In the Media
Dressing Those Difficult Palladian Windows
By Merlisa Lawrence Corbett
Special To The Washington Examiner
and alluring, Palladian windows may be architecturally stunning but they
also are among the most difficult type of windows to decorate.
"The main difficulty with
designing for Palladian windows is deciding whether to include the arch
within the window treatment design or to leave it," said Paolo McDonald
of Creative Elegance Interiors. "It's an architectural detail, usually
extremely beautiful. You don't want to do anything to take away from
"So either your treatment has
to complement the window and make it stand out or you have to treat the
windows below the arch and let it stand on its own," McDonald said.
Named for 16th century Venetian
architect Andrea Palladio, true Palladian windows are divided into three
parts, a center arched window flanked by two smaller rectangular
windows. These days, any large arched window is commonly called a
Whether traditional Palladian
or simply arched, these windows present a challenge. "I either work with
the shape or totally avoid it" McDonald said.
of McDonald's clients was struggling with light control, particularly in
late afternoon. The window was in a room where they watched television
and the sun coming in was blinding. They needed light control without
totally blocking the architecture.
"My solution was a beautiful
combination of sheer fabrics that would take the edge off of the
sunlight while not totally blocking the windows and the view," she said.
"I hung them from simple medallions that were installed around the arch
of the palladium windows."
The effect was to accentuate
the archway and allow the family to see through the fabric, while at the
same time taking the edge off the sunshine.
"When designing treatments for
Palladian windows, there are three considerations: budget, form and
function," said Michael H. Sicheri, owner of Abstract D?cor, which
specializes in custom window treatments. "Those three things have to
equal 100 percent."
Sicheri said if form is the
focus and money is no object, you can do anything, including installing
motorized blinds, shades or shutters available from Hunter Douglas.
However, if function, such as blocking sunlight, is the primary concern
and the budget is tight, "you can do some really beautiful draperies."
Linda H. Bassert, owner of
Masterworks Window Fashions & Design, said architects and builders
include more Palladian windows because that feature helps sell the
house. However, they do this with little regard to how difficult it is
to dress these windows in terms of cost and design.
Bassert suggested acknowledging
the rhythm of the arch in the room.
window is going to win, in terms of setting a lyrical rhythm in the
room, so don't fight it with rigid lines and boxy designs," she said.
"Consider the height of the room if you are considering leaving the arch
bare and just dressing the windows beneath it. With a strong horizontal
line below the arched window, there is a risk that you will effectively
lower the ceiling in the room."
She said there are many ways to
"float fabric above an arch," including curved boards made from bendable
plywood to "Firmaflex," a synthetic construction material used to make
The Palladian arch is a star in
any room," Bassert said. "Make sure it shines the light on you."