Making Sensible Choices for Window Décor
Having lived in Toronto most of our married life, going back to Quebec was eagerly anticipated. Reynaud had recently requested a transfer to the RBC in Quebec City, as we’d bought a house close by, in Neuville, a picturesque village where Reynaud’s family live. We wanted our eight-year-old daughter to grow up knowing her cousins and grandparents, so we put up our condo for sale and moved to this lovely wooded property we bought that Reynaud’s dad said had come on sale a few months ago, overlooking the River St. Lawrence, and just a few streets away from his parents’ place, or to anywhere for that matter! Though Neuville has a small town feel, it lacked nothing and is wonderfully clean and welcoming.
Our new home wasn’t very large, something I’m thankful for, especially as I plan to start working part-time in a restaurant close by, so I can start building my career when Angelique is away at school. It has this spectacular double-storey window that faces the somnolent river on the south, and French doors from the dining that has an adjoining deck with steps that took us to a path leading to the river. Fabulous! But strangely, for a house that had large window spaces on the ground floor, the three bedrooms had very insignificant 3’ by 4’ windows, but thankfully, all the windows were operable, and with what seems an extended summer, I can’t tell you what a blessing that is. This because we are proponents of green living and don’t believe that air conditioning is necessary, here in Canada, sealed homes seem to be the new order of the day, with builders and architects recommending sealed homes for energy efficiency. I understand the sentiment for cluttered and polluted cities, but here in Neuville, where the air is pure, and everything is clean, with green practices used for waste disposal and recycling with efficient ease, I’m glad to see that almost all homes have operable windows.
Though Reynaud didn’t favor covering windows, we arrived at a compromise to use Graber’s LightWeaves 2390 Performance Plus solar shades for all the ground floor windows, and the windows on the landing that we’d decided to use as a study cum office space. The advantage of using solar shades is that it provides excellent shading during the day without obstructing the view. They can be fully deployed over a window to keep interiors cool in summer because the metalized coating on the window side of the fabric reflects the sun’s UV rays outwards, allowing only diffused or mellow visible light through, completely doing away with the glare and the threat of interior surface fading. The fabric used in the construction of these shades is made of round fibres that are efficient light refractors and are a blend fiberglass and vinyl with a 2% aluminum coating for reflectance. The fabric has a 5% openness factor that lets in ample visible light in, giving us a gorgeous view of the scenic outdoors. During winter, we could reverse the side facing the rooms so that the stingy winter sun could be optimally directed inwards by the reflective surface. The advantage the reflective surface endows is that we could match the color of the shades to our light colored furniture without bothering about the view being blocked or the amount of light coming in, which would otherwise not be possible as dark colored fabrics make for a great view but absorbs heat, and light colored fabrics would mute the view while creating bright interiors.
That taken care of, we needed to deal with our bedrooms. Though the rest of the house was painted a beautiful champagne, we decided to give little Angelique free reign with choosing colors for her room walls, and to choose the colors of the cellular shades we’d decided on for the bedrooms. She was at that stage where we had to let her leave bits of her mark all over the house – she seems to be an artist in the making, collecting pebbles and stones from everywhere and using them decoratively. Ditto the odd shaped leaves she found wherever she went, making little collages, pasting them in scrap books and on glass jars that she insisted on using as lanterns for the little cobbled path that led to the river. And they surely did look pretty! But I drew the line at sticking stuff on the walls. Instead, I had a large corkboard mounted over her bed and over her study table, where she was free to find expression in whatever fashion she chose!
The Graber CrystalPleat Blackout 3/8″ Double Cellular Shades we chose for our bedrooms were primarily for energy savings, as they provide the best insulation values among all the shading types possible. Privacy, though important for bedrooms, was not a big issue in our secluded property. But in a couple of months, we’d be shivering right down to our toes, even with heavy winter quilts, if we didn’t cover our windows sensibly. Angelique chose the scarlet cellular shades, while I chose the salted caramel shade for our bedroom, to go with the flooring.
The highlight of our new home is the double storey window, and we chose to motorize all the shades in the house, led by the big windows, the inside mounted shades (with valances color coordinated to the window frames) of which would otherwise be cumbersome to handle. We opted for Virtual Cord Controls, the latest in the state-of-the-art offerings by SWF for seamless shade control, opting for the single channel remote that we could programme to operate shades in tandem; we also got sun sensors for the shades so that we could harvest natural light optimally. Now, we await cooler days with great anticipation!