let the sun shine in

June 7, 2012

To me “valance” is a four-letter word. I’m all about naked windows, light! I’ll swap privacy for the sun streaming through my windows and the view of nature outside any day. I can barely do curtains (although my New England modesty does result in white linen shades in the bed and bath rooms). But heavy drapes make me feel like I’m in a cave.

And so the first step I took to make my new house my own was to remove the valances from the four huge windows in the living room. It was a bear of a job. Those suckers we really on there and so full of dust! (My head still itches.) But with the help of Aunties Sheila and Stephanie we (finally!) got them down.

It’s soooo much better. Even though my furniture ALL needs to be updated (I’m not a college student any more), and though I have yet to find any of my art, or really properly style the space, the living room is now my favorite place in the house. Amazing what a little (or a lot of) light can do.

living room “before”

living room “after”
The room is not nearly finished, but you can get a sense how much removing the drapes opened up the room, adding light particularly to the upper walls.

window 3 “before”

window 3 “after”

This is not a great shot, but I included it because it shows how long the windows are: about my height (5’6″). It can be hard to ascertain their length in photos because the windows are also unusually wide.

After the miserable task we did get a little punchy. Here’s Aunt Stephanie doing her best Carol Burnett doing Scarlet O’Hara.

Then I just got carried away taking pictures of all my wonderful windows.

south view

Now I just need to clean the windows. Yikes!

I can’t decide what to do about the wall paper. Everywhere else in the house, it’s dark or dull and needs to go, but I kind of like this old paper. I’m thinking that if I repaint the trim from this dingy off-white to a pale, fresh gray that the paper might work. What do you think?

And while we’re at it, here’s the dining room – before…

and after. How nice it will be with a warm gray on the walls.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Luke Rothschild June 7, 2012 at 2:45 pm

I like the wallpaper in the living room. I love the photo of Stephanie! And you really scored with this new house ;^ )


Jill June 7, 2012 at 4:26 pm

I love this house! I would really like to see how the grey trim works with the vintage wallpaper. I’m not a fan of wallpaper but yours is understated and elegant. With the grey trim color, it might add a fresh twist on something tired. I can’t wait to see!


Diane Williams June 7, 2012 at 6:39 pm

Looove that “old wallpaper” and good riddance to the drapes!

This is going to be so much fun to watch…


Cussot June 7, 2012 at 10:30 pm

Such a beautiful living and dining room! I agree that the wallpaper is worth keeping. It would go with so many colours, although deep grayed blues come to mind first.


Lydia Lapwing June 8, 2012 at 9:30 am

What a relief that must have been. I hate all that foll de rollery curtainery.

You could try painting the woodwork with a warm grey – if it doesn’t work it wont have been a massive financial outlay.

Or you try a griege

I’d get some tester pots and try a few out.

It looks a lovely house.


Katrin June 8, 2012 at 10:10 am

OMG Justine it looks so beautiful already! Love the living room.. all the light and space. And look how it totally isnĀ“t too large. Oh and yes on the wallpaper!


Patrice A. June 8, 2012 at 2:00 pm

I said it before
this house is perfect!
I like the wallpaper
love grey
and like you
do not like curtains
the windows are too beautiful
as is your view
yep! I am jealous


frances June 14, 2012 at 12:43 pm

I love the wallpaper, too!


Katie Carr June 21, 2012 at 12:57 am

It takes you about 10 seconds to make a place yours, doesn’t it? I expect to see Stephanie in a bathing suit made of that fabric at the beach this summer.


Hannah October 11, 2012 at 11:39 am

I actually love the dirty windows, haha


Justine October 11, 2012 at 8:18 pm

Unfortunately, the dirt blocks me from seeing the “wonkiness” of the old, hand-blown glass, which is one of my favorite things about this house. :)


Susan January 8, 2013 at 11:36 pm

How did you read my mind?

After a big clean out of my bedroom today, I looked at the room and thought…well maybe I need some kind of valance and drapery. I immediately said NO!!! I can’t do it. I have reed shades there that are open always except just before bed. They look great and don’t collect dust….and I don’t have another single window treatment of any kind in my house. I love to walk up to the windows and just look out. See what there is to see.
Thank you for this confirmation.


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