Ceiling Rods Screen Ugly Views: simple household solution

The traverse rod in my sewing room

The traverse ceiling rod in my sewing room as shown in the intro of my last video on YouTube

Where the Sausage is Made: traverse ceiling rods to the rescue 

openwindowUgh! Look how my sewing room looks at night through one of the large windows that flank our front door. This is the view I used to present to the world in the liminal hours of an average day.

Honestly, I never even thought about the appearance of the sewing room before I started making YouTube videos. Over the years, as my little artistic sewing business grew, my sewing room hopped from room to room, eventually landing in the sunny room next to our front door. As it went, I cobbled together a functional—even fairly efficient—collection of tables, mismatched shelves, and see-through storage bins. And that system worked for me for years.

Then I started making sewing tutorials. Early on, I spent an hour or two clicking around YT to see what was out there and how sewing channels were presenting their information. What confronted me instead was a collection of lovely sets, light-kissed sewing spaces, and nicely decorated but sparsely appointed environments reminiscent of quiet basement corners. I saw open wicker baskets of sparkling fat quarters and nifty wooden racks brimming with well-behaved spools. Exposing my heaping mounds of “creative clutter” and bins full of jumbled, but dust-free, sewing supplies mortified me.

So we shot tight, filling the screen mostly with the project and the process, and Zazu’s Stitch Art on YouTube was born. The style of the videos also naturally evolved around my desire to really teach sewing that looks handmade, not homemade. I have a long-standing pet peeve with tutorials that gloss over key details in a way that could break a real world project. So extreme close-ups seemed necessary for my videos, if I really wanted to inspire viewers to follow along. As I focused in on the sausage-making itself, a side benefit was to naturally downplay all the clutter in the sausage factory.

featherweightMeanwhile, my husband helped me revamp the sewing room, area by area, with appearances in mind. We bought a glass shelf for my grandmother’s featherweight and hung it above the t.v. We had replaced my ugly particle board shelves with ones he fitted in the corner, facing the front edge with narrow molding. I finally put up a permanent design wall. My shelves were still pretty unsightly. Then I realized how they looked from the street. I needed a solution that was attractive, inexpensive, and easy to use—hide the clutter one minute; access all the storage the next.

washerWe already had a traverse ceiling rod with batik curtains covering the door of our upstairs laundry closet. Tucked into the eaves of our roof during a major upstairs remodel, this laundry closet was a game changer for me. (No more laundry in a 1930s basement, a.k.a. the Dungeon.) But it is kind of an eyesore without doors. The ceiling rod was my husband’s idea. He found the rod on extreme clearance somewhere, because we thought bi-fold doors would block access to the machines too much, since they are a little cramped in there. Like most curtain rods, these rods telescope to adjust within a certain range. Here’s what the laundry looks like. It could be a lot worse!

We searched the internet for ceiling rods, looking for a 12-footer. I didn’t want to spend too much. Ultimately, we bought 2 rods. One telescopes to 10 feet; the other to 5.5 feet. We spent about $60 and got free shipping. I felt it was a $60 problem. The rods telescope with a male part and a female part. So we used the two female pieces on the ends of one male piece in the middle to span the width of the room with one continuous track. These install fairly easily, similar to regular curtain rods, although if you can’t find your ceiling joints, you’ll need to use plastic anchors, or similar, in your drywall or plaster.

Color always matters

My ceilings are 9′ 4″, so I had to make my own curtains. In another location, you might use a pretty sheet. For my project I rescued a bunch of completely dissimilar fabrics from the back of my stash. I decided to make three panels. I pieced 20-22 inch wide strips Read More …