May 30, 2014

My Spring Curtains and DIY Curtain Rod


Each spring and fall I change the curtains in our family room.

  We have a wall of windows with a door leading out onto our deck from our family room, and we love the view of our little backyard and the mountains beyond.

 The window faces east, and during fall and winter we welcome the sun that shines into the family room on chilly mornings. I especially like to have my coffee here in the mornings and look out at the glistening snow while the sunlight streams through the windows.

 Our fall and winter curtains are from Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and are made of unlined linen that filters the sunlight softly. I chose naturally textured linen for the neutral warmth it adds to our family room when it's cold outside. I also love the way it looks as a backdrop to the rich colors of our fall and winter holiday decor.

 In the last two photos, you can see that our winter curtains are hung too high, and there's too much space between the bottom of the curtains and the floor. Our flood-pants curtains bugged me all winter long, so I started hunting for the new curtain rod I've been wanting.

 These curtains can be hung from either the rod pocket, as they are here, or from curtain rings. Unfortunately, the curtains are too short hanging from the rod pockets and too  long hanging from rings. I used to sew all my curtains to whatever length worked for me, but store-bought curtains aren't so accommodating.
So I decided to buy a new curtain rod and raise it up to a proper height, so I could hang both my winter and summer curtains on rings. The old rod isn't actually a rod at all anyway; it's two white metal shower curtain rods that fit up against each wall on the ends and meet at this big clunky support in the middle. Sliding the curtains on their rod pockets over these big shower curtain rods was a real pain, and the fabric bunched up so much at each end I had to use tie backs to keep them out of the way.

I can hear you asking why on earth we used shower curtain rods to hang our curtains. We actually used to use wood closet rods, and I had the bright idea that the curtain rod pockets would slide easier over the metal shower curtain rods than they did over the wood. 

They didn't. 

Still, why not just buy a regular skinny curtain rod? Because our wall of windows is over thirteen feet long, and I've just never been able to find a curtain rod that long, or any other kind of rod for that matter that didn't sag. 

So we improvised. 

(I don't know why I have this compulsion to tell you all the silly ways we improvise at our house. It's not like I'm proud of our white metal shower curtain rods.)

 One of the things I just love about blogging is that there are lots of other women out there who, out of necessity, have also spent their lives improvising.  I honestly thought in this day and age I'd be able to find a skinny black curtain rod long enough to span thirteen feet with only one support in the middle. 


Pinterest to the rescue!

So here's what we did this time around to get the real curtain rod look we wanted: we bought two 10 foot long pieces of electrical conduit, and my husband cut them to our exact dimensions. (If you take your dimensions with you to Home Depot, they'll make your cuts for you.) Because I could imagine myself knocking over all the lamps in the room trying to maneuver one thirteen foot long rod, we went with two six and-a-half foot pieces that join in the middle at the bracket and are held in place by the walls on either side. We sanded the cut ends, and I sprayed the rods with matte black primer and paint all-in-one, and let the paint cure for a few days. The two pieces of conduit were around $3.00 each, and the paint was around $6.00 We also bought two packages of brackets for about $5.00 each, so the entire rod was around $22.

 You'd never know it's electrical conduit would you? I love how our new curtain rod looks with our summer curtains!

The same sunlight we love during the cooler months of fall and winter needs to be blocked completely during the heat of spring and summer, so these curtains are fully lined and really help keep the family room cool. I love the Ikat pattern and pretty colors of these curtains. I bought them on sale last year at Cost Plus World Market and love the way they transform our family room, like a breath of fresh air. The best part of all is that the curtain rings slide on the new rod so easily now since we open and close these curtains multiple times each day and to let the dog in and out. No more fighting with those tight rod pockets. 

 And look! No more flood-pants curtains!

I look forward to changing our curtains to fit the seasons now, especially with our new curtain rod. It's an easy switch that has a big impact on our family room decor. 

How about you? How are you welcoming spring and summer at your house? 

May 21, 2014

Cozy Little House The Color My Decor Series

I had a most pleasant surprise yesterday! 

When I clicked over from my sidebar favorites list to visit my friend, Brenda, at Cozy Little House, I discovered a lovely feature of our very own cottage on Brenda's The Color My Decor Series!

Brenda's sweet Cozy Little House is one of the first blogs I started following when I discovered blogging a few years ago, and I remember how thrilled I was to be welcomed into the blogging community on Brenda's Welcome Wagon Friday series. 

And now I'm equally as thrilled to be featured on The Color My Decor Series! I hope you'll visit Cozy Little House today to see our home, and I know you'll want to stay and look around at all the other great features and series, not to mention Brenda's own darling new apartment and garden.

And please say, "Hi," to Brenda for me while you're there! 


May 20, 2014

Our Master Bathroom Remodel

It's time to start another remodel here at The North End Loft! 

This time around we're having our master bathroom and bedroom redone. It's the first time in twenty years these rooms have been touched. Today, I'm sharing the bathroom. Are you ready for a 1990's hunter green and shiny brass blast from the past? Here are some before photos.
Green is my favorite color, so when hunter green was all the rage in the nineties, I used it liberally throughout my home. Even after it wasn't so popular anymore, I loved my bathroom for a long time. 

When I finally grew tired of the color, I was also starting to get too old for tired of climbing in and out of our tall claw foot tub. Claw foot tubs are fabulous for baths, but the wrap-around shower curtains don't create the most ideal showering experience. We were ready for a real shower stall, and knowing we'd be doing a complete overhaul soon, we just lived with everything as it was until we saved up enough to go all out. Who knew it would take so long? 


Can you tell I also loved marble? Now days, one sees real marble everywhere, but we couldn't afford to import the real thing as young parents starting out with our first home twenty-five years ago. So I picked faux marble vinyl for the floor and faux marble Formica for the counter the first time around. I thought it was really posh!

And let's not forget the once popular wallpaper border.

How's that for a trip back in time? 
We packed up everything from our bedroom and bathroom and are storing it in the front rooms of our house. Meanwhile, we kept out just what we need during the five or six weeks of construction and have moved into the rooms at the back of the house.

 Happily, our contractor is turning out to be the queen of dust containment, and she built a tunnel out of ten foot tall poles and huge sheets of plastic all the way from our front door through the living and dining rooms to the door of the master suite. 

  The bedroom door is on the other side of this plastic and is only accessible through the tunnel from the front door.

And this is looking through the long tunnel from the front door towards the kitchen. The bedroom door is just around the corner out of sight. I think this is the coolest thing ever!

Okay, are you ready for some really scary demo pictures? 

We're keeping the window, but replacing it with a new fiberglass one and surrounding it with tile. 

 There will be a knee wall next to the new vanity with frameless glass shower doors. 

This will be a new 48" wide linen cabinet with a smaller cabinet built in over the toilet, prized storage for an old house.

Under the vinyl and sub-floor is a thick layer of some kind of underlayment that can hopefully be sanded off. 

Because we're aiming for refinishing these original wood floors. To us, it's like finding gold under there!

This is where a shampoo niche is going in the shower. The old framing inside this 100 year-old wall has us all scratching our heads - not a 2" x 4" in sight, just a bunch of scrap wood nailed here and there! 

All this demo was accomplished in just one day, and now it's on to the fun part: making everything pretty.

This is the new floor plan.

This is my design board, and almost everything on it has been ordered. 

Inspiration Photos from My Blessed Life

This charming cottage bathroom belongs to Myra, who blogs at My Blessed Life.  I fell in love with every detail of Myra's darling eclectic bathroom and could easily picture it in our own home. We've been inspired by it to use subway tile for our shower, to refinish our wood floors, and even to duplicate our dining room wainscoting in our own bathroom. Thanks so much, Myra, for being our inspiration! 

We've been waiting for this new master bathroom for years and working on all of our plans for months, and we're so excited to be starting! Of course, I'll be sharing every step of the entire remodel with you, too. 

(And I promise no more scary photos.)

May 1, 2014

Happy May Day!

Happy May Day to you! 

To celebrate the first day of May I'm sharing my favorite part of my spring garden. 

This corner of our garden is always the first to show signs that spring has arrived. My daughters gave me this Bleeding Heart, so of course it's my favorite flower in the garden.  

These are our very first blossoms from our new little Eastern Redbud Tree we planted last summer.


This corner has always been pink and white in the spring.


Next to the Redbud Tree and the Bleeding Heart is a lilac tree. 


For years this lilac has been struggling under the shade of our big locust tree. 


But since we had that tree cut down last year, it's happily basking in the sun it needs and putting out lots of new limbs. 


I never wanted to rob it of its few blooms in years past, but this year there's more than enough to cut and bring indoors.


As I sit here writing this post in my studio, I'm surrounded by the sweet scent of lilacs. 


Tucked into a mason jar high up on a shelf with the birds.

Nothing says May Day like lilacs!

Elizabeth and Co.

I'm so happy to announce that my good friend Sharon is hosting her Elizabeth & Company Garden Parties again this year. I'm heading over there right now, and I sure hope you'll join me!

Happy May Day!

Don't stop partying! This week I'm also over at