There is always an area of a house that throws up a tricky, seemingly unresolvable problem. I lived with mine for years before, Eureka! I saw the light, or more to the point, the solution, in someone else’s house.
I had bought and modernised a modest Victorian cottage, of the kind that were built all over London for servants and railway and factory workers.
They have no entrance hall. You walk straight from the doorstep into the front room, therefore the door is always in your front room. I covered mine with a curtain but I was so unhappy with this look.
Over the years the curtain came off its runners, or sagged. It never looked tidy and it always looked like a curtain covering a door. It was irritating.
Then one day I was in the gym having a moan to a mate who told me she also had a cottage with a rogue front door — except she didn’t. She had devised a cunning plan.
I went home via her house to discover the solution staring me in the face. She had delightful wooden shutters on her windows and followed through with a folding shutter over the inside of her front door.
There’s a multitude of blinds, curtains and shutters companies but I followed in her footsteps and went to Hillarys, a UK company tried and tested. The process was simple.
A woman I immediately liked, Louise Mottola, came to advise. Armed with sample books and a wealth of experience she explained that if I wanted to keep — and hide — my efficient secondary glazing, I would be better off with a material Roman blind, rather than shutters, on the windows and have the shutters on the door.
I couldn’t quite imagine the picture but Louise had the perfect piece of tech to explain the new look — 3D visualisation.
Once she had loaded my virtual door on to her screen and put the folding shutters into place, all was clear. I had a choice of styles and went for full-length shutters that fit neatly into the door recess and fold back to the side wall next to the windows.
The shutters can easily be folder back (Daniel Hambury)
Cleverer still, I could fold the shutter back halfway to make a small partition that created a little lobby effect, if I wished. Next came choosing the colour of the wood. Back to the 3D visualisation.
Louise picked up on the wallpaper, the paint colour round the door frame and the colour of the fabric we’d chosen for the blind and came up with the perfect match.
This process is foolproof. You can see what you are ordering in front of you before you pay a penny. But more than that I had solved my problem.
I had gone from an annoying sagging curtain to a neat, streamlined plantation shutter gliding quietly on runners, sturdy, clean and sophisticated.
And above all, NOT looking like a curtain hanging over a door but a shutter covering a window.Louise sent an expert fitter to measure up and six weeks later my window blind and shutter arrived and were quickly fitted.
I loved looking at them then, and every day since. As I open the front door I have that same sense of satisfaction.
Louise was reassuring and sympathetic and returned to check the finished product. I could not have been happier.
What are the prices
Roman blinds at HiIlarys start at £138 (65cm wide x 75cm).
Shutters are from £399 per square metre.
Custom colour is an additional £75 per panel.
To request an appointment, call 0800 916 6516 (hillarys.co.uk)