Episode 360: Hanging Curtains and Creating a Cozier Cottage

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Happy New Year! Last year I hosted a live webinar about the three secrets to becoming an interior designer who gets paid and you guys loved it but not everyone was able to attend so I’m hosting it again on January 12th at 11 am EST. Sign up here. 


I hope everyone had a wonderful New Years celebration. I’m excited for things to slow down a little bit. The first three months of the year tend to get me down since it’s so cold and there’s not much to look forward to besides spring. Hopefully this will give me a moment just to process and to take advantage of all the sales this month which is the second best time for sales in the home space. The next best time is July because of course they’re liquidating spring/summer and getting ready for fall/winter but January is the time if you waited to purchase if you wanted to score a deal now is the time to shop.


Without further ado, let me get to the questions that are in my mailbag. 


This episode, we discuss…


[9:02] How to properly hang curtains (Mary) 



I want to hang curtains, on the ends and in between the three windows. The windows are 47 inches wide and the space between is 7 inches. I do not want to obstruct the view. What kind of curtain rods should I use? The longest one I have seen are 144”. Should I use more than one curtain rod? I prefer a minimal look.




Alright, so let’s dig in here. Yes, you do have a very long expanse of windows. There’s a couple of ways you could go about this. When you’re thinking about windows rod’s fabric, you want to be thinking about places for them to gather at the ends, right? So you have this series of three windows each 47 inches long with two spaces of seven inches in between. 


You want to keep this beautiful view of the trees in this field and I don’t blame you. However, on the left hand side, within a foot of the window, you have a TV stand, which is taking up room on the wall that the window shares. On the right hand side you have a good amount of space. It’s just that rocking chair that you can easily move to gain more room and you’ll have two feet on that side. Now all of this is to say let me share with you what you could do.


You can get a very long rod and yes, they make rods longer than 144. I just got a rod for my dining room that was like 175. I literally just googled extra long gold rod because I didn’t want to pay the price of Crate and Barrel and they also had a very long wait. I went to Designer Drapery and Hardware. I got this amazing high quality rod. It was over 170 inches in length and it was brass and it looks fabulous. It looks just as good as the Pottery Barn rods in my primary bedroom. And I got it for like $250. Crate and Barrel has one that goes to like 180 for $300. There’s other places too, you could always check Smith and Noble, even ones that you buy in Bed Bath and Beyond if you’re using the Cambria Complete Collection which I love, but they have very limited colorways now.


You can buy extender rods and they also come with extra brackets so that you can make your 48 inch rod a 240 foot rod. You’ll just want to make sure to use extra stability brackets because you will find that it will bow in the middle or start to sag if you don’t support it. I think you need to support it about every 60 inches. 


It depends what you want to do with these window treatments. Window treatments are not a yes or no answer. When you are looking at window treatments, you want to ask yourself, am I ever going to want to close these drapes? If you want to close the drapes, what you’ll need to do is get an extra long rod and put brackets at each of the seven inch spots right above in the middle. Then put a panel on each side of those brackets and at the end of each window. Now you can do a single wide panel. You need double the width of drapery that you have with the window to have it close nicely without looking too taut. If we know that each window is 47 inches, we also know that the common panel for a window treatment if you’re just clicking buy one online is between 42 and 52 inches wide which is perfect. 


However, you will find that it obstructs the window a little bit. You are going to have some fabric that sticks out on either side of that bracket slightly covering the window and of course you’ve got that TV stand so close to the window, and you don’t want your drapes to touch the TV stand. Drapes are going to impede the view from these windows. There’s just no doubt about it. 


Now what if you tell me Betsy, I don’t actually want these to close, I never need privacy. I never need opacity, I just want to add some softness to this room. We can have a different approach. What we can do is that one long rod, you’ll still need stability brackets so that it doesn’t bow in between each of the seven inch separators. 

Then, in my humble opinion, you need more fabric on either side. So at those extreme ends of the window are the only two places you would put drapes if you don’t actually need these to close. 


If you just put one single panel at the end of this long expanse of windows on each side. It’s going to look like anemic sideburns on the end of you know a big old face. 


You need chunky drapery with this very wide window in order to really make it feel proportional and correct even if you never intend on closing these. 


The problem is the more bulky drapery you have, ideally, the more you would hang that bracket further outside the windows so that drapery doesn’t encroach on this majestic view. You can’t do that because you have the TV stand, you could certainly do that on the right hand side, heck, you could go out a foot, a foot and a half. On the left hand side, you can’t even go out really more than seven inches. You don’t want to have one side be different than the other, they do need to be symmetrical and match. So either you get rid of that TV stand,or you do anemic window treatment or you do the appropriate amount of fabric. 


In my opion would be like 100 inch panel on either side. Now you can reduce all that bulk, thus reducing the amount that it blocks your window, if you do something unlined. If you do something more translucent, like a sheer or an open weave linen or something that feels very lightweight. The key especially with a challenging window, where you want to maximize the view and minimize the amount that the fabric encroaches is that you would either do this fabric so that it is on a ring, which means a french pleat or a pinch pleat within a drapery pin and a ring or my personal preference, which will be much cheaper and much easier to implement a grommet panel. Grommet panels will allow you to push those panels to the side, squish them so that you get the maximum view, but you can also get the maximum amount of fabrics that it looks proportional with this beautifully large window.


[18:29] How to style your living room (Heidi) 



I would love your help with our living room. I recently sanded and refinished the floor with a whitewash, painted the door and window trim a warm beige/tan and the walls an almost white gray. There is only one window in this room, so I am happy with these “bright” colors. The door and trim has helped add warmth. I would say the style of our home is “Warm/Inviting Country Cottage”. We live in the country with a flock of chickens and love being home together. I need ideas of how to complete the living room by making it feel more warm and inviting. What size rug should I be looking for? I think I would like the traditional Persian style rug – anything too contemporary feels strange in our old country home. Where can I find feather inserts for couch throw pillows? I am a seamstress and am on the hunt for highly textured fabric to make covers. Do I need 4 pillows? My inspiration piece is the beautiful art above the couch. I am thinking of pulling some of the darker greens from the picture into the pillows and the rug. I would love to hear any advice you have for this room!



Well Heidi I must say you are 100% correct. This feels so cozy and comfy. I think the thing that’s giving it that vibe right from the jump is this beautiful wood burning stove that’s then got kind of a partial wall behind it a brick with a wooden mantel that’s an L shape around the wood burning stove. 


You’ve got two chairs that look like dining chairs with cushions right in front of the stove, I could just see myself warming up there. It looks enchanted. It looks like a place you would want to spend a lot of time. It definitely evokes that cozy feel.


 The thing that’s leading me towards the farmhouse, or that country cottage are your plaid curtains. I also love the warm wood that reiterates the warm wood from the dining chairs in the piano. Everything is just really cozy here. I do feel like there’s opportunity for color, especially because the floor is really washed out with the white stained wood.


You do have a lot of warm wood with the bookcase, the piano, the chairs I mentioned. So everything’s a little bit either wood or washed out, and we need to be bringing in some color.


I’ve got this floor plan, but it doesn’t give me specifics in terms of exact measurements. That being said, you do want a rug that’s large for this room but you don’t want the rug to impede with the piano bench. When I pull out the piano bench, I don’t want to be half on half off the rug. Same with these chairs, if you plan on keeping two chairs around the woodstove, which I think sets a really nice mood but may not be practical every day, especially these chairs, they do look like dining chairs that got lost. So if you do want to have either chairs, ottomans or pillows by the fire all the time, I would choose something that looks a little bit less dining room and something that looks a little more intentionally sitting room. 


I love the idea of ottomans because then you can bring them over to the couch. Speaking of couch, the couch is like a dark grey and looks to be a sleeper bed. Then I do you see the beautiful artwork above. But the artwork is a little bit small not only for that wall, but above the sofa. 


I might be more inclined to put it somewhere else just because it does feel a little small. It might be perfect for above the piano where you have these empty frames. The empty frames above the piano are not doing anything for us because they’re just more wood tone. 


I could definitely see getting a larger piece above the sofa, moving that smaller inspiration piece above the piano. Maybe you move these empty frames that actually are quite large in size, they’re probably 18 by 24 each, and move those three above the sofa but put in some imagery that reflects the color palette from the inspiration piece above the piano because we desperately need some color in here.


I think that the rug would be a perfect opportunity to bring in color as you already know as well as throw pillows. The problem is I’m not able to zoom in close enough on this artwork above the couch to see exactly what colors are there. It mostly looks green or neutrals, which is not really giving us a lot to go off of. There is like a little red tractor in the background I see so I might play with that brick red color and this emerald or evergreen type color in the landscape.


And maybe we just do a 60/30. You’ve heard me admit that sometimes I don’t do a 10. Sometimes I just do a 60/30 when creating a color palette from an inspiration piece, especially if my client is resistant to color or especially if there’s just a lot going on in the room. This is a small room. There is a lot going on with the piano, the bookcase, the woodburning fireplace, the chairs, the sofa, sleeper, etc. So I think we could get away with a more minimal palette. 


The only concern I have is when we’re dealing with green and red. It can look a little Christmasy. Those are complementary colors that have a strong connotation together. I wouldn’t want this to look like a Christmas room all year round. So you may want to play with like this lighter, almost a celadon green, and then go more brick even deeper than I was originally thinking for the red so that we’ve got this kind of light celery tone with this deep, rich red brown tone.


That would definitely not read Christmas and the celadon might make it feel a little more fresh and contemporary. I love the idea of doing a Persian rug. I love the idea of it being a Persian rug that’s multicolor or you could do one of those vintage Persians. I think bringing the warmth to the floor would be amazing with the red and then it could have sort of that muted pattern so that it looks a little bit worn but is a contemporary rug. 


Thinking about all this warm wood, maybe we need to go with the green. Because the warm wood, if you squint, could look a little reddish in tone. I think I would just find whatever I can. I agree, just go big with this rug, I mean, you’re going to be bound by the tile hearth that’s under the wood burning stove, you’re going to be bound by the piano bench. Those perimeters alone, what with the door swing and also the opposite wall to the door are going to tell you what size the rug should be. So measure staying within the boundaries that I just discussed and I think you’ll be on your way in no time.










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