Within hours of taking possession of this house, I had taken the filthy curtains and sheers off of all the windows and let the sunshine in. A week later, we were living here, and the bare windows were sort of a problem. But you know how it is with window coverings: they're either cheap and awful or they cost a fortune. Especially if you have an old house where the windows are not only very tall, but every single one is a different (odd) size. We've worked out various compromise solutions in various rooms along the way, but it's the been the biggest problem in the living room, with the bay windows, and in the dining room. We can't afford custom blinds, and what we have wanted from the very start are old-fashioned white shutters — the skinny, hinged kind; not the big plantation shutters. Can't afford them.
We also wanted to preserve as much of the beautiful light as possible, so we decided long ago that homemade cafe curtains were probably our best option. Within a couple of weeks, I had made prototypes out of burlap — in various shades and with differing hems — in an effort to work out the right proportions and all before picking real fabric. Guess what? Those are still hanging there, two and half years later.
Last year sometime, I saw the house above on the right, with the two-tone shutters. They're just simple frame-and-panel construction, and I find them charming. But I've worried about how much light the solid panels might shut out. Then a few weeks ago I was gazing at the other room up there, the one on the left, and noticed those too are solid frame-and-panel. I showed both to Bob, and we sketched out lots of other ideas — mostly variations on those lovely Moroccan window panels — but we kept coming back to these two photos. So for the past few weekends, Bob's been working on building our very own. I think he's probably putting the final coat of paint on them today, and then we have to resolve the tricky question of hinges. For various reasons, we'll need to use some sort of strap hinge, which means they'll be visible (8 of them, total) and so need to be funky or beautiful in some way. Once we find the perfect hinges, we'll see if this whole idea works. Stay tuned.