Before and after: bedroom window

I despise mini blinds. I hate everything about them: how they look, how they sound, how they operate, how they totally don’t block any light at all, how frequently they break, how hard they are to clean, how they gouge the inside of the window frame when they’re improperly sized or installed, how cats destroy them for fun.

And, of course, we had them on every window when we moved in.

When I removed the mini blinds in the bedroom window Matt forged a lovely (and rather unique) steel drapery rod for me to put proper curtains on. The rod is very cool, but my first attempt at making curtains was not. I accidentally reversed the width and length measurements because I was so focused on getting the “keyhole” right. (The horizontal rod sort of hangs off of two L-brackets on the wall, which creates a bit of bulk at the corners. A deep rod pocket would have accommodated this just fine but I insisted on making this cutout bit so that the join is visible.) The curtains looked OK but weren’t full enough horizontally so they juuuuuust barely met in the middle. With nothing behind them this meant that every time we walked by the window the curtains flapped open and the neighbors could see us traipsing about in the altogether.

Because we are both natural-born hicks (I am a redneck and Matt is a tarheel) we solved the problem not by buying proper curtains or hanging a shade but by throwing a quilt over the window and holding it up with giant plastic tarp clips and almost never opening the drapes ever again.

The plaid flannel curtains that barely met in the middle.

The plaid flannel curtains that barely met in the middle.

BEFORE: The quilted cover-up.

Before: The quilted cover-up.


The window has stayed like that for years now because I couldn’t for the life of me find ready-made drapes or fabric to make my own from that was both A) complimentary to the groovy paint by number landscapes over the bed and, B) not heinously expensive.

I found myself at Fred Meyer a few days ago and I wandered down the window dressing aisle (just to look, I swear) and discovered that just about everything was half off. I snatched up a roller shade, which I had been meaning to get for aaaaages, and then noticed these antique gold faux silk panels. My first thought was, “Ew. Gold? Gold drapes are for hotel rooms with down comforters and dark Berber carpeting and gas flame fireplaces. Not something I can pull off in a double-wide.” But my next thought was, “Hey . . . the frames on those paint by numbers are fakey antique gold, too . . . maybe next to the paint by numbers the gold will look pleasantly tacky instead of ostentatious. Mid-century kitsch! I can’t make a Craftsman cottage out of my mobile home, but I could certainly pull off the ranch house look.”

At 50% off, the package of two panels was about $20. Good luck finding a decent home decor fabric in the remnant section of Jo-Ann for less than $15 –a yard. (And I would have needed 4-6 yards depending on width.) So they came home with me and got shortened (and keyholed) this morning. The gold is going to take some getting used to, yeah, but I was right about the paint by numbers. When you look at the drapes and the paintings together you want to snicker instead of pull a face.


After: Gold curtains and white roller shade.


After: Gold curtains, closed.


And, for reference, by beloved mid-century paint by number paintings, off-kilter, as always.

My aesthetic may not inspire awe but I’ll settle for bemusement. I think, though, that if a staff writer from Better Homes and Gardens circa 1953 was magically transported to my bedroom she would approve. (After she got over the shock of me going to the grocery store in jeans and a t-shirt.)


P.S. After removing mini blinds, but before hurling them, javelin-like, into the bin at the dump, snip the blinds themselves into 6-12″ sections. They make excellent garden markers!


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