Thursday, 18 February 2010

On Curtains (net and otherwise)

Boats, especially ones moored in public places (as ours now is) are subject not only to the idle curiosity that most of us have about our fellow humans but also to the curiosity which land dwellers have for those of us who have chosen to live an alternative lifestyle on a boat. While I would feel embarrassed to dawdle for too long outside the window of a house, I have seen many people openly pointing and discussing the interior of my boat and its contents. "Oh look, they've got a sink and a cooker and everything!". And while I don't mind this now and again (in fact it makes me feel proud that my home is worth commenting on), until now, I've never moored permanently in an area where this could happen all the time.

So, our thoughts have (as I mentioned in a previous post) turned to privacy and therefore the need for some better curtains in our bank-facing windows. With its small portholes and foam stuffers, the bedroom is easily kept private, but the kitchen, bathroom and saloon are very much on display to passers by.

Today, I picked up a large bedspread from a charity shop, which happens to be the same colour and fabric as some of our cushions, so as a temporary measure I will cut that up into some simple drapes to cover the three windows in the living area which are not above the hobs. In the long term I'd like something a bit thicker and fade-resistant, such as velvet, but first I'm going to have to learn to use my sewing machine properly!

I have also been thinking about getting some modern version of net curtains, so that in the summer we can let some light in too. Nothing nasty and floral, or even traditional boat lace, but something plain in cream voile perhaps, with only a subtle pattern if any. But only on the bank-facing side will they stay closed. Part of the reason I love living afloat is being able to watch the swans (and now rowers) passing the windows. I'd like to be able to close all the curtains for warmth at night, but in the day, I want to be able to watch the world go by!


  1. How about cotton scrim (sometimes called muslin) as modern 'nets'. I think it makes great window coverings. I could send you some as a sample if you want - the material not actual curtains :-)
    Kath (nb Herbie)

  2. Kath beat me to it, but muslin works well - I had some on the lower half of my front look-a-bit-like-sash windows in my house for years before I replaced it with Ikea stick-on frosting... it looks good taught, which may not be work for you - how about stretched over simple wooden frames that then can be stowed (or moved to the other side of the boat, if you've turned)?

    While I had no lining (and therefore nothing to attach curtains to) on Tortoise I used sheets of ply cut to fit in the windows; don't let the light in, but may be handy if you ever wanted to practice boat decoration... ;-)

  3. How about stick on one way mirror film? At least it would let the light in, and people walking by couldn't see you. Might be more cat compatible too!
    Thanks for the Christmas card by the way.