HOUSE: New Mexico #2

Dining room curtains from Barn & Willow.

Barn & Willow curtains -

I’ve never considered myself a curtains type of person. The last time I attempted to like curtains was in 2007, and I hated them immediately. When I finally replaced them with roller shades, I felt deeply relieved and never looked back. This house, though…this house has me reconsidering curtains, particularly in the dining room, where the wide casement windows are fronted with beautiful (and original) glass shelves that protrude into the room by a couple of inches. Roller shades wouldn’t work on this window of the shelves, so curtains feel like the right alternative.

OK, before I go any further, I need to get this off my chest: I have a really hard time using the words “draperies,” “drapes” and “window treatments.” Theses terms are right up there on my nope-list with “slacks,” “water feature” and “purse.” I feel like I’m 90 years old when I say “draperies.” So can I just call them “curtains,” please? Thank you. Moving along…

Barn & Willow curtains -

This is the situation I was dealing with when I first moved in to my new house. If there is anything sadder in the world than brown polyester curtains, I’ve never experienced it. If they were just brown or just polyester, that would be one thing (I guess), but brown and polyester? Why would anyone do that to their life? To make matters worse, the purchaser of said curtains hung them two inches from the ceiling and a foot and a half off the floor. Now, I don’t know all the rules about hanging curtains correctly, but I am 100% sure this isn’t the way to do it.

Right around the time I rented the house, I was contacted by Barn & Willow about trying their Belgian linen curtains in my house. The timing was perfect, so I agreed! I ordered a bunch of free fabric swatches, and knew pretty much immediately that I wanted to go with the Belgian flax linen in Mist Gray.

Barn & Willow curtains -

I mocked up an overly-elaborate plan for my future curtains, tweaking proportions and trying to figure out what was going to look right in the dining room. (Emily Henderson’s blog post about hanging curtains all wrong was hugely helpful in figuring this out!) Once I felt confident that I had the right measurements, I plugged all of my info into Barn & Willow’s customization tool and hoped for the best.

Barn & Willow curtains -

Oh my. That’s quite an improvement, yes? I never thought I could love curtains, but I could not be happier with these. The fabric is really nice, and they’re beautifully sewn. The hems are weighted so they hang neatly and without any bunching. I could not be more impressed with the craftsmanship. I honestly had no idea how nice curtains could be, and what a difference it makes having them custom-made for your window’s individual specifications.

In the course of communicating with Barn & Willow about my plans, they sent me a photo of their Mist Gray curtains hanging in Victoria’s house so I could see what they’d look like. I didn’t realize it was Victoria’s house until I did a reverse image search trying to figure out where the curtain hardware came from, though! Too funny. So of course I just went ahead and bought the same Industrial Pipe curtain rod from West Elm and bronze eyelet rings that she used, because if it’s good enough for Victoria, it’s good enough for me.

Barn & Willow curtains -

I’m shocked by how much I like them. I think the thing I’ve always disliked about curtains is the “wall of fabric” effect they can create when you have multiple windows in a row. Also, I think of them as being so much more formal than my usual style—too fussy? These feel so casual, airy and open to me, though. They’re totally right in this space!

Barn & Willow curtains -

Part of what helps them look softer and more casual is my choice of a soft top rather than pleated. I can see why someone might want pleats, but for me, relaxed is the way to go. I was worried that I’d spend 15 minutes tweaking the position of the rings and folds every morning (cuz that’s just how I do) when I opened the curtains, but that hasn’t been the case—so maybe that soft top is making me feel more relaxed, too.

Barn & Willow curtains -

I kind of love the way puddled linen curtains look, but I sort of had this vision of Fritz trying to make a little bed at the bottom. Or of me sucking the curtains into the vacuum cleaner. So I went with a length that would have my curtains fall just above the floor. This made hanging the curtains a little trickier because I couldn’t just level the curtain rod, I had to adjust it so the curtains would be level at the bottom. In the end, I wound up splitting the difference because the floor isn’t quite level—so the curtain rod is 1/8″ off level, and the curtains are 1/8″ higher off the floor on one side than the other. You really, truly cannot tell.

Barn & Willow curtains -

Barn & Willow’s curtains are available with no lining, a privacy lining or with a blackout-level liner. Despite my tendency to want to cover windows with the sheerest materials possible, I opted for the privacy lining. This is the only window in my house that faces another house and it’s also one of the only rooms where I regularly use overhead lighting, so a little privacy is needed in here. You can see in this photo what it looks like closed in full daylight—it’s not totally dark, but it’s definitely enough that you could use this level of lining in a bedroom and not be blinded by the sun coming up in the morning.

Barn & Willow curtains -

See how nice that Mist Gray linen is? It’s so unlike me to choose an option that isn’t white. I figured if I’m going to betray all of my biases against curtains, I might as well throw all caution to the wind and choose a wild color like…light gray. That’s the Anna of 2016, folks! So unpredictable. So edgy.

Barn & Willow curtains -

OH!!! I almost forgot! Check this out—DRAPERY PINS. I had no idea what these were until faced with the task of attaching my rings to my curtains. Fortunately the pins were packed in my box from Barn & Willow, because otherwise I probably would have been sewing the rings on like a dummy. Where do people learn about things like drapery pins, anyway? Does my mother not know about them, either? I feel like I’ve never encountered them before in my life, but apparently they’re a thing everyone knows about. Also, I just used the word “drapery” a whole bunch of times.

Barn & Willow curtains -

While I’m at it, here’s a little sneak peek at the other side of my dining room! I’ll show more of this room soon, but in the mean time, I’ll leave you with the queen of draperies—Nadine Hurley. May she and her silent drape runners someday find the happiness they deserve.

Barn & Willow provided me with draperies in exchange for this post. All opinions, thoughts, ideas, experiences and photographs presented here are my own.

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  • Reply Kari August 2, 2016 at 9:57 am

    Love these! I think curtains are so house specific. If you have amazing trim to show off, really nice windows, or interesting architecture – stay away from the curtains at all costs. But for small, aluminum, or awkwardly placed windows, bring in the fabric. They bring so much to a space (or just wall, for that matter) that is in need of character or definition.

  • Reply Katrina August 2, 2016 at 11:15 am

    I love these curtains (those windows are so cool!) and also hate all those window accessories words! I love curtains, especially blowing in a light breeze not small children or dog playing in them and ripping them off the walls.

  • Reply Ryan August 2, 2016 at 11:54 am

    I love and sometimes hate curtains. I have them in the bedrooms because we have in-swing casements preventing roman shades and in some places roller shades. The roller shades work in the kitchen and I thought they’d be great in the bedroom too for some light filtering and privacy but turns out they prevent the window from opening more than 90 degrees so it sticks straight out in the room and doesn’t fold back to the wall. I haven’t taken them off (and have some damaged trim from opening one too far) but will eventually.

    I love the natural linen curtains in that house and think the color is a compliment to the white walls. Fritz is so tiny but I know my dogs love to push the curtains out of the way to look out of the window and after a while you notice the grungy spot they’ve left (so washable curtains are important too).

    I only know about drapery pins after living in a 1950s house with three picture windows and original drapes and sheers. They were worn and polyester (but cream colored) but they were also on individual tracks so we could open them separately and always looked good and evenly spaced. They were the right choice for that style of window/house.

  • Reply Anacelie August 2, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    So, so beautiful! Love the linen with the pipe rod. And the little glass shelves are the sweetest…I’ve never seen those on the old casements.

  • Reply Tammy August 2, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    COTTON! BALLS! Sometimes I’ll just say this out of nowhere because I love that scene so much. Thanks for the curtain review and all the sneak peeks of your new home!

    • Anna @ D16 August 2, 2016 at 2:28 pm

      Poor Nadine! I’m so glad she’s back for the new season of TP.

  • Reply Clare August 2, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    I feel the need to confess that in my old house, I broke all the curtain rules, and they ended ABOUT FOUR INCHES ABOVE THE GROUND. This was mostly because our windows were so tall, that that was where the longest length of the Ikea curtains that I liked would end. And also I had a really filthy dog that loved slouching against walls, and would totally have got those things mucky in two seconds. Not to mention how they would catch fur-tumble-weeds. Ick. And we had super-deep skirting boards, so the white curtains hit the white skirting boards, and I don’t think it was too noticeable, and didn’t look too bad.

    So there. My drape confession.

    • Anna @ D16 August 2, 2016 at 2:29 pm

      Haha! You do what you have to Clare! Sometime dogs dictate the rules. 😉

  • Reply Elise Xavier August 2, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    They do look really great in the space, but I’m definitely a curtain person, so quite a bit biased ;). Look a little purple in the pictures – wonder if that’s the case in the flesh – but it comes out pretty cute !

    • Anna @ D16 August 2, 2016 at 2:28 pm

      That’s just the effect of the light passing through—they’re not purple at all!

  • Reply Db August 2, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    I’m with you on curtains, but agree these look so light and airy.

    Wondering if that table is IKEA?

  • Reply Thomasina August 2, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    The room, curtains included, looks lovely and none of things you might associate with curtains (great thing about being English they are never drapes!) We have curtains in most rooms and one of the cats likes to make a bed where the living room curtains pool on the floor which can get a bit annoying when you go to close them! I haven’t seen metal curtain hooks before (drapery pins) much nicer than the plastic ones you find over here – must look out for them. Loving the new house and can’t wait to see more x

    • Anna @ D16 August 2, 2016 at 2:22 pm

      Hahahaha, I guess I wasn’t too far off with my concerns about Fritz making a curtain-bed!! 😀

  • Reply Jon August 2, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    Looks awesome! Glad to see I’m not the only one who mocked up an elaborate plan with help from Emily Henderson’s post 🙂 One thing I got hung up on was whether or not to include the top window trim in the measurement. Emily’s example illustration as well your window is trim-less, making the 2/3 rule easy to figure out. Would consider the trim as part of the window and measure from the ceiling to the top of the window trim? Or ignore the trim and measure from the ceiling to where the window starts?

    • Anna @ D16 August 2, 2016 at 2:21 pm

      I would include the window trim as part of the overall wall measurement, Jon, especially if it’s painted a similar color to the wall. If it’s really high contrast (black walls, white trim), I might consider going the other way…in the end I think of those rules as being guidelines to adjust as needed!

  • Reply Lynn August 2, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    Love what you’re doing to this house! I also have a 1938 Spanish and am so excited to see what you do. FYI, in case you don’t know (Elvis left me wondering) that molding up there, that’s picture rail!

    • Lynn August 2, 2016 at 2:03 pm

      GAH! Morrissey! I feel like an idiot!!

    • Anna @ D16 August 2, 2016 at 2:09 pm

      Don’t feel like an idiot, you were correct, it’s Elvis!! The Smiths never used their own photos on their record sleeves. 🙂

    • Anna @ D16 August 2, 2016 at 2:10 pm

      Yes indeed, the entire house has crown picture rails! I’ll probably use them for a few things in the living room.

  • Reply Jane August 2, 2016 at 2:31 pm

    Hi Anna,
    The house is looking amazing and I love those new curtains (don’t call them drapes!) I am oh too familiar with curtain hooks, once in high school, I pierced my friends ears with a curtain hook! ears frozen and sterilizing of course, but a darning needle wasn’t doing the trick. (Sorry that is a creepy story)

    • Anna @ D16 August 2, 2016 at 2:32 pm

      !!!!!!! JANE, I AM SCREAMING. I’ve pierced my own ears a bunch of times (and my own nose, too), but never with a DRAPERY PIN. OMG.

  • Reply Fahm August 2, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    The drapes hang so beautifully! Also love your dining room. What color is your wall? Such a nice neutral shade of (gray)?

  • Reply Kelli August 2, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    I’m feeling seriously self-conscious: when did “purse” become an old lady term? What are the kids calling them these days? Oh, and nice drapes. 😉

    • Anna @ D16 August 4, 2016 at 1:03 pm

      “Purse” doesn’t make me feel like I’m 90, “draperies” does! I just call it a bag—”purse” is such a weirdly gendered word for a utilitarian item. I’m 40, so I’m not sure if I count as a kid, hahaha 😉

  • Reply Ellen August 2, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    The curtains look great! For a more budget option, IKEA AINA curtains are unlined linen that can be hung with drapery hooks or through tabs in the back of the header.. (I think they used to come in light gray, but I don’t see them now:, though they have white, dark gray, etc.) I also like the cotton RITVA curtains that come in 118″ lengths. It seems like a simple task,, but it takes me forever to pin up curtains for hemming — it’s the slope of the floors, and also something about the undulations (?) in the way curtains hang that has me redoing it again and again.

    Other words I have extreme difficulty with: panties (and the tangentially related crotch), and foyer (especially when pronounced “foy-YAY”).

  • Reply Kristin August 2, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    Those brown petal pusher curtains were wild. I do love the new curtains you chose to replace them. Beautiful. And I learned something new today as well, draper pins?! Who knows these things? I guess I do now.

    • Anna @ D16 August 4, 2016 at 1:03 pm

      PETAL PUSHER CURTAINS. Hahahhahahhahahaha!!

  • Reply Poppy August 2, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    I love seeing your different accessories in all of your photos and the way you arrange them. Would you ever consider doing a post just on all the beautiful little things you have around your home? I would love it.

  • Reply Chris August 2, 2016 at 8:00 pm

    Those shelves! Love.

  • Reply mommy August 2, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    Oh, Anna, I feel exactly the way you do about curtains! And, yes, I used drapery pins once when I made my own curtains for the Bronxville apartment. Its easy and you can buy the tape if you ever want to make your own. I love how nice and soft these look! Your directions are perfect too. Next time, I’ll consider buying from this company. So easy to let Anna do all the thinking! Love.

  • Reply Jill August 3, 2016 at 6:29 am

    Oh it looks so beautiful – I may have to study up on my curtain knowledge! I adore this room – where is that cabinet from? Love it!

    • Anna @ D16 August 3, 2016 at 9:16 am

      Hi Jill, that’s an Eames Storage Unit.

  • Reply Veronica August 3, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    NADINE! So fab! Thanks for introducing me to Barn & Willow. I need this in my life right now as we are dragging our feet on painting/redecorating our bedroom. Maybe I need those curtain rods too…

  • Reply CarolGK August 3, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    The Curtains look beautiful. Totally agree on the “no” list except for “purse.” The word I hate is “pocketbook” which is pronounced “pock a book” if you live where I do which is the New York metro area.

    • Anna @ D16 August 3, 2016 at 7:37 pm

      HAHAHAHA, yes, pockabook!!

    • jen August 3, 2016 at 11:40 pm

      Ha! that was exactly my thought when I read the post. NJ native here.

      I’m actually on the hunt for curtains after ringblomma shading my bedroom windows. The shades are great but it gets light too early so I’m thinking curtains on top maybe

  • Reply Malia August 4, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    Thank you for teaching me how to use those drapery pins properly! I had no idea how I was going to hang my fancy thrifted curtains until now.

  • Reply Chujuk August 5, 2016 at 12:40 am

    I love the curtains! They look very stylish/expensive and relaxed at the same time.
    May I ask you about Valspar paint you used for the walls?
    Is it dirt resistant (as I know you’ve used in the kitchen as well)? Does it chip or peel easily? What can you say about the overall quality?
    Sorry for my questions, I just try to understand if I should paint my new rental using Valspar 🙂

    • Anna @ D16 August 5, 2016 at 3:00 pm

      I’ve been using Valspar paint exclusively since moving to a Benjamin Moore-less zone last year. It’s great! I honestly can’t tell the difference between Valspar Reserve and BM Aura. It’s great paint.

    • Chujuk August 8, 2016 at 10:05 am

      Thank you Anna!!!

  • Reply Laurel August 5, 2016 at 11:36 am

    Anna: Love your blog, and your curtains (all my windows are nude, but you have me thinking). And you MUST watch the Crazy Curtain lady of Coventry Rhode Island on YouTube (turn up the volume and give it a few seconds). You’ve never seen such a fantastic love o’ curtains in your life.

    • Anna @ D16 August 5, 2016 at 11:38 am

      That’s an old favorite of mine, Laurel!

  • Reply Tina Slocum August 8, 2016 at 7:06 pm

    You had me really laughing at your nope list! Those curtains are perfection, relaxed, comfortable and they really finish the room smartly. I love the color and especially the material and texture. Now I want to tear my one set down and throw them in the trash.
    My nope list include: credenza, chesterfield, and commode. Yet I still say hairdresser. It’s the SW heat, I tell you.

  • Reply Chris August 9, 2016 at 4:19 am

    Beautiful! Is the lampshade a Nelson? looks fab.

    • Anna @ D16 August 9, 2016 at 8:54 am

      Yep! Thanks. 🙂

  • Reply Kelly August 13, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    Beautiful! But I must confess my eye was immediately drawn to your fruit plate… Please tell us where it’s from!

    • Anna @ D16 August 13, 2016 at 12:55 pm


  • Reply Jessica September 3, 2016 at 11:25 am

    Anna – this post had me reading with a goofy smile. I run a drapery (I know, I know) workroom for interior designers, and loved how you captured your approach to this project. Keep on keeping’ on – you inspire the rest of us to not just read about it but give it a try…one day. Maybe. -Jessica

  • Reply Serenity April 23, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    Re-reading this old post of yours because it’s time for me to do something about my windows. I’m hung up on curtain rods though… Yours are adjustable – does the telescoping mechanism in the middle of the rod stand out (visually)? Does it bother you when you open and close the curtains? I’ve always had solid curtain rods but this time around can’t find any. Curious to hear your thoughts!

    • Anna @ D16 April 24, 2017 at 9:43 pm

      You know, I initially thought it would bother me or be annoyingly noticeable, but it’s really not. I can feel the joint when curtain rings slide over it, but they don’t get stuck. There’s a little tapered plastic ring where the parts meet that keeps everything smooth. And visually, I just don’t even notice unless I’m intentionally checking to see if it bothers me. 😉

  • Reply Dev April 26, 2017 at 10:27 am

    Hi, I’m a bit late to the party but wanted to know where you purchased the shelving system from in the main picture, i also wanted to know what you do with the furniture you no longer use?


  • Reply Carolyn Gereau February 6, 2018 at 4:26 pm

    You are SO lucky this worked out for you! I was not in the same boat. I paid for my curtains and got the wrong size. When I contacted the company they said they would remake them no problem. A couple weeks went by, a month went by, nothing. Then someone told me the fabric was back ordered. Another month goes by, nothing. Another month. I finally get a response again and they said just kidding it was your fault we aren’t making them. Don’t get ripped off people!

  • Reply Erin April 11, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    Great piece. I would only caution that any person thinking about using Barn and Willow first look at their reviews (complaints) on the Better Business Bureau website and Houzz. I ordered from them. Five months, two incorrect sized deliveries (with photo evidence), and over $1,400 ago, I was hopeful. Don’t do it. They have a terrible service record, a problem communicating with their factories in India, and a problem when it comes to honoring guarantees. Save yourself the dashed hopes, and flush your money down the toilet in order to simulate the Barn and Willow experience in a shorter time frame.

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