05 June 2012

DEAR MISS COTE DE TEXAS Series

 

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Today, we have a new question – again about windows (readers, you can ask me questions about other things besides windows!)  This question kind of stumped me – so I’m really looking forward to hear what you have to say and what advice you would give this reader!   I’m not so sure my advice is the best.  But…here goes:

 

Dear Miss Cote de Texas:

I wrote to you before, and now I hope you can help me with this dilemma since you are the window /curtain guru to me and to many I think. I have three ugly, super small windows in my dinning room.   When we moved in, they had blinds covering them ( which I hate) and I have tried different things but nothing that I really like. I guess I'm not ever going to like them since at night they look like black holes. We are changing the big window for a French door and i think it is going to look better (and make the holes look even worse.)   I recently covered these windows with some yellowish linen fabric (which looks better during the day) that I bought in Paris at the " fabric district" (have you been there?) At least this give the windows some continuity from the other curtain that covers the big window and it didn't cost me much. (It actually was some left over fabric.)  So I'm thinking what if I frame the small windows? But how?  Will they look even worse, like a framed black hole at night? I don't want to use roman shades since I really need the light during the day.  Please give me some advice or send me some pictures to find some inspiration.  Thanks a loooooot !!!!

 

Dear Thanks a looooot!!

I’m not sure what is the best advice for your dilemma. Of course, the problem lies with the crazy builder who put such windows in your house in the first place!!! But below are a few ideas I have.

 

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Here is the dining room with the sliding glass window that will soon be a French door.

 

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And here are the problems – two tiny windows in the corner.  The reader has put up flimsy shades – bringing the fabric up to the ceiling so it will be one clean line with the window’s curtains to the right.

 

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And if those two weren’t enough of a problem, here is a third window.

 

SO…..if you decided to trim out the windows I think it would draw more attention to them.  It’s better to let them disappear than become a focal point.  It might be better to just get a shade made the same color as the paint on the walls – then you could use them just to cover the windows – without having to go up to the ceiling with the shades.  The problem now is the shades are home made, and they look flimsy and poorly constructed.   Since you are going to the expense of changing out the slider to a French door, why not spend a little more and get proper shades made that will fit the windows perfectly?  It will be well worth it in the end. 

 

 

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Here’s an example from the showhouse that Tami Owen designed.  Notice how the shades blend with the wall color?  They almost disappear – and they certainly do not stick out.  Notice too how well they are constructed.  They fit the window like a glove.  During the day you could raise yours to let enough of the light in.

 

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Here’s another example from Tami Owen.  These don’t blend in – they are more noticeable.  But, with your décor, you could find a print – like a muted ikat in oranges and blues that would blend in with your rug.  Then you could make curtains out of the same fabric for your French door. 

 

 

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Another example from Tami Owen – while these shades are a little darker than the walls, notice how nicely they blend in.  And notice how perfectly constructed they are.  If these were a shade or two lighter – they would disappear – a goal you should aspire to, if you use a fabric.  Right now your light linen shades are sticking out like a sore thumb against the orange/red walls. 

 

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For another option:  You could always order a shade like this to fit your window exactly.  Then, on the French door – you could use these same shades mixed with the linen curtains. 

 

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Have you ever thought about changing your wall color?  That way, if you went with a white wall – you could use a white linen fabric shade. And have curtains made out of the same fabric for your French door.   Your table is fabulous and so is your mirror and lantern.  If you were my client – I would suggest you use these chairs from IKEA with the white walls:

 

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White slipcovered chairs from Ikea.

 

 

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With the white walls, curtains, chairs and wood table, I would use a black and white graphic rug, similar to this from Ikea.  Just be sure to get the right size to fit under the table.  You rug looks a little small.

 

 

 

 

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Next, to soften up the heavy look of the wood table – I would get a white cowhide and drape it over the table – like Jill Brinson did here.

 

 

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On the table, I would get a huge clam shell – like this one from Ballard Designs and fill it with bright green apples.  They sell wonderful fake ones – so you don’t have to constantly buy them!

 

 

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My own fake green apples.

 

And viola – your problem is solved AND you have a newly decorated dining room.  Of course if you keep the orange/red walls – I would look for a fabric that blends in with that color – a linen perhaps –and have the shades professionally made – lined to fit the windows exactly.  And shorten the cords so they don’t show!  During the day, just raise the shades for the light.

 

 

 

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One more tip:  you mention that at night your windows turn into black holes.  Why?  Because you don’t have lights on outside in the back yard.  If you installed landscaping lights – your windows would not be black holes, rather they would overlook your beautiful lit garden.  You don’t have to spend a fortune – you can always just use white fairy lights wrapped around a tree or two, which would be enough to limit those depressing black holes at night.

 

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Just a few fairy lights wrapped around a tree or two would get rid of the black hole windows.  In my own back yard, I have the lights around a small tree in each corner and over the fountain in the middle.  My windows aren’t black holes – instead they look out at the fairy lights.  We keep them on 24/7 – even during the day!!

 

I’m very anxious to hear what you all have to say about this reader’s window problem.  Leave me your thoughts in a comment!  And if you have a question for Miss Cote de Texas – send it in an email to mrballbox329@aol.com

 

92 comments:

  1. Here is an idea for the windows. Once french doors are in place, add curtain rod above the french doors AND on the wall with the wonky windows. Have stationary panels made to frame the French doors and do the same of other wall that will butt up to the corner off french door wall. Add panels on left and right side of what is now a mirror. That would completely hide the wonky windows. Where the mirror is, you could add a serving piece or china cabinet. The panels would frame the china cabinet. I hope that makes sense. It would be easier to sketch it.

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  2. I am having a hard time visualizing Melissa's advice but conceptually I understand it and think its a great solution. I also agree changing the rug would improve the room, I think at the moment there are too many strong items and colors in the room and making them flow together is the key. Your reader doesn't mention budget but slipcovering or buying the Ikea chairs as you suggested and using the black and white rug is affordable but from the current rug, paint and pillow I think your reader ilikes color. I am not a fan of cowhide rugs over the table but thats just me, I like the look, I just wouldn't do it in my house. mine stay on the floor. Totally off subject but I visited the Serenbe Net Zero house by Bosch that Jill Brinson decorated and its awesome! It would be helpful to see the other parts of the room as it appears the dining area flows from the kitchen. I love your idea of lights outside and am going to work on that in my yard! Can the shades be taken out of the lantern, thats a strong statement piece and I think the shades confuse it, I love the table and a clam shell would be perfection! I would also change the little table with the lamp, its looks like a wonderful piece but I think it is too dainty for the other things in the room, maybe something more rustic?

    I think your reader should treat the windows as if s/he were dressing themself, I don't think any of us has a feature we truly like but we learn to either embrace it (think Barbara Streisand's nose) or camoflage it by drawing attention to our best feature.

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    1. sorry not very pithy this morning but I think painting the walls in a plaster finish, drawing inspiration from Segreto Finishes would soften the walls but still give them color and depth and look to how little windows are treated in SW style homes, unfortunately these don't seem as deep but if privacy isn't an issue put something in the windows and accessorize them. Kilms, shawls or even cowhide to provide warmth and visual interest, adding natural objects (your reader seems grounded and earthy from the pieces shown) ceramics and Ethopian beads, driftwood wicker etc.

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  3. The window sills on those Tami Owen windows are so beautiful, as are the blinds - instead of trying to hide these windows, turn them into little jewels. Personally I love the shades you made, and agree, they are hung too high (who thought I would ever say that!). Can you re-work them inside the window frame, opening them in the morning and closing them at night? Personally I LOVE that look. I also love the idea of white chairs and white walls in the dining room. If it was me, I would make white canvas slip covers and put them right over the cute chairs you already have, but I am cheap that way :-) Good luck and send us pictures when the project is done!

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  4. As long as she's replacing the sliders with a French door... Why not take out the window and depending on what the outside siding of the home is.... Either drywall it in or include it by expanding the opening for the French door. I would do the same for the other two windows on the adjoining wall...Either fill them in, again based on what the outside is, or enlarge the windows to look more consistent with the room. There would be plenty of opportunity for light then!

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    1. I wondered about the same too...depending on how that makes the outside look...

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    2. I agree. She has enough light already and she will then have the space to hang something decorative inside. They are fundamentally wrong from the start so anything done to them will just be more of the same.

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  5. Joni, I liked all of your ideas, but, if it where my house I think I would use distressed shutters, either stained wood or painted to match the walls. I love the twinkle lights in the yard. I have them in mine too.
    Interesting delimma.
    Lee

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    1. Because the client needs the light during the daytime, removing the windows probably wouldn't suit. The idea of shutters is excellent - I'd use one large shutter that is just the size of the window opening. No black hole at night, and plenty of light during the day. While it can be unifying, treating doors and windows the same is not always necessary.

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    2. I have a problem with three small windows in my bedroom that do not open. I put up privacy film for privacy and to keep the room cooler in the summer. And I think your idea of distressed shutters is GREAT! She could then regulate the light and it would pull the room together. I'm going to try that myself. Thanks.

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  6. Absolutely agree with adding light outside....also agree with painting white. Her table is Fabulous and she seems to have a bit of a modern (clean) streak, along with an ethnic vibe. Painting the walls white would give a bit more of that modern architectural vibe. If she were going to do french doors, I would do single pane and not mullions...which I think will be too much UNLESS they were black metal. or painted to look that way.

    Just thoughts.

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  7. Joni, I love the paintings you are finding for this series. This one is especially sweet.

    Solution option No. 1 would be eliminate these windows altogether when the French door is installed. It would provide usable wall space and the ugliness would be gone. If that is not an option, the two windows that are in the corner could be mirrored and if they are deep enough, shallow glass shelves could be put inside to hold a few pretty pieces of glass. The third window could stay in place with a pretty shade mounted inside. If the mirrored idea appeals to the reader, she could hang a painting where the existing mirror hangs over a small serving piece with a lamp.

    I would definitely eliminate the ethnic vibe going on in the room unless it has some special meaning to you and soften the color of the room. By lightening the wall, this room will appear larger and the harshness of the three smaller windows will disappear.

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    1. The saturated wall color is also out of harmony with the floor. If you choose a wall color that compliments the tile, if would go a long way in helping you find your solution.

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  8. Hi,
    All your suggestions are wonderful. I think painting the walls lighter and going with your chair and rug choice would really make the room look great. I guess it would depend on what the rest of the home decorating style is. I really love the Jill Brinson room, I am trying to figure out how I can get my family room built in cabinet to look like the cabinets in the photo. I have had the photo on my desk ever since I first saw it. I love everything about that room.

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  9. Joni,
    I like your ideas and I like the idea above...if she has a worker installing the French door, why not dry wall the two small windows and be done. If she paints the room white there should be plenty of reflective light during the day.
    Karen

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  10. Eliminating the windows is not that expensive. We recently did this in our bathroom remodel. They secure a board up against the inside of the window. The board can be painted black or whatever color will blend in with the outside of the house. Then they fill in the space on the inside and drywall it. If the window outside still stands out, she could always plant something tall in front of it. Using shutters either on the inside or outside would also be a solution. And I agree with painting the walls white, a larger rug and a softer look with the chairs. Perhaps she can just have slipcovers made for the chairs she already has, which would save money.

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  11. Joni, I'm always interested in what your readers have to say! As always too, I am happy to see you in my inbox when you do a new post. I can see where you're going with your suggestions for the room. I love the rug you picked, especially. My own great room is done in black, ivory, with a few touches of green. Her table is fabulous. I hope your questioner is okay with our frank comments, lol. Of course, I love your advice about the shades and the paint color too. Anne Boykin

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  12. Actually Joni I think you gave the reader some great tips. Her wall color is only drawing attention to those small holes. You're right the builder should be smacked for putting those windows there. Since she's able to afford French doors any possibly replacing the one near the kitchen? That thing makes no sense and making it bigger would let in more light. The trick here is not to draw attention to the windows and Joni's ideas would work.

    XX
    Debra~

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  13. Its the details of our lives I think that in some respects make the impact. Its only once in a while the big picture matters. I loves these photos of the details.

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  14. Joni,

    Loving all your advice. People keep writing about windows because they are such a challenge and can make or break a room. So, here is ANOTHER WINDOW QUESTION. What are your recommendations as far as the color of rods?
    Your blog is my absolute favorite for all things design and decorating.

    Thanks!
    Lis

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  15. WOW, Joni!!! Great ideas! A "tweak" here and there and any of those would be lovely! franki

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  16. Here is what I would do... For the window nearest the kitchen I would put a roman shade that makes the window disappear like Joni suggests. Then for the window near the French door I would treat it as part of the door and allow the curtain to "stack back" always totally covering the window. You would never see it again when the curtains are opened or closed. I would match the stack on the opposite side. Then for the 3rd window on the wall perpendicular to the french door I would place a beautiful hanging plant or large live tree in the corner, along with another roman shade the color of the wall.

    For the chandelier above the table frosted bulbs of lower wattage would help if glare is a problem or a dimmer!

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  17. I really like the effect of all the light in the 'day' shot - even though those are some funky windows! They remind me of some of the windows in the Guthrie theater in Minneapolis. The theater was built fairly recently (5 years) and at the time I lived downtown and thought it was a MONSTROSITY (it looks like a giant Ikea.) But there are little porthole windows that are very lovely because they frame the views along the historic riverbank/mill district - effectively using the city as the artwork and are equally nice in the day or evening.

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  18. I am enchanted by your backyard; it is lovely!

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  19. I have a mini-obsession with built-in bookcases… and the small, narrow size of the windows reminded me of a recessed cabinet. Is there a way you could tap into the space above and below the window? Do some shelving, and frame it all out with fantastic crown molding. (Good crown molding makes everything better.)

    Or build a stand-alone panel underneath the window and make a window-seat—might bring some charm to the corner? Then you could hang a pretty light-fixture in the dead space at the ceiling of the corner. That would give you an appealing accent in a space that’s not working for you.

    I suppose at that point, if you’re going to do all that work you might just consider removing/replacing them. So perhaps the simplicity of updated drapes is your best option!

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  20. This is going to be fun. Agree about the Segreto plaster finish. Would look so lovely with the rustic table, which I adore. Builders and bad window choices. I'm sure we could help you write a book on that one! Agree about garden lighting. Maybe Tara Dillard will weigh in here. Her vanishing threshold mantra would be most appropriate, I think.

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  21. That was like the best advice I have ever read! You are amazing! I think you just possibly transformed this house on a very small budget, If I were her, i would do every single thing you said. Just brilliant!

    Cindy

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  22. These windows are very odd to say the least. I read the post, studied the photos, read the comments, and studied the photos again. All of the comments contain some good suggestions. I operate on the theory that if you can afford to rip it out and correct it, that is always the best option because then it is corrected for good. If you cannot do this for whatever reason, then the best alternative is to camouflage the offender so that it just visually goes away. I think your idea of a well-constucted inside mount shade that could disappear into a header during the day and blends with the walls is a good one. Having a monochromatic scheme in here as to walls, curtains, rug and chairs would be the ideal way to create a seamless background for that outstanding table, whether it is white or another neutral shade. (I too would slipcover the existing chairs.) You don't say where this house is, but I am guessing somewhere in the Southwest, which is very hot. It seems to me that a white or light neutral shade of gray or sand would make more sense, not only by making the architecture less choppy, but would make the environment much more comfortable. Many houses in Santa Fe have all the walls are white, and the strong color comes from accessories.

    Just my opinion.

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  23. I hate to admit this, but in my AZ home, I eliminated a ugly window by installing a permanent shade and then dry walling over the window in the inside but left it on the outside in case future owners wanted the window again.

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  24. I saw a solution to a similar problem once in a friend's home that was very nice. I'll see if I can describe it. They used custom vertical blinds - yes, I realize I just said vertical blinds, but these weren't your typical vertical blinds. Each hanging strip was only about 2-3" wide, and made of a beautiful white linen-type stiff fabric with beautiful silver hardware, no plastic anywhere. They covered two entire walls, going around a corner with them, all in one large unit. The windows as well as the walls between the windows were covered. When they needed light, one pull chain would open or close the whole thing. When slightly opened, they let in light and the white wall behind them wasn't that noticeable when painted the same color. When they were closed, it became a beautiful background of textural white. It gave the room a much larger feel, to have that consistent look wrapping around the room. She would have to move her mirrors to somewhere else, and I'm not even sure where to get such a custom look these days, but it was an elegant solution.

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  25. Here is what I would do! Lighten the walls (Farrow & Ball White Tie), Get a larger area rug under that BEAUTIFUL Table. Slipcover the chairs white, distress the legs. For the windows, use Joni's idea for her home... Woven shades taken up to the ceiling, off white curtains taken also to the ceiling. Create a line of continuity from the window closest to the kitchen to the french doors. Center the mirror and use it as a fourth window (If you could go a little larger on the mirror that would bring the look together). And Oh and take the shades off that beautiful lantern, and install a dimmer for the evening. And Joni's idea to install landscape lighting is brilliant! (I am running out to Home Depot to get some uplights for my trees TODAY!) . Love your Blog Joni.

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  26. Here is what I would do! Lighten the walls (Farrow & Ball White Tie), Get a larger area rug under that BEAUTIFUL Table. Slipcover the chairs white, distress the legs. For the windows, use Joni's idea for her home... Woven shades taken up to the ceiling, off white curtains taken also to the ceiling. Create a line of continuity from the window closest to the kitchen to the french doors. Center the mirror and use it as a fourth window (If you could go a little larger on the mirror that would bring the look together). And Oh and take the shades off that beautiful lantern, and install a dimmer for the evening. And Joni's idea to install landscape lighting is brilliant! (I am running out to Home Depot to get some uplights for my trees TODAY!) . Love your Blog Joni.

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  27. I do like your suggestion Joni as well as several others. I love color on walls , yet in this case with the strong accessories and table, I would love to see a Segreto Plaster Finish. Of course some of this will depend on her budget.

    Why don't builders do their market research with women, if they do at all. I have been on research teams for luxury builders, it is very smart!!

    xoxo
    Karena

    Art by Karena

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    1. Hi Karena, If any builders had read our "Kill all the Builders" rants from a month or so ago, they would be terrified to come near any us. However, I agree with you. Especially in areas of the country where new homes are not selling well, they would be smart to bring in some real live women to critique their designs. Some things like wall colors, flooring, cabinet styles, etc. are very subjective and change with designers' whimsies. However, other things like correct placement of doors, windows, and proper use of kitchen space are VERY basic. You would think they could get those things right by now!

      Let's face it, no matter who comes up with the money to pay for a home, women are the ones who usually make the final buying decision. When was the last time you heard a woman say, "Whatever YOU want, honey, is fine with me."

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  28. Flying Carrot DesignsJune 5, 2012 at 9:58 AM

    Lightening the wall color would be my first rec, too, (a greige) and then just drywall the two windows flanking the new french doors. Make them the star. If she wants to make drapes for french doors, they can stack off the french doors in front of new drywall. Rods should be black. The weirdo other window could get matchstick blinds as you showed, hung inside the cutout, as tight a fit as possible...love the matchstick blinds look with her other rustic elements. Without red walls I am betting it will be light enough in there to not miss extra windows. Joni, your ideas were great and I merely blathering...

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  29. build a glass front corner cabinet that encompasses both windows,, like a jelly cabinet...works with the table...

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  30. The homeowner's three odd windows provide little light when the French doors are installed, and no decorative purpose, so I would have a carpenter remove them to make the wall solid in those spots. Particularly, if she paints the walls white, it will be so much brighter overall so the windows will add nothing. The strange windows could also cause a new buyer not to want to deal with them on the sale of her residence. I would definitely get rid of them instead of trying to decorate around them which is money not well spent.

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    1. I agree, remove the windows or make them a feature. Three little stained glass windows , maybe depicting state flowers and birds. Very pretty during the day and lovely lit by lamp light at night.

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  31. It looks like this room already has two wall colors or perhaps the red is an accent wall. When you look at the window on the lighter colored wall, it is not nearly as offensive as it looks on the red wall. Color is definitely playing a role here as well as the awkward placement of the windows.

    Would you consider putting clear leaded glass with an interesting design in the windows. They may become so interesting and beautiful at that point that you would not want to cover them.

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  32. This was a very helpful post and I enjoyed reading everyone's comments. i like your suggestions for minimizing the small windows. If it were me, I would remove them during the French door installation. I look forward to this series, Joni!

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  33. In all of Joni's pictures the windows are placed symmetrically on the wall. The three little windows in the reader's room are NOT symmetrical. Lack of symmetry is the biggest problem with this room because proper French design almost always requires symmetry. "Corrective" decorating can help but it never really solves the problem of @#&% builders with no design sense.

    So what to do? Unfortunately, the best solution involves correcting the architecture. Building Codes require a certain number of square feet of window based on the volume of the room. Originally, this was to provide adequate ventilation. Obviously, with forced air in most modern homes, that is a rather antiquated requirement. However, that might be why the builder added those goofy little windows. That would be the first thing to check before you eliminate any windows.

    1. As already suggested, you need to eliminate the small window to the left of the slider. Be sure that the new French Door is centered on that wall. You may even need to get a slightly larger French door to compensate for reducing the square feet of window on that wall.

    2. Eliminate the small window on the wall next to the slider. Either remove window and fill it in completely or use the technique suggested by another reader - fill in interior with plaster board, paint and texture to match and cover outside with shutters.

    3. Enlarge the window next to the kitchen area. I would double the width and even make it a French Door or Faux (non-operational) French door to match the new French door on the other wall. Just as you can never be too rich or too thin, you can never have enough French doors.

    Now, to address the "Black Hole" at night. My guess is that those small windows look out on a narrow side yard not a beautiful backyard space. Assuming that window looks onto a wall, your best solution will be to get a a thin wall fountain and center it in the middle of the window. Then, as Joni suggested, light it. To save money, you can buy matchstick blinds and cut them down to fit inside the windows. Then, paint the blinds the same red/orange color as the wall. Many hardware stores (ACE in my area) will create custom colors in a spray can. If you want to really go ethnic, embrace the windows and cover them with strands of multicolored beads to match the rug. This a a time-honored way to cover windows in Provence, southern Spain and Morocco. Carry that same red / black/ and white color scheme into the kitchen.

    I also noticed that your table is crammed up almost to the slider. I bet when that end chair is slid back, it touches the slider. Swag your lantern closer to the kitchen end of the room and move the table. Looks like you might be able to accommodate a 12" move. However, even 3" to 6" will make a BIG difference. If you can live without the bar stools, you might even swag the lantern and move the table so the mirror and table are centered between the two small windows. By the way, if you keep the small windows, be sure to move the mirror up so that the bottom of the mirror is level with the bottom of the windows. That type of mirror is meant to imitate a window.

    Now room colors. CDT is the "Grey is the Way" club. However, I happen to like red in an eating area AND I like the black accents and eclectic, ethnic vibe. (LOVE the lantern above the table.) For those who do not know, red is the color of passion. Passion for food, drink, conversation and companionship. What could be better in what appears to be a rather informal eating area!

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    1. What a very thoughtful and helpful comment.

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    2. Thoughtful, helpful???

      Another epistle from Charlotte who seems to over think the simplest design situations. She should be working by the hour or by the word in this case.

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    3. Yes, I do tend to notice details. Naughty moi! :)

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    4. Noticing details is a great asset. Verbosity is not.

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    5. Hey Charlotte you got your picture posted! I too find your comments thoughtful and helpful

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    6. Thanks. Now I just have to figure out how to add Cote De Texas as a Blog that I follow!

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    7. Do you have a blog, and if so, could you post a link or tell us how to find it? I enjoy reading your comments.

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    8. I enjoy your comments as well!

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    9. Thank you Lee and Libby P. Several people have suggested that I write my own Blog. Never thought I had that much to say. However, SOME think I have TOO much to say. Anyway, I am still rather new to the world of design Blogs. Joni does such a fabulous job, I am afraid I might not live up to her high standards. However, maybe that is not necessary.

      Would you be interested in a Design Blog about how to do reasonably authentic French Country design on a reasonable budget? I have found so many killer deals on Craigslist, at various thrift stores and estate sales that I would love to have shared with our design family on this blog. (I mean, I can't buy EVERY yummy thing that I find.) My youngest brother says that our whole family suffers from do-it-yourself-itis. Can't tell you how many designer looks I have been able to replicate at 1/10th to 1/20th of the cost. Would love to share those ideas and techniques with you!

      I do have a "real" job that pays the bills, but French Design is definately my passion.

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    10. I would enjoy a blog about how to do French Country on a reasonable budget. I'm not planning any big decorating projects and we're more into eclectic style - so many great styles and one house - but I enjoy seeing ideas I can incorporate and love a bargain and a DIY. You don't have to be Joni, as she does do that quite well. Be yourself and share your own finds and passions as you interpret them. I think that you have so many good ideas that you must be about to burst!

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    11. French Country is sort of passe' at this point in the design world. I suppose writing your own blog would indeed satisfy a need which you seem to have to dominate the conversation on your personal design vision. Go for it. Your every nuanced description of what and when and why is getting a bit much here. It's not that you don't have good ideas, it's that you don't know when to shut up. I think over bearing is the word. Start your own blog and those that love your vision will follow, but give us a bit of a rest here.

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    12. Ha, ha, ha! In your insular little mind, perhaps, but well done Country French has never been passe! Tell that to Mary Lou Phillips, Charles Faudree and Jack Arnold who make very nice livings with Country French Design. They would laugh all the way to the bank! BHG publishes a Country French Issue every 6 months and it sells out every time. Elle Decor and Veranda ALWAYS have at least one or two homes featured that have a Country French look.

      By the way, the woman who asked Joni this particular question about how to deal with her bizarre windows never asked how to convert her diningroom into a grey refrigerator. Yet, almost everyone jumped on with "take out all the color and insert grey". Not very original. Maybe that woman likes a bit of color!

      Grey, grey, grey is A way but not the ONLY way. Many people on this blog have commented that some of the rooms look cold and underfurnished. Joni's blog is called "French Design on the Texas Coast" not "Eclectic, avante-garde, sort-of-French Design on the Texas Coast".

      I have offered ideas on how to replicate some of the desired looks on a budget. I have also suggested places where people could find furniture and accessories that they have admired. Why are YOU so insecure? If you don't like what I have to say, be an adult. You can see who I am. Just ignore me and simply move on to the next post.

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    13. I alway enjoy your posts, Charlotte. Nice to have several minds contributing to the subject. You never know what will spark an idea for a solution. Brainstorming benefits from different sources. Just my opinion.

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  34. Don't know if this is an option...but is removing them all together out of the question? It doesnt' appear they offer a lot of light anyway, and are more of a hindrance than anything or so it seems. If thats not possible....then i think the idea of lightenting up the entire space and painting it a nice light neutral color and minimzing the windows is a good idea. Like the examples you showed, keep it clean simple and don't add fussiness to something you want to have 'disappear". I hope you will follow up and let us know what the final solution is and how it all turns out......

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  35. Just a little out of the box thinking, but an option (depending on overall design and where you live) is to have a custom ironwork insert made fits inside the windows. I'd mimic what your mirror design reflects, so that the overall design is cohesive and looks deliberate. Here's a product that I found that may give you ideas: http://www.fauxiron.com/images/stories/pdfs/Faux_Iron_Design_Catalog.pdf
    Otherwise, I love Joni's ideas.

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    1. Try this main website link for pix. http://www.fauxiron.com/

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  36. I just saw the showhouse in The Woodlands East Shore. In the master bedroom they used a floor screen in each corner on the wall with the bed. Just two panels hinged together in the middle. They were covered with the same drapery fabric used on the window with a slightly darker fabric border. I thought the decorator was trying to hide something. I check and nope just something architectural I guess, very light and neutral. You could drape the new french doors then stand one side of a THREE panel floor screen in front of the one small window on that same wall then the other part of the screen could cover the other window on the adjacent wall. If you did a three panel screen the it would work for the other small window, the one that is on the wall by the bar (looks like part of the kitchen counter) Three panels from floor to the same height as the drapes for the french doors. I would think if the owner has a handy man around the house he could build the screens and she could cover them with fabric herself! I love the idea of a lighter wall color and slipcovered chairs! What about a large sea grass rug under the table and chairs too? I also love the large shell idea. She can see the picture of these screens I saw at the showhouse if she googles the address. It is:34 East Shore Drive, The Woodlands. This is the link I found. There are over 30 Pictures of the house. Page #26 is the one of the master bedroom with the two panel screens. http://search.har.com/engine/34-East-Shore-Drive-The%20Woodlands-TX-77380_HAR37722444.htm This is the HAR website.
    I sure this reader will find something that makes her happy. I read loads of great ideas.

    Arla

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  37. Great suggestions here... Ideally I would get rid of them but I presume that is not an option or it would have been mentioned... Clever disguise is the next best solution...
    Love this series Joni... xv

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  38. Great ideas......hope they follow through with the window shades. The room is very dark. Hope they lighten the paint color too! The fairy lights outside brilliant. Love the series.

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  39. if the homeowner does not want to cover over the windows, an easy solution is to use fabric to cover the two windows and make them disappear. Start your rod at the point of the outside small window, use an elbow bracket on the rod to allow the rod to wrap around the wall. Use a good fabric liner and never open that side of the window. It will give the illusion that the patio window is that large yet you do not have to expose it. As far as the third window sticking out there by itself.....the homeowner has to sheet rock over it. It really is an easy thing to do.

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  40. OMG! I just read my reply. Not only do I need to do a spell check I need to preview before I publish!

    Arla

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  41. Wow, Joni! Once again, I feel like I have just had a tutorial in decorating. I have no suggestions. Not one, because all of yours were so good and made perfect sense. I used to look at pictures in design magazines and all I thought was how beautiful everything was, but I didn't know how these rooms were created. Now, I am starting to see design through your eyes. I am beginning to understand WHY things work and WHAT was done to make it so.

    Wanda Wilson

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  42. Joni- As always your advice is first-rate and so flexible to the homeowner's needs. I don't know if the slider window is the only means to the backyard or if there is another exit. However, the area seems ideal for a banquette/window seat. With the table closer to the window, she could hang or position a standing screen with a sunburst mirror or other artwork in front of the lone third window. She could easily place a very shallow buffet in front of the screen to frame the area and add storage. Or dpending on her budget, she could replace the lone third window with a french door if she needed a new exit to the backyard. Thanks for this great series!

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    Replies
    1. Close off slider with a regular window. Rotate table 90 degrees. Add banquette / window seat underneath new window then add a French door where the "lone third window" now resides? Lulu, excellent suggestion which will re-direct traffic and probably make much better use of the room. Besides, sliders are sooo annoying.

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  43. Hmmm...you have some great ideas and suggestions, but that little window all by itself is a real worry. How about some of that self frosting style covering and do away with a shade or blind altogether? Then, if the walls are painted white it wouldn't be so noticeable, but would let in light of a day and make things private of a night
    I'm not very good with these types of problems...

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  44. I love this series that you do ! You always have such great ideas!! Leslie

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  45. totally agree with joni on the shades. on those type of windows, they provide the sleekest, least obtrusive and fussy solution. you definitely need a treatment that blends quietly into the room. this is not the time to try and make these windows look bigger or more important. simple, textural shades will work beautifully and just be an accent to your overall design.

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  46. Love HORCHOW but normally find their products too pricey? Now, through June 7 at 8 pm Central time, is your BIG chance. Everything on their site is 25% to 30% off. One of my favorites is the Parisian Wall Sconce. Normally $125 (a steal at that price), today it is only $87.50! White washed, curvy arms decorated with classic acanthus leaves support a substantial candle topped with a linen shade. If I were doing a neutral color scheme, a pair could easily find its way into a bedroom, bathroom or even a livingroom.

    This is a large sconce with great bones. You courageous souls out there might even re-paint to match YOUR decor.

    Check it out: http://www.horchow.com/p/Parisian-Acanthus-Sconce-Sconces/cprod82500002_cat7930731_cat14540734_/?index=17&cmCat=cat000000cat1590731cat14540734cat7930731&isEditorial=false

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    1. No, I do NOT work for Horchow, however, they do have some great stuff. (A lot of things are TOO over the top for me, but that is another discussion.) Anyway, they have extended their 30% Off Sale one more day! Please check out the "Zara" wall sconce from Currey & Co, a very upscale lighting company. It is delicate yet bold. With a very unique shape and a mix of gold and silver gilt, it would add an amazing decorative punch to almost any all-white, all grey or neutrally decorated room.

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  47. In the last house I had french door and small corner windows. I draped each side of the french door and continued to small window next to door,and in corner between windows and on other side of lone window. Used one rod connected at corner, could not tell that we did our own rod because of cost, looked fab. Her windows are same height it could be worse. Current house have small windows, made shades from sturdy fabric, lined, looks great. Love your idea Joni, LOVE your blog. Love your kitchen table, I want it.

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  48. Hi Anon, I LOVE Joni's kitchen table, too. Was over at Pier One the other day and saw that they have something very similar. It is not as large or quite as classy, but still very attractive. It might meet your needs. The other option is to beg Joni to put you in her Will get that table. However, you will have to arm wrestle a LOT of people to get a spot in line!
    http://www.pier1.com/Catalog/Furniture/tabid/981/List/0/CategoryID/155/level/a/ProductID/3319/ProductName/Ashmont-Bistro-Dining-Table/Default.aspx

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  49. Joni,

    Love this information, especially why the outside windows are dark...no yard lights.....

    These are the things the rest of us just don't know.

    Thanks for sharing your knowlege.

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  50. Just Sheetrock over windows....you won't miss them. Then, install a great and really wonderful mirror with antiqued mirror to soften things. Also, pick a bleached or distressed long leaf pine frame for the mirror. Also, paint walls a pretty oyster color and invest in a larger toned down rug. Maybe chairs should be slipcovered in a great linen....pale , pale violet or pale gray. To fill spaces where windows were you could add some great looking gilded sconces.

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  51. Hi Joni. I just wanted to say thanks so much for stopping by my blog and leaving your sweet comment. I am a huge fan and have learned so much from your blog and skirted roundtable. So fun! I look forward to all your posts.

    Sincerely,

    Lane McNab

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  52. Dear CdT, you have 71 comments already, so not sure you need mine too. BUT I just wanted to say how inspired I am by your post. I'm a designer in the UK, and I was kinda thinking along your lines as I read the dilemma, but I must say you answered it so well and I loved your ideas for the rest of the room! SGHx

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  53. The table is really lovely. I like it a lot! Nice page.

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  54. Thanks for writing, I very much liked your newest post. I think you should post more frequently. you evidently have natural ability for blogging! Now you can have instant snow anywhere on demand even where it never snows, Kwik-Snowc an make artificial or fake snow even in the middle of the desert.

    Regards,
    fake snow decoration

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  55. Has anyone mentioned plantation shutters? If the walls are lightened, a light shutter would streamline and structure the windows. And from the outside, they would look more finished. Joanna

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    1. I thought we had beaten this dog to death until I read your suggestion. I think it's a good one. However, unless the entire house is shuttered, just having three may look awkward. It certainly beats the flimsy fabric hanging there now.

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  56. I looked at this dilemma several times, and really listened to the owner's request that she not use roman shades, and that she really needs the light during the day. For the wall where the slider is - remove the slider AND the window next to the slider, and make that a wall of 3 french doors. One door with two faux doors next to it, for a beautiful wall of light. She could put whatever curtains she wanted for nighttime privacy. Then you are left with two symmetrical windows on the red wall. Fill those with leaded glass like another commenter suggested, or some other opaque glass that provides privacy yet still lets light through. I suspect her yard outside these windows isn't conducive to a pretty view, so framing a view wouldn't work.

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  57. Something about the color scheme bothers me, feels very drab.

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    1. I thought Charlotte told us that red was the color of passion. All that passion in the dining room doesn't seem to go with the grungy looking floor tiles, however.

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    2. The tiles appear to be Saltillos, a widely used flooring material in the Southwest. If so, they are a very rustic, hand made type of tile that has an uneven surface and a wide variation in color. What may appear to be grungy to you may simply be the normal appearance of the tile.

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  58. olá, pesquisando na internet encontrei seu blog, parabéns temcoisas linda.
    tenha uma ótima semana.

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  59. All wonderful suggestions you've given "Dining Room Dilemma Lady" Joni!
    If budget doesn't allow for the windows to be removed/reworked, subtle blinds mounted inside is probably the best way to go. Without seeing the rest of the home it is difficult to suggest paint and fabric choices, but I love the inspiring photos you've included. Can't go wrong with black & white.
    Fun post!

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  60. Try installing spring rods halfway or 3/4 up your window and use lace or nylon sheers...and on the top use stained glass...sometimes you can find these small windows at auctions, estate sales or even garage sales. That will still let in light but give some detail to your windows...

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  61. Joni, do you seriously think that these crappy little windows are worth four days of publication. I think every solution known to mankind has been voiced here. Can we now move on to something really interesting.

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  62. haha - no. i don't. but my internet was down and then my computer died. sooo that's why i took a little longer..

    great comments everyone - s eriously - i thought this one wouldn't spark your interest, but it did! i actually am loving this series. !!!

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  63. Great advice! I like the bamboo on those windows and the doors, plus curtains on the doors. But, all are great ideas. I agree about a larger rug and possibly a different wall color, but the rest is great!

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  64. I think it is the perfect house and the Roman shades concord, ca is good to use because it is good treatment for windows.

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