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I thought it would be fun to share one of those things that could have turned out awesome but, um, didn’t.  In the land of DIY, not all projects turn out exactly the way you envisioned, and that’s totally fine because that’s real life.

Our kitchen window looks out onto the street so of course it has nice thick curtains to keep us from being the neighborhood entertainment at night.  They’re plain white cotton canvas (washable is imperative!) tab top cafe curtains from Wal-Mart, I believe.

I thought I had a better “before” picture but I cannot find it.  Hm.  Sorry about that.  This is a photo from when we were painting the dining area, and the pantry (on the right) is not normally one foot away from the fridge in the middle of the room.

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We recently repainted the kitchen from beige to off white (Behr Swiss Coffee) when we remodeled the dining area, and the white cafe curtains against the white walls were getting to me.  In a recent post, I shared how I put up huge green and white curtains on the french doors.  That went so well I decided to do something colorful to the cafe curtains at the other end of the room.  I recalled the various bloggers I’d seen who painted stripes on plain curtains and rugs and thought I’d invest $5 in craft paints to paint me some stripes too.  Hey, it worked when I put chevrons on our living room rug two years ago.

So I took my coupon and got a few bottles of craft paint and fabric medium from Michael’s, came home, mixed my custom color, and taped off some 4″ stripes on the first curtain.  Here, the tape has been removed from the first three stripes.

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It was looking good but I had one little problem.

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I was out of paint.

And I still had the other curtain to do.

Well, it was late and I had other things to do for the next few days so I just let the one striped curtain dry overnight and hung it up the next morning.  That’s when I discovered that those stripes were not so pretty when they were backlit.  In fact they looked radically unattractive.  “So this is why the bloggers say you might need to do two coats,” I mused, looking at my empty cup of custom mixed paint.  “I wonder if using a small foam roller might have applied the paint more evenly than my good brush.”  (The world may never know.)

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I just left the lonely single curtain hanging there while I thought about what to do.  Because it turned out so stiff and patchy, I didn’t want to continue with the other curtain.

And that, my friends, is how things stayed for three or four weeks…

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Then I had a brainwave.

An awning!  This thing had awning stripes on it, and I had a roommate once with an awesome indoor burlap awning in her breakfast nook, so maybe I could do an indoor awning.

I was inspired.  I took my ugly striped curtain down, re-taped the stripes, painted a second coat of non-custom green, and took to cutting and sewing and lining until I had a nice looking rectangle to use.  Did I take any pictures?  I did not.  I did this project on a weekend the Chief was gone and my goal was to blast through as many projects as I could from stuff I already had on hand.  I didn’t even think about grabbing my camera, I was working so hard.  Basically I followed the tutorial that I found here, and I also invented some parts as I went along (like only stitching the lining onto the white stripes and not across the green painted stripes, to avoid white stitches on green stripes, and using hot glue in the places my sewing machine couldn’t go).

….Are you ready to see the awning?

Wait, first I have to make an excuse for the kitchen.

You haven’t seen much of the kitchen because it’s dated and we’re not doing any remodels at this point.  The cabinets are (I believe original) knotty pine that has seen better days, with a few additional pressboard uppers in the same color; there is one cabinet door that has been stripped but not refinished; the window needs an overhaul; and the counters are indestructible wood grain print formica.  Yummm ;-)  You know what though, the layout works GREAT for practical use.   So there.

Before:  Just to remind you of the first shot, we started with plain curtains, an old window, and a vacant space to the ceiling.

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After: cheery awning on two tension rods makes this side of the kitchen/dining area look MUCH more finished and ties it in to the green curtains on the other side of the room!

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What do you think of this small change – does it have the impact I think it does?  Have you ever considered an indoor awning? What are some other ways you’ve tried to enliven the dead area over a sink?

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