I believe that window treatments are one of the most important details in decorating a home. Sometimes though come across clients who balk at the cost of custom treatments. They think that all they really need is to throw up some store bought drapes for privacy and/or to block out light. This is a mistake! Why? I like to use the analogy of the Armani suit: It is a beautiful, meticulously crafted thing to behold. Every detail is perfect, from the way the jacket sits across the shoulders to where it hits the hips and continues in one fluid line to the floor. Yes it was expensive and it probably took some serious tailoring to get it just right. So why would you pair it with a cheap tie? The cheap tie and the beautiful suit will always be at odds. Always. Rooms are like the suit: you will probably spend time and money to get the room exactly the way you want it. Don’t stop with the windows! Window treatments complete the look of the room, pull the entire look together, invoke a feeling of elegance and warmth, and in the case of the typical homes with older windows and poor insulation that we have here, they can also serve to block drafts.
Anne Burkett is someone who feels the same way I do. Which is a good thing, since she makes her living creating custom window treatments, pillows, bench seats and the like. We can talk for long time about fabrics and kick pleats and roman shades. She juggles four kids, a husband and a dog and still manages to create beautiful treatments. I recently sat down with Ann while we were working together on a project and I asked her: for this fall decorating season, what are you doing a lot of?
“Flat roman shades, sheer relaxed roman shades, and side panels,” said Anne. These types of treatments work very well with the typical older homes that we have in our community.
So what does she recommend for that typical Oak Park window? “Most homes here still have beautiful unpainted, original woodwork, so don’t cover it up! We’re lucky because most of these older windows are deep enough to handle inside mounts, which means the trim can remain beautifully exposed. It also gives a clean look, a more contemporary feel to the windows”. A lot of my clients want to mix the traditional with an updated, contemporary look, so this works very well for them. Ann adds, “A well made flat roman will also help add insulation to drafty windows. “
Next I asked her where she though the trend was going with drapes. “ I am still doing a lot of panels that elongate the window by being hung high.” She said that she is seeing less and less of the “puddle” effect, whereby the fabric pools on the ground. “People are asking for more of a simple break now”. She adds that a simple valance also can help to hide the hardware of a blind.
Ann’s work has been displayed in several house tours and she loves doing a variety of treatments. She’s never met a window she couldn’t dress! She works with several designers as well as direct with homeowners. She says if you can get the fabric, she can make it happen. Some of Ann’s work is seen here and you can see more on her website at Anne Burkett.com