I'm planning to do relaxed (fixed) roman shades. - something like these
I know it sounds strange, but I have this love/hate relationship with curtains, etc. Outside of the wide blinds we have for privacy, the windows in our house are bare. Our home doesn't get a ton of natural light, so I don't want to do anything to impede light coming in. But, there's more to it than that. I have what might be called curtain paranoia that stems (I believe) from being too roped into the world of decorating.
What I mean is - the gorgeous, custom window treatments we see in magazines cost uh-lot of dinero. Often, it's those custom treatments that make a room look complete, pulled together. But cheap window treatments can do the exact opposite. They can take a room that was looking nice, and downgrade it.
I once read a fellow decorator say something along the lines of, "If you can't swing $5000 on curtains, don't bother at all," and it's that kind of thinking that keeps me in stagnant curtain mode. I don't have 5k in the curtain budget, so rather than go inexpensive and risk cheapening the room, I just don't do anything at all.
Thing is, that line of thought doesn't play well with a lot of clients. People want to be able to have nice curtains, etc without blowing out their budget. There has to be a middle ground. And this is how I found it:
1) I bought my high-end fabric from another designer who sells her remnants at a greatly-discounted price. I highly recommend her site - The Designer's Attic. Often, she has smaller yardages, but if you're flexible and looking for inspiration, Shannon's your gal.
2) I found a seamstress via Craigslist. DISCLAIMER - this is my first time to work with her!! I'll update once everything is done, but my point is - look for a knowledgeable seamstress with experience who may work out of his/her home. They have less overhead, and are often not as busy. A go-to workroom is a decorator's best friend, but if you're competing with a lot of other people's projects a) yours may not get priority and b) it'll cost you more.
3) Go with more practical options. Because I don't expect to ever want to close the shades in my kitchen, the ones I'm having made will be fixed - meaning, they will appear to be operable, but won't be. This saves yardage = $$, but the look will still be custom. The same thought can be applied to other rooms. A standard curtain panel runs 3 yards, and many times, you'd want a more plush look than that would allow. So, you can see how quickly you could get into the 10+ yard range. Decent fabric, liner, hardware, labor - you can do the math. But, if your style will allow it, a lovely and tailored roman shade can give you a lot of custom bang for the buck without all that yardage.
I picked up on a lot of gorgeous examples of roman shades in lieu of curtains in designer Erin Gates' book, Elements of Style - a great resource, btw.
photos via EoS
So, my takeaway is: don't let high-end decorating ways deter you from pursuing a custom look. It can be done. It just might take a little more research and legwork. Totally worth it, if you ask me. Stay tuned for the reveal of my custom/savvy spender kitchen shades.