Hey guys, it’s Emily, real quick. In case you are new to the blog and are wondering who the hell is this dude, Orlando, here’s a recap of our relationship: was my assistant/sidekick on (RIP) and then became an associate designer that worked with me on design projects for close to 4 wonderful years where we became very close (like sleep in the same bed while traveling, close). He used to write posts on the blog but then HE LEFT ME to become the West Coast Creative Director of , a design startup that’s a huge game changer, making design more accessible, streamlined, and enjoyable to clients all over the U.S. Anyway, onto his post!
A dark secret about the world of design is that a lot of designers HATE thinking about window treatments. Especially one’s you have to do yourself. The last words you want to hear out of a client’s mouth are: “Will you help me hang my window treatments?” Why? Because that story always ends with me trying to install the store-bought drapes alone, sweating my face off and yelling at the ceiling about how much I hate drapes and then, moments later, the drapery rod falling down, stabbing me straight through the heart killing me instantly, and my ghost is all “THIS IS WHY HANGING DRAPERY IS THE WORST I TOOOOOLD YOU!” Also, this is why you hire professionals for this kind of thing.
Custom window treatments are definitely an investment, but one I think is 10000000% worth it when you factor in the annoyance of trying to do it yourself. And the insane difference in quality. The condo has a ton of weird/specific/enormous window situations, so I knew I would need to do custom window treatments. Another complicating factor is that the vibe of the condo is much more modern than any place I’ve ever lived. In my dream life, my house would be Cape Cod style, like in a Nancy Myers movie, with billowing, sheer white linen drapes that tussle in the wind as Jack Nicholson walks into the door and into my heart and I, Diane Keaton, realize “You know what? I still have a life to live! I *STILL* GOT IT!”
BUT LITERALLY WHAT DO YOU DO ABOUT WINDOW TREATMENTS IN A MODERN HOME???
For inspiration on this, I turned to one of my favorite past projects, the I designed for a tech mogul who also happens to be a cool art collector and a nice human.
Like the condo, this space is bright, modern, and has great views.
Also like the condo, I didn’t want the window treatments to be too traditional – I wanted them to meld with the clean lines and minimalist furnishings.
At the , I combined white roller shades with simple white drapery, making the window treatments feel almost like they were part of the architecture of the space. I wanted to recreate this look for the condo.
I had an idea of what I wanted style-wise, but needed someone to help me realize my dream. So I called up to get some window treatment assistance. Just kidding. I emailed them because I don’t really know how to use a phone anymore and was like “I have a condo full of enormous windows that need your help!” And they were like “GURL. YOU HAVE GOTTA MEET CHRISTA.” And I was like “GIRL. WHO IS CHRISTA? SHE SOUNDS AMAZING.” And they were like “HOLD ON SIS WE’LL SEND’A OVER.” AND THEN CHRISTA CAME OVER AND WE FELL IN LOVE AND SHE KILLED MY BOYFRIEND WITH A SWORD AND NOW WE’RE MARRIED AND WE HAVE THE PERFECT LIFE.
…JK. Kind of.
Anyway, when you’re an interior designer you’re constantly putting together presentations for clients and bringing them samples and materials. So when someone brings YOU samples and materials it’s a magical, meta experience. It’s like a designer hiring a designer hiring a designer. It’s pretty much like Russian dolls and just thinking about it makes my brain wanna pop.
(Sidenote: Look how yellow and gross the walls are in this pic. This is just when they were raw plaster. They’re no longer that disgusting color).
Basically the consists of looking through tons of general ideas about window coverings and then looking at an endless number of materials samples (like endless in a good way, I like options). I like it when clients make decisions fast, so I tried to choose things as quickly as possible. Christa was super patient and I was kind of in awe of how much time she took with me.
The most difficult/expensive windows to deal with are the living room windows. This room gets tons of sun and really heats up, so the goal was to cut some light and make the room a little more energy efficient. Do you see how hard I’m concentrating on picking the perfect fabric? Also, I felt totally guilty because Christa showed up in a super cute outfit and the condo was a huge mess with dust everywhere and we both looked like filthy hobos when we left.
The was great and we made decisions pretty quickly and decided on throughout the condo. For rooms with screen doors, we opted for drapery, which I’ll discuss in a hot minute.
The allow a little light to pass through, so it won’t be like a dungeon in there when they’re closed. I originally wanted to do blackout curtains to make it as light proof as possible, but Christa let me know that doesn’t actually change the level of heat insulation as much as you’d think, so it’s fine to have some nice light dappling in. These Screen Shades have , which means I can put them up and down without moving a muscle. But the most exciting part is that we are getting a for our phones. This allows you to control your window treatments from your phone while you luxuriate in the comfort of your glamorous new sofa. Technology is crazy! WE ARE LITERALLY LIVING IN THE FUTURE YOU GUYS!
Only the too-high Screen Shades are going to be motorized, the rest will be manual, which I’m totally fine with because I don’t want to be running around the condo putting shades up and down with my phone like a lunatic.
In the bedrooms and the TV lounge (a third bedroom we’re converting into a place to watch TV so our living room can be TV free and we can pretend to be sophisticated intellectuals who only listen to classical music and NPR), we’re doing simple linen-look on a modern track system. What, you say? You recognize this drapery situation? That’s because I stole it from Emily. Christa (who did Emily’s windows too) was all “This is what Emily has.” And I was like “I’LL HAVE WHAT SHE’S HAVING.” Sometimes, you just gotta steal ideas from your friends. Here’s what this custom drapery looks like in Emily’s guest bedroom:
Another challenge in the condo is the sliding doors. As Emily can attest to, it’s kinda hard to figure out how to cover these because sometimes the direction they open interferes with where you want the drape to be. We decided on in the master bedroom. But we needed it to be able to slide to either side of the rod, because sometimes we like to keep the door slightly ajar at night for fresh air, and sometimes we want the drape completely pulled to the right so as much light as possible can shine upon our smiling faces. Also, I want to put an exciting piece of art behind the drape so that every time I moved it to the left I’d be thrilled and delighted (I love this print by which is totally affordable and great). For no reason, here’s a GIF of the curtain going back and forth:
CACTUS! —> PAINTING! —> CACTUS! —> PAINTING!
…Looking at this GIF never gets old.
You know what else will never get old? When we finally move into the condo and get to play with all these custom window treatments every day. Move-in day is coming up, you guys. And I don’t think it’s physically possible for me to be more excited.
*Photography by courtesy of