It’s been a very frustrating few days here in renovationville!!!
{months really if I’m honest}
And it alllllll revolves around our jolly curtains.

So this is the story of our curtain saga…
{Totally understand if you want to skip past this very long winded post about curtain fabric!}
{One day I’m sure I’ll look back upon this and laugh at myself and how annoyed I am about this, but right now it’s pretty darn frustrating!!}

When we purchased the home we knew that the curtains in every single room needed to be replaced immediately. The existing ones were thin, dirty, holey, mouldy, cobwebby and falling apart, not to mention un-aesthetically pleasing.

Abbie’s room before…

With floor to ceiling single glazed windows in almost all rooms of the house, we knew we could not skimp by on curtains because they would make such a huge difference to the warmth of the home. Especially as we don’t really have any insulation either.

So back in the first week of July when we picked up the keys to our new house, the very first professionals we had in for consultations and consequently the first quote we accepted the order of was the curtain quote.
It came first.
I had decided to curtain the entire house with the same colour fabric for continuity, so the fabric was picked, ordered and the hanging was scheduled for the day before we moved in.
Perfect timing. Supposedly.

Then a few weeks later (after the ball was rolled and all pins knocked down on all the other design elements to the renovation) the fabric arrived to New Zealand and was full of faults and dirt marks.
Grrr, slight delay we thought,
but everybody was still optimistic we’d make the deadline so we ordered more fabric and went on as planned.

Second fabric arrived from Australia 2 weeks later and what do you know – same issue with faults and dirt throughout.
Grrrr, even bigger delay we thought.
Very very inconvenient because it was now move in week and we did not have curtains ready!!
Big big problem considering it was the middle of winter!!! Not to mention we already had no doors, so that basically rendered us without any privacy whatsoever.

But very thankfully the company we purchased from had managed to make up enough curtains for the lounge from the first shipment of fabric and kindly leant us curtains for the 3 bedrooms. These were all hung within a week of us moving in so it wasn’t too bad.
We still had no curtains for the dining room nook and downstairs, but at least that left as with something!

The rust loan curtains don’t look too bad in Abbie’s room at least. But not such a great combination with the duck egg blue walls in ours! I will be so glad to not have a blue & rust colour combo going on anymore!!

Abbie’s room after renovation, with the loan curtains…

One thing was going for the situation at this stage – despite the delay we were totally in love with the curtains they had made for the lounge. They were everything I imagined and more so it made the wait all feet worth it.
We had chosen white velvet, a very tactile feeling fabric and they just fit my design vision perfectly.

But low and behold, upon hanging the curtains a new problem was found…
Due to the weave variation of the fabric some of the curtains were dropping significantly while others weren’t. This meant saggy, too-long curtains. The company I purchased from was not happy with this at all and wanted to rehem all the curtains they’d already made to look better. (Personally I didn’t care too much – they looked fine to me a bit longer, but who am I to argue).

So at this stage the national sales rep for the wholesaler was brought around to my house to view the curtains that were already hung, as well as the shop to view the faulty fabric.
What were we to do was the question of the moment!
The sales rep apologized profusely and said that they had ordered another bolt (bolt number 3 now!) from England. So if I didn’t mind waiting another 3 weeks (HA) then they would do everything in their power to sort it out.

It will be worth it in the end, it will be worth it in the end…
This was my mantra.
But after month 2 a tiny bubble of frustration started to pop away quietly inside me.

3 weeks later, first shipment (3rd in total) arrives from England.
OMG. This shipment is not just full of dirt marks and faults, but also a totally different loft of velvet, doesn’t feel anywhere near as luxurious AND is a significantly more creamy dirty looking white.
My bubble of frustration grows, crackles and starts shoot sparks.

I choose to pull out of my order and choose new fabric and spend an entire afternoon pulling more samples to take home. But I run out of time for them to write the samples up and have to zip away from the shop to pick up the kids from school.
By the time I get back I find out that in that 15 minute window the supplier has ordered more fabric from England for me air mail, (supposedly a 3-5 days wait) and they plead me to wait it out and give them a chance to right it for me because they know how much I really want that fabric.

Ooooooh at this point I am SO confused that I don’t know what I want.
That bubble of frustration is turning more toxic and dangerous by the second.
I take my samples home just in case but after a night to cool off I decide to wait. After all what’s a few more days when it’s already been 2 months!

Tick, tick, tick… a week passes by and I hear nothing.
Tick, tick, tick… 2 weeks pass by and I think HA so much for the 3-5 day wait.
Tick, tick, tick… on week 3 I finally pack up all the samples into my car and head to the shop to get this sorted once and for all.

I get there and find out from the director’s wife that my fabric (4th bolt) has arrived and they are working on it upstairs. Surprised that they went ahead without telling me I ask when she thinks it will be ready and she tells me that she thinks it will be the following week.
Wow I think, finally, some success!! I get all excited and head home relieved we’ve finally got a conclusion.

Cue 1.30pm the next day… My phone rings and it’s the director on the line asking me if I can “pop in and see him at my earliest convenience”.
My heart sinks. Been here done this before.

The crunch is that the 4th bolt is no better.
They think they could probably pull something together and finish the job by cutting around the faults in the FOUR BOLTS of fabric they now have for me, but they strongly advise me to go back to the drawing board and choose new fabric.

So I have.
And I am not happy about it at all!!!

I am not happy because I had a very clear idea in my head about what I wanted the end result to look like and our entire colour palette was designed around that choice of white curtain colour. It’s a bit hard to change all that now!!
Yup MUCH harder than it was when we had a blank canvas. So that leaves us with pretty much trying to replicate the look in a different fabric.

You’d think it would be easy to find a replacement white curtain right – or that we could just choose another different neutral? Well, it is not proving to be quite so easy!
{Especially when you need 78 jolly metres of it and price is such a big factor – every dollar more expensive the fabric is you can multiply that by $78!)
I bought home about 8 bags of samples today from 3 different curtain shops and struggled to like any of them.
It felt too much like I’d be “making do”.
It’s way to much of a financial investment to be feeling that way about them.

My wish is to have a strong contrast between the walls and the curtains and that’s really hard to do when you’ve painted every room a different shade of white. Get the slightly wrong tone of white and it feels like either we will be living in a beige box or it’s too stark and cold against the warm tones we’ve used.

Had I considered this was coming I would have painted all the walls a more white white like the Dulux Antique White USA that we used in the bathrooms and downstairs. Then we could have had any curtain colour we wanted!
But we didn’t, so we can’t.
Not like we are going to go back and repaint!

There are so many factors to consider like;
* Colour, * Price, * Weave, *Feel, *How it will wear, *Whether it’s polyester or cotton (polyester is apparently more mildew resistant), *How much light it will let through, *Whether our naughty kitty will be able to pull it easily, *How easy it will be to clean.
That I’m just totally in the over thinking and freaking out zone. At 1/4 of our entire renovation budget this is not a decision I want to get wrong!!

Then there is the fact that we are realistically going to have to wait at least another 4-6 weeks to get them, depending on where the fabric has to be shipped from.
Probably a nearly 5 month wait in total.
That does not make me happy either.
Patience is not my virtue so to have been so patient to try and see it through to the end only to start again? It sucks!

So anyway, after hours of searching and deliberating I think I’ve narrowed it down to 3 finalists.
I’m sure either one of the will be fine, it’s just a matter of working through the process of elimination.
In the meantime I will sleep on it a few nights and reassess.
For someone that loooooves working with fabric, this fabric choosing process has given me no joy whatsoever. What a fun sucker!

Ok, sorry, rant over.
Thanks for listening.
I know down the track I’ll want this written down in the renovation diary is all…

Giveaway #4 will happen tomorrow now instead, when I haven’t just spent the day curtain shopping and I can think in a more positive mood.


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  1. Oh poor you, sounds like you have been very patient. I hope the final decision suddenly becomes blindingly (pun 😉 ) obvious and you can soon relax and enjoy your beautiful curtains.

  2. So sorry to hear that. You might give away curtains?
    I think every decision which should last a long time is a hard one. Take a good sleep and a deep breath to find the right fabric

  3. Believe me, if this is your biggest problem in life, you should jump for joy! Some day you will look back on this tiny “blimp” in the road and laugh yourself silly!! The older you get, the more you come to realize that things happen for a reason….and although you have yet to discover why, someday it will become apparent why you weren’t supposed to have those first curtains. lol

  4. Wow. How frustrating for you. I cannot believe that many bolts of fabric all had the same problem, especially when coming from different countries. That’s just insane, although I’m sure you have had a different word to describe it. 😉

    I know it’s not velvet, but have you considered a whale corduroy? The corduroy would wear significantly better than velvet and be much easier to clean as well. Plus it would also cover your concern about keeping out the cold. I just know keeping a white velvet clean is going to be tough to do, but when you have your heart set on something I also know how that can be too. Gosh, I hope you can finally get past this and be able to just enjoy decorating your home from then on out. Good luck.

  5. I would think the curtain shop should give you a MASSIVE discount after all this hassle. I used to work in a curtain fabric shop and I know, on the odd occasion that we couldn’t get a good roll of fabric from the manufacturers, the customer would get a HUGE discount on what she eventually bought.

  6. Sympathy and poor you coming over loud and clear- but I kow, from being in business, that when a job starts going wrong- it gets worse, and worse, and just goes so pear shaped it feels mad!
    So, I do have every sympathy for you- but also for the curtain makers, They are getting wrong footed all the way! over something that just should not be happening!

    I am sure it will all come right in the end– keep strong and keep smiling, Let the curtain people do the hair tearing- believe me- they will be!


  7. Wow. It seems like they would have wrapped the bolts of fabric in plastic or something when shipping it, to keep it clean. It would be nice if they did give you the “unusable” stuff – maybe it could be washed & used for pillows or pillow backs or ????

    So sorry that you have had to deal with all of this mayhem.


  8. I would be pulling my hair out!!! I’m sorry you’re having to go through this!! Are they doing anything to compensate you for all the time you’ve lost so far? A discount or something? I hope so! Hang in there!

  9. My inspiration comes from many places. The other girls at my local quilt group, the internet, blogs and from my collection of antique quilt books. Good luck with the curtains.

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