Window Treatments and Beyond

Recently my wonderful sister-in-law Shelly, (also known as Sherry) asked me for some design advice. She wants to update the window treatments in a few areas of her home, specifically in the kitchen over the sink, in the dining room (which features a window seat) and above some French doors that open to a patio.

Since Shelly and my brother live in Arizona, I asked them to take some photos of the windows and provide accurate measurements so that I could get a feel for each space. I asked for not only length and width but depth, the distance from the floor to the ceiling and the distance to adjacent walls or cabinets. This gave me a much more complete picture in my head to start working.

Let’s concentrate on the kitchen today. Currently they have a gathered valance that has seen better days. The window is centered between two rows of cabinets and does not have room above for either a fabric treatment or an alternative. Since Shelly does not sew and doesn’t want a custom treatment, the options are to go with ready-made or come up with something else. Unfortunately so many of the ready-made treatments look alike and have very little originality. They are gathered or poofed or swagged or whatever. So, lucky for us, I always have an idea. Here is what I suggested:

1. Don’t use fabric. Hang a shelf there instead. There are very nice wooden shelves out there that are reasonably priced from stores like Pottery Barn
. They can also be ordered online from places like Exposures or Ballard Designs. The shelves come in lengths from 2feet and up. They are made to look like wooden crown molding – some are very decorative, some are very sleek. I recommend a white painted version, with a lot of depth so you can actually use it for display. The shelf is a great place for some plants or some treasures you like to look at every day, like Grandma’s teacups or even something one of your grown children made long ago. You get the idea. Even a mini collection of brass teapots will work.

2. No more cleaning. By losing the fabric you won’t have to constantly take down the treatment, wash and re-hang it – but you will still have to dust the treasures once in a awhile. All of my friends know how much I LOVE to dust and clean. Stop laughing all of you.

Photos above from Pottery Barn

3. Hang a row of plates in this space. The plates can be individually mounted on plate hangers and hung in a row, or buy a cool horizontal plate hanger from a place like HomeGoods (talk about treasures galore). You can even buy the plates there too. If you have any heirloom plates or a special theme you enjoy, let that be your guide. My personal favorite is the French toile look – I have a few plates and platters hanging in that pattern in my own home. The plate hanger shown below is from Fine Home Displays.

4. Go natural. Again, by losing the "everyone-has-it" fabric idea you can be creative. Buy a natural swag made of curly willow or twigs and put a small loop on either end and just hang it on two nails or hooks in the wall. “Decorate” it with silk greenery like trailing ivy or grape ivy and then add some faux fruit (wires in very easily) or even faux flowers, although that would be my second choice. If you don’t feel you have the creative chops to do this yourself, you can always go to a local florist and have them make one up for you – yes they all will work with dried flowers too. Or, go to a silk plant shop or even to Michael's where they have custom designers to work with you. Just be sure to take your measurements or a photo of an idea.

5. If you go with a natural treatment or even with the shelving at the holidays you can customize it to make you smile. String lights on the swag or display your Santas on the shelf. Remember to buy a shelf with a lot of depth – some are very narrow and only meant for plates.

OK, there are a few ideas for all of you. I personally can’t wait to get to Arizona and see some finished results!!


SB said...

Oh, Tete Becky, it's so fabulous that you are sharing your design expertise with my parents! You have incredible taste...and, moreover, thank you for helping to eliminate that horrendous "curtain thing" in the kitchen!! Great ideas :)

Anonymous said...

Great idea on the natural look. Much more creative than a store bought look. Thanks. Pat

BECKY B. said...

Thanks for the comment Stephanie. I can't wait to see what changes your folks end up making! Hope you are doing well.