Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Window Treatments

There are a lot of questions you have to think about when it comes to covering your windows. For example, how much sun does a particular room get? Do you need to block the sunlight or simply filter it? Do shades or draperies make more sense for the room? What fabric? How long should the coverings be? Etc. 

There are many, many opportunities to get it wrong, not to mention the fact that even off-the-shelf window coverings can get quite expensive really quickly. But when done well, good window coverings can dramatically improve the cohesion of a room, and provide the appropriate function that works for your family in the home you've created. 

In this house, I didn't keep any of the window coverings that were inherited at purchase, so I was starting from scratch. I also didn't really think about window coverings until after we moved in, so we had a good month-long stretch where we didn't have anything (or had very sub-standard coverings) on the windows (sorry, neighbors!). 

If you've been reading this blog for long, you have probably noticed there are some things I move on like lightning and others that I like to mull over and really think through before I jump. Window treatments definitely fall into the latter camp. 

I knew in most rooms we'd need custom-made curtains or shades, due to the dimensions we were working with, coupled with my inherent inability to live with "good enough" when it comes to certain home decor items.

Side note on all of the upcoming photos: photographing window coverings in front of a light-filled window is really hard. I'm not a gifted photographer, so the quality of these images is not great. Sorry.

In the formal living room and front parlor I decided on a really pretty neutral linen. 

I am a fan of hanging draperies high and wide around the windows, and also allowing them to puddle on the ground an inch or two, so I needed quite a bit of yardage to get the look I wanted. After poking around in the fabric stores in town and ordering a few swatches from different online fabric stores, I ended up going with the "Judy" linen in Oatmeal from Gray Line Linens. Service and price were both great, and I'd definitely recommend them. 

However, be warned that most, if not all, of the swatches I ordered from them look absolutely nothing like the images on their website. Just another good reminder to ALWAYS look at the fabric in person rather than relying on your monitor.

The dining room isn't a room where you need a lot of privacy, nor does it get strong, direct sun that would require closing it off, so I opted for roman shades here. The dark blue, combined with the wallpapered ceiling, made this room a particular challenge. 

I needed a fabric for the shades that would tie everything together, but I really wanted something that would hold its own, not just blend in with the walls. I looked and looked and looked before I finally found the one:

Home Decor Print Fabric- Robert Allen Ikat Bands  Indigo, , hi-res

It's a Robert Allen ikat and I just love it. It's going to look perfect in the room. My seamstress is working on the four shades now, so hopefully I can share pictures of the finished and installed final product soon. I'll most likely snap a shot for instagram as soon as they come in, so follow me there (jcintani) if you want a sneak peek :)

I just realized I haven't shared many images of the TV room yet, so I'll plan another blog on that soon. This is a cozy little room where we collapse in front of the TV at the end of a long day. Since it's just a space for our family and not a room we'd typically use for entertaining, I wanted to have a little fun in here. 

I found this crazy fabric in a chartreuse/turquoise pattern and then to send it completely over the top I had my seamstress incorporate this adorable turquoise pom-pom trim around all the sides.

I am in love with how this shade turned out and think it looks great in here. In retrospect, the only thing I probably should have done differently is made it two smaller shades rather than the one MASSIVE shade. I went with one because I wanted a seamless look, but it is very, very big. I'm sure my seamstress would have preferred that option too, since I know this was a bear for her to sew. Oh well, lesson learned! 

The last room for which I had treatments sewn is our bedroom. I haven't shown this room yet either because it's definitely still a work in progress. I'm going for spa-like and serene here, with a touch of glam. I chose two coordinating fabrics: one for the drapers, and one for the roman shade.

First up, the draperies:

This is a gorgeous heavy silk fabric to which I had the seamstress add a pretty silk trim. The color is hard to make out in these photos, but they are a pretty silver, charcoal grey, and muted aqua in an overscale floral pattern. 

The draperies cover a big double window, so it was important they could block the morning light. You know, in the event that we EVER get to sleep in again. 

The shade is on another wall, covering just a single window. I intend to put a pair of chairs in front of this window, if I can ever decide on a style and upholstery for them.

The shade looks a little wonky in this photo, but it actually lays really nicely and looks better in person. I like that I can tie it up on that little fly thingy (I'm sure there is an actual name for it, but I don't know what it is). 

So, overall the master bedroom is coming right along, but I do have a few more upgrades to put in place in that room before it's blogworthy.

Next, I wanted to show some window coverings I purchased from Lowe's. The following were ordered from their custom shade department, with which I was very pleasantly surprised. The quality, speed, and cost were all pretty great in my experience.

In the master bathroom, E's bathroom, and the powder bath, I ordered these simple top-down/bottom-up shades in a while linen. 

I knew I wanted something with the top-down option, since I didn't want to completely block the windows, but wanted to ensure adequate privacy. I am super happy with how these turned out, and would definitely order a similar style again should the need arise.

I hired out the installation, and it seemed to take my guy only a few minutes to get each of them in place. It would have taken B and I hours, so we call that money well spent :).

In E's room I knew I needed something room-darkening. In her old bedroom I had blackout drapes, and while they were super functional, I didn't really like how thick and heavy the fabric was. They didn't lay very nicely either when open or closed, so I thought I'd try something new in her new bedroom.

I chose this roller shade (also from Lowe's) in a lovely grey linen:

It is just room-darkening (not blackout), so more light gets in than it used to, but it really hasn't been a problem at all as far as sleep is concerned.

When I started thinking about roller shades I of course flashed back to my childhood memories of tacky ivory plastic shades that would snap open and scare the bejeezus out of me. I didn't want to traumatize E in that way, so I carefully considered her window treatments before I purchased these. But, I have to say, I am really thrilled with the look, which definitely benefits from the nice grey linen fabric, but also from the ease of use. It's so simple to open and close her shade, and since we do it multiple times a day, I knew that would be important.

The Lowe's selection is impressive and I would highly recommend you check it out if you are in the market for custom window coverings. #notsponsored #iwish

I even had the option of adding on this adorable little valance that they trimmed out and everything. So cute, right? 

Perfect for a little girl's room.

So, that takes care of the window coverings that I have done so far. There are still a few rooms that need something on the windows (office, guest room, etc.), but I'll get to those in due time. 

Next time, I'll start showing the basement reveal.

Thanks for reading! 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Figuring out the Front Parlor

The front parlor has proven to be quite the tricky room for me. I have been full-steam ahead on most of the rest of the house, but haven't really focused much firepower on this room thus far. I think the fact that it's right next to the formal living room is what has really thrown me off. It's basically another living room, but of course it would be weird to have it look just like a second living room.

You can get a better idea in this photo of the relationship between this room and the FLR (forgive the photobomber): 

It's definitely on the larger side and gets great light, especially in the morning, so I really wanted to figure out a way to make the most of the room, and above all, make it feel like a unique, comfortable, and intentional space. 

Here's a pulled-back view of how it looks today: 

Pretty empty. In addition to the big window you see above, there's another set of windows the same size on the wall immediately to the left, so the light is really great. 

Of course this room got the same hardwood floors and paint as the rest of the house (floors are a custom stain and walls are Benjamin Moore Paint Revere Pewter). I laid this striated emerald green silk rug on the floor, with the intention of pulling this color in with additional upholstery, and also to tie it to the green that appears elsewhere in the house. 

This green is a secondary color in the FLR, with navy being primary, so I'm basically just reversing that here. 

I just recently installed the curtains, so you'll notice they show up in in some photos and then disappear in others. I had these made for this room and the formal living room in a subtle grey linen I ordered from (appropriately enough) Gray Line Linens in NYC. I'm going to do a full post soon on window treatments, because I have a lot to say about that whole adventure :)

The piano is in this room, between E's reading nook and a hallway that leads to the powder room and the back of the house. 

Here's a shot, showing the layout of the nook in relation to the rest of the room and the piano: 

Note the adorable little dumpling in her nook. 
Although it's a little worse for the wear, having now been through four (!!) moves, I am extremely attached to the bench because my brother made it for me. I'm not sure this is the perfect spot for it, but it's there for now.

I do like the twin mirrored consoles flanking the windows, so I think I'll keep those in place, and the artwork is working for me here too.

So, the plan I think I've landed on is to definitely add some furniture, but make it different enough in style from the formal living room. That room, as you might recall, is fairly masculine with its navy leather chesterfield sofas and library shelves:

My thought for this room is to go slightly more feminine, while still keeping it comfortable so we will actually use the room. In my mind, this is the room where we have our coffee on weekend mornings and take advantage of the great sunlight. 

I've had these Restoration Hardware porter chairs on my mind for a long time and thought this might be just the space for them. 

I think they are awesome, although you do have to be careful that they don't go a little too Real Housewives of New Jersey in certain rooms. Not that there's anything wrong with a little RHONJ! 

I could definitely make them work here, but I think I can do better. I am now leaning towards a pair of wingbacks, probably something like this Ballard model, upholstered in a yet-to-be-determined fabric. 
Thurston Wing Chair with Antique Brass Nailheads

I'm on the hunt for the fabric now. I think I want it to be something with navy and emerald green, but that is an extremely hard combo to find unless you want straight-up preppy a la:

Nothing against preppy -  I love me some preppy. But, that's not what I want for this particular room. 

My other thought for the chairs is to just go for it, and upholster them in (stay with me here) LEOPARD!

Thurston Wing Chair with Pewter Nailheads

Speaking of RHONJ :) I'm not 100% in love with the leopard pattern on the example above, but I do think it could look really good with the right, high-quality fabric. Something like this Scalamandre silk velvet would be better, and perhaps just the zhush this room needs:

To round out the seating, I want some sort of settee or daybed. Definitely something with a low profile - I don't want anything tall that will block the sight lines. To that end, I am seriously considering hopping in the car and heading down to Overland Park, KS to buy this one that's for sale on Craigslist there:

image 1

It's such an interesting piece, and really unlike anything else I've seen. It would, of course, need to be reupholstered, but I would keep the fabric on this one a little more pared back, especially if I do the leopard chairs.

I'm also really into this daybed option:

It's from a custom furniture maker ( in Los Angeles who ships nationwide. I'd definitely make some customizations in terms of size and finish were I to go in this direction, but it's also a nice option.

So, I think I've settled on a furniture arrangement: two chairs under the windows and parallel to the piano,maybe leopard, maybe something else, along with a settee/daybed placed perpendicular to them between the chairs and piano, facing the bench.

I think this layout will work to provide a comfy place for the adults when E is snuggled up in her nook and tie all the rooms in the front of the house together nicely.

Thanks for reading!