Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Curtain help.

PUCK needs help with her living room, specifically the curtains.

She's thinking of putting up these corduroy curtains, but I chimed in via email and told her that I think they are too heavy and that the color is sort of non-committal. Also neglected to mention to her my bias against window treatments altogether, but that's another weird hiccup in my malformed decorating genes that we don't need to get into here.

So, can anyone advise Puck? I wouldn't know what to tell her except, "Don't put anything up." And I am sure that's not what she wants to hear.

Also, Puck would like everyone to excuse the clutter. Bowie's room is being renovated, so the front room has become a toy box. Such is life.


truffles said...

Inside mount woven grass shades. Smith and Noble has some great ones. NOT bamboo.

Anonymous said...

Inside mount semi-sheer roman shades to let the light in.

If those are too expensive, use a double rod system (see the DREADED Pottery Barn because they actually have decent rods...there's a joke in there somewhere. Use linen sheers on the lower rod and heavier, light blocking curtains on the upper rod. In the summer, do like the ladies of old and remove the winter curtains completely. Have another set of curtains for the upper rod that are in a summery pattern or fresh color but will still be opaque enough to act as a privacy drape.

Magchunk said...

Unrelated to curtains, I just wanted to thank you, Decorno, for telling us all to subscribe to House Beautiful. Ever the dutiful student (COUGH teacher's pet COUGH), I did, and I drooled over every page of my first issue. Thank you thank you!

And Puck, please no corduroy.

Anonymous said...

Pottery Barn linen panels. They're beautiful and simple and classic.

Curtains are the one thing PB gets right.

teamkenia said...

Since she has nice molding around the windows, I would definitely go with inside mount roman shades in her fabric of choice. They will look clean and show off the woodwork!

An Aesthete's Lament said...

I'm with Decorno on this ... Don't hang anything. Those windows are beautiful, and it would be criminal to cover up the upper panes' elegant fenestration. If she absolutely cannot stand installing nothing, she could install roman shades and ONLY release them when (a) there's entirely too much sunlight or (b) at night, for privacy.

An Aesthete's Lament said...

Alternatively, she could hang simple, pale-coloured festoon (aka balloon) shades from the ceiling until they fall just below the windows' top edge, about six inches or so.

Fenestra Eleganzo said...

"Elegant fenestration."


Michelle said...

i'd agree with don't put anything up advice because those windows are so lovely but since Puck obviously does want something on the windows i think anon #1 has the right idea.

LB said...

I think you could make it work IF you rearranged the furniture a bit to include the windows as part of your decorating. Turn those chairs to be more cozy at the windows. If you're going to hang the curtains, then make sure you put them on all the windows. Not just the two edge windows. And try not to cover up that wood.

Are the windows at the front or where they can be easily peered into by nosy neighbors? If not, then forgo the curtains.

Another option, you can buy at Home Depot and Lowes and probably other places, are opaque to translucent window "stickers". Be careful of the brand because one requires a great deal more of work in removing and applying (ie chemicals) while the other just needs some water. You'll get the light, the privacy and see those windows without obstruction.

Echo Design said...

I'm all about window treatments for privacy at night. Those windows are super cool though. What about doing a cafe curtain, so only the bottom half of the window is covered up and the snazzy top part still shows? I think that might still give enough privacy. Also, if you want to do something a little more dramatic, do one long rod above the top of all the windows. Then you can do floor length drapes so that the fabric hangs between the windows when open. A lighter weight fabric will let more window show when they're open.

I'm not personally digging the courderoy. Feels kind of heavy and a tad bland. Though I think if you went with maybe a linen or cotton in a similar color it wouldn't read as bland because of the lightness of it. If that makes any sense at all.

Neutral is a good idea, and I like a solid color so the fabulous windows do take center stage.

Love to see an after pic!

The House of Beauty and Culture said...

I would do tension roller blinds — that pull up from the bottom rather than down — having them stop bellow the upper section.

Unless the curtains are divided into 6 panels (which could look smart with 3 pelmet boards, etc.) there is not enough space to drawback without blocking the side windows.

chanel said...

hmm- may sound tacky but I would recommend inside mounted top-down cell or pleated shades.
The top mounts are very slim about 1 inch and would hardly be seen-- you can lower them for privacy- or lower the entire blind and have the top open to still allow light in- but still have privacy- that is - if the lower part of the windows face a common area with to much traffic--
Window coverings are also helpful to keep a space cool in the summer and to keep heat in during cold winter months- so energy efficient as well as decorative--
PLEASE--- no frilly roman shades-(balloon) ughhhhhh- finger in mouth- so victorian!!!!!
Perhaps a flat panel roman shade-- but no frills- no ballony stuff

Anonymous said...

I agree with chanel; the mouldings are Mission/Arts & Crafts linear; poufy balloon shades would be wrong.

Henrietta said...

Don't put anything up!

puck said...

Many suggestions! It'll keep me thinking for awhile!

Although historic preservation is my passion, I don't feel the need to be completely true to the period and make it look Queen Anne. My furniture does that enough for me.

I really like sheers, and that is all I have in my bedroom.

I do feel the need to have a little privacy in the living room though as we live across the street from Baker U and we get a lot of people parking in front of my house. (And I totally get pissed whenever I look out and see someone not using the sidewalk and tromping through my yard).

My latest thought is a double rod, with some breezy sheers under, and some nice lightweight curtains on the outside. Maybe the "peacock" color like I saw at BB&B... which was a shiny gray and not a dull corduroy gray.

And definitely, the furniture arrangement is not done at all now. Since I have a room full of his toys, everything is just crammed in the room. Can't wait for his room to be done. We are putting up the ceiling now!!

Tara.Fields said...

Corduroy seems entirely too "durable" for curtains in most circumsstances to me. I think there are lots of great ideas here and don't have anything to add other than "fenestration" has been one of my favorite words for years and I hardly ever get to use it. Fenestration, fenestration, fenestration... whee!

Siiri said...

I'm with LB on this one, if you don't want curtains or don't have to have them, then don't. But if you do, putting window stickers on can be really easy. Actually instead of spending money on window stickers, you can just do the following:
-use parchment paper, or purchase butcher paper from your local supplies store in the right width for your window, and use a standard 3M spray mount made for art projects. The spray mount is made to use in these situations, where you want something "semi-permanent" so you can actually take them off without ANY residue at all!
I did this at my house, on every window that is visible from the ground floor, I've printed off "Property Secured with ADT home Security". I googled the ADT stickers, then printed them off on regular paper, and spray mounted them to my windows, as an extra security measure, so kids are less tempted to break in.
They've been up for a month, and one even got wet, and dried just fine, no peeling at all! and I tested them too by going back later that week and checking to see if I could peel them off. No problem! and they stuck right back down!

Good luck

PS: Rice paper also works and gives such a whimsicle light.

Siiri said...

Also, one more thought. I purchased GREAT insulated, yet thin curtains from Overstock.com. So if you decide to go with another curtain type, you might want to check an online vendor such as that. I bought panels for 10 windows, and spent less than $140 (as I recall) and their shipping is always $2.95 for the total order, and sometimes less! (plus they have great clearance deals!)

Anonymous said...

I'm pro-curtain.

The window moldings are so strong and thick and dark, they dominate the room and will make it hard to appreciate the furniture.

(Tara: I like "de-fenestrate" even better.)

Anonymous said...

I would do one long drapery rod and six panels (not too wimpy). Hang the rod between the top of the window and the crown. Nothing too heavy so when the drapes are open the stacks don't block the windows.

Tara.Fields said...

Anon 3:09

OooOOoo! "De-fenestrate" is awesome! Now I want a badge I can flash at people while saying "Excuse me, sir. I'm an inspector with the Municipal Fenestration Administration and I'm wondering if I can speak with you a moment about your glazing." Pow! One of my personal mottoes is "any excuse for a costume" so this could be loads of fun! Wonder if I could get my hands on a decommissioned meter maid buggy-thing really cheap...

Decorina said...

Hi Puck: Let's start with the basics:

Why do you want window treatments? What do you want them to do? Tell us your functional reasons. If we start with that we can help you design just the right treatment.

puck said...

Good question, Decorina....

I liek to let light in, yet I get mad when I look out and see people tromping through my yard when a sidewalk is RIGHT THERE. Not that big of a deal.

I like a light, breezy, look.

OK... about the windows and casings. The hardware has to be mounted to the big old window trim. That is what the trim is there for. I know people who can get by with mounting hardware up at the ceiling to create drama... but my walls are 100 year old plaster.

I think it would be nice to let light in (so it is airy and breezy). Yet, I can draw the curtains when we want to slowdance or whatever and not have the gawky college frat boys in emo pants pointing and laughing as they walk by.

I wanted to go sage, pale blue and silvery-gray in the room. At least that is what the Amy Butler fabric has in it and I liked it.

I do like shabby chic cottagey... but I have 4 little boys and there is no way I can have white slipcovered furniture. So, please don't ask my to make curtain tiebacks out of seashells or suggest silk velvet drapes. I have 3 big ol' dogs and 2 cats, too.

:) Hope that helps!

And yeah... i can't wait to arrange the furniture. Steven is working on Bowie's corrugated ceiling as I type. :)

Anonymous said...

whoa...i read that first word too fast and almost thought this was a rant post. oopsie.

So Lovely said...

No curtains. I think the windows are great.

doug said...

inside mount rods (or on the casing if you must) but just do it for the lower portion of the window so that the awesome muttin pattern shows at the top. like this:


photo 4 in the gallery. you could do the roller shades at the top too if you have to have that much privacy.

and good lord no balloon anything. ugh.

Alice Almighty said...

I personally love rejuvenations inside mount cafe rods. They come in lots of finishes, and are nice and heavy, which is code language for not cheap. As for what to hang on them, anything but cheap snaggy shears, beaded trim, or sage green.

On a side note, Abbey Hendrickson used a pull down school map in her son's room for a shade, and it is lovely. See it here!

As for truffles, I love bamboo, as long as it is tailored to fit, Alice

Anonymous said...


This is all you need:


Ivy Lane said...

No shades or if she must, Hunter Douglas top down, bottom up cellular shades..when pulled up the stack is less than an inch, if she wants to let some light in and have privacy, she can lower the blinds from the top like a cafe curtain ..they have tons of styles and colors to choose from.... otherwise, i would leave the windows alone, they are beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Puck and Bowie - I need to get past the names first.

Anonymous said...

I'd leave the top naked. The bottom would show nose smears from kids and pets. Throw something over that area.

Swing arm cafe curtain rods (cheaper at Lowes or Joann than Restoration Hardware) would be great.

You could go with a canvas curtain with tab or grommet top. I like these because you can throw them in the wash.

Just remember: skeevy high school teachers who cheat on their wives with legal-aged students wear wide-wale corduroy. No corduroy. No dusty rose paired with beige.

Penelope Bianchi said...

The names! Puck! Bowie and Truffles!

I am swooning! I am late here!

You CANNOT put that corduroy on any curtain.....anywhere in the world! Not even Alaska!

Use that corduroy on a sofa! A chair!

No window with corduroy! YIKES!!! Just the knowledge that it might happen.......will send me over the edge! Just listen to AL and others!

Lord have mercy upon my soul!!!!!

No inside mount on those windows.....either! block out light and view? Inside where?
blocking those wonderful panes on the top!! They would be hidden with any inside mount!

I might have to retire from blogs.........It is bad for my blood pressure! I am sure!

linen curtains from PB hung from a rod close to the ceiling......if you MUST!!

such great and unusual windows! Please leave them alone!!!
Oh dear!


ps huge ewww! those "stickers"...oh; please no!

those plastic things........

I like the idea of anonymous.......(why are you?)

the semi-sheer roman shades.....but; mounted from the ceiling......so no hiding the........

beautifully said....."beautiful fenestration"!

Not "oy"

"Bravo" is more like it! Something wrong with education?

"Google......" or look up in the dictionary online (which takes less than a second) the definition of "fenestration"...and use it the next time you talk about windows!

I really get offended when people who have a great vocabulary and use it........are criticized by those who don't!


Jen said...

what a room! love it!
I agree. No corduroy. I've never seen it as curtains before. So some points for creativity, eh?
what a room. Oh, I said that already.

I like the double curtain idea - light then heavy. Nice.

Anonymous said...

How about painting the room? The contrast between the wood and the white walls is so stark. A warm grey/green like Ben Moore Revere Pewter would make the wood look so much more beautiful. I would do sheers on the lower half of the windows only.

Anonymous said...

Penelope Bianchi,

Do you also get really offended by ending sentences with periods?

Anonymous said...

WOuld you consider Painting the room, to lighten it up? Trim included? I also agree that some simple shade might to do the trick. Bamboo?

koehmstedt said...

I'm with you, those windows are beautiful and shouldn't be covered up. If privacy is an issue I would layer the treatments with a sheer flat shade on the inside and then some heavier drapes the outside to be kept open to the side, but can be pulled closed for privacy (pull a bold color from your room.)

Anonymous said...

Agree with Anon 6:33 A.M. Paint it all.

People are overly worshipful of wood trim. It's too dominant in that room. What's beautiful to me is the expanse of glass there, not all the dark trim, which actually detracts from both the view outside and the furniture inside.

(A stronger wall color will also help.)

Anonymous said...

Puck, your home is lovely.

Don't cover your lovely windows or woodwork. They are such an important element in the room, and if covered, will be lost. (Curtains will obscure the woodwork, and roman shades will obscure the top part of your windows.)

House of Beauty/Culture suggested bottom up roller shades -- a wonderful idea. And you can get them in a sheer linen or linen-type fabric.

And since you've reached out for advice, here is more:

Paint your walls and ceiling a deeper color. Your nice room will become a stunning room.

Consider using more solid fabrics in the space. You have so much lovely architectural detail that the room does not need more pattern/decoration. All of the busy prints (sofa, chair, rug...) are competing with the architecture. Think "texture" rather than print.

Decorina said...

After reading all the responses and yours, Puck I'll tell you my opinion:

I would go with top down/bottom up cellular shades in a neutral color. You can put them up or down for as much or as little privacy as you want. I had a living room with similar windows and used them there for years and years.

Originally I think the windows would have had the old style brass rods with cafe type curtains on the lower part. The cellular shades are similar and let the architectural woodwork stand as a design element. Creating draperies that fall from ceiling to floor will require an overwhelming amount of fabric and fuss that, I think, is just too much for the here and now.

If you like light and breezy, the cellular shades come with many levels of light transmission from light to black out. If you want the teenagers on the lawn to be screened and some light transmission go with the lightest ones in a light/linen fabric.

At a later date, should you decide to add an overdrape you can buy all the rods, drapery (I'd go with custom made instead of anything from PB), top treatments, etc. etc. but I'd live with the shades for now. Interiors evolve and so will you in your tastes. Just save the corduroy for another project - upholstery say.

puck said...

Good points, Anonymous!

Just to answer a couple questions from above. My real name is not Puck. Geez. It is a nickname from playing hockey. But my son's name is Bowie. Don't make fun of it. It's not nice to make fun of babies. ;)

The room is actually a khaki-green color. Sort of sage. It just looks white in the pictures. If you go to my blog, the top picture for the living room thread shows the color better. It is a nice, tranquil color, I think.

No way would I ever paint the trim. You can't tell from this picture, but the ceiling also has beams on it. There is a huge pocket door, etc. Besides... it is a Queen Anne house. Only in Arts and Crafts did they start painting wood. And that was only in bedrooms anyway.

The real reason I say I would never paint that wood is it tiger flamed wood. Up close, it looks like freaking animal print rugs or something. You can't get wood like that anymore. 100 year old wood has earned its right now to be painted. At least in my living room. I painted my bedroom, because every surface was wood in there and I felt like I was living inside a toy chest.

Since I am not going for 100% period authenticity, I could do blinds. But I like the idea of roman shades better. Or some linen curtains. Or some light gray panels with sheers. All those are great ideas.

I have found I usually have to sew my own curtains because no one makes curtains that long. It is 96" from the top of the window to the floor. And the longest regular stores sell is 84. :(

puck said...

Decorina -

I really am thinking cafe style is the way to go. It sort of marries the old with the new. I like that idea.

Once I get the room all figured out (and the baby's stuff out of it), I hope you will visit my blog to see the updates! I am really excited!

Iheartfashion said...

No corduroy curtains. I'd leave the windows as is. They're lovely, and curtains are overrated.

Rachel said...

I'm with Decorno on this... I'd skip the curtains altogether!!! Those windows are beautiful. But, if she must, I'd go with an inside mount - probably some sort of shade or sheer.

michelle said...

sheers to cover the whole wall, with min. profile when open. bottom up shades for privacy on the bottom windows mounted inside the frames.

Anonymous said...

Puck - I just looked at your blog and your wall color is really nice (I am the anon who earlier suggested Ben Moore Revere Pewter). You might consider painting the ceiling - not the beams. It looks like it is white or off-white. I think the color would depend on your overall color scheme for your room, but it could be a knockdown of the wall color, or a complementary color. I think it would warm up the room. You have some great furniture to upholster and your house looks lovely. I can understand why you do not want to paint the wood - I know the kind of wood you have there and it is special. Enjoy your home!

Anonymous said...

simple cafe curtains.....or nothing...and please get some ben moore white dove and paint that wood trim now!

Anonymous said...


Do you mean "tiger oak"? "Tiger flame" is a finish for musical instruments. You can get plenty of tiger-oak furniture still. If you love that wood, get a big beautiful tiger oak dining table and matching chairs. But the room would look so much more restful if the trim were painted. Especially with that ceiling, the trim looks like bars on a cage, almost.

puck said...

I mean that my wood is over 100 years old and an appraiser told me that the replacement cost of the pocket door alone is $3k.

The wood is never getting painted.

puck said...

That, and the home is a Queen Anne.