I used to say the library in our house was my favorite place. It had the fewest hand-me-downs of any room, and had original art pieces hanging on the wall. Colors were coordinated; the feel in the room was of peace. Then we got an elliptical machine, which our bodies needed. But the peace and calm of the library was replaced by activity and the noise of a television to keep exercisers motivated.
A couple of summers ago we bought two window air conditioners. One was for use in the upstairs bedroom that we use as our TV/family room, the other was for our bedroom. The problem was there is a 2nd floor hallway that connects the two rooms to the bathroom. The door to the room that had the a/c running had to be kept closed. And at night, if we were running the a/c in our bedroom, Angel would stand outside and “knock” on the door with his paw until I got up and let him in. And then got up again to let him back out. (I sleep closest to the door, so of course it’s my job. And I am the one who adopted him.)
One day this summer when the temperature was hovering around 96°, I had a bright idea. A very bright idea. I asked Jas what would happen if we hung a curtain at the edge of the hallway, where the stairs go down to the landing and turn to go the rest of the way down to the 1st floor. I wondered aloud if it would be possible to trap the cool air on the 2nd floor and not keep the bedroom door closed all night.
(My motive wasn’t just to give Angel access at will. When I get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, it would be nice not to be shocked by the hot air in the hall.)
So after batting ideas around for several weeks, I started shopping. I measured the space between the two parallel walls in the hallway and came up with 96″. I measured the floor to the ceiling and came up with [something]. Then I went to Lowe’s and found a 96″ closet rod. I couldn’t find a curtain or even two matching curtains that would span the dimensions we needed, so I went to JoAnn’s. I wanted a tightly woven fabric that would keep the cool air trapped. I looked for a curtain ring that clips onto the curtain panel, but could find nothing that would fit the 1.25″ diameter rod. I looked at grommets and, although I thought the plastic looked kinda cheesy, I didn’t think anyone would be standing 4″ from them, trying to determine if they were metal or plastic. The grommets came in two sizes and three finishes, and the 1.56″ was perfect. Then I found cotton duck in an ecru shade, spent a minute or two with my iPhone calculator, and bought the fabric.
Looking at the grommets, I was scared I was going to need heavy duty equipment to attach them to the fabric panels, but once I got the two panels constructed – cut the full width of the fabric, leaving the selvedge as is (4″ hems with ½” turned under; two panels to cover the entire span) – and started reading the grommet instructions, marking, cutting and clicking in place with the palm of my hand, I was doing a major Happy Dance! These grommets are easy, even when attaching them to two layers of thick fabric.
Then we were ready for the hanging.
We held the rod in place and realized the space was wider than I thought. My brilliant handyman cut a spacer to make the rod just the right length for the space. The length was a fraction too short, but we made sure the bottom of the drape touched the floor and any gap was at the top. Y’know the old thing about heat rising?
I shuffled around a couple of quilts, and folded over the railing a quilt I made for my younger son during his junior year of college. Monochromatics always feel restful to me, and this quilt in creams, beiges and browns against the ecru drape just pleases me. Every time I’m climbing the stairs and I take the 90° turn to finish the climb, I look at that display and smile.
It’s my new happy place.
Just in case you’d like a better look at the quilt, here it is after ex-DIL had shoved it away in a plastic bin in the attic for years. This photo was taken 18 months ago – I found it after weeks of searching, washed it, and hung it out in the glorious spring weather. Oh, and the binding is white musical notes on a cream background. Love it. Jiggety jig.