DEAR MISS COTE DE TEXAS: TWO READERS QUESTIONS!

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Today, we have questions from two different readers – both concerning windows:

FIRST READER:

As you can see from the attached pictures, the builder placed a window on  the back wall, but no matching window on the other side.  I know this is a common problem most of us with "cookie cutter" homes run into.  How do we fix this problem?  I cannot afford to add a window because it is NOT approved by our Nazi HOA (I've already tried).  My second problem is that I only have two walls in this living room and one is covered by 3 windows.  Please excuse the messy pictures, but my living room is going through a decorating transformation right now.  Should I place the sofa on the wall that has the 3 windows or should I leave it where it is at and move the chair side by side to the one already by the window?  I found the bench at a local consignment store and could not pass it up...I'm having a cushion made with linen fabric and ballerina ties...Please give me ideas on how to address the one window wall.  It is driving me crazy!!!

 

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The first issue:  should the reader move her sofa in front of her windows like this – or should she keep the sofa on the back wall, below:

 

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Sorry these pictures are not the best! 

Second issue – if she moves her sofa against the back wall – there is only one window, shown here on the left side of the wall.

 

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And here you can see there is no window on the right side of the sofa along the back wall.

 

Solution:  without having more pictures of the room, it’s hard to say which wall the sofa would look better on.  Typically, the wall that faces you when you enter a room should be the wall where the sofa is, or the bed is.   I am guessing that this back wall is the one that you face when you walk into the room.   So – this would typically be the best wall for the sofa.  BUT, the issue of the asymmetrical one window is something to consider.

Sometimes, when people have only one window and want to balance it out – they create a faux window.   They hang curtains and “pretend” there is a window there.  The more labor put into the faux window, the more believable looking it could be.  Case in point:

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Blogger In the Fun Lane had a similar problem with one window where she wanted two.  Here you can see her before picture with just the window on the right side of the mirror.

 

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And here you can see how she “fixed” it with just a curtain rod and panel.  She added the matching urn and plant to hide the wall space.

Now, this is a really easy and inexpensive fix you could do.  Or, you could add a mirror behind the curtain to really make it more realistic, like this:

 

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This mirror is from Horchow and it truly looks like a window.  But check around and find a size that matches your window the best – check Ballard Designs, Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn, and IKEA for floor length mirrors.

Here’s another idea for a faux window:

 

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Can you find the faux window?

 

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Interior designer and blogger Betsy Speert created a faux window by using some manual labor and it really looks real.  Since this is your living room, you might want to splurge a little and do it right – it will look this good if you do.  First, she had a carpenter frame the fake window, just as he would a real one.  Then he installed a piece of mirror, after which Betsy covered it with a blind.  You would use the same blinds that are in your front window to cover the mirror. 

With a faux window you could center the sofa on the back wall.  Since the sofa and curtains are dark, try lightening it up with a gold sunburst mirror like this:

 

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From Tobi Fairley HERE.

 

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Or a mirror like this.

 

  Now, if you don’t want to make a fake window, you could also find a screen that is almost as tall as your window and use that to balance the wall.  Or you could get a tall plant to balance out the window.

Another thing I would suggest, even though you said it was against the Home Owners Association – I would recheck that just to be sure.  It’s hard to believe they could stop you from installing a window that would improve your house!   Adding a window sounds expensive, but it usually can be done for not much more than you would spend “faking” a window.  Call around to get a few bids first before you totally discount that idea.

Finally, your sofa looks pretty as it is in front of the windows.   If you do keep it there, I would consider moving the secretary against that back wall to balance out the window.   Hope this helps!!

 

 

SECOND READER:

Dear Miss Cote de Texas:    I have a twelve foot wall of French doors in my family room that have been undressed since I built this home 13 years ago.  The view is lovely -- the pool and a lake beyond -- so I was one of those who thought the view did not need dressing.  Lately I have been thinking it might enhance the view and the room.  Here is my problem: there is very little room to the left and right of the doors (about 12" before the curtains would touch the glass.  The doors are 8ft high and the ceiling is 12ft.  You can see on the right that the ceiling drops down to 9'4" for the hallway.  

My question is would you hang a rod at the 9'4" height or just under the crown molding?  Second, I like the roman shades hung just below the rod, and have done that in my bedroom, but is it possible to have a 12' wide roman shade or would I have to have two sixes or some other configuration? If the latter is the case, I don't have the opportunity for additional drapes to cover the space/s where the shades meet.  The reason is my doors are hinged so that the center ones fold onto the outer ones and then the folded pairs can also open again and the entire 12' area is open.  So I cannot have curtains hanging in the opening, but only on the sides.  What would you do?

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Actually, the solution is a very easy one!  Here you can see the row of doors and windows – the problem is two fold:

First – the expanse above the window to the crown molding is so wide, AND the top of the windows don’t match the top of the opening to the right.

Answer:   put the drapery rod at the same height as the door opening, which you say is at 9 feet, 4 inches. 

 

Second – the windows and doors are all hinged so that the entire wall opens.  Since you can only have panels on the left and right side, you need to have only one shade that spans the entire 12 feet.

Answer:  you are in luck!   The expanse is 12’ – Hunter Douglas sells textured blinds that are 144” inches long – or 12’  - so you would only need one shade.

 

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See Hunter Douglas’ textured shades in 144” length HERE.

 

Solution:   place the iron curtain rod at the 9’4” height – so that it is even with the door opening.  Place one long shade – 12’ - just under the iron rod.  Position it so that it just clears the top of the doors so they can be opened.   The shade will hide the “dead space” of drywall between the rod and the windows.  

 

 

The look you want to AVOID is hanging the rod above the windows, but putting the shades on top of the windows – this creates the foot or two of “dead space.”  The better way to hang shades without the ‘dead space” is this:

 

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By hanging the shades above the windows, you hide the drywall between the rod and the top of the windows, like this in my family room.

 

Also, by hanging the iron rod higher than the door and windows, you raise your eye upwards and you fill in some of that large gap between the tall ceiling and the lower windows.   Next, hang drapery panels on the left and right side.  I would use 2 widths of fabric on each side.  Yes, it will cover some of the glass, but you can push the fabric close together.  The extra width will look fuller and more luxurious and custom.  Be sure to line the panels with black out lining so that the sun doesn’t shine through – that way, you can see the fabric instead of seeing through the fabric.  Think of the black out lining like wearing a slip under a slightly see through dress!    Since your room is so neutral, I would chose a patterned fabric for the curtains – something like this:

 

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I picked out four different patterned fabrics at Calico Corners which look like they would blend in with your blue chair and taupe sofa.

 

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Whichever fabric you choose, I would also buy an extra yard or two and make pillows for your sofa – 2 - 24” pillows and one lumbar sized pillow for your chair – to tie it all together!  As for the shade – I would choose one in a color close to your sofa in tone, don’t go too dark or too light:

 

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Perhaps something like this.

I hope this answers your question!!

 

If you have a decorating question – send it into Dear Miss Cote de Texas at mrballbox329@aol.com

 

FABULOUS NEW FABRIC LINE: Joni Webb Designs for FOS Fabrics

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Los Angeles interior designer, Mary McDonald, of Million Dollar Decorators fame just came out with a new fabric line for F. Schumacher and I am literally drooling.  While, I’m not a big fan of citrus orange – it’s too bright for me – but notice the curtains and the gorgeous rug!

This ad ran in the new Elle Décor and I was slightly Fifty Shades of Grey over it!

 

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The curtain fabric comes in 4 colorways – tangerine, blush conch, aquamarine and lettuce.  To die for!

 

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OMG!  The blush conch – imagine this color mixed with a soft brown in a bedroom.  I literally gasped when I saw this on the F Schumacher web site.  Gasped.  I want  to have curtains made out of this!  Anyone want a new bedroom designed by Webb Design????? 

 

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I love the Lettuce colorway too.  And the aquamarine colorway.  The Schumacher web site says you could use this as wallcovering but the width is not that wide (54”) and I think it would get boring to see the same scene repeated over a large expanse like in a dining room – but in a small space, such as a powder room or dressing area, it could be great.  Personally, I  think this is a perfect curtain fabric, or a chair fabric or a pillow.   The vertical repeat is 131.5 – so the tallest windows it could cover would be around 10’.

 

 

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A blow up of one section of the Chinois Palais fabric in blush conch.   And the best part?  100% linen.  Leave it to Mary McDonald to come up with the best new fabric design I’ve seen in ages.

 

 

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She pairs the mural fabric with her other new fabrics – a brown velvet, a more contemporary fabric, and a cut velvet.

 

 

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This linen – Garden of Persia is another great one.  And notice the Octavius tape for trims – gorgeous!

 

 

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The linen – Garden of Persia – in the blush conch colorway.  Imagine this as the duvet and headboard with this curtain:

 

 

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What a gorgeous bedroom! 

 

 

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And there is this linen pattern – Villa de Medici which you could also mix with the Chinois Palais fabric. 

 

 

 

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And there are her tapes and appliques that are so unique and match the aesthetic of the fabrics just perfectly.

 

I’ve often thought about fabric designing and how hard it must be.  There have been a few bloggers who have recently designed their own fabric lines – and I’ve always been in awe of their abilities.  One -

 

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Jackie Von Tobel designed an entire line of fabrics – which she drew - but then again, she’s an incredible artist.  Her two books are all hand drawn – with over 1,000 illustrations per book. 

 

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Besides this book, there is another one on Window Treatments HERE.  Jackie’s fabric line was inspired by her own drawings from both books. 

 

 

Another interior designer blogger, Pure Style Home, started her own fabric and furniture line Here called Lauren Liess Textiles.   Above, on a chair she designed, she covered it in two different fabrics from LL Textiles.  I love the green chintz, which comes in several different colorways.

 

These women aren’t that much different than me, but I am amazed that they were able to design fabric lines!  I can’t even imagine how you go about it.   Where do you start?  Do you have to be a good artist? 

Looking at Mary McDonald’s new fabric line, I can understand more easily how she started.  She looked around her house and at her projects for inspiration.  That much is obvious.  For example:

 

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In her new fabric line for F. Schumacher, orange is one of 4 colorways. 

 

 

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Now, this bright orange is a color she has used in designs before.  In her former house, the large entry was mainly orange with blue and white accents.  The entry hall was stunning and the focal point of her entire house.

 

 

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In the center of Mary’s large entry hall, the ceiling drops, and stone arches surround the space.   Mary put two antique Empire day beds in this area covered in tangerine colored fabrics.   The two chairs wear tangerine velvet. 

 

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Another look at her two story Tudor styled entry hall.  Is it any wonder where the inspiration for the Tangerine colorway came from?

 

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And, the inspiration for her Chinois Palais fabric is obvious too!

 

 

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Mary uses handpainted wallpapers from Gracie and DeGournay in many of her projects.   She recently redecorated her bedroom in an aquamarine paper, very similar to her Chinois Palais aquamarine fabric.

 

 

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And, in this house’s entry way, she used another aquamarine wallpaper.

 

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This de Gournay wallpaper in a dining room she designed may have inspired the Lettuce colorway:

 

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It’s also obvious why she chose a Lettuce colorway – you only have to see her newly redecorated kitchen to understand:

 

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The Lettuce green and white fabric and wallpaper used in Mary’s new kitchen décor may have inspired her Lettuce Schumacher fabrics.

 

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Her guest suite is decorated in shades of greens, pinks, and browns – did this also inspire her Lettuce colorway?

 

 

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Mary’s former bedroom in bold navy and white.

 

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This dining room in dark navy was another inspiration  - love the touch of the lettuce green.

 

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Did these blue rooms inspire her Bleu Marine colorway?  So pretty!  Again, this mix would make a wonderful basis for a family room or a bedroom design.

 

 

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Mary  has two fabrics based on a needlepoint stitch.  Here, this linen is a cross between the flamestitch and the more modern chevron, although the web site names marbled Florentine papers as the inspiration.

 

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And this fabric, Bargello, a cotton.   Both these two fabrics have a direct correlation to Mary’s personal life:

 

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In her former house’s dressing room, the walls were papered in a very similar pattern!   While this wallpaper’s lines are more severe, Mary’s Bargello fabric shows softer, curved lines.

 

 

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Such a beautiful dressing room!  I would love this! 

 

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And in her kitchen, the former décor had another flamestitch wallpaper.  Notice the pillows repeat a similar pattern.  Mary must really be a fan of the flamestitch.  

 

 

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Mary designed this high contrast red, black and white family room.

 

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And another view of the contemporary room.  Did this room directly inspire Mary’s Schumacher fabric line?

 

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These fabrics and trim in black, red, and white seem to have been inspired by the above family room.

 

 

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Mary’s newly redecorated living room is filled with different shades of deep greens. 

 

 

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Her former dining room holds a collection of green malachite and various green urns and vases. 

 

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Were these green fabrics inspired by these two rooms?

 

 

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One large segment of her line is the trims – the appliques and the tapes  - that coordinate with the fabrics.

 

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Here, in this room Mary designed, you can see she used a similar applique on these pillows.

 

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Mary’s Schumacher Brighton applique is reminiscent of the pillows above.

 

 

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In her blue and white bedroom, she used a Greek key applique which inspired her Schumacher stylized Greek key.

 

 

 

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In this girl’s bedroom, with the Blush Conch and Lettuce color scheme, she used a Greek Key trim on the pillows.

 

 

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The Octavius Tape comes in Bleu Marine, Bittersweet, and Aquamarine colorways.

 

 

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And here, she  used Oriental styled appliques on her curtains’ cornice.

 

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These appliques might have inspired her Shanghai trim.

 

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And here, a selection of pillows with the appliques sewn on.  The large pillows are her Garden of Persia fabric.  On the sofa is her Malmaison tape.

 

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Perhaps Mary McDonald is most famous for the bold, geometric shapes she paints on floors and carpets.  Here in her bedroom, the sisal rug was painted in a large blue and white pattern.

 

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This house has a black and white pattern painted over hardwoods.  Love!

 

 

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In her former house, she painted a graphic pattern that encircled the middle of the room and went around the perimeter of the entry hall.

 

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Looking down at the pattern on her floor that circles the middle section of the room.  Gorgeous chandelier!

 

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In another view of her former house, the floors were previosuly stained brown wood planks and painting them white and black was a late design decision – which I think was genius.   Here, you can see the enfilade – from the dining room, to the entry hall, to the living room, through to the study with its striped chair.  Portieres divide the rooms.

 

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Mary’s bold painted floors became the inspiration for a line of rugs sold at Patterson, Flynn, and Martin, through F. Schumacher.  Here, is the Paterre rug which is sold in two colorways.  Isn’t it gorgeous??

 

 

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Mary designed 18 rug patterns.  Some match her fabrics, like Garden of Persia and Voltage.

 

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Here is the Algorithm rug. 

 

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While many rugs are silk and wool, some are fiber rugs, such as this one, French Conga, with it’s great border.

 

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Here, a wool and silk blend rug, matching the Garden of Persia linen fabric.

 

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And another textured one, to go with Mary’s blue fabrics – Brighton Lane.

 

 

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There is one thing about the Schumacher fabric line that surprised me:  there was no yellow colorway.  Mary is known for using bold sunny lemon yellows, often paired with brown silks and velvets, stripes and solids.  Here, in her former house, standing before her collection of incredible ivory pagodas, Mary dressed in bold banana to match her décor.  But why no yellow colorway?  Is it no longer a favorite of hers? 

 

Seeing how Mary dreamed up her fabric line by referencing old and new projects, and former and current houses for inspiration, I thought I might try designing a line of fabrics, using the same technique:

 

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Let’s see.  First I looked at my house for inspiration.

 

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Then, I looked at my client’s rooms – and viola!  I came up with my own line of fabrics. 

 

Joni Webb Designs for FOS Fabrics:

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Let’s see, I designed a brown velvet, an ivory velvet, and a brown glazed linen.

 

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Next, I designed an ivory matte taffeta silk, a linen stripe, and a white cotton.

 

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There’s a white linen, an ikat, and a snow white linen

 

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And there’s a ticking stripe.

 

Done.  Whoa.  That was really, really hard!!!  Geez, wonder how much I can sell it for?

Just kidding, just kidding.  But, seriously, these are really the only fabrics I seem to need these days, that is unless I can have this one:

 

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Actually, this really does look good with “my” fabric line!  Anyone want a new bedroom designed by Webb Designs using this as a curtain????   I’m ready!!

 

If you don’t have Mary McDonald’s book – you can order it here from Amazon.  Just click on the picture.