More Privacy at Home, Thanks to This Interior Designer Trick
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More Privacy at Home, Thanks to This Interior Designer Trick

Drapes hung in a doorless interior opening—what design pros call a portiere—provide separation.

By Alice Welsh Doyle
Tue, Mar 8, 2022 1:45pmGrey Clock 2 min

LOOKING FOR some style and privacy—perhaps more than ever—without moving walls? Consider adding hanging fabric panels in a doorway, a favorite trick of interior designers. “Portieres are a clever and versatile tool,” said Birmingham, Ala., interior designer Stephanie Lyton. When the drapes are closed, family members know to stay away (”I’m working!”). Interior drapes also dampen noise and check the chill coming from real doors that open onto the blustery world at large. On the decorating front, they soften hard edges and invest plain old portals with a bit of mystery and drama. Here, a few details.

The Appeal

Portieres efficiently add color, pattern and texture to two rooms. “Plus, they bring a dash of romance,” said Stephanie Lynton, an interior designer in Birmingham, Ala., who added more pink to a large room’s rose-inflected décor by hanging blush linen portieres in the door frames. Ms. Lynton also notes that portieres bring the coziness and beauty of drapes to a room with few or no windows, or to a generously windowed room whose light or views you would rather not block with conventional curtains.

On the practical side, portieres provide privacy and the ability to separate, whenever life requires, spaces that connect without a solid door—say, a kitchen and a dining room doubling as a home office. The rosy drapes that Ms. Lynton deployed helped block drafts from nearby exterior exits. Atlanta interior designer Jackye Lanham found another pragmatic use for a fabric barrier: sealing off a hallway that leads to guest rooms. “When they are closed, I know my guests are still sleeping.”

The Tips

When choosing the fabric, consider the portieres’ function. Should you want to block a draft or noise, dense velvet works well. Just make sure your rod is strong enough to support the fabric’s weight, cautioned Ms. Lynton. Lightweight materials will soften a room with a lot more Gatsby-esque billow, but Ms. Lanham recommends shunning stretchy fabrics “that will lose shape and sag over time.”

Ms. Lanham likes to use two complementary fabrics for either side of a portiere’s panels to orchestrate a different visual experience in each connecting space, and hews to the rule that fabrics should align with the overall interior décor. To transition from a marble-tiled foyer to a heart-of-pine living room in a stately Atlanta house, for example, Ms. Lanham used a de Gournay silk edged with hand-tied knots. “You want to consider the desired fullness as well,” she said, explaining that in a modern context, tailored panels look best, but for more romantic rooms, a flouncier treatment with tiebacks might stir hearts more effectively. And get creative with your materials, she said. Vintage textiles, embroideries, table linens and even quilts can be conscripted as portieres.

The Caveats

Portieres’ great selling-point—that they adorn two rooms at once—obliges you to pay more. Visible from both sides, they require twice as much fabric as window drapes, which is potentially pricey. Also, you can’t install them anywhere that might impede their function, “such as too close to an oven door or to drawers that pull out,” said Ms. Lynton. Still, said Ms. Lanham, “I think portieres work in most spaces, even in more-contemporary designs.”



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The Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index reveals investments of passion are paying strong dividends, in some areas at least

By Bronwyn Allen
Tue, Apr 9, 2024 4 min

Art was the investment of passion that gained the most in value in 2023, according to Knight Frank’s Luxury Investment Index (KFLII). This is the second consecutive year that art has risen the most among the 10 popular investments tracked by the index, up 11 percent in 2023 and 29 percent in 2022. Art was followed by 8 percent growth in jewellery, 5 percent growth in watches, 4 percent growth in coins and 2 percent growth in coloured diamonds last year.

The weakest performers were rare whisky bottles, which lost nine percent of their value, classic cars down six percent and designer handbags down four percent. Luxury collectables are typically held by ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) who have a net worth of US$30 million or more. Knight Frank research shows 20 percent of UHNWI investment asset portfolios are allocated to collectables.

In 2023, the KFLII fell for only the second time, with prices down 1 percent on average.

Despite record-breaking individual sales in 2023, a surge in financial market returns contributed to a shift in allocations impacting on luxury asset value,” the report said. “… our assessment reveals a need for an ever more discerning approach from investors, with significant volatility by sub-market.

Sebastian Duthy of AMR said the 2023 art auction year began with notable sales including a record price for a Bronzino piece. But confidence waned as the year went on.

“It was telling that in May, Sotheby’s inserted one of its top Old Master lots – a Rubens’ portrait – into a 20th Century Modern evening sale. But by then, it was clear that the confidence among sellers, set by the previous year’s record-busting figures, was ebbing away. In the same month, modern and contemporary works from the collection of the late financier Gerald Fineberg sold well below pre-auction estimates.”

The value of ultra contemporary or red-chip’ art contracted the most in 2023.

“Works by a growing group of artists born after 1980 have been heavily promoted by mega galleries and auction houses in recent years. With freshly painted works in excess of £100,000 almost doubling in 2022, it was little surprise that this sector was one of the biggest casualties last year. There is a risk there are now simply too many fresh paint artists with none really standing out.”

In the jewellery market, Mr Duthy noted that demand was strongest for coloured gemstones of exceptional quality, iconic signed period jewels, single-owner collections, and items with historic provenance in 2023. In the watches market, Mr Duthy said collectors chased the most iconic and rare timepieces.

A Rolex John Player Special broke the model record when it sold for £2 million at Sotheby’s in May, double the price for a similar example sold at Phillips in 2021,” he said.

Although whisky was the worst-performing collectable in 2023, it has delivered the highest return on investment among the 10 items tracked by the index over the past decade, up 280 percent. Andy Simpson of Simpson Reserved, said 2023 was a challenging year but the best of the best bottles gained 20 percent in value. In my opinion some bottles that lost significant value in 2023 will return through the next two years as they are simply so scarce and, right now at least, so undervalued, Mr Simpson said.

Whisky was the worst performing collectable in 2023 but it had highest return on investment over a 10-year period. Image: Shutterstock

Classic car expert Dietrich Hatlapa said the 6 percent fall in collectable vehicle values in 2023 followed a 22 percent surge in 2022. The strong performance of other investment classes such as equities may have dampened collectors’ appetites it’s a very small market so it only takes a minor change in portfolio allocations to have an effect, and there has also probably been a degree of profit taking. However, we have seen some marques like BMW (up 9 percent in value) and Lamborghini (up 18 percent), which appeal to a younger breed of collector, buck the trend in 2023.”

Mr Duthy said a dip in the share price of the top luxury handbag brands last Autumn appeared to spook investors. Last autumn it was possible to pick up an Hermès white Niloticus Himalaya Birkin in good condition for under £50,000. The recent slide reflects a general correction at the upper end that’s been underway for some time rather than changing attitudes to the harvesting of exotic skins.

According to Knight Frank’s Attitudes Survey, the top five investments of passion among Australian UHNWIs are classic cars, art and wine. Fine wine values gained just 1 percent in 2023 as the market continued its correction, said Nick Martin of Wine Owners. “It’s been a hell of a long run, so I’m not that surprised. Some wines from very small producers that had enjoyed the most exuberant growth have seen the biggest drops. It had got a bit silly, £50 bottles had shot up to £200 or £300.”

Favourite investments of passion: Australia vs Global

1. Classic cars (61 percent of Australian UHNWIs vs 38 percent of global UHNWIs)
2. Art (58 percent vs 48 percent)
3. Wine (48 percent vs 35 percent)
4. Watches (42 percent vs 42 percent)
5. Jewellery (18 percent vs 28 percent)

Best returns among investments of passion (10 years)

1. Whisky 280 percent
2. Wine 146 percent
3. Watches 138 percent
4. Art 105 percent
5. Cars 82 percent

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