01 May 2012

DEAR MISS COTE DE TEXAS:

 

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Today we have two questions - about blinds and curtains - stemming from the post I wrote about my own curtains getting sent out to be cleaned.  And yes, the pet stains came out completely.   Thank you, the good people at Coit!

 

Question #1

The reader actually calls it a conundrum:

 

 “Miss Cote de Texas, I have a conundrum for you that I hope makes it onto your blog because I have a feeling that I am not the only one dealing with, ahem, "difficult" architecture.   Anyway, I am trying to pull together a plan for decorating our master bedroom, which has sat untouched for five years while we started a family. Here is my embarrassing before shot:”

 

 

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“We installed the blinds soon after we moved in because we needed privacy and I could no longer live with those awful paper shades. The bamboo blinds were expensive and I am stuck with them as is (inside mounted on the windows and outside mounted on the door). Horrible, I know, but I was youngish and ignorant and received no guidance from the guy who sold them to me. Blinds or not, this marvel of architecture has got me stumped. If I could afford it, I would replace the door with a window that matches the one opposite to make this more of a proper bay. Since major construction is out of the question I need to somehow disguise this imbalance. My first thought is drapes, but how do I apply drapes here? Thank you!'’

 

THE ANSWER:

 

Well, this is a hard one.  First, this is an elongated bay window, except there’s a door on the right, instead of a window, that throws off the balance.   This should probably be a story about builders who, with no architectural experience, should not be designing houses!  This is really a problem seen around the country – even in the most expensive of neighborhoods.  Builders are not architects and this is why our Reader has this confounding problem.   An architect would never have designed a bay window like this!

 

The homeowner is well aware of the structural problem here.  Instead of the door, there should be another window on the right to balance out this “bay window.”   And, additionally, the windows should be wider, with less wall space between them, and they should be trimmed in molding.

 

Reader:  have you gotten a quote for the construction cost of replacing the door with  window?  I wouldn’t think it would be that major of a job nor that expensive.  If I were you, I would have someone quote me a price before I proceeded.

 

 

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Example:  This client had a similar wide bay window that I dressed with curtains hung to the crown molding and blinds hung right under the curtain rod.  This way, the three windows look connected.  This solution would be the ideal one for the reader.  In a perfect world, she should take down the door and replace it with a window which is the same size as the window on the far left.  But, this is out of question, expensive wise.  So, what should she do?

 

 

 

 

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Since she ordered her blinds to sit inside the windows, one thing she should do – regardless of anything else  - is to add molding to the windows.    This would frame the blinds and make the “dead space” between the windows and the crown molding smaller.  Look at this picture:

 

 

 

Shades2 Keep Your Bedroom Dark Using Blinds, Shades, Shutters, And Curtains

 

Originally I pointed out that the curtain panels should have been placed within each window.  But as several readers said – and they are correct – the molding is so attractive, why cover it up?   The reader could add trim that matches the trim around the door and hang the rod above the window.  The “dead space” between the window and the crown molding would be much smaller with the molding around the windows.

 

 

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Another problem the reader has is the disparity between colors – the yellow in the blinds is sticking out like a sore thumb on the white walls.

 

 

 

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Example:  To solve this problem I would do what I did with this client:   I would pick out a fabric for the curtains that plays up the color in the blinds and then pick a wall color that ties it all together.  Here you can see, the brown blinds contrast with the aqua curtains and the aqua walls tie it all together – making the windows an asset to this family room.

 

 

 

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Example:  And here too, for this client, the curtains tie in with the dark shades and the paint color, creating a thought out design.

 

 

 

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Here, from a magazine, these shades are not pulled up to the rod, but the dead space is somewhat camouflaged by the papered walls that match the curtains, which match the shades – tying it all in together.

 

 

 

 

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Plan #1: 

 

If this was my bedroom, this is what I would do, after I added molding to the window frames:

 

1. Since replacing the door with a window is out of the question – I would get one long rod that hangs above all three “windows.” 

2. The rod would be hung, right under the crown molding. 

3. I would pick a print fabric that coordinates with the color of the blinds and then get bedding that blends with the curtains. 

4. I would paint the walls to tie it all in together, thus helping to camouflage the dead space between the rod and the windows.  

5. Then, I would hang panels – double width, lined and interlined with blackout lining.

6. Be sure to order the curtains pleat free.  Ask for – no ironed in pleats – this will make them look fuller and give them more movement.  This is especially important if your curtains are silk!   

 

 

Plan #2: 

 

If you don’t have the courage to do your curtains as in Plan #1.  I would then go with this plan:

 

1. Hang 2 curtain rods above each window, right under the crown molding.  The door will just be left undraped.

2. Pick out a fabric that coordinates with the color of the blinds, then blend it in with bedding fabrics.

3. Paint the walls to tie it all together and to camouflage the dead space between the rod and the curtains.

4. Hang curtain panels over both windows – 1 1/2 width, lined and interlined with blackout lining.

5. Be sure to order the curtains to be pleat free.  No ironed in pleats.

 

 

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In the end, this is what you want to avoid:  a tall, obvious dead space.   This design makes the windows look short and squat instead of tall and elegant.   If the walls were a deeper shade or more of a coral tone, the dead space wouldn’t be as noticeable. But, these shades should have been hung right under the rod, eliminating the dead space altogether.    And, notice there is no lining.   The light shining through makes the fabric look flimsy and cheap (which I’m sure it isn’t.)   Unlined curtains are fine for open weave linens and burlap.  But for silks, dark and patterned fabrics – always use a lining and interlining.  I use a blackout lining which blocks the sun, allowing you to see the fabric.   And again, notice here the curtains are only one width – making them look skimpy.  The fabric here should be fuller – either double or at the least 1 1/2 widths.  And finally, the ironed in pleats makes these panels look like stiff columns.  Notice the panel on the right – it looks so thin and mishapen.  This window treatment could have been beautiful – if just a few tweaks to the design were made.

 

 

Reader:  Follow those guidelines above.  Make your choice between Plan 1 or 2.  Plan 2 would certainly be less expensive, but I do think Plan 1 would be more attractive.  Send in a picture when you are through with the project!

 

And readers, if you have a better idea for this “conundrum” – please tell us in the comment section what you would advise.  I’m truly interested in hearing a better idea than I came up with!!!

 

 

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Question #2

This one I have been asked so many times, I can’t even count:

 

“Miss Cote de Texas:  Can you please tell me where you bought the rod hardware for your draperies in your family room?

Was the hardware professionally installed?”

 

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Most of the rods I order for clients come from The Antique Drapery Rod Company.  I’ve found they are very, very reasonable and I like the quality.   In my own house, I used the 5/8” round rod in the Antique Bronze finish paired with the smallest of rings. 

And yes, my curtains are all hung professionally.  I use Monica of Custom Creations by Monica.  She measures for my curtains, blinds, bedding, pillows, etc.  She places the order with the workman,  and she hires the installer, Mr. Bennie Davis, hanger extraordinaire, and artist!  He has a web site HERE.   Monica’s web site is HERE.  In all my years in business, I have never done a job without these two!   Monica is available for out of state jobs also.

 

If you have a design question, send it in email to me at mrballbox329@aol.com

If I think it would be of interest to the readers, I’ll answer it on the blog.  If it’s a more personal question, I’ll answer in email.

 

As always, thank you so very much for your support!

 

 

84 comments:

  1. Unfortuntely in my home I have all new blinds throughout and they're inside mounted. I prefer the way you hung your blinds to get rid of the dead space that drives me mad! I wonder if the husband would notice if I ordered all new blinds again...;)It's in the interest of keeping the wife sane. Love this series and keep up the great work!

    XX
    Debra~

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  2. Please tell this reader to add moulding to the windows that match the moulding around the door frame. That would solve part of the dilemma that the windows don't look "finished" against the wall. I agree to the first solution which is to run a drapery rod from the crown moulding around the 2 windows and door. Change out those chairs! Get 2 nice overstuffed skirt chairs to balance those large windows. Right now the chairs look spindly and too leggy. Quite disproportionate against the large expanse of window. Match the chair fabric to the drapery. Layer a seagrass rug rather than the white shag to add another dimension of visual texture. Let's see some "after" photos!

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    1. I did. That was my first suggestion that she add molding. They need it badly

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  3. Thanks for the post Joni, I too am soon doing another bedroom and yes......window treatments are on the list!

    Much inspiration as always too!
    Leslie

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  4. Wonderful advice, nothing worse than poor architecture and a budget that does not allow you to fix it. Its painful for the designer and the client. both ideas will work great! If budget is a concern, then #2 is the way to go, with new moulding around windows, warm panels, and warm walls that will work with the natural reeded blinds.. maybe Benjamin Moore Harmony-AF90. I agree with anonymous, either change out upholstery on chairs to work with window treatments, or new upholstered chairs with waterfall skirts.. light and airy! Love this post!

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  5. You are a wealth of knowledge! Thank you for sharing your great tips of the trade with us. I bookmarked this. You saved me from making a "budget" mistake . Better to wait , save and do it right:))))

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  6. This is a post of pure genius! Here is the single most valuable piece of advice you can ever give a client, quoting Joni "and then pick a wall color that ties it all together." CDT readers, that advice is worth its weight in gold. The paint color should come LAST, and should be the thing that ties everything together. As a paint color specialist, I can't tell you how difficult it is to get people to choose paint last. Joni, I will be showing your post. You have explained and shown this to perfection.

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    1. Joni, my blog is http://colorcalling.com and I will say thank you so much for asking!

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  7. Great post! Always enjoy your style and expertise.
    Shea
    Virginia Beach

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  8. Fabulous advice and right on target. I too will be saving this post for future reference. At one time or another (or soon to be), we'll all be stuck with a window arrangement that looks similar to this. I really like the molding idea. Molding is almost magical in its transformation of windows and doors.

    I'm fascinated to learn from the reader's comment above that the room color should be chosen last. We've remodeled a dozen or more houses over the years and I didn't know to pick the wall color last. Thank you both.

    Love, love, love this series and crave more. Keep 'em coming.
    Sam

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  9. Loved the painting you started this post with. "Conundrum" is one of my favorite words - I seem to always have one.
    Your advice "ain't all bad", either. A great reference for pesky windows.

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  10. Wonderful post. I feel inspired to hang some curtains in my home now.

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  11. i read all your posts joni as you feature an item, someone else's work, etc..........but it is you, i want to hear more about. your knowledge, that room of yours (sheer perfection) your thoughts.
    what a brilliant post, i learned so much. bravo!
    xo
    debra

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  12. Joni,
    Another extremely helpful post! But what can you advise about windows that have the Houston style plantation shutters? My daughter is moving into a house that is filled with them. Adding drapes would be wonderful, but that space between the ceiling and window trim will be accentuated.

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    1. Tie the curtains and the wall color in together to lessen the shock of dead space. Hang the curtains a little lower to lessen the dead space. Same principle.

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  13. Another fabulous post. These posts you do that help with standards and guidelines are so amazing. It really helps those of us who know what looks good but are not quite sure of the details. More, more!

    Lis

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  14. I had the exact same "conundrum" in our last house. My solution was to mount the drapery rod just above the trim and just above the window on the door. Then, I hung drapery panels and tied them back w/tassel tiebacks. The door and the outside window had one panel that tied toward the outside, and the center window panels tied one to each side. It made the door "match" the other windows and looked great. I used stock panels and the one on the door had to be hemmed a little but it worked. I prefer the rods to be close to the ceiling, but to make it near the same height as the door panel, I had to lower them. We ended up moving before I finished, but I would've put some type of art pieces above the drapes to fill the dead space. Hope you can visualize what I'm describing.

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  15. I almost cried when I read your paragraph about builders not being architects. My house is the best example of the worst floor plan put together: The kitchen window faces the neighbor's wall while the other side of the house where there are no windows is the one with the incredible view --can't even thing of installing windows, because I would be doing it in the garage. This particular problem would have been avoided simply by flipping the entire floor plan before construction began. Was that so difficult? And this is just one of the many blunders in my house. Why can't there be a law that forbids non-architects to design floor plans? I might run on that platform alone!

    Joni, I'm sure you can do a whole series about builders blunders, which I'm sure would be very popular. I'll submit a few examples of the horrors I have to live with. I'm sure they'll be very common. If we all house dwellers start voicing our frustrations, probably the builders will get it. Hey, they would make more money if they had happy customers!

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    1. Send pictures. When we built our spec house that we copied we flipped the plans so the we could save our tree and have a much bigger lawn. I wrote about this when I first started the blog. I should do it again. The problem is the great architects are so exoe sieve no o e can afford them

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  16. Joni as another reader put it. This post is so meaningful because you have posted the images of what works and what does not!

    It is very hard for many to Visualize a finished project! You mentioned a pet peeve of mine as well...builders who don't use an architect

    or get advice or a focus group of women! I have been in high end homes with no utility closet, tiny pantries, etc

    Excellent post!

    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

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  17. Joni,
    This is such a great series. I always learn something and continue to be so impressed with your knowledge and creativity. Thanks so much for this.
    Happy May Day.
    Karen

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  18. Excellent lesson Joni, so many will benefit from your specific suggestions. Great idea for a post as many of us love the look you have in your family room and that of the one you did for your neighbors home. Both are so attractive....layered and proportioned with gorgeous fabrics that add texture, comfort and coziness to the room as well as style!

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  19. I use plumbing conduit, sprayed black, for drapery rods.

    With $$$ I would put French doors in middle of bay & window where the current door is.

    Flagstone terrace outside, evergreen groundcover in cracks, large urn with boxwood, 2 comfy chairs.....

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

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    1. Charlotte Des FleursMay 1, 2012 at 9:18 AM

      I use Electrical Metal Conduit (EMT) from the electrical section at Home Depot. It is less than $5 for 10 feet. It comes in several sizes -from skinny to hefty. AND it is made from aluminum which is strong but lightweight. For those of us who still like huge decorative finials, I go to King Architectural Metals. For less than $10 each, one can easily assemble a knock out finial with a few parts using JB Weld (a metallic epoxy). JB Weld is found in the paint department.

      As for the lovely wrap around curtain rods Joni used in her family room, here are two other sources for similar products:

      http://www.touchofclass.com/blockaide-wrap-around-curtain-rod/p/Q760-001/

      http://www.domestications.com/Products/Rods+Accessories/Blockaide+Rod/18000/18300/19647x/R/19647B_BLA

      Penney's also has similar wrap around curtain rods at a reasonable price.

      Happy decorating!

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    2. Cyndia MontgomeryMay 1, 2012 at 4:58 PM

      I also use metal conduit for drapery rods, and most recently did it on my porch to hang panels to block out the afternoon sun. It's inexpensive and still looks great. Great minds think alike, Tara and Charlotte!

      One way I've "corrected" the empty space above the window is to add hanging plates or a piece of art. It fills in the gap and saves on the budget when there is no money to buy more shades! I even do that on windows with no coverings or over doorways. I wrap the art around.

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  20. Joni - why not suggest in this case what you did in the client family room you have included here (with the windsor smith fabric). If you look at the corner of that room (left side of the screen) it is very similar to this room - two windows and a door. So this person should remount her existing wood blinds above the windows and under the crown molding. The sides will be covered with the drapes. Place the rod under the crown molding as you suggested. Use her budget to purchase really nice drapes. Although the door isn't pretty, it likely has some sort of function. If this doesn't work because she actually uses the blinds and they would be too short mounted externally, then I would ditch the blinds and purchase new ones at somewhere like overstock.com.
    Karen M.

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    1. Of course. But she uses her blinds for privacy. But yes, she could always.raise. The. Blids. Stupid. iPad !!!!!!


      I. Should have told her that.

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    2. The photo of the windows look like there isn't much more material that would work if the blinds were hung above the window frame. Looks like they fit the length of the window perfectly. Not sure if that suggestion would be a viable option.

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  21. You have given the reader some well-thought out options here. I had another thought after reading over this a couple more times and studying her photo. What if she chose fabric and paint and another area rug + upholstery all in the yellow undertones of the blinds, giving a totally monochromatic look? I would even paint the moldings the same color as the walls, but using perhaps eggshell on the walls and satin on the trim. Varying the textures of the different elements would prevent it from looking boring. Grey undertones may be the hottest things going on right now, but if the blinds are going to stay, it seems that the best way to camouflage the problem would be to have no contrast in color at all.

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  22. I agree with Anon's lament about architects vs builders. If she "ran" on the platform, huge waves of us would put her signs in our yards! Agree with the advice, but what about thinking a bit more outside the box. I bet these binds are seldom opened. I like Tara's comment about the middle being a french door connecting room to the outside. But if that does not resonate, what about: making a taller screen than the one shown to the left and let it cover up the space of the middle window, taking it almost to the ceiling and obscuring the line between the window and the door. Then curtains could be hung as you have directed for the window on the left and the treatment for the door made to make it look like a door, not trying to pretend it's a window. Just a thought.

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  23. Charlotte Des FleursMay 1, 2012 at 9:06 AM

    Great advice about how to deal with this "architectural" problem. We have lived in 7 homes during our 30 years of marriage. Before purchasing, I always get a floor plan with detailed measurements. (This drives my hubby crazy!) However, it is shocking how many real live architects design rooms that are laid out with no consideration for furniture placement. We have a friend who is a builder of custom homes in Tyler, Texas. His customers bring plans from licensed architects that they want him to build. Not only does he make suggestions about modifications based on views and lay of the land, he uses an interior "decorator" to ensure that the interior is tweeked to accomodate good furniture placement. He does this even on "spec" homes that he builds.

    We bought our current, semi-custom track home here in California before it was built. You cannot imagine how many "small" changes we made to correct placement of electrical outlets, swing of interior doors and even a few windows. The maddening thing was that WE had to pay thousands of dollars for those changes. However, they made so much sense that all the other homes of our same floor plan that were built afterwards, had those changes and at no cost to the buyers. Oh well, our small contribution to the sanity of our neighbors.

    Lots of us are stuck with the same type of stupid architectural blunder that your Reader faces. As you pointed out, it probably would not cost too much to have the door replaced with a window. (In our area about $800 to $1,000.) Had the builder made that change in the first place (I would have liked to see a VERY tall French door with glass the same height as the windows), the cost to the builder would have been around $100 more for the extra tall door.

    Yes, I like Tara Dillard's suggestion for a French door in the middle of the Bay even better. That would be beautiful!

    Shame on buildrs who create these annoying design problems! The home is supposed to be our sanctuary from the outside world. Even non-designers, who may not understand why, must have emotional distress from poorly designed homes. I know of more than one person who has broken an ankle or a hip because of bad furniture placement due to bad architecture. If I were running the world, builders who commit such "crimes against humanity" would be taken out and hung. (Just kidding - but at least some sort of public humiliation like put in the stocks in the town square.)

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  24. Wonderful post Joni!
    We've all made expensive mistakes. Chalk it up to experience and donate the shades to someone who might need them. Get inexpensive bamboo tortoise shades from Overstock and hang them all to the level of the new rods just below the molding, raise all three shades to the same level at about the top 1/3 of the window, add curtains in a quality fabric as you've so expertly described, and voila! Chances are her husband won't notice anyway ;)

    Suzanne

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  25. Once again, an informative post....I too would treat all three openings as if they were one, hanging the panels at the same height to trick the eye. Molding is a must!!! Thanks as usual for a great post.

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  26. First, kill all the blundering builders... Why aren't they required, as a prerequisite to getting their contractor's license, to take a few rudimentary style courses or a course in basic architecture?!

    Almost anything done to solve the present problem with fabrics and moldings (done properly, at least so the situation is not actually made worse) would end up costing close to what replacing the door with a window would cost. I would suggest at least getting a new window put in to achieve the proper balance then doing the most inexpensive window treatment. The balance from the new window will be worth more than any clever "fix". I do love the other reader's idea of a traditional French window, maybe even with two side doors to match, to create a sort of "French bay" if you will.

    That said, you could go the cheapest way possible, use paint. You could actually "paint in" moldings to fill in the dead space. You could even "paint in" architectural panels (a simple raised panel is easy to achieve in faux painting) above and below each actual window and even the door, to bring them all visually up to the crown molding and down to the floor, where the door hits now. Curtains mounted at the crown and measured to the floor on all three openings would then make it all look uniform. Finally, one could hang curtains as noyed by all, and then paint the walls to match the curtain color, blurring the lines between fabric and wall, so it is not so visually jarring. Good luck and a pox on the builder.

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  27. Not only do we get good advice from you, but also from your helpful readers! Thanks to all of you, and especially to Joni for the detailed explanation and photos.

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  28. Joni, I have a bay window (fortunately it is balanced without a door, how frustrating for her), and want to do your treatment on it. However, because it faces the street nearby and the western sun, and the fact that my old metal windows are ugly, I'll need to keep those woven shades closed all the time. You always picture them pulled up, showing the pretty windows underneath. Will it detract from the look if my woven shades are fully down all the time?

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  29. Questions:
    1) Where do you find a curtain rod that bends with the bay of the wall? Since not all bays are identical, does it have to be custom-made?
    2) I wondered why you were advocating blackout lining (the reader already has blinds for sleeping) until I read the part about not wanting to have the sun shining through the patterned curtains. Is this why you recommend blackout lining (i.e. so you can see the pattern more clearly)? Would interlining not be enough to prevent this?
    Thanks.

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    1. Cyndia MontgomeryMay 1, 2012 at 5:02 PM

      When I use the conduit as stated above for rods, you can find elbows to connect the lengths that would fit the angle of the walls.

      As for blackout lining, I can only speak for myself. I have shades similar to these in my windows, but still need blackout lining to make the room dark enough for sleeping past sunrise. The eastern sun blazes into my window and annoys me if I want to sleep in.

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  30. I have worked in so many houses where the arch/builder(or whatever)just put things willy nilly+the cost-not once thinking of "life style". Life Style is the most important part of any plan for a "home", (especially in track homes or custome. Questions like-How does the family use the home? What use does this door have? etc. etc-
    Any problem can be fixed! Live in the solution-not the problem. Your advise is grand, Joni. Adore the before and after shots. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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  31. I need to find a reasonably thin cafe curtain rod to be inset into a window frame. This means that the left and right ends need to be attached to the inner sides (not front) of the window frame. Anyone know where I could find one?

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    1. Rejuvenation Hardware makes them, solid brass, every finish, both inside and outside mount available: http://www.rejuvenation.com/typepageCafe%20Rod%20Sets/templates/houseparts_group.html?iqg=33fcea5caa5a2873148458bcfcf89b8a3c88291a

      Hope that helps!

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  32. Joni, Great post! Thanks for sharing your design expertise with us.

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  33. Another great post, Joni. I also would go with option 1 if budget allows. I especially appreciate your source for window hardware. I have been searching for some time for a good source with no luck. The company you suggested has a wide selection in sizes, styles and finishes. Thanks so much for the ideas and the tutorial.
    Best...Victoria

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  34. Hi Joni
    Just thinking that maybe a cornice board with the panels might work? You'd have to keep the fabrics very muted and integrate with the wall paint as you proposed in order to avoid the space from being visually shortened. But I was thinking keeping the fabrics very luxurious (raw silk) and creating a very elegant but cozy space. Here's a link to what I was thinking. This way you would have the cornice board come to just above the door for functionality but this would help create a similar line across the entire space. http://cdn.decorpad.com/photos/2012/03/09/cf92ab36214a.jpg

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  35. Thank you, Joni and her readers for all the great advice!!! Now I just have to convince my husband to move forward with one of these solutions, which is another conundrum in itself!

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    1. Candice, see my reply below. I suggest you get prices for EVERYTHING before you spend a penny. Get a quote for adding the window trim, but also get a quote for replacing the existing shades with new ones that are outside mounted above the window, like in Joni's house. Also price out the bedding and draperies that would look nice with the existing shades versus what would choose if you were able to change the shades. It's so easy to be "penny wise, pound foolish" when it comes to interiors. You might feel like you're being frugal by keeping the shades, but end up spending much more money over all on this room just to make them work. Especially when you're working on a budget, I recommend that you plan out and price out the whole thing first, even if you have to do it in stages. For instance, you might find a gorgeous readymade or semi-custom bedding/drapery option that you love and can afford, but it just doesn't work with your existing shades. Once you have spent the money to have the trim added, you are going to feel even more stuck with your existing shades, but you might realize that the color of your shades doesn't work with the prettiest readymade, semi-custom draperies that are out right now. Then you're looking at custom draperies so you can do a fabric that works with those shades, spending even more money to match the shades but not loving any of the things you're buying... See what I mean? And by the way, your master bedroom is not as bad as you think it is. I have seen much worse. Have fun with your project -- I know it will be beautiful, no matter which route you choose! :-)

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    2. Rebecca, I totally understand what you mean! I have made so many costly mistakes with shades and curtains in other parts of the house. I desperately want to get it right this time (which is why I hit up Joni in the first place, *wink*). At the moment, I have a contractor scheduled to price out the removal of the door/window installation. I really have no idea how much something like that will cost. I just assumed it would be bazillions of dollars. But maybe not based on what I have read here. Meanwhile, I'm pricing out a rod to go across all three windows and custom curtains with simple (box pleated?) valances to cover up the dreaded 'dead space' and lack of trim around the windows. I want to keep things simple and neutral. Lots of gold and white (curtains!) with touches of black - think Stephen Shubel! A big, fluffy, all-white cloud of a bed sounds like heaven after these few years of partially sleepless nights with my babies. ;) Thank you for the encouraging words and meaningful guidance. I have been so inspired by all the responses and genuine willingness to help. Better get back to online fabric shopping - the pressure is on for an "after" shot!

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    3. Charlotte Des FluersMay 3, 2012 at 10:03 AM

      Hi Candice, at some point I got the impression that you lived in California. The fact that you want to use gold and white rather than the grays so popular in humid areas like Houston makes me think so, as well. (Of course, I could be wrong.)

      However, if you ARE in California, you might check with Home Fabrics and Rugs. They have numerous locations all over the West Coast plus one in Texas and one in Florida. Their selection of fabrics is huge - more than Joanns or Calico Corners. They can make custom curtain panels for you. Prices are very reasonable - $9 tp $12 per yard. Nothing over $20 yard. They also have a $3 per yard closeout section where I have found some to-die-for fabrics.

      Best wishes but do not rush your project. While I know we all look forward to "after" pictures, you have been given a lot of superb ideas. Get your quotes then let things sink in for a while. This project will probably cost you several thousand dollars.

      By the way, if you decide to trim out the windows, do it yourself! Get a Chop Saw that adjusts for mitres. It is a very useful tool for millions of projects around the house and yard. MDF from Home Depot or Lowes is very inexpensive. You should be able to find MDF casing to match the fluted casing on your door. The materials will cost less than $100 per window.

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  36. So informative, as usual. I love real life problems and creative solutions to them--sometimes it is the solutions that lead to creativity that would never have come out without the problem. Just saying....nothing is perfect in a home and sometimes that is the character of the house.

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  37. Quick question Joni: What kind of fabric do you use for your white drapes? I want to do white but it needs to clean well without shrinking....You often recommend silk for the way it falls but the drapes in your living room are clearly not silk.

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  38. Joni, thanks for your great posts. I love reading your site. I have a thought that relates back to your own photos of your house. I think she should remount the two window shades higher, right up to the new drapery rod at the crown molding height. Install lovely lined and interlined drapes between each window and surrounding the door, much like the family room treatment that you unveiled during your spring cleaning. The drapes will hide that the shades are only as wide as the inside of the window frame. As for the third "window" (the door) leave the shade as installed on that for optional privacy, and treat the area above it one of two ways 1) $$$ install a transom window tying the trim to match the door trim (the current horizontal piece becomes the trim separating the door from the transom or 2) $ add another bamboo shade to match the two over the windows, leaving the shade on the door - except remount it at the height of one of the mullions, either two thirds or half of the door height. At night for total privacy simply lower the new shade!

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  39. Joni, if she is going to go the expense of putting in draperies, could she not move the bamboo blinds up (outside mount) and close the drapes at night for privacy? Just a thought. Another thing I was wondering (for myself as well), could she do a fabric roman shade that would be mounted under the curtain rod and layered over the bamboo shades? Since she already has the bamboo shades, she wouldn't need the fabric romans for privacy.

    My dilema, that I have yet to find an answer for, is what to do with large French doors? I have three sets of them, with transoms above, across he front of my house and I need privacy. I don't want them "open" to the street all day every day, but I'd like some light. One very large shade of some sort, covering the transom and the doors would cost a fortune and would probably look ridiculous. Do I treat the doors and transom separately? I've looked and looked for photos that would help me figure out what to do, but have found nothing.

    Love this series, Joni!
    Kerry

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    1. Charlotte Des FleursMay 2, 2012 at 12:21 AM

      Hi Kerry, I had this problem once myself - large open familyroom and kitchen windows facing the street. (The builder should have flipped or rotated the house.) The windows faced north so sun was not a problem and we had a drop dead gorgeous view that we wanted to see. My solution was to hang panels at the ends of the windows. (Did not think about breaking up the huge, wide windows with multiple panels as Joni does.) I mounted a series of semi-opaque curtains Cafe curtains matching the wall paint. The tops of the curtains were mounted at "chest-height" to give us both light and privacy. (Did the same thing with the large bay window above our bath tub that also faced the street!) We had about 2 feet of empty wall space above the 8 foot tall windows. Never got around to filling that space with anything because we put our house on the market and it sold right away. At least you have transoms above your windows which help fill the space and add a decorative note. If you have more than a foot of space between your ceiling and the top of the transoms, add additional moulding, decorative plates or artwork to match pillows or drapes. Oops, I mean curtains!

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  40. Wow! Kill all the blundering builders? I am willing to bet that whomever built the home originally asked the builder to replace the window with the door so that the owner could go outside from the master bedroom to the pool. There appears to be a pool control panel between the door and the window. Many times, the builder is simply accommodating a request from the person building the home. Even if it is an alarm panel, most builders would not normally install a door to the back yard from the master bedroom.

    As usual, Joni has great advice! Love the new series!

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  41. Joni
    Love your new series and such good advice...wow with all the suggestions here your readers could probably solve the problem of world peace as well! Only on your blog!! Love it!

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  42. Hi,

    I would break down and replace the blind on the door -- the opening to the right. Order an outside mount; the width and height should be the same as the blinds on the two windows. Mount the new blind at the same height as the window blinds. Then proceed with panels on each side of the windows and door, positioning the rods at same height of blinds, as you always advise. Paint and fabric as you advise.

    Great post, Joni.

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  43. Great advice, Joni. I have lived in 12 homes since 1970. Some we built, some new tract and a couple older custom. I have seen so many mistakes made by architects and builders, such as exterior doors ordered in the wrong 'hand' and instead of replacing them, they were installed wrong side out with integral thresholds, which shed the water into the home! I have seen numerous leaky windows, doors and roofs because no flashing was installed. Walls out of plumb and designs like your inquirers where headers are at different heights. It all looks great on plan drawings. It is amazing to me, the lack of knowledge and expertise in the trades, but to watch a craftsman at work is like watching lyrical magic. When they are good, they are invaluable.
    And thank you for answering a n o t h e r question about your rods, mine!
    You solved my conundrum!
    Valuable information! Kudos!
    xoxo, Chris

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  44. My only suggestion is that perhaps you come up with some suggestions for someone on say the budget of a one income family teacher or a policeman or someone with a low paid office job . . .I myself could never afford custom rods and custom lined curtains. I love a nice home but if you were to see it your skin would crawl because however affordable you find these custom things (and I am sure you do find great deals) they are still not affordable for me, or many people like me . .and I am not "just starting out" either.

    I do believe that a nice home can be made on a budget, but would it be up to your standards? Most likely not.

    My suggestion to your reader IF she is in the same kind of income bracket or finds herself in a similar financial position as I am is to paint the walls a camelish color, hang a curtain rod above each window extending the rod several inches outside of the window frame or as far as the angle of the wall allows and hang curtains outside the window frame as much as possible. Choose curtains that are a tan/camel color midway between the newly painted wall color and the blinds. If the curtains are very flimsy ("cheap") looking they can be lined with cheap sheets from Walmart. If she can sew straight lines nice fabric can be found on sale in discount fabric outlet stores and she could make the curtains herself.

    Louise

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    1. Charlotte Des FleursMay 2, 2012 at 10:23 AM

      As Louise pointed out, to everyone on a budget - "Sew, Baby, Sew!" You do not need a fancy, expensive sewing machine with all the bells and whistles. A simple used $30 machine will do. It was not that long ago that every girl in America was taught to sew. If they could do it, so can you!

      Follow Joni'a advice and "Line, Baby, Line!" I go one step further and use regular lining plus interlining instead of blackout lining. Interlining controls light, protects the decorative fabric AND insulates. While interlining (a thick, flannel-like cotton) does add to the cost of your curtains, it creates a beautful drape and more than pays for itself over time. Because it rarely wears out, it can even be re-cycled for use in another curtain when you get tired of the decorative outer fabric.

      Another tip to save money on curtains, especially if you are sewing them yourself, do NOT choose a large pattern. Professional looking curtains (clothing and upholstery) require careful pattern matching which can waste up to 27" per panel. Stick with a solid, a very small pattern or a stripe. Hence, no wasted fabric!

      I have even used on-sale large, 120" long rectangular table clothes to provide fabric for drapes. 120" equals 10 feet which is plenty for a 9 foot long curtain panel. Same principles as our Joni advises - 1 1/2 to 2 times fullness and LINE!!!

      Now, off to my day job. Happy decorating to all!

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  45. Joni, I think it's wonderful that you're doing this on your blog. I hope it will be a regular feature. One of the things I hate about being a designer is that so many nice people want and need help with their homes but don't have the budget to bring in a designer and to afford the high end custom products and services we provide. I'm sure this post will help many more than just the one homeowner who sent you her "conundrum!"

    Your recommendations are spot-on. My only thoughts were:

    1. How expensive were those woven wood shades? The reader says she is stuck with them, but depending on what part of the country she lives in, it might cost more money to have a carpenter trim out the windows than it would to replace the shades with outside-mounted shades. That way she also has the option of choosing drapery fabric first and then a shade material that coordinates. If she's looking at semi-custom or readymade curtains, or even something like Eastern Accents, she will have a much better chance of finding a curtain fabric she loves at the right price point if she is not already tied in to the color of the shades. Darker, browner shades like the ones you use give much better contrast against pale walls and fabrics.

    2. Who makes those shades that are already hanging? It should say on the hardware or headrail of the shades. I know for a fact that you can order stand-alone shade valances from Hunter Douglas at any width or length, in all of their woven wood shade materials. Other manufacturers may do this as well. Perhaps the reader could order 12" valances that match her shades, or however long they would need to be to fill that dead space, and outside mount those on the wall above the shades to elongate them? Again, this is probably less expensive than having trim installed. Once the draperies are up, no one would see the trim at the sides of the windows, anyway.

    3. What's that electronic thingy on the wall to the left of the French door? Probably not a thermostat on an exterior wall, but maybe the security system keypad? If it were my home, I'd prefer to hide that behind a drapery panel but it's a good thing for the homeowner to consider before committing one way or another. Some of my clients' husbands have been annoyed about having to push draperies out of the way to get to their control panels.

    Also, one Anonymous comment caught my eye, a suggestion to replace only the French door blind with an outside mount to make it the same size as the window shades. This door opens inward (you can tell by the visible hinges in the photo) so if you mounted the shade on the wall above the door, it would get caught when the door opened and closed.

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    1. I love your idea of mounting woven matching valances with outside mount, thank you! That may solve my problem here.

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  46. I would contact the blind owner and complain that they should have known better than to install them as if it were in a rental, and make them do it right!

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  47. Your photos are just amazing! I am so in love with them!

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  48. Wow! Nice work. Thank you so much for sharing such nice work.

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  49. Joni, you never fail to educate! I am learning so much from your blog. This is definitely one I am bookmarking. I will be moving next year and will need window treatments.
    Wanda

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  50. Thank you for generously sharing your knowledge and giving a favorable nod to architects!!Enjoyed this!

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  51. Aren't those matchstick blinds? Could they be painted to match the walls?

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  52. Bravo, Joni, Bravo!

    I have to admit I was fascinated by the no ironed-in pleats. I had never heard that, but it's good advice. Thanks for sharing from your weatlh of knowledge. It is much appreciated.

    XO,

    Sheils

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  53. Wait a minute why are the blinds drawn what is behind the blinds in the yard -- some thing pretty to look at. The two chairs got to go -not inviting -- this is not a reading nook. At least it should be a reading nook. Is that a hand painted screen in a Asian motif? too pretty to be hidden in the bedroom. This reader should move furniture in the house find a more comfortable chair or chaise to be in the "bay" Where does the door lead to a wonderful patio for sipping tea in the morning What is the narrative of the room is this a retreat I would retreat From the room with those chairs offering a respite! The door is good it a chance to step outside and well there out to be something to exit to a secret garden a hot tub. Do people still have hot tubs I never had a hot tub anyway the blinds are the least of her worries what color is the bedspread is there any bright and cheerful pops of color or if that is a screen and large enough why not place the screen in front of the windows at least one pull the blinds up and the screen can provide some privacy while allowing the sun to shine in and create some shadow play work with what you have dear reader.

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  54. http://www.creationsbymonica.net/portfolio.html

    Image #6 of blind/shades category from Monica's website looks no better than the reader's installation except for the fact that a valance was used. No molding on the windows and shades were set into window opening.

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  55. A great series, Joni. You have so much to offer. Thanks for taking the TIME!
    xo,
    Linsey

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  58. Love, love, love your suggestions. I filed this in the corner of my mind... and have pulled this back out today as I make decisions for my kitchen sunroom and family room window treatments. I want to put wove wood shades in both spaces (sort of open concept) modeled after photos above with outside mount shades mounted high along with panels on sides. This will be fab in the sun room area.... but I'm also in a pickle as to how to carry over the same type desing into the two story family room. These windows are different in that they have a transom.... and there is only space to have panels on one side of the window.... due to the fireplace. So many questions... do I do inside mount and leave transom exsposed? Do I do outside mount... high above transum.... how high? How high to hang panels..? Does it need to be similar in design as sunroom since visible from both areas? Soooo many questions. Not sure how to send you a picture, but would you be able to offer suggestions? Thanks!! Another reader in a quandrum! Amy P. awputhoff@bellsouth.net

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  59. Totally agree with your plan 1 suggestions - they are excellent and a great transformation of the current window area and subsequently the room too.

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  64. Dear conundrum, since this truly not a bay window, but rather odd shaped extension of a room, first I would rearrange sitting area, move screen (or hutch that is in left of photo) somewhere else in room if needed, move chairs siting area over between the two windows, rearrange rug diagonally in front of door, emphasizing the door path rather than camouflaging as a window. Drapery treatment around new sitting area on true windows, add lamp for reading, remove blind from door, add same or similar fabric to door in an hour-glass shape (privacy and some light) make hour glass feature as wide as needed for privacy. Paint molding is another option to accentuate door.

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  65. Wonderful article! Great architectural work. Here, from a magazine, these shades are not pulled up to the rod, but the dead space is somewhat camouflaged by the papered walls that match the curtains, which match the shades tying it all in together. Windows and Siding Services have the best hardware and professionals to install them.

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