Monday, September 18, 2017

Style And The Individual: When To Turn A Blind Eye

A while ago I went to an office that was situated in a roof extension. The ceiling was the sloping roof of the building and the windows were sloping skylights. They were tall windows with the tops stretching up and inwards to be above almost the centre of the room but near enough to the bottom of the slope so you could see the wonderful view over rooftops to the mountains beyond. It was really quite stunning. And the office itself was pristine, with clean lines and fresh white paint.

However, this bright, new, efficient space was 'finished' in a most bizarre way. Some budding interior designer (not) had put curtain rods along the tops of the windows and draped beautiful turquoise curtains framing each side of each of the two windows. Except of course, the curtains didn't frame the windows at all. They hung straight down into the middle of the room.

The two female secretaries had tied a knot into each curtain so that they didn't have them in their faces all the time. And the sun beat down into the room, casting eerie shadows like hangmans' nooses on the walls obscured by the knotted curtains.

I tried not to laugh but I couldn't help it. They told me I wasn't the first to be amused. The plan, or I should say the revised plan, was to put another rail at the bottom of each window to hold the curtains in place. But they needed to order new curtains with hems or ringed holes for the curtain rods on the bottom as well as the top.

"They make blinds for these sort of windows you know," I told them. I offered to show them and we spent a few minutes browsing Velux Blinds on the computer with the lid of a cardboard box taped over the monitor to block out the direct sunlight. We even found blinds in turquoise.

Years ago a friend told me that when planning your space, have the finished room in mind. That way you can make small changes as and when you have the resources, but you are always working towards your vision of how it will look in the end. If you don't do this, you'll waste money making changes to patch up what you have rather than towards the desired end.

My new friends in the dazzling office (pun intended) weren't ready to embrace the full uncluttered effect of crisp new blinds made to measure. They wanted curtains. I noticed they had crocheted doilies under the potted plants and I let the matter rest.

This is a collaborative post.  


  1. I would definitely have gone for the blinds - especially those turquoise ones!
    One of my responsibilities at my last few jobs was to work with the "experts" when office space needed to be renovated or when our dept. had to be moved to a new location. I learned NOT to be surprised at the many odd things that would happen. I was once presented with a set of floorpans whereby many staff would have had to jump over their telephone wires each and every time they left their desks - and the phone people couldn't understand why I asked for outlets to be moved! And then there was the time that I had to point out to the electricians that they wanted to add more overhead lights to the exact same locations where the sprinkler system outlets had already been installed. And then blinds - our building owners decided to install all new blinds - the expensive ones that block glare but still allow you to see outside. The only problem was - health & safety had just mandated that all our open concept workspaces had to be pulled out another foot from the walls/heating rads in order to allow for more air circulation. This now meant that no one could actually reach the chains from the blinds to adjust them without climbing onto their work desks or - leaning precariously over things if you were tall enough! I solved the problem by using my cane to catch hold of the chain and pull it towards me so that I could raise or lower my blind as needed each day. The joys of modern life! :-)

    1. I've seen some 'mistakes' made by experts who design for effect rather than practical needs. I once worked for a family in a three-storey penthouse, interior designed and no expense spared. There was no linen cupboard so all the sheets and towels were stuffed into wardrobes around all the various bedrooms. Where the linen cupboard should have been was a kitchenette on the bedroom floor that was never used. Why would you use it when the kitchen was just 20 stairs away? Another irk is that Israeli apartments don't usually have coat cupboards near the entrance. Designers seem to forget that we do have winters even if they are mild and short. So from December till March you have coats draped over the dining chairs or thrown onto beds. It's messy and annoying. I've put up strong hooks now.

  2. Woman always notice those sorts of things - male designers really should consult as more. I love walking through model homes and you always hear women say - where do I put the broom and the vacuum? Why is the sink so exposed like that - I don't want all my dirty dishes being front & centre! Why is the laundry room in the basement when the vast majority of the wash comes from 2 floors above! A beautiful place is wonderful, but when it comes to day to day living - give me practicality any day!