Monday, January 3, 2011

Disguising Utility With Luxury

Twice this week I have found myself with real estate clients, standing in front of a gaping maw of a problematic laundry area.  One was a hallway closet from which the bi-fold doors had been removed.  The other was a laundry "nook" right smack in the middle of the main bathroom of a run down 60's ranch.  Neither was the beautiful laundry room most people would prefer, if not dream of.  In both instances I said the same thing (and I MEANT IT!):  "What you do in a situation like this is find fabric that you LOVE and curtain this area off.  That way you get to look at the fabric you LOVE all the time!"

I know this because I have done this!  And I would love to have other venues in which to implement this technique because there are other fabrics that I adore!

Below is the entry hall coat closet in my house in Fayetteville.  You've probably seen this curtain many times (on Facebook or on my blog) because I often use it as a backdrop for pictures.  If you know me, you might not be surprised that it's a toile print.  I have to restrain myself from using toile in every room.  Even with much exercise of restraint, I've used it in four colors and in five different rooms in my house.  And I still want that red and gold chicken print toile somewhere too!  And the turquoise and brown toile too!  I'm hopeless!

Behind this curtain are hooks for all our winter coats.  On the high shelf are baskets for hats, bags, etc.  Below are six large plastic bin drawers for our shoes (SO nice to have the shoes near the door!).  

This next photo is driving me crazy!  I snapped it just to remember what was in the cabin so I can plan my next trip up there to clean things up (we let someone live there for awhile and they were disrespectful enough to leave it trashed) and now I can't get the edits to save so as to show you the properly cropped version!  But try to just focus on the pretty curtain.  It's a vintage blue rose pattern, very china plate-like, that I bought years ago at a garage sale for $10.  I still love it!  Here it is used to cover an interior window that was once an exterior window before they added on an enclosed sleeping porch/sunroom.  This curtain created both privacy and a backdrop for the bed.  I'm wishing I had an unsightly laundry closet that I could use it to cover!  It would just add some luxury AND I'd get to look at it often!

I have not forgotten that this blog is called FREEsourcefull.  I know that these large expanses of fabric can get expensive.  But they can also be gotten for minimal cost with good shopping of fabric store sales, lucky finds on clearance curtains, thrift store victories, or, sometimes, even dumpster miracles (see "Hampster Curtains" on this blog for a reminder!).

This same principle can also be used as curtains (obviously!), as a backdrop for a bed or sofa, as visual interest on large blank walls, in doorways, or as shower curtains.  On tip that really helps, especially to add elegance with shower curtains, is to hang curtains from floor to ceiling and from wall to wall -- not just at regular shower curtain height but all the way to the ceiling! 

This photos is from a staging job that I did.  I jury-rigged the shower curtain out of fabric that I had previously used as a tablecloth.  Ideally, if I had more of the fabric, I would have doubled the effect and put a curtain on each side, not just one.  Regardless, it's instant luxury!  And the house did sell!

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