Always hard-pressed to turn down a bargain, I recently scooped up two table runners on discount at Pottery Barn and converted them into valances to help brighten my kitchen.
Going from red-tone to white-and-yellow valances has done a great deal to lighten the look in my kitchen.
When you have children, you learn to make certain sacrifices in your decor. For me, that meant no white kitchen cabinets. I had always dreamed of having an all-white kitchen flooded with light, but white cabinets seemed like asking for trouble with little ones around to use them as canvas for "artwork."
Though obviously not life-shattering, the decision to choose dark cabinets has come to haunt me in the six years since we first moved into our home. I now realize how other design decisions I made, including brown-tone granite counters and dark distressed hardwood flooring, have all combined to create a somewhat somber kitchen, the total opposite of what I wanted.
In an attempt to inject lively touches into my kitchen, I then added red. Too much red, as you can see in the photo above. After six years of so much red, I'm ready to mix it up to make the room more interesting.
I spied white-and-yellow Pottery Barn runners at my local outlet store for $10 each and couldn't pass them up even though I had no specific project in mind and no need for additional table runners (though I did like how it looked in the photo above). I fell in love with the print on the cotton fabric, a reproduction of patterns on fabric embroidered by hand by the Otomi Indians in Mexico (click here to see an example).
After bringing them home, I discovered that the runners, measuring 18-by-108-inches, were the perfect length for the two large windows in my kitchen. Because they were lined, the only alteration needed was some simple stitching down the length of each runner, to create an opening for the curtain rod. I was uncertain that my plans were doable, so I called on my mom for sewing help and she whipped up the valances in just a few minutes. Three cheers for moms!
One day, I will get those white cabinets, but for now I am thrilled with the results of this simple project. I have other easy changes I plan to make, including a new rug, and other small touches.
By the way, I'm always in awe of what a few simple stitches can accomplish, though I have to confess to usually enlisting my mom for help with this. Here are is a pillow cover she recently sewed for me after finding the embroidered textile at a thrift store. Knowing how much I love folk art, my mom bought the fabric and sewed it into a pillow, complete with a button enclosure on the back. Here it is in my living room:
And up close:
Frankly, I prefer simple projects that I (or my mom!) can do in less than an hour. It's about all the free time I have now that I have two little ones, who by the way turned out not to favor walls so much for their writings. OK, only once!
Let me know if you have any ideas for my kitchen. I'd love to hear them.