A Horsham woman educates Charlotte Harding in the world of soft furnishings.
Moving home the big things to get sorted usually consist of flooring, sofas or somewhere to sleep.
Quite often, however, the small matter of curtains is left as a bit of an afterthought.
“Many people think they can take their old curtains and they will work in a new home, but that isn’t always the case,” explains Kate Hough of Kate’s Kurtains.
“Curtains are the one thing people tend to forget about and don’t have high up on their list, but it is more than a decoration in a room it offers privacy, can impact the acoustics in a room and in the winter can help retain heat.”
Kate has been making curtains and soft furnishings for more than 25 years and initially trained in dressmaking.
“When people no longer wanted bespoke wedding or prom dresses I started to make more and more curtains,” she reveals.
“I think I have made more curtains now than I ever made wedding dresses.
“I miss the creativity you get with making a dress but I still get a bit of that now, also windows don’t change size so in that way they are a lot easier to do.”
The business was officially launched in 2014 when Kate’s daughter went to university.
“My son has his own web design business and basically said I needed to do something to fill my time so he built me a website and it all went from there,” she smiles.
Unlike in other industries Kate says she doesn’t have a ‘busy’ time and that her work is constant throughout the year with many of her clients coming to her through word of mouth.
“I do projects from start to finish,” she explains.
“I take one on and will just do that until the end, so if someone wants blinds and curtains I will do them and finish at the same time unless the person wants them at different times, I work with what they want.
“I tend to give people a lead time of four to six weeks.”
Once a client has got in touch with Kate she will discuss over the phone if there is any colours or patterns they would like, and then brings pattern books to the first meeting.
“We got through everything together if they want lining, interlining or blackout lining,” she begins.
“Pencil pleat tape, pinch pleat, goblet, tab top, wave or eyelet headings. Blinds or curtains, what patterns or colours, if they want short or full length.
“It can all seem very daunting but we go through every step together.”
If the client has seen a particular style or pattern in somewhere like Brewers or C&H fabric Kate will get samples for them to live with to see if they are 100 per cent happy.
From measuring up to fitting Kate also has a good industry contacts book so can recommend people for upholstery if required, and she can make a range of soft furnishing items from cushions to bespoke lampshades, bedspreads to tiebacks.
One of the common misconceptions that Kate comes across is that made to measure means a lot more expensive.
“This isn’t always the case,” she says.
“I talk through their budget with the client so I won’t bring fabric that is out of that price bracket.
“Everything I use is high quality and made for the space whereas sometimes what you buy from the high street has to be altered.
“I pride myself on providing a personal service from start to finish, from measuring to fitting.
“I want to offer people something different.”
The popular colours at the moment she says are still duck egg blue and greens, with more and more people tending to opt for blinds over curtains.
“I am making a lot of roman blinds at the moment,” she reveals.
“I think people like that they are neat. Also blinds and shutters are great at offering people privacy while still letting in light, it seems they have replaced net curtains I make hardly any of those anymore.”
Next time you are thinking of giving your space a lift or are moving house don’t forget the windows as it could be as simple as a new pair of curtains adding something a bit different to your home.
For more information and to see more examples of Kate’s work, visit www.kateskurtains.com
This first featured in the May edition of etc Magazine pick up your copy now.