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in our "music room" (aka, where ac plays guitar) we're just starting to put things together. wednesday and thursday i painted the whole thing a neutral color (benjamin moore, stingray) to match the bedroom (benjamin moore, senora gray) and ac got started on putting the books back (before anyone flips out- that's not the way they'll look, we just wanted to get them off of the floor last night). we have plans to hang all of our guitars on the wall and frame a series of chris ware prints, but now i'm faced with that dinky little window in the corner. i hate it as is (it opens to a lovely rundown airshaft between the floors) so i need to do something with it. but what? a tiny roman shade? i'm so confused on this one i thought i'd open it up to you guys. your advice has been so spot on this week i thought surely someone out there knows better than i do what to do with our weird half window. (also, this is the room where the rocking chair will be. i think i'm going with the fig or espresso beads. ac likes the fig). thanks guys! your two cents is much appreciated.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

You could try that beautiful window film you mentioned long ago from 2Jane. I purchased the White Orba film. Its beautiful. Conceals but still lets in lots of light. http://2jane.com/detail.aspx?ID=146

9:23 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Hi. This is my first visit. Seems like a cool site! As for your window, my solution is to replace it with stained glass. Music themed, preferably, featuring a guitar or two. The result would be a light saturated piece of art rather than a dinky window with a horrible view.

9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have similar issues--(MUST find a place for all the books) where did you get your shelves? What sort of mounting hardware did you need? Will it be difficult to remove upon leaving?

9:33 AM  
Blogger The Spicers said...

Oooooh, I LOVE Chris Ware! Beautiful prints.

9:39 AM  
Blogger design*sponge said...


we lucked out- those shelves were there when we moved in. considering that we have gobs and gobs of books it was a nice bonus. we still need extra book shelves but these were perfect.

i'd assume that if you have studs or beams in your walls you could drill something like this in as soon as you found those spots. these are super basic pieces of wood from like, home depot or lowes. just measure your space and have home depot cut them to size for you. super simple :)


9:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It looks like it's a pretty tight space! I have a penchant for Eastern influences, so I guess I'd build a Shoji screen to fill the window opening. Found this link... http://www.diynetwork.com/diy/li_shutters_screens/article/0,2041,DIY_14046_2270944,00.html

Then you'd have wonderful diffuse light and you'd NEVER have to see the airshaft again!

9:42 AM  
Blogger Kristina said...

You could get creative (you always do :) and see if you can find one of those frames that has glass in the back as well that would fit in that space, and then frame...whatever - leaves, a cool print that matches the color scheme...something where the light would still come through somewhat, but you wouldn't be able to see the view out the window.

9:47 AM  
Blogger Carrie S. said...

I have the same "Tales of Tomorrow" print hanging above my computer right now! Chris Ware is pa-retty amazing.

I second the motion for the window film. I think any kind of shade will feel a little fussy for the small corner, especially since books (though we love them so) produce a lot of visual noise.

Although, I'm looking again, and maybe just a simple curtain panel could work. I'd love to see something like a loose weave linen...

Also, check out the "swing arm window panel" at West Elm. I don't know if it would work for this space, but I actually like the hardware!


9:56 AM  
Blogger Amanda Conley said...

I love the frosted window look for something like this because it blocks a not so pretty view and still lets in light. You can balance out an awkward window with a great floorlamp. I LOVE this one from ArcBorn.

10:00 AM  
Blogger Abigail A. Percy said...

I would put up a really simple flat blind of linen [or that dreamy purl soho pink on linen print to team with the rocker]....

..or maybe just put up a frost adhesive so you can keep all the light but block out the airshaft view? ;)

10:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you could use it as a display nook for trinkets, tchotckes, (some milky glass bottles that are translucent would look lovely) etc. with (very) little shelves fit into the recessed area. it will sort of obsure the view, but still let light through. it will eliminate the need for a window covering, that screams "there's a window here". if you hang the shelves at the same height as your book shelves, it will look like a continuous line.

if not, i love emma jeffs window films!

10:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We just did window film in our bathroom from Purlfrost. Cheaper than Emma Jeffs since you don't have to buy the whole roll, and they have tons of designs.

10:07 AM  
Blogger Andy Mathis said...

I know it's the boring thing to do, but I would put a sheer on a cafe tension rod that hangs inside the window frame.

No drilling, no hammering.

It would let light in, hide the dirt on the outside of the window, and be a little softer than window film (which is a good choice too)

10:08 AM  
Blogger talknpretty said...

In leu of the Chris Ware prints, I just wanted to mention, for all those lovers of comics or just someone interested in picking up a cool screen printed poster, the MoCCA Art Festival is June 23-24 at the Puck Building in NYC.

Grace, I don't think this is an area you typically cover, but I think it might be worth a visit...

You can find more info at:

10:15 AM  
Blogger melissa said...

The window films were the my first thought as well.

10:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would to a sheer curtain panel then band it with a fabric that you love...I would also hang it high closer to the ceiling

10:26 AM  
Blogger jodi said...

my initial thought was a simple roman shade in a color similar to your walls, so it would blend it. but i love all the suggestions for a window film!

10:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also immediately thought of the Emma Jeffs window films - I have two of the patterns (Pixel and Moroccan Tile) in different part of my house, and they do a great job of 1) being pretty 2) letting lots of light in and 3) blocking an ugly view (in my case the super run down apartment building next door.) 2Jane has recently lowered their prices, and while they're still not cheap, I'm really happy with our decision to buy them.

We tried the cheap IKEA version - not as nice, much harder to put up, and scratches like no bodies business.

Another option is to put up thin paper using rice glue - I have a friend who did this, and apparently when you want to take it down all you have to do it soak it with a wet a sponge and it will peel right off.

10:31 AM  
Blogger Wayne Pate said...

Hmmm. Rebecca had the same problem with a few windows like this in her store and the solution used
was framing a piece of cotton eyelet fabric over the window. Enough light was able to come through and
it was able to block out the presence of the ugly wall across the way. The eyelet fabric really block outs
what's behind but dose not look like a big solid block of fabric.

10:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Given that the window is so small and the books/print will be the visual element for the room, I would not want to call attention to the window with anything decorative or prominent. So, perhaps a sheer roman, pleated shade or solar shade set into the casing in white or matching the wall color.

10:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe use this as an opportunity to use some wall decals. Some tiny ones would add a nice graphic pop of colour which might tie in nicely with the prints. It wouldn't block the light, but would block the "view" somewhat.

10:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One idea might be a full-length (but narrow) white, sheer curtain to make the window appear longer than it is. You could also try things like putting a long, frosted mirror panel behind the curtain, and under the window that reflects light and would further the illusion of a longer window.

11:02 AM  
Blogger design*sponge said...


i love the eyelet idea (don't know if ac will be cool with eyelet in the man/music room though)- did rebecca fame the fabric and set it into the window? or hang it over the window itself (outside the window frame)?


11:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whenever I have a tricky curtain moment like this I turn to Katrin Cargill's Curtain Bible: Simple and Stylish Designs for Contemporary Curtains and Blinds. It's a fantastic resource. I've now sewn two sets of 'real curtains' based on her ideas and they are modern, cool, sweet, whatever you need. Amazon has the look-through-this-book feature turned on for this book.

12:07 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

why not create an algue curtain? (in green, i think.) the organic, branching structures would look great with the fig pattern!

12:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hung rice paper (it had a leaf pattern) over a window in my studio. I know it's a variation of the theme of what others have written- but it's cheap, and when you tire of the look, you buy a different one for a whole new look!

12:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i would add some architectural interest by actually framing the window with wood or molding(may be too cottage-y). it would add dimension and be almost tongue in cheek -- look at THIS window shaft. you could still have some fabric in there (eyelet or sheer)

12:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You could frame the window with a fun 3Form remnant?


2:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i agree with the person who said hang more shelves...it looks like the shelves line up with the top and bottom of the window. if you ran thinner shelves over to the far edge of the window, you'd have a great space for some plants (in the window) and some sculptural art (above the window). I don't know if you need any fabric here, plants would soften it up and if you get air-cleaning ones, clean the air as well. I'd go for stripy airplane plants or basic gerbera daisies in orderly rows of pots or one graphic window box, both are air-cleaning.

5:01 PM  
Blogger thisismontebello said...

thisis from Martha, but I have done this several times and it is great:

buy some frosted mylar and like a stretched canvas, staple it around a canvas frame... that is the exact size, or even an interesting proportion of smaller... then just set the piece on the window sill... need more light? set it on the floor.

or use any interesting paper that will endure the staples... chinese paper, colored cellophane... even white on white tonal fabric...

7:24 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

glass shelves in the frame, with small decorative pieces of glass? decanters maybe? i know i like a whiskey when i listen to music, so, could be turned into a kind of special liquor cabinet with tumblers or shot glasses? you could still frost the back. the brown of the whiskey will also match the guitars.

7:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a similar window in my bathroom. I still wanted some light to shine in but I also didn't want to see everything outside (or have everyone see inside), so I got a beautiful, intricately embroidered dish towel (which really was too nice to wipe dishes with) from Anthropologies and tucked it into the curtain rod hooks. The length was perfect - just enough to leave some sunlight. You could also sew the top of the fabric into a loop so a curtain rod fits through it.

8:10 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

the cats might enjoy more shelving... and a bit of sunbeam... do they like music?fwrgoim

12:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would treat the window as a lightbox- frame a piece of plexi with either a patterened window film on it or sandwich interesting japanese paper between two sheets of plexi. hang it on the outisde of the window slightly beyond the actual window recess. you will have a soft glow eminating from behind- lets in light, obstructs the view and looks pretty cool!

8:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hang this plant holder from the ceiling, approx. equidistant from the bookshelves and the window, and fill it with a plant that dangles:


4:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WINDOW FILM! The delicate lacy nature of it will add a soft touch without having a custom-sized roman shade made. Then I'd put a few blue and green vintage glass bottles or bud vases in front of it for a pop of color.

Also, I might be the only one, but I really like the way the books are shoved onto the shelves. It creates the feeling of a chaotic modern art installation. Also, they won't collect as much dust when they're so tightly packed.

PS- To everyone: Design Within Reach's book towers are the BEST solution for book storage. They are much sturdier than rip-offs from other companies and are free standing (bonus for renters).

5:24 PM  
Blogger Maria said...

if you're going to go with chris ware prints (love him), maybe try taking colors from the prints to cover the windows with? and i would definitely switch up the colors and have fun with it. he's an amazing graphic artist, so if you're going to go in his direction, might as well go all the way ;)


6:53 PM  
Blogger Brennan Woods said...

Since its a smaller room you might want to consider buying wall mounts for the guitars at guitar center or wherever. I have my two guitars hanging up in my bedroom - it saves space and looks really really cool. You could use them to frame the window too. Just a thought...

3:44 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Rebecca framed the fabric and it was mounted on top of the window which gave it a nicer finish than trying to get it just right within the window seal. Trying to
get a nice straight edge/seam between the window pain and the frame edge would be a nightmare!
*AC is a dude...I can relate.

10:22 AM  
Blogger tabardite said...

don't try to fit, frame, or highlight the tiny window... hang something sheer in front that goes from above teh window to well below the window... makes the window appear bigger and hides the (lack of) view...?

7:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you should continue the shelves around the corner in front of the window. Put pretty glass and ornaments on them. No window treatment needed!

2:13 PM  

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