Thursday, August 25, 2011

Window Treatments

I recently hung two "new" frames on the wall between my dining room windows, but I have yet to find the perfect way to frame the windows themselves. Often times when I feel stuck or need inspiration, I'll flip through my binders of inspiration photos that I've clipped from magazines for over a decade. This is my binder full of decorating/design/craft/DIY inspirations and ideas:

I can tell how long I've been collecting magazine tear-outs based on the collage I originally created on the outside. Let's just say my tastes have changed a bit since I started! I still have a fond appreciation for shabby cottage chic but wouldn't actually surround myself with this design at home. I could probably toss a lot of the pages in this binder that I no longer find so inspiring anymore. This binder contains magazine tear outs of gardening ideas/tips/pictures/articles:

Finally, this one is full of recipe tear outs, including many favorites that I return to often and many more I have yet to try:

Thanks to the millions of inspiring photos that can now be easily found, cataloged and shared online, I find that I tear and save magazine pages a lot less these days. My binders are officially old-school, thanks to Pinterest. I admit I am tempted to start using this site as my virtual inspiration binder for when I happen to stumble across a photo I want to save or if I am looking for inspiration for a specific project. However, at this point I feel very convicted to stay away because I know me - it would probably result in me wasting a lot of time oogling over the thousands of design/decor sites and blogs that are out there. I don't want to feed my materialistic temptations. I refer back to one of my first blog posts where I shared that I do not want things and decorating/designing to become idols in my life. I'm afraid that Pinterest would encourage these things to consume my thoughts and time, and that is idolatry. I'm not saying Pinterest is bad, but for me, for right now, it is.

So where was I? Oh yes, finding a way to frame my dining room windows...  So a few months ago I flipped through my old-school decorating inspiration binder and came across this photo I'd ripped out of the September 2009 issue of Better Homes & Gardens magazine:

While I really liked just about everything in this room, I saved it because of the window treatments. I do love the bamboo rods and clips but I'm not looking to dole out $ on new rods right now. I also really like the simple & natural look (and $6/yard price) of the burlap. What I liked best was the idea to customize the burlap by trimming the edges with ribbon or other notions to add a little color. If I decided to actually do this, I'd look for an interesting green ribbon (good excuse to make a trip to The Franklin Millstore) and I'd ask my seamstress Linnea, who I highly recommend for any sewing project, to do the job. (I don't sew. It's not that I don't want to. My hand-me-down sewing machine has no place to call home and I have no time to sew, therefore I don't. Some day....)

I've tried and contemplated quite a few different curtain panel options to hang from rods that I already own.  Unfortunately, everything had at least one of these three negative results:
  • They cover up too much of the beautiful original molding. I love the character of the old wide moldings in my house and I hate to hide it, especially now that the hideous old terra cotta paint color that was there when we moved in is now covered up in a fresh bright linen white.
  • They darken up the room that only gets direct sun for a few hours in the afternoon and is now painted about as dark as I would ever paint any room.
  • They hang too far over onto the wall space between the windows, coming too close or even partially covering my framed china ads, which are staying put.
So for the time being I'm using a pair of sheer cream panels that my mom found for me at Sally's a few years ago. Because I only have two panels, I've hung one from a spring rod on the inside of each window and I push each over to the outside wall.

When they are pushed to the side, you can't really tell what they look like, which is good. I don't mind the simple look. When the hot sun streams in on summer afternoons or at night when we want privacy, I pull them across to cover the windows:

Filtering hot afternoon sun

Because I like to look in people's windows when I drive by at night, I assume other people do the same thing so I'm a little nazi about privacy.

When they are pulled across, you can really see the scroll design and tab-top, both features of which I'm not a big fan.

On top of the molding currently rest other curtain rods. I had previously installed and used these rods on these windows for years but took them down for painting. I rested them on top of the newly painted molding when testing out other panel options. I didn't want to drill holes and remount these rods if I wasn't sure I'd end up using them again. In the meantime, I decided I kinda liked the way the look up there and haven't bothered to take them down.

While the price of my current spring rods & Sally's sheers combo is right, and they function just fine, I would still like to find something in a fabric pattern that brings some more color and interest into my dining room, including but not limited to green. When the last Ballard Designs catalog arrived, I swear it opened right up to these panel drapes and I was instantly smitten!
This is something I really like but..... this color green, and only if they are sheer enough and the green doesn't clash with the green mattes in the frames between the windows
But at $69/panel...I'm suffocating...I'm gagging. I'm sorry, but I think that's ridiculous. Oh wait, I'm the girl with a $118 shower curtain...but...but...but I didn't pay with my own cash for it!! Maybe I could ask for gift certificates to Ballard instead of Anthropologie this Christmas. Then I would splurge on just two of these panels, and only hang one on the outside wall of each window like I do now with my sheers. And to show off as much of the molding as possible, either stick with the spring rods or use my rods that now rest on the molding by installing them high above the molding.

I also recently saw this clever & cute tieback idea in the September issue of Country Living magazine. Bonus: easy and cheap - everything can be purchased for a few bucks at a hardware store!

I haven't even been to a fabric store to look at other options for making custom panels. There could be some affordable fabric design out there that is "the one". Or I could just pray that I find some other perfect solution at a yard sale in the meantime...because good things come to those who wait!

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