Window treatment advice please - curtains, roman shades, both?

GWloloMarch 13, 2013

I have procrastinated on this decision and would really love some specific guidance - "do this, not that" to help me decide. We have a whole house full of these windows that I need to deal with in the next few weeks before we move in. Some are critical for privacy reasons like in a bedroom, bathroom etc. Some could be delayed. All the windows are constructed the same way - deep sills, redwood posts flanking the single pane awning windows. The walls are brick for most part.

Are the roman shades fitted inside the windows the most suitable choice? Or cafe curtains that end at the sill? Or full length curtains. Or should I do both in some places with bigger windows like the living room.

I have posted about the house before and gotten feedback here but haven't been able to nail the look. Hoping a more specific post on the windows will help shake me into some action and make some decisions on that front.

Living room windows

A closer look at the big window in the living room? There is one more column of panes to the left.

A better view of the window near the dining area

Awning windows in the bedrooms are 4ft above the ground

Window at the master bedroom windowseat

How the windows look from outside

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What an interesting house! Maybe you can share some of the history of this house with us?
It seems like you have your hands full with renovations. I would get inexpensive mini blinds for the rooms that need privacy and then later on invest in good window treatments when you have all the furniture in place.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 7:02AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Coordinate the treatments within the room, but not necessarily keep them the same between rooms. In the living room, I would use drapery panels on a traverse rod that can be drawn closed at night for privacy. From the pics, the dark wood makes the room look short and I think the vertical lines will help that as well as add color to the space.

The window seat can be either a roman shade interior mount or it can be a valance with a roller shade underneath for privacy. If you do a roller shade, do get the kind that are not spring loaded for the wider window...we did and it soon broke. Now we have the kind with the chain to roll up and down....far more sturdy.

I can't tell if it's the way the pics are taken or if it's all the wood, but the rooms appear dark, so you might want more fabric rather than less to brighten things up, but you want to minimize how much glass is covered during the day to let the light in....

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 8:15AM
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My suggestion is to do nothing yet. WTs have such a huge impact on a room, both re: form and function, so it is better not to rush. I think you only really know what you want after living w/the light and your overall design for at least a month.

In the meantime, put up temporary privacy shades.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 11:28AM
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It looks like there is a lot of character on the inside. I love the wood look. I think woven woods would be a nice choice for all your rooms. I would try to leave as much window exposed for the view so make the wovens outside mounts above so when opened they clear the windows. This will also give you much more privacy in the bedrooms. You could do side panels in the living and dinning rooms to add height, warmth and a little more elegance.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pictures Of Woven Woods

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 11:19AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Not surprising to me, Bob....somehow, in general, guys see a room full of wood and want to add more....gals see a room full of wood and want to bring out the paint can!

I remember way back Christopher Lowell did a redo of a room where the woman was moving in with the man who had a bedroom chock a block with wood and how he managed to soften the look and bring in enough fabric to keep her happy while keeping enough wood to keep him happy....

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 12:20PM
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Your home is lovely and has tons of character. There are many ways you could go here, but what you really need to decide first is a cohesive look or vision for your home. As others have said WT have a huge impact on your home, esp. if done right. Do you have existing furniture and/or rugs you will be using or is this a blank slate? If you haven't already I'd be looking through design books, magazines and blogs to create an inspiration for what style you'd like to incorporate; perhaps even work with a designer to set a direction. I know it's tempting to rush and get it all "done", but if you take your time to get to know your space better in various times of day and seasons, you'll be so much happier you did.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 12:52PM
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I appreciate all the advice to wait. And Annie, I had to look up what a "traverse rod" was and I am glad I did. I find it very annoying when the curtains don't move over the telescoping part. If I am having curtains, I want to actually use it to open and close.

I have to find some sort of temporary solution at least for where we need privacy. DH is resisting temporary now and permanant later idea. For windows, I especially want to avoid anything dark colored. Function is key - it should be reliable and easy to open and close and reasonably easy to keep clean.

I want the feel of the house to be visually light and casual. We are not very formal people and most of my furnishings will be fairly modern with comfort being the key. So modern as in light colored clean lines couch and not glass and metal modern. I will have a few rustic/ ethnic accent pieces.

The home itself has a lot of strong architectural elements that we love. The adobe brick walls and the redwood beams have a strong personality. I want tthe window treatments to blend in and help in making the room feel lighter and airier. And mainly work - open and close easily :)

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 2:07PM
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I've linked the blinds that I have been using in our guest house. I had guests coming for Christmas and needed to cover up French doors and windows. They are room darkening and have a drawstring to help raise the blind, so you don't have to mess with the clips.

I will now be shopping for permanent window treatments and will use Hunter Douglas Duette cellular shades for sun control and fabric drapes for color and softness.

You aren't going to have time to get custom fabric treatments before you move in. Don't rush the decision ... you WILL regret it later!

Here is a link that might be useful: Temporary blinds w/cord

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 3:07PM
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In the end, I think that inside mounted Roman shades will look best and give the room a very tailored look and not compete with the adobe walls. However, I agree with others that it is better to get these later so that you can be absolutely certain about your fabric choice. The shades will be fairly expensive, unless you make them yourself (which is what I do), since you want them to fit exactly. Some of your windows look like they may be wider than the width of the fabric, and if so, you would need to select a fabric that will look okay with vertical seams. Inexpensive blinds or shades would be a good temporary choice.

What kind of floor are you going to have?


    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 5:38PM
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Slight hijack, Annie do you remember the design show which was hosted by an older English gentleman who showed couples with masculine/feminine conflicts in design choices and he always managed to blend the two?

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 9:34PM
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Michael Payne, Designing for the Sexes.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 11:58PM
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The flooring is wide plank history that looks handscraped. We are on slab, so it is engineered. But the wood looks right.

Lars- good to see you here. I agree about the tailored look. For the living room I also want to add some softness and airiness. Maybe that has to come from some other fabric in the room. The big window in the living room is very wide. Perhaps 2 shades in that window?

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 1:09AM
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I remember this home, it's lovely.

Only do what you must do now, for privacy. Since the house tends to look dark, and your windows are so lovely, I would try not to do anything other than those needed for privacy (not to mention that good WT are very pricey and cheap ones look it).

I have mightily resisted WT, but I needed them in a home office because of sun glare. I am happy with what we bought, and it was reasonable. We chose a relaxed Roman shade from Smith and Noble, in an off white duck.


Here is a link that might be useful: This style - not this fabric!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 9:28AM
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mtndredux - I think my problem is what you said. I am resisting WT. I really don't like the closed in look and would rather not do WT at all. But the practical side of realizes that I need to do something for some windows or privacy.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 12:39PM
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robo (z6a)

I know it's not the classiest look, but for casual, modern, and streamlined with minimal intrusion into the window, you can't beat roller or cellular shades. I have plain white cellulars from and love them to death. They will get out of the way of your beautiful windows. Also your windows kind of remind me of Japanese country homes and so the paper-like quality of some white cellulars or rollers might not be bad. I got cordless and they are super easy to use. The rollers would intrude even less.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 8:32AM
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Your room is going to be spectacular! What a cool space to decorate. If it were mine, I would go for roman shades with a funky print, no curtains.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 9:49AM
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lovely windows!! i would definitely use panels/curtains only where you don't need privacy or sun protection...

i love your master bedroom window seat!!! what a great spot that will be! whatever treatment you put there, i would think you would often want to have the entire window visible... do you need privacy at that window? if so, if i hung a shade, i would want it to be able to cinch up tight at the top, like pleated shades do... or i would just hang short panels that could be swept all the way to one side when the window was being used.
with your windows, if i hung any type of blind or shade on any of them, i would definitely do inside mounts--your window wood is much too nice for outside mounted blinds/shades...

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 11:35AM
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I think roller blinds are a great idea for now and for later. You'll get immediate privacy at night, and have them rolled up during the day. I use them in my kitchen and dining room, and they're never seen except at night.

I like the idea of long panels for the LR, but in a print like Jacobean. Swoon!

For the DR and bedroom, a heavy, solid color (cream/beige) lace cafe curtains would be nice. But not with any designs on them. They will keep the rooms light and airy during the day.

I like roman shades but they come across as too sleek and modern for your windows. Definitely don't use wooden blinds because you have enough wood.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 11:39AM
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It it were my room, I'd go with a linen look drape on a traverse rod, keep it open wide by day and use it for privacy at night. I'd keep then neutral and close to the color of the walls. I agree with Annie on this one. I love a masculine look of lots of wood, the linen look would only compliment it. RH has nice ones but you can find them other places too.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 1:10PM
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