Sunday, 24 November 2013

Roman blinds and why we went custom

I was determined to make my own Roman blinds. We needed window coverings for our kitchen and bathroom windows and I thought Roman blinds would work well. Given that the windows are odd sizes they had to be made-to-measure. I watched several online tutorials on Roman blind making and the process looked pretty straight forward. I made a plan of what I needed to buy and checked out fabric options.

That was a year ago. Since then, the window covering in our bathroom has consisted of this ...

Living with craft paper on our window for months made me realize that despite my best intentions,the DIY Roman blinds were not going to happen..... so we had to look for alternatives. 

During my online drapery research I came across Tonic Living. It's a Toronto based business that specializes in curtains and blinds. We visited their retail location, checked out their blinds and picked up a few fabric samples.

Fabric samples from Tonic Living

Tonic Living has a great selection of fabrics but what we liked most is that on their web site you can read about the fabrics and what they are treated with. We were careful selecting fabrics that are not treated  with any stain or wrinkle resistant finishes and don't contain fire retardants, phthalate, lead and formaldehyde. We were excited to be able to access information on the treatment of the fabrics as most draperies are heavily treated with toxic chemicals with little or no information provided to customers.

We put our order in and our custom blinds will be ready in a few weeks. I can't wait to have blinds on our more craft paper.

Stay tuned for the reveal of the winning fabric and installation tips.


Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Storm door or no storm door

I am not a big fan of storm doors. They get in the way when going in and out of the house and they tend to take away from the visual appeal of the entrance door. I always thought I would want to go with a "no storm door" option...... until we took our existing storm door off.

Since we don't have a storm door, I can definitely feel the difference in the air movement inside the house. Each time Misha enters the house and leaves the door open, even if for a few seconds, a cold breeze whooshes through the house.

Given that our house is small and we don't have an enclosed hallway, the cold air comes right into the living room, usually where I sit. It is not pleasant and it's not even winter yet. I realized that no storm door for our small house is not a good alternative.

So there we went, storm door shopping.

Our shopping experience was slightly more complicated than we originally thought.  Our door is not a standard sized door as it measures 82" X 34". We had no choice but to go with a custom storm door and pay the extra cost. We ordered a full-view Andersen 3000 Series storm door from Home Depot. I like it's low profile and that the glass can be replaced with a screen in the summer.

Our pick - Andersen 3000 Series full-view storm door

The order is in and our door should arrive in a couple of weeks. Misha volunteered to install it. Hope it won't give us a hard time.

What are your experiences with storm doors? Are you a fan?


Sunday, 17 November 2013

Front Porch Makeover

I have been planning to do a front porch makeover since the day we moved into our house. While it was always on my mind there was no real urgency to do it, so it kept being put on hold ......till this fall. As the weather got cooler, I thought I didn't want to go through another winter with the brown, gloomy looking porch. 

Our first idea was to repaint the whole porch and the siding. We received a couple of quotes for the paint job but as the amounts were not in our budget we decided to do what we could ourselves. So we got to work.

Misha removed the screen door and repainted our existing wood door with three coats of 0 VOC white outdoor latex paint. 

We decided on white after a long debate between dark blue and white. White won out as we wanted to lighten up the space under the porch. While it is the more conservative colour choice, we feel it works with our house. 

Then came the railing, we painted it black. That was an easy decision and the job didn't take long. We also replaced the lock, installed a door knocker, a mail slot and a new lantern. 

What I enjoyed the most was creating the new house number. We picked up an unfinished wood plaque from Michaels and Misha painted it white with a black edge.

We screwed in the black metal house numbers we got from Home Depot. Installing the plaque on the house didn't take long.

At the end, we added some flower pots and fall decorations and voila.....our affordable, front porch makeover is done. Here is the before and after.



We will be repainting the porch and the siding at some point next year but at least we can feel better about our refreshed porch throughout the winter months.