HOUSE: Newburgh

It’s curtains for me! (Groan.)

I spent about 8 hours today doing a terrible job sewing curtains out of material I don’t even like. Ugh. Why? I am totally at a loss for what to do in this house when it comes to curtains. Stupid windows! I’m going to cover them all with plywood and call it a day.

Seriously, what do you do when you have three tall, narrow windows all right next to each other on a curved wall?? Everything winds up looking like a wall of fabric, especially at night. Help. What should I do? We need light, but we also need privacy.

This is the current situation (see the overly-long sheers puddled on the floor? I hate them even more now that I’ve hemmed them):


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  • Reply sandra November 2, 2007 at 4:08 am

    i had three windows on a curved wall like this in my last apartment, so i know the problem. think you did a great job!

  • Reply November 2, 2007 at 8:03 am

    a wall of curtains is cozy. i think they look great. if you really hate it what about shutters? you could paint them a splashy new color every time you get tired of them. OR ask yourself “what would wary and meyers do?” I think they look great though.

  • Reply Lillian November 2, 2007 at 9:13 am

    I actually like the look. If you don´t like the look of the curtains at all, why not try and move the couch in front of the windows? Like in the layout you posted a while back?

    BTW, I love your house and what you did so far. Would you please adopt me?

    Then, when do we get to see the kitchen? It looks great on the snapshot below.

  • Reply zee November 2, 2007 at 9:39 am

    You’re crazy! The window treatment in the above picture looks WONDERFUL. The light, colours and textures in that part of the room all work so beautifully together. The whole shot looks like something straight out of Living Etc.

  • Reply zee November 2, 2007 at 9:40 am

    PS: That white plant pot! Can you tell me where it’s from? Thanks!

  • Reply Anna at D16 November 2, 2007 at 9:53 am

    You all are too nice! The curtains don’t look so hot in person, really. They are cheap synthetic fabric (as they were meant to be temporary), and need to be replaced…I just haven’t done it because I can’t commit to anything else! Maybe I just need to go with plain white linen sheers.

    Sandra: So what did you do with your windows? Do you have a photo?

    Monique: WWWMD? Yeah, I’ve asked myself that question! I think the answer is either (a) no curtains at all, or (b) something gauzy and transparent and pulled open all the time. In other words, something totally impractical (no privacy) but gorgeous.

    Zee: The plant pot is from IKEA. It has a great embossed Orla Kiely-esque leaf pattern on it. I wish now that I had bought several of these, as they don’t have them in the stores anymore.

    Lillian: We’ve tried putting the sofa in front of the window, but it’s tough to make that work well since the room is so narrow and has so many doorways. As for the kitchen, I’ll try to take some photos this weekend. It’s very cute and VERY informal!

  • Reply November 2, 2007 at 11:58 am

    what about bold colored curtains that stop just at the edge of the window frame?

  • Reply lena November 2, 2007 at 12:03 pm

    I am sensing where you’re coming from with the curtains. I don’t think I have a photo, I will have to look, but I had a similar situation, and I used a brushed cotton white on white print (Egyptian key print) for a couple inch trim at the top and made tab curtains that I put on a spring rod. Then, most of them was a sheer creamy stuff (moderately cheap but not too flowy) and then more brushed cotton for trim at the bottom. They hung to just at the floor, not piling on the floor, but were quite full within the window.
    Does this make any sense?

  • Reply jennifer in sf November 2, 2007 at 5:17 pm

    I like the look of the long curtains, although if the fabric is as yuck as you say, linen would be nice.

    But if you really don’t want so much fabric over there, maybe try solar shades. There’s a link on AT:SF right now to someone who has very similar triple windows and wanted the light and the privacy. It looks pretty nice.

  • Reply Cheryl November 2, 2007 at 6:48 pm

    Have you thought about blinds or shades that come up from the bottom – then you can pull them partway up when you need privacy but want sunlight to still come in. Not sure how much hardware would be involved and that might be an issue – looks like you have great window frames.

    Or short tiers hung on rods inside the frames that stop at the sill. You would probably have to make the tiers – all I’ve ever seen are more casual or kitchen-y than you probably want for this room. I’d probably do just one panel for each window and not too full unless the fabric is fairly sheer. You could leave the top bare or do some sort of valance (either matching the tiers or not).

    If you are totally at a loss – see what a local interior designer would charge for an hour or two of time for a consult & suggestions. They know about all sorts of odd hardware and styles that most of us don’t even dream about. Just be sure you give them an idea if you are on the beer or champagne budget – so they know what sort of suggestions are reasonable.

  • Reply kristina norgaard November 3, 2007 at 2:19 pm

    Would you believe, I think about curtains too – my curtains – even though I’m on vacation. As for yours, I vote for the sheer linen ones. Because your windows are so beautiful in themselves, the curtains wouldn’t have to be full and could end at the sill so that you can still see the trim around the windows. In other words, the most minimal curtain imaginable. I forgot to bring your email address – talk to you on Monday when we get back. Hi to Bruno!

  • Reply katie November 5, 2007 at 12:14 pm

    I 2nd the idea of looking into solar shades. You can get them at different levels of transparency. So you can still get a lot of light through, but still have a bit of privacy.

  • Reply Door Sixteen » Oh, Monday. November 5, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    […] of all, thank you so much for all the curtain suggestions. I have a lot to think about! Being at home all week was very helpful, too, as it allowed me to see […]

  • Reply holly November 6, 2007 at 3:58 pm

    What about balloon shades?
    I know Target isn’t exactly the definition of luxury, but I know they have some there:

  • Reply Anna at D16 November 6, 2007 at 4:06 pm

    Not my taste, Holly, but thank you for the suggestion! 🙂

  • Reply Zoe November 9, 2007 at 9:39 pm

    For former Brooklyn apt with similar windows, we found 80s vintage off-white cotton velvet drapes at a thrift store, took out the pleats/drapery hooks and machine washed them to deconstruct them just enough to take away the Dynasty look–then made a simple rod pocket and hung near ceiling height from dowels painted the same color as the walls so that the rods “disappeared.” To keep nosy neighbors out and let light in when curtains were open, put up some rice paper in the lower 2/3 of the window–Kate’s Paperie in Manhattan has awesome selection (incl. on-line). I sewed curtain weights at the bottom of curtains, so they hung a bit more like a structured blind than a drape, less messy than sheers or lightweight linen.

  • Reply No name please February 10, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    I think that pulley shades might work well. I have two in my bedroom, and they work wonders. if the idea is not appealing, maybe you can try a different color (or if you like those curtains you can just cut of the, I agree, ugly lumps of curtain on the ground). Trying colors is great, and in this room, I would suggest a more mild, cool color. Otherwise, the house looks great. I really like your taste.

  • Reply RACHEL B December 18, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    I understand your frustration. Have you considered tie up shades instead of curtains?

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