A Room with a View – or – How I Avoided Miz Ellen’s Portieres, Part 3

As I consulted with my reference materials, it looked like it was going to take a lot of fabric to create a timeless look that honored the age of our house. The same timeless look that keeps furniture from fading. The same voluminous drapes that led to a pretty heated conversation between Miss Scarlett and Mammy, as well as a hilarious spoof by Carol Burnett.

Don't judge. A gal's gotta do what a gal's gotta do.

In desperation I turned to the search engines of the Internet. And as you could have predicted, found some validation for a surprising Victorian concept: keep it simple.

Say what?

In later years of the Victorian era, some homes were incorporating touches of global élan, such as silks embroidered in India. In order to show off the craftsmanship and beauty of the fabrics, they simply attached rings to the top of the fabric and let it hang from a rod. No big pleats, gathered valances, or fringes. Tassels, yes, but in a much more restrained style than one would have expected. The fabric I want to use is embroidered, making it a nice fit with this style philosophy.

We interrupt this post for a brief display of full frontal nerdity: What is the Victorian era? That phrase refers to the years in which Queen Victoria sat on the throne in England. Hers was a pretty long reign, from 1837 to 1901. Many fashions, both for people and places, were influenced by her own style, summarized in the term Victorian. Here in the United States, it took a couple of years for the fashions of Europe to be embraced. Edith Wharton makes some pretty neat references to this in her works, detailing the wardrobes that would be ordered in England, only to be kept in their packaging for two years before it was considered acceptable to wear them out in public, lest the peers be scandalized by the fashion-forward frocks. So here on our side of the pond, one could safely assume that our own Victorian era probably stretched into 1903 or 04. Just saying.

Back to the post now, I now had a way to create window treatments that could fulfill our mission of staying true to the spirit of the house without turning into a museum of misued tassels (better known as cat toys). Finally!

Measurements taken, yardage calculated, and sale price in hand, the fabric was ordered. It arrives later this week.

What’s the next step? Stay tuned as we share.

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