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Bedroom curtains

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Joined: Mar 28 2003

O.K., I love the open look through my bedroom sliding glass door and windows, but some day I'll have a situation where I'll need a little extra privacy. I really don't like curtains--one more dust catcher and not quite in keeping with the "minimal esthetic".

Anybody know what the original 1955 solution/options were? I know they didn't have Duette or mini blinds back then. Was something installed when the houses were sold new or was it up to the owner to decide between polka dots or boomerang curtains?

Dane Henas

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

we are dealing with the same situation in our house. There are currently no window furnishings on any of the doors. And it's not like we really need them; however, the guest room has three large panes of glass (one sliding glass) that go out onto the atrium, so we feel like at least our guests should have the option to have a little privacy!
so far we have looked into bamboo and matchstick roman and roll-up shades. They are really fantastic looking, but alas, really don't provide much privacy. Plus, they take up a lot of room when they are rolled all the way up. Wood blinds also a thought and at least you can open them up when they are all the way down. but it's still not quite the same as pure unobstructed glass. There's also drapes, which were used in the 50s and 60s (very thick looking); we had to remove quite a few of the mechanisms from the windows when we moved in. Mini-blinds? I don't think they're stylish. There are also cellular window shades which are pretty, but I just didn't like them all that much.
So, this may sound a bit hokey, but we have decided to fashion our own curtains from thin twin size flat bed sheets (one curtain for each window). We're adding grommits (metal holes) along the top of the sheets and then stringing a steel wire across the top of the room and connecting them with metal eyelets at the ends. We decided to extend the wire beyond the edge of the window all the way to the end of the wall, so that we can pull the curtains all the way to the side out of the way of the glass. This may look a little funky from the inside, but at least the curtains will be stashed behind the door. And when the curtains are pulled away to the side, you can barely notice a thin steel wire strung across the top along the window. This way at least our guests have a little privacy the few times that they are here. I have a feeling that the curtains will be draped off to the side all other times.
it certainly isn't a solution anywhere similar to what was done in the 50s...oh well!
Good luck with your window furnishings search!

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

When we bought our house it still had all the original window treatments int.. Some of the fabrick was really neat with some stereo typical 50's motifs. But the one thing they all had in common was that they were all very very heavy weight.

It was totally gross but truly authentic

P.S. You might want to check out the book 50's Decorative Arts by Taschen Its a compilation of Decorative Arts magazine from the 50's (they also have them for most of the other decades in 20th C.)

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

I have lived in my eichler almost a year now and at first I did not like the curtains - I still don't but they do have added benefits:
First, they add a warm feel to the rooms
Second, in rooms with tile, I think the curtains reduce noise reverberation.

When I replace the curtains I will opt for curtinas more modern in appearance.

t

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Joined: Mar 28 2003

Thanks for the responses. I'm sort of in agreement with the curtains being a little heavy looking, and I'm really trying to stay away from the more comic aspects of 50's design like boomerangs and 4 pointed stars! I've got all Eames, Nelson and Knoll furniture and am going for the clean. minimal aspect of design from the period. As a last resort, I might go with Duette blinds. They offer full privacy, and retract to practically nothing--they also resemble paper lanterns which might go with the pseudo oriental look of the shoji panel closet doors with the grass paper inserts.

Dane Henas

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

Short Version: I'm an interior designer and over the past 3 years have done a bunch of houses with all modernist furniture like you describe. It is totally appropriate to use the duette blinds to go with that style of furniture... To be perfectly frank even miniblinds fit the modernist aesthetic altough most people think of them as low design.

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Joined: Mar 28 2003

Thanks for the support! Most graphic designers are frustrated interior designers anyway

If there were duette blinds back then, Ray Eames would have loved them! So what if they're not authentic.

Dane

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

We just had the Duette blinds installed in our multi-purpose room last month. I never thought I liked them, but picked them because during the day as you said they fully retract up into the header. As it turns out they look great and now I want them in our bedroom and the living room windows too. Their lines are simple and clean and when they are down they do have almost a paper lantern look which is perfect for Eichlers.

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

I'm also looking for window treatments for our bedroom. My problem is that my cats have "thrashed" my old curtains because they like to look out that window. How would duette blinds hold up and does anybody else have an alternative. I've thought of putting up one or two of those Asian screens. Thanks for your help.

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Joined: Mar 22 2003

We chose to go with vertical blinds in the living room and bedrooms. While I would have preferred the look of something like duets that fully retract, we really wanted the light blocking qualities that the verticals provide. Also, with my wierd work hours, I sometimes need to sleep midday. An added benefit is that they are pretty good insulators, especially from the heat in the summer.

One thing to keep in mind though--you do loose a bit of viewing area from the side where they retract. For us, they were the best solution and IMHO, great from an asthetic point of view.

Cathye

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Joined: Mar 28 2003

FYI, duette style blinds are available with 90% light-blocking. They have a foil layer inside that block the light, and it does not affect the outside color. I'll probably go with those in my bedroom.

Dane

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Joined: Mar 25 2003

When we moved in, we ripped out the wide verticle blinds in our house - they just had too much of an 1980s look to us. We put back in what would have been authentic window treatments for an Eichler in the 1960s. Check your nearest Julius Shulman book and you'll see over and over in most high-end Modern houses, classical drapes were used. And personally we are thrilled with the effect! They insulate well, provide privacy when we need it and we got the hard-core Las Vegas style light-blocking liners - so even with all the windows we can still sleep in late after a night of martinis ;)

I'm not talking Ikea stuff or anything with boomerangs (which is great, but just what we were going for) but something very classic almost Knoll-looking nubby or sleek neutral fabrics. Also for the correct look, they have to be floor to ceiling length with the drapery rods attached to the ceiling - not the wall above the window.
here's a pic... http://www.megorama.com/detail.php3?id=578

p.s. shhhhh... my secret is all our drapes and liners came from various estate sales from other 1950s 1960s homes!

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