Part 1: French doors, bow windows & corner windows
If you believe the catalogues and showrooms, windows are always well-proportioned and located to support the flow of the room. In reality, we all know that there are way less “standard windows” than we are made to believe. And that’s even before we get started with period properties.
I really enjoy making blinds & curtains for unusual shaped windows. Whether it’s their size, shape, position or features like shutters and stairs that are out of the ordinary, I’m always up for the challenge.
And my favourite part of my work as curtainmaker & interior designer is finding solutions that are both practical and beautiful. Here are some of my favourite projects involving curtains & blinds for tricky windows with physical limitations or visual constraints.
Asymmetric French doors in an Edinburgh Penthouse
The challenge with this master bedroom in a modern Edinburgh property was creating consistency and symmetry in a room with unusually positioned and sized windows.
While one window was a standard tilt & turn, the other was a set of (frequently used) French doors with a smaller tilt & turn window on one side and a radiator on the other. Additionally, this rather asymmetric layout was made even trickier by two steps leading up to the French doors and the roof terrace behind it.
My client wanted two things. Being able to clear the windows to enjoy the beautiful view of Edinburgh’s skyline and having as little early morning light creeping into the bedroom as possible.
First step was to split the curtains for the French doors into one-third and two-thirds to keep it from stacking up against the radiator and obscuring part of the view. We also used tiebacks to hold the curtains in place during the day.
To keep the curtains for both sets of windows hanging straight down, we chose full-length curtains for the standard window while the curtains for the French doors were skimming the top step. This would avoid them bumping out at the bottom or having extra-long brackets increasing the distance between windows and curtains and letting more light in.
Instead, we used a ceiling-fixed Silent Glass Metropole curtain pole to minimise light bleed with extra strong fittings that would be able to hold the heavy interlined and blackout lined curtains.
What the client says (Mrs M, Edinburgh)
“Catherine knew immediately what I wanted and all the jobs she has done for me were perfectly executed. I would recommend her work.”
A perfect-fitting Edinburgh shower curtain
When it comes to curtains & blinds for unusual shaped windows, this project is even more unusual than other. But what if you’d rather hide your bath and shower (and the paraphernalia that comes with it), but want to avoid badly fitting, off-the-shelf shower curtains? Exactly, you get a bespoke shower curtain in a stunning embroidered linen from Manuel Canovas – and a matching Roman blind for your bathroom window as well!
Living in a traditional terraced property in Edinburgh, my client wanted to be able to hide the bath and wall-mounted shower from sight. After trying out a standard nylon shower curtain on a rail, which was functional but too short and not much to look at, she decided to try something else.
After finding a fabric that complements her home décor and adds a splash of colour to the room, we decided on a shower curtain with a separate, heavy-duty shower liner to keep the fabric splash-free and dry. Additionally, I attached the liner with Velcro to make it easy to remove and clean.
The matching blind for the bathroom window rounds up the décor and frames their beautiful view perfectly.
A large bow window in an Art Deco home in Fife
Art Deco homes are known for their outstanding design features – streamlined, geometric shapes, stunning patterns and a penchant for unusual window shapes.
This client had just bought an Art Deco period house in Fife featuring a very wide bow window, set into walls on a true curve in their south-facing living room.
The challenge. Creating beautiful curtains that line up perfectly with the positioning of the curved windows while hiding the practical vertical blinds they use to protect the room during the day from heat and sunlight.
Also, we decided to keep the curtains to sill length in order to avoid blocking the radiators below the windows, making sure the heat could circulate through the room in autumn and winter.
In keeping with the style of the building, we chose a fabric with an Art Deco feel to the design and made sure the placement of the curtains follows the architecture of the bow windows.
Finally, a bespoke curtain pole, a Silent Glass Metropole, was bent with a continuous curve to follow precisely the shape of the wall and fixed to an equally curved, wooden batten to protect the vintage plasterwork.
Tricky corner windows
Angled windows are tricky to dress at the best of times, but even more of a challenge are corner windows that have two windows at a right angle: There’s rarely enough space for curtains at the side of both windows without losing a lot of light.
These two projects had exactly that. Corner windows and clients who preferred a smart, unfussy look for their curtains and blinds.
In both cases, I suggested adding a bespoke pelmet to connect the two separate corner windows and create a more consistent look. In one case, we added a Roman blind to the mix for an even more sophisticated look.
The biggest risk with corner windows are the measurements – you have to measure the available space between the windows VERY carefully to ensure that the pelmets are neither too wide nor project too far. Nothing worse than having the pelmets bumping into each other or overlapping!
What the client says (Mrs G, Glenrothes, Fife)
“Absolutely loving the pelmets, they just finish off the room perfectly and I’m so chuffed you recommended pelmets rather than curtains. I sit at night and stare at them! Delighted.”
If you’d like to find out more about curtains & blinds for unusual shaped windows, have a look at part 2 of the series!