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Outdoor curtains: breezy or fusty and old-fashioned?

The question

What do you think of outdoor curtains on a porch? Pleasant and breezy or fusty and old-fashioned? (And how do they weather the elements?)

The answer

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As a matter of fact, I have been dreaming lately about outdoor curtains billowing in the wind as I sprawled on a soft sofa sporting pale grey outdoor fabric and abundant cushions. As a result, Operation Sun-Protected Ambiance recently kicked off at my cottage, where I had new beams installed in my pergola and then contacted my favourite draper. We are currently in the midst of refining, having initially installed white overhead sail sheets that, after suffering through a rainstorm, look more like dirty laundry now. We are consequently adding a centre grommet hole to the pergola for drainage, reinforcing the sides with better attachments and securing the corners. As my experience suggests, it's important to remember that outdoor drapes will be subject to abuse, so sturdy tiebacks are key, as are rustproof hardware and a fabric that's made especially for outside. My favourite: a heavy canvas with grommet holes that affects a modern, quasi-nautical look.

Starting June 1, architect and interior designer Dee Dee Taylor Eustace will be appearing on The Real Designing Women, which airs on HGTV Saturdays at 4 p.m. ET. Follow her on Twitter @ddtaylordd. Have a design problem? E-mail

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