Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Problem with Bay Windows

When we bought our house, one of the things that I really loved was the bay windows in the living room.  Fast-forward ten years later, and I ask myself, "What was I thinking?"

Yes, they provide a lot of light, but I've really struggled finding the right window treatments.  Here's the picture from the listing when we bought the house.  Check out that swag!  Huge floral print decked out in 1990s jewel tones!

Can you believe when we wrote the contract, I insisted on the owners leaving that valance?  Again, "What was I thinking?"

After a couple of years, they were looking faded and outdated, so I sold them on Craigslist and replaced them with a simpler set of three valances to coordinate with the new olive green walls.

Say it with me now: "What was I thinking?"  At the time, I thought it was an improvement, but Mr. Tallgrass said they looked "too whimsical."  The seed of doubt was now planted and growing like a weed.

(To my credit, the tutorial for making these valances is one of my all-time most viewed posts.)

After adding the overmantel in the living room, I was ready to ditch the valances for something more neutral.  I looked everywhere for affordable curtains that were at least 108 inches long.  Many reviews of curtains I found at JC Penney or Bed Bath and Beyond were negative because the panels were actually different lengths than advertised, sometimes off by as much as two inches.  That wouldn't do when trying to dress three windows in a row!

I was ready to give up on buying ready-made curtains and submit to making my own, if I could find fabric that wouldn't break the bank.  Let's see...

Four (possibly six) 108 inch panels
$15 per yard for featured fabric (on sale)
That's at least $180 before 10% sales tax, plus I'd still need some sort of lining fabric.

We have a home decor fabric outlet in town, so I thought I'd check it out.  They have fabric for as little as $4/yard, but when it's gone, it's gone, so planning ahead is crucial when shopping there.  And that's where I found pre-made 100% linen panels.  They were perfect!

And the price?  $26 each for 120 inch panels.  A little hemming and a lot of ironing, and they were ready to hang.

I had to coach the pleats into shape for a couple of days.  Some strips of scrap fabric work well for this.  Just press the pleats with your fingers then hold them together with the strips tied every foot or so. After a couple of days, the pleats will stay in place on their own.  I love the neutral, classic look of these linen panels.

I'm linking up...
Between Naps on the Porch
Cedar Hill Ranch
Savvy Southern Style

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Lighten Up

Sorry for another disappearing act.  This summer hasn't turned out as I expected, and I've been pretty under the weather.  Being sick is never fun, but it always seems to be a little worse during the summertime.

We've managed a few un-blog-worthy projects around the house, like replacing a storm door that was literally crumbling to pieces and having gutter guards installed since the trees are now taller than the roof line (read: regularly clogged gutters).  The yard I worked so hard on this spring is now a weedy mess.  The laundry piled higher and higher, and when I was finally feeling well enough to tackle it, the washer broke.  Oh well.

During a good week, I decided I'd had enough of our dark olive green living room.  I had changed it from a ho-hum taupe about five years ago to SW Olive Grove and immediately regretted it.  It was just too dark.

Adding the overmantel helped lighten the room, but I still wanted a brighter, happier look.  I wanted to stick with a shade of green, and I finally settled on Valspar's Desert Grass that I had mixed at Sherwin Williams because I love their Cashmere paint.

It's a much more cheerful room, and the traditional cherry furniture I love seems less heavy now. This shade of green really blends well with the brass hardware, especially in the grandfather clock, my very first Craigslist purchase from about five years ago.  Can you believe I scored this beauty for only $125?  Since it had been stored in a dirty garage, I had it professionally cleaned, and the serviceman said it was worth about $800.  Score!

I've always been and admirer of secretary desks.  My grandmother and my great-grandmother had one, but I thought they were a little old-fashioned until I saw the many hutches and the secretary desk in Mary Carol Garrity's home:

So when I found a secretary that had just been put on the sales floor at ReStore, I pounced on it.  It's filled with beautiful books (that we've actually read, thank-you-very-much!) and favorite pictures documenting some of our family history.

It took five years, but I think I've finally figured out this room.