Splay Rebates & Roman blinds

Hi all Elsie here.

You do not see these in every house but they are lovely.

Splay rebates used to be around when we had sash windows with shutters attached. Modern architects are using them more and more in modern designs giving them a classical twist.



sash 4

I feel they reflect additional light into the room and also help to make windows look that touch brighter themselves and bigger. Lovely.

However they can be a touch awkward to dress if you are wanting to fit a blind into the recess of the window.

As you can see from the images above there will always be a bigger gap at the side front edge of any blind. The further they project the bigger the gap.

Roman blinds are the closest fitting you can choose to have the blind the same with as the rail (narrowest part at the back) or you can make the blind slightly wider (where it is hanging in the recess). Be aware though that when the blind is down all is well. As you raise the blind because it folds back into a space not as wide the blind will push forward.

So it is up to the client. Bigger gap (witch you could hide with a curtain) or smaller gap and blind lifts forward. The choice is yours.

Please note that when you are either making or advising the use of blinds please ensure the BS safety regulations? I refer to Child Safety Requirements for Internal Blinds BS EN 13120, BS EN16433 and BS EN 16434.

THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.


How To Hang Curtains Properly (in my opinion)

Hi all. E.D.Wolfe here signing in.

What I have to say next is purely my opinion and I do not want to offend those who do what I consider to be BIG curtain no no’s .

May I also add that personal aesthetics play a big part in this and one persons mess is another persons “pièce de resistance” . So at the risk of offending her we go.


1. Pinch pleat pushovers.

Time and time again I see these lovely headed curtains hung disastrously wrong.

Curtains hung incorrectly.

Pinch pleat Curtains hung incorrectly.

Pinch pleat curtains hung correctly.

Pinch pleat curtains hung correctly.

Swaffer Silk www.swaffer.co.uk

To me it is completely obvious why the first is wrong and the second is correct but let me make it clearer.

The flat section between the pleats is meant to fold under and away so the curtain hangs neatly and pulls off the window well. If the curtain is not hung this way it has a propensity for the hooks to pop out of the eyelets / runners. Also have you noticed that in the first image the spaces flipping forward ? This ruins the look of the pinches, they are almost completely lost. This is before I begin to mention the fact that it can (especially with heavy fabrics) cause the bucrum (stiffener) to buckle and destroy the pleats entirely. I have even seen the fabric on the back of pleats rip because of the pressure caused by them hanging like this and the friction from them rubbing on the rail.

2. Hung out to dry.

OK this is very tricky.

Where to finish a curtain? At the end of the day the choice is yours. However please let me guide you a little.

Full length curtains should either skim the floor, be 1/4″ off, kick 3 / 6 inches onto the floor or pool 10″ and over.

IMG_1198 IMG_1453

Pooled and kicked are shown above skimming and 1/4 ” off are obvious.

Too many times have I seen curtains kinked on the floor or horribly half mast. I am also not a fan of the skirting board length it is neither here nor there.

Curtains kinking on floor.

Curtains kinking on floor.

Skirting board length curtains.

Skirting board length curtains. Yuck.

3. Pole placement.

This can be hard but I have a basic rule that has served me well for 20yrs.

The pole (if space will allow) should be positioned so that the base of the gather is in line with or above the top of the window. I am fully aware this is not always possible and is an ideal. This is a guide.

Personally I find it a touch strange, (for the reasons of balance), for a pole to be put right up near the cove no matter how much space there is. I feel it can cause the balance of the window to be thrown, especially if the wall space above the window is big. I will let you be the judge.

contemporary-curtains Too High I feel.

506b3044d9127e30fc001923._w.1500_s.fit_ Difficult situation.

These curtains are correct, the designer has had no option but to position the pole so high because of the restrictions placed upon them of the one window being a lot higher than the french doors. I feel it is obvious the poles look better if at the same hight, despite the difference. However can you imagine how horrid this would look if there was no second window? If in fact the french doors were on their own. then the pole position would be completely wrong. See the bay above?

Positioning a pole too low can be bad alsobeautiful-curtain-which-brings-many-benefits-luxury-curtain-920x1057

In a bedroom it is particularly bad and can cause increased light leakage.

Another personal pet hate is pooling Eyelet headed curtains. Some designers do it and that is fine and up to them but the reasons I have for not pooling Eyelet curtains are, I feel, valid ones.

1.Eyelets are in there design created to be neat and crisp in their folds, a pool destroys this look.

2.They are not as full as your average curtain so a nice rich pool is unattainable due to lack of fabric in the width.

4. Blind botch job.

I know I have already done an entire blog on blinds but this gives me a chance to point out a situation repeated again and again.

Why oh why do people insist on fitting blinds that you can see down the back of due to the big gap left because of the positioning of the item or the type of window?

6188432223_32cb805d96_z NO

002 YES

Bay-watch NO







Can you see it ? In a box bay I would not recommend a blind where the bay did not have a section of wall or frame that hid the end of the blind. It looks unsightly and light can leak. Not to mention a potential security risk.

On a splay bay I would recommend traditional battens so that they could be tapered at the sides to fit closer to the outside edge of wall reducing the gap and projection.

On windows where it was possible a dress curtain can provide coverage to hide this end section of blind.

5.Why did they do that?

My final curtain catastrophe has no images (thankfully) . It is the designer who has not got the foggiest what they are doing but professes to know all. The designer who can barely hold a tape measure. The designer who makes a recommendation without checking or knowing 1. if it will fit and 2. if it will work. The designer with lots of ideas and zero technical knowledge to apply it with. The designer who does not fully inform their client of the ins and outs of the possibilities and look of the finished product so they can make an informed choice. And finally the designer who passes off another designers hard work for their own. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE. STOP IT.

(No offence was intended in this blog, I apologise if any has been caused, these are only my opinions and musings)

Thanks again for reading. If you have any window treatment problems please either email me or leave a comment (pictures may help).


THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.


Bay Windows 101


Your heart sinks at the thought of dressing this beautiful architectural feature.

Even thought they have been around since the medieval times they became popularised in the Victorian era and are still used today even in modern architecture.

Medieval Bay Window

Medieval Bay Window

Victorian Bay Window

Victorian Bay Window

Modern Bay Window

Modern Bay Window

There are several types of bay window.

1. Splay bay. As the first two that are 135 degrees aprox.  These are generally in three panes.

2. Multiple Splay. Several panes.

3. Box Bay .90 degrees.

4.Curved Bay / Bow.

5.Half Box.

6.Half splay.

7. Triangular

All come with slight variances, some have additional wall sections on the side some do not. Some have sills that come out of the bay, some do not. Some bays have a section of wall between each window referred to as a mullion.

Plan view with and without walls.

Plan view with and without walls.

C shows the way a bay can end on its extreme end left and a different way on the right. See the additional wall piece.

A bay either has its own ceiling that drops down into the bay from the main ceiling in the room , or it shares its ceiling with the room.

Face view 1

This bay has its own ceiling. Face view 1.

Face view 2

This bay shares its ceiling with the room. Face view 2

The profile of these bays can also vary quite a bit. See ……….

Profile Bay 1

Profile Bay 1. Own ceiling no cove.

Profile Bay 2

Profile Bay 2 .Shares ceiling and has cove.

Profile Bay 3

Profile Bay 3. No cove and shares its ceiling.

Profile Bay 4

Profile Bay 4. No cove,shares ceiling, frame of window projects.

Profile Bay 5

Profile Bay 5. Frame projects, cove. ceiling.

With number five it can be quite tricky with only a small gap between window and cove but sometimes you are lucky and can fit a pelmet board in the gap and support the board with a T bracket fixed to the face of the top of the window frame. Additional support can be given where curtain will be heaviest at sides using an L bracket after the window frame.

Quite a few I know, and there are more but these just give you an idea.

All These have to be tackled differently and for this reason I recommend that a professional is used to advise and measure them. They are almost like human beings, they have to be treated as individuals and approached as such.

If you are going to attempt to measure your bay you will need the following.

  • Strong tape measure (I recommend a FAT MAX)
  • Pad with a simple line diagram on as above to mark sizes on with (I would not recomend measuring without a diagram, sizes can and do get mixed up if this is done in my experience)
  • Pen / pencil
  • Angle measurer (I use one that was sent to me by Silent Gliss) they are fab. http://www.silentgliss.co.uk

Take your time!!!! Measure in only one unit. Inches or cm’s do not mix.

  • Be aware of any picture rails and their positions in relation to everything else.
  • Take note of the sill and picture rail projections that may stop you having long curtains.
  • Look at the casement of the window and if it projects as well as the handles.
  • You cannot got across the front of a bay with a pole if it does not have its own ceiling. See Face 2 unlike Face 1.
  • Look at how much space there is for a bracket and if there is coving giving you space to lift the pole into the brackets when in position.
  • Measure all broken up drops (ceiling to window, window top to sill etc)
  • Measure overall drop and see if the broken up sizes add approx up to the whole. (I normally give an allowance of 1/4 “. Any more and I double check sizes).
  • When measuring top of sill to floor measure floor up it is easier, put you eye in line with top of sill to get the size off the tape measure. It is far more accurate to measure this way.

Bow windows are very different.

Plan view of simple Bow windows.

Plan view of simple Bow windows.

If you want a pole in the bow you need to make a template of the bow using paper, measure in to where rail is required and mark on paper. Double check vertical position with a laser measure. This whole template will then need to be sent to the people making the pole. This type of measure is needed if there is a channel recess in the ceiling .

Plan view of Bow channel.

Plan view of Bow channel.

If there is no channel the following measure can be done.

Measure a bow plan view.

Measure a bow plan view.

A= Soft length measure.

B= Evenly spaced back to front measurements.

C= Wall to wall size across bow front.

I must stress again that I would recommend a professional to measure these windows, mistakes can be costly. 

The results can be wonderful and interesting when measured correctly.

Roman Blinds in a bay

Valance and curtains in bay.

An Uber Interiors Design Valance and curtains in bay.



Half bay pelmet and blinds.

Half bay pelmet and blinds.

Pole in bay

Metropole in bay

We can go on and on. variety is the spice of life.

Please post any questions or photos you have about bay windows and I will respond asap.

THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

Blinds, Blinds Glorious Blinds

Hello again it is I Elsie Wolfe. I hope you enjoyed the first blog?

I have been busy this week hunting around the net to see what your big questions are surrounding BLINDS. Some of you are getting confused about which blinds are which, where they are best used and why aren’t yours doing what you thought they would.The main issues, from what I could see, tend to be with Roman blinds. I will address these issues as best as I can later. To begin with I will clear up blind classifications.

1. Roman Blind. Hand made, lined, black out or and interlined. Most fabric can be used to create. They come in several forms. Standard, Cascade, Waterfall and soft folding. Standard roman with pelmet

Standard Roman with a pelmet.

Prestigious Fabric

Even when up you can still see the folds due to tapes and fabric thickness when folding and there will always be a band of 10 / 12 inches, sometimes more when up, so light can be lost.



Waterfall Roman blind. Designed by www.facebook.com/whitewolfeint

Bigger gaps between the folds to make a feature when up, makes the blind even deeper.

Cascade Roman Blind

Cascade Roman.

Has pleats even when down unlike all other Roman blinds that become flat when down.

Soft Folding Roman Blinds

Soft Folding Roman.

A more casual look created when there are no battens used to create the more classic ridged structured effect normally expected from a Roman.

2. Venetian Blind Wooden or metal horizontal slats that can come in varying sizes, made using tapes or string to pull up the slats. Many companies make them such as Sundew, Sunway or Silent Gliss to name but a few.

venitian blind

Wooden Venetian blind made with strings.

3. Plisse’ Blind Concertina style blind. Companies only use there own specialist fabric in a single or double layer with wires to lift and lower. They can also be used to close up instead of down. plisee blind

Plisse’ Blind single layer.

Most companies, such as the ones above, make them.

4. Vertical Blind Vertical slats. Come in companies own cloth. My least favourite of the blinds but they do have some very practical applications. There have been recent developments, I have seen ones in wood! The slats or louvres twist open and close as well as sliding open to one or both sides depending on your preference.

Vertical BlindVertical Blind Colour

As you can see they come in many colours.

5. Plantation Shutters / Blinds Highly specialised product custom made. In wood or PVC. Slatted, in its own frame and can open and closed via slats or bi-folding. Plantation Shutters. Blind

Wooden plantation.

6. Festoon and Austrian Blind Both very similar and blousy looking. You tend not see this style these days. Austrian blind folds drop out as blind is lowered but a festoon retains its folds. I must admit I am not a fan of this fussy look. Each to their own.

Festoon Blind

Austrian Blind

7. Roller Blind. As long as the fabric is flat and not too thick your choice of cloth can be used and treated to create a roller. In the main the manufacturers fabric is used. There are books full of purpose created fabric for this item. Be aware due to the brackets there will be big gaps at sides, so if you want black out completely you need one with a casement / its own frame. Roller Blind

Casement Roller blind

Left normal, right casement. I recommend reverse rolling a blind to avoid handles and makes the roller at top more discreet. Hope this has cleared any confusion over blinds and their classification you may have had.

Roman Blinds 101

The following information is hopefully going to answer any questions or problems you may have with regards to Roman blinds. They are ones I have noticed cropping up on the net as well as surfacing in my career. I have put images of blinds throughout. These are ones I have designed or ones I just like, I hope you like them too.

Before I delve into the world of Roman Blind trouble shooting I would like to tell you a little story of something that happened to me a few years back that I hope you enjoy and can take something away with you.

The Blinds that were too good to be true

I priced up some blinds for a friend of mine for her conservatory and gave her the best price I could. I included the cost for head-rails and fitting. My friend (very sensibly) got a few prices and found one cheaper with similar fabric, I could not lower my price further. I did ask her to check the quality of the lining, fittings and manufacturing.

“Ask to see a blind they have made?” I recommended before she placed an order.

I explained that even though I possibly was not the cheapest, I was one of the best and to make sure her pricing was like for like. I also said if the price is that much cheaper it will be for a reason and to make sure they were reasons that she was happy with.

A few weeks later I received a call from my friend asking me to come and look at her blinds, I did.

They were not very good at all, but not wanting to hurt her feelings I asked what she thought of them and was she happy. My friend was a little worried, she explained that there was something wrong with them but she didn’t know how or why that was.

“They just don’t look right” she said.

I explained that I did not want to pass comment before she had because the main thing was that she liked them but seeing as she did not I said I agreed with her, they were not right at all.

I took out my tape measure and checked a few of them, inspected them fully, lifted and lowered.

The person that she had ordered them from was coming round to chat about them and my friend wanted me to sit in. I was a touch uncomfortable with this but I said I would listen and advise after.

The gentleman came.  My friend reiterated her concerns and the gentleman said there was nothing wrong with the blinds. The fabric (a plain poly cotton) was not the best choice for a Roman and this was the look of them. Also that he would not recommend blinds this big.

I was not happy to say the least! So I felt I had to speak up. I explained who I was and got out my tape measure  explaining that the biggest problem was with the smaller blinds not being made straight so they would not hang or pull up straight, gaps between battens varied causing this. There was nothing wrong with the fabric that if it had been made straight there would have been no bellowing. The larger blinds would have been fine if a more substantial batten had been used as opposed to a flimsy plastic / carbon one. This would have stopped the bowing, also having more cord pulls to support the blind would have rendered more support.

The man said he would take our comments, talk to head office and call us.

They did not want to remake them and did not take the remaining balance off my friend in compensation. I personally would have asked for a refund because they were just not right, but the choice was my friend’s.

Moral of the story. Go off recommendation, try and view a company’s product so you can see the quality before hand and make sure you are fully aware of what a product is going to look like as much as you can as well as understanding how it will function, before you purchase.

Back to Roman blinds and how they work.

There are 2 main systems.

1 = on a head rail with a chain pull. I personally recommend Evans or Silent Gliss .

2= the traditional cleat and acorn (you wrap the cords around a metal cleat on the wall). These can be helpful on some bays and situations where you do not want the blind to project too far forward.

Even though it is a bit more expensive I tend to go for the rail in most situations. The rail does the work and not you so the blind lifts and lowers the same and not wonky. The rail also can increase the life of the blind.


So many times have clients come in saying that the cords have snapped on the traditional version, this is mostly caused by misuse. Not pulling cords straight down, letting go of the cords causing the blind to drop abruptly and snap the cords. Not pulling cords all together causes the blind not pull up evenly.

If the cords are pulled together but blind is still wonky it will probably be one of two things.

1. The cords on the back of the blind need equalizing (very easy to do)

2. The blind has not been made straight (Potential remake).


Most windows are not 100% true. Blinds are made true so they function correctly. When a Roman is made the most narrow points of the window are used and a small deduction is taken again so the blind does not rub on the recess.  This deduction causes some gaping (that may vary depending on the accuracy of the window). This in turn can cause light leakage on Black out Romans. On black out Romans you also get a row of pin dots, this can be reduced with interlining and stab stitching. Stab stitching the Roman reduces the quantity of holes and the interlining closes around the stitches reducing light leakage. Curtains on tops will assist also.

Roman Blind behind a curtain

Silk Roman inside recess. Outside curtains.

(For maximum black out use a casement blind)

If you have a window that runs out a lot I would recommend putting the blind on the outside of the recess and hanging it past the sill if possible. Doing this hides the problem as well as taking less light off the window. I also feel if it is the only window dressing it finishes off the window better.

VN Seville plain fabric

Blinds in and out of a recess. VN Seville plain fabric.


Roman Blind with co-ordinating silk border inder a pelmet

Harlequin Silk.


Roman Blind double window

As you can see outside recess Romans look great especially with a pelmet. I feel Romans also look best in bays (better than any other blinds). They also work really well in box bays and bays where the blinds fit even closer than shown below.

Roman Blinds in a bay

Swaffer silk plain. Double bordered.


Box bay style windows.

Box bay Roman blinds


Please note that when you are either making or advising the use of blinds please ensure the BS safety regulations? I refer to Child Safety Requirements for Internal Blinds BS EN 13120, BS EN16433 and BS EN 16434.

Good luck with your Roman blinds.

Please email or leave a comment if you have any queries that are not covered in the above post and I will respond as soon as I can. Hope you enjoyed the post.



THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.