Monday, 11 February 2013


I don't want to sound like I'm crowing, but a recent post in REMODELISTA heralded a major policy flip-flop on the pressing question of curtains, particularly when directly related to the rising cost of heating! In the 90's and noughties, with minimalism in the ascendent and cheap money the norm, we all took down not just our curtains, but a lot of doors and walls too to open up our interiors in a way we felt reflected the openness of not only our lifestyles, but probably our hearts as well! Trouble is that now that our utility bills are sky-rocketing, and with America and Northern Europe experiencing the kinds of winters we thought were long gone due to global warming, its high time to re-assess those open-plan lifestyles!

While I love these re-purposed-wool-blanket blinds from Remodelista
they are not going to keep the heat in during the day unless you want to live in semi-darkness (and god knows, during these dark winter days, we need all the light we can get). So these questions of heat loss and windows and light have been troubling me for a while, not just because I run a business making curtains, but because right here, right now, (until a couple of weeks ago that is) keeping my own flat warm was an issue. I live in the top two floors of a 4-storey Victorian terrace in London with lots of original features such as fireplaces alongside less desirable ones like leaky sash windows and chilly brick walls. Not only that, but we are end of terrace so are in fact exposed on three sides, or four if you count the roof. And on top of all that, I work from home, so do not even have the luxury of complaining about the over-heated office I have to endure each day. Instead, I worry about the heating bills, and wear wooly house-slippers!

But a couple of weeks ago, with snow softly falling outside, I cracked it! I figured out that all our expensive heating was whistling up the stairs, where we hardly ever go during the day, and thence out through said thin walls and leaky windows instead of curling around our cold toes downstairs!

I needed a quick fix. I ordered a single bed quilt
from OKA having first checked that it would be the perfect length at 230cm to hang at the bottom of my staircase. I put up a stainless steel pole in preparation, and, as SOON as the quilt arrived the next day, I didn't even wait to sew on tape for the hooks (you'll notice, I also didn't wait to check which way the pattern ran either, so desperate was I to stop those heating £'s escape).

I just pinned the hooks right through the quilt and hung it up. And all I can tell you is that even I, who has extolled the virtues of thick curtains for YEARS, have been totally amazed at how warm and toasty we have been ever since. In the words of the old song: Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Shall I count the ways in which this curtain pleases me? Apart from being pretty, that is?

1. As soon as the spring arrives, I can take it down in a matter of seconds and return to my normal airy ways

2. Because it is a 100% cotton quilt, I can machine wash it, dry it and then fold it up and put it away until next winter

3. Which is another way of saying, it doesn't matter that its white!

4. I am even loving that retro experience of going upstairs to a cool bedroom, and am thinking of reviving the art of the hot water bottle (Note to self: cue next diy project).

and 5. lastly but most importantly, my heating bills are nose-diving while I write!
And I promise you that, as soon as the temperature rises, I'll take it down, sew on some tape and make sure the pattern runs the other way up!

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