Sunday, June 27, 2010

In which Jo goes all Martha Stewart on yer ass and has success!


There's this design blog called Little Green Notebook. I'm not totally wild about some of her style choices, particularly with regard to animal print, but most of the stuff she puts up is gorgeous. I'm just more of a minimalist these days.

As a result of this new minimalist approach--which I think has a lot to do with the fact that it got so freaking hot so fast--I'm redoing the living room. The mint-green walls and black-and-white curtains have gotten oppressive. I'm painting everything white and buying a new couch (from here; check this out and get off the floor--is it cool or what?) and changing what's on the windows.

So. Roman shades. I like 'em. They're not frilly-girly, they're good at blocking the light, and they don't require dusting. Most importantly, they're not curtains. But damnation are they ever expensive--the cheapest I could find started at US$179 for my little-bitty single window. Given that I eventually have to cover six windows (living and dining room, plus the four in the study), that was simply untenable.

Therefore, behold the $3.99 roman shade!

Yes, the slats show through. I plan to remedy that next time, by backing the fabric with blackout fabric (for the study, which faces southeast and gets early morning sun). I may go ahead and mess with this shade, so that the slats aren't too obvious.

For some reason, my math wasn't right, and I ended up with some extra slats left over. That wasn't a problem; the way it turned out is just fine with me. Considering this shade was made with the assistance of two cats and a glass of wine (or two) (or three?), I think it turned out pretty well.

The worst of it was that I still can't raise my left arm higher than my shoulder, so screwing the brackets into the window frame was... ... ...well, let's just say that I considered asking the neighbors for help, bursting into tears, rehanging the curtains, and moving out of this house, in that order. I eventually managed it one-handed. That's my 18-volt NiCad powered power drill on the couch, next to Notty.

Cost breakdown:

Curtain, cut down to make the shade: Free, as it had hung in myriad houses over the years.

Spray adhesive, to attach fabric to blinds: Approximately fifteen cents.

Vinyl mini-blind, from Wal-Mart (and going there was the second most painful part of this whole project): $3.99 plus tax.

If you use a patterned fabric, or one that's a little thicker than the loose cotton weave of the former tab-top curtains (God, how I've grown to hate tab-tops, and curtains in general, given that the boys climb them), you won't have the problem of the slats showing through. Likewise, you could always line the shades with blackout fabric (NOT the stuff you buy at the store; that's been cut in half and only measures 23" or so across). You could also, if you're less lazy than I am, actually *hem* the dadratted things rather than just turning them under and gluing them to the slats.

I have a buddy (Hi, Rob!) who has offered to help me hang a ceiling fan; he's good with a power drill; I might have him come down in his copious free time and hang Roman shades instead. Rob is handy not only because he offers to help with stuff like this, but in that he's 6'5", so he doesn't need a stepstool. (Plus, he's known me since we were both eight years old, so we have plenty to talk about. Plus-plus, his boyfriend is a freaking doll.)

Oh. Speaking of ceiling fans, I'm strongly considering this, which comes with a 3-inch downrod. It's silly, but I love it for that reason: it reminds me of the Ork from the OZ books.

Yeah, so. The success of my first non-carpentry DIY project has inspired me. Watch this space for updates involving scatter pillows that have elephants! and sequins! and beads! on them.


messymimi said...

I'm jealous. Your place will look wonderful.

bdaiss said...

Nice work! And thanks for the link. I've been contemplating making about a dozen roman shades for my odd sized windows. They're a 1/2" too big for the cheap-o ready made ones at Lowes.

And that ceiling fan? ROXORZ! You must. For us as well as yourself. :)