Architects, like other people, seem to come under the influence of fashion, and many of them at present appear to be carried away with a desire to build houses with casement windows.
Such windows always give a pleasing, cosy look to a room, and the question of draping them is an easy one. Moreover, as only a small amount of material is required for the short curtains which are frequently used with them in bedrooms, they may effect an economy in the household expenditure.
The way in which casement windows are to be treated must depend on two things, the shape of them - that is to say, whether they are straight or in a bay - and the style in which the rest of the room is furnished. Where there is a very deep bay, in a country house or cottage, all that is necessary is a set of casement blinds (Fig. 1). The extreme simplicity of this arrangement appeals very strongly to many modern women, and the effect certainly has the merit of being charmingly simple and picturesque. To have curtains in addition on the inner side of so deep a bay tends to decrease the size of the room considerably when they are drawn.
The outer curtains for a casement window should generally fall from a box cornice, and not be hung from an uncovered pole. As the box cornice costs only about 1s. 6d. the foot, it is not at all expensive, unless it has to be cut to fit a bay, and the plainest of iron rods can be used, since it does not show under the valance.
One reason, of course, for the need of the cornice is to have something to which the valance, which makes a Very pretty finish to the tops of the curtains, can be attached. The fulness can either be arranged with a heading, and gathered or pleated on to a piece of tape, and then nailed on to the edge of the cornice (Fig. 2), or it may come from under a moulding (Fig. 4).
In order to avoid being obliged to have a cornice specially cut to fit a rounded bay, the only thing to do is to have one on the inner side of the window (Fig. 2), even although this will mean the loss of the window-seat if the curtains are drawn at night. For straight windows the arrangement seen in Fig. 4, with a box-pleated flounce coming from under the cornice, looks very well. As will be noticed, the cornice is carried right across the two windows.
With regard to the short blinds, which are almost always used in the place of ordinary blinds in these windows, unless these are the only curtains, as in Fig. 1, it is generally best to employ white or ecru or a plain colour. The ordinary casement cotton at about 6d. the yard is very popular, but those who prefer something better use a woollen or a mohair cloth. In halls or landings, however, materials with a small scattered design are often very successful, and also in some rooms with long curtains of a plain material.
In the plain cloths ivory, white, and ecru shades are most popular. A new fabric for the purpose, however, lately has been introduced which is guaranteed not to fade for years. It is very cheap, being only 9 3/4 d. the yard. Charming colour schemes can be arranged by using inner casement blinds, repeating one of the shades seen in the outer curtains of chintz or cretonne.
Inner side of a deep bay diminish the size of the room when they are drawn
Fig. 1. For a deep bay window, casement blinds alone suffice. The effect of this simplicity is charmingly picturesque. Curtains on the
Heal Son that a pretty effect can be gained by a valance attached to the cornice
Fig. 2. Outer curtains for casement windows should fall from a box cornice, not an uncovered pole, so Messrs. Williamson Cole
For instance, green blinds with curtains in which red, blue, and green commingle may have the happiest effect. The great objection hitherto in arranging anything of this kind was that as the blinds come so close to the glass they usually faded and looked shabby in a few months; but this new material has opened up quite a new range of possibilities in this direction.
The House Which is Overlooked Casement blinds are always edged with narrow trimmings sold for the purpose, and of these a large number of designs can be had. The ball edging is pretty for drawing-rooms, but, as the balls are apt to come off in time, something more serviceable can be employed in the other rooms in the house, unless it is preferred to keep all the windows the same. Plain lace is sometimes used, or a lace braid edging is also very dainty, and both of these are very moderate in cost - about 1s. or 1s. 6d. the dozen. A loop fringe is neat and wears well and a plain fringe always looks nice. In cases where the windows are rather high the upper part with thick glass in it is sometimes left uncovered, or it is supplied with a second set of shorter curtains (Fig. 2).
The upper ones alone have a piece turned over at the top to form a flounce effect.
In houses which are very much overlooked, short muslin blinds or curtains will be necessary to shut out the gaze of inquisitive by-passers, as a room facing straight on to a small garden and road is apt to have a very comfortless look without them. They are nicest made of Nottingham net, as this wears well and excludes very little light, and they should be fastened on to the windows with small brass rods, so that they open with them.
The question of outer curtains, which may be either long or short, introduces that other question to which reference was made before - of how our choice in this regard must be influenced by the general style of the room.
An expert, who had had considerable experience at one of the largest furnishing firms in London, recently remarked to the writer on the fact that so many purchasers nowadays display quite a good knowledge of the design of various periods, and are far better educated on this score than formerly. Some people, indeed, carry their fidelity to a period to extremes, and refuse to have anything in their house that is not, at any rate, designed after the manner of the time that they are endeavouring to "live up to." Such a purist, deciding on the treatment of a casement window, would in all probability find herself in a dilemma at the outset. The reason is this. Georgian and Adams rooms are among the most popular styles, and, in a room of either of these periods such a window is in itself an anachronism, as long, straight windows were then used.
A compromise is the only thing in this case to bring the windows into harmony with the rest of the furniture. This is best effected by having the curtains coming from under the pelmet, or stiffened border, which was characteristic of window decorations in those times. Sometimes a window, although it may not be exactly on casement lines, can have the short casement blinds, and the pelmet and curtains be treated in a style adapted to go in an Adams room.
These curtains can be of velours, which, by the by, is not at all ex-pensive - about 3s. 3d. the yard double width. They should have a line of narrow trimming in white to correspond with the embroidery on the pelmet.
The great mistake which people so often make in choosing curtains for casement windows is to have something too rich and handsome. It is true that elaborate hangings are never out of place in a Georgian, Adams, or French room. On the other hand, the period in which casement windows originated was one of simplicity, and their very form makes too rich hangings unsuitable with them. For this reason the design described above would be a very clever decoration for rooms of one of these periods, on account of the plain material and the lightness of the decoration. In everything, however, there is an increasing demand for simplicity, so that it makes it all the more important not to err on the side of over-elaboration of curtains for casement windows.
Stiffened border Messrs. Williamson Cole
Fig. 3. Here a charming effect is produced by a curtain, coming from under a Plain materials, such as velours, chenille, unpatterned damask, or, for bedrooms, Bolton sheeting, look well. They are improved by one of the charming borders which are to be bought, a silk one on velours for a drawing-room being particularly good. In a blue-and-white bedroom delightful curtains may be made of cream Bolton sheeting, edged with the narrow trimming usually used on the blinds in blue. Where the curtains are short they should never come on a line with the window-ledge, as this gives a very abbreviated and ungainly look, but should fall about a foot below it.
One of the great charms of the casement window is the deep window-sill with which it is often supplied. A warning should, however, be given as to putting valuable china of any kind on it; pots of growing plants or pottery jars filled with cut flowers look better than anything. It is also quite the best place for the bowls of bulbs. They look charming from outside the window, and give an infinitely better effect than window-boxes.
Fig 4. For straight windows a box-pleated flounce coming from under the cornice looks very well. The cornice can be carried right across two windows Messrs. Williamson Cole