"She is a woman of sophisticated taste and style," Wilfong says. "She had challenged me previously, wanting new designs and ideas that had never been seen before. On the earlier rooms I felt that I had tapped all of my creative resources, so walking into this new project I felt a tremendous amount of pressure, and yet a feeling of anticipation."
The formal dining room was the point of interest for this latest project. As sometimes happens, the client didn't know the design of the window treatments she desired, but she did know the feeling she wanted to convey. "She expressed a want for something different, with an air of formal elegance," Wilfong relates. "She had recently visited an upscale hotel and noticed some draperies that had a very appealing thick and lush look about them. As she described these, I explained to her that they must have been interlined. Since she wasn't familiar with interlining, I proceeded to explain its benefits. The most prominent factors for her were of beauty and ambiance."
The room had an elegant crystal chandelier, nine-foot ceilings, crown molding and a chair rail. The walls were painted a deep, rich red and a splendidly patterned hand-woven rug adorned the floor. The furniture was ornately carved mahogany in an extremely formal style. The dining room chairs were beautifully upholstered in an eggshell-colored damask fabric. The windows in the dining room were a mere 36 inches wide and had an unusually large expanse of wall space above them (21 inches).
"I constructed a basic idea of the way I felt the window treatment should come together. I decided a textured fabric would look best and should be accented with a trim of some type," she says.
Wilfong researched through window treatment resource and reference books for inspiration. Window treatments from the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries seemed to give her the extra inspiration she needed.
"I designed a triple swag treatment to be held by an elegant resin mahogany crown in the center with a matching rosette on either side. The side panels were to be elegantly puddle at the floor and tied back with a decorative tieback. All swags and side panels were to be interlined to create the lush feeling the client desired, with one full width of fabric per panel," she describes.
For hardware, Wilfong chose an arch crown for the centerpiece and stylish floral swag holders in a mahogany finish by Conso Products Co. Not only did the hardware work well with the furniture, it also contrasted wonderfully with the room's rich red walls.
For fabric, Wilfong selected a textured Italian Carole Exclusive with a superb shimmer to it. Two different colors were chosen. A parchment hue was used for the two outer swags, while a birch color was used for the center swag and side panels. "I wanted only a subtle tinge of discrepancy between the two fabrics, something that one would notice only after enjoying the room for a bit. I didn't want the color change to be so obvious that it would be the first thing that caught one's eye," she says.
Then, it was time to choose the trim. "I had noticed a trim collection from Conso that was remarkable, Beaded Opulence," Wilfong says. "Once the book arrived and I showed the trim to the client, she was ecstatic—it was ideal. The glimmering crystal and silver colored beads were chosen to intensify the chandelier. I did not want the windows to be overdone, so the trim was reserved solely for the swags."
After the many grueling decisions of design, hardware, fabrics and trims were made, then the matter of installation had to be dealt with. The two over swags were stapled to the arch crowns and to the rear of the floral swag holders. The center swag was mounted separately on a one- by one-inch board. The side panels were made with a rod pocket at the top.
The arch crown was mounted five inches from the crown molding to heighten the appearance of the window. The swag holders were then mounted 13 inches down from the crown molding and 6 1/2 inches past the window trim on either side to widen its appearance. The swag holder stems were plastic, so a delicate fabric sleeve was made to slip over them before the decorative rosettes were installed. The center swag was mounted just below the arch crown with angle irons. The side panels were mounted on a standard curtain rod just below the center swag.
"After we had one of the window treatments installed the client entered the room, curious about our progress," Wilfong says. "Later that day, when the job was completed, the client commented that when she walked into the room and saw the first finished window she felt goose bumps. The window treatment far exceeded her expectations. SOURCES
Judy Wilfong, Windows & Walls, Winchester, VA.
Shannon Fabrications, Winchester, VA.
Dana Miller, Winchester, VA.
Laurie Bridgeforth, Full Frame Photography, Winchester, VA.
Carole Fabrics Exclusive, Cobblestone in parchment and birch.
P. Collins, heavy flannel and classic sateen.
P. Collins, Conso trim style 40576; chair tassel style 40490 from the Beaded Opulence Collection.
Conso swag holders, rectangle flowers style 41975; arch crown style 40979; Kirsch rod 6115-025.