Window Seat Update

As I mentioned in my previous post, the window seat project hasn't been turning out as well as I hoped.  I hoped for something like this:

Light, bright, fun, obviously custom, obviously expensive looking.

Instead, after going for the brown option (the white one was just too cheap looking, and quite frankly after struggling with the horrors of assembly, I had so many gaps that they would have ruined the effect of the white one anyway) and trying to put the look together with as many existing elements as possible, I got this:
Dark, drab, dull:   a big ol' mess

Now, I'm not trying to be all false modest, pretending that's it's a big ol' mess so I can have readers assure me that's it great...it's not.  Don't get me wrong, the window nook is  certainly not the ugliest thing on the web...in fact, it's not even the ugliest thing I've seen on a design blog today.  What it  certainly is NOT is bright, fresh, and custom looking.  It looks exactly like what it is....a prefab piece of furniture overstyled in an attempt to disguise that fact. 

After putting this together, I was so bummed I just let it sit that way...I didn't even want to try to tweak it.  But lately, the weather has been beautiful, the windows are  open, and I decided to revisit the window seat project and see what went wrong.

The problems areas I identified:

1.  The color.  Now, I don't regret not getting the white one, but switching to brown did change the balance---with a white window seat, that brightness would have balanced the heavy fabrics.  I didn't think to reverse it (i.e. brown seat, light fabrics) so I ended up with an overall very heavy look.

2. The draperies just didn't work.  This is always a problem in trying to retro fit window treatments.  I tried hanging them in front of the seat like the inspiration---they are too short to hang from ceiling and hit floor, so I had to hang them just below picture rail, but the empty space above looked awkward.  I had toyed with topping that space with a shelf and books, but that seemed too heavy and busy and even more unlikely to look like a custom buit-in---so I switched to hanging them from window wall with excess length tucked. behind seat---but, they look like what they are...heavy curtains that are too big for the window and that are crushed behind the furniture.

3.  Rush job---I was so excited about the project, that I rushed into the execution.  When I saw problems with draperies-instead of pausing to really evaluate, I just pushed through.  Same with pillows--instead of taking time during construction, I slapped them together, thinking "They won't really be seen closeup.  Good enough is good enough."  Of course, when you are trying to achieve a high end  look, good enough never is.  Good enough is the difference between d-i-y looking professional or homemade.

4.  Cushion.--At first, I was thrilled with cushion.  It has cording and is in nice neutral fabric that worked with orange print draperies.  However, fabric looks and feels synthetic and a little cheap.  Furthermore, it's just so dinky.

So I went back to inspiration photos and looked at options.

1.  Problem that can be fixed...cushion looks dinky.  As a first step, I've decided to slip the cover and top of the seat to create the look of a thicker cushion, hide some of the cubbies for a cleaner look, and use a brighter, more expensive looking fabric (luckily I had a remnant I've been dying to use in a project).  iI short, try to make cushion look more substantial and custom..

Progress so far:

Before final pressing

Compare this thin cushion and six cubby look with the above pics of the thick cushion and 3 cubbies.

2.  Switch curtains.  It's easy to get caught in thinking of certain fabrics and accessories going in certain rooms.  Case in point.  From the beginning of the project, I was determine to re-use my stored former dining ccurtains.  I never even thought about trying any other option.  Then yesterday, as I was in the office, I realized that I could switch these curtains (formerly my kitchen ones) with the orange and brown ones.  I knew the orange/brown ones would fit in the office--I made them fro there when that was the dining room;  further, the green ones currently in the office were actually quite a bit longer than the o/b ones.  Eureka.
Cushion fabric with drapery panel.

Now I'm off to tweak my green curtains.  Hopefully I'll have pics to show you tomorrow.

*update*  Here's a sneak peek:


Marlo said...

Awww, I like the orange & brown drapes! I know, I know, they're not as fresh as you'd like. The two new fabrics definitely look fresher so I'm sure they will give you the feeling you're after.

The Lessons Learned evaluation after the project was completed is brilliant. Everyone should do it even if they are happy with the results.

Vickie H. said...

I KNEW you would find your footing again...you are too marvelous to lose your way for very long! Eager to see how it all comes out....the treatment of the thin cushion to make it appear thicker is great!!

custom window treatments said...

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