March 3

Roman Blinds Give Your House An Elegant Look

It was a 150-year-old farmhouse and we were lucky to get it. The house had been well cared for, but nonetheless was showing its age. It had been more than a quarter of a century since it had been remodelled. The thing that struck us most about the two-story stone and frame structure was that it was so much different than the modern homes in a subdivision that had sprung up nearby. This house had tremendous character.

I am not a decorator and will be the first to admit it. Personally, I didn’t see what was wrong with putting an orange bean bag chair in the living room. I guess it was something about traditional styling and an emphasis on forest green. My wife is only marginally better at home decorating than me, but she emphatically threw out the bean bag.

Fortunately, we have a family friend who is a near genius with decorating ideas. She can pluck items out of the trash and put them together in such a way that Better Homes And Gardens would include them in a pictorial feature layout. Home décor is a hobby for her and she jumped at the chance to take on the challenge of our new old house. I asked her about the bean bag and got only a chilly stare in response.

Our goal was to decorate the house a little differently. We wanted to reflect its character. We wanted the house to be just a little different. We wanted it different, but not too different. We weren’t to the point of Japanese screens and seating ourselves with pillows on the floor. We called on our friend to help out.

When our friend got to the dining room, she suggested Roman blinds, also called roman shades. She ticked off the reasons.

+ First, they were classy and different. The fabric of the shades could be made from the same material as the table cloth and would go well with our antique dining room set.

+ Second, the dining room of the old house had non-standard sized windows. After measuring them she announced it would be hard to find curtains or blinds to fit them. Blinds, curtains or shutters would have to be custom made.

+ Third, the house has beautiful native oak woodwork. We had just finished stripping layers of paint accumulated over the past century. The wood had been conditioned, sealed and finished. It had beautiful graining. We didn’t want to cover it up with curtains or drapes.

+ Finally, she could make them and save us some money. She is very talented at making curtains and shades.

Those reasons sounded good to me. Especially the last one. When you take on the project of buying and restoring an old house, saving money becomes a real test.

A Description of Roman Shades

A roman shade is a rectangle of fabric that can be lowered at will. It rises in even folds. These folds are created by a system of rings, cords and horizontal battens. When the shade is lowered completely down it is a flat panel, although some styles have slight folds at each batten. The shade hangs from a board attached to the top of the window frame and hangs within the window framework. This board can also be fastened to the wall above the window, if so desired.

Our friend chose to line the panels of our shades. She did this to provide some additional insulation for the windows. The bitter winter winds, known to sweep across the fields and forests in our part of the world, rattles the windows and draws heat from even the best built homes. Lined shades were just one more barrier to help maintain interior temperatures.

Where You Might Use Them

Roman shades can be used in almost any room where you might consider mini blinds or some other type of shade or blind. They can be made from almost any fabric and either be lined or unlined. As sheers, they can be used in combination with drapes to give a formal dining room and special touch of grace. In a bedroom they are excellent for room darkening and privacy.

Our friend was able to make the shades for our dining room windows. They hung in folds about eight inches wide, which are about as wide as you would want. Although I did not previously know what roman shades were, I found out there were dozens of patterns available for making them. As a courtesy, I suppose, I was asked for my thoughts on which pattern to choose. (My suggestion was promptly discarded. I think it landed next to the bean bag.)

Anyone with a sewing machine and a little talent can make their own roman shades. Home decorating books, magazines and websites have patterns available, as do sewing supply centres. Talent with a sewing machine is not required, of course. There are also a number of stores and e-stores that have these shades for sale in either standard or custom sizes and in your choice of fabrics and colours.

When our friend got done with decorating the dining room and hanging her shade creations, the effect was just what we wanted. The room had a rich feel to it that went perfectly with the styling of the old house and the furniture we placed in it. The roman blinds were eye catching and different without being strange or out of place. First-time visitors always stopped for a second look and complimented them, which nice.

In the meantime, I hid the bean bag chair in the old barn. I have to admit that it didn’t go with the current home décor, but you never know…

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March 2

Natural Light Sources Creates Mood and Captures The Moment

Natural light sources are an important element in bringing out the best in the color scheme. If light enters through side windows, a dark ceiling will make the room look gloomy. If the light comes in at an angle it is wise to paint the floor a pale color.

Here are ten household helpful hints for natural light sources:
1 Control the light using blinds and curtains, always adapting it to the needs of every moment.
2 Soften the contrast produced by window and the dark surrounding wall by focusing artificial light onto the latter.
3 Emphasize the beauty of an especially compelling piece of furniture by spotlighting it.
4 In work areas the specific lighting must be from the left for right-handed people and vice versa.
5 The direct light from a hanging lamp must always be below eye-level, otherwise it will blind us.
6 Use subtle general lighting so that the transition from a bright area to a dark one is not painful for the eyes.
7 Make sure that the light in a work area is compensated by the surrounding lighting so that you do not strain your eyes.
8 Use freestanding lamps and floor lamps in spaces where the furniture’s is frequently rearranged, these types of lamps offer adaptable solutions.
9 A highly reflective surface (the whiter the better) helps to multiply the light and to diffuse it all over the space.
10 In small rooms pale-colored walls give acceptable lighting. A darker ceiling breaks the monotony and provides contrast.

Bearing in mind all these factors, you should analyze the daylight in your house throughout the day and then plan the artificial lighting.

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March 1

Are Solar Coatings An Alternative To Blinds

Conservatory blinds can be very expensive. Too much so in my view, especially as I need some – any offers 🙂 ? An alternative may be to coat the roof with a thin layer of a special substance called a solar coating that reduces the amount of radiation from the sun that passes and keeps the conservatory cooler during the summer months. But what are they, do solar coatings work, what types of solar coating are available, will it tint the glass and how much will it cost compared to conservatory blinds?

Conservatory: What are solar coatings?

A solar coating is an extremely thin film of material that is applied to one surface of the glass or polycarbonate in a conservatory – usually on the roof and on the exterior pane.

Conservatory: Do solar coatings work?

Yes. The technology is quite mature and has been installed not just on conservatories, but office buildings throughout the world. How well individual solar coatings work is a different question that I cannot answer.

Conservatory: How do solar coatings work?

The light that we get from the sun contains many more ‘frequencies’ than the visible light that we all see by. Ultra-violet has a frequency slightly higher than visible and infra-red which carries much of what we feel as heat has a frequency lower than visible. Certain materials attenuate, or reduce, the amount of energy contained at a specific frequency. For example black objects appear black because they absorb most of the energy being transmitted in the visible portion of the light spectrum (a name for the range of different frequencies). More clever than that is to design a material that will absorb ultra violet light and infra red but leave most of the visible light un-touched. A good material with let though most of the visible light but block the other solar radiation. How much visible light a pane of glass lets through is called its visible transmittance or Tv, which wants to be as high as possible (for example a figure of 1.0 means it lets all the visible light through, a reasonable figure is 0.7) and the solar heat gain coefficient (basically how hot it will get for a given amount of sunlight) needs to be as low as possible, say below 0.4. In the US these figures are quoted as part of the energy efficiency on windows sold. Because these coatings block infra red radiation they will also provide some level of insulation against heat escaping from the conservatory on a cold winters day.

Conservatory: What types of solar coating are available?

The following are proprietary conservatory and window solar coatings that we have found on the market worldwide.
CoolKote – This is a metallised PVC coating which “blocks 80% of solar heat” (probably mean infra red), “99% of ultra violet” and ” Reduces glare by 70%”. On a hot day figures provided suggest that the average temperature in the conservatory over a week remained around 23-24 celsius after CoolKote had been applied yet up to 45 celsius in a conservatory with no CoolKote applied. The readings were taken on 14 consecutive days, but they don’t give an outside air temperature or anything to compare it against. A better way of doing it would have been to build two cold frames, one with a pane of plain glass in and one with CoolKote and then measure the temperature in them over a couple of months every day and show us what the temperature difference was. As it is the information they have provided us with on the site may be misleading – I can’t really tell. CoolKote is a film that can easily be applied to you conservatory using soapy water – a bit like a very large bit of sticky tape. They say it shouldn’t peel off, comes with a 10 year warranty but you should obviously avoid scratching it. It can be applied yourself or they can come and fit it. It can also be fitted at the time of your conservatory build or later by numerous conservatory manufacturers.
Celsius – This is a glass rather than an additional coating. That is it already has the coating applied or impregnated on the surface. Don’t give any real details of what it is. It reflects “72% of total solar energy” which is apparently three times that of normal glass. It has a Tv of 0.45 which is low, but is only applied to the roof, obviously this would reduce teh glare as they claim. Another benefit of the glass is that it apparently reduces the magnitude of any external noise but a factor of two. This is presumably a feature of the glass rather than the coating itself. I would have thought that you wouldn’t notice that much as you still have all the side windows made of normal glass transmitting noise (albeit double glazed). It is claimed that it has some hydrophilic properties and so water and dirt just run of the roof in sheets and hence it needs less cleaning and because it reflects the heat back inside the conservatory the panes of glass are up to 5 celsius warmer than otherwise, which reduces condensation. Again the other materials should do this.

Wonderglass – This is widely available in the states and just starting to become available here (I think). Now this is magnetron sputtering of up to 11 different coatings of material onto a glass sheet. Very impressive. It is supposed to be the worlds most energy efficient glass. It deflects away “85% of the suns solar heat”, blocks “90% of Ultraviolet light”. It has a hydrophilic coating to reduce cleaning and reduces glare. Because in a way it is much more high tech than the earlier competition they can have high solar heat rejection and still have a Tv of up to 0.72 (compared to plain glass at 0.9 and plain glass double glazing at 0.81)

Conservatory: Will it tint the glass?

CoolKote: They say “Diffused light grey tint when seen from below”
Celsius: They say “subtle blue tint in the glass ”
Wonderglass: They say “still remaining colour neutral”

Conservatory: Are solar coatings cheaper than blinds?

A 10m2 conservatory roof space with roughly cost between £1300 and £1800 to cover with conservatory blinds. Whilst CoolKote costs between £595 and £600 to be installed by a supplier. The others that I have found are an integral part of the roof (and or windows) and I haven’t seen any prices for using them instead of ordinary polycarbonate.

A solar coating could be cheaper than roof blinds and certainly should be considered as an alternative to blinds when specifying your new conservatory.

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February 20

Choose the Right Window Blinds Without Unnecessarily Spending More

Are you looking to get windows blinds in Sydney for home ? It is essential that you get it right —  you are investing a great deal of cash, but you do not want to take a look at blinds every day that was an error.

Window blinds have available in a vast array of textures, styles and colours. There are also many different types of discount rate window blinds such as wood, faux wood, small screens, window shades and wood and non-wood shutters.

If you feel like you are residing in a cavern now, sun control window blinds let the light in, and you can see out without glare. You can find businesses that sell Venetian blinds in Sydney online as well as shutters, shades, verticals and more. Regardless of what type of window treatment you choose, it is worth the time and effort to get them at the right price.

From wooden Venetian blinds to the new wooden vertical shades, you will find that the wood blinds vary will add a touch of style and luxury to your home while caring for the environment and best if you can get discount rate window blinds. You might want the best discount rate window blind for your window at the ideal cost which’s obtainable. You need only know where to look, and you will find some great deals online. Compare rates and do not hesitate to ask for a discount. Many sellers would be happy to do so if it meant keeping your business.

Verticals, wood, bamboo, and shutters will give you personal privacy and light control without adding too much texture or colours. Many window blind dealers offer discounts. With a little bit of aid, you can quickly find discount rate window blinds that will still fit your budget.


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