The blank slate: 
A long, eaved space with a stairwell in the middle of it. I had to stand in the closet to get this shot. The ell immediately in the foreground is the perfect size for my computer desk, while the aisles to the left and right of the stairwell (you can't see them in this photo) will probably end up lined with 4' high bookshelves. While all this interesting space is going to be useful, I really didn't want a view of computer wires from the sleeping area. I also didn't want to block off all the lovely light that comes in through the skylight and east facing window during the day.

 

 

 

 

The inspiration: 
Scene from a 12th century scroll of The Tale of Genji housed in the Tokugawa Museum of Art. 
The rooms are divided by decorated bamboo blinds which can be raised or lowered.

 

The solution: Three sets of bamboo blinds from IKEA were suspended from the ceiling in the center of the room, just wide enough to hide the stairwell railings and computer desk, while leaving pass-through space along the left and right edges of the room. Before hanging, colored ribbon was glued to the edges. The valance is cheap acetate lining material, stencilled with Lumiere gold fabric paint.  I wouldn't want to wear it, but the color was nice and it was $2/yard. I had to stand on the bed to take the photo on the right - the items sitting on the top shelf of the computer desk aren't visible otherwise.

The view, facing the window: