Thursday, March 26, 2009


Today I thought I would show you some of the cornices I have done over the years. The one you see above was an interesting project. The client gave me an embroidered pillow and asked me to incorporate the dog into the cornice without using the background. I stitched a piece of cotton around the dog shape and painstakingly trimmed and turned it. I then applied it to the finished cornice with fabric glue and a few tiny stiches to hold it. Even without the applique the cornice incorporated two different fabrics and two different trims with a cut-out design.
This cornice in the red leafy print was a fairly complicated design, cut out with a jig-saw. The trim used on the bottom edge was applied directly to the face.

This is just a simple straight cornice with a border at the bottom edge. Swags and rosettes were added for an extra touch.

A simple shaped bottom edge gave this cornice a little character and adding the cornice fabric as a border on the leading edge of the drapes brought them together.

This is a common cornice shape...with just a piped top and bottom edge.

This is the same shape, in suede , with a fringed bottom edge.

The client who had me do the Toile cornice and striped balloons found a picture of the exact same treatment (fabric and style) in a Calico Corners flyer. She purchased the fabric from Calico and asked me to replicate the design.

The shape of these bedroom cornices was determined by the shape of a table the client had and loved. The corners replicate the edges of the table.

This is a simple shaped cornice, trimmed with a crystal fringe.

This shaped cornice is trimmed with a tassel fringe. The drapes are made with a companion fabric and the same tassel fringe is applied to the leading edge.

I make all my cornices with 1 by pine. The frame is put together with drywall screws using 1 by 6 pine boards. The face is made by joining boards to get the desired length and then applied to the frame with drywall screws. I mount them using angle irons. Plywood could also be used but I have almost always used 1 by pine.

Several years ago some designers I worked with found styrofoam cornice kits and wanted me to use them. I reluctantly agreed.....and lived to regret it. The Cornices were easy to cut but it was almost impossible to clean the little styrofoam beads that flew everywhere. They were put together using long T-pins. Although they were very light and therefore easy to handle, I was always very nervous transporting them.
With four rambuctious kids I would never have wanted a styrofoam ANYTHING installed in my home. I imagined the cornices being whacked by a flying indoor football or frisbee and snapping in half.
The last styrofoam cornices I made were a mini disaster. I had made three, 2 for standard single windows and 1 for a triple slider, for a kitchen. Those days I worked late into the night almost all the time so I could be with the kids during the day. I had the cornices wrapped and ready to be installed late in the afternoon. My youngest, E , was being his normal bouncy self ....yup...jumped right on the cornice for the triple slider and snapped it in half.
He's eighteen now and still will mention it occasionally......only now we laugh. "Remember when I stepped on that styrofoam thing ,Mom?"
"You actually jumped on it."
"Jumped, stepped...whatever. It broke. Remember you cried?"
"Like it was yesterday"
I did sit down and cry when it happened. I was the kind of tired that I haven't felt since my kids were little. I had to have a few moments of self-pity before I could snap to and fix the darn thing. Yay for duct tape! It took longer to fix it than it took to make it from scratch. I didn't have the money to pay for a new kit AND I desperately needed the pay-check I would get when I installed it.
I told the designers I would never make another styrofoam cornice....and I never did. I wonder if any of them are still out there. I know the cornices I make from pine will last...and they can be covered and recovered.

Cornices are the most expensive, material-wise , of any window treatments I make.They also are a lot of work to make and install. I know I don't charge enough for them. Pricing has always been my Achilles heel.

Cornices are a good solution when you don't want something fussy looking. They can be very tailored. Adding trim finishes the edges nicely but a self or contrast piping works as well.


  1. Wow, those are all amazing but the dog really blows me away! How creative!

  2. Wow, that dog cornice is really too neat. & I could so see my mom doing something like this with her beloved boxers.

  3. I just happened to come across this website. Are you in Central Florida? Do you do these for people? I just moved into a new home and need window treatments drastically. Please email me at if you can help. Thanks!

  4. Been surfing for a good site for some ideas and your is the best by far! Thanks for sharing. I agree, the dog cornice is great.

  5. Question for you...I have made fabric covered cornices, but I've never understood how to attach piping to the front. Or buttons for that matter. For instance, if I have a piece of piping which runs along the bottom and top, do I use my staple gun (which is also a nail gun) to attach the piping tightly to the board, or is there some other way? Thanks!!