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September 17, 2010

MCM Home Improvement-Bamboo Curtains

By Sablemable aka Jan

When we bought our 1955 ranch, my mind began to imagine the interior decor-what colors and textures would I use; what furniture and accessories?  We have all anguished over this (and still do!), but I wanted to make my husband, Bob, feel like he was in a tropical paradise in the middle of a harsh, Michigan winter.

I had found some bamboo drape panels, roman shades and tiers at Brylane Home and ordered them in a natural with dark brown.




After I made my purchase, I realized that I had not researched using bamboo during the Mid-Century Modern era and promptly scolded myself for acting in haste.  But I redeemed myself when I discovered that yes, bamboom panels and curtains were used in MCM homes! 

Montogomery Ward’s Fall and Winter catalog for 1957 carried matchstick bamboo window treatments.  The cafe curtains below came in all of the most popular colors of the time, like pink and turquoise.  They priced from $2.98 to $4.98 according to size.  The matching valance was $1.98.


The Spring and Summer Sears Catalog for 1959 also carried bamboo curtains in the fashionable colors of Ming Blue and Frosty Pink.  Prices ran from the lowest of $3.74 up to $29.95  depending upon the length of drapery needed.  The valance came at $.47 a yard, color matched to your drapes.


Then actually, I did A-OK on buying my bamboo curtains!  The tiers will be hung on the window over the sink and the window in the dining area.  Long bamboo panels will decorate the sliding glass door leading to the sunroom.



Since these photos had been taken, the hanging light over the eating area has been replaced with a beautiful brass finish pull-down light.  The matching ceiling light was replaced with a round fluorescent light, which is period correct, but I also had it installed because I like to cook and I need good lighting to read the recipes.

The cabinets will be sanded and finished in blonde wood tones and the cabinet hardware will be replaced with the brass finished dish-shaped knobs (you can see a set of them on the cabs over the fridge).  

If you’re thinking of using bamboo in your MCM home, go ahead; they were made for each other!

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8 Responses to MCM Home Improvement-Bamboo Curtains

  1. Sara in AZ Reply

    September 17, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    I am SOOOO excited to see your new/old kitchen Sable!!!! These curtains are really great and I know they will look fantastic in your kitchen! Great Job!!! 🙂

  2. Sharon Reply

    September 17, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    Agreed — those curtains look great! My parents had some exactly like the yellow ones above. Why oh why did I let my mom get rid of them some time in the 1970s? I was only a child but I should’ve stopped her! 🙂

  3. sablemable Reply

    September 17, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Saraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa and Shaaaaaaaron!

    TY for liking the bamboo curtains, LOL! I forgot to mention that even the tab curtains we see a lot of today were around during the Fifties, so I don’t feel so dopey about that, either.

    LOL @not stopping Mom from throwing MCM goodies out, Sharon!

  4. Sharon Reply

    September 17, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    Hee! If ever get that time machine, I’ll go back to my child self and tell her that it’s very important to stop mom from giving all of her good clothes and knicknacks away just because it’s the 1970s or 1980s!

  5. sablemable Reply

    September 17, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    I know what you mean, Sharon! My Mom had one of those black panther tv lights and some of those swan figurines that one of the pottery makers here in the USA made, not to mention a black boucle-type fabric modern sofa and armchair that would have looked good (newly upholstered) in my living room, along with the shadow boxes. Shall I go on? I could take up countless hours and days recalling all of the MCM treasures Mommy had.

  6. Sharon Reply

    September 18, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    My dad took a set of slides of my parents’ house in the 1960s for insurance purposes. A year or so ago I ran across them and I was KNOCKED OUT by all the amazing furniture and accessories. My hope is that something sits in a vintage shop somewhere and a nice, MCM-loving man or woman will come in and go nuts and snap it up!

  7. Annie B. Reply

    September 20, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    The bamboo curtains will be fabulous! I actually remember when they was the “hot” item in homes of the late 1950’s, concurrent with genie bottles and wax fruit. Perfect MidMod choice, Sable!!! Your kitchen is great!! Wonderful cabinets!

  8. Annie B. Reply

    September 20, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    Wowie! Bad grammar, Annie. I think I done gone and used the wrong verb in that thar sentence. Back to school with you!

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