12 February 2013

RITVA curtains, take two

Last week I confessed my fear of putting holes in our ancient plaster rented walls. It’s understandable, yet still slightly ironic given my willingness to hammer boards up all willy-nilly in my laundry room. But hey, I owned those walls. It’s different here.

I did let you in on the one thing I’ve hung to make this place feel like home, though: curtains. Half the rooms have them now! All purchased new, as I had to leave our white RITVA curtains at the old house as part of the house sale negotiations. I can’t blame the buyer for wanting them... they were really pretty, if simple and inexpensive.

Given the opportunity to try something different here in our new place, I did, for a hot minute, consider getting something patterned or bright. The guest room, for instance, has what-have-I-done turquoise VIVAN panels:

Maybe that’s not such a bold risk to some, but for this neutral girl, they’re a little shock to the system.

So in our bedroom, I instead stuck to the IKEA RITVAs that I know and love. Better yet, they’re apparently what you want to know and love. The post I wrote about the RITVAs in our bedroom at the old house consistently remains among the most-visited posts on this here blog, and it seems a lot of you are getting here with the search term “ikea ritva”. So hello. Yes! I have IKEA RITVAs and I love them so much, I bought them twice.

Aside from the color (a perfect not-quite-but-almost-white) and the texture (thick with subtle, random crosshairs) and the hidden tab-top, the best part about RITVAs are the length. Two beautiful 98” panels for $25? That’s a must-have for these super-tall windows in our bedroom.

Yes, even though we essentially live in the rooftop of the house with dormered walls everywhere, we still have ridiculously high ceilings. Blessing and a curse. (Oh, and you like how I cleaned up for you to take this picture? I put my pillows and blanket in a pile. Because I care.)

When I finally decided to hang these curtains – no small feat, considering the ironing and the measuring – I decided I didn’t want to hem them. This decision was cemented by the fact that IKEA apparently forgot to give me the iron-on hem tape with these curtains. So... not much of a decision, really.

I tried everything I could to figure out how to hang these curtains exactly 98” from the floor. It involved measuring the curtain from the bottom to the hidden-tab top...

... determining the difference in height between the rod and the screw-holes on the new curtain rods (inexpensive 48” faux-ORB ones from Tar-zhay)...

... creating cardboard templates with my L-square...

... and ultimately realizing that between the slanty, century-old floor, window, and ceiling, plus slightly-differently-lengthed IKEA curtain panels, there was no way I was going to figure out a way hang these curtains so that they were all perfectly 98” from the floor. Garrrumphlelemmmmurrrrggh.

So I called it quits on trying to create a fancy curtain-hanging tutorial with creativity and the math, and instead just hung the dang things six inches above each corner of the window casing, which was 97-ish inches from the floor. THE END.

One upside to this plan (can I even call it a plan?) was that even if the window casing isn’t perfectly horizontal – and it isn’t – the curtain rod will appear level because it’s the same distance above the casing all the way across. Good enough!

The other upside was that, by screwing the support hangers directly above the corner of the window frame, I didn’t have to worry about measuring distance out from the window. Even though the curtain rods came with this guide...

... attaching the support hanger to the wall directly above the edge of the window was way easier. Like so:

But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be hanging my curtains high-and-wide-as-the-dormered-wall-allows! I decided to just extend the rod itself past the hanger. Make sense? Kinda like this (apologies for the blurry pic):

The only problem is that I wouldn’t be able to open and close the curtains easily (as the hanger would be in the way), but I never plan to close these curtains, so we’re good to go. Oh, and I figure if a weightlifter picks up a set of barbells from the middle instead of on the edges outside the weights, then there shouldn’t be any problems with the load distribution from the rod with the hangers repositioned closer together, either.

Et voila!

I wish I could hang ‘em wider per the “high and wide” mantra, but the wall on the right won’t let me. Oh well. I do have that pretty sunburst mirror down there on the floor, and I’m sure it’ll be gorgeous in between as soon as I find the nerve to put a giant anchor in the wall to support its weight (that sucker is heavy).

Of course, my work isn’t totally done yet. As you saw before, I need to hem them still...

But that will be another adventure in itself, thanks to the slanty floors and windows. See, if I want the panels to graze the floor at all points, the hem will most likely be crooked. Sigh. In the meantime, I’m telling myself that letting them sit like that is reinforcing the pleats. Whatever it takes to feel better about yourself, eh?

Speaking of feeling better... nothing like some RITVAs to make our rented bedroom feel more like home. Pinky-beige walls and all.

Love you, RITVAs. Kiss kiss.


Rachel C said...

Oh, Ritva! I've never had curtains in my life. Ever. But as we slowly redo/decorate, I'm beginning to move towards the curtain light. And, since we have dark gray walls, stark white trim and I want something non-threatening and scary for my initial curtain hanging experience, I'm strongly considering Ritva. I just need to work up the courage, and take a trip to Atlanta's IKEA, to get some Ritva.

Rachel C said...

Yes, I'm making a second comment, but I forgot to ask a question since you are the Ritva expert. :-)

Our back door (which is in the living room) is all glass, which I love. However, my husband wants to get curtains/blinds to cover the glass so people can't see in. So our compromise is to find some type of sheer curtain panel that will provide some privacy but not completely obscure the view and light. Do you think Ritva would work for this? Or is it too heavy?

Sarah said...

@Rachel - Yay for moving toward the curtain light! It is absolutely amazing how much good curtains will make a room feel "done" even when it's so, so far from that. And RITVAs look awesome with gray walls, sooo... :)

RITVAs are a little too thick to be the sheer panels that it sounds like you're wanting (which is why I like them... they don't feel flimsy). If it's a sliding door, maybe a nice compromise would be to flank it with RITVAs and put sheer panels in front of the door, similar to the sheer panels in the first photo in this post. I think I got those at the Wal-Marts for $5 a panel. The only downside to those is that they are only 88", so you can't take advantage of RITVA's length (but as you can see in the photo, I couldn't move the rod up anyway because of the palladium window). Although if you wanted to get REALLY fancy, you could do two rods, one with high & wide RITVAs (98" long), one with sheer panels (88" long), and bamboo shades spanning the distance above the sheer panels. Now THAT is a true window treatment!

And although you didn't ask, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention VIVANs. I'll be doing a post on those at some point, because I hung them in our living room. They're the same white ones YHL hung throughout their old house. They're more sheer and flowy than RITVAs, but still maybe too thick for your door (they'd let in a bit of light but not the view). Also, VIVAN white is a little different from RITVA white, so you couldn't mix and match. But at $10 for a pair instead of $25, they are an excellent introduction to the curtain game!