August 18, 2014

Curtain Call: DIY Tab Curtains for the Bedroom

I have previously professed my love of sheer curtains, evidenced by my almost unwavering commitment to their gauzy, airy look in the townhouse.  I still love sheers, but the turquoise polka dot washer/dryer-hiding drapes in the laundry room re-awakened in me a passion for patterned curtains (the last time I had patterned drapes I was in a red and cream toile phase so, suffice to say, it's been awhile).  When it came time to choose bedroom curtain fabric, I turned my back on sheers and picked something with a bold pattern.  I also skipped curtain rings, which have been my go-to since my toile days, and opted for back tab curtains instead.  Stepping out of my comfort zone paid off, because I am absolutely thrilled with the bedroom curtains and how the bedroom is taking shape.


If I'm being honest though, part of my "let's try something new" attitude was a result of constrained choices.


Since spotting the white curtain rods in Emily Henderson's makeover of Bri's living room, I've been obsessed with the look.  I had chosen matte black curtain rods for the townhouse and while I liked the contrasting look at the time, I wanted something more subtle in the lakehouse.  With my penchant for white walls, I have no idea why I didn't seek out white curtain rods before!
 

One problem, though.  Do you know how hard it was for me to find white curtain rods that don't have a shabby chic, country feel?  I'm sure the search was made more difficult because of my finickiness and far-flung locale.  I finally found modern-looking West Elm deadstock on ebay (Ikea was my second choice, but their white finials didn't match their white rods well).  With curtain rods on order, I realized I couldn't find the matching white curtain rings.  My Mom told me to abandon the search after she found an excellent tutorial for back tab curtains from the Online Fabric Store.  We watched it together, enraptured - they seemed totally easy to make! 


The video tutorial is top-notch and I highly recommend you watch it, but I'll briefly outline the steps below as well.  One quick note: Claire lined her fabric to protect it from sun and moisture but I opted to keep mine unlined.  Hubby and I have conflicting attitudes toward the use of curtains.  I like to keep them open at night and wake up to the sunlight (hence my love of sheers), while Hubby prefers a total blackout curtain.  The fabric I chose is fairly opaque and lined it would have been very opaque.  Keeping it unlined lets a tiny bit of sunshine filter through in the morning, so I don't feel like I'm waking up in a coffin, but Hubby gets enough of what he calls "real curtain-curtains". 

To get started, we just hemmed the sides and bottom of the curtain panels as usual.  For the tabs, we cut out 4.5" x 6" rectangles of fabric, which were sewn into tubes (right side facing), flipped right side out and then ironed flat with the seam in the middle.  The finished tabs are approximately 2" wide.  Once the tubes were turned into flat tabs, we folded and ironed each end of the tabs under.  These tabs were then hooked under, pinned onto and sewn into the top seam, which is around 5" wide.


Claire recommends 6" between the tabs.  Each of my finished panels are about 53" wide and we did a total of 7 tabs per panel.  In case anyone is curious, the curtain rod has an overall length of 8 feet.  Ultimately, we could have done as many as we like; more tabs would have created a fuller, more pleated look.


This is what the back of the finished curtain looks like:


Then we just slid the curtain rods through the tabs.  I worried back tab curtains would stick and not open smoothly, but my fears were unfounded.  These curtains function better than curtains on rings, plus they look much more polished.  And, as Claire points out, the tabs result in soft pleats which control the drape of the fabric.  I used to spend forever fussing with the office curtains in the townhouse, which Hubby would close nightly and fling open with wild abandon every morning.  I would adjust the drape, pulling and fluffing the top so it would drape just so. When Hubby flings these open they fall perfectly.  I wonder how many hours I'll save annually, thanks to these curtains.  It's embarrassing to think about it.


There are different tutorials for back tab curtains, some of which propose a different construction or placement of the tabs.  We sewed the tabs very close to the top of the curtain which I think creates a cleaner, more modern look than when the tabs are placed lower, which creates a soft ruffling at the top. 


I think the white and teal fabric looks great against the white walls, and the white curtain rod does a good job of letting the curtain steal the show - without being too skimpy.


In these photos the vintage Hungarian posters and silk pillows look really green and the fabric looks really blue.  I definitely think it's time for a new camera, but for now you'll have to trust me that the curtain fabric is really an excellent colour match for the posters - it's very nearly identical to the background of the middle poster (the gal in the orange dress).  It's more green/teal than what is depicted here and the difference in the colours of the art, the pillows and drapes is far more subtle in real life.  The green pillows look positively neon - I blame the sheen of the silk.


Despite the fabulous curtains, the room still needs some tweaking.  I just tossed our former accent pillows on the bed, we're still using a borrowed, too-small, too-light dresser - and don't even ask about closet doors!



I did swap out the minty chair for the black one from the living room because the mint pattern was dulled beside this bolder teal, but a chair is a placeholder for the dressers I pine for.  In addition to big-ticket items like closet doors and dressers, I have some smaller changes in mind.  The room could use some additional art and more thoughtful accessorizing.  But I think the next thing on my to-do list will be something easy:  fiddle with the accent pillows.  I have a really cool idea for making a custom-printed pillow to fuse together all of the colours from the posters with the new curtains and existing green silk pillows (which I love, and want to keep because they complement the posters and curtain really nicely in the real world)... 




I'll keep you posted on the changes I make.  I still can't get over what a difference these drapes make!
 
Before
 And here is the before-before, just for fun:

August 14, 2014

PlaidFox

As a blogger, a lot of the sponsorship and collaboration opportunities that come my way are geared more toward my American readers.  I have a certain fondness for America because I grew up - and have recently returned to - a border town, just minutes from Minnesota.  I have logged many hours stateside and the majority of my readers are actually American!  Love you guys!  But I'm also super proud of being a Canadian and am always especially thrilled when I can work with a brand or company that is uniquely ours.


I'm really excited to introduce PlaidFox, a chic Canadian company comprised of wholesale designers, buyers, and salespeople dedicated to bringing Canadians designer home furnishings - always at a price lower than the MSRP.  But this isn't just a simple online shop!  PlaidFox is committed to helping you get the most out of your space.  They don't just want to sell you something pretty, they want to help you find your look and help you love your home.  I recently took a tour around their newly launched website, starting with their Style Test.  


Normally I hate quizzes (three decades of education will do that to a person), but this one was chalk full of gorgeous spaces and felt more like my Pinterest boards were having a conversation with me.


Unsurprisingly, the PlaidFox Style Test was spot on: Mid-Century Modern.  My secondary style?  Coastal!  If you're curious, take the quiz yourself and let me know your style.  I'm really curious to see how many of my readers will have the same style as me...

Once you know your style, you can exclusively shop that look, which is an easy way to sift through all of the beautifully curated items to narrow in on the pieces that will complete your space or define your style.  Here's a sample of a few of the items recommended for me:

Black Tweed Teddy Bear Chair & Ottoman:


Colorful Scale Pattern Pillow (down fill):


Angelholm Walnut Veneer Table:


One of each, please.  You can also search by product, if your style is too eclectic to capture or you're on the hunt for the perfect dining chair and can't be distracted by dinosaurs and cog mirrors (I'm seriously pining for that mirror, and trying to work it into my bathroom plans because Hubby is equally smitten).

Not in the mood to shop? 


Then check out The Den, where you can explore inspiring spaces and find sweet DIY projects like this (you'd-never-guess-it-was) potato stamped pillow:


Take a peek at PlaidFox, whose style I would describe as quirky, Canadian cool.  The website is beautiful, and definitely worth a peruse whether you're in a shopping mood or not.  They're just getting started over there too, so expect more great finds and exclusive designs.  American friends, don't worry, PlaidFox ships to you.

 
This post was sponsored by PlaidFox but all opinions, editorial decisions, and commentary are my own.  I actually went a little nutty pinning things from the shop to my Pinterest boards and I started following them on Instagram - neither of which were requested for this post.  I'm just genuinely excited about some of their products and can't wait to see this online shop take shape.  Full disclosure: there's a chance that 2% of my appreciation for PlaidFox stems from my love of foxes (exhibits A and B).  Their logo is so adorable!!   

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August 13, 2014

That's the Plan, Stan

I vaguely remember brazenly declaring that Hubs and I would be gutting the main bathroom this summer.  As in, the summer happening right now.  Life got in the way of my grand plans: the townhouse took longer to sell than we planned, the unpacking took longer than we planned, the kitchen makeover took longer than we planned, the snow melting took longer than we planned.  Flaked out on the sofa watching Game of Thrones one night in the spring, we decided to put off the bathroom reno until next spring.  I'm so happy I took the time to spruce up the room because it made it so much easier to make that very wise choice.

Frankly, I'm relieved.  I rushed planning the townhouse bathroom renovation and there are so many things we ended up not liking about the space.  With some more planning and more reflection, I hope that this time around I can design the perfect bathroom for us.  I'm not going to dawdle though, so I started a new Pinterest Board to collect my thoughts and I think I have a pretty good rough sketch of how I'd like the space to look.

This room inspired the tentative plan forming in my head:

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And, just for reference, this is our space right now (after the spruce):


We don't want to change the footprint of the room (whew - major savings and so much less hair pulling) and I even like the size and layout of our vanity with the tall cupboard to the left.  But I absolutely want a floating vanity because I'm really into the look, which feels very mid-century inspired, plus it would make cleaning under it a breeze.  It needs to be taller - ours is painfully low.  I'm thinking that a warm, walnut stained wood will look great with the existing hardwood flooring throughout the house but if we move forward with concrete flooring in the house (and grey flooring in the bathroom, specifically), I think I'll appreciate the visual warmth of the wood. 

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Amanda's vanity has such gorgeous grain, it would make anyone pine for wood (haha).  I want something with lots of grain too (hear that? That's Hubby cheering).  I have started to really appreciate wood and anytime we're at the lumber yard picking out something for a project (like the floating credenza top), I jokingly growl "graiiiiiins," like a zombie. 

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Like my first inspiration picture, I love the idea of white walls and turquoise tile.  Once we remove the shower portal and install a modern white bathtub, turquoise tile will look great.  I think a classic shape will lend the bold colour choice some longevity. 

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I am tempted to do something quirky and vintage, though, like tile the entire bathroom in subway tile - but do the bottom half aqua and the top half white (like the photo bottom right in the collage above, and the very retro-looking space below)...

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I'm tile shopping now and leaving myself open to possibilities because I might stumble across something that I didn't even know to look for!  The floor will be grey, I think.  I'm fighting the urge to make it turquoise too.  Slate or ceramic tile would be okay, but this room would also be a good space to try out concrete before making a bit commitment.  I'm drawn to grey for its dirt-disguising properties, plus I'm just really liking grey as a cool neutral to pair with aqua.  I'm using it all over the house and it's helping me pull together a cohesive look, while also doing the important work of tempering the bright aqua and providing contrast to the white-white-white walls. 

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I'm very far away from choosing accessories, but I do know I'd prefer chrome or brushed nickel finishes (probably chrome).  I'm really drawn to a pair of round mirrors over two sinks.  And there's this recycled glass solid surface counter I found - it's white with flecks of what looks like beach glass.  It's a good contender, but it's pricey.  Now that I have formulated a rough plan (which is subject to change), I feel more prepared to start pricing out and sourcing what we need.  Here's to a bathroom I won't grow tired of the second it's finished...

While I'm on the subject of bathrooms, I'm going to share my thoughts on the townhouse bathroom soon - what worked, what didn't, what regrets I have, and what I miss dearly about the space.
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