A real “dear laurel” letter about window panels.
This is a two-part question:
I want to have 2 faux window panels made to hang on either side of my living room/dining room french doors.
There is very little space between the wall and window on the side near the dining room (only 18″) and a lot more space on the other side. I don’t want to block any of the light coming from the window since the room is really dark.
Would it look incorrect if the panels were different sizes?
Should I hang 1 long rod above the french doors which would need to be 212″ OR use two smaller rods on each end with finials?
Poor Susan sent me photos. And then she had to send them again, again and again. I have standards. :]
But, I decided to take this one on because there are common issues once again.
So, let’s jump in here:
Would it look incorrect if the window panels were different sizes?
YES! It would and it’s totally not necessary. There is plenty of room on the small side for the drapes.
Question 2 is should it be one long rod…
But… it will need to be a custom rod that screws together and it will need five brackets to hold it up.
I found a company that has 27 amazing reviews on Etsy called Ady Escalante.
If they can make a rod like the one above, they can do anything.
However, if you want to know my source for wrought iron drapery rods, you’ll need to purchase Laurel’s Rolodex for the answer. I tell you guys 99.9% of the sources I know and use, but that one is sacred.
And just as a reminder, there’s a new edition of the Rolodex coming out on November 1st and then the price is going up on November 13th. Everyone who owns the current rolodex will get the update.
As for the faux window panel. I think what Susan means is a stationary panel. It’s still a real panel. It’s just not meant to close. But… it should look like it could close, so I would do a double panel for a window this size.
I’m not finished.
In other words… Be careful what you wish for… Cause you might just get your wish and some things that you weren’t planning on getting, as well. :]
Because if you send me a room and I see something, I’m going to say something.
Are there any other platitudes you’d like to share with us Laurel?
Okay, fine, but I have a lot to say. And Susan can ignore any and all of this. She didn’t ask and that’s also why I’m doing this. lol Besides, it’s fun. Window Panels? Ehhh…yawn… But, if you’d like to know more about them click here, here and here. And here!
Yes, I realize that the furniture is pushed out-of-the-way and maybe there are some other things I can’t see, but what I am seeing is another case of room identity crisis.
And I’ve dealt with this more often than not, so if I may, I’d like to share some things that I think will make a big difference and pull this space together a lot better.
The good news is that Susan knows how to sew and I bet that she’s good at it. This is a talent that I wish I had. But I totally lack the coordination and patience to do a good job.
So, let’s jump in and take a look at Susan’s room.
Here, we can see the looooooong window which is actually two sets of sliding French doors.
And yes, it’s off-center, but eyeballing it, I would say by only about 12″ which is quite annoying. If there’s a compelling reason, fine, but that’s doubtful.
The small wall. There’s enough room for a panel. There should be a few inches of breathing room in this case. And yes, the first pane of glass will most likely need to be covered.
The wall is not curved. That’s some funny lens setting, but it shows enough of the space for me to make my case.
- That dining set is way too formal for this casual family room with a fabulous leather club chair.
The fabulous leather club chair and a very nice fireplace mantel. (it’s not large enough for the accessories, however)
Not wild about the stone color. At least not in these images. But it’s not terrible either.
What is not-so-great, IMO is there’s too much dark mahogany furniture for what is basically a casual open concept living space.
Maybe it used to live in a different home and now it needs to co-exist in one room in this home?
OR, maybe it is Susan’s mother’s furniture and because SHE downsized and Susan had to take it. And if she gets rid of it, Mom will cut her out of her will?
Maybe Susan doesn’t mind the disparity?
That’s okay too.
I’m the girl with a make-shift drapery rod in my bedroom. haha.
(Well, no more. It has been gone since April 2018!)
But, I’m going to ‘pretend-fix’ this room to my liking, window panels and all.
Susan, is bemoaning the lack of light.
But… there’s a ginormous window, so how can it be so dark?
Thank you. That’s a very good question.
The answer lies in the image with the curved, but-not-really-curved wall.
Please scroll back up and then we can see that the culprit is the large overhang over the patio.
It is too much to expect this window to bring in as much light as it is given the circumstances. It’s like putting weights on someone’s ankles before they go and run a marathon and then expecting them to come in first place.
Covering up a bit of this window is not going to make an iota of difference to the light, but doing something weird with the window panels will, to the aesthetics of the room. And the latter is vital. Yes, we can fudge a little, but nothing too drastic.
However, we are going to need to bring light and life into this space from other sources.
I do not know what else is going on because I can only see 2 walls and a bit of the fireplace wall.
But, I can make an educated guess.
I imagine that there’s a kitchen adjacent to the dining area and perhaps the entrance to the home, next to that.
What we need to accomplish, is to marry these two divergent styles replacing as little as possible.
Oh, this is so much fun!
I would start with two seagrass rugs. (on sale at Pottery Barn) This one thing right there, is going to make a tremendous difference. One for the dining area and one for the living area. The seagrass is going to immediately marry the two styles like nothing else can. For more info about seagrass and how fabulous it is, please click here.
Next on the list are the dining room chairs. Nothing wrong with them. They are a classic Thomas Chippendale repro.
But, it’s a lot of formal dark wood and that’s not working IMO.
To lighten the look and knock back the formality I would like to add some slipcover skirts to the dining chairs out of an off-white or natural color linen. Pleats are nice too. The one above looks like the skirt doesn’t go all the way around, but it can and it should.
Okay, I know that this next part is going to have some of you cheering from the bleachers and some of you thinking I’ve lost my marbles.
(that’s already been established, BTW.) ;]
Something like the color of this high boy.
Stop it! It’s an awesome look. The woman I worked with, for four years in the mid 90’s had green painted chairs a lot like these in her shop and they were most fabulous. (and great for a shiatsu back rub) AND, she was THE most traditional decorator this side of Mario Buatta.
They have a pretty teal color, but it’s not quite dark and antique enough.
Something like this would be better.
I would play around with adding some navy and black and then an antique glaze.
And then we need mirrors to reflect the light.
We need a really big one over the buffet.
I love the Jasmine mirror from Pottery Barn. (discontinued in 2018) It’s only 34″ which is not big enough for the buffet. I need more time to find one big mirror, OR, look on Chairish for fabulous mirrors. but we could also do two of these side by side. The mirrors should be a few inches less than the width of the buffet. So, our buffet should be at least 72″ to do two of these mirrors. If you buffet is 54″ or less, this mirror will be fine.
But if there’s one piece I’d like to change, it’s this buffet. Please hear me out.
The design is wrong. Forgive me, I don’t like to get too negative or disparaging but…
This piece is the epitome of bastardized “traditional.” If it was not, I would suggest painting it, but it should never have been created in the first place. This is no reflection on its owner. In fact, this type of furniture is so prevalent in the market-place that if one doesn’t know what to look for, it’s difficult to avoid.
I’m on a crusade to rid the world of the ersatz, fake and phony.
I still love this piece. It might need a little tweaking with the paint color, but the price is superb and the lines are gorgeous!
Oh WAIT!!! OMG! They caught their mistake and the price went back up! Oh, I do hope some of you got to get the piece at the mistake price of $769 I think it was.
Then, we need some gorgeous lamps to augment the lighting. The two lamps in front of the mirror are going to set off the most dazzling sparking light.
All of the gorgeous Bradburn lighting is on sale at One King’s Lane. (also discontinued, but at least the link works!) I love this brand. How fab would these two teal lamps be with the gold lining inside the opaque shades!
In the living area, I would layer the seagrass with a beautiful smaller Oriental rug over it.
There are so many, but this is one of my favorites. (on sale at One Kings Lane!)
Ummm… nope, but you can get the same rug at Williams-Sonoma Home. and get up to 30% off as of July 2, 2019
Great colors. There are more coming up.
I would like to see more of these rich colors.
And then I would bring out those colors in accessories and pillows. (please see some of my ideas below)
These changes are going to elevate this room enormously.
And now, I’d like to go back and go over some window panel options.
I would keep the drapes fairly simple and not too opaque. So, no black-out lining.
But, we could also do a little pattern.
The Cordelia Curtain From Anthropologie (discontinued) is pretty cool, I think.
We’ll need the 96″ size and since it has to be cut down a little anyway, I would flip it upside-down so that the pretty hem is on the bottom. And then we can have the side border going down both ends of the drape, (as we need to sew together two panels in this case) but please read the post about the drapery return and other technical issues.
The rod needs to extend on the dining room side about one foot (including the finial) and on the other side only, about 2 inches. (plus the finial.) We will need five brackets for the long rod.
Well, I’m already feeling a lot better about the window panels and everything else too.
Several years ago, we did this window treatment for a client with an 18 footer.
She already owned all of the other furniture. (the lamp is mine.)
There’s a little lens distortion, but you get the idea.
Fast forward. It is now nearly 22 months later and there is a follow up post to this one. I think that there are some good lessons here.