Creating the Right Atmosphere for a Kitchen Garden with LightWeaves Roller Shades
We were downsizing – not because of the economy or anything. Just that we thought of some practical measures to adopt as we’re growing older. We are running out of the energy it takes to maintain a large house. And plowing in the Canadian winter. Tired of it all. And both of us have back problems that we don’t want to aggravate just because we’re too stubborn to give up on the ‘luxuries’ we’re so used to – the large three-storied home on an acre in an upscale neighborhood in Toronto. The effort it takes to maintain an acreage is tremendously exhausting and expensive, whichever the season. We want to make the transition to a smaller place as painless as possible, be the soon-to-be modern elderly couple, doing what they please, when they please, without a care in the world!
So we decided to move into a row house community, into a place not exceeding 2000sqft, and my one specification was that it should have conservatory windows in the kitchen, as I wanted to create a little indoor kitchen garden that would serve us through those snow-bound days, or those days when we fell ill together and going out for fresh herbs or the basic veggies for a soup was not an option. After months of searching, we finally found an ideal Tudor-styled home with conservatory windows over both the kitchen and dining room, overlooking the gardens. I was thrilled with this solid looking place of 1850sqft, with two bedrooms, three bathrooms, a study, a spacious living room, and a double car garage. Just what we had in mind. And though we do entertain often, they’re generally small groups, so this place was good enough.
Time for Window Coverings.
We’d decided that we weren’t going to use any floor rugs or carpeting – the house had a newly installed HRV system that maintained the right levels of humidity and freshness inside, so maintaining the wooden floors or the indoor garden I planned wasn’t going to be difficult. We were used to drapes in our old home, but my husband thought it would be fitting to go with something different, so after extensive consultations with designers and some online research, we decided on different window covering options for different rooms This would be our only buy, as we have everything else we’d need for a long time to come, barring the occasional change of bed and bath linen, and replenishing broken crockery and glassware.
Ed decided he liked the looks of the Plantation Shutters and felt they would fit in really well with the architecture and the minimalist but designer pieces of furniture and artwork we’d decided to keep. In the two bedrooms, there was no disputing the decision on installing double blackout cellular shades in white! And with a feature called the Top Down Bottom Up (TDBU), which means that the shades can be lowered from the top for a view of just the sky with scudding clouds, or they can be raised from the bottom for a better horizontal view, or best of all, raised a bit from the bottom and lowered a bit from the top for fantastic brightness and terrific privacy! I was endlessly fascinated that white could be used for blackout! For the kitchen, the top sloping part of the conservatory window would sport shutters, but the vertical parts of it would be covered with solar shades, the reasoning for which I’ll elucidate in just a bit. And finally, the bathroom windows would also sport shutters, but the faux variety, in consideration of the steam from a hot bath or shower.
Being the gadget junkie that my husband is, he decided to go for automated shading for the doors and windows, also in keeping with all the energy efficient gadgets and home appliances he’d carefully chosen to replace the older ones, over the last five years. The advantage of automated shading is that they can be programmed to open and close as per the sun’s trajectory, maintaining optimal brightness and temperature inside the home, as well as keeping it energy efficient. This is possible as it can be timer-enabled, and the program can be changed anytime to suit one’s convenience with just the touch of a button. Not least of the advantages is that the shades can be operated all in one go with an RF remote!
Now, back to my garden! I planned to grow the ever required basil, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, some lettuce, baby tomatoes cucumbers and carrots, strawberries and shallots. I think I can manage four or five of each, except the strawberries, which are seasonal. I did, after all, manage a much larger garden space all this time. The thing was, I had to consider the best shading option so that I’d have a bit of a greenhouse effect even during winter. I came to the conclusion that my best, my only option really, was to go in for solar window shades – they are made with a basket woven fabric that filters light through – designed by Phifer to block the radiant heat by fabricating technologically superior blends of fiberglass and vinyl in different levels of openness that is a measure of how much of the heat and UV rays are deflected; the color would determine the amount of heat that would be allowed through, as darker colors absorb more heat than lighter colors. The slope of the conservatory windows in my kitchen could be covered with shutters – remember, everything is automated, so there’s no question of my having to remember to open or close the vanes or raise and lower the shades.
These options in dressing my conservatory windows enable the lush growth of my little plants, and a constant supply of the necessary ingredients for my soups and salads. So here’s what we got –
Graber’s 14% LightWeaves Dual Roller Shades in a color called Sand Dollar and espresso – the Sand Dollar would provide enough light while keeping the destructive effects of the sun out, and because my garden space was small, I didn’t want it overheated in the coming warm season; the espresso would be used in winter when I wished to create a much warmer atmosphere – the dark color would absorb the heat and keep it inside so my garden could flourish! They’re also Microban protected, so there was no danger of any mildew growing due the humidity in my little greenhouse.
The Shutters are all from Norman, with automated vanes to maximize light and overall energy requirements. We’re all set to move. Just a few papers to sign!