Monday, January 26, 2009

Wintertime Window Treatments

The emerging, de facto standard at the Hawkins House for winter curtains (yes, winter curtains) is the use of heavy linen drawback festoons. Modeled after early (eighteenth century) colonial window coverings that were once made from a variety of materials, including tobacco cloth, these modern day equivalents have a traditional look, while featuring a nicely hidden drawstring on the back of the curtain that allows you to gather the material up on either the left or right side.

Drawback festoon in a linen and black checked pattern

But one of the nicest benefits of these curtains is their draft-blocking ability. Although not insulated, they are very heavy, and they seem to do a pretty good job keeping my drafty old windows from becoming a real nuisance. Even when I eventually get the windows sealed better, they will still offer a big advantage, serving as heavy barriers between the relatively cold panels of glass, and the relatively warmer air circulating through the room.

These early style festoons are made in a very old, family-run, textile mill in South Carolina. But you can buy them through a number of sources, including The Primitive Cellar, Farmhouse Primitives (both of whom also carry tobacco cloth and tea-dyed drawback curtains of several different styles), and Piper Classics.

Linen-on-linen festoons in the hall chamber; when I want to maximize light flow through a southerly facing window, so as to warm a room up, I fold the drawback curtain up over the rod like this (all the more reason for hanging them from rods, although purists might insist on suspending them from thin lines)

When spring returns, these guys will be taken down and put away, to be replaced with a variety of light-weight swags, or in some rooms, traditional fishtail swags. I also need to install some roller shades in the front windows, because the summer time UV assault through these windows in the late afternoon is unforgiving, and is really starting to do a number on some articles in these rooms.


AlexandraFunFit said...

Swags? Festoons? It sounds like a party in your curtains. These drawback festoons sound like winter winners. Can I come over and touch them?

John Poole said...

The festoons I'll let you touch. You can even raise or draw them if you'd like. But just don't touch any thing else. I'm watching you...

AlexandraFunFit said...

Oh, but I also plan to touch the swags. And the stud muffins. Fair warning.