curtain call

I shared most of the details of our kitchen/dining room progress in the last post, but today I thought I’d fill you in on one of my favorite parts- our curtains.

One of the biggest challenges that has come with decorating this particular house (which was built in the 40s and was most recently used as a commercial property) has been softening things up a bit to make it feel more like a home and less like a business.


The giant windows are one of our favorite things about our house (we rarely need to turn the lights on during the day), but they are definitely a focal point of the room. The existing mini-blinds, while functional, weren’t exactly helping the aesthetic, and with this being one of the central rooms of the house, I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of dusting miles of blinds for the next several years.

As you can tell from this next picture, changing the paint definitely helped to warm things up, but the space still felt really unfinished.


Because I knew what an impact curtains would make and these particular curtains are basically the center of our entire house, they were at the top of my priority list and I was willing to spend extra to make sure I really loved them. This wasn’t my philosophy with all of our drapes (I’ll show you an example soon), but it was important to me to get these ones right.

I first spotted our drapery fabric on the High Street Market blog. I loved it, but didn’t have any use for it at the time, so I just mentally filed it away (obviously, this was pre-pinterest :)).When it came time to gather fabric samples, I was excited to add it to the pile. I love the botanical look, as well as all the little details on each leaf.

drapes fabric

Now for a tip:

When buying fabric, do your research. The blog where I originally found the fabric cited it as a Pindler and Pindler fabric (Lynne Cloud). It is also sold by Ballard (Felicity Spa). However, I was ultimately able to find it as a P. Kaufmann fabric (Leaf Sampler/ Cir Cloud) with the same specs (size, material, etc.) for a good  bit less. I have found this “multiple names” practice to be pretty standard among decorator fabrics, so if you’re ordering several yards, it’s definitely worth a Google.

After I chose my fabric, the next step was turning it into curtains. Even though I’ve made my own drapes before and was happy with the result, I decided to hand the job over to a professional this time for several reasons. 1) Tiny baby. 2) Insanely long to-do list for the rest of the house. 3) Pricey fabric. (I didn’t want to waste money messing things up) 4) The central location of the drapes. (I wanted something that would look professional, and even if I managed to do a good job, I know I would have found something to scrutinize.)

I e-mailed and called several local people to get quotes on the labor for the drapes. If you are going this route, I recommend knowing which style you want before you ask for quotes.

drapes types(Image found here.)

I went with pinch pleated drapes because I like their traditional style and they aren’t as common among stock drapes (like grommet and rod pocket), giving them more of a custom look.

I ended up going with a woman named Dorothy after reading great reviews of her work, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision. Her prices were much more reasonable than other quotes I received, and her work was outstanding. It was so clear that she takes pride in her work. She did a great job of making suggestions (like using blackout liner to help avoid sun damage to the fabric), and making sure everything was just right. So, if you’re looking for a recommendation, her e-mail is In my opinion, she’s the best seamstress in the Raleigh/Durham area!

123Can I just say that the price of curtain hardware is incredibly annoying to me? Seriously. It’s a metal rod, people! We were able to soften the blow by using the Hugad rods from Ikea with finials from Home Depot. Zach found a lot of vintage curtain rings on Ebay for a great deal. I love the color variation caused by their age, and I’m also a big fan of the warm wood tones.

125Bottom line: I am so happy with how the drapes turned out. I would absolutely make the same decision again. Bottom line #2: this was definitely not a budget buy. The final price per panel was comparable to Pottery Barn (for what it’s worth, I think the final product of custom drapes has a much nicer quality). We made it work (we used the money from the sale of our former dining room cabinet to pay for the drapes), but price was not the deciding factor here. That being said, I do think it was money well spent, particularly since these guys make me smile on a regular basis!



2 thoughts on “curtain call

  1. Arielle, You popped up in my Google chat list somehow a few months ago and I searched to see what you guys were up to (post Colonial) and stumbled on your blog. I of course love your chronicles of decorating and just wanted to say you’ve done an amazing job with the house!!

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