It’s the Little Things

I’m back from a break to show off some small changes to our “breakfast nook.”  The original part of our house was built in 1958 and at that time this little area right off of the kitchen was the only dedicated dining space in the house.  Since some add-ons were made in the 70’s, there (thankfully) is now plenty of room in the house for a proper dining room table.  So, now we have a breakfast nook to play with.  First, let’s take a look at what the space looked like when Darrin first got the keys to the house.

A view of the nook from our great room. If you look carefully at the upper right corner, you can see remnants of the 1980's country wall paper we found.


Just look at that lamp! At let me tell you, it hurt like heck when we bumped our heads on it!


We love these storybook windows. But, those blinds had to go!

So, before we look at what changes have happened to this small area.  Here’s a reminder of what things look like on the opposite side of the kitchen.  We went with some bold blues and greens.  This was the first room we painted and we were tired of dull and dingy and needed something bright.  We got it.

kitchen after 2

We've since rearranged some of the use of the counter space. But we're still so happy with the colors!


And now for the transformation on the other side.

We painted the walls a bright white, removed the dated wall paper, changed the light fixture, and updated the window treatment.


Here's another view of the space looking into the great room. We decided to paint the cross beams to highlight some of the architectural details of the space.


The roman shades (from Cost Plus World Market) were a great find! They tie in the blue and green from our cabinets while bringing in the red from these great club chairs Darrin found years ago while traveling.


While we are certainly pleased with the progress of this space.  It is not over.  Still to do:

  1. Find a permanent light fixture (the current shade was stolen borrowed from Darrin’s night stand)
  2. Buy canister trash and recycling cans to replace our current eyesores.
  3. Buy or build side board to place on blank wall and use for storage (the only place in the house we’re lacking storage, really).
  4. Hang artwork on blank wall.  Right now, I’m leaning towards something with the following concept (without the words):
I love the colors and the idea of hunting around for beautiful plates to complete my collection.
So, what about you?  Do you have any small projects you’ve completed lately that you feel good about?  Share, share!

In Treatment, Part Deux

It seems like ages ago that I wrote this rant post about our efforts to replace the window coverings in our great room.  Well, now I’m back with the results.  After I spent countless hours shopping (both online and in stores), it was Darrin who finally came home with a fabulous find.

We had already purchased bamboo shades at Lowe’s (on clearance even – suh-weet) but they needed a little something extra.  That’s when Darrin came through with some soft blue panels from Big Lots of all places.  And for only $10 a panel, we really couldn’t go wrong.

The end result is a window “treatment” we’re quite pleased with.  The blue of the curtain plays nicely with the blue in our kitchen, which can be seen from the great room, without being too matchy-matchy (yes, that’s a real thing).  The bamboo starts to bring in the ultimate theme we’re going for in that room – a kind of colonial outpost (more on that later).

Here’s a sneak peek at the end result on one of the windows.  I’ll share more photos later as more of the room comes together.  First, take a look at a before picture.  Notice the nasty white blinds.  Oh and check out those super clean walls and awesome grey carpet.

Before the window received treatment.

And now, here’s a look at that same window with curtains.

Perfect blue curtains thanks to Darrin's super shopping skills. They do need to be ironed, though.

We love the way the blue curtains look with the bamboo shades. And the shades let in some great light, while maintaining privacy.


It felt so good to get this project done!  What completed projects do you want to brag about?


In Treatment

Now that we’ve finished painting our big living room it’s on to the next step – window coverings.  This room has three rather large windows, two of which face a street heavily trafficked by cars and pedestrians.  Previously, the windows were covered with vertical blinds (ick!) and have since been replaced with taped-up newspaper.  That’s right, passers-by now probably think we’re drug dealers.  Suh-weet.

Obviously, I want this to change, asap.  So, I’ve been spending any spare moment over the past few days obsessively searching for a solution to the window problem.  There are so many questions to ask.  Do we want curtains?  If so, what color, texture, length, pattern, etc.?  Do we want shades?  A combination of shades and curtains?

Window dressing inspiration from Young House Love.

And then there’s the price.  We’ve got a lot of windows to cover in our house, and I simply can’t justify spending $15.00 on one panel, that will only cover 1/2 of one window.  By the way, whose bright idea was it to start selling panels in singles?   Just when I think I’ve found a decent price, I look closer at the packaging and realize that it’s only for half a curtain.  Shouldn’t panels naturally come in pairs – like shoes, or gloves, or earrings?

Beautiful Aegean Blue curtain from Cost Plus. Sold by the panel.

Finally, in my search I keep coming across the term “window treatment.”  What does that even mean?  I conducted a quick google search to unearth the inventor of that term – with no luck.  Perhaps some designer out there can school me on the history.  In the mean time, I went to the root of the phrase and looked up “treatment” in the dictionary and found the following results:

From the Cambridge Dictionaries Online

treatment (noun)

  1. the way you deal with or behave towards someone or something
  2. the way something is considered and examined

We are also familiar with the term treatment as it relates to the health industry.  When we are sick, we seek treatment.  We treat things that are diseased, broken, or wrong.  Is that what we’re doing with our windows?  Are we “treating” their brokeness?  It certainly seems that way when I re-visit the start of this post.  I approach my windows listing all of the things that are wrong with them and the challenges they present.  No wonder this experience is proving to be so exhaustingly frustrating.

It reminds me of one of the messages I try to share with students enrolled in my Community Service course.  I try to encourage them to approach their service and the people they serve with a different perspective (taking a page from Asset Based Community Development).  I challenge my students to shift their focus from the needs, deficiencies, and brokeness of the people they serve, and instead look for and help them access their gifts, talents, assets, and capacities.  It’s a much more rewarding experience for everyone involved.

Should I be doing this with my windows?  Instead of trying to “treat” them, should I be focused on what they have to offer my home?  Will this new perspective help make my search for window decor more enjoyable?

Or will all of this simply make me in need of some treatment?