Over the past year, I’ve been in the process of updating my bedroom, (well, my whole house actually) and window coverings were one thing I was struggling with. Years ago, I “commissioned” my mom to sew black pom-pom fringe on to some outdoor curtains I found on sale at World Market for $50. For those of you not familiar with outdoor curtains, it basically translates into the cheap polyester suit version of window coverings = 100% polyester…And when you sew pom-poms onto 100% polyester, it makes a weird buckle in the fabric leaving a really neat uneven hem at the bottom. Not that my mom did a bad job, she owned a sewing shop back in the day and can sew basically anything on a machine with one hand tied behind her back, while I get the thread tangled in an unfixable ‘nest’ as soon as I tap the pedal. Anyhoo, I liked to call them my ‘Picasso curtains.’ They were fine from far away and perhaps in blog photos, but close up, you would have asked me “What were you thinking?!” In my defense, I had at least gotten on the interior-design bandwagon and realized that curtains should be hung “floor-to-ceiling” and not just at the top of the window. So, give me some credit. But, I mean, probably not that much, because they did look really bad.
Enter, The Shade Store. I drive by their Austin showroom every day on the way to work, and since they’re conveniently located at the corner of 5th & Lamar, I stare at their display windows whenever I hit that stop light–which, in Austin morning rush hour, is also every day. And every day I think to myself, “That’s where real people get their real window coverings…” as I silently curse my Picasso curtains hanging at home. Curse my curtains no more! I finally stopped in to do something about my less than desirable drapes, instead of just coveting what I saw through the windows.
Their showroom is something that window dreams are made of. I was kind of taken aback when I walked in, immediately noticing all of the options. However, I was quickly greeted by their design consultant, Leslie, and she seamlessly introduced and explained to me the whole wide world of custom draperies. (See what I did there? Drapes? Seams? Get it?!) From hardware and fabric to pleats and lining, I never in my wildest dreams imagined that there would be so many things to chose from when it came to window coverings! “Would you like a cord or a baton? Ripple fold or pinch pleat? Puddle or no puddle?” I’m sorry, what?! Not really knowing what language she was speaking, I fumbled with my phone and quickly tried to show her some rooms I had screen-shotted from Instagram. (Editor’s Note: My life seems to now be dictated around things I’ve screen-shotted from Instagram) “I like this…and this…and this…and, like, I like that too…kind of” Without batting an eye, she directed me to the swatches and set me well on my way. I knew I wanted a neutral drape, and was really drawn to a rattan or wooden roman shade to go underneath for a little texture. While I walked in as a novice, I left feeling extremely educated, as if I had received my Masters degree in window coverings. With my samples in hand, I headed home, and as Leslie suggested, I looked at them during various times of the day to see how they looked in all forms of light.
After my visit to the showroom, The Shade Store scheduled for a technician, Casey, to come out and professionally take measurements of my bedroom window. Not only did he measure the window itself, but he made specific notes about my room as a whole, my hooks to the left of the window, and my beloved Willie Nelson poster to the right. I currently have wooden blinds on my window (per my HOA restrictions), and after talking to Casey I realized that the rattan shades wouldn’t really work with my whole “vision,” so I decided to scrap them and just go with neutral drapery instead. Since I have vaulted ceilings, I was kind of restricted to having wall-mounted, as opposed to ceiling mounted drapes, which I was fine with.
After looking at my drapery samples in various lights and conferring with the beau, I decided on white cotton drapes with a simple privacy lining. It worked best with the trim color of the room, as well as my white bedding. I chose a ripple fold over a more formal pinched pleat or a more casual grommet–it was my happy medium. When it came to hardware, it wasn’t really like there was a question. “Do you have brass? Yes? Ok, I want that.” I decided on a tracking hardware system with a baton pull, because I felt like that’s what hotels have, and I wanted to feel like I lived in a hotel. So that was the scientific reasoning behind that.
After making my final decisions, I sent everything over to Leslie and she quickly drafted my order. Once confirmed, it was sent off to the custom drapery makers in the sky (I mean, I think that’s how it works), and a couple of weeks later, my custom drapes and hardware appeared on my doorstep!
A few days after, Casey, who did the original measurements, was back to install the drapes and it couldn’t have been an easier process. It took maybe 45 minutes, and just like that I had real grown-up drapes.
Every morning when I get up to pull the drapes back, I ask the beau, “Don’t you feel like we live in a hotel now?!” Like seriously, every morning, without fail, I ask this. He’s over it. But, long gone are the days of the Picasso curtains, and may the days of feeling like I live in my own personal hotel room go on forever. (Side note: Do these fancy curtains come with room service?!) While I still love to DIY what I’m able, this experience was proof that few things beat just leaving it to the experts to help me achieve the exact look I wanted in the most luxurious way.
Custom draperies and hardware were kindly provided by The Shade Store. All opinions are my own.