Article Written By Becky Dumais
When you think of drapes, do you think of polyester baby blue sheers or the heavy chintz panels hanging in your mother’s living room? Are you regretting the prepackaged panels you bought because you were desperate to cover up a window? With custom drapery you get the look you want, the quality you deserve, and a style to last through any crazy colour trends – because isn’t that what throw pillows are for?
Choosing custom drapes rather than prefabbed panels gives you the opportunity to pick your own fabric and create a look in your home that’s totally unique. You also benefit from the store’s personal attention with the help of a designer or drapery specialist. “The key word is custom,” says Jim Anderson, owner of Anderson’s Carpet and Home in Burlington. “We go to the (client’s) home to see how the design should come together with everything else that’s in place.” The store’s professional onsite workroom also ensures that the end result is one you will be proud of.
A Fabricated Story
Today’s custom drapery options are more for appearance than function, since most of us don’t want to have to draw our drapes closed every night. “Most people don’t want functional drapery any more,” says Marie Iannace, designer for Shades of Home, in Oakville. “The function is in the window (shades) and then you dress it up with panels and a decorative rod.”
By browsing through the showroom or sifting through the designers’ samples, you will find a wide selection of fabrics, many imported from all over the world, but these days customers across the board are looking for simple, clean lines in nothing but neutrals. “Currently, people are big on texture and tone on tone patterns,” says Iannace. “Most people are playing it safe. You want something that lasts.”
And yes, despite your disdain for your grandmother’s sheers that she ordered from her favourite catalogue 30 years ago, Iannace says custom sheers shouldn’t be overlooked. “There are so many beautiful options available in sheers with modern patterns,” she explains. “If you don’t want to do shades and drapes and just want a soft look, sheers are an excellent option. You can get the privacy you need but still have light coming through.”
Tone it Down
With all of the thought, work and effort involved in custom drapery, both experts advise going neutral. Drapery is a big investment, so don’t even think about choosing orange or turquoise – because you’ll find yourself wanting to tear them down in two or three years. “I tell people that drapes should be a backdrop, and if they want colour they should add new pillows or a new vase,” states Iannace. Anderson says that the beachy, relaxed feel is also popular, but in neutral tones with a comfortable linen look.
Thankfully, balloon valences have long been banished and panels should no longer pool onto the floor. Customers at Anderson’s are looking for a light style that’s tailored and simple to compliment today’s modern furniture. Anderson says that although floor to ceiling panels are still popular, they should look very neat rather than crinkly or wrinkled. “What we’re doing is maybe a cream linen that has a thin grey piping down the side. It’s very crisp. A more tailored look is popular.” Anderson says that another unique finishing touch is embellishing the panels with Swarovski crystals on the pleats for little hints of sparkling glamour. “If you take a casual linen panel and add crystals to it, it creates a nice mix of glamour and casual,” he adds.
Both stores carry a wide range of hardware from understated to elegant. Wooden hardware is no longer in fashion – think acrylic rods that look like glass, crystal or glass finials with a bit of polished brass or nickel. Pewter, brushed nickel and black rods are also popular options.
From start to finish, you’ll be able to choose and then admire your new curtains in about six weeks. “We want to give you something that’s custom and uniquely yours. You’re not going to walk into anyone else’s house and see the same thing,” notes Anderson.
Shades of Home