Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sheer Curtain Panels - Yes Or No?

I have a very tall window situation in my living room. One window is 10 feet tall, floor to ceiling, nine over nine window panes. It is just a gorgeous 150 year old girl! On the same wall is an old door with a glass pane, and a window transom above. I treat this as a second window, by hanging the same curtains as I hang on the nine over nine.
Living in a city, on a street that gets foot traffic, and being on the ground floor level with a small set back of a front garden and front porch, makes it easy to see inside. And it makes it easy to see outside, and I have a lovely view of a 300 year old massive live oak tree lined street, and of course all the pretty things I planted in my front garden. I also like to people watch.
However, I like a little privacy too. In the past I would do my windows like my mother did. Drapery panels with sheer panel inserts, or with match stick or tortoise bamboo shades. I can't do bamboo shades on the floor to ceiling window. I just can't. I hate letting them up and down; no matter how good they are, it is always a pain working that stringy thingee. I don't want a roller shade either, because it's too granny, and also because the size of these windows would be an expensive custom job proposition, and I think a roller shade going to the floor would be odd. Any shade would look odd, because of the panel on the door. I would want the shades to be closed or open at the same level, and somehow I can't see it working.

Nowadays, you see just drapery or curtain panels alone, with no sheer panels. Do people open and close them everyday? When they're open and the window expanse is revealed along with your flat screen, does this make you nervous when all the looky-lous peer into your fishbowl?
Before I order to sheer panels from Pottery Barn or Ikea (the only places that make long panels - I need 116 inches), I am having a good think on this. I do not want my room to look dated or fussy or maw maw.
I'm not doing tie backs for this reason. I have always swagged and tied back, but I think the tie back is just tired for me right now.
In the past I have used handkerchief linen panels as inserts. But I don't want to use the pink ones with my new color scheme. I'm keeping the same green velvet panels. They are just the perfect color and weight, and drape so beautifully, and still have the look of antique Fortuny. Right now they are hanging sans sheers. The have button holes for a rod pocket that usually just slide onto a narrow rod. I have attached clip-on rings to the the button holes, so the panels can open and close effortlessly. I mix the metals of the rings, and the little sparkle up near the ceiling is very pretty.
So what do you think? Let the looky-lous have a peek? Or add white sheers? It's funny because in the dance parlor I use French lace panels with silk side panels. I like lace, yet I get the granny complex. But the tango has such a lovely vintage, and the dance parlor harks back to its beginnings 150 years ago in Buenos Aires. So the antique look of the French lace panels hits the right chord.

PS The couch came back this morning from the re-upholsterer, and it looks breathtaking! Stay tuned for the big reveal!


Design Junkie said...

Not that I am the arbitrator of taste and elegance for the world (though I should be), but i use sheers with panes all the time. The reason they became a classic is because they work in situations just like yours.

Topsy Turvy said...

Personally, I find the look of sheers under curtains a bit fussy and dated. Kinda grandma. People outside can see through them anyway. I love the look of matchstick or bamboo blinds under drapes, and some work better than others. Target's are fine. You can put them halfway down for partial privacy, but see out the bottom.
A floor screen placed in front of the window could be cool, but it would block your view out.
Or, thinking outside the box, is there some kind of shutter or screen that you could put up outside the window? If you have a garden area, put up a trellis with vines covering it or a large plant. Easiest soluction, just close your drapes at night.


Cote de Texas said...

I loathe sheers - get the textured blinds OR how about get the shades the come up from the bottom and leave the top open. know what I mean?