After talking about giving a room a summer look a while back, a very knowledgeable friend told me (ex-blog-communicus) that no room had a summer look if it still had carpets on the floor. I stand corrected.
The idea is to generally denude a room and take it as far back to bare bones as you want. Anyone can do it with any kind of room. Just take something out (preferably quite a few things).
‘A change is as good as a rest’ has to be one of the better cliches (most truthful).
But what I want to write here is a paeon to gloom. There is nothing more delicious in high glaring summer than having curtains almost pulled across windows – especially bedroom windows.
Light in New Zealand is so fierce that it’s like going out into an incredibly unhealthy ultraviolet storm from about 2pm till evening.
Having half pulled curtains in a study, a bedroom automatically gives the room a sort of pleasing illicitness. Shadows multiply in depth. A headache is averted.
These are my favourite curtains. I bought the toile at the fabulous Ab Fab in Newmarket, Auckland (www.abfabrics.co.nz) who specialise in end of line fabrics at cheapish prices.
It is Robinson Crusoe a toile ‘from the Christopher Moore Toile Collection’. It is very delicate and pleasing. I have also pinned some over an ugly door into my study and even, believe it or not, made some covers for my completely utilitarian desk chair. (I’m aware you can ‘over-toile’. Next thing my kitten will be wearing a toile poke-bonnet and kick-skirt.)
So – if you don’t want to take your curtains down and have a ‘nude’ look, the alternative is to pull your curtains so they almost meet, so that light enters as if in a painting or a Scandinavian film.
(An alternative here is to hang some cheap light white gauzy fabric, which filters the light but doesn’t have the naïf quality of ‘nets’. A thin cotton does the trick. Hey presto, you’re in Sweden.)
I realize this all makes me sound like a decor obsessed queen. Maybe I am? Another way of looking at it is: how can you change your life easily? Well, let’s start by gently pulling the curtains on the high noon of a painfully bright summer’s day… at least it will get the neighbours talking.
The solution to all those drapes dilemmas…summer and winter drapes! Seasonal changes call for mood changes and curtains can help. Good curtains are expensive…I notice the toile curtains are not lined. NZ sunlight will eat up that cotton fast. Maybe this is part of the plan but good curtains can be expensive. Mother, never frugal when it came to decorating, or anything else for that matter, blithely said about 20 years ago, “you can’t curtain a room for under $10,000 these days”. Well she was slightly extravagant but her point was…do it right and the fabrics will last.
In this, as I am sure in so many other things, Madame Puginesque (Senior) is quite correct – after all there is no place for frugality in decorating. However rest assured the toile curtains are lined – although not with a light blocking fabric – exposing the back of one’s curtain fabric to the public gaze is really not done.