Get Your Swag On

Get Your Swag On

Happy New year all,

What will the world of interiors bring in 2016?  Many designers are making predictions. I refuse to, all I will say is I am sure it will be a wonderful and interesting year, and I look forward to all the surprises to come with bated breath.

For a while now many things have been forecast to be the next “in thing” or “coming back“. one of which are Swags and Tails, of all things. They made a big resurgence in the eighties. Probably urged on by bouffant hairstyles and Dallas sized shoulder pads. And lets not forget the crazy poly-cotton prints that were used in their creations!   So you can imagine my surprise when I heard on the interiors grapevine that these Marmite blasts from the past were going to grace our windows once again.


There are plenty of books, on-line guides, great templates and systems available to help you create a plethora of different types of swag and tail or just swag variations. I aim to show you a cross section of my favourite designs using some of my esteemed colleagues images as examples.

Sonia Dowsett  .Kent. England

I am a lover of the flamboyant, swaths of fabric and a smorgasbord of trims. I am a girl who loves the term “More is More“. Elegance abounds with the calossus of the curtain world.

Elaine Sealey

Elaine Sealey Handmade Curtains, blinds and soft furnishings. The fabric is from Rubelli with bespoke trimmings by Wendy Cushing.

No one sits on the fence with these bad boys. You either love or loath them. Some designers will say they are gauche, old fashioned and even baroque. Quite recently someone commented directly upon this style of drapery as

Horrible !!!! “trés cul cul la praline ” désolé “.

How rude! Oh well, each to their own I suppose. This in truth is what prompted this first blog. I felt I needed to challenge this attitude. In the least I wish the unbeliever of the style to re-asses their negative opinion of this window treatment. Fingers crossed.

Rachel Robinson fabric and lace from james hare and trim by price and co.

Negative comments aside, I am glad to say there are designers who love them in all their flamboyancy. They find them a great way to indulge and flex their muscles in the sumptuous world of cloth . They enjoy their elegance and undeniable extravagance. 2

In this day and age (especially for the young designer), they pose a huge technical challenge. This is manly due to their complexity and the fact that you don’t get to design them often these days. You need to plan and draw them to get it just right.  They also require high ceilings to compensate for the loss of light. Lets face it we don’t all have Victorian houses.

Beechwood Curtain Design4


Beechwood Curtain Design2 Prestigious Textiles Bamboo

This aside, they do not have to have ooodles of trims or be made with heavy damask fabrics. They can be stripped down, simplified and with a bit of care even used in a modern setting.

Mary Grice Villa Nova Naples fabric

 Mary Grice Soft Furnishings Jones Monaco beaded trim and Villa Nova Naples fabric which gave them a bit of a contemporary twist


Helen Greene Suit

 From the Helen Green suite at the Berkeley.


Petterson’s Magazine Fashion Plate

France in the XIX century saw some of the first swag designs, even the clothing of around this time and later bare similarities to the window treatments. Right from the beginning fashion and interiors have been inexplicably linked.

Mary Grice 4

Mary Grice Soft Furnishings

Fiona Tait 4


There are so many variations of this style of window treatment that I struggle to understand how any one can hate them ALL!                                                                                     From single swags with or without pelmets, on poles, on valances, under pelmets, with or without tails, with jabots, on lambrequins, multiple swags, overlap swags, tip to tip, with trims, without trims and on, and on.                                                                                                   The only thing you ideally need is the space above the window. I simply loath it when swags are really shallow, the deeper they are the better they look so naturally you need the space .


Geraldine Cockerell

Geraldine Cockerell

Bev Spencer2

Bev Spencer

Suzanne Scott

Suzanne Scott


Dawn Ellis-Brown

Dawn Ellis-Brown


American Horror Story

Unfortunately you can only just see the side fixed swags on this image taken from the set of American Horror Story. I think they look wonderful.

Susan Kirk Designs

Susan Kirk Designs

A lovely contemporary approach to this style. Tastefully done I feel.

I have barely skimmed the surface trying to show a cross section of the variety of styles of swag and tails that are out there. You can find lots more inspiration especially on  where you can also find mine and Susan Kirk’s Designs boards.

Well that is the first blog of the year. Hope your interior design year is a great one.

A big thank you to all the designers that have contributed their work to this blog and thank you for reading.


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.


Deadly Designs

Hi all, 

All Hallows eve is upon us so I thought I would get into the spirit of things and look at what our ghosts, ghouls and vampires had on offer for us as far has interior design was concerned.

Have fun and enjoy.


Deadly Design

Believe it or not this blog was quite hard to research, purely because most supernatural programs and films depend heavily on pure location. What I mean is , run down buildings, wood work, architecture as supposed to actual interior decoration. I did however find some and boy do I love them.


Production designer Suzuki Ingerslev

True Blood

Bill (the vampire) Compton’s office.


This was the easy one. Bill (the vampire) Compton’s office. This is not from the first series. Originally the office was run down, but it got a re-vamp along with Bill’s new position in the vampire hierarchy. And boy has Bill got taste. The room oozes sensual male sophistication, enough to get your teeth into.

Bill Compton's office, above, has a desk from Eric Brand Furniture, leather desk chair from Alan Desk, Daytona armchairs in faux crocodile upholstery from 22 Bond St., a glass and chrome side table

Only the best will do for this vampire boss. Bill Compton’s office, above, has a desk from Eric Brand Furniture, leather desk chair from Alan Desk, Daytona armchairs in faux crocodile upholstery from 22 Bond St., a glass and chrome side table.

The curtains are very simple heading in a plain colour with braiding about a third up in rows to make it pop!. I would use the following to re create this look.


This Miami braid is by Wemyss Houles and comes in many colours including black.

Valleta Vanilla

Great double width fabric by Villa Nova, Valleta Vanilla. definitely interline this bad boy for added luxury. Put into a wave or inverted double pleat heading.

Troia-Ebony Byron&byron

Troia-Ebony Byron&byron

T7676Thibaut Damask Resource Volume 3 Antoine Trellis Silver on Charcoal - T-7676 ( T7676 ) Pattern

T7676Thibaut Damask Resource Volume 3 Antoine Trellis Silver on Charcoal – T-7676 ( T7676 ) Pattern. This is not the exact wallpaper in the office but it will work.

74824_thSacala wallpaper rococo

I also found this wallpaper that is beautiful. Ulf Moritz, Scala Rococo.

American Horror Story

Set Designer Ellen Brill

American Horror Story

From the coven mansion. White on white elegance. With dark wood accent banister.

Spooky horror is always fun. To be honest I get frightened silly watching it but I keep going back for more.


Beautiful chandelier


Naomi @ Uber Interiors helped me find this one, hats off to them. Thanks.

61B44-91pRLExpo International 10Yard Kylie Classic Tassel Fringe Trim, Gold

61B44-91pRLExpo International 10Yard Kylie Classic Tassel Fringe Trim, Gold. /


ZIMMER + ROHDE Symphony.


Production designer Patti Podesta and set decorator Jaro Dick


Hannibal Lecter’s Office


Production designer Patti Podesta and set decorator Jaro Dick to bring Lecter’s deadly lairs to life. The aim was to create  a Danish Modern feel which also oozed sophistication. I think they managed that in truck loads!  He obviously has the best taste. Hannibal’s desk is an original Leif Jacobsen design. The grey therapy chairs were ordered new from Urban Barn in Toronto, and the side tables are Eileen Gray classics.  And I just can’t get over the tongue in cheek Red and white surgeon pole curtains! You can find many images on the net showing similar, but I am afraid the only way for creating this on the scale shown, is by using two different coloured fabrics, (ideally with the same fibre composition) and joining them. It is hard to see but they look like tabs. Therefore a tab curtain this tall would be dress only.


Voile = A lovely metallic look, there are several on the market by Harlequin, Ulf Moritz and Voyage to mention but a few.

The closest wallpapers I could source based on the photo are as follows…..



& Torino Plain Charcoal Silver Glitter Textured Wallpaper by Fine Decor Torino Plain Charcoal Silver Glitter Textured Wallpaper by Fine Decor FD40237


The rug I believe is an antique (as are quite a few items around the room).


element7 also do a great one.

Once Upon A Time

Set designer Mark Lane

Regina, the evil queen’s Office


All the naughty people have the best designs. We love the bad guys, they have sensuality coming out of every pore, so their surroundings have to reflect that. We love danger, it’s eroticism attracts us like a moth to a flame. The evil ones effect everything they touch so why not their most intimate of rooms. It is also no great shock that this room tends to be their office, their war room as it were. The place they plan and scheme is the one that defines them the most.



Seabrook is similar – Pattern ID SBK1 4258.


download cole and son woods

Woods by Cole & Son.

Exclusive interiorsBlack Oval Back Chrome Frame Dining Chair (H93 x W49 x D54cm)

Exclusive interiors Black Oval Back Chrome Frame Dining Chair (H93 x W49 x D54cm).

update-your-office-with-a-new-desk.JPG-550x0A statement-making desk, like this one by Jennifer Pacca interiors, is the centerpiece of any home office

Desk by Jennifer Pacca interiors,

Looking at the image, the tie backs are manufactured ones. They are made in a similar way that a “scrunchy” hair band is made with a longer tube of fabric than the cord on the inside.

prodzoomimg19714www.lights4living.com600 × 455Search by image

The chandelier is proving to be illusive, the budget was huge for this room so it would not surprise me if the one on set was custom made. The one above is a lovely alternative and more suited to most room sizes.

leather Casino chair from Global Views

leather Casino chair from Global Views. This is a lovely alternative to the chairs used.

The sofa is aprox $18000 on the set, I have found a great alt easy to customize by Christopher Guy called Saskia. unfortunately they have protected the image so I am unable to show it on the blog, but you can follow the link.


gig2H.R. Giger Bar - The Xanadu Group

Giger Bar – The Xanadu Group


Not exactly an interior as we know it but I love the film and the artist. Just could not help myself being a huge fan of the man’s unusual work. Obviously, unless you have the cash to hire the great man personally you would be very lucky to re create a room in homage to him and his creation.

The themed bars modelled by the Swiss artist H. R. Giger. There are three Giger Bars: the first, the H.R. Giger Bar in Chur, Switzerland, which opened in 1992, and the second is The Museum HR Giger Bar, located in Château St. Germain, Gruyères, Switzerland, which opened on April 12, 2003. A third Giger bar was located in Shirokanedai, Tokyo in the late 1980s.



This last one is just cos I have a penchant for vampire films in general, and lets face it they always have the best of everything. Their style nearly always has velvets, damasks and lots of carved wood. These immortal beings love the old excesses. Don’t we all. More is definitely more for these creatures of the night, from Interview with a vampire to Dracula himself, old luxury wins out every time.


Interview With A vampire


Bram Stokers Dracula


The Dracula Castle in Romania

I hope you have enjoyed Curtain Girl’s Halloween blog? It has been a huge challenge but enormous fun.

Happy Halloween and thank you for reading,


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

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.