Sunday, February 28, 2010

Before and After Party! (A drape redo)


Well hello! Hope you had a wonderful weekend! I was busy keeping Kleenex in business with a lovely cold. :)

I did get a bit of work done on the basement – I could actually breathe much better down in the cold! It’s going to take quite a bit more time and a ton more work, but I am SO excited about the changes down there. The amount of crap we had has been a bit overwhelming, and getting it out of this house has been such a fantastic feeling!

So onto this month’s Before and After – I am pretty much done with the family room (mini) redo, and I’ll show you that whole space soon. There was one last part that was bugging me – the drapes.

I get a lot of questions about these drapes and I think many go “ARGH!” when I email them back and tell them I actually made these myself. ;) I started with the brown diamond patterned fabric as drapes, and then decided a few years ago they needed a little sumpin sumpin. So I found a coordinating (and much more expensive) fabric in a tan/wider diamond pattern and added it as a panel to the bottom:

I adore these drapes. Lurve. I was contemplating new window treatments in here though, because there were a couple things that had bothered me about them as I reworked the room. The obvious was the diamond pattern just didn’t look right to me next to the new rug. (As you can see a bit in the pic above.)

The other thing that has bothered me from pretty much the day I put them up is they never seemed to hang right. I always felt like they should look fuller than they did. They also covered a little more of the window than I really wanted.

There are two things I always suggest to folks about drapes – hang ‘em high and hang ‘em wide. High and wide gives the illusion the windows are bigger than they really are. I usually suggest hanging the rod far enough to the side of the window so the window treatment will only cover about four inches of the actual window.

This allows for more light, and again, makes the window seem wider. Which is never a bad thing!

Well, my drapes were covering way more of the window than I wanted. Not sure why I did that, or why I hadn’t fixed it yet? But staring at them the other day, I came up with a solution to all my issues. And it was FREE!

First, I took down the drapes and just shortened the rods by five inches. I used my miter saw to do this, but the first time I cut these to 24 inches each, I used my little miter box and saw and it worked like a charm. 

The finials had a brassy tone that I wanted to get rid of, but I didn’t want to have to replace the whole set. So I just taped the brassy sections off and sprayed them with my ORB paint:


I love them all over again! (Like I did five years ago when I bought them!)

Once I got the hardware rehung, I went ahead with my wild and craaaazy idea and just flipped the drapes and hung them with the panel on top. I stepped back to check it out…


And luuuurved it! UH DUH. Why didn’t I do this from the start??

Flipping these did a few things – it made the bottom of the drapes way less busy, and the brown matches the brown tones in the rug really well.

It also made the gorg diamond fabric the showcase of the drapes, as it should be:


I love, love, LOVE this fabric:


I would totally wrap myself up in it at night, I love it that much. But it’s not cheap. (I think $40 a yard at Joann’s?) So there will be no wrapping in this stuff. ;)

Then I used my usual tried and true drapery tricks to finish up…

I keep the outside drapery rings between the finial and the bracket so when fire trucks and trains are driven under the window treatments by a sweet little three-year-old, they stay put:


And I hung them from behind with the drapery clips, creating the folds like this:


Try that trick – if your fabric is thick enough and long enough, you’ll never go back to hanging the drapes down from the clips again!

I had to use flash in most of these pictures, so I apologize for the poor quality, but this one shows you how much of the window is covered by the drape. I like to use the window panes (if you have them) as a guide:


Half of one pane is what I typically do. Oh, and please ignore the deck furniture that has been stacked and ready to go in the garage for the past four months, umkay?  :) Priorities people.

Shortening the rods made the drapes hang SO much prettier:


They just “pleat” so much better now!

I. love. it! And did I mention? FREEEEE? All of the updates – cutting down the rods, rehanging them, spraying the finials and hanging the drapes again took about an hour. Not bad at all!

So here we go! Here’s the before from years ago – with the white two inch blinds, wider rods, and the panel of fabric on the bottom:

And here’s the after – bamboo roman shades (from last year), shorter (debrassified) hardware and the panels at the top:


You like? I still love them either way, but I love how I made them work with the other changes in the space. I am keeping my beloved drapes! Yippee!

Now it’s your turn! Grab the button if you’d like:


Then make sure to copy the link from your post into the linky (links to your blog address will be deleted). All you need to link up is a before picture – it can be any kind of project you want to share!

Have fun and thanks for joining in!

Mellow Yellow and Grey

I've been hearing from a lot of readers that they miss hearing about my design projects. I completely understand and will definitely be posting about them again but not until after they are finished. A top design magazine editor just warned me again last week not to post any photos if I hope to get them published. Not sure if that will actually happen but I'd like to at least try so for now, I'm listening to his advice. But from the beginning, my blog has always been an online version of my inspiration board and right now, I'm inspired by grey and yellow. These are just some of the images that are currently the inspiration for a guest room for one of my projects. I especially love the look of yellow draperies. Enjoy!

Canadian House and Home Magazine

Tibi designer Amy Smilovic Living Room by Bruce Shostak

Willem de Kooning

Deborah Needleman's Bedroom

Fawn Galli

Celerie Kembel

Dries van Noten Store in Paris

Steven Gambrel

Will Wick

Elizabeth Peyton

Coastal New England Ocean Oasis

One of my favorite parts of writing Willow Decor is getting to know the many other talented designers, architects, artists and residential photographers that make these beautiful spaces come alive. Meeting photographer Jamie Salomon was one of these special connections. Whether you are aware of it or not, you most likely have already seen his work. It has been featured in many magazines including, Coastal Living, Better Homes and Gardens, New England Home and several others.
He shared with me this wonderful cottage renovation on the New England coast. As you can see the home is located out on a peninsula. At high tide it becomes an ocean oasis. Though small, it is filled with everything you need to relax. The main room above features a kitchen nook and desk area.
Decorated in soothing whites and grays it is impossible not feel your tension rush away with tide. The cottage is sparsely decorated; intentional so you take in the spectacular ocean views. Here is the couch area from a different angle. I love the whitewashed walls which remind me of sun -bleached driftwood.
Opposite the seating area is a ladder to the loft above and a daybed tucked below. As you can imagine the views from every direction are breathtaking.
Here is a close up of the daybed overflowing with soft pillows. The wonderful sconces provide just the right light for curling up with a good book. With this view I am quite sure I would never leave - it gives a whole new meaning to word "bed-rest"!
Except of course to sit out on the deck and cast my line - Perhaps fish for dinner??
Have a wonderful relaxing weekend!
To see more of Jamie Salomon's work click here.
(photos J. Salomon Photography - not to be copied with out permission)
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Richard Ginori at Barneys

I didn't make it to The Whitney yesterday but I still saw some fabulous art. It was just in the form of Richard Ginori hand painted china at Barneys. While collection looked fabulous en masse, I could also picture it looking especially bellissimo mixed with Haviland Limoges Lacque de Chine China. And it makes me want to pick up a paint brush! Ciao!

Top Photo: Heather Clawson for Habitually Chic

Saturday, February 27, 2010



Hello all! Thanks so much for all the funny and sweet entries for the Dimples and Dandelions giveaway! They were SO fun to read. Kids are adorable. Good thing, eh? :)

Anyhoo, the winner of the $50 gift card is Jude from Dolce Cape Cod! Jude, please email me (thriftydecorchick (at) gmail (dot) com) and I’ll get you connected with the Dimples and Dandelions folks.

I know I promised you all a post on the stairs this weekend, but I was hit with a lovely cold yesterday and it’s getting worse by the minute. I cross my heart, stick a needle in my eye promise I will share the how-to on the stairs early next week. For now, I must drink hot chocolate. And make soup. And sleep. ;)

Don’t forget about the monthly Before and After Party on Monday! (I’ll probably have the linky up late Sunday night.)


Have a great one!

Whitney Biennial

The New York weather has left something to be desired lately and I can't think of any better place to escape to than a museum. I'll admit that sometimes contemporary art leaves me scratching my head but getting out of your comfort zone and the comfort of your own home can be inspiring so I think I am going to check out the Whitney Biennial this weekend. The show runs through May 30, 2010 and only happens every two years so if you miss it now, you'll have to wait a while until you can see it again. Bon Weekend!

Pae White, Smoke Knows, 2009. Cotton and polyester, 114 × 258 in. (289.6 × 655.3 cm). Collection of the artist; courtesy greengrassi, London and 1301PE, Los Angeles. Photograph by Fredrik Nilsen

Friday, February 26, 2010

Speaking of Anna

That picture of Anna Wintour in the snow had me thinking about her style. She has clearly found what works for her and each outfit is a variation on that theme. She usually wears a suit or a dress that is either slim or has a nipped in waist. Sometimes it's a little sweater and skirt combination. In the summer, she completes the look with a pair of sandals and in the winter, it's always a pair of knee high boots and tights. I don't think anyone does winter as well as Anna. She's dresses for the weather but always remains stylish. Like Tory Burch, she also always looks like herself and even though she has a wardrobe allowance, if you look close, she does wear her clothes more than once. She just accessorizes them differently. I love that she's not afraid of color and pattern as well. She also tops every look with a coat that perfectly complements it. While Anna Wintour and Vogue are usually the one who tell us who the style icons are, I consider her one as well and I'd love to peek inside her closet! I bet it's fabulous!

Photos by