One of the challenges I gave our architect when we did our house remodel was to incorporate a round window in the design, I showed him images on Pinterest of vast porthole windows that took up whole walls and he rather sensibly scaled back our window to fit our budget and we got one which was a more modest 57cm across – but hey, I still got my circle!
Porthole windows are intrinsically nautical and playful in design, but they present their own challenges, one of which is how you dress them. In the beautiful summer house below, excluding light is not a problem, but in other rooms there will be certain times of the year when you need to block or filter daylight.
Photo via lightlocations.com
You can of course simply run a curtain rail in a straight line above a porthole window and draw fabric to either side, but I think that rather detracts from the look of the window and there are in fact several cleverer ways of doing it…
A solid interior shutter
One simple solution would be to mount a solid wooden circular shutter on a hinge on the inside wall next to or above the window. When you want to let the light in the shutter would fold back flat against the inside wall and then at night you can close it across the porthole and fix in place with a hook.
Made to measure circular blinds
It’s possible to have blinds made to fit almost any shape of window including arches, circles and ovals. Luxaflex are one such UK company who do a custom shapes service for windows, offering a range of colours and styles to suit your home. They also look rather wonderful when they are backlit by the sun.
DIY circle curtain
You can buy quilting hoops in many sizes up to about 23 inches across, if you can find one that fits your window size you may have the start of a DIY solution. These metal or wooden frames lend themselves nicely to being the basis for some sort of fabric curtain. You could simply cut two circles of fabric slightly larger than the hoop, sew them right sides together halfway round the circle, turn right side out and pop the hoop inside and sew up the remaining half of the circle. If you want to filter out more light, you could use a darker fabric or add lining.
A “porthole bung”
Our own solution to the round window problem was what is known as a porthole bung! Four years ago we went on holiday in Wales and next to every porthole on our narrow boat was a hook from which hung a foam cushion which slotted into the window at night, they are quite common on boats and I tucked away the idea at the back of my mind for future use. When we needed to apply it in our own house, we measured our window and bought a foam insert cut to size. My mum then made the piping and fabric cover to fit. It simply pops into the circular hole at night and blocks out the light.
This is a collaborative blog post