Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Departed

This is the happy story of the quickest, easiest and cheapest home improvement project I've encountered since I bought this house. Those are the living room drapes I've been complaining about, the ones that remind me (along with the '80s chandelier you can see in the upper right corner) of an episode of "Dynasty". I never liked that show, and I've never liked those drapes, either. They're pale blue raw silk, the same yucky blah pale blue as the walls (paint over wallpaper) and the carpet (don't even ask, but if you must know, read this) and I'm sure they were expensive when they were hung there about 25 years ago or so. But back then they weren't faded and sun-rotted and full of cobwebs, and back then whoever had them installed (most likely Esther) probably really liked them. Sorry, Esther, but I don't like them. They're just not me. And the cats are tearing them up....which now that I think about it isn't altogether a bad thing.

But I mostly don't like them because they make that part of the living room look like a stage. That area is a little bump-out about seven feet long and about three-and-a-half feet deep. Just the size of a small nightclub stage. I keep expecting Carol Channing to climb through one of the windows (if they weren't painted shut, of course) and belt out "Hello, Dolly". So, the drapes had to go. I would have taken them down already, but I wasn't certain how they were fastened to the walls and ceiling and I thought removing them would be another one of those seemingly simple but actually horrifyingly complicated projects I've gotten myself into over the past six months. I had visions of big chunks of plaster crashing down around me when I ripped out whatever's holding the drapes to the ceiling. But tonight I got brave and climbed up on a ladder to investigate. Less than two minutes later they looked like this:

The side curtains were fastened with drapery hooks to a runner hidden up underneath that foo-foo valance. Of course there'd be a way to draw the stage curtains, wouldn't you know, in case of a dramatic performance in the living room someday. I just unhooked the things and let them fall to the floor--except that they didn't actually fall to the floor, because they were nailed to the walls. (Need I say it? Okay, okay, I will. Sucky previous owners!!) So I yanked on them while my animals supervised (I'm sure Little Cat could actually call 911 if I fell) until they puddled onto the floor in all their dusty Alexis Carrington glory, which made me think of Scarlett O'Hara, and then the famous Carol Burnett parody. Anyway...I briefly lost my courage and considered leaving the valance there, but a big part of the reason for tearing them down in the first place is to expose all the gorgeous (but in need of repainting) original trim around the stained glass windows. (The small border panes are stained glass. I'll have to add a daytime photo so they show.) So I got my trusty little crowbar, climbed the ladder again, and stuck my index finger into a small gap between header and ceiling. And...and...and the whole thing fell out of the ceiling!! Only four teeny little nail holes to show the contraption was ever there. The drapes have departed, stage right! And now the living room looks like this: Paranormal fans, note the eerie glowing orb above the windows. Could it be Esther, floating up next to the ceiling and tut-tutting over her fallen drapes? Or perhaps Whistling Man swooping in to take a look? (I think he'd say, "Huzzah!" over the trashed drapes. He definitely seems like a huzzah-ing kind of guy.) Or maybe it's just a piece of dust on the camera lens. Either way, the damned drapes are gone!


  1. You just improved that room 1000%, no further work is even necessary. LOL.

  2. I kind of dig the theatrical look, myself, but I agree that the trim (and the windows!) is too gorgeous to be covered up.