DIY Window Valance

Brad and I have been looking for some relatively inexpensive solar shades for our atrium windows for a really long time.  Like, since we replaced those windows last June.  (Psst... for before/after pictures of the outdoor room in the center of our house, click here.)  When we first started looking for custom sized solar shades, we were quoted about $200 per window for these beasts.  Clearly, that was not happening.  Where the major cost of them is coming from is the awkward size of these unusually large windows.  (The ones in our bedroom and Brad's office are about 45" wide by 60" tall.)  We found quite a few great options at Ikea and Bed Bath and Beyond, but none of them fit exactly to be an inside mount, which is what I really really wanted.  Oh, and I also wanted a dark grey color to coordinate with all of the different interior rooms of the house and also the exterior atrium paint.  Plus, I've been told that grey is kind of my color.

One of the naked atrium windows

So, after months of searching, and many purchases and returns of said window treatments, we found something amazing at Lowes.


Woa.  Solar roller shades that they custom cut to size for you in store?  Available in dark grey?  And at only $51 for the large size?  Consider my mind blown.  I was literally bouncing up and down while the lady cut them to exactly 45 1/8" wide for us.  I think I embarrassed my husband.  But, whatevs.  He knows who he married.  Someone who gets unbelievably excited about inexpensive custom window treatments, that's who. So, we brought home our little beauties and the installation was unbelievably simple.  We literally screwed the mounting brackets into the wall and the shade slipped right into them.  Ta-da!  The windows were already looking substantially better.

But... if you look closely... those mounting brackets are pretty ugly.

We all know that a custom window valance can be pretty expensive.  Especially one made of solid wood like I wanted.  So, why buy when you can build, right?

Centsational Girl posted her DIY Window Cornice  a long time ago, and I really loved the simplicity of it.  I wanted to do something similar to hers but with a shorter "body" and different mouldings.  So, here's how I did my version.

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The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Finishing

Plan by Ana White, built and finished by Old Paint Design with Rustoleum Spray Paint in Dark Grey
I LOVE to build.  It is my favorite thing in the entire world.  But, as most of you know, building is about more than just screwing some boards together.  It takes planning, sketching, gathering materials, THEN building... and finishing.  I'm really good at the first 4 steps.  I can usually find something I love and sketch it up during the week in my "spare time".  Saturday mornings are dedicated to visiting my bffs at the lumber yard.  (Where they all know me and can almost predict my orders.)  Saturday afternoons are my building time.  And then I have to finish the pieces.  Which is by far the worst part.  It's so important for the piece to have a beautiful finish, especially after you've put so much time, money, and sweat into it.  It's just so... time consuming.  And boring.  I want my beautiful finish and I want it now... which is why sometimes it's taken me a day to build and weeks to finish a project. It's taken me quite a bit of trial and error, but I think I've finally figured out the quickest, easiest ways to get a beautiful finish.  It's all about the tools and products that you use to get the job done, and since I build to save money, none of these options break the bank. Before I start, I also need to say that I get $0 for anything I post on this blog, so none of the products I talk about are officially endorsed... I just really like them. Continue reading "The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Finishing"