Monthly Archives: November 2011

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:

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

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

St. George’s Cathedral Save The Roof Market

By Marica

There is a handful of things every Cape Townian MUST do in his or her lifetime – for instance a trip up Table Mountain, Sundowners at Camps Bay, Wine Route wine-tasting or a boat ride to Robben Island and the list goes on… You can also not really call yourself a true Cape Townian without having set foot in the beautiful stone landmark which is St George’s Cathedral.

The Cathedral Church of St George the Martyr (in full) is the Anglican cathedral in the centre of Cape Town, South Africa and is the seat of the Archbishop of Cape Town.

The cathedral was designed by the masterful architect, Sir Herbert Baker and the foundation stone of the cathedral was laid on 22 August 1901 by the Duke of Cornwall and York (later to become George V). The cathedral replaced a church built in 1834 on the same site. Since then building has progressed by fits and starts. In 1939 the north aisle was finished; in 1963 the Lady Chapel and south aisle were completed, and in 1978 the belfry and the Link section, with additional seating, were built. But to this date St George’s Cathedral is still incomplete.

The Cathedral is fortunate in having some fine Gabriel Loire stained-glass windows and over the south transept is the most breathtaking rose window. Another must see (or rather must hear) is the beautiful ring of the cathedral bells. I once lingered around St George’s in order to hear the wonderful chimes of the cathedral’s majestic ten bells (each bell with its own name) which are usually rung as a call to worship or on special events.

St. George’s also played it’s own part during our difficult struggle during the apartheid era. On September 13 1989, about 30000 people marched from the cathedral to call for the release of political prisoners, unbanning of political parties and an end to the tricameral parliament.

” … this cathedral became widely known as a site and focus of resistance against apartheid. And so St George’s won the splendid accolade contained in the title The People’s Cathedral.”


The Cathedral has withstood many a storm and even a couple of wars but is now in serious need of repair. “Over the years we have repaired the roof. Now, alas, it is beyond repair and is in need of replacing. Estimates range from R7-million to R9-million.” In an effort to save this historic and cultural gem, St. George’s has organised a side-walk “White Elephant” sale to raise some much needed funds. Please visit the market this Saturday and Sunday (the 26th and 27th) to support this excellent cause! Browse through the collection of bric-and-brac items, secondhand books and other handmade crafts – you might even stumble upon some gorgeous vintage treasures for your home. For more details please visit the St. George’s website and if you feel inclined to give, please see this page.

St. George’s Cathedral White Elephant Side-walk Sale:
When: Saturday & Sunday, 26th & 27th of November 2011
Time: 10am to 3pm
Where: Area outside the St George’s Cathedral shop
Contact: (021 424 7360) : Pat Ellis

Images via Flickr here: 
1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 
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