August 26, 2007

Foyer Problem

I read a lot of your blogs, and what I've noticed is that most of you have better decorating sense than I do. Furthermore, some of you are like, "I whipped up some new curtains this weekend!," which is, to me, like saying, "I popped over to the moon for a minute!" And so it is to you I turn for advice, hoping that on your path to the moon you discovered other, simpler decorating ideas.

We live in a raised ranch. The picture below shows the inside of our unused front door, which is between the top floor of the house (the "where we live" part) and the bottom floor of the house (the "where we do laundry and store boxes of crap" part).


There is a shelf of videos and DVDs there right now, but that's just to keep them out of the grasping paws of my fourthborn. They won't live there permanently.

The trouble I'm having is with the little windows. I like the little windows, but we get strong, STRONG sunlight at the front of the house, and it heats that entryway to, like, a billion degrees. Plus, I just put some of the kids' portraits on the wall (these are from before the twins were born, and I only just now got around to it), and the sun shines brightly upon them, and lo it worries me.

Some of you are probably thinking, "Duh, put up curtains." But so far in my (admittedly lethargic) searches, I haven't found narrow little curtains like that. They're all regular-window-width. I didn't see any short little curtain rods, either. (Oh, fine: I only looked at Target and Wa1mart. That's still "searches," plural.)

Maybe some of you are thinking, "Well, why don't you sew some?" Ah ha ha ha. I can sew a button, but that is IT--as long as you don't count the elastic-waisted four-tiered skirts I made in seventh grade home ec and would never be able to remember how to make now, even if anyone had a need for such a garment, which, surely not. And I don't have a sewing machine, and if you ask if my mom has one I can borrow I will lie to you and say she most certainly does not. I don't know how to use it anyway. And if you say I have to, well, I'll just never get around to doing it, and the portraits will be sun-bleached and it will be your fault.

Is there a clever decorating trick I don't know about for little door-flanking windows like these? Is there perhaps something clever I could do with the heaps and heaps of unused twin-sized flat sheets I've squirreled away for no other reason than not wanting to throw away large pieces of perfectly good hemmed fabric? Or do you know of a source for doorside curtains and cute little shortened curtain rods?

Keep in mind when making suggestions that I am an inherently lazy person. If the suggestion is, "I think there's some sort of thing that you can put on windows to keep the heat out but still get the light in, but I don't know what it's called or where to find it," my eyes will read "hard work" and skip on past. You would need to say it more like, "There's this stuff called X and I found it at Y.com, and I've figured out the measurements you'd need and put it in your online cart for you and all you need to do is enter your credit card information and click the 'buy now' button."

38 comments:

Black Sheeped said...

I'm not great with little curtains (I've been cursing our three little windows in our front door lately because they are cramping my Loves to Walk Around Pantsless style) but I can say this: those photos are probably already fading. If you don't mind spending the money, get these to a glass/frame shop and invest in some pieces of UV protectant glass. That will help a lot. Things fade fast fast fast in sunlight, or even in lamplight. Faster than people suspect. I'd at least do it for any photos that are not replaceable.

My little sweet old neighbor solved her tiny door window problem by cutting out pictures of Jesus and the American flag and taping them over the windows. That's not a solution I would suggest. I'll do some research later for you.

Black Sheeped said...

Your key search terms are "door sidelight window curtains".

http://www.nextag.com/door-sidelight-panel/search-html

Black Sheeped said...

Ohmigod I'm so sorry for the multiple comments, but here are more:

http://sidelightcurtaincompany.stores.yahoo.net/cow.html

SarahO said...

Hmmm...well, I found one source online : www.sidelightcurtains.com. They have a pretty decent selection and the prices don't seem too bad. They even include your choice of hardware; either a spring mount rod (think! no pesky screws to put it up) or the regular rods which would require a lot more work. You can also have them send you free swatches of fabric if you wanted to check out the quality of it first. (Some look pretty ugly, I'll warn you! But they have just some simple ones that would do the trick!) They also have a HOW TO MEASURE PAGE and a 1-800 to call if you're unsure.

JCPenney also carries some, but the Sidelight Curtain place will even do custom measurements where as Penney's has limited standard sizes.

Jen said...

Oooh, I wish I could help, but I just don't really have an answer for you. I'm going to keep an eye on your responses, though, because I recently thought of posing similar house-design questions to my readers. Good luck.

laughing mommy said...

I'm not the only one who can't sew? I'm not the only one who can't just whip up curtains?

Yay! I'm not alone in my don't-know-how-to-sew-ness.

Sleepynita said...

We actually bought some window tint and tinted ours, it cuts out the UVA and UVB rays and significantly decreases the heat for us. As well, it doesn't look stupid from the curb or from the inside, you barely notice it.

Anonymous said...

I don't sew. at. all. BUT I have glued a hem on some curtains once. I bet you could do that if you don't find what you want to order. They make special fabric glue.
-Katie

Amie said...

In our old house, we put some of this frost stuff on a bathroom window. It is like a giant sticker, you cut it to fit the window. There were a lot off different kinds. We bought the frosty white, but you could get lacy looking stuff, and even some that looked like stained glass.

Swistle said...

Black Sheeped, you are FREAKING ME OUT. They are ALREADY FADING? Things fade "faster than people suspect"? This confirms my WORST FEARS.

jen said...

I'll be unpopular. My mother had those sidelight curtains in the 80s and it will forever remind me of the 80s. Right now she has a really cool home made "stained glass" effect achieved with that window paint you can buy that dries in various textures. Lest you think that's too hard, rest assured my mom is constantly telling me she's not very crafty. There was a pattern you tape to the outside of the glass and paint it on the inside. And she hasn't had any problems with it coming off in the cold, but they put plexiglass over the front of the little alcoves where those windows are (on the outside) so the cobwebs wouldn't form) so that might have something to do with it (but I'm rambling now!) I bet if you chose something with lots of dark colors it'd obscure the sun a bit... the other nice thing is no one can see inside. The bad thing is you can't creepily push the curtain aside and see who's banging on your door.

But the burning question is, how come what you have there is called a "raised ranch" and my mom's foyer looks exactly the same right down to the "come inside. Go upstairs or downstairs!" thing.. yet hers is called a "bi level??" hee.

bubandpie said...

What about one of those canopy-thingies to go OUTSIDE and block the sun from there? (I'd google it for you, but then I'd have to have some idea of what those shade-canopy-thingies are actually CALLED.)

Black Sheeped said...

Don't freak out! I just want everyone to enjoy their photos for as long as possible. You see, when you work in various frame shops for five years you see sad things. You grow to fear the sun and anything related to cardboard. Bright sunlight is pretty brutal (I once had pillows and clothing get completely bleached that had been left in my car in partial sunlight for less than 2 weeks). Something that might help: switch out your photos every now and then. I'm sure with all your lovely children you have lots of lovely photos, and you could switch stuff out on a regular basis to keep them from being in the sun constantly. And you'd get to enjoy more photos.

Sorry to freak you out! I'll shut up now.

Swistle said...

Jen- I've also heard it called a "split-level." I copied the name on our real estate listing--and for ours it makes sense since the downstairs was unfinished basement and only the upstairs was livable--thus, a ranch, but raised up for some reason: raised ranch. I think of split- or bi-levels as having stuff in the downstairs half--but I'll bet they're all names for the exact same house.

Black Sheeped- Some freaking out is good, since it's the only thing that is sufficiently motivating to my lazy butt. Also, I wish you worked in a frame store near me so I could bring in my ENORMOUS PILE of stuff that needs to be custom-framed and not feel intimidated by the artistically-inclined people who work there. You're artistically-inclined, but I don't fear you. Hey, you should do some posts about your expertise! Like, how to choose the right frame. Where to spend (the glass) and where not to bother (other things I don't know about). Etc.

anita said...

my mom used contact paper on the windows in her door. the frosted stuff...just cut and stick.

Penny said...

My office used to have skinny windows, and some people there had located these faux stained glass-looking filmy things that covered the entire pane of glass, which, despite essentially being a sticker, looked reasonably nice.

here is one place that sells them, I'm sure there are more.


That is one huge motherfucking clock, by the way.

Mother Kat said...

Not what you asked, but a good way to keep the kids from rifling through your DVDs is to throw away the cases and get those zip-close, hold-500-discs-with-little-envelopes-inside CD cases. It stores a huge amount of DVDs in a small space. And I thought I would miss the cases when I threw mine away, but I really don't.

Emblita said...

I can't say I know anything about side window stuff. But I'm sure you'll find an easy solution with the help of the wonderful commenters before me... who seem to know about these things. Me, I finally hemmed the kitchen curtain 6 months after putting it up. So I'm not the best example :p

Emblita said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Devan said...

I'm watching this with interest, because our new house will have those little side windows and I was wondering about curtains for them too.

CakeHead said...

How about tin foil?

Just kidding. Sort of.

Shannon said...

I am not a fan of the ruffly sidelight curtains, either. However, I do think a sheer straight panel might be somewhat decent. I second Black Sheep about putting UVA/B glass in your frames and then the fading won't be a concern. I love your door though.

If you were adventurous and had some extra dough laying around, you could always get the glass in your sidelights swapped out with something that would diffuse the light a bit, too.

JMH said...

The house we bought 2 years ago has those little windows by our front door. However, the previous owner left her curtains here. I HATE ruffles, but these aren't bad. Also, there are small curtain rods at the top AND at the bottom to keep them hanging straight. The only bad part is I have no clue where she got them. But they do exist! Let me know if you want me to email you some pictures of them.

Melissa said...

My friend used window film you can get at Lowe's or Home Depot. Easy to cut out and slap on and comes in a variety of colors/designs/etc:

http://tinyurl.com/2qckn3

The house we moved into has the little windows too and the previous owners left the curtains and rods. I'm not crazy about them but they work. I think they are from JC Penney.

Melissa said...

They may be too long but here they are at Penney's:

http://tinyurl.com/2jbzqa

Swistle said...

Everyone who is giving me actual links- You guys spoil me.

Penny- Ha ha! Yes. You should have seen me trying to carry that thing out of Target. Did it fit in the cart in any way? No it did not. And I had the baby twins with me. Yikes.

Cakehead- I wish I were kidding when I said that tin foil is exactly what I used last summer. Long strips of it. Bonus: it stayed up by itself because it molded into the little window dents.

Omaha Mama said...

We have only one long window and it's the full length of the door. It has white wood blinds on it. I'm not sure that would look so good in your situation. Sorry I can't be more helpful.

Oh, and I don't sew either. Beside the occasional butten and/or stuffed animal hiney.

Surviving said...

You can use No Sew Hemming tape. You just need an iron. I've used it before. It worked pretty well.

http://www.amazon.com/Dritz-Hemming-Tape-Wt-5-Yards/dp/B000GBTA6I

tulipmom said...

Aside from freaking out that the photos I hung in our foyer a few months ago are already ruined (we have those same little windows and have done NOTHING to cover them up), I'm grateful for this post and all your commenters' suggestions.

Jenny said...

Did you all notice that amie up their is posed WITH her sewing machine?

Swistle said...

Jenny- I noticed, and I immediately snapped to attention: "Here I am, in the presence of an expert."

Michele said...

Ditto on the C-section post, ditto on the need for curtains for those little windows in my house. Which have ben uncovered for three yeasr because I cant wrap my head around how to hang the little rods. Thank you for providing the forum to fix my overheated foyer problem.

I heart you, Swistle.

Tessie said...

God, I have NO BUSINESS coming within 10 feet of this post, since my first thought was ALSO tinfoil, and/or that spray-on fake snow stuff they sell at Christmastime.

I, too, love the huge motherfucking clock, especially how it's right over the door, all "HOW MUCH LONGER UNTIL PAUL GETS HOME?"

Misguided Mommy said...

Okay well considereing my solution to everything is push pins and crazy glue...anyway in my bedroom I have these damn 80 foot long windows. Ever tried to find curtains that long!!!! good luck chuck, so i did what any rational girl would do, I found two super duper cute table clothes at Walmart and called them curtains! SO if I were me in your situation it seems the obvious answer is right in front of your face! TABLE RUNNERS folded in half held in place by two ultra fashionable push pins!
I know, I'm so much like martha stewart your proud to say you know me, right RIGHT

mamaDB said...

Our dance instructor (I know you are laughing right now - we took lessons for our wedding dance) put this film up in her front windows so her students wouldn't be on display all day long: http://www.nextag.com/window-cling/search-html

It comes in all kinds of colors, frost, patterns, etc. Cool stuff, just cut and stick (if you are like me though, that would probably be too much work still). Hope this helps!

Oh, and they make UV frames for photos.

And I'm too tired this morning so if any of this stuff is already posted, I'm sorry for the redundancy. I forgot to set my coffee maker last night for that butt-crack-o-dawn cup.

Joanne said...

I don't know if anyone said this and there are too many comments to read, but just in case no one mentioned it, I love to use a window shade film thingy that I got at Lowe's. Mine was for a regular sized window but you have to cut it anyway, so you could totally do it on those little windows. You can get any kind of shade that you want, or a picture, like clouds or stained glass or something.

Domestically_challenged said...

Hello! I know this string is a little bit old...but it's a new problem for me. I have an almost 80" Long and 7" Wide sidelight. I have come to realize the store bought panels stop at 72". I have decided, even though i can't sew to attempt to make the panel myself. My new issue is I cannot find tension rods to fit 7" width. HELP :-)

Swistle said...

DC- I couldn't find tension rods, either. I finally had the kids draw pictures, and I put the pictures in the windows. They've faded, of course, but that made them look even better--kind of stained-glassish.