curtains in a Modern home

Now that we're getting closer to our move-in date, we need to make some decisions on window treatments. I kinda like those two words together: Window. Treatments. It sounds like those windows are afflicted with some seeping disease that requires medical attention. And indeed, they are! Without window treatments there's no privacy. You can't control sunlight. And window treatments also up the green factor on your house by reflecting sunlight, preventing the sunlight from entering your house and warming it up, and even providing a wee bit of insulation (HVAC sizing takes into account window treatments, believe it or not).

I've been told by folks (including architects) that architects generally do not approve of window treatments. For some reason them wacky architects think curtains and blinds adversely impact the architecture. But Mies van der Rohe (he of "Less is more.") used curtains in his houses:

People who live in glass houses not only do not throw stones but also have curtains. (source)

A couple close-ups in case you doubt what I say:

Corbusier used curtains as well:

I bet they're watching House Hunters International behind those Corbu Curtains! (source)

Even freakin' Frank Lloyd Wright designed curtains:

How can it be wrong if it's Wright? (source)

So if an architect starts to pish and posh your frilly curtains, puff up and boom "So you think you're a better architect than Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe, and Le Corbusier?!?!?!"

Since we were afraid to bring up curtains with our architects (for the record, we don't know where they stand on curtains, but why tempt ugly confrontation when you don't have to...), we went to visit the good people at JoAnnie's Fabrics for a free window treatment consultation with a nice lady in a hoop dress named Dee Meener. After making fun of architects for a few (really almost twenty...) minutes, Ms. Meener settled down to discuss our options.

Given the bland colors in the house we decided, under the careful tutelage of our curtain advisor, to choose something that pops, that really brings the place alive yet provides privacy (and darkness) when we decide to watch House Hunter reruns in our privies. That takes us from this in our living room:

to this:

Can you say "Please pass the popcorn!"

Those are nice! The curves of the valance, the bit across the top, helps to soften the harsh aluminum lines of the window. And the gold tassles are a nice touch and not only look good, contrasted as they are against the red velour, but hold the respective curtains in place until needed (form AND function: can't get more Modern than that!). Those tassles also remind us of graduations long ago (in fact, if we can find our UT tassels, we could save a few bucks by using those instead of getting new ones).

I know what you're thinking: "Man! With a window that large, what will you do to keep large aquatic birds from hitting it when the curtains are open?" We hear ya. And we have the solution: Large scale pelican decals:

Nothing says "Pelicans: Stay away!!!" better than large-scale pelican decals.

We still have a lot of windows to triage in the house. Something tells me we'll be spending a lot of time with Ms. Dee Meener over the next couple of months as we appoint our Modern masterpiece...


  1. LOL. Curses! Curtains!

    We ordered quite a few custom options from Blinds Chalet. They've got a ton of great color options, AND will send samples. It's not quite a solution for your large windows but maybe helpful for other ones. We ended up with purple blinds against a grey wall: http://www.cococonfessions.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/livingrmduring-e1354576656661.jpg (please ignore the rug. it was a test!)

    As far as that large wall'o'windows.. I'd totally try playing around with window film/frosting. We actually did striped frosting on our bathroom window to match the pattern on the wall. You can always remove it!

  2. Ooh - or sliding panels a la Ikea.

  3. We have pretty decently sized mid-mod windows and after a long search actually found our pinch-pleat curtain rails at Walmart online of all places.

  4. Hang modern curtains that will make the rooms look cool and elegant.