WINDOW DRESSING THAT ARE DURABLE AND EFFICIENT.
I’m worried. We live in one of the small houses in Kitchener is famous for – old, but a neat, self-contained unit, with a peaked roof and attic, that has served us admirably all this while. We have twin girls and a rangy teenage son who seems to have defied all odds and is growing in all directions. Sixteen and already 6’2”, with impossibly long arms and legs! Where this size come from, we wonder, as both my husband and I are average in height and proportion!?! We had three bedrooms, but one was converted to a study some time ago as I work from home often and needed seclusion from the regular goings-on at home! We’d also put in a plush sofa-cum-bed in case we had the odd visitor(s) staying over. The problem is that the kids share one bedroom – the twins have a double-decker bunk and the boy sleeps on a bed fast shrinking compared to his size – and the boy definitely needs some space of his own now! The only space I could envisage moving him to at this point is the attic. But what a dreary thought! The ceiling height was quite low (8’), the peak apart, and there was only a tiny 2’ by 2’ dormer window in the roof. Wouldn’t prove too much of a challenge, if the space is managed well.
The challenge was in making it habitably attractive enough to make it an exciting option. We just don’t have the time, money or the space to build an extension. Creativity was called for, along with DIY skills. But now that the idea had taken hold, there was no detracting me. Haranguing the old man every chance I got, we finally got a plan into place. While small, the attic had some positives going for it – it was sturdily built with wooden rafters, a wooden ceiling and floor. They just needed striping and a coat of polish. The walls, too, needed to be striped and painted, especially as we would have to extend the HVAC ducting to the attic, but the HVAC contractors took care of this efficiently by installing a series of pipes that will be painted blue and possibly be hidden behind a cupboard….But there was a major job that needed a professional touch – we needed to punch out two holes in the outer wall for window space to let in light; two 2’ by 4’windows. This was the plan, so we could install a study table and book shelf in between the windows. We got just the right standalone cupboard from the flea market that would serve as his wardrobe, next to the doorway and in front of the HVAC ducting, and in the same oak as the floor and ceiling. We planned to get him an 8 inch queen-sized mattress to be put on the floor – hopefully, this would lend a spacious air to the tiny space!
So the masons installed the high performance, double glazed windows filled with argon in no time at all. We had the dormer window replaced with the same double glazed window, but it is now inoperable, as the other two are the casement variety that are operable. Now, seeing as the boy would be ensconced just below the roof, some extra insulation had to be factored in – we were advised that closed cell foam-in-place insulation was best for the floor and ceiling as we didn’t want the added expense of refurbishing them, and to seal off any cracks around the small window in the peaked roof. So that was done – very achievable, as there were step by step directions on how to do it.
The attic was now ready for the gangly youth, but there was an important detail that needed to be incorporated with Window treatments ideas! Neighbors who’d had their home redone recently told us, the best option to find large varieties of the most effortless and effective window dressings is online shopping. This would also save us professional consultation and installation fees. Going through the online options had our eyes popping! The variety was amazing, but we soon educated ourselves enough to narrow the options down to two – Window Shutters or Cellular Shades. Though the cellular shades were cheaper and provided exemplary insulation, we decided to get the Woodlore Plus Norman Shutters as we felt it would be a more resilient option for clumsy teenage hands. While appearing as sophisticated as the real wood counterpart, being crafted from ABS polymers ensured that they would be low-maintenance and exceedingly durable. The vanes of the shutters could be opened and closed with stiles that are easily and smoothly functional. And the polymer construction makes for wonderful insulation when the vanes are shut tight. As there was a lot of the wood element in the attic, we decided on the silk white shutters, in cool relief against the pale blue walls. I got the boy enough blue and white sheets, pillow and cushion covers and a warm fluffy blue and white quilt to top off the inviting decor!
Now the boy could adjust his view and lighting to gain a stable air temperature and quality in his little niche. And as summer approaches with sublimely long days, he would be able to take advantage of the natural light to do as he pleased, with windows open or closed. All in all, a job well done, and at a tenth of what would have cost us to make an extension!