Friday, January 25, 2008

Study Curtains: The Concept

So I'm looking ahead to making some curtains for the study. Not something we'll be doing till the shelves are in place, but it's good to plan ahead.

Here's the challenge. The study has east-facing and south-facing windows. To the east, it looks on lots of lovely, verdant foliage at the top, and on the property and varied automobiles of Mr. Ugly Car at the bottom. So on the east we want to be able to see out of the top, but permanently block the bottom.

To the south, there aren't any trees and the sun comes blaring through the windows like an eighteen-wheeler on I-10 all afternoon and evening in the summer. So we need to be able to block the light coming through those windows almost completely.

I think I may have found the solution for the east-facing windows, but I'm not sure how to integrate the needs of the south-facing windows.

I got the idea from the restaurant Chez Zee in Austin (delicious fried pickles, over-hyped blandly sweet desserts, really tasty dipping oil.) Each panel is made up of 3 parts: a velvet side panel, a sheer top piece, and a semi-opaque main section. (You can click any of the pix to see very blurry enlargements, though I wouldn't particularly recommend it.)

Clever multi-panel curtains at Chez Zee.

The velvet side pieces are hung on the same rod with the rest of the curtain--there is a slight overlap somehow, but the pieces are separate and the main panel ends at the side panels (saving money$$!)

See how there's actually an opening between the side panels and the main body?

Where the side bits meet the main part of the curtain.

Here's how it all hangs on the rod. Note that there are also sheers behind the whole thing.

Closeup of rod

Actually, these sheers give me an idea for the south-facing window. I think I may have solved the problem! Here's the idea: We hang a set of thin, opaque panels on a parallel rod behind the pretty front part. Usually, they'll be pulled over to the sides behind the velvet bits. But when it's hot, Matt (who sits by the window) can reach between the velvet and the main panel to grab the back panels and pull them shut behind the pretty decorative bit! Brilliant!

The next hurdle would be finding 4 fabrics that look good together, complement the room, and all function appropriately (super-sheer, heavy opaque (for the main piece--to act as insulation), thin opaque, and velvet). Will solve that problem later.

Chez Zee: major supporters of America's powerful twinkle-lights lobby.

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