There’s no doubt shows like The Block have made curtains (especially sheers) cool again and someone reaping the rewards is Valley Vogue’s Belinda Sinclair. However, she argues they’ve never been out of fashion in her 15-year career!
Belinda was offered a traineeship at a custom curtain and interiors store in the Hunter Valley straight out of school. “I was there for nine years, the last three, being on the road looking after the measuring and quoting which I loved.”
After a break from working and having two children, Belinda and her husband decided she should give starting her own curtain business a go (“Let’s just say I wasn’t a good stay at home mum, but that’s a story for another day!”) and Valley Vogue was born in 2o11. Towards the end of of 2013, she went into a shared studio space in Newcastle’s King Street with long time friend and interior designer Melissa Webster of The Gather Collective. They’ve been there ever since.
“I have been working with curtains for 15 years now and in that time I don’t think curtains ever went out fashion as such. Shutters and blinds did take over a little in the early 2000s. Since curtains, in particular sheers, have been given more focus on shows like The Block, people have gone back to appreciating the value of fabric on their windows to soften a space.”
And what about ready-made curtains? Do they have a place? “I’m not a fan but then why would I be?” she jokes. “Having said that, there are some nice ones out there and if that’s what best suits your budget then go for it. The biggest thing is them being well fitted, not like a pair of three-quarter leg pants that aren’t actually supposed to be three-quarters! Have them touching, always touching, or just off the floor, just!”
Linen or linen-look sheers are very popular at the moment. “Taking the curtains to ceiling height and, where possible and functional, wall to wall, is in. This not only adds height and makes your space feel bigger, it looks amazing.”
So, what should you expect to pay for custom curtains? That’s like asking how long a piece of string is! “With custom curtains, the main component or cost is that fabric. I always tell my clients you can spend $30 a metre or $330 a metre. Or more!”
Belinda’s top tips for choosing curtains
- Check the fabric you select in the lighting it will be in. Check it against the paint, the carpet any other major furnishings. Colour can go very wrong and be very changeable, particularly when it comes to white.
- Ask for more then one quote from your potential supplier. Select the fabric you absolutely love and then ask them for a quote on a cheaper but comparable fabric (if there is one!) so you have a fall back option.
- Make sure you find a consultant on your wavelength and who you trust. Ask them about their after service (some don’t have one and won’t fix or adjust anything, even if it needs it!).
- If you don’t understand something, ask. We will will often send an image of the curtain heading we are suggesting or that was discussed as this is where the lingo can be confusing and you need a visual.
–All photos of Belinda’s work. Belinda services Newcastle, the Hunter region and Sydney.