Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Martha doesn't live here any more.

I've been reading House Beautiful again.  I love reading decorating HD magazines, and seeing dear little tables at a mere $1200, just to fill in that little corner on a's like reading recipe books you marvel at but would never be pestered to make.

Anyway, I figured, if Apartment Therapy can do it, and House Beautiful can do it, anyone can do it, so I had a little tour of House Adequate, which is where I live, but if I say it myself there are areas of flair and even panache. Downstairs only, too lazy to climb up and continue.  That's for another issue of House Adequate.

I followed the old maxim of using a lot, yards and yards, of cheap fabric when you have a massive window to cover.  The patio door is 92 inches wide, super extra large because it's the only downstairs window on that side of the house.  

Light does get through the passthrough from the kitchen window, and the living room is light enough.  But that window is out of my budgetary reach.  Even curtain rods are hundreds of dollars at that size, being custom made, anything over 84 wide is custom.  

Enter the handy eight foot pvc pipe, less than three dollars, slung on three big hooks anchored in the wall, using mollies.  The curtains are cheapish cotton tab tops, two pairs, one swaggy thing, and another pair of long tabtops in some transparent material forget what.  Total cost about $50.  And I think it looks pretty elegant. The other thing you can do for a curtain rod on a small budget and an elegant frame of mind is to use a long bamboo cane from the garden store, strong as anything, unbreakable, and long enough for a lot of windows, if you like a rustic touch.

Then there are the Arrangements of Art ideas, which I've been doing for years, long before House Beautiful caught on and all the posh Martha Stewart people.

And the funny object idea, here a child's chair rescued from the dumpster, brushed up and put below a fiberart work of mine.  It's decorative, but you'd be amazed at how many grownups pull it out to sit on it!

And whoever said you don't have art in the kitchen?  I do, why not. Oh, and remember my fussing about being shorter these days, and the counters too high to mix on comfortably, and what would be a good solution.  See that wooden top in the picture?

After wondering and measuring and faffing about whether to introduce a table or an island, neither in my budget, I realized, as I was reorganizing the kitchen ready to start painting, that the storage shelves are sturdy and the right height for me. 

Two cutting boards side by side on the top of one, and now I have my right height mixing counter and very well it works, too.  Happy to hit on this solution using only what I already had in the house.

Dear blogistas, especially people on a limited budget, what cool ideas do you have to share?  please do, always on the lookout for good ones.


  1. that window treatment is just lovely, and just what's needed there.
    I did something along those lines with PVC pipe on the porch; wanted to make porch curtains, and heavier rods would have been unmanageable, and lets face it pvc pipe never dies...I found that WalMart sells individual king sized sheets for about 4 or 5$ each, and for a few lengths of pvc pipe, and three sheets, I have lovely adjustable porch curtains, that drift in and out with the wind.
    The pvc was too long and narrow to use without it sagging, so I had some old shelf hangers (the kind you use on closet doors with shelving on it) that werent doing anyone much good, and I snaked those inside, all the way across the pipe (its a 40 ft porch with 'bays') and it stiffened the pipe up beautifully.
    Like you, half the fun of doing something is using found material, or saved stuff ("oh look," she cried joyously, "that 3/8ths lug nut with the reverse twist works perfectly!") that can justify an entire carton of possiblities...

  2. I have often thought how good it would be if someone came out with a magazine that showcased the very thing you are talking about here. Nothing in it could cost over $50-$100 (tops). It would definitely encourage the recycling and making do philosophy. All those glitzy (and pricey!) dec magazines are way beyond the reach of what the common person can afford. Every once awhile they do an article that is supposed (!) to be geared to the budget-conscious and they STILL insist on things costing hundreds of dollars.

  3. I love your curtain idea and the art looks very good of course.


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