An open and shut case: eight new ways to screen your windows
Curtains, shutters and blinds add texture and colour as well as privacy
Queen Alix residential development in Montreal
A double-height room is by its very nature dramatic, but what happens when you want to shut out the world? The modernist wave-headed drapes at Montreal’s multi-unit residential project Queen Alix, in the heart of its Marconi-Alexandra neighbourhood, is a collaboration between developer Maître Carré, architecture firm Blouin Tardif and Rhoncus Design offer a simple but very polished solution, using top-fixed motorised rails recessed into the ceiling, explains Ciara O’Leary of Blackrock-based Curtain Traders. The velvet curtains, pictured, about 10 metres wide with a five-metre drop, hang flush with the ceiling to give a streamlined simplicity that sets off the double-height windows and views, and will cost about €5,500 per window.
Privacy, especially at street level, is becoming more important, says Conor Walsh of Luxaflex Ireland, whose cleverly engineered blinds can be moved to screen from the top, from the bottom or from somewhere in the middle. The aluminium-frame blinds, which fit into the window frame, have a neater line too. Bathrooms, such the one pictured, bring their own considerations including condensation. You can wipe these blinds, which come in over 400 cool colours. Prices start from €191 for a 60cm square. These Elan basket blinds pictured cost about €305 per 80cm by 160cm window, ex delivery and installation.
Hideaway in plain sight
A recent UK court case saw Mr Justice Mann rule against five residents who had brought a privacy case against the Tate Modern over an extension that overlooked their floor-to-ceiling-glazed building. His ruling effectively said that people that want to live in such glasshouses couldn’t expect to have a right to privacy and he suggested that they could invest in some net curtains. Voiles are the modern equivalent. The Jab fabric Peak, from its Hideaways collection, costs about €55 per metre and is available to order from Fabulous Fabric Company in Cork.
Colour trial run
Off-the-peg curtains can be a really good way to try playing with strong colour on your windows before committing to the expense of made-to-measure. These Lusso velveteen eyelet curtains from Oxendales come in the statement colours of saffron, teal or silver and range in price from €65 per pair for a 168cm by 137cm size to €105 per pair for drapes 229cm by 229cm.
If you’ve just moved into a new home and don’t yet have the money to invest in custom curtains or blinds, the Window Film Company offers a cheap-as-chips alternative that can screen the outside world out in the minutes it takes to apply the vinyl to the glazing in question. It offers all manner of opaque looks including patterns to add visual interest and daytime one-way and two-way privacy options and can be cut to measure to fit any form of fenestration. Also on offer is what the firm calls its rainbow film, which offers a wash of colour and really works on a north-facing window to bring in some visual warmth. It costs about €37, ex delivery, for one metre of film 1.22m wide.
A roman blind is a really simple way to bring colour and pattern into a room. This Jaipur peacock print, from Colefax & Fowler’s new Jane Churchill Azara range, is a viscose, linen and polyester mix that costs €134 per sq m to order at Brian S Nolan. It can become a focal point and the addition of other pops of colour will serve to further bring out its colour palette. If you want to make it yourself you’ll need 1.8m of the fabric – or you could employ the firm to fabricate the blind pictured, about 1.2m by 1.5m, with a bonded sateen lining for about €493 inclusive of VAT.
Hillarys blinds and shutters do a really good range of fashion styles from café shutters, which offer privacy, to reimagining traditional Georgian and Victorian styles in ways that make these originals of the species seem almost modern. These full-height solids, painted in Little Greene’s Mischief, a hot pink that will make any room sizzle, look especially strong when teamed with the denim blue of the curtains and sapphire blue carpet. The Richmond design pictured, about 108cm wide by 233cm long will cost about €2,121.
Customised for size
Custom-made curtains give a sense of polish to a room that is difficult to achieve with standard sizes, especially if the window is not a standard size itself. The quality of the fabric and finish on custom curtains is much higher and there is an endless number of options on fabric, heading, finishes and even trims. The Entwistle Stone fabric, pictured, retails at €14.95 per metre from Home Focus at Hickeys. A pinch-pleat pair to fit the bay window, pictured, about 3.6m, with regular lining will cost about €820.