Sunday, May 27, 2012

Home improvement

Our back door has a western exposure, as does one of our kitchen windows.  The big shade tree out back that helped keep the back of the house cool had to be taken down a few years ago.  Its replacement is years away from being ready to shade the back of the house, so the afternoon sun really warms up the place - and in hot weather, not in a good way.

I have toyed with the idea of a retractable awning across the back of the house, but it's costly, and I've seen lots of negative consumer reviews about durability and customer service problems.  Outside the western kitchen window, I installed a Coolaroo shade, which I lower on sunny afternoons when the temperature is high.  It works really well blocking the heat.

The window in our back door also needs shading, but I don't want to attach a curtain or shade to the door because I like having the view. And because the door swings out instead of in (we changed it to an outswing to give us more room on the small landing), we can't install a storm door to improve energy efficiency in winter or summer.

Step 1: install offset curtain rod.
(Step 1?!  More like steps 1 through 43, with all the pondering, price comparisons of curtain rods,
selection of style, color, and size of the rod, 
figuring out how to avoid covering up our Delft tiles,
finding the tools, deciding the height, 
hesitating over drilling the holes,
hesitating over drilling the holes,
hesitating over drilling the holes...
Step 1 was huge.)

Step 2: find a piece of material, preferably something already on hand, that will cover the window but not the Delft tiles and that will allow a test drive of having a curtain before investing $ and time in something more permanent.
(Step 2 wasn't quite as nerve racking as Step 1 but did involve going to a fabric store and trying to decide what color, style, and pattern of fabric to buy -- and not being able to commit -- then going to a thrift store to buy a sheet or something similar and finding nothing I liked, before deciding to just use an extra sheet from our linen closet, and then remembering this 1-yard piece of upholstery fabric I bought 15 years ago to make pillow covers. Which never got made.)

Step 3: Machine hem the fabric, attach the clip-on rings, thread onto the curtain rod, draw the curtain.
Joy of joys, this thing WORKS!  The heat is blocked!  And I realized that the neutral tones and simple pattern of the fabric are more pleasing to me than the multitude of colors and patterns I had seriously considered at the fabric store.  Next step may be to line this to improve the heat block.  And then to make a floor length version to draw on winter nights using Warm Window fabric as a liner.  
And then...doing the same treatment for winter on the front door, which has a large beveled glass panel and no storm door.

All of this because I saw this picture on blackbird's blog that she found somewhere, and it gave me a solution to provide heat & cold protection without permanently limiting the view.

1 comment:

Thank you!