If you’re someone who thinks of curtains as something you sling up to stop the neighbours gazing in, take a look at Louise Cowan’s website and think again. Louise makes beautiful bespoke window dressings that open a whole new window into what quality curtains and blinds can do for a room: super crisp, perfectly fitted and standing the test of time.
“It’s not just how it looks,” Louise says, “although obviously that’s important. But a professional window dressing will mean proper light blocking to increase your thermal insulation, and fully open so that all the light can get into the room. My curtains are triple layered – fabric, interlining and then the lining – which means that they stay looking good for at least a decade in a sunny window, and for up to twenty years in one out of direct sunlight.”
While for many people Roman Blinds can feel like nothing more than a saggy window dressing, Louise turns her designs into an artwork. “My blinds are hand sewn,” she says, “so there’s no stitching line and, when opened out, it looks like a flat picture.
“If you want one showy thing in a room – a bathroom for example, or a kitchen – choose something striking and it can lift everything. These are investment pieces really, so I will go to a client and we’ll consult over fabrics, types of pleat and how to hang for the best effect. I have a professional fitter and we can even hang from a ceiling if necessary: it gives a luxurious, contemporary effect.”
These are blinds and curtains made with craft tradition behind them. Mostly invisibly hand-stitched, Louise makes them in her Reigate workroom having studied the techniques that make this kind of window dressing such high quality. “I get such a thrill when clients see the finished product because it can really change the vibe of the room” she says. “In fact, one rang the other day and said: “When I wake up, I just love looking at those curtains.” That makes me happy.”
Louise and her family were originally from London. “We liked it there,” she says, “but once we had kids we wanted good schools and more room, and I’m not sure I could’ve run this business in London. Here I’ve got space for a workshop and the kids are really happy, so it was a good decision.” Perhaps the proof is in the words of her youngest child who turned to Louise the other day and said: “Reigate’s got everything. Why would anyone want to live somewhere other than here?”