Today's post is about a part of the project that I've been working on for months: choosing, buying and installing curtains in the master bedroom.
I started out with the vague idea that I wanted something off-white with texture of a pale, subtle pattern. After combing various fabric stores in Boston and NYC, I found a dainty embroidered sheer cotton that I thought would be nice, backed with a separate plain opaque off-white panel for privacy. Priced out it was way more than what I was comfortable spending - not surprising perhaps since it basically involves making and hanging twice the number of panels on twice the amount of hardware. For those who don't remember, the master bedroom has five windows, so even with one layer, that's 10 panels.
So we re-ran the numbers with a plain off-white slubby linen and the thought that maybe in the future I'd find and add wide white-on-white embroidered ribbon to the lead edge of each panel. Without the ribbon we were still at a thousand dollars per window. Sticker shock.
So I turned to the catalogue stores for pre-made panels. Now that I was just looking at an off-white solid linen, I figured someone would have to sell something ready made. Of course Restoration Hardware has 100% linen, in a variety of weights and weaves even, but their prices are still high and I wasn't sure about their version of off-white, which seemed much yellower than what would work with our "nude" wall paint. At Pottery Barn, I was surprised by the feel of their curtains - some nice, heavy weight fabrics. They don't have 100% linen but they did have a textured linen-cotton blend and the price is great (about $100/panel for the length I need). I ordered the panels, along with this extremely gently-priced drapery hardware:
The hardware looked and felt great when it arrived. Just a nice, real iron with weight to it and slender, clean lines. After much coaxing, my husband made the time to install the hardware and I hung a pair of Pottery Barn's "White" and a pair of their "French Ivory". The French Ivory clashed with the wall paint but the White looked good, though very plain. I lived with them for a few days, becoming more and more convinced that they were boring.
Then I came across an image from a blog which for the life of me I can't find at the moment. It's been making the rounds of the design blogs: a pair of dark brown silk curtains behind a blush pink bed. That brought to mind something I love: deep brown velvet. Back to the home store websites I went, and found these at Restoration Hardware:
It's their Antique Velvet Drape. They're not cheap, but not completely nuts either (about $200/panel for rod pocket). RH was the only place I found where the velvet was entirely from a natural fiber (a hang up of mine) - in this case cotton. I decided to order a pair of them, in both of their shades of brown, along with a pair of their burlap panels and a pair of their heavyweight Belgian linen curtains in an off-white for good measure.
A week later, the box arrived and I unpacked and hung all the curtains. Let me say that despite the fact that all the RH curtains are at least twice as expensive as the PB curtains, they did not have loops for the curtain hooks sewn into them. Instead I had to use the (smaller and flimsier than PB) hooks RH provided to pierce the fabric at regular intervals. So it actually took close to two hours to pierce and hang all the panels and kinda hurt my fingers from poking through so many layers of thick material. (I bought the rod-pocket style because it was literally half the price of the French pleat and I just couldn't rationalize the price difference to myself. I prefer French pleat by not *that* much.)
Anyway, here's what the master bedroom looks like now:
I obviously need to hem the curtains, but other than that, I'm really happy with the way they turned out. Very dramatic, rich and warm looking. I think the dark brown velvet makes the room look more polished and lends a masculine angle to a space that was feeling a bit too feminine.