Tag Archives: Windows

The Big Reveal: DIY “Custom” Rollerblinds

Tah Dah!  Our “custom” rollerblinds are finally finished.  Whew!  It took me a little longer than I had anticipated.  Pictured above and below is the first dormer:

Here is the other dormer:

I LOVE IT!  I am so glad that we undertook this project.  So, I had been thinking about this for a while, and saw a similar project posted on Emily A. Clark’s blog, and I decided to take the plunge.

We inherited hideous metal mini-blinds in our master bedroom and were looking for a (cheap) more aesthetically pleasing and room-darkening option.  We went to Lowes and bought two Levolor black-out roller shades (~$10 each).  The kind peeps at Lowes cut the shades to our measurements right there.

Then I made a trip over to Williams & Sherrill and purchased 4.75 yards of fabric (~$80).  I liked the ikat-y feel of this green damask.  Then I ironed the fabric and my sweet and patient husband, Matt, glued the fabric onto the roller blinds.  He only glued enough fabric to cover the blind when it was all the way down.

Naturally, I wanted to cover the hardware at the top of the rollerblind.  I planned on re-creating Jenny’s pelmet box idea made of foam core board (see here for one that I made in our hallway).  However, I needed a width of 32 5/8 and I couldn’t find any foam core board with a width greater than 30 inches.

So, we were off to Lowes again and bought a piece of birch wood (~$8 and the least heavy wood board we could find).  Matt measured and cut the “cornices,” and epoxied on L brackets.

Then we wrapped each cornice in batting (~$5 from Michaels) and staple gunned it into place.

Then we wrapped the cornices in fabric (which was a little challenging because we had to line up the pattern on the rollerblind with the pattern on the cornice), staple gunned the fabric into place and cut around the L brackets.

Then Matt screwed the cornices into place, and voila!

I priced out similar rollerblinds at Smith & Noble and even with a lower quality fabric, it was over $850 plus shipping for 2 similar rollerblinds!  This whole project cost me about $125 and I got to pick my own fabric.  The bulk of that expense was the cost of the fabric, so you could do it much cheaper if you chose a less expensive fabric.

Another thing to note, I chose a thicker gauge fabric and the rollerblind only retracts up by about 2/3 (which is ok with me), but I bet you could get around this if you used a thinner gauge fabric.

What do you think?  Would you try it?

Wish Me Luck

I am trying to cover and transform these black-out roller blinds in the two dormer windows of my master bedroom this morning.  I decided to go with the green fabric.  Stay tuned for after successful after shots — hopefully!

Nailhead Curtains? Yes Please.

Have you seen these beauties from West Elm?


Yes, they are Nailhead Linen Panels. 

And they come in flax and slate with antiqued-nickel nailhead trim.  Price ranges from $59 – $89 and free shipping.  If you are crafty, you could DIY, but why would you at those prices? 

P.S. Dear West Elm, please make these in white or ivory so that I may hang them in my family room.  Thanks a mill, Miz spark!

To DIY For — My $14 Window Treatment


This was the sad state of my hallway dormer a few months ago.  Dormers are such a decorating dilemma!  I see the sole purpose of our hallway dormer as a conduit of natural light, and I do not really want to obscure the window in any way.

I was so desperate for ideas, that I enlisted the help of longtime friend, and fabulous interior designer Paul Corrie, who gave me some great ideas.  In fact, I am still pondering his suggestion to paint the linen closet doors.  I think it would really create a gorgeous symmetry.

So, Paul spurred me on to update the dormer decor, but I was searching for inspiration on the window treatment.

Last week, I stumbled upon this AWESOME POST on DIY Pelmet Boxes by Jenny over at Little Green Notebook.  Aha moment!  It was perfect for my dormer — not expensive, doesn’t block much light and it covers those yucky blinds that we have not yet replaced.

TAH DAH!  My new dormer:


For the pelmet box, Mr. spark! and I followed the directions at Little Green Notebook, and due to our space, the project was even easier for us.  We measured the foam core board ($1.50 from Michaels), attached the sides with duct tape, covered the box with batting ($3 from Michaels) and fabric (1/2 yard P. Kaufmann’s Curly Q in Green Tea, $9 from Willams & Sherrill), and staple-gunned it in place.  Our fit was so perfect that we didn’t even have to nail the pelmet box into the wall — it’s suspended up there between the walls of the dormer!

Regarding the fabric choice, I wanted something simple and light in color because the dormer can be dark in the afternoons, and I wanted to pick up the green of the trees outside the window and the green on the stairway runner:



And a side-by-side:


I love the way it turned out and can’t believe that it cost us $14 to make!  A huge thanks to Jenny at Little Green Notebook for the tutorial and creative idea.

What do YOU think?

Favorite Things Friday — An Interior Designer’s Happies

Welcome to another edition of Favorite Things Friday!  This week, I have enlisted an acclaimed and fabulous interior designer – Paul Corrie of Paul Corrie Interiors to share some of his favorite things.  Check out his cool blog!  Paul and I were good friends in high school and recently (and so luckily for me!) reconnected on Facebook.  Paul’s blog was a huge inspiration for spark!

A huge thanks to Paul, and without further ado, enjoy Paul Corrie’s Favorite Things:

It should go without saying that my loving partner, parents and family, and friends are the most favorite things in my life.  In an attempt not to embarrass them, however, I thought that I would focus on favorite things of mine that relate to, influence, and impact my everyday world of interior design.


I almost always grab a small San Pellegrino water before leaving for any design appointment.  I came across the individual plastic bottles a couple of years ago, and it’s definitely my beverage of choice when on the go!  It’s fantastic in flavor, refreshing in taste, and stylistically fabulous for the workday.


I absolutely love white hydrangeas, and they are my first flower of choice…I love to have a tight cluster of them on my dining table and in my office on a regular basis.  They’re so clean and classic, and add just a touch of softness and sophistication to any space.


When I renovated my home a couple of years ago, I was very particular about how to make the best use out of all of the spaces…so selection of pieces was key!  Aesthetics always takes first priority for me as a designer, but functionality took a very close second.  I found this 18th Century Gustavian buffet in Los Angeles, and it has definitely become one of my favorite things.  I use it to store my TV and stereo components versus the typical media cabinet.  I just love its patina, rough finish and texture, and scale.  It’s so wonderfully versatile in that it can be used in so many spaces for so many different purposes.  I definitely think that this was one great find!


When selecting fabrics for a particular project, I’m not only concerned about color, but also texture.  I’m a huge fan of using linens and velvets.  There is something so casual about linen and so elegant about velvet that when paired together in various manners, they can make a dramatic statement and be the perfect balance of texture and weight.


Paris is one of my favorite places in the world…it’s so rich in history and architecture, and full of culture and life.  It’s also home to some of the most fabulous flea markets you could ever imagine.  I visited last year and came across what’s now one of my favorite hotels, the Relais Christine.  Formerly a 16th century mansion and located on the Left Bank, this hotel had the most gorgeous flower-filled cobblestone courtyard and charming rooms that you might ever encounter.


Last but not least, I couldn’t list my favorite things without including our little girl, Cindy.  She’s a 10 lb. shih-poo that’s filled with so much life and love, and she brings so much joy to our lives.  We absolutely adore her!

Sneaky Trick Revealed!

I am about to reveal a money-saving trick that I discovered a few years ago as I was purchasing items for my daughter’s nursery.  This specific bit of information is about to save me $144, which is equivalent to 36 free mochas at Starbucks, 6 complimentary pedicures or a week of groceries at no charge!

So, I am slowly progressing on window treatments for the two windows in my family room.  I have finally settled on my look (only took me three years!), and started looking for affordable window hardware.  I like the simple double-rod look below from Pottery Barn. For each window, I would need the medium size, which cost $139 each, or $278 total, for the window hardware.


I started looking around for similar, but less expensive window hardware.  For fun, I checked out PB Teen (Pottery Barn’s line aimed at teenagers).  Guess what I found?  Almost identical window hardware for $144 less! Two of the same sized double-rod below ($55) with the almost identical finials ($12) below adds up to $134.  Both are made from steel, look similar in heft and quality and are backed by the reputation and customer service guarantee of Pottery Barn.


BTW, I have found similar savings comparing Pottery Barn vs. PB Teen/Pottery Barn Kids for end tables, rugs and bookshelves too.  Perhaps Pottery Barn figures that we will not pay as much for kids’ rooms, so they sell pretty much the same items marketed under another name, for less.  PB, I am on to you!

Now, what to do with my extra $144?  I have my eye on this awesome mirror….