Here Comes the Sun

Those long lazy days of summer are just around the corner–the key word here is long, as in 16 hours of daylight long. Now don’t get me wrong, I remember those gloomy days of December when the sun goes down at 4 pm and most of the day is filled with gray, oppressive skies. I love those long days, but I want them on my terms.

It’s just that when the skies start to brighten at 4 in the morning, I’d rather still be sleeping, and that’s not an option without some form of window coverings. All the windows on the main floor of the house are bare. The front windows are etched with beautiful renderings of our view, but we have no curtains, blinds, shutters, or drapes of any kind. I hung up these inelegant panels strictly for privacy.

Not a pretty picture.

At least I never had to wave at the UPS guy wrapped in my towel. This temporary solution gave us some privacy from the bath and closet areas, but did nothing for the light issue.

We have two months until summer solstice and sunrise is already at 6 am with the sky starting to lighten hours before. It was time to make a change.

Me and the Mister talked about options. Theadosha had suggested plantation shutters, but we wanted something that wouldn’t obscure the light and the view during the day. We have a huge wall of windows and very little wall space. Shutters would take away from the clean lines. Curtains would have to be really long, really expensive and there’s no room for stack back.

We did have a deliveryman mention a client on Lake Washington who has bullet-proof shades that slide down over his windows. I’m thinking that might be overkill for us. The Mister found window coatings that turn opaque at the push of a button. They look really cool, but they also come with a really cool price tag.

We just wanted the light blocked overnight so we can get a better night’s sleep and to be able to brush our teeth in privacy. Cellular shades became our first choice.

Last spring, I purchased Bali blinds from our local JCP. The saleslady  worked hard to help me get the best price, so I shot an email off to Jeannette to see what she could do. The shades we had purchased last year were on sale through the end of the month, so before we flew off to Hawaii, I headed into Bellevue to order me some blinds.

With dimensions in hand, I thought we were good to go. Unfortunately, when you have trapezoid-shaped windows, you need to measure all sides. The house is 20 years old, maybe those windows aren’t perfectly square. Well thanks to Mr. Butterfield and 9th grade geometry, I could figure out the wonky side. Once I got home, the Mister climbed the ladder for me once again to measure  the angled sides. All the windows measured to within an 1/8 of an inch of my calculations–yeah for math and well-built homes.

Back to shopping, I had a myriad of color choices, but with our home white seemed to be the default. They offered a bright white with a slightly blue tinge and a soft white entitled Dove. Dove was the winner. Blinds offer lots of bells and whistles: cordless, top-up, bottom-down, and motorized. Motorized was tempting. How cool would that be to just push a button and watch a wall of windows appear? Very cool, but as mentioned earlier, cool comes with a major price tag. It was $300 per window to make them motorized. For the seven bottom windows, that’s $2,100. If we did all 15 windows, that would be $4,500 for the motorized version. I can’t triple the cost just to be cool.

It took a couple weeks for our order to arrive. Don’t you just love packages? When I was 17, I headed off to school 2,000 miles from home. My mom would send me wonderful care packages; I felt so loved. After college, I moved to Ocean Shores, which is only a 120 miles from home, but letters and packages again became my life line. Anyways, I love mail and package and these plain brown packages in particular made me very happy.

Now that the blinds had arrived, it was time for some fun. I unwrapped each blind, verified the color and made sure that it fit in the windows. Just like a puzzle, it all came together.

Then I called the installers from JCP to set up an appointment. Now some of you may be shocked. My Sweet Handsome Man is a go-getter. He constantly has a project and usually wouldn’t think of paying someone to install blinds. But he has been working 13-14 hour days since we got back from vacation and there are a million projects to get done around here. JCP offers a great deal; it’s $125 for the first 8 windows and $10 after that. That frees up time for other projects and gets a professional out here to do it quick and easy.

The people on the phone did throw a glitch in my happy scenario. It’s $30 per window for any windows requiring more than a step stool…that starts adding up. Oh well, it was still better than having me climb a ladder. The installers had Saturday morning open. I was busy Saturday, but I figured I could take time out from my party preparations to open a door and show him where to start.

And now we wake up to this…

While light is pouring through the open doorway, we are left in tranquil darkness.

We can also get dressed or take a bath in complete privacy.

I went ahead and ordered blinds for the etched windows looking out onto the portico. I figured if I could see this well outside, they could probably see pretty well inside. Also, I hate to put in all these black-out shades and then leave two windows uncovered. Here’s the before and after.

I didn’t want these blinds to make a huge statement. During the day, they look similar to the trim and at night they blend into the wall color. The Mister did make me promise to open the blinds everyday–so far, so good.

Even on a rainy day we still enjoy a lot of light.

Now with window coverings in place, the master suite is really coming together. We still have to paint over the faux-finished walls and refresh the paint on the outer walls. I’m glad the Mister balked at the idea of soft yellow paint. I’m leaning more towards gray at the moment. It would have been nice to have all the painting done before the blinds went up, but with vacation and the early morning sunshine, we just needed to do it.

Have you put up blinds, curtains, or bullet-proof shades recently? Do you have any painting projects you’re working on? What color have you been wanting to try?


3 thoughts on “Here Comes the Sun

  1. Well, I think I should introduce myself, since you brought up my name, I am the infamous Theadosha. You and the Mister are brilliant in your choice of window covering. They are both functional, and hopefully won’t fade, or be eaten by the sun, and beautiful. I also love, and totally your choice of grey paint. As a matter of fact, from what I hear there are “fifty shades of grey” that are causing quite a stir with we women. Check it out. Theo

  2. Pingback: A Look Back–April & May « bigwhitehouseonthehill

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