The Trouble With Photography (and My Curtains)

In a nutshell, the trouble is photographs lie. You aren't really that fat (promise), the perfect gray paint color that looked amazing in a magazine looks like shit on your walls, and those pink curtains I lusted after weren't even pink.

Remember this room? I was all, Oooh ahh magic! over it and how such a sophisticated room could pull off those pink curtains. Well get a load of this:

Same room. Not exactly pink pink, more of a rose...

Huh. Well I might consider that to be more of a clay red -- something with a fair amount of brown in it.

Not pink at all.

So, you see, I was doomed from the start.


erin williamson

Oh me. Oh my.

The other trouble with photography is that it's awfully labor intensive. I almost turned around to shoot the back of the room so you could see my secret piles of toys and laundry drifts, but I wanted propagate the myth that I keep a semi clean house. Still, why didn't I move the speakers? Or restyle the fireplace? Or hang those curtains higher and replace my chesterfield and find a new place for the tv?

I have a lot of work to do. Focus.

erin williamson

Yet another problem with photography is that some of you are probably thinking, Those pink curtains are bananas, dawg!

Well, I hope your brain doesn't think in those words, because that may be the trouble with you.

Anyway, those pink curtains were like eight year old sparkly bubblegum pink unicorns riding rainbows to My Little Pony land.

Hell. No.

erin williamson

It's not like the flax curtains fared much better. Once again -- they may look ok in the picture, but they were green in real life. Not pretty with my peachy pink walls.

So I took that crap back and now I have two totally different curtains up. Plus I just ordered two more.

And I'm trying to stop myself from ordering sandy beige... I think I'll save super neutral for the double height curtains I might get around to someday.

The trouble with me is I am so used to taking photographs that I expect my house to look like one.

Also I am extremely overwhelmed and indecisive.

Will report later on the ever expanding curtain conundrum.

In the meantime, let me tell you why you aren't as fat as you look in pictures. It's because humans see with two eyes, and we can sort of see around objects to the background behind. Cameras only see with one eye and they flatten everything onto one big fat plane.

So there you go. You are 10 pounds thinner.

That's something, right?

Double Height Curtains

Thanks ever so much for your feedback on the fireplace dilemma -- I now have a lot of things to think about. Most pressing it seems I must do something about the windows, and the new question du jour is: what, praytell? Should I do shades or curtains? Do I address all four windows or just the lower levels? And then there's the adjacent (non tv wall) -- it has glass patio doors. So whatever happens on the fireplace wall must carry over onto that wall, as well. (You can see a rough old floorplan here). Shades would be the easiest and most cost effective, or perhaps it would be even cheaper to only hang curtains over the bottom windows and treat the top ones as transoms, as per Nelya's suggestion. But I have to say the double height curtain plan has got some traction... inside my brain at least. Turns out the height to the top of the window is 148," which is too tall to use the longest premade curtains I can find -- by a matter of inches. UGH. Who built this house?! So now if I go that route we're talking custom curtains and that means berserker cash. Let's look at some pictures and see if such a thing might even be worth cleaning out my piggy bank.

Leggy. Like Angelina Jolie.

What I do know is I don't want this to happen. I mean, that is my house.

Gone horribly wrong.

So there's a lot of drama inherent in the giant curtain idea. I like drama, but will they be too overwhelming?

What do we think about double height curtains?

And is there anywhere I can find them premade in lengths longer than 144"?

Once again I'm depending on you to save the world.

[Fawn Galli, House Beautiful, Tom Scheerer, Happy Home Workshop, Harpers Bazaar, AD -- thanks Pieter!]

There is no clever way to title a post about windows

My Friends Bryan and Hannah just bought a house, and, being the GENIUSES that they are, they contacted  me ASAP to inquire about window treatments coverings.  I hemmed and hawed over helping them.  I mean, there are only a few nice things a girl can fit into her 100 mph lifestyle.  Then I imagined, what if poor sweet Brian were to, say, fall victim to an injury and he had to, oh, I don't know, spend several weeks in a cast and wheelchair with nothing but a telescoping lens and Hannah's sketches and sandwiches to keep him company? Well, I really couldn't bear the thought of Brian suffering through such a tragedy without a beautifully dressed window to peak out of.  So, I decided to be the bigger person and help the kiddos out by compiling this small collection of window goodness.

Oh, one last thing before we get started, and this is VERY important... whenever Erin and I advise a friend via the blog, it is your responsibility, dear readers, to take a shot every time we type their names.  This is why we usually only help on Fridays.  This week is bonus because there are 2 names:  Hannah and Brian (shot! shot!)  Hooray!  Back to windows

My knee jerk reaction to any window dilemma is Roman Shades!  I love them!  I think it's because you get all the luxury of fabric but they're nice and crisp and tailored, not all flowy and showy.  I just bought some lovely black and white striped fabric to make roman shades for my bedroom that will look similar to this:

roman shades

Tracey Garet's home via Alkemie

roman 2

I will forgo the silly wooden sculpture and the fancy wing-back chair.  More Roman Shade Porn:


photo 1: Kelly Wearstler / photo 2: Muriel Brandolini via Desire to Inspire

The first picture shows that Roman shades really do have a decadent side, if you must.  The second shows their all out sex appeal.  Something about the sheer shade that creates texture and depth when it's folded is just oh so hot!  I've never really been a big fan of combined window treatments, what does everyone think of the roman shade paired with the printed curtain?

roman pairing

(I'm sorry, I can't remember where I found this picture)

MMMM, naaaa, I don't think I like it.. what about you Brian and Hannah?

yellow curtain

Photo by Paul Costello

If you're going to go with curtains, I say go with curtains.  These neon yellow over-sized raw silk numbers were clearly hand stitched by the angels in heaven, carried down by little doves and installed by tiny baby kittens with golden paws.  Clearly.  I also REALLY LOVE when curtains are hung at the top of a wall, just below the ceiling, despite how tall the windows are:


photo courtesy of survive style 5's flickr photostream

Some people like floor to ceiling curtains so much, they just skip the walls altogether, I strongly advise this:


Phillippe Stark via Desire to Inspire

I'm sure that Brian and Hannah's back patio looks very similar to the one below, in which case I suggest the following outdoor treatment:

red ceiling

from le Chateau Les Crayeres (via notcot)

Now that we're all sold on floor-to-ceiling, let's talk pattern.  Everything should match perfectly, right?


kelly wearstler

Ok, admittedly, I have a big, huge, giant soft spot in my heart for over-done pattern.  Go big or go home, I say.  Actually, I've never said that, but I do really love seeing every last inch of a room covered in a perfectly repeating pattern.  If Brian and Hanna would like to go with something less, um, dramatic, I would like to suggest a nice chevron or stripe:


Curtain Selection by House of Mann

Yes, I know that is not a window, but isn't that fabric to die for?  Yes, yes it is.  It will also be a perfect save incase Brian ever gets thrown in Jail and Hannah has to make a beautiful dress from her drapes so she can go find him and beg him for money. (Wear Gloves Hannah!!!)

Oh, and look at this luxurious floor to ceiling set up:


residential project by lazzarini pickering

I need to quickly interject and provide the most important piece of wisdom to Hannah and Brian:  no matter what, despite the type of curtain you choose and the height at which you choose to hang it you can never ever even consider for a moment hanging it with these:


I have just this very minute decided that I don't like them.  I think it's the wimpy cord, or the wimpy litle circles... maybe if the clasps were more substantial?  Oh, I don't know, they just look like they're trying to be a little too clever.  Speaking of clever, here are a couple of clever things that you might like:


ASCII Curtains via Nets 2 Go

Brian has one of those techy jobs that none of his friends ever totally grasp, so, I could be REALLY REALLY wrong on this one, but Brian just might appreciate that the above curtains are made from number patterns much like a programmer would see (I'm pretty positive he's not a programmer, though)  I think Hannah would like the tree, Hannah likes things that are sweet (did I tell you? she's a nurse).   That curtain is like Brian and Hannah:  computer-y and sweet.  If that curtain told you the most insanely dry and witty joke you've ever heard, then it would be exactly like Brian and Hannah.

Man you guys must be sauced right now!  Well, cover one eye and feast the other one on this:


Magnetic Curtain by Florian Kräutli via nets 2 go

Look!  It's magnets!  Magnets are holding that baby up.  No cords or nothing. awesome.

If Brian and Hannah decide, after reading this post, that they have a complete aversion to fabric, might I suggest some lovely indoor shudders:


1st option

Mmmmm, I really just like those more and more every time I see them.  Here's another non-fabric window option:


Emma Jeffs White Orba Adhesive Film available at Design Public

Just slap a sticker on it and you're good to go (note, stickers are NOT OK on walls, just windows and only under the right circumstance)

Now if Brian and Hannah are blessed enough to have windows like this, then I suggest no treatment at all:

dream window

dream photo courtesy of survive style 5's flickr photostream

Happy early weekend, kids, and good luck sleeping off those hangovers