LANAI-PLAYROOM: We went with CURTAINS

We finally got ’em and they’re finally UP! 

Ever so slowly taking shape

Yesss, curtains! And while I also still have to raise the curtain rods (and get new ones), I couldn’t wait to hang up the first curtains I bought for the lanai – since we moved here last March!  

Despite the lengthy post about deciding to get curtains over blinds, and choosing curtains, I thought I’d end up with blinds! Uratex did not have 96″ long curtains from that brand Pauline’s! Actually, no 96″ curtains, period. 

I was disheartened for a minute, but decided to bite the bullet and go back to Showcase to order blinds.  BUT! On our way there we passed by SM and I figured, why not give it a shot? Last year when I tried SM, I couldn’t find 96″ long curtains.  THIS year I got lucky.  The department store carries this local brand Interior Choice and lo and behold! They had white linen curtains, 96″ long! AND they were Php 499.75 per panel.  I scooped up 6 panels (with much glee). 

I seem to always take my photos at night – why?!

The SM curtains are a bit more expensive than Uratex’s (Php 399) but still cheaper than the Arq Living curtains I got for the dining room – and still inexpensive, overall, especially since I so did not want to bother having curtains sewn or custom made.  I am willing to spend for more expensive curtains in the dining and living room, sure, but for the lanai-playroom? Not as much! So, yay, SM!

And just because I am giddy about making progress in the lanai, I am sharing a photo of our TV/toy cabinet, looking nice and neat, heehee:

There’s my baligtad fan! And I have since updated our lightbox hahaha

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LIVING ROOM: Finally – FOAM!

Like a fool, I’ve been sharing photos of our ugly couch.  I know I’ve been complaining about it too for the longest time.

I mentioned it here, but I’m going to go over it again because this is the great big “BEFORE” post.   The red striped fabric is what’s keeping the foam or stuffing together.   It’s ill fitting, I know, and the back cushions are too short and always end up getting wedged in the wood.   The cushions are simultaneously too thin and too lumpy.   There’s a missing slat on the seat, hidden under those cushions.

We started out with this couch for the living room.  It’s a hand-me-down from my parents, and we used it in our previous home, too, along with the hand-me-down upholstery from my mom.  Not my style, the seat covers, but at least at that time we actually had seat covers for this thing.  Then when we moved to this Little House, I swapped it out for a love seat.  And I was happy with it for a while, but realized we needed more seating in there and the small couch in the already small room made everything just look smaller.  So I borrowed the narra couch again, and put the love seat in the Lanai-Playroom (after returning the dark wood daybed likewise on loan from my mother).  But then the old seat covers, easily 10 years old come to think of it, started to tear and look dingy.  So we stripped the poor, sad, old couch.

I’ve been meaning to replace the foam for this couch for years.  I’ve actually inquired at Uratex months and months ago and was overjoyed to find that it would only cost me around Php 2,000.00 for the back rest and the seat.  But of course I never got around to actually ordering the new foam – until last Saturday!  HA!

See how cheap it is?  I measured the couch and the old cushions, and had one big piece cut for the back and for the seat, just to keep it simple.  You can order seat covers from Uratex, too, although the fabric is not so nice.   I ordered plain white ones for the time being, and will trek to Kamuning for tela so I can have thicker covers made.  I’m sticking to white, grey, and royal or navy blue for my seat covers.  No beige – the old covers were beige, and I’m sick of beige.

It’s such a simple thing and I am GIDDY about this for finally just getting it done.  As always, I am kicking myself for not doing it sooner.  So easy and so inexpensive with Uratex, and the foam we picked out is much thicker, obviously, than the ones we are using now.   (You can wait for an hour for the foam and pick up the covers separately.  The covers will take 7 to 10 days to finish.   But we decided to just pick up everything together).   Like I’ve shared, I love that this couch belonged to my grandmother, and it’s made of narra and has such a simple, classic frame.  I just need to roll up my sleeves and give it some actual TLC.

LANAI-PLAYROOM: Costs for Blinds and Deciding on Curtains (Plus More Purging) 

We measured our lanai doors today and ran to Showcase Carpet to get a quote on roller blinds.  I measured the doorways for inside mount, with 2 panels per doorway.  For inside mount, both doorways measure 98″ width, 8.25″ length.  Each panel is thus 49″ width.  I was confident about an inside mount because my walls are 3.5″ thick. 

Grace from Showcase gave me quotations for 2 kinds of shades: 

  1. Block out: Php 6,700.00 for 2 panels, or 1 doorway. 
  2. Dim out: Php 5,500.00 for 2 panels, or 1 doorway. 

Since there are 2 doorways in the lanai, I need to get 4 blinds, for a total of 11k or 13,400.

I would have preferred just sunscreens out instead of block out shades, since it’s going to be for the lanai, not a bedroom – it’s basically a sun porch, hello.  But they weren’t offering white “dim out” (Showcase’s term) blinds, just this beige-y cream color that looked too office-y for me. I wanted them white so they’d blend with the walls.

I was this close to paying the downpayment for the block out shades.  Showcase seems to work fast, too; if I pay a downpayment before Saturday, they can install the blinds next Thursday. 

But I rushed over to Wilcon as well to check prices. I was hoping I could get something ready made. But the ready made selections are vastly limited in terns of size. For our measurements, we really had to go custom.  I got a quotation for three (3) different brands available in Wilcon.  The cheapest is Php 4,700 per panel. 

Clearly, Showcase is the better option, since for 5k ++ or 6k ++ I’ll be getting 2 sets of roller blinds, instead of 1.  But Showcase closes at 5pm, so I headed home.  I liked Showcase’s pricing and customer service so far, but I wasn’t feeling great about a complete black out in there and I wasn’t excited about the beige shades too.

I went home and finished cleaning and sorting the kids’ toys in the lanai.  I had taken advantage of their being at their grandparents’ house visiting (labor strike, no school again).  Otherwise, Alo will just end up unpacking all the toys I put in our donation boxes (like he did here). 

Well, I was so happy with how clean the lanai turned out that I felt inspired.  The hand-me-down curtains from my mother were dirty and didn’t suit the room at all.  So, on a whim, I measured and noticed that the lanai ceiling was lower than the adjacent dining area.  (The lanai was an add on).  So maybe I didn’t need to get the 96″ curtains I used for the dining room – this has been the reason why I first decided on blinds over curtains.  The cost! Getting curtains (proper long ones!) and the curtain rods combined would leave me spending at least 7k per doorway.

But since the lanai was apparentlty not as high ceiling as the dining room, I realized I may be able to get away with shorter, or regular length, curtains. I pulled out my too-short-for-the-dining room curtains and tried them out in the lanai:

Now try to imagine this room with matching white curtains all across the doorways, no bookcase in the corner, and a darker (reupholstered) loveseat, and an area rug, hehe

I LOVED it.  I was shocked.  Haha.  I need 4 panels per doorway (testing out how it looks with just 2 panels in that photo).  If I can get those same curtains for those doors, then it will come out cheaper than blinds.  Those curtains are from this brand, Pauline’s, available in Uratex, and they sell them per pair for around 300 or 400 something.  As opposed to my Arq Living curtains – sold per panel, ack, for more than double, even triple the price, depending on the design.

I am now so on board with doing curtains.  BUT! (There’s always a but).  I still intend to replace the chunky curtain rods with the same slim black rod I used in the dining room, and I want the new rods in the lanai to be placed higher too.   This means longer curtains – the ones in this photo are only around 87″ length.  Elbe and I measure above the current rods, and I figured I’ll survive with 91-93″ length for curtains.  And I somehow recall being at Uratex and having one of the sales clerks tell me their other set of those Pauline’s curtains measure 95″ length.

Except I’m not entirely sure if that was in Uratex because I’ve been canvassing a lot recently.  Argh.  Well, I am going to skedaddle there tomorrow.  If they have the length I need, then done and DONE.  Curtains it is.  (The H prefers curtains actually, and wasn’t really sold on blinds for the playroom).   

Good things come to those who clean

P.S.  That’s the fan I had repaired.   The 2nd repair person put the blades on backwards like the 1st repair person from West.  Inis!  Back to the shop.  I am so not getting Asahi anything anymore.  Anyhoo, it was supposed to go in the living room, but it works better for the lanai, because the kids like to play on the floor, so the bottom barrel is really useful.  It’s still a big improvement from this electric fan, isn’t it? #lifeinthetropics hay.  (I wonder if the white folk have to worry this much about electric fans in their homes?)

Alo’s Shelf at 33 weeks

I’ve been slowly and carefully trying to integrate some Montessori-inspired learning principles at home. Nothing hard-core, but I figured Diko needs the extra help.  I won’t be posting about it in detail here because I’m leaving the in-depth Montessori posts in the boys’ blog.  But I’m sharing bits and pieces in this site because Montessori is becoming part of our home decor!

These shelves (for my 3 year old/33 month old), for instance, are standing right outside our bedroom door right now: 

We are focusing on sorting and matching, and cutting this week.  More about Alo’s shelf here. 

Keeping it Simple – and Problem Areas

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Valiantly trying to KonMari at home

I may not have been working on the house (in terms of decor, repairs, renovations) but I have been cleaning and purging relentless the past months.   Caritas has picked up balikbayan boxes of our donations 3 times this year already, and I already have a 4th batch of donations for Caritas too (I haven’t called them yet for a pick-up schedule because I’m still adding to the bunch).

Like I shared here, I haven’t been actively working on the house the past few months.  As a result, little piles of clutter have started cropping up everywhere.   Oh, I still made an effort to put things away, but the clutter piled up in what I eventually realized are still my problem areas in the house – like that spot under the stairs!

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Sigh.  What a mess.

I’ve actually briefed everyone (and relentlessly kept reminding them) that everything and anything unloaded from the cars go under the stairs.  As you can see, they have taken this to heart.  All the files are neatly corralled in that metal basket – at least!.  But then there’s the laptop bag, and the car seat, and Bo’s walking wings, and sundry other items – like empty pots!  Ugh.

I already have a very efficient drop zone and system for tackling all the mail and bills we get.  But now I realized I still need a better system for the STUFF we get and unload.  This spot under the stairs is that drop zone.   I don’t know what to do about bags right now, and that old car seat of Bo’s.  Somewhere behind the pile is our box of emergency goods, too, for prepper moments; I need to figure out what to do with them as well.  Plus, a spot for shoes by the door since right now they’re sitting on my bamboo stool.

Then there’s the issue of just having too much furniture:

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My little native bench, as you can see, has turned into a shoe rack.  The boxes beside the school station are for the kitchenware I’ve been sorting and purging.

This Muji lounger used to sit in the lanai-playroom.  Then I tried it in the shared boys’ room.  Too crowded.  Pulled it out and stuffed it in the living room.  Too tight.  And now it’s just sitting there by the stairs.  Very awkward.  I should be getting rid of it – and it’s not very comfortable, mind! – but this was the first semi-expensive piece of furniture we’ve ever bought so I’m a little attached to it.  I know I should probably sell or donate it, but I just can’t do it yet.

Then there’s the issue with my living room.  This “progress” shot is long gone.  The help have quit trying to cover up our ugly couch with a sheet, so most days it looks like this:

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Living room from hell

Horrible right?!  Notice the coffee table?  Stupid me got Mang Ariel to put this sort of vinyl-y cover to protect the surface.  It obviously peeled away and chipped.  (Nath of Dekko is going to be horrified).  I’ve since removed my lovely shaggy West Elm rug, because our former yaya kept encouraging the boys to eat and even SLEEP on the rug.  I also finally admitted to myself that it was too darn big for this teeny tiny space.  And my lovely  bench?  As you can see, it has become a glorified patungan ng electric fan.  OH GOSH.  That was the help’s doing and I really can’t blame them, because our old fan is broken and the kids actually like to sit there and we need a fan in that area.

As you can see, I still don’t have curtains, too, and that couch?  Oh that couch.  The awful red-striped ill-fitting fabric is not the upholstery; it’s what’s keeping the stuffings together.  And the foam has become awfully flat and lumpy at the same time.  I could have gotten new upholstery made, but noooo I waited years and years.  It’s actually a great couch – good hard narra wood, with a simple, classic frame.  But the foam has to go, and there’s a missing slat somewhere under the seat.

Basically, I’m back to square one on the living room.  Waaaaaah.

And DON’T get me started on the lanai-playroom.   We removed the single bed from upstairs since no one uses it and now it’s in the lanai too.  We had to get rid of the puzzle mat because the crib is right smack in the middle of the room because I still haven’t set up a more comfy sleeping/napping area for the littlest boys in the shared bedroom!  (Alo often takes his naps on our grubby couch, while Bo sleeps in the lanai).

Shoulda coulda woulda.

You can get a glimpse of the sorry state of the lanai from this photo:

The sliding doors, I know, are really too dark.  I have to do something about them – but that’s out of my budget right now.  I’ve inquired at a shop nearby, and it’s going to cost me around Php 25,000.00 to replace them.  I’m also on the fence about putting curtains or blinds over the sliding doors from the dining area side.

And there you have it.   I’ve done away with my overly detailed checklists for now and decided to keep it simple.  Tackle the most glaring issues.  Otherwise, I’ll never finish anything in this house.

This is my new to-do list (I’m also sharing it here, for quick reference), as of 13 October 2017:

Living Room

  1. new foam for the couch – 10.14.17 ordered
  2. customized sofa covers – 10.14.17 ordered
  3. repair coffee table – 10.17.17 dropped off
  4. replace curtain rods (2)
  5. new, longer curtains (6)
  6. new fan

Dining Room

  1. re-organize white shelves – 10.13.17
  2. clear out mess under the stairs
  3. new stand fan

Lanai-Playroom

  1. order black cabinet pulls
  2. remove or donate bed – 10.13.17
  3. paint cabinets
  4. install cabinet pulls
  5. tear out built-in shelves
  6. curtains or blinds? – 10.18.17 curtains (6)!
  7. replace curtain rods (2)
  8. sort and donate kids’ toys (again!) – 10.17.17

Command Center

  1. re-organize cables
  2. re-label file folders – 10.09.17
  3. replenish supplies

School Station

  1. sort and file last school year’s papers – 10.09.17
  2. re-organize supplies bin and drawers
  3. re-label file folders – 10.09.17
  4. replenish supplies
  5. empty out junk from Alo’s side

*Eventually: replace light switches and outlets, ceiling fan for the living room, get plants and pots, hang photos and prints