Episode 347: Window Treatments and Keeping An Open Space Cohesive

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There’s so much going on guys one of these days. But I know everything’s gonna be fine. Everything’s getting back to normal. I can see things improving week by week, slowly but surely. 

But honestly I’m hanging on by a thread and I have such compassion. I mean, I’ve always had empathy for my clients, moving into a new space living with zillions of boxes feeling uncomfortable, waiting for a couch for two months, dealing with supply chain delays, but I have empathy on a whole new level.

Now that I am going through it. I am hanging on by a thread and I feel your pain. So if you’re moving, if you’ve just moved, if your life is in chaos, if you can’t remember where you put your earrings either? This is the reality of my life. And so it is so fun to have an escape, my escape being talking to you and answering your design questions. 

In the meantime, you have been sending me all kinds of amazing questions and I am excited to hop into the mailbag today. 

This episode, we discuss…

[5:40] Window treatments for 1962 Mid Century Home (Tim)


I have a mid century home built in 1962 with unusual window sizes 82 inches wide by 24 inches high for one example. When I purchased this home, I noticed that the blinds are of all different eras and different qualities. Some may be as old as the home or near that age. The blinds are metal and yellowing. Others are cheap plastic, and some of the wide windows have two sets of blinds because of the extreme width, some do not. But those are older blinds. There are six of these windows around the house plus some more normal shapes in the kitchen. I’m digging on purchasing custom cellular shades that have a light filtering option, and a room darkening option for the bedroom, and perhaps just light filtering for the common spaces. The problem is the expense. I’m looking at up to $400 per window. I vaguely remember you saying you don’t like cellular shades. Is there something better? Many blinds seem very popular, but they also seem cheap and well, a thoughtless choice. Like they are the gray sweatbands of lines. What do you recommend for my windows that are wide and short or even just wide in a normal height? HELP… attached are photos of this space before I purchased the home, I am still putting finishing touches on this space. So nothing from my time living here is really available. 


Okay, so I’m very familiar with this space, Tim, because I’ve given you some advice before and I just loved working on transforming this space because Mid Century Modern is actually what got me into interior design. I love the Brady Bunch. I always thought I’d live in an MCM home. 

Anyway, yes, your windows are unusual. And I do think it’s a good idea to treat windows in different areas differently if I need opacity, if I want sort of that blackout feel in the bedroom, that I may need a different type of treatment than I need and say the living room where I just want privacy, but I do want that light to come in. So I think that’s really smart. And I do think these seven feet long by two feet high windows are certainly a challenge because drapes can look really silly on those right? Like big ol sideburns with a tiny little mustache at the top. I’m not sure right, but it’s just not a great look. Even if you love sideburns like I do.

So here’s the reason I don’t like the cellular shades. I don’t like cellular shades. And yes, I have them throughout my house now because they were leftover from the previous person. But they do tend to yellow over time and they get quite dusty. And it’s hard to get in those honeycomb style pockets to clean out that dust especially if it was eight feet long. Can you imagine what could accumulate and they’re, in fact, mine, you know, I’m in the middle of a forest. And there’s like some bugs in there. I had to take off all the cellular blind to clean them, shake it out, because there’s like some dead stuff in there, they are just not my favorite. If I can’t take a damp cloth and wipe off my blind, I’m really not into it. That being said, you can take a damp cloth and wipe off a mini blind, but I am really not into that. 

I love a natural woven shade. But that may not be the best solution here because they have a big header like a Roman blind, and so you’re gonna lose a lot of that two feet of height with that large header. So for me, that’s a no go. But what I would recommend is a roller blind for these, they’ll have a very slim profile at the top, so you could fully engage them and move them all the way up while hardly losing any of that beautiful window light. And they’re so lightweight that you can have really long ones without having to separate them into two. 

I think the roller blind is the absolute way to go for both spaces, because they certainly make ones with different opacities. They make roller blinds that can be sort of two in one in terms of light filtering, but also opaque depending on the setting. And I just think it’s going to be the perfect solution.

Now when I’m selecting a roller blind, I don’t choose anything pure white, because it can look dirty so quickly. So I may do something very pale gray, something lighter than the wall color if the wall color is gray, or a very pale off white if the wall color is a little bit deeper than that. But the problem with white is it just shows every imperfection, there’s absolutely no room for issue. 

And if you’re worried about this investment, then we want to make sure we have a lot of longevity. So I love to get samples of the window treatment. Typically they’ll have some small swatches there. I take it home and I put it through the wringer.

In fact, I am looking to get a chair and I’m looking to get a dining table and they had samples of the materials. And I got a sample of the marble for the dining table. And literally the minute I got it in the mail, I took a wet glass and I put it right on top to see if it left any ring, any scarring. And of course it did. And of course mama doesn’t have time to constantly be sealing her marbles. So I will not be getting that table. And when I get the fabric swatches for my massaging recliner chair, I know it sounds like it’s going to be hideous, but it actually looks very low profile. And as you know, I need a massage. So when I get those samples from Wayfair, I’m going to be spilling wine on that performance fabric. I’m going to be scratching it I’m going to be doing all these things that I can anticipate might happen while I’m getting my massage in my chair. 

So I can ensure that it’s as durable as I hope it will be. So it will be worth that investment. Tim, I hope that helped. You know, I’m always here to help. And I just love hearing from you. So send me questions. I am here and you are living my MCM dreams. 

[14:11] Choosing living room and dining room rugs that complement each other (Kristen) 


For my design dilemma – I am having trouble picking out rugs for my living room and dining room. They are open to each other, and to the kitchen, so I would like them to compliment each other. I do have a lot of wood going on, but my boyfriend likes it, and I do think it makes the space feel warm and cozy. Speaking of cozy, I want my design to feel “cozy transitional”. I love the neutral tones and natural elements in transitional style, but I also like a pop of bold color every once in a while too. I have added some photos to show how my space flows, and I also want to mention that I plan to paint my dining room a dark green color (I have it swatched next to the mirror in one of my photos). I tend to lean towards cooler tones in my decorating because of all the orange wood, in hopes to balance it out. I want to replace both rugs in my dining room and living room. I will attach a photo of both rugs I am thinking of and would love your opinion. I was thinking about the darker design in the dining room and the lighter one in the living room. Please let me know what you think!


All right, well, let’s get into it, Kristen. So thank you for sending these pictures. It really helps to illuminate the situation. 

So you’re going to have dark green walls. And instead of it being like an emerald, I would say it’s like gray kelly green. It’s not bright like grass. But it is that sort of grassy tone. But it’s made subdued by adding some gray. So it’s almost like grass green chalkboard paint in the way that it feels sort of matte and deep versus bright and fresh. I love the tone. And I love that your home does have these wooden elements, it does make it feel warm. Especially because the cabinets are that warm wood color. So the trim tying in feels really nice.

The one thing that doesn’t feel really nice to me. And I know you didn’t ask me this, Kristen, you’re like Betsy, just stick to the questions. But I can’t help myself. The one thing I’m not loving is that you know, part of the trim is white in this sitting room. But the door itself is that orangey wood color, it just doesn’t look very high end, it looks like you ran out of paint. If you’re going to paint the trim, I highly recommend that you also paint the door that trim color. And I think it will look much more elevated.

But in these other rooms, I can see that you did not paint the trim. And that is okay, even if they open into each other. So the dining room has wood trim and the kitchen has wood trim. 

And I think as I mentioned before the cabinets bring it all together. I was really stumbling and bumbling with my own house because there’s a lot of wood trim, which makes it feel pretty dark because we’re already in the middle of the woods. So sometimes we don’t get a ton of natural light. So as I was kind of instructing the painters on what to do and what not to do, initially, I was like we are painting so much of this trim white. I’m going to keep only a couple of rooms that the wood trim the ones I want to be really moody, but everything else needs to be fresh and and brightened. 

And then as I was living in the house a bit more, the wood just felt so special. So warm, so cozy and inviting, especially as these temperatures have been dropping. And I must say I took that punch list that I gave the contractors and I crossed off trim. I was like, You know what, I don’t want you painting any of this trim. I love it so much. And that was a big surprise for me. So the fact that I’m telling you to paint your door. It’s not that I’m anti wood. I just think it’s not working at that moment. 

So you’ve picked up two rugs. And both of them have sort of a southwestern pattern using a lot of diamonds and triangles. One of them is quite dark and has a deep brown, some gray, some orange. The other is much more neutral with the cream background, and maybe a gray sort of print again with those diamonds and those zigzags. So I love that stylistically they work together. But they’re not exactly the same. And the fact that the cream has a larger scale pattern.

Now you’re saying that see, how do I mix patterns? Well, those of you who have been listening for a while or those of you who’ve bought my book on affordableinteriordesign.com. You know that we mix patterns by making sure that they’re different scales, right. So we can have some small pattern, some medium pattern, some large patterns, but we want to make sure that in the same room we’re not using multiple large, multiple medium or multiple small. 

It’ll look more sophisticated, if you keep a very strict color palette, right, you don’t want to have all these different patterns with all these different colorways. Find your color palette using your inspiration piece, and then find patterns of different scales that incorporate those colors. 

So in a living room, you may have a pillow that has a very small chevron pattern, you may have a rug that has a large damask pattern, and you may have some drapes that have a medium floral, that would be a perfect way to mix patterns, as long as they all share a similar color palette.

Now when you’re doing rooms that open up into each other, there is a burden. And in my house, I have my whole downstairs opened into each other, I have to be thinking in every room. How do I make this color scheme work in this room, but make it feel different. So I have a very tight inspiration piece that has inspired the entire color palette for the downstairs. And as I’m moving through the rooms, those 60/30/10 colors, that color palette that I’m using the three tones that I pulled from the inspiration piece, but I use in different doses 60%, 30% ,10% They are changing throughout the space. 

So in the TV room, I’m using Navy and gold, like that tamarind orange gold color, that is my 30%. The Navy is my 60%. And I’m using pops of teal. As we segue into the living room, I’m flipping the script, right, so I’m still doing the 60% navy. But now I’m doing 30% teal, 10% tamarind, orange gold. And then as we move into the dining room, I’m using it in even different ways with the head and the foot chairs being Navy, more of that 30%. But I’m actually introducing a new color from the inspiration piece. 

So you just need to be really mindful that these rooms all need to relate to each other without being exactly the same. If I use the same dose of those color palettes, in the different rooms, the rooms are going to feel identical. Shouldn’t the vibe of that movie room be much different than the entertaining fun lively energy that I’m expecting in the living room? My answer is yes. And the way to achieve that for wall color and other colors. 

Because the shape of the furniture may, you know, provide the style, but it doesn’t necessarily provide the vibe. Right? We can get the vibe through colors really quickly and easily. And also patterns, do I want this to be a space of energy? Or do I want to hang and lounge? 

I love that you’ve been mindful of that, you know only one of these rugs has true ROYGBIV colors. The other one is just involving neutrals. 

So I would want you to be mindful that that kind of orangey color that’s in one of the rugs needs to be used in that other room that’s got the more neutral carpet so that we can maintain a cohesivity as we’re moving throughout the space. But I think that as long as you’re really clear on your style word, and really clear on your feeling word and then very clear on your color palette, you really can’t go wrong. That being said, I want to go to your two word phrase really quickly, because you mentioned it’s cozy transitional.

These rugs do not at all say transitional to me. You know, they do feel very southwest, it does have kind of a different vibe. But maybe the cream one could read transitional. But it really depends what you put these with. Because standing alone, I would have said southwest I maybe even would have said contemporary because Southwestern style is so popular right now that it could be considered quite contemporary. 

But I just want you to make sure that you’ve got a lot of clarity around that two word phrase, because that’s going to be something you need to hold on to throughout the entire downstairs or any rooms that open up into each other. And as you know my two word phrase that I’m holding on to throughout the entire downstairs is mid century modern fancy, but upstairs because none of the rooms open up into each other. Each room has its own two word phrase that’s very different and does not need to feel cohesive with the other spaces. Kristen, I hope that helped. 






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