Libby's Blog

It recently occurred to me that, whilst it may appear that I’ve spent the last 40-odd years decorating houses, what I have actually been doing is solving problems and translating concepts and dreams into reality. No two houses, projects or sets of curtains are the same and so over the years I have researched and experimented exhaustively to achieve the desired effects. The result is a broad ranging and encyclopaedic knowledge!
I hope that you find this series of short articles, drawn from just some of my experience, both helpful and inspiring.

 

Raynham Hall Restoration

In recent months we have been privileged to work with Lord & Lady Townshend on the restoration of the interior of Raynham Hall, which their family has inhabited for 400 years. It is still a private house but, with the first phase of the restoration complete, the family allowed rare access to Norfolk Magazine to see the fabulous results. We are most proud of our work on The King's Bedroom (reputedly stayed in by King Charles II). The Margaret Sheridan team of curtain makers and upholsterers has made new drapes for the four-poster bed and upholstered the bedroom walls in hand-woven silk damask. 

CHINTZ IS BACK!

Chitz, long-favoured in the great country houses of England is currently having a renaissance. The fabric houses are not only desiging new collections but reissuing some of the famous chintzes from their back catalogues including Lee Jofa's Hollyhock and Brunschwig & Fils' Les Faisans. Above are some lovely fabrics from Colefax & Fowler - as always, leading the way in Country House style. We hope that you'll come and visit our showroom to see largest selection of chitz samples in East Anglia.

 

 

HOW TO POLISH YOUR WOOD FLOORING .. be it brand-spanking new or very old

Woods floors have been polished the same way for the last 150 years – linseed oil and then beeswax. None of the branded preparations on the market come close to achieving as good a finish or protection for your floor. Some things are just better done the old-fashioned way!

If your floorboards are brand new and beautiful do NOT let anyone put any form of varnish or treatment on them. If you want to colour the floor then use a water-based wood stain and allow it to dry completely. If you use an oil-based stain make sure that it doesn’t seal the wood in any way at all.

If your floorboards are old then everything must be stripped back to bare wood – don’t leave any varnish or sealant.

1. Start with clean, dust-free, bare wood

2. Your room needs to ideally be at a temperature of 15-25 degrees C – do NOT apply oil below 5 degrees.

3. Use a brush, sponge or roller to apply linseed oil liberally and evenly, and allow to dry. If after 10 minutes, ANY pools of oil remain then remove immediately with a clean sponge or rag, in order to obtain an even finish.

4. After 4-8 hours, depending on room temperature and humidity, apply a second coat using the same method as the first. Allow to dry.

5. The floor can then be polished. Apply a clear wax paste sparingly, using a dry, lint-free cloth, in circular or figure of eight motions.

6. Allow to stand for a few minutes before buffing to the desired finish using a separate dry, lint-free cloth.

7. One coat is normally sufficient but further coast can be applied if desired. Do NOT over apply!

8. Finish off with an electric polisher.

Maintenance: twice a year with floor wax and an electric polish is all that is needed.

How to ... Hang Your Curtains 1: Curtain Poles

Make absolutely sure that if you decide on using a curtain pole that there is enough space (a) above the window to allow for the pole and rings and (b) either side of the window so that the pole can be extended wide enough for the curtain to completely cover the window at the sides and to draw back far enough so you don’t lose too much light.

When fixing the pole bracket on the wall it is important to allow enough space for one ring to sit between the bracket and the finial on each side to “anchor” the curtain. 

Measure the length of your curtains dependent on whether you’d like the curtains to cover half of the pole. Or hang beneath the pole

How to ... Line Your Curtains

Curtain linings are vital to protect your expensive fabric and make the curtains hang well. Lining should always be lock-stitched to the face fabric, from top to bottom, at least twice every fabric width so that it doesn’t “billow” in the wind.

 

Lining can be:

- Standard cotton curtain lining

Any other printed fabric if you want a decorative backing

Coloured or neutral (beige/white)

- Blackout, thermal or blackout and thermal

Interlining:

Curtains hang much better if they are interlined and a heavily interlined curtain is as effective at draught-proofing as double-glazing.
 

If you have natural fabric curtains (cotton, linen) then it is much better to have a cotton interlining so that the curtain and interlining shrink at the same rate over time. Manmade interlinings also don’t hang so well.

Interlining comes in various thicknesses. The most tightly woven, lighter interlinings are known as “domette”.

 

 

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