Curtains can go very, very wrong. If you go overboard, you end up with something heavy and expensive and claustrophobic, like one of those getups Sally Field wore in Lincoln. On the other hand, don’t ignore them until too late, after all the remodel money has been spent. Like I did. With my husband threatening to thumbtack a bed sheet over the beautiful new windows “to stop the spying,” I faced a desperate situation.
“Let’s review,” said my husband, who likes his privacy. “How exactly did we end up adding only two new rooms but 21 new windows?”
Um, the architect likes “light?” At least that’s what he said when he showed me the plans. It looked like a good idea on paper, too. All that light. Of course, now that we’ve moved in we practically have to walk around in sunglasses. So what’s the solution (and how much did I end up spending)?
Strategy No. 1: Don’t panic. Instead, walk from room to room and evaluate each window calmly. As Brooklyn-based architect Frederick Tang (whose firm Davies Tang + Toews is a member of the Remodelista Architect/Designer Directory) puts it, “What do you need from each of your windows? Is this a room where you want to sleep in utter pitch darkness? Or do you live somewhere where the site has privacy and your amazing views are the thing you are concerned about?”
Photographs by Mimi Giboin except where noted.
Above: A Michael Smith-designed bedroom in the Hollywood Hills, photographed by Henry Bourne, via Style Court. According to Smith, the “utterly simple curtains are made from 200 yards of pure white medium-weight Italian linen with a matte satin finish, hung with a glamorous drape from plain wrought iron rods.”
Strategy No. 2: Hang simple solid-color curtain panels.
Why choose curtains (instead of blinds, say, or shades) for some windows? Says Tang, “It is a classic trick to use curtains to enlarge the visual effect of window. Often people will place them bunched up a foot or two off to the side of window, so will look as if a window is bigger.”