Décor Dictionary: Roman Blind

Roman Blinds

To accompany yesterday’s Décor Diva article on Roman Blinds, here is the corresponding décor term:

Roman Blind:  is a window treatment consisting of a length of material which, when drawn up by eyelet-channelled cords, gathers into horizontal folds from the bottom. This form of window shade also provides an uncluttered appearance can be customed to fit either a contemporary or more traditional interior.

The beautiful contemporary Roman Blinds above are from Luxaflex


Window Treatments 101: Roman Blinds

We recently kicked off the series “Window Treatments“, painting a bit of a historical background picture, just to set the scene for the future articles.

For those of us living in the Southern Hemisphere spring is making way for those hot summer days. Our interior lifestyle begins to swing with it, as we go about the business of creating cool spaces to rattle around in.

Speaking for myself, I find that the seasons definitely impact on my window treatments. In winter all I want to do is hibernate indoors, pull shut the heavy draped curtains to block out all consciousness of the bleak cold and wet weather. The “bear-effect“.

Sheer Voile Curtains
Sheer curtains are a must for summer!

In summer just as we strip away the layers of clothing, so I feel like I want to strip away the layers on the windows in order to create more of that feeling of “openness”. Light-weight sheer fabrics for curtains – unlined naturally – that hang from a silver metal pole, so that when the breeze comes up, it gently lifts the curtain and plays with it.

The other ‘”less is more” option in terms of dressing a window are blinds that are either fitted into the window recess or externally if on installed on a door opening.

Roman Blinds
Some pretty plain-fabric Roman Blinds - perfect in bathroom setup. Image via: Urbaneblinds.co.uk

The varieties of blinds available today are just amazing. Today I will open up one of the old favourites:

ROMAN BLINDS:   These are normally made using a fabric and they are lined with a plain white or cream fabric as a rule. However, that does not mean that you are restricted to plain fabric linings.  The only reason that a plain sateen fabric is used for lining is due to the fact that this is the fabric that will be visible from outside the house.  The rule of thumb is to have all the curtains lined with the same fabric to retain a coherent exterior view when the curtains or blinds are drawn. It does begin to look a bit like a patchwork quilt if there are a variety of fabrics seen from the outside.

The other purpose of a lining is that it protects the main fabric from dust and dirt that penetrates through open windows. It also serves to protect the front fabric from the fading that happens with exposure to ultra-violet light.

Roman Blinds
You will find a lot of easy DIY Roman Blind tutorials on the net. Like this one from the Adventures in Dressmaking blog.

I cannot possibly go into the details of how these blinds are put together in the workshop, as that is just not my thing. If that is where your interest lies, I would suggest that a good google session will help you out there.

Suffice to say that these blinds are drawn up and down by means of a group of string cords thread through plastic eyelets.

The Roman Blind can itself be treated in a decorative way – such a having different shapes at the bottom, which can also be finished (or trimmed as we call it in the trade) with a piping cord. This piping cord can be covered either using the same fabric, or a contrasting colour.

Rebated Curtain Rail
A rebated curtain rod / pole. The curtain rail or blind baton is then fixed into the recess. This is a neat and elegant way of dealing with those unsightly curtain rails.

For a good many years now, the top of the roman blind (which is attached to a wooden or metal baton) can have the added feature of a covered wooden pole (either in same or contrast fabric). Or it can be painted to work in with the main body of colour in the fabric. This wooden pole has a small rebate cut out in it, into which the top of the blind fits. Very neat.

I like this finish as it completes the picture somewhat, making the blind look as if it is falling from under the pole.

Roman Blinds
Choose a nice funky and simplistic fabric design for a contemporary Roman Blind. Avoid a busy or "cluttered" pattern. These pretty blinds are via JohnLewis.com

In the 1980’s and first half of the 1990’s when the Laura Ashley country style was very popular we saw the resurgence of this blind as a window treatment. Here in South Africa Biggie Best adopted the same décor style and roman blinds were everywhere to be found.

As the “less is more” style moved in, the younger generation were less inclined to adopt their mom’s country style. Today although roman blinds are still to be found, the popularity has dwindled – like most trends.

The advantage of the Roman Blind is that you can have the fabric of your choice made up to fit the window in a less fussy manner to that of a curtain. Certain windows like those in kitchens, bathrooms, hallways, staircases, smaller and narrower windows are more suitable to blinds and this is where the roman blind can work well.

Sheer Roman Blinds
These stunning sheer Roman Blinds allows for privacy without loosing too much light. Image via Blinds by Bayliss

The disadvantage of Roman Blinds is that fabrics need to be washed.  That can be quite a little exercise when you have to take the blind down and then re-install. Invariably you will need the assistance of a professional curtain installer. Other disadvantages – when the eyelets perish and break – the cording system is affected.  You will find you have a wobbly and lopsided blind when drawn up.

Naturally as a decorator you work with the likes and dislikes of your client, but I have to admit that I have moved away from the Roman Blind window treatment. My preference now – “less fuss is best”.

Next time we will look at the rest of the wide variety of blinds as window treatments…

Images via:
Sheer Curtains: left  &  right
Bathroom Blinds: here
DIY Roman Blind: here
Curtain Pole: left  &  right
Funky Roman Blinds: here
Sheer Roman Blinds: here
Good Housekeeping SA - Cover

Review: Good Housekeeping Magazine SA

Good Housekeeping SA - Cover

The next time you are standing in front of the rack displaying magazines at the supermarket or bookstore, take time our to meet the new kid on the block Good Housekeeping Magazine (SA).

Yes the Good Housekeeping mag has come to our shores at last.  It might be the new kid on the block in terms of South African mags, but it is an internationally recognized superbrand which was first launched in 1885 – you heard right!  Wrap you brain around that one – 126 years ago! With more than 30 million readers across the globe. In fact in the very first issue, there is a double page spread showing you exactly the countries it is to be found in.

As I write this I am reminded of a comical local TV ad about a man that is a company’s 1 millionth client. He is being interviewed as such and the TV presenter asks him “what took you so long?” Echoing my sentiments exactly – I so enjoyed reading this GH (shortened version of name) I too have to say “what took you so long to get to SA?”

It is not specifically an interiors magazine, although it naturally has a very good décor section and pages with all sorts of gorgeous décor goodies to buy from SA retail outlets. To quote the editor Sally Emery, “It is targeted at women exactly like you and me – women with full, busy lives, who are looking for smart, easy, affordable (and fun) solutions to all the challenges life throws at us.” Having read the GH from cover to cover, I could not sum the content and mission up any better – it is as she said it.

The various sections /categories of the GH are all titled with a wonderful play on the word “GOOD”. There is “Good Choices” – good buying options shared; “Good Looks” – which deals with beauty & fashion; “Good Buzz” – insights into home, family, celebs etc; “Good Advise”- expert advise on different aspects of life; “Good Enough Housekeeping” – fun ideas, short cuts, step-by-step solutions and then lastly “Good Health” – speaks for itself.

In the Good Enough section you will meet our favourite local blogger, Vicki Sleet from I Want That. Vicki, who is also Good Housekeeping’s Lifestyle Editor, heads the lifestyle advice column called “Ask Vicki” for all house-care tipe questions. Well done Vicki!

On the cover of this first issue is none other than Heidi Klum who after 4 children still looks like so slim, trim and beautiful. There is a fab interview with her in the Good Buzz section.

What do I fancy most about this mag and in particular this issue? For starters, I don’t do bikinis anymore and was so chaffed to find an article showing full length bathing costumes and helpful hints as to what to look for when buying. Then the “101 wonders / magic must haves” – clever buys with awesome images.  I cannot actually single out anymore because the mag is jam packed with loads of interesting tips and features.

They are equally as active online. You will find loads of competitions on their website. Stay updated & interactive with them on Facebook and Twitter.  Marica and I have just had the fun-est time entering the entire lot of FAB competitions online. Get in there quick peeps – it anything from an iPad and appliances to picnic baskets and a nature reserve weekend! I have read the book “Elephant Whisper” and want nothing more than to go hang out with them ellies in Thula Thula. The iPad – okay, between Marica and I may the best woman win (hopefully).

Will I buy it again – yes I definitely will. After battling to find a Mag that I could settle into for years now (other than décor mags) I think I have found my everyday gals mag.

Happy reading all – until the next time, Yours in service to interiors.

The Secret To Selecting A Contractor Or Artisan

The Secret To Selecting A Contractor Or Artisan

There are very few of us who have commissioned or appointed either a contractor or artisan in the building or construction trade, who have not been left feeling disappointed in the standard of the workmanship.

It is so sad to think that there are a great many people out there who think that working with a builder, tiler, painter or whoever offers a home improvement service, is the stuff that nightmares are made of.

Sad, because I am convinced that even though there are those artisans who disappoint us, there are an equal number who set a high standard and deliver superb service and product.

All of this was brought to mind during a recent conversation with a friend who is looking to tackle some improvement projects.  Here are some of the tips I shared with her:

1.  Ask a friend for a recommendation

In the event that you have not managed to establish a good working relationship with a reliable contractor that understands your standard, start by asking your circle of friends if there is someone that they have no qualms in recommending.

2.  Interview the potential contractor

If you have to go out “cold calling” so to speak, once you have the name of the contractor and he has eventually pitched up and managed to give you a speedy quote, spend some time getting to know him – interview him as you would a new employee – after all you are going to entrust something of value into his charge.

3.  Ask for references

Ask for the names and contact details of no less than three clients that you can reference back to.

4. Given references might be biased

Remember than you will only be given the contact details of those satisfied clients. You ain’t gonna get the names of the unhappy clients. But that’s okay, as long as you…

5. It’s okay to ask about unhappy clients

Stop to ask whether there has been occasion for “disgruntled clients”. If so, would he be able to be honest enough to fill you in with some of those details.

6. Come prepared

Prepare a list of questions / queries that you would like to address with the prospective contractor or references. In terms of the references – you will have a clear path to follow while speaking to them. In terms of the contractor – you will be able to glean whether he understands your brief to him and your particular needs.

7. Ask to see “Before & Afters”

Getting before and after images of past work is also a great help during all this “information gathering” time.

8. Price should NOT be your only deciding factor

Remember that going for the lowest quote does not necessarily guarantee quality of service and product. Holding price out as your only yardstick can be a bit on the dangerous side.  There is always a cost to getting value added service. A Merc is not a cheap car and if that is your standard, then cheap ain’t gonna cut it. Should you be able to get a reliable contractor that sets a good standard at a reasonable price – THAT’S FIRST PRIZE!

9. Review, weigh & decide

Once you have done your research, sit down to make that calculated decision.  Discuss it with a friend or your other half.

10. Listen to your gut

Remember that your gut feeling should never be negated! It’s a very good measure to include.

OKAY – so this is going to take a lot more effort on your side and it does mean digging deeper with the homework. Yet I feel sure that the net result can leave you confidently empowered and with greater peace of mind. You have taken control of the situation and that attitude can continue throughout the project process. Before the spade hits the ground, or the cement hits the floor, you would have established a comfortable understanding with your contractor.

What is your opinion on this matter? Have any tips or secrets to share with us about your experience in choosing a contractor? Share the knowledge!

Get The Look - Nautical Bedroom - The Design Tabloid

Get This Look: Nautical Bedroom

By Marica

Get The Look - Nautical Bedroom - The Design TabloidI know what you are thinking…blue AGAIN?! I promise it was purely accidental (but isn’t it pretty?)! One of my favourite elements in a good nautical designed interior, apart from the various shades of blue of course,  is the use of stunning bold stripes. Whether thick, narrow or grouped, nothing says “nautical” like stripes. Other elements that compliment a nautical interior are rustic and distressed timbers, beautiful coloured or  blasted glass, a blue/sand/white colour palette (maybe even with a splash of red) and ocean-inspired baubles. One must however be careful when creating a nautical interior not to venture over the “tacky” boundary – avoid adding to many bits-and-bobs.


1. Tie-Dye Scatter Cushion – Woolworths has recently added this beautiful range to shelves – tie-dye has never looked so attractive!

2. Striped Scatter Cushions – can be ordered through us!

3. Nautical Print Scatter Cushion – can also be ordered through us.

4. Sand & Blue Striped Throw – @Home

5. Another current trend that can also compliment a nautical interior is industrial elements this beautiful industrial-esque pendant light is from Le Grange Interiors.

6. Use stools as side tables and don’t be afraid to use more than one on either side of your bed. These gorgeous rustic stools are from Le Grange Interiors.

7. Invest in a beautiful piece of sea-inspired fine art or prints. I have seen some beautiful abstract seascapes to compliment a more contemporary setting. I found this photo of Marieke Prinsloo’s Sea Point sculptures on Times Live – wouldn’t it make a stunning framed print?!

8. This beautiful coral-like ceramic vase is from Pezula Interiors.

9. I love the subtle blasted effect on these beautiful coloured glass vases from Pezula Interiors – it reminds me of sea glass.

Nautical Bedroom Image via


One Day Art Exhibition - Invite

ONE DAY Art Exhibition

One Day Art Exhibition - Invite

When we interviewed artist and designer Ashley Wood a couple of months ago for our article on her latest brilliant product range, she was working on new artworks for a one day art exhibition, partially curated by her and fellow Ruth Prowse graduates, Kathrina Foster, Bianca de Klerk, Anya Kovacs and Adele van Heerden. Well, after months of work and preparation the exhibition date and location is set! Be sure to set aside the afternoon /evening of Saturday the 26th of November. Looks to be quite the awesome indie event – it’s got a little underground vibe to it.

For more info check out ONE DAY art’s facebook page: here

The image below was taken at a previous ONE DAY art event. Looks seriously cool!

Previous One Day Art Exhibition