For years I have saved clippings of my favourite looks in curtains or drapes and have carried them around in a binder in my car so that it’s easy to show clients what I’m designing when it comes time to discuss curtains. I love drapery, they instantly add softness and vertical height to a room, not to mention changes the feeling. I mentioned it here when my living room curtains went up. It’s hard to convey in a post though, it’s something you instantly feel when you are in the space.
I have wanted to post my favourite headers and treatments for a while. This way they are virtual and even easier to view on-line. Please forgive the lack of sources on some, they are clippings I’ve had forever, also I photographed them because I haven’t figured out how to work my scanner so they’re not perfect. I’m starting with a header I specify a lot, it’s called a pasha pleat or ‘top-pinched pleat’.
A regular ‘pinched pleat’ is usually 4” (below), pinching it at the top (see the one on the right between the bracket and the finial? That’s exactly what it looks like) makes it look more contemporary. These drapes come with hooks from the work-room and they are hung on rings similar to this one:
You can start to see why so much fabric is required. If you measure your window (don’t forget to add length for stacking so you don’t cover up the window with fabric) you then multiply that figure by 2 1/2 or 3 divided by 54 inches (fabric width) and that is how you determine how many panels you need for any given window. One is usually too skimpy and that’s when the curtains really scream IKEA.
Fullness is very important. Custom drapery is not inexpensive, however it really transforms the look and feel of a room.
I have always loved this treatment with the sheers covering the window on top of what appears to be a window seat. Notice the hem is 6” instead of 4”. Since the hem is at eye level it’s more visually appealing.
This is an inverted pleat. Notice the effect is quite flat at the top, not suitable for just any window but here it looks terrific with the sheer roman shades. Also these drapes are stationary and used strictly for decoration.
This is a grommet curtain. Here is the same look with grommet curtains from IKEA. I love this treatment, it’s contemporary and doesn’t require as much fullness as regular pinched pleats although the labour costs a little more because each grommet needs to be attached to the panel.
These drapes are clearly custom made with 2” banding framing each panel however they are sewn flat and hung on the rod with rings and clips (below).
This is an easier look to achieve when sewing your own curtains because you can simply clip them on but keep in mind they are better as decorative, stationary side panels as they are hard to draw back and forth if you need them for privacy and light control.
This is one style of a goblet pleat, there are a few but I like this one because it’s more contemporary and different from the 4” pinched pleat.
Here is a closer look. I specified this header with these drapes in this loft that I designed. See how the panel on the left side is wider than the other two? You can see if you look above the drapery that its actually covering the wall next to the window, but because the wall is covered with drapery it gives the illusion of a bigger window. So if you have a small window, dressing it with panels on both sides makes it look larger in addition to adding scale and balancing other items in the room.
This is the home of Larry King, decorated by his wife’s sister. I took this image from an Architectural Digest years ago. This is a simple treatment (okay I know this image doesn’t look simple) because you can just take a panel of fabric even if it’s unfinished and staple it up on the wall if you really wanted to. Here they are hung on tie backs, a very traditional look.
I have always wanted to do this for a clients space. Such a great idea to simply dress the wall with curtain fabric to achieve the effect of a window.
This is Sarah Richardson’s home (from a few years ago). It’s kind of hard to see but look at this simple pooling sheer which runs all the way along a track attached to the ceiling across the large windows in this living room.
If you don’t have curtains in your home yet and can’t afford custom, I would suggest buying the drapes first because there are so few options ‘off-the-shelf’ it’s best to find the ones that work best for your space and then buy other pieces to coordinate. If you need custom drapery, contact me.
Which look is your favourite?