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contact: tim@timlesterdesigns.com 845 338 3878 

Tim Lester Designs

exquisitely handcrafted
draped wool swag
Working with discerning individuals, architects and designers, I provide full service custom-made lined and interlined curtains, roman shades, soft shades and more.


Why choose custom-made?
In an age of ready made convenience, I still use traditional curtain making skills because, quite simply, it is the best way. This is how I run my business - if you hire me, then you should expect the best. Now don’t get me wrong, I think there is a place for ready made goods and there are some great companies out there, but if you want the best of anything, then custom-tailored is the way to go.

Quality lasts.

about curtains

When curtains were first used, it was for practical reasons first and decorative second. 
Heavy damasks and tapestries were hung over windows and doorways to prevent cold and drafts in the days long before central heating and storm windows. As the art of curtain making grew, a standard was established for construction methods and materials used. All work was done by hand, curtains were always lined and usually interlined with a heavy flannel to insulate the room (it really works). Luxurious trims were used with sumptuous fabrics and the heyday for these glorious curtains was most certainly the Victorian era. With the advent of machines and mass production, curtains and window treatments became available to the new middle classes. Progress kept pace and today we can go and buy a pair of curtains in a bag, made in China without a natural fibre in sight. 
With this mass production there is a loss of individuality.
When it comes to ‘custom’ work, there are, of course, many excellent companies where you can ‘design your own window treatments'; they do a great job and probably satisfy about 70% of the market . The other 30% is made up of workrooms and artists like myself specializing in custom drapes as used by most decorators - again a great job and my competition. However, very few still hand-make everything simply because it is too time-consuming and it is difficult to find people with such skills.

This is who I am  
a designer with the practical skills to bring my vision and the client's wishes to realisation 

In my home country, there are many skilled curtain makers still doing everything by hand as this is still considered the norm for high end work. In the US, I have found this level of work hard to find - even in a city like New York.

I combine my design skills with my practical skills to make the best product I can. 

A handcrafted home deserves handcrafted furnishings.

view my portfolio
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why 

Why handsewn is still the best.

Sewing machines are great - I use them all the time. Vera Wang uses sewing machines to make her original gowns. All the detail work, fitting work and real tailoring is done by hand - this is why they look so good! This is how it is with real curtains - I use a machine to join together widths of fabric, the rest is done by hand. The one thing that a machine cannot do is ‘feel’ the fabric; rich fabrics require gentle handling.   After all, the success of any job is measured by how well the fabric works.  
Handsewing allows the layered fabrics (lining and interlining) to hang, move and breathe together. You cannot make heavy interlined treatments on a machine - it simply will not work.

fabrics

Fabrics today are more exciting than ever with wonderful new combinations of fibers and production techniques. With that comes a whole new host of issues - exactly how do you make a curtain out of woven grass and silk or linen printed with rubber? 
The answer to that one is easy - call me!
I have spent many an hour on the phone with Cath in London discussing the merits and problems of working with modern fabrics. This is where you need a specialist - if you are spending $180/yard for fabric, then you need someone who knows what they are doing with it and how to make it work. 
The average pair of curtains for a large window will take upwards of 18 yards - that could be an expensive mistake. I have seen so much beautiful fabric ruined by poor workmanship - I want to rescue it all!


expensive?

They can be, but everything is relative.
“You get what you pay for” is very true here and, although I have certainly had my share of “Wows!”, I don’t think anyone has actually fainted!

My clients expect quality products and services and that is what I offer. If you are planning a whole house, then yes, it is going to be an expensive project. If you do a room at a time (like the majority of my clients), then it may surprise you how affordable the services I offer can be.

Most jobs have 2 variable cost elements - the fabric and the hardware. Prices for these items can vary tremendously. I have found that the biggest shock for most people is how much fabric is needed for a project. A yard, after all, is only three feet.  The average room is nine feet tall.

Now…when it comes to fabrics, you get what you pay for most of the time.  There are some crazy expensive fabrics out there and some really great cheap ones; I have used them all. In general, you should expect to pay between $50 and $180 a yard. A good silk velvet can be $500 a yard! A good linen can be bought for under $20 a yard. The important thing here is that it is the right fabric for the job. Does it have the look that you want and the quality to work?

Oh, and don’t forget that old “silk purse/sow’s ear” thing.