It’s Curtains (by Lulu)
Some design stores make you feel like a poor, slightly slow relative with trashy taste and too many donuts under your belt. Every-time you touch something the eagle eyed, hawk-nosed assistant (who looks starving by the way) looks you up and down like you just smeared dog leavings on her carpet.
This is what I feared would happen when I slunk, unobtrusively through the door at Curtains by Lulu in the newly refurbished Colony Centre. It is actually for this reason alone, that I like to take Hera-the-avo-stealing-child-licking-rottweiler with me on trips to these stores so that the erstwhile starving assistants give me a wide berth. Not that you have much choice! Hera is hardly the slim trim and sexy dog her breeder promised me. I digress. I will admit it was my first time visiting the store, and when I initially passed it I thought to myself that an entire store dedicated to curtains was a sinful waste of space. A little like golf estates and well, golf courses, in my opinion. Oh and Paris Hilton.
Upon entering the small store, I immediately turned right and slunk along the wall, desperately trying not to inflame the previously described assistant. Gripping a chocolate donut in hand ready to hurl it at her should she come snarling my way. Naturally then, I was caught completely wrong-footed when a trilling voice from under some fabric assured me that she was there if I needed help, otherwise I was free to “browse away”. As I side-stepped the pile of silk, voile and damask trying my utmost not to squash the as yet unsighted assistant that was buried beneath it, I began to look around and was immediately enchanted. The store has that natural air of cool that you find in miniscule Free State shops were the furniture isn’t aged by a team of staff but by Father time and his merry band of helpers. I genuinely was expecting piles of curtains and fabric for curtains. Possibly one or two cushions as well. All of this was of course present (it is after all Curtains by Lulu), but I was taken by surprise at the small sepia and black and white portraits of traditional milk pails, the antique pitcher bowl sets and classically designed vases.
Although small, the shop manages to play host to an amazing amount of unique and intrinsically beautiful items. I was delighted by a lamp that evoked the charm of the old American south where a woman was lauded for the size of her behind (and in fact used bustles to increase it! A marvellous thought, I just use chocolate gateaux). But my favourite were the dreamily designed wrought iron candle holders, where the candle itself is caged like a favourite budgie.
I find myself betwixt two points. Is it a shop perfect for unusual gifts, or is it perfect for a gift for yourself? I can’t say, but I can say that I will be back, and this is one store where I won’t need the guard dog.
50 Old Main Rd, Hillcret, The Colony Centre, Durban, KZN