In her excellent book Novel Interiors, Living in Enchanted Rooms Inspired by Literature, Lisa Borgnes Giramonti explains that a portiere is a heavy curtain or drape hung over a doorway to keep warmth in and chills out. Like curtains on a stage, using textiles in this way also creates a sense of anticipation and interest. As she explains, “draping a passageway adds drama and mystery–when you hide something from view, you arouse curiosity that begs to be satisfied.”
Our curiosity was piqued, so we decided to take a closer look at rooms that make use of this stagecraft.
The staid collection of china on the outside of this doorway belies the riotous patterns and colors on the inside. We’re eager to push that velvet curtain aside and go exploring.
This room is one of the first that we added to our Pinterest board, and it is easily the most re-pinned image we’ve collected. There’s something comfortably old-world about it, but the colors and large scale patterns in the portiere and upholstered chair give it an eclectic note.
We could spend eternity and a day passing through these portieres to peruse a favorite book by the warmth of the fire.
This is a more contemporary take on a portiere. The heavy velvet works nicely with the line-drawn wallpaper.
We love this bohemian interpretation of a portiere from Justina Blakeney’s book, The New Bohemians. The kantha quilt, draped loosely from cafe clips, is equal parts chic and relaxed. If ever there was a space made to store a collection of antique silk kimono robes, this is it.
No RHW post is complete without an ode to mustard and pink, so here it is in portiere form:
For a bath off of a communal space like the living room or kitchen, a draped textile might give the feeling of a welcome additional layer of separation. We’re enchanted with this sophisticated little powder room.
What do you think? Are portieres for you? Have a great day!