Pretty Shade-y...

In gathering material for the memoir and locating all the photographs and magazine articles and books written about my grandmother and her homes I realized that most of the windows had no window treatments on them at all... none whatsoever. The bedroom windows had black out shades and lovely but simple drapes -- ticking or duck. The look was simple and elegant - practical and not at all fussy. The rooms that were not used for sleeping wore nothing whatsoever. I never thought much of it. Her homes in Cannes, Oxfordshire and Umbria all had larger than life windows with the most amazing views. Why would anyone want to distract from such wonderful scenery? Furthermore, the windows themselves were simply stunning. In many cases they reached to the ceiling and went down practically to the floor. The woodwork was tremendous.

In New York City we needed something on our windows. The bedroom windows all had simple white shades with simple white cords in the middle used to pull the shades up or down. These shades were solely for blocking out the views of nosy neighbors. The windows in our Upper East Side pre-war building were large and lovely too. They all worse simple sheers that would allow the sun to flow in and give you a glimpse of what was outside. From half the apartment you could look out on to Central Park. It was magnificent. As a child I used to stay awake at night and watch my neighbors. One man was perpetually at his kitchen sink at 9:00 every night. We always referred to him as "Moustache." The window to the left of my bed was the best. From it I could watch the lavish parties being thrown on the penthouse (just one floor up from me) and I could see into the windows of the apartments many floors below. I loved (and still do) to watch people ...  Reading this I suppose I could say I was a kid voyeur too... Mrs. Kravitz's offspring perhaps?

So it was all news (and new) to me when my husband said that the windows in the house (former) needed curtains and shades. We had neighbors and were on a fairly busy street. But being a city girl I loved to be able to watch the world go by. Eventually I gave into his insistence and since we were broke we purchased a blinds from Home Depot. They were cheap and kept breaking. Didn't help that little children kept pulling on them. I used them only at night and when no one was around to see them. We did find lovely green velvet drapes that went well with our decor from The Christmas Tree Shoppe. They still couldn't mask the ugliness of the white poking through the top.

Despite years of searching for the right thing we never dressed our living room or dining room windows. I was never bothered by this matter. I'm the type of person who loves to look into the windows of other people's homes at night. I like to see how other people occupy their time. I most especially like to see the silhouettes when a party is being given. Since we only used the living and dining rooms when we entertained, dressing the windows was not a priority in his book. Thank goodness!

We sold that home and the new owners have all sorts of hideous (in my humble opinion!) chintzy, tacky treatments on their windows. And ours are, once again, mostly bare. And these windows definitely need something... So I have been looking around for ideas. I'll do drapes in the dining and family rooms again. Simple and elegant... understated... ticking or duck. But my views on shades have changed slightly. They seem better suited in the children's rooms. I won't be using them in the more formal rooms, but take a look below with me... shades have come a long way, haven't they?

Bamboo blinds can be a simple and inexpensive way to cover your windows. I always thought of them as a casual option, but this picture shows us that they can certainly be dressed up.

This simple and yet bold shade adds the personality, as well as some warmth to this room.

These add a relaxed elegance to a casual dining area.

Courtesy Decorpad
 I just love the entire look of this window seat -- sophisticated and casual. The coffee and white striped shades want me to grab a warm cup and curl up with a good book.

 A simple and practical way to add some color to your kitchen

Courtesy Decorpad
Relaxed. Elegant. Simple and sophisticated.

Courtesy House Beautiful  

Courtesy House Beautiful

Courtesy Design Dazzle
 Here a simple bamboo blind neutralizes a very dramatic space.

House Beautiful
 This fun, striped shade is a perfect nursery window dressing. The shade gives the room character and is a safer option than a heavy drape that can be pulled on.
(Just remember to keep all cords out of reach in any room children will frequent.)

Courtesy Design Crisis
 These shades are fun bold and daring!

 Here the green shades complete the room

 So, what are your thoughts on this shade-y subject?