hooks, brackets, ornamental ends and centre decorations—with coffee tables and fireside sets to match. In an Adam room such a set was specially designed. The graceful Adam
The New Window Shades
T\7 INDOW shades are not being W left behind by any means. Today they are being made in every hue of the rainbow and, thanks to new dyes and color processes, they are sun proof. All kinds of fabrics are being employed in shades. Flowered glazed chintz is becoming more popular; plain glazed chintz has been with us a long time. We see shades of heavy Shantung silk in eggshell and ivory; we see the conventional linen shade with insertions of beautiful heavy lace. We see shades with cleverly stencilled borders to match flowered draperies or slip cover material.
Venetian blinds are-popular in summer treatments. They used to be seen only in a bright, rather hard yellow varnish finish or a depressing muddy green on canvas strips. Now we paint them to match the prevailing color scheme. For instance, with cretonne overdraperies showing bluebirds, pink roses and green leaves, glass curtains are made of pale blue celanese whose ruffles are bound in rose. The blinds are painted deep blue, completing an interesting ensemble and creating an indescribably cooL effect when drawn against the aftercurves, the classic medallion, the urnall typical of the period—were faithfully carried out. A magazine rack and small bookcase were added later, making an unusual window grouping. And these things are not too costly for the average home-owner to covet.
HAVING seen that we can adapt practically any type of treatment to our own windows, and being freed from the necessity of choosing something simply because we can make that ourselves, we come to the point where we can choose the type best suited to our windows.
Three types seem to cause more concern than others: the plate-glass window which was inflicted upon us in the late nineties and the early nineteen hundreds; the bay window; the long, narrow, vertical window in high-ceilinged rooms.
With the first type, we always, yes always, had lace curtains, often the coarse Nottingham type. These windows were swathed with heavy lace. In the next era, when crochet was very much in vogue, écru marquisette or other semi-sheer material was used with insertions of crochet featuring intricate and tortuous designs. Nowadays, with our desire for simplicity and plenty of air and light, we curtain windows as simply as possible. Glass curtains can be dispensed with altogether, but the window must be kept quite clean and free from finger marks and other smears. The draperies should extend to the floor, should be made to draw at night and should have a valance, a lambrequin or cornice board to prevent an effect of bareness and harshness across the centre.
Various treatments are possible for the bay window; there are three which are most commonly used. One way to curtain the group of windows in the bay is to have a curtain at each mullion and draw them by hand. Usually there are fuller curtains at each side with half or threequarter widths for each individual window. With this difference in weight of fabric and size, one set of cords and pulleys would not be sufficient; more than one proves cumbersome. Therefore we advise drawing these curtains by hand. If no valance is used, the French heading is the proper finish. When a valance is used, the hook and tape method is satisfactory.
Often the bay window is a miniature sun room. The curtains are designed to soften the lines and not to exclude the sun. If there is a window seat, care must be exercised to choose such curtains as will make the bay cheerful and inviting. Often, too, that necessary evil, the radiator, is placed in the centre of the bay, thus presenting another problem.
As the treatment is practically the same in both these cases, the following method is frequently seen.
Full width curtains to the floor are hung at each end of the bay. Then a lambrequin of the same material is hung the width of the bay. The lambrequin is fitted to a wood frame which is secured to the frame of the window. It completely covers the top of the curtains with the poles, brackets and so forth. Now come shorter curtains, extending only to the apron, or if there is a radiator they extend to the top of the radiator. These curtains are full or three-quarter width, depending on the width of the fabric.
The third method ;s to make a curtain for each end, with nothing in the middle. A width or a width and a half is used, and a soft material is far more successful than a stiff or heavy one. These are put up on an “English track” and pulled by hand. A valance is generally satisfactory in such cases.
The Use of Cornice Board
A VERTICAL window demands treatment which will increase its apparent width. A cornice board or lambrequin helps to create such an illusion if so placed as to extend beyond the window. Some of the modernistic materials, like those designed by Kodier, which show horizontal lines in wavy effects, help to give the desired result. Glass curtains hang to the sill; overdraperies to the floor.
The horizontal presents a problem which is just the reverse. Here we set the cornice board above the window to increase the apparent height. In some cases, with a casement for example,
double sash curtains—one for the upper» and another exactly the same in every particular—hang from each sash, with overdraperies and a simple valance or cornice extending across the window.
Arched windows are often spoiled, or not made the most of, by being poorly draped. The bent rod, to follow the natural outline of the window, is one method. Another method is more unusual. This is to have a lambrequin made with the inside of the lambrequin to conform to the shape of the arch. The outside is square, and the top, where the window is high in the wall, is built flush with the ceiling; thus the outside forms three sides of a rectangle, the inside following the line of the arch, only about two inches smaller. Two short, straight pieces between the outside and the bottom of the arch give the width of the drapery when pulled back, which thus forms a kind of column on which the arch rests. It resembles a small Arc da Triomphe when finished.
The texture of the fabric used for draperies often determines the style in which they are made. Materials such as heavy brocatelles, damasks and others of that group, show to best advantage on tall windows on which the curtains can fall in graceful folds.
Materials with an interesting pattern are well displayed on windows whose height enables the pattern to be repeated -to advantage. Such figured materials add to the beauty of the lambrequin, particularly if it happens to be a large one.
An Unusual Treatment
SOFT, silky materials show to excellent advantage on a shorter window. On one window where the householder wished to combine both the soft material and the lustrous, rich, rather stiff fabric, an interesting effect was achieved. The window in question was a recessed bay, in which there were six windows, a little larger than the average casement typefour straight ones in the middle, and two on a slant. Draw curtains were of copper slub satin, one drapery to each mullion. They fell to the wide sill. These were
drawn with pulleys and cord and arranged in the following manner. The two side ones, the ones at an angle, pulled separately, whereas the four centre curtains were made to work on one set of pulleys. On the face of the wall, still inside the bay, on each side was a long drapery which fell to the floor. This was made of heavy striped moiré, the stripes being of pale straw yellow shading up to the copper tones of the draw curtains. This eliminated any chance of a squat effect, which might have prevailed with the other treatment alone. These curtains were hung on ornamental wrought iron brackets which were hinged to allow them to be folded back against the wall at will. As this window was too short to stand a lambrequin or shirred valance, a cornice board about seven and a half inches deep was placed above the windows. Painted on it were the colors found in the moiré draperies, with stripes running horizontally instead of vertically. This covered up the pulleys and cords and brackets and rings, and gave as well a feeling of cohesion and unity to the window group. On this particular window no glass curtains were used.
The story you want is part of the Maclean’s Archives. To access it, log in here or sign up for your free 30-day trial.
Experience anything and everything Maclean's has ever published — over 3,500 issues and 150,000 articles, images and advertisements — since 1905. Browse on your own, or explore our curated collections and timely recommendations.WATCH THIS VIDEO for highlights of everything the Maclean's Archives has to offer.