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